Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20: National Ravioli Day, National Bock Beer Day, and Iranian Food Day

National Ravioli Day

One of these days, I'll make ravioli.  From scratch, not the whole "open a bag and cook" thing.  Ravioli seems like one of those foods that you need to make from scratch.  I find myself going "Mmm...squash." when I look at this recipe from Emeril.  While not for me, these fried ravioli might make a good appetizer - I can certainly name some of my friends who love anything fried.  And even though I find this recipe for Ravioli a Mano amusing, I'll probably try making this Chicken and Spinach Ravioli recipe.

In honor of National Ravioli Day, Freebies4Mom is holding a giveaway where you can get a coupon for Pasta Prima ravioli.  And definitely check out this Short Rib Ravioli and Creamy Mushroom sauce recipe from the Cooking Channel.  i really like food has a good list of recipes for celebrating National Ravioli Day, including Giada's fried ravioli recipe.  (That recipe seems to be making everyone's list, so I may just have to try it.)

National Bock Beer Day

I'm not a huge beer drinker.  Oh, I totally will go on brewery tours, go to beer fests (I so love Strong Ale Fest at Pizza Port- but you've probably picked up on that already) and if at someone's house I'm offered a beer, I'll drink one.  I rarely drink more than one and unless I'm having a party, I don't stock beer in my fridge.  (Wine and cocktails have always been my preferred alcohol consumption methods.)  I know plenty of people who are beer enthusiasts and plenty of people who brew their own beer.  Yet I don't believe any of them has tried making a bock beer.

I also don't think I've ever had a bock beer.  (I may have to try one in a few weeks, when I head out to a Flying Saucer Draught Emporium.)  Beer Advocate has a short article describing what makes a bock beer, well... a bock beer.  There's also some recommendations in that article.  Or you can just look at their list of bocks and see what other people have said or leave your review of a bock beer. 

Iranian Food Day

Somehow, somewhere, I had noted that today was Iranian Food Day.  (I really can't find anything else about this, so if you've got something, chime on in!)  I don't think I've ever eaten at an Iranian restuarant, so I had to do a little digging to find out what constituted Iranian food.  Well, it seems as though Iranian food gets described as "Persian" food, or lumped with other food cultures as "Middle Eastern" or "Mediterranean" food.  In that case, I may have had a traditionally Iranian food in the past.

This time, though, I figured I'd see if there was something I could make.  I found a page of recipes at the Iran Chamber Society and started browsing.  I discarded any dish that would require me to go buy a special spice (saffron? I don't use it enough to make it worth buying) or any cuts of meat I don't regularly cook ( ex. lamb.)  I settled on the recipe for Nargesi Esfenaaj

The dish just after the eggs
were added to the already cooked
spinach and onion.
Seemed like a simple recipe- cook some spinach, some onions, top with eggs, salt, and pepper and let cook.  Well, us silly Americans haven't gotten on board with the metric system yet and I wasn't paying attention to the number of servings, so I completely glossed over the amount of spinach needed for the recipe.  1 kg.  You know those pre-packed spinach bags?  That's roughly the equivalent of four of the standard-sized bags or two of the large bags.  That's a whole lot of spinach.  I should have noticed that when I first looked at the recipe (when you have a science background, metric is not a strange thing) but I was too focused on the ingredients to actually note the amount of each ingredient I would need.

I ended up cutting the size of the recipe so that I used one bag of spinach (255g), one onion and two eggs.  I was originally going to go with one egg, but once I went to crack the egg, I realized there was room for more than one egg.  So I used two and when the whole thing was cooked, cut it in half to save for later.

I really dislike runny yolk in any circumstances, so I did cook until the yolks were hard.  Because I'm familiar with all the ingredients used, there were no surprising flavors in this dish.  It was a new experience in flavor combination for me, though, as I don't believe I have ever used spinach with onions or spinach with eggs.  It was pretty good and I'll be eating the saved half for breakfast.

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