Staying Warm and Toasty

As many of you know, the Midwest has been experiencing a very cold and snowy winter. As of today we’ve had 20 days with below O degree (F) temperatures. Six more days and we’ll beat a record from sometime in the 1800’s. Frankly, that’s a record I’m not interested in beating. I don’t mind the snow, but honestly, it’s hard to enjoy it when it’s minus nine outside. Fortunately, we have managed to get our fair share of sledding in this winter which always makes us happy.

So let’s talk about something warm and toasty. Even if it’s summer in your neck of the woods, this dish would make a fun appetizer. It’s our Toasted Bacon and Apple Tortellini from Super Sunday’s Chopped Challenge. I’m going to get right down to business, as I hope to post all the winning recipes from the challenge in a timely manner.Then we can get back to cooking around the world. Thanks again to everyone that followed along that day. We had a lot of fun and have finally recovered (we didn’t want to be in the kitchen for a few days after that marathon!). So now on to the winning appetizer.

This basket came to us from our very own little sous chefs, Mr. N and Miss A. They very much thank you for their votes. They were quite excited! Mike and I on the other hand were a bit puzzled what to do with tortellini for an appetizer, but the kids had some fabulous ideas. Miss A instantly had a pasta salad in mind. Mr. N knew we had to stuff the tortellini with bacon. So that’s how we began. Appetizer Basket Ingredients 2014

For our homemade tortellini we referred to Chicago John’s tutorial on using won ton wrappers for the dough. (Glad I remembered that one!) stuffing tortellini

For the filling we added ricotta, basil, apple, bacon, an egg, Romano and salt and pepper to the food processor. We filled each won ton before carefully shaping them into tortellini. making tortellini

Mr. N really enjoyed making the tortellini. Even Miss A asked if she could make a few, which concerned Mr. N for a moment as he was suspicious of sabotage from the other team. Ultimately he let her try her hand at pasta making as well. won ton tortellini

Now came the fun part. I reminded Mr. N of the Toasted Ravioli we made a long, long time ago to represent Missouri and St. Louis. I suggested we deep fry our little tortellini to make them feel more appetizer-like. Well, one mention of the words “deep fry” and he was in complete agreement. So after cooking the tortellini we dredged them in flour, egg and panko before deep frying them to a crisp, golden brown. toasted tortellini

The only thing left was to come up with a sauce. Since we used a filling with apple and bacon, we thought a sweeter cream sauce was in order. We combined mascarpone, cashew cream and white wine in a small sauce pot before heating it over a low flame until it was blended, nice and creamy. You could easily use heavy whipping cream in place of the cashew cream, but if you’re so inspired, it was delicious. There are an abundance of cashew cream recipes out there, but we used a simple blend of raw, unsalted cashews (soaked in water), lemon juice, vegetable stock and a little bit of almond milk. Just toss it into a food processor and run until smooth and creamy. mascarpone and cashew cream sauce

So there you have it, team Cleaver’s Toasted Bacon & Apple Tortellini. It was 4 spoons for both Mr. N and Miss A, and 3 spoons from the grown-ups. While these were quite tasty, I’m not sure we’ll make them again. They are rather involved and frankly I prefer my tortellini as a main course with a nice light creamy mushroom sauce (fortunately we have a bunch saved in the freezer that didn’t make it to the frying stage). Not to mention if we’re going to deep fry, there are quite a number of foods I’d rather splurge on before these; but a winner is a winner. It was definitely a lot of fun to make and great to have both kids so active in the kitchen this year. This has become quite the “sporting event” around here this time of year!

Print this recipe: Toasted Apple and Bacon Tortellini

Now before I sign-off, I’ll give you a brief run down on the competition’s dish. After all it was completely the brainchild of our little Miss A (who recently got all dolled up for the annual daddy daughter dance). daddy daughter dance

The salad started with a bed of Romain lettuce which was topped with the cooked four-cheese tortellini, apple slices, pear slices, bacon crumbles, fresh basil and peanuts. The salad was dressed with an Asian-inspired dressing of sesame oil and ume plum vinegar. The sauce and peanuts weren’t the biggest hit, so we recommend a different choice of nut – walnut or pecan perhaps – and going with either less sesame oil, or another more subtle oil. The salad was served cold and was pretty good (but take our recommendations for adjustments into account).Tortellini Salad

Have a great week everyone! We’ll be back soon with our winning main course recipe. In the meantime, aren’t they just too cute?! If someone figures out how to stop time and keep these little ones from growing up so fast – please let me know. 😉 dance night

33 thoughts on “Staying Warm and Toasty

  1. Three Well Beings says:

    I’m running a bit behind in my reading and keeping up, Kristy, but I had to comment on two things! The tortellini is just a wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to make them. But also, that picture of Miss A really captures what a delight, and beauty, she really is. Her spirit and personality just shines, and I’m so glad to see it. What joy! 🙂


  2. thewesternchicken says:

    The thought of using Won ton wrappers would have never came to my mind! That is a very smart and efficient way if you want to be a lazy cook like me 🙂 haha this sounds amazing and seems simple enough!
    I will definitely try this one out, it might become our family favorite!
    -Raining Chocolate


  3. Charles says:

    Mm, I thought they looked great the first time, but it’s lovely to see them again and the recipe too. I’m not a fan of “fiddly” things I must admit. Last time I tried to make ravioli I ended up getting into a rage and picking up the ball of pasta dough and slam-dunking it into the trash can and stomping off :(. At least with wonton wrappers I wouldn’t need to worry about making the dough and rolling it out.

    Lovely photos too, Mr. N looks so grown up in that photo there!


  4. ChgoJohn says:

    Let’s hear it for wont tone wrappers! For a while, they were the only way I’d make ravioli — and then I taught myself how to use the dies. Even so, I never have deep fried them and yours sound delicious. I really have to give it a try. Thanks for the shout out.
    I have to say, Kristy, that Miss A looked adorable! And what a post she struck with her Dad! Speaking of Mike veganism suits him very well. He’s looking good!


  5. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Miss A. and daddy look stunning. Love those blond tossels of curls, such a sweeties. Your son looks like he is a super helper in the kitchen. I have to admit those fried wonton wrapped tortelleni get five spoons from me. They look amazing.


  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Awww! The picture of Miss A and the picture of both Mike and Miss A… Precious! It’s been a year already. I remember last year you took a picture of them too at the annual dance. She’s grown up since then. I wish I can stop the time and enjoy this time a little longer too… Great appetizer dishes. You guys are so creative. If I was handed with the ingredients, I’ll probably give up. =P Awesome creations. Yeah deep fried food is easier to catch our attention. 😉


  7. Caroline says:

    That homemade tortellini sounds incredible!! I love the sauce you came up with, too. I can’t remember the last time I made homemade pasta–I need to change that! Miss A looks adorable, as always. 🙂


  8. cecilia says:

    You know it was not until I scrolled down and saw how big her Daddy’s hand was, holding her up, that I realise how little Miss A still is. She looked very grown up in her glad rags. Bless her gorgeous heart. I was not counting the days below 0, there have been too many but I think we are coming up for air now. I am also predicting a wet spring, sorry. You may need to exchange your winter coat for a rain coat. The dogs are going to LOVE all that mud. But spring and warm means more visits to the farm again. YAY! A good year for Sledding.. excellent! c c


  9. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Yeah… gotta say, I don’t miss the -40 wind chill temps at home. As much as I enjoy the snow and snow sports, I’ll take the zero on the bitter cold :). It sure would be nice to hold time in place wouldn’t it… just look at those photos from the Father and Daughter dance, precious. Well, you know I was smitten with that salad Kristy, I think the ingredients are a total winner even if the dressing might need a bit of tweaking and your pasta is so creative. Love the filling! Congrats again to both teams on yet another great challenge.


  10. Eva Taylor says:

    You are definitely grooming these lovely kiddies into future chefs! A very clever recipe and even though I’m not a huge fan of fried foods, even with your comments, I’d really love to try one of these, particularly with the sauce…cashew cream? How decadent is that?
    Miss A is quite adorable and that photo with Mike is lovely; he does look like he’s lost quite a bit of weight!


  11. Dawn says:

    What an adorable picture!! The fried tortellini look delicious although I am a little against deep frying in the house…. hard to get the oil smell away! Stay warm…


  12. Jessica Maher (@kbelleicious) says:

    i can;t say enough how much i LOVE LOVE a good fried ravioli or tortellini! It makes me happy just thinking about it. They are the perfect app and you have reminded me that i haven’t done them in a while and its about time! I am serious when I say i am going to make them this week! Love the whole idea too with the filling and all and Miss A in her dress! SO BEAUTIFUL!


  13. hotlyspiced says:

    How gorgeous is Miss A. I love her hair! I wish it was mine! That must have been a very special night for them. I love the look of your tortellini but I can appreciate this must have been quite the labour intensive dish. I do hope your weather turns the corner soon! xx


  14. Leah says:

    Wow, that looks amazing! I have never had deep fried tortellini, but after seeing your post, I think that I need to. I agree, we need warm food in this freezing weather (I live in PA, but it’s been super cold here too).


  15. anecdotesandapples says:

    Oh my goodness, I can relate. We haven’t had it that bad in Colorado, but it still has been below freezing for the past week. I’m ready to be done with it! This appetizer is just beautiful! I wish I had some in front of me right now. And your family and those two…wow, so beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us!


  16. sallybr says:

    Melting over here, and trust me NOT from the weather. I will spare you and your beautiful family of my thoughts concerning all matters meteorological in nature. No bueno. Sally’s mood has never been so rotten. Enough said.

    Beautiful appetizer, you guys are so amazing with the Chopped Challenge, I could not do it. Simply could not. I think I would suffer from mental paralysis and could not decide what to cook, how to put the ingredients together.

    Loved the photos of the dancing pair…. THAT’s what made me melt. But you knew that already….


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