Every year I forgot how summer wreaks havoc with my schedule. As you know, I work from home, and for a while, now, I’m able to get most of my work done while the kids are in school. Then, when they’re home, it’s tougher. My workload doesn’t change, but everything around it does. Even though the kids are theoretically self-sufficient, when they’re around, there’s more work to do. Someone would like a ride, please, to somebody’s house. Someone decides to make a big, ambitious recipe and ends up needing help with execution and/or clean-up. Someone needs to borrow my laptop. Someone’s coming over. Whatever. Plus, we try to pack extra fun into the summer, like hosting relatives last weekend and going camping this weekend, and all that is a time-suck. A super-fun time-suck, but still.
So I’m way behind and just catching up with what we were doing a week ago. My sister and niece came to visit, so that was fun, including a front yard session of acro-yoga for the girls. Then there were a couple of graduation parties on Saturday.
On Sunday, we decided to us our Sunday dinner as an opportunity to experiment with ravioli recipes. I mentioned that Cute W got ravioli-making equipment, and we’ve decided that a ravioli dinner will be our contribution to an upcoming vacation. We’ve got a meat filling recipe that’s a classic from Cute W’s family, but we needed at least one vegetarian option, and we thought we might possibly even offer up two vegetarian options. After looking around for a bit, we found three different spinach ravioli recipes, a mushroom ravioli recipe, and an artichoke ravioli recipe. We had already decided that we wanted to plan for basic spinach and ricotta ravioli, but we couldn’t resist trying the mushroom and artichoke varieties, just because the girls really like those. Then we ended up tweaking the recipes a bit, compromising between the multiple spinach items and settling on a a basic spinach-ricotta recipe with a variation that had some fresh mozzarella in it. For the mushroom recipe, we stole the goat cheese idea from one of the spinach recipes and added some goat cheese to the mushroom ravioli just to make it a little more different from the spinach-ricotta ravioli. The artichoke filling recipe was pretty low on cheese–just a bit of Parmesan–so that was different, too. But I was skeptical about the nutmeg: I’m just not a fan. So we split that recipe in half and only included the nutmeg in part of that batch.
The result was a taste-test dinner, with five different ravioli to try. By the end of dinner, we concluded that we’d have to include all three main varieties. Surprise: we all agreed that the more-cheese tweak for our spinach option was the winner, and no one liked the nutmeg in the artichoke option enough to argue with those of us who vehemently disliked nutmeg. But while we liked our sure-thing spinach option, the fiercest loyalty was inspired by our more creative attempts. J and I were both fans of the artichoke ravioli (sans nutmeg), while M passionately insisted that the mushroom-goat cheese ravioli were the best and must be shared with the world.
And then you should be impressed, because after all that culinary adventure, Cute W and I rallied to walk off the pasta and head over to Central Park for the first Music Haven Concert of the season. If you hadn’t heard, they recently renovated the stage and amphitheater, and it all looks awesome. Turnout was huge for Bombino playing North African Blues guitar. I mean, this photo only captures a portion of the piles and piles of people who were there.
I love this concert series, in theory at least, because it’s packed with all sorts of different international music. In practice, I’m often feeling pretty lazy on a Sunday evening. So I was glad that we rallied and made it to the first one. It’s a lot easier to motivate when you remember how fun these are.