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Thomas The Accidental Gourmet

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hunter's Stew

I believe that we lack rites of passage. I'm not talking about the "put your hand in a woven glove filled with stinging ants variety." I'm talking about those things that propel us from one stage of life to another.

It used to be that we had some significant milestones.  Your first car? It was freedom. It was establishing boundaries. It was responsibility.  Now? It's either a riced-out racing machine that only teaches responsibility when wrapped around a street lamp, or it's got so many parental-imposed limits ("don't drive on the freeways" "don't drive after dark") that the boundaries are pre-made, and freedom is squelched.

Instead of true rites of passages, we substitute events such as kindergarten "graduation" (give me a freaking break), or children create their own (hazing, anyone?). Either way, these are not rites of passage. They teach nothing. They do not serve as watershed moments.

Recently, we had our nephews up to my family's place in Colorado. Pretty much located in the midst of the Pike National Forest, it's where I did a lot of my growing up.  My dad brought out a BB gun for them to shoot with one caveat: nothing moving except a rabbit that liked my mother's petunias.

For several days, it looked as if the rabbit would win (favorite quote from the great rabbit hunt: BUNNY! ... chck-chck). 

Then, finally, Cole shot it.

And with the clarity of a diamond bullet to the forehead he confronted a range of dilemmas and moral choices. What's the difference between enjoying the hunt, and enjoying killing? If I'm not OK with shooting a rabbit and cooking it up, can I be OK with the hamburger I ate yesterday?  Perhaps most importantly: Now that I've done the deed, am I going to cowboy up, own what I've done, and finish the job?

After a few minutes on the front stoop processing through things, and coming out on the right side of the questions, in my opinion, we got down to the business of skinning the rabbit, then butchering it (part of the lesson, donchaknow?).  The next day, we made hunter's stew for lunch which, although a bit lean on the meat (one rabbit for 6 provides about two to three bites each), was pretty damn tasty.

But most importantly, it was a rite of passage for Cole that few his age experience.

Hunter's Stew

What You Need

Rabbit. Ideally, one for every two people.
Broth (made from the rabbit carcass if you have it, from chicken if you don't).
Carrots, about one per person (oh, the irony)
Potatoes (depending on how much starch you like in your stew, around 1 for every 2 people)
Onion, about 1/4 cup sliced per person
Celery leaves (fresh)
A few sprigs parsley

What To Do With It

The Rabbit

Butcher your bunny. Here's a link if you have no idea (except I cut the loin off, as you would  from a deer). You're going to want a boning knife, by the way.

Put each carcass (ribs, backbone) and belly meat in about 2 cups of water per rabbit with pepper, salt, the celery leaves and oregano (1 teaspoon per rabbit). Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, drop in about a teaspoon of olive oil, and get a good sear on your rabbit (legs, loin): about 3 minutes/side.

The Rest

After your broth has been going about 30 minutes, put your potatoes, carrots and onions and a bit more oregano (1/4 teaspoon or so per 2 people), on to boil (about 1 cup water/2 people), then simmer over medium-low heat (for a thicker stew, start the potatoes at the same time you start your broth so more starch gets released, then bring to a boil mid-way and add the carrots and onions.)

Finally, join it all together (broth (minus the carcass), rabbit, veggies, parsley), and let that go for about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy with some soda biscuits (or as my friends call them, "hard tack").

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sesame Shrimp Salad

Pity my sister.

All she ever wants when she comes to our house to eat is Caribbean Shrimp. Or lobster (once she got so desperate for it she actually brought her own).

But  does she ever get it? Nope.

We just tease her: a bit of shrimp here, a taste of mango there...

Throw in our generally healthy eating of late (lower carbs at night, for instance), and disappointment for Jane is almost guaranteed.

Not that she eats poorly mind you.  In fact, don't pity my sister.  Envy her instead.

Sesame Shrimp Salad

What You Need

6-8 oz of shrimp per person
1 tsp sesame seeds per 6 oz shrimpAbout 2.5 oz soba noodles (dry) per person
1 tsp serrano, minced per 6 oz shrimp
1/2 lime for every 3 people
Red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/4 cup shelled edamame per person
1/3 avocado per person
Napa cabbage, sliced latitudinally
Broccoli stems, sliced thin
Crimini mushrooms, sliced
Soy Sauce
Olive Oil

What To Do with It

First, toast your sesame seeds. Put them in a skillet over medium heat, and keep them moving until they start to turn brown, then remove.

Peel the shrimp completely, then put in a bowl. Add the serranos, sesame seeds, lime juice and a couple pinches of salt. Toss until the shrimp are well-coated.

Put water on to boil.

Heat a skillet over medium medium high heat.

Once the water starts boiling, throw in your soba noodles and put the shrimp in the skillet (with a bit of olive oil) and sautee.  Each should cook about 4 minutes.

To plate, put a bit of napa cabbage down as a bed, the put your noodles on top of that. Arrange the rest as you see fit.

Finally, create a dressing by mixing the sriracha, soy sauce and oil in a 2:2:1 mixture (the exact amount will be determined by how much dressing you want, but go for about 1 tbsp per person).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wilted Spinach and Spicy Pork Salad

So, I'm in trouble with my wife's trainer.

Apparently, the food I cook isn't healthy enough.

What E.V.E.R.

I can cook healthfully. The trick is to make it taste good, but I can do that, too.

When I get lucky. And the stars align. And the gods smile upon get the idea.

Wilted Spinach and Spicy Pork Salad

What You Need

4 cups raw spinach
1/3 cup chopped red onion
4 crimi mushrooms
4 strawberries
12 oz extra lean pork loin (trim the fat, if necessary)
1 tbsp bacon grease
1 tsp olive oil
powdered chipotle
powdered, smoked paprika
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese
kosher salt

What To Do with It

Sprinkle the chipotle and paprika (liberally) on 2 sides of the pork loin (OK, you're going to coat it, just don't overdo it, as it will get a bit HOT).  Lightly sprinkle on some salt. Let stand, unrefrigerated, for 2 hours.

After 1 hr, halve the strawberries and mushroom, then slice (you want them at room temperature before serving).

After 2 hours, turn an oven to 400.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon grease then sear the pork loin for about  5 minutes per side. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the pork finishes in the oven, sautee the onions in the olive oil, and quickly wilt the spinach in the same pan you cooked the pork in (and by quickly, I mean throw in the spinach, then flip after 10 seconds, then remove after 10 seconds).

Remove the onions from the other skillet, then put in the vinegar. Remove from heat.

Plate the spinach, feta, strawberries onions and mushrooms and toss.  Drizzle on the vinegar, and sprinkle a bit of salt on top.

Remove the pork loin from the oven, cut longitudionally, then slice and plate.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Iron Skillet Quail (with a few sides)

Even The Babe had a slump now and then.  I'm not comparing myself to him, of course...I'm not from the Bronx, nor do I play baseball. And I'm certainly not fat.

I'm just saying, it's been a while since I cooked anything worth sharing.  That, and my analogies stink.

That all changed Monday.  Jenn and I were doing some shopping at Central Market, and had already picked up some fiddle heads, when Jenn spied quail at the meat counter."I want that," she said. 

One thing I am is well-trained. So quail for dinner it was.

Iron Skillet Quail (with a few sides)

What You Need

For the quail

2 quail, deboned except for legs & wings
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime

For the sides

1/2 cup fiddle heads
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 basil leaf, chiffonaded

3 crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 shallot, finely diced
1 yellow squash, sliced
4 leaves of tarragon, minced

1/4 cup black quinoa

What To Do With It

Tie together the legs of the quail at the bottom (just to make them behave a little better when you're cooking them).

Mix together the rest of your ingredients into a paste and spread on the quail on both sides. Let sit at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours.

20 minutes before you want to eat, turn an oven to 400, heat a small skillet over low heat (and put in the butter, basil & garlic to awaken it) and put about 2 cups of water on to boil.  Rinse your quinoa until the water is no longer cloudy. Drizzle the mushrooms, squash and shallots with olive oil, add a couple pinches of salt and the tarragon, and transfer to an oven-safe dish.

At the 15-minute mark (or once your oven is preheated and your water boiling), put the mushrooms in the oven and the quinoa in the water (once that starts to boil again, turn it down to a simmer).  Turn your small skillet up to medium-low and add the fiddle heads with a pinch of salt. 

Continue to stir the quinoa and keep an eye on the fiddle heads (when they turn a bright green, let them cook another two minutes and they're done: turn off the heat, but leave them in the pan). At about the 6-minute mark, turn the heat under a cast iron skillet to medium high.

With 4 1/2 minutes to go, drizzle some olive oil in your cast iron skillet, get it coated, and put in the quail for just over 2 minutes a side.

Plate it all up and enjoy (any time other than a couple weeks in spring, you won't be able to have the fiddle heads).   We served this with a Dis-Tinto wine (50/50 syrah/tempranillo), which didn't go too badly, but fought with the fiddle heads a bit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drunken Mango

I like rum. And by "like" I mean it should be one of the food groups.

Unfortunately, I've yet to find a nutritionist that will back me up on this.  What's worse, they all seem to go the exact opposite direction and tell me that perhaps I should cut some out of my diet, and cite various studies linking rum with all sorts of bad things.

It just goes to show you, some people will believe anything they read.

Nonetheless, I think I've found the perfect way to mollify such people: include what they would consider a healthy fruith with my rum.

Genius, I tell you. Pure genius.

Drunken Mango

What You Need

Some sort of fancy container that will seal.
Enough ripe mango to fill said container.
Good rum (for this I used Pyrate XO, which is from Antigua, though just about any good sipping rum from the Windward or Leeward Isles would do)
Vanilla bean.

What To Do With It

After cutting the side off your mango, peel it then slice it lengthwise.  Turn your container on its side and lay the mango in (you're going to stack it like logs so that all the slices are standing upright). 

Once you've gotten your vessel sufficiently packed, add about 1/10 of a vanilla bean and fill to the top with rum.  Let that sit for a week or so.

Eat the mango. Drink the rum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All My Drinking Friends Have a Sailing Problem, Part Deux: Green Flash

Another year, another LakeFest. This year, I was tasked with coming up with a drink that would not be co-opted by anybody (last year's blue water margaritas got a different moniker when the crew of Blue Flash showed up).

After about an hour of careful research, we came up with what we initially called a "Shooting Star." After a happy accident, however, we settled on calling it a "Green Flash" (which, incidentally, is an atmospheric phenomenon, and should not be confused with that pesky blue flash that occurs in critical nuclear accidents).

Given the inherent ... uncertainty ... that can go along with this type of experimentation, and being the quasi-professional drunkard that I am, I diligently subjected both myself and others to several trial runs before pronouncing it LakeFest-ready, although I must confess that one member of our crew did ask me when the alcohol would be added.

Green Flash

What You Need

Tall shot glass (1.75 ounces)
Club Soda
Blue Curacao
Sailor Jerry spiced rum
Yellow food coloring

What To Do With It

Fill the shot glass to 1/2 full by adding 1/4 glass limoncello and 1/4 glass club soda. Tilt the glass and pour in about 1/8 glass blue curacao. Poured slowly enough, this will pool on the bottom. Finally, with the glass tilted again,  pour in 1/8 glass Sailor Jerry, which will pool on the top.

Now, take a toothpick and pierce the meniscus, and drop in one drop of yellow food coloring. Take a thin slice of kumquat and garnish.

The longer these sit, the more the food coloring will drop down into the cloudy layer of limoncello and club soda, and the blue curacao will mix from the bottom, to try to make them a la minute.

When you're ready to drink, give it a quick swirl with a toothpick or straw to transform it from something resembling a sunset into an electric green concoction...just like what happens with a real green flash!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


All my life I thought I liked beef jerky.  Recently, a partner at my wife's firm, to whom, to protect her identity, I shall refer as "Cathy Altman," informed me that I actually like biltong. Beef jerky, she said, is just chewy, under seasoned, nasty stuff.
No, not this kind of Impala...

In contrast, biltong (the by-product of hanging an impala in your garage for a month or so to cure and dry), is thin, crispy, and tasty.  Apparently, I'm part Zimbabwean, and didn't even know it.

In reality, when I lived in Manhattan, Kansas, the jerky they sold out of K-State was just like how Cathy describes biltong. It's been my measuring stick against which all other jerky is judged. Frankly, without being overly "confident," mine is pretty damn close.

And according to Cathy, it reminds her of dried impala.  So I'm declaring it good.

Biltong (Beef Jerky)

What You Need
3 pounds of eye of round, sliced into 3/8-1/2 inch slices
3/4 small can of tomato paste (about 2 tablespoons)
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp ground coffee (the espresso variety)
2 tbsp molasses
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
2 cup boiling water
2-3 tbsp liquid smoke (if you're using a dehydrator instead of a smoker)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

What To Do with It

Cut the meat into strips 1/4-1/2 inch thick, depending on what you're going to use for dehydration. Thinner for a dehydrator, thicker for a smoker.

Mix all the other ingredients in a gallon plastic bag, then add the meat, place in a refrigerator and let it sit 24 hours.

Lay your meat out on your drying rack. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp kosher salt per pound on top, and coat fairly liberally with black pepper (I give about 1 turn for each 4 square inches of meat).

Dry it until it's just a bit crispy.  12-14 hours on a dehydrator, 8-10 on a smoker (at about 150 degrees).

A word of warning. Biltong has a strange effect on people. For instance, it turns my father into Gollum:
Mom: "Jim, where'd you get the jerky?"
Dad (who had gone to my house to drop something off while I was at work): "Thomas gave it to me."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spinach Fettucini with Artichoke Sauce

One of my favorite things is spinach artichoke dip.

But you can't just sit down and eat a bowl of it.

At least you shouldn't.

More than once a year.

Maybe twice.

The problem is that you really can't make just a bowl full, so it only gets made on special occasions.  And then there's always other people around, eating my dip. Errr.. the dip.

Anyhoo, I think I may have found a solution.

At least when I've got folks over for dinner. Thanks to a little urging from little sister, that's what happened Sunday night.

Spinach Fettucini with Artichoke Sauce

What You Need


215 grams (or so) of semolina flour
1/4 lb. fresh spinach
2 eggs


1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
4 oz neufchatel cream cheese
2 oz. fresh mozarella (the stuff in water, if you can find it)
1/2 cup skim milk
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large white onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt to taste

What To Do With It


Destem, then boil (or steam) the spinach.  Set it aside in a strainer and let it drain.

Sautee the onions and garlic over medium-low heat.  When they're done, add the rest of the ingredients, but only a pinch of salt, along with about 1 cup water. Keep it on the same heat and stir occasionally. You're going to reduce this until it's thick and creamy.


Drain your spinach fully by squeezing it. Mince it 10 ways from Sunday (pretty much turn it into a paste). This is not as hard as it sounds. It takes about 1 minute.

Get about 200 grams of flour.  Either put in in a large bowl, or on a workspace.  Make a little well and crack the eggs in.  Mix with a fork until it starts clumping.

Now show that pasta who's boss for the next 5 mintues or so. Knead it. Pound it. Fold it. Repeat.

Add the spinach and do it again.  You'll note that it's sticking to your hands.

Add some flour.



(The amount of water your spinach retains will dictate how much flour you have to add.)

Keep going until you just pass the point where the pasta sticks to nothing, but is still soft.  (Add the flour slowly!)

Once your dough reaches that point, and is well-mixed, split the dough in two batches.  Run each batch through your pasta machine until the penultimate setting. Mine is an Atlas, and I run it through until it gets to setting 5. Cut your dough in half, run it through again on the next setting, then cut your fettucini.  Lay it out to dry. If you don't have pasta rack, a pastry cloth works nicely.

Put a pot of water on to boil. Check your sauce. If it hasn't reduced enough, turn up the heat a bit. Add a bit of salt and taste it .

After your pasta gets dry enough that it doesn't want to stick to itself (about 10-15 minutes), it's ready to cook.  3 1/2 minutes will do it. Maybe four, but no more.

Dish up your pasta, ladle out some sauce and buon appetito!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Claude's Chicken Nachos

A few years ago, we had some dear friends that lived across the street from us.  We had the kind of friendship where we didn't wait for an invitation.  On any given night, one or the other of us would see if someone were home across the street, grab a bottle of wine (or three), and march on over (and stumble back a few hours later).

Then they moved and ripped our hearts out.

But I've gotten over that.


Another good thing about Claude and Aurora was that they could cook, and liked to eat good food.  On one of our impromptu soirees, Claude disappeared into the kitchen and reappeared with fabulous chicken nachos.  Problem was, he couldn't recall the next day how he had made them. He made a couple half-hearted attempts at replicating them, but never achieved the level of greatness (although, I must note, he never again tried to replicate them three bottles of wine into the evening).

After a few failed attempts myself, I think that I may have come pretty close to replicating the original.  In homage to our friends, I present you

Claude's Chicken Nachos

What You Need

12-16 oz chicken, ground (use a food processor)
2 serranos (finely chopped, not deseeded)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
1-2 oz yellow cheese, shredded
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/8 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 limes
Tortilla chips

What To Do With It

Preheat an over to 400.

Sautee the onions in 1/2 tbsp olive oil.

Put the rest of the oil in the same pan, and brown the chicken along with the serranos, garlic, salt, some pepper, and juice of 1 1/2 limes.

Place your chips on a baking sheet, then add your sour cream, chicken, salsa, tomatoes and onions.   Bake for 10 minutes.  When you take them out, sprinkle on the cilantro and the juice of the other half lime.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chilean Sea Bass with Tomato-Basil Sauce

 My wife is spoiled.

This revelation dawned on me the other morning.  As usual, I was up quite some time before she.  At about 7:00, the phone rang.  "Who could be calling so early?" I asked.

Then my phone announced, "Call from: Thomas Morris." 

Yep.  Jenn was calling from the bed to dial in an order for coffee.

Our house is less than 1500 square feet, and one level.

It's my own fault, I suppose. No one to blame but myself.  The problem is that my revelation came far too late in our marriage to do me any good. 

Worse still, she's decided that this dialing in orders is kind of fun, and can be applied to many different situations.  So now I'm not so much in charge of dinner as I am in charge of making what she would like for dinner.  Last night, she wanted sea bass.

Chilean Sea Bass with Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is a lightly-seasoned dish that lets the flavor of the fish come through.  Whatever you do, don't use a heavy hand with the salt and pepper.

What You Need

1 lb Chilean sea bass
2 medium tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
2-3 basil leaves, chiffonaded
1 shallot, chopped (about 1/8 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil (I prefer the flavor of Italian to Spanish)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp lemon juice
black pepper

What To Do With It

Preheat an oven to 400.  If you've got the time, put your tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, a HEALTHY pinch of salt, basil and shallot in the pan and bake for 30 minutes.  If not, combine all that with a little water in a sauce pan and cook it down until the tomatoes have almost disintegrated (you don't want much liquid left at all).

Cut your fish into two fillets and remove the skin.  After rinsing the fish, pat it dry, lightly salt and pepper one side, and dab it on a plate with flour on it (both sides). You're really just dusting the fish.

Get a pan hot over medium high heat.  Once it's good and hot, add the rest of the olive oil and cook your fish for 3 minutes a side. 

Spoon your tomato sauce over the bottom of an over-proof pan, put your fish on top, and bake for 10 minutes.

We served this with some "baby" squash that we had mixed with thyme, salt, shallots and olive oil, and a Del Dotto Chardonnay.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lobster Ravioli

Pasta-fest continues chez moi.

While I'm certain there's a little tweaking I could use on my pasta, there's not too much room for variation when your ingredients are 100 g. flour: 1 egg, and you knead it until it's just too sticky, then add more flour and knead again.

The challenge is finding something to eat with the pasta.  In the case of fresh linguine (or pre-made pasta), it's pretty simple: sautee some vegetables and a little meat, and have pasta primavera.  For homemade ravioli, however, the task is a bit more challenging.  After all, not only do you have to come up with something tasty with which to stuff it, but if you've gone to all that trouble, your sauce had better be pretty killer, as well.

Sometime around Christmas, Jenn and I got a bit of a wild hare and decided to try our hands at lobster bisque.  While normally I'm not a fan of that soup, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked ours.  With that still bubbling on the brain, I came across a 1-pound lobster tail on sale last week.  I knew something was going to happen with that lobster tail.

Then, we invited our friends, Becky and Bradley over for dinner.  They're excellent guinea pigs, so I decided to take a chance and put the lobster in ravioli.

Lobster Ravioli

What You Need

One lobster tail (12-16 oz)
1 1/2 - 2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium shallot
1/3 cup brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 tsp cayenne (or you could use half a habanero)
4-5 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 pinch tarragon
2 by leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp butter
1/8-1/4 cup half-n-half (or cream)

What To Do With It

Sautee the shallots, carrots and celery in olive oil.  Remove.  In the same pan, sautee the mushrooms in half your sherry. 

In a deep, wide  pan, put in enough water to cover about half your lobster tail, put in the bay leaves, tarragon and a couple pinches of salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook the lobster tail for about 4 minutes, turn over, and cook another 4 minutes (you're not cooking it all the way just yet).  Remove the lobster tail, spoon out the fat, and turn the water down to a simmer.

Crack the shell and remove the meat. Set aside.

Reserve the water you boiled the lobster in, and place the shell back in the pan.  Add the brandy and flame until the alcohol is burned off.

Put the reserved water (but remove the bay leaves), mushrooms and veggies in the pan with the shell, add the coconut milk and the rest of the sherry and simmer for about an hour. 

Pour a glass of wine. Drink it.

Remove the shell (you can trash it now).  Strain out the vegetables and return the water to the pan. Bring to a boil.  Slice up your lobster and place it in the water for about 4 minutes. Remove and place in a food processor with half the veggies. 

Put the other half of the veggies back in the broth and turn the heat up to medium high.  Add the butter and reduce (you'll add the half-n-half if you need a little thickness). Check the level of your salt (salt to taste)

Chop up the lobster and veggies in the food processor (mince it), and make up your ravioli.  Bring water to a boil (you're going to cook the ravioli about 5 minutes, so time that with your sauce). 

Cook, plate and enjoy!

We served with a Riesling (mildly sweet).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ravioli Stuffed with Braised Lamb Shank

My wife bought me a pasta machine for Christmas. Now, I am a pasta machine.  I've made fresh pasta 4 times in 5 days.  At this rate, by next Christmas I'll have forearms like Popeye.

So far, my forays have taken two paths: linguine and what sauces to make with it (I think I mentioned my failed attempt at a truffled clam sauce in my post about slow-scrambled eggs), and ravioli.

Although my linguine has mostly been quite good (I whipped up a nice pasta primavera for new years), in all modesty my ravioli has been the Best. Thing. Ever.  "Why?" you ask.  Because I stuff it with braised lamb shank. 

A couple of observations about ravioli before I go on.  First, don't get one of those damn trays with the little holes that use a rolling pin to cut your ravioli.  Second, on a related note, the hand stamps work great.  Third, you should time your pasta to be rolled out at the same time you finish your ravioli filling.

All that being said, here's how to knock your socks off for dinner (I'm not kidding). To quote my wife, "I thought only truffles and [something else] could make me feel this way."

Ravioli Stuffed with Braised Lamb Shank

What You Need

1 lamb shank
1-2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 cup chianti
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 white onion , diced
1 carrot (diced)
1 stalk celery (diced)
5-6 crimini mushrooms (thinly-sliced)
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)

What To Do With It

In a medium-sized, high-sided sautee pan, sear the veal shank in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side.

Add all the other ingredients save about 1 tbsp parsley and simmer (covered) for 2 hours on low to medium-low heat.

About 30 minutes before your veal is done, start making your pasta.  Roll out two sheets approximately 18 inches long and place on a pastry cloth.  Using your ravioli stamp, lightly mark where you would cut your pasta on the bottom sheet of dough.

Remove the lamb shank from the pan and strain the braising liquid. Place the liquid and 1/2 the veggies back in the pan and continue to simmer with the lid off.  Monitor this. 

Strip the meat off the bone and place it and the rest of the veggies in a food processor and mince it up. Taste and salt as necessary.
 Using your stamped pasta as a guide, form little "wheels" of minced lamb about the size of a half dollar and 1/2 inch thick and place on your template.  Lay the other sheet of pasta on top and, starting in the center and working toward the outside, begin cutting your ravioli.

By the way, you should have some water on to boil at this point, and it should be about ready.

Let your ravioli sit 10 minutes or so (place them on the pastry cloth so they don't stick to your work surface), and put them in the boiling water for about 3- 3 1/2 minutes.

Plate, spoon out our sauce and prepare to be thoroughly impressed with your own bad self.

We served this with a Del Dotto Sangiovese.