Monday, October 26, 2009

spud nuts

If you haven't tried homemade potato donuts (aka spud nuts), you really have to try them. After talking with a friend last week about how much we like donuts, we decided that making some donuts and playing games would be a great fall activity.

I pulled out the family spud nut recipe last night and decided to half it, since there were only going to be a few of us. This turned out to be a good decision, since a half of the recipe made over 3 dozen donuts.

Spud Nuts

5 ¼ T yeast
¾ c warm water
1 ½ T sugar
3 c milk
3 t salt
¾ c sugar
3 eggs
½ c oil
1 ½ c mashed potatoes
9 c flour
oil to fry

Dissolve yeast in water and sugar. Add wet ingredients and stir. Beat in half of flour. Add flour until soft dough consistency. Let rise until double. Roll out and cut into shapes (rectangles, square, circles). Spray baking sheets or kitchen table to non-stick cooking spray and then place donuts on surface to rise 15-20 minutes. Fry in medium-hot oil until brown on both sides (2-4 minutes). Let cool slightly on paper towels and then top with sugar or glazes (maple is always the favorite, trust me).

1. Letting the dough rise for a full hour or until double is key. Letting the cut donuts rise for 20 minutes before frying is even more key. If you dough is not rising, then your donuts will be doughy and hard, instead of really puffy and soft.

2. Fry a few donut holes first to make sure the oil is hot enough. If the oil is hot enough, it will bubble around the dough right away. The donuts should take no more than 2-3 minutes per side to get nicely browned. The donuts should puff of a lot as they cook, which will make them nice and soft inside.

3. The best glaze is maple glaze. To make this, put 1/2 t of maple flavoring, 2-3 T of milk, and enough powdered sugar to make a nice glaze that you can dip the hot donut into. If you are doubting how maple could be better than chocolate, just trust me.

4. These donuts are best hot and shared with friends. A whole recipe will make around 6-7 dozen donuts, so be sure to invite enough friends over and make lots of glaze.

homemade cheese ravioli

This weekend I decided to finally attempt something I have long wanted to make: homemade cheese ravioli. I've made homemade pasta since I was 16 and has insomnia for a summer, which lead to lots of late night cooking adventures. I didn't have a ravioli extension on my pasta maker, but I thought I could just make them by hand. Hey, I've made hundreds of pot stickers and crab rangoons by hand, so how hard could it be?

First, I made a normal batch of pasta dough from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This is your standard recipe, which is very basic but my favorite recipe. You can also add dried basil or other herbs to make a really delicious herbed pasta. I let the dough sit for ten minutes (part of the recipe) while I put together the cheese filling: 1 c ricotta cheese, 1/3 c Parmesan, and a sprinkle of basil and oregano. Please note that I really don't measure anytime, so this is just a guess. I added the Parmesan to make the filling a little drier, so it wouldn't get runny and then I just sprinkled in some herbs for a little color and flavor.

Then I divided the dough into four parts and rolled each through the pasta machine several times on the lowest setting, adding flour so that it wouldn't stick. Once each part was looking uniform, I took one part at a time and rolled it through each setting until it was pretty thin (setting 6) and then placed it on the counter. Once all four parts were rolled out, I took a pasta cutter that looks like a pizza cutter, but has a zigzag edge and cut each long piece of dough lengthwise, so now I had a top and bottom of the ravioli.

Using my hands I placed a small amount of cheese filling every two inches long one side of the dough and then placed the other half on top. Then I sealed off one ravioli and moved down the line, until I had little pockets of cheese in a long strip of dough. This was actually really easy to do and just required you to push around the cheese and the dough would stick to the other side. Then I used the zigzag cutter to cut apart each ravioli, so now I had square ravioli.

I placed these on my non-stick baking mat, but wax paper would also work. I put them in the freezer for a bit and then moved them to a zip lock bag once frozen. They cooked great (only one lost its filling) and tasted amazing! I might make the pasta a little thinner next time, since once you put the two layers together it was a bit thick, but overall amazing.