Friday, February 08, 2008

*wanton wontons.

This should have worked out beautifully. Lots of effort, lots of steps, lots of back-breaking standing. There was standing. And yet, I failed again. And all because I forgot one teeny, tiny detail: I hate parsnips.


I have a vague memory of being force-fed them as a child on one occasion ... Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure mi madre didn't try that one again. She could sense the kiddie revolt solidifying, and it was a rare enemy that could focus the attention of all three F sibs toward a common goal.

But a wealth of cheese memories and slow-mo potato flashbacks conspired to yield root vegetable amnesia. First, the mushroom ragout.

I halved the recipe (thank heavens for small favors), so what you see in front of you is olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, sage, and a half metric ton of portobello caps and white buttons. Plus some whole canned tomatoes, draining. Now see here:

AcCURSEd parsnip. It even sounds evil. And—get this—I had to forage in TWO separate grocery stores to find them. Have you heard the one about the single girl who goes to the grocery store on a Friday night and pays $2.19 on credit for parsnips?

Yeah, urban legend.

Luckily, Clooney the Peeler made short work of their outsides, and after a quick chop they joined sage and a fluff of Parmigiano.

Olive oil and butter into the skillet, then onions for 5 minutes. Garlic, sage, and mushrooms go in, where they cook 15 minutes from this:

to this:

While the fungus took its sweet time dehydrating, the whole tomatoes got a chop. Then they, and their juices, joined the shrooms. As that happened, the wretched parsnips took a scalding. And well-deserved, I say.

After it endured its water torture, it went into the food processor with the sage and Parm to make a deceptively pretty puree.

Then ... the filling had to cool. Which took an absurdly long time. I'll admit, during the cooling process, I took a taste. The recipe had been extremely vague up to that point on the subject of salt, and I was worried I'd end up in the bland before time again. At that point, I thought, "Huh. That tastes weird." And motored blithely on. Wonton wrapper on a lightly floured surface ...

I must digress for just a moment to say that I'd never worked with wonton wrappers before. I'd originally wandered down this ill-advised path because I thought I'd make pasta from scratch. HAY. I don't laugh at you.

ANYway, I realized I don't actually own the pasta attachment for Coppertone, and I don't own the wherewithal for rolling it out by hand. So I went the wonton route. I expected them to be sort of ... sticky. Or unyielding. Instead, they feel like little squares of softness. I kind of wanted to go to sleep with one against my cheek. Don't worry, I didn't. And not those cheeks, dirty.

... and a tablespoon of filling on each. Then I smeared water along the edges (the woodside doesn't have a paint brush, much less a pastry brush), and sealed the little pockets with a kiss. I mean a fork.

Now here's another conundrum. The recipe makes 30 ravioli, so I expected to end up with 15. See there? 3 x 5 = a massive, baffling amount of leftover parsnippiness.

Into boiling water (in batches, no less! How much work did I do, right?), then topped with mushroom ragout and a sprig of sage for pretty.

The mushroom ragout seems really simple, but it was delicious. The ravioli was ... indescribable. I recommended this to J-Hop the other day, and now I know why it calls for confounding quantities of butter. They just taste terrible. There was something intriguing about the flavor combination, which is what convinces me that my reaction is probably a failure of palate sophistication. I was about six bites in when I recognized that huge-bite-chew-with-the-molars-avoid-all-contact-with-taste-buds-gee-I-suspect-this-would-be-better-coming-up-than-going-down gag from childhood.

It's in the fridge now, because I couldn't bear to bin all that work right away. And also because I'm waiting to serve them to the people responsible for this:

No thank you, I do NOT want a side of sobbing with my Who's the Boss? reruns.


at: 7:01 AM said... think all this was going down while I was sitting at the Highlands Bar enjoying an assortment of succulent oysters and a lovely Kettle One martini. Time to get out Girl!

at: 8:58 AM said...

You should've gone with Giada's veggie-stuffed pancakes after all ... wait, no. Those looked gross. Kudos for effort and lovely presentation; I'm sorry it didn't taste as good as it looked.

I'm steadfastly NOT clicking on that godforsaken commercial. Sick, man.

K. says:
at: 9:50 AM said...

thanks, DAD. unfortunately, the reach of my pocketbook does not extend to highlands. howzabout if you take me out? ;-)

i agree about the commercial, j-bo. parsnips all around for those responsible. including david duchovny. and i'll hear no protest from you!



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.