Shrimp, Roasted Garlic and Caper Ravioli with Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc (or, DiFiore Ravioli meets Omaha Steaks Seafood Sauce)

You know that not everything we cook is from scratch. Amy has a not-so-secret love for Kraft Macaroni-n-Cheese. Now and then, Chris enjoys a mug of store-bought udon noodles, seasoning packet and all. But that's not how we like to eat. Sometimes, though, we simply don't feel like cooking from scratch. So on a typical evening, you can find us putting our own spin on a store-bought product. Our very own "semi-homemade." 

Recently we were craving ravioli. We have made our own ravioli in the past, but it is certainly not easy. So instead we took advantage of the fact that DiFiore Ravioli Shop practically hand-delivered their ravioli to us. This small, family-owned business has been in Hartford for over 30 years and recently opened a second location in Rocky Hill. But now they've made it even easier for us to buy their products by having a booth at our favorite farmers' market. Now we don't have to make a special stop!

This past weekend, we bought DiFiore's "Shrimp, Roasted Garlic and Caper Ravioli" at the debut of FARE, the new Willimantic Market. Amy asked the person working the booth if he thought that would be good with a plain butter sauce. He nodded, but then, as if he were delivering a state secret, added, "I'd try it with a lemon beurre blanc, maybe adding a few capers." Sounded right up our alley.

Since frozen ravioli are supposed to be an easy weeknight dinner, we didn't bother to come up with our own sauce recipe. We found Omaha Steaks' recipe (here) for "Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc Seafood Sauce" and made a few substitutions - a small spring onion from our garden instead of shallots, 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream, and 1 1/2 rather than 2 sticks of butter. It was delicious.

We drizzled the rich, lemony sauce over that gorgeous ravioli and our craving was satisfied. Sometimes semi-homemade is even better than from scratch.


3 Times Thursday - Summer Mussels

Mussel /ˈməsəl/ : noun, any of a number of bivalve mollusks with a brown or purplish-black shell. 

For this week's 3 Times Thursday, we encourage you to try one of our recipes for mussels. A New England staple, mussels can be purchased relatively cheaply at your local seafood market or supermarket in two-pound mesh bags. Summer always means seafood to us, and mussels appear on our menu a few times throughout the season. Here are three flavorful ways to enjoy mussels - try them all with plenty of crusty bread. Don't forget to let us know your fave!

3. Mussels in White Wine Broth


2 pounds mussels
1 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 stick butter, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 bottle dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)

Put half of the mussels in the bottom of a large stock-pot. Top with the white onions, garlic cloves, green onions, parsley, tomatoes, 3/4 stick of the butter cut into quarters, some salt and pepper, and then put the other half of the mussels in. Add the white wine and the other 1/4 stick of butter and cover with a lid. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then allow them to steam for about 10 minutes, until they are all open.

2. Cockles and Mussels


2 pounds mussels
1 pound cockles or small clams
4 lemons, halved
1 bunch green onions, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 handful fresh parsley
2-3 stems of fresh tarragon
1/2 stick butter
1/2 bottle white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
2 cups water

Put all the ingredients in a large stockpot, cover the pot, set it over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all shells are open.

1. Curried Mussels with Lemongrass


1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup hot water
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
2 pieces dried galangal
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon liquid sugar (simple syrup)
1 can light coconut milk
2 pounds mussels

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the curry paste and stir to fry for about a minute. Stir in the water, then add the lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the mussels, stir to coat, and put a lid on the pot. Cook, covered, over low heat until the mussels open, about five minutes. 


Go Local Magazine - June 2016 Issue

Go Local Magazine is a local lifestyle magazine promoting life around the Massachusetts/Connecticut line. The magazine features local businesses where you can play, shop and eat, and showcases the citizens who make the region great. This June's issue is chock full of things to eat, see, buy and do around the Go Local area. Consider it your summer reading assignment!

On page 34 of the June issue, you can find our recipe for Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Berries, along with a list of nearby spots where you can pick your own berries or purchase them by the pint. Amy also wrote the article (page 49) on Stafford Springs wildlife artist Pat Morris. There's a farmers' market guide, an interview with Ellington's own Chef Chris Avtges (who competed on Chopped), a feature on Forest Park Farmers' Market favorite Moe's Donuts, and so much more. So read the current issue online here, or pick up your FREE copy today and Go Local!


Coventry Farmers' Market Opening Day 2016


The folks who ran our favorite farmers' market (Coventry Regional Farmers' Market) for 12 years have moved on to other endeavors. We thank them for bringing this great market to the region. We have spent countless Sundays roaming the stalls, sampling food truck fare, buying local ingredients, and meeting many "Friends of the Market." 

Thankfully, the town of Coventry realized such a great opportunity should not be allowed to slip away. They had all the appropriate meetings and did all the necessary organizing, hired a new Market Master and reaffirmed the commitment to keep the market going at the Nathan Hale Homestead (#haleyeah!). 

Opening day was today and while it looked dreary outside, spirits were high and spring produce (leafy greens, spring onions, radishes, asparagus and cut flowers) was plentiful. Food truck alley was hoppin', and we saw most of our favorite vendors (butchers, bakers, cheesemongers and more) return. 

After the market, we headed over to the Bidwell for some wings and brews. Later that night, we enjoyed a salad made with Meadowstone Farm burrata, sungold cherry tomatoes, shredded basil and balsamic glaze with a touch of salt. Delicious! Oh, we do enjoy our summer Sundays in Coventry!