Savory Pumpkin Ravioli in a creamy pumpkin sauce with spinach, white beans and mushrooms

So I should say except for the pasta dough I didn’t measure any of the ingredients for this recipe. Here are some approximations but use measurements that make sense to you! Follow your tastebuds.

Ingredients

For the pasta dough:

300 g. all purpose flour

100 g. semolina flour

4 eggs

For the filling:

1/2 cup puréed pumpkin

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup puréed white beans

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

a few dashes of Trader Joe’s umami powder (or onion powder)

black pepper, to taste

pinch of ground sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt, to taste

For the sauce:

1/3 cup puréed pumpkin

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup chicken stock

olive oil

1/4 onion, chopped finely

6 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

pinch of ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

a big handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Pecorino Romano for serving

Directions:

First, mix the pasta dough. Combine the flours in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and crack in the eggs. Lightly beat eggs with a fork while incorporating the flour. Combine until a rough dough forms. Remove from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and slightly elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

In the meantime create your filling in a mixing bowl and transfer to a gallon zip top bag. Set aside.

Start assembling the sauce by heating some olive oil in a pan and sautéing the onions and mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Combine the cream, pumpkin and chicken stock in a small liquid measuring cup. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside. Turn off the heat when onions and mushrooms are cooked through and the mushrooms are starting to brown.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Now it’s time to roll the pasta. Work with 100g of dough at a time. Flatten a piece of dough with your hands and run it through a pasta roller on the biggest setting. Fold the dough and run it through again. Repeat this six more times. Then switch to the next smaller setting and run the dough through once. Repeat until you’ve run it through the thinnest setting and the dough is as thin as paper. You may need to dust it with flour now and then to keep it from sticking.

Lay the flattened sheet on a countertop and cut it in half lengthwise. Snip a corner off the filling bag and make 8 dots of filling on one piece of the dough, evenly spaced. Lightly wet the dough around the filling and place the second sheet on top. Gently press the dough to get out air bubbles and seal in the filling. Use a pizza cutter, bench scraper or cookie cutter to cut your ravioli how you like. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until you’ve used up all your filling. Refrigerate any extra dough for pasta tomorrow.

When water is boiling add your ravioli. Gently stir with a wooden spoon. Reheat the pan with the onions and mushrooms and add the beans and spinach. Cook until wilted, just a couple of minutes. By now the pasta should be ready.

Use a large slotted spoon or spider to remove the ravioli from the water. Divide into 4 bowls. Add the cream, pumpkin, stock mixture to the saucepan and combine till heated through. Pour over the ravioli and top with Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve immediately.

Polenta Lasagna

I mean, doesn’t that look delicious?

I love a good lasagna, but sometimes I don’t feel like wrangling boiling hot noodles. This polenta lasagna is all the flavor of the traditional dish, but with slightly less effort and an added creamy texture. Also, it’s even better reheated the next day (as it appears in the above photo).

Polenta Lasagna

Serves 4

Ingredients:

-Polenta, hot and prepared Bon Appetit Instant Pot style (you start with 1 cup dry polenta if you want to follow a different recipe)

-1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

-2-3 cups marinara sauce

-Shredded mozzarella cheese

-1-1.5 cups prepared béchamel sauce – I recommend Massimo Bottura’s method

-Freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

First, you’ll need to prepare the polenta. The Bon Appetit recipe I linked above is the best recipe I’ve ever found and it’s perfect for this dish because you add 4 oz. of pecorino Romano cheese, butter and ground pepper – that’s a lot of good flavor!

However you decide to make it, just before it’s done, spray a half sheet pan with cooking oil. Carefully pour the hot polenta onto the pan and spread it into an even layer. This doesn’t have to be perfect. I think my polenta was about 1/4 inch thick.

Let the polenta cool completely. I set it outside since it was 43 F.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Cook until browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, prepare your béchamel. Now it’s assembly time.

Using a paring knife and possibly a measuring tape, determine what size you should cut your polenta. I made my sheets 5×7 inches, which meant two pieces per layer with three layers. I didn’t cut them too wide or long because I didn’t want them to break as I lifted them off the pan.

Lightly spray a smallish casserole dish with cooking spray. My dish was 10×7″. Ladle some marinara into the bottom of the dish and distribute evenly.

Carefully lift your polenta pieces from the pan using a fish spatula and place them into the casserole dish. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the sausage. Pour 1/3 of the béchamel over the sausage and use a rubber spatula to spread it out across the polenta. Pour on some more marinara and spread it out too. Sprinkle lightly with shredded mozzarella (or heavily if you desire).

Repeat with the remaining polenta, sausage, béchamel, marinara and mozzarella. Sprinkle the top layer with grated pecorino.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 if you want the top to brown a little. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes or until you can’t stand it anymore.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave for ultimate second day satisfaction.

Chicken Pot Pie Chowder

The season is shifting here in Alaska and that means soups, stews and chowders are on the menu. Here’s a delicious chowder that uses the entire ear of corn to create a stock that sweetens and enhances the overall flavor. After adding peas to the mix I realized I had made something that was an awful lot like chicken pot pie, so I decided to name it as such.

Chicken Pot Pie Chowder || A recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 4 fresh corn cobs
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 russet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups leftover chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • cream or evaporated milk, for serving

Directions:

Cut the kernels off the cobs and reserve for later. Place the cobs in a pot with 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Discard cobs and reserve remaining stock, which should have reduced to about 2.5 cups.

In a medium Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. If the bacon doesn’t render enough fat, add the butter. When bacon is cooked through, add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and reserved corn. Coat with the bacon fat and cook until onions are soft and transluscent, about 5 minutes.

Add the corn stock, chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add cubed potato and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the 1/2 cup water and flour. Ladle in about 1.5 cups of soup, including the potatoes and veggies, and blend with an immersion blender. Return this mixture to the pot. Add the chicken and frozen peas and simmer until peas are cooked through and the chowder has thickened. You could also add a drained can of white beans at this point if you’d like.

Remove from heat and serve into bowls topped with cream or evaporated milk.

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd

Our new home has a rhubarb plant – the first one I’ve ever owned. And that means so many possibilities…for crumbles, crisps and pies. I’m not a fan of crumbles, crisps or pies, so I’m on a mission to find other recipes that use this super-tart plant.

I came across this recipe for a curd, which is sort of like a pudding. I tweaked it slightly and accidentally doubled the sugar, which turned out quite nice! Turns out curd is a really forgiving recipe, so it’s ok if you have more or less of an ingredient.

This turned out so perfectly delicious. Tart, sweet, creamy – a wonderful alternative to the typical strawberry rhubarb fare. I enjoy it straight out of the jar, but you could put it in crêpes, on toast, on pancakes, the world is your rhubarb curd!

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd

Makes about 4 servings.

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

  • 150 g chopped rhubarb, fresh or thawed
  • 100 g chopped strawberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, zest and lemon juice. Heat over medium flame till simmering, cover and simmer on low for about 7 minutes. Mash with a potato masher after a few minutes to break it up as it softens.

Purée the mixture using either a food processor or immersion blender. Set aside.

Using a double boiler or two small saucepans that can stack, fill the bottom pot with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer, turn to med/low flame, and add the other pot on top. Whisk together the eggs, yolk and sugar until sugar is well incorporated.

While constantly whisking, slowly add the rhubarb purée. It will thicken as you whisk, turning a lighter color. Whisk until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the butter till melted. Pour into small jars, add lids, and let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Curd should keep for a couple of weeks, but it may get eaten up before then!

Strawberry Rhubarb Curd || A delightful dessert from Alaska Knit Nat

Sunny Side Up Cowl – A Free Knitting Pattern

I had to do a deep scroll on my blog to find the last knitting pattern I posted. It was more than three years ago! But with my city’s non-essential business closure mandate I’m unable to operate my floral business, so that means I have more time to knit!

I logged into my Ravelry account (again, it’s been more than three years and I’m so glad my computer remembered my password) and found this lovely cowl pattern that implements a very simple lacework pattern to create a pretty pattern and scrumptious texture.

I augmented the Ravelry pattern by using lighter weight yarn, one variegated skein instead of two contrasting colors, and smaller needles.

Sunny Side Up Cowl - A Free Pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

It’s a special time of year in Anchorage that we call “break up,” where the snow is melting, river ice is breaking up, and everything outside is mucky. There’s still a chill in the air and this cowl is just right for break up season.

Sunny Side Up Cowl - A Free Pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

The Lion Brand Scarfie yarn is the perfect amount of wool to make it fluffy and a nice amount of acrylic to make it not itchy. This project knits up pretty fast and I recommend it if you’re looking for a simple stitch pattern that won’t make you count so you can binge watch your favorite show and not lose track of your work.

Sunny Side Up Cowl - A Free Pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

Sunny Side Up Cowl

Materials:

Sunny Side Up Cowl - A Free Pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Cast on 100 stitches. Place marker and join in round.

Knit 1 round.

Purl 1 round

Start pattern:

Round 1: *Place yarn in front of work, slip 1 stitch, place yarn in back of work, k1. Repeat from * to end of round. Slip marker.

Round 2: K round, slip marker.

Round 3: *K1, place yarn in front of work, slip 1 stitch, place yarn in back of work. Repeat from * to end of round. Slip marker.

Round 4: K round, slip marker.

Repeat this pattern until work is 9 inches tall from cast on edge or until it’s the height you prefer. End with either row 2 or 4.

Purl 1 round

Bind off. Weave in ends. Block if you feel like it, but I never do.

Sunny Side Up Cowl - A Free Pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

Roasted Corn Chowder

Hi Blogfriends!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I got really really busy with my floral business but in light of recent events I’ve had to close my business and now I have more time for other creative endeavors, such as remaking some of my favorite knitting patterns and cooking.

I’ve been making a lot of recipes using easy-to-find ingredients. Last night I came up with a tasty soup that I wanted to share. It’s a flexible recipe. Add different kinds of veggies if you like and change up the seasonings if these don’t suit you.

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken and Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped crimini or button mushrooms
  • salt
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Trader Joes umami powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 cup leftover rotisserie chicken pieces, torn into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup reserved
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup cream

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Thaw the corn in a strainer under hot water and drain in a salad spinner. Place corn on a baking sheet and broil until corn is browned. Set aside.

Melt butter in a 4 quart soup pot over medium high flame. Add the onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt. Sauté until moisture is gone from the mushrooms, about 7 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, umami powder, thyme, oregano and pepper to taste. Sauté another few minutes until mushrooms start to brown.

Add the corn, potatoes, chicken, 2.75 cups of stock and the milk. In a small liquid measuring cup whisk together the 1/4 cup stock and the flour to make a slurry. Pour that into the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Do not let it come to a rolling boil as this can cause the milk to curdle.

Partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.

If the soup isn’t thick enough for your liking, create another slurry of cold stock and flour and add to soup and simmer for another 7 minutes.

Roasted Corn Chowder | A Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Farro and Arugula Salad with dried Cranberries

My friend Katelyn is a grain salad person. She’s always serving the tastiest salads with barley or wheat berries mixed together with other delicious morsels.

Last week my sister hosted dinner and served a tasty orzo and arugula salad that I absolutely loved. I decided to adapt her recipe by using farro and it turned out wonderfully. I served it to Katelyn alongside this Chicken Piccata recipe from Homemade Italian Cooking. She asked for the recipe, so here we are. 🙂

The magic ingredient in my salad (that’s completely optional) is reconstituted porcini mushrooms chopped up finely. It adds depth to the dish and the lemon, feta and dried cranberries bring in a brightness that complement the spiciness of the arugula.

This is a wonderful side dish to serve at Thanksgiving as it incorporates cranberries, grains, and has a look of good cheer on your plate.

You can of course replace the farro with any grain such as brown rice or couscous.

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Farro and Arugula salad with Feta, Cranberries and Porcini

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
  • 2.5 cups cooked farro, cooled
  • A few big handfuls of baby arugula (or baby spinach/arugula mix)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Farro and Arugula Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Directions:

Place dried porcini in a small bowl and cover completely with boiling water. Place a plate on top of the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Chop finely.

Add all the ingredients to a salad bowl and toss until everything is well coated. Add more olive oil if it needs to be loosened up a little.

Quick Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

It’s apple season, which means we have a bucket full of apples that we picked from a farm last week and we still haven’t done anything with them.

Early this week I made my son a quick oatmeal breakfast with apples and he gobbled it all up. I’ve been making it nearly every day since. I eyeballed all the ingredients, but here’s my closest approximation.

Quick apple cinnamon oatmeal | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Easy Apple Cinnamon Raisin Maple Oatmeal

Serves 1-2

  • 1 small apple, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • cream

Directions:

Place apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft – about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the oatmeal, water, salt and raisins in a bowl. Place on a plate (in case of spill over) and microwave for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

When oatmeal is done, add the apple mixture, maple syrup and top with cream.

Quick apple cinnamon oatmeal | a recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Salmon Quiche

It’s summer in Alaska and that means fresh, wild, delicious salmon. It also means fresh, wild, delicious salmon leftovers (just once in a while). I’m not a huge fan of leftover salmon and the typical recipes that use cooked salmon such as salmon burgers, but here I was last night, with a tasty leftover grilled salmon steak. What was I to do?

Make a quiche, that’s what I did!

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

I’ve made about three quiches in my life and they haven’t been great. They turn out tasting more like scrambled eggs, and I’m not a fan of that texture. I want a more solid quiche that’s salty and tastes better than a scrambled egg.

So I found a recipe for smoked salmon quiche and then found these helpful tips from Saveur.  After a few tweaks I felt confident and equipped to make a delicious, creamy quiche. It worked!

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Leftover Salmon Quiche

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry (I found it in the refrigerated aisle by the pie crusts but if you only find it frozen make sure it’s thawed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • dash liquid smoke (optional)
  • a couple of dashes of Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • leftover cooked salmon, about 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (sour cream or cream cheese would probably work instead)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Unfurl the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to smooth it out. Place the sheet in a pie pan and push the dough down so it gets into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Use kitchen shears to trim away the excess so the dough is flush with the top edge of the pan. Prick it several times with a fork and completely cover with foil. Weigh it down with pie weights, uncooked beans, or in my case, a smaller pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and turn oven down to 300 F.

In a large liquid measuring cup, gently whisk together the eggs, whipping cream, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, Tabasco Sauce and flour. Pour the mixture into the pie pan. Sprinkle the salmon so it’s evenly distributed. Add dollops of crème fraîche all around then sprinkle the green onions all over.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit 10-20 minutes before serving.

Delight in the fact that you made a quiche that didn’t suck (hopefully).

Leftover Salmon Quiche - a recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Cucumber Sandwiches

It’s been a record-shattering summer here in Anchorage with temps in the high 80s and even hitting 90 degrees. We Alaskans are coping, but for me it’s hard to figure out how to live like a regular person – how do I sleep? How do I keep my car cool? How do I make dinner without turning my house into a hellish oven?

Bring on the cold sandwiches! When I was in college I became close friends with a woman from Connecticut. She was a little more proper than my Alaska friends and whenever she threw a party she would serve cucumber tea sandwiches on soft white bread with the crusts cut off. No one seemed to understand these sandwiches, but I would inhale them.

This morning at the farmer’s market I got an English cucumber and some Italian parsley and decided to pack a picnic for our beachside excursion.

These tasted just like how I remember. Tangy and most importantly, chilled. They were the perfect snack for this oppressively hot weather.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Cucumber tea sandwiches

Makes 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
  • salt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
  • softened butter

Directions:

Place diced cucumber in a mesh strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let sit over a bowl for 30 minutes to draw out some of the moisture from the cucumbers. Pat with paper towels and set aside.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

In a mixing bowl add the lemon zest and juice along with the cream cheese, olive oil, parsley, onion powder, Dijon, and salt and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Use a rubber spatula to mix in the cucumbers.

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Spread softened butter on one side of each slice of bread. Then make sandwiches using the cucumber mixture. Slice each sandwich on the diagonal. Enjoy!

Cucumber sandwiches || A delightful recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

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