Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Jessica Boone

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”  

~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Jessica Boone
Jessica and her husband, Bill

For today's segment of Friday's, Feasting with Friends I am excited to bring you one of my bestest, dearest and oldest friends (not by age of course, but by longevity!), Jessica Boone.  She is an artist, a teacher, a free spirit and a beautiful soul.  She and I met way back in middle school while attending Roehm.  I was in 8th grade and she was in 7th.  Our friendship steamed from a silly "girl-fight/misunderstanding" between one of her friends and myself.  Didn't these things always seem to happen in middle school?!  Ugh, those were awful years!  Just wait, this story gets better by the second, if this doesn't take you back in time I don't know what will.... Well Jessica passed me a note in the hall explaining how this "other girl" thought I wanted to "beat her up" but she didn't think I could ever hurt a fly so not to worry about me.  (So true!  I wouldn't know how to "beat someone up" if my life depended on it!!)   Rumors are a horrible thing.  This was our first real conversation and from that moment on we were inseparable.  I have no idea what ever happened to that other girl who helped the two of us become friends, but I will always remain grateful.  Thanks to silly 7th grade girl drama I met my sweet Jessica.  We've been through a lot together over the past 18 years or so, boyfriends, college, marriage, babies, and well life.  And I can't imagine mine without her in it.

Jessica is an amazing artist and is currently working at Midpark High School as the Head Ceramics teacher.  How cool is that to actually get your dream job after graduating from college- doesn't always happen.  But you know what, it happens to Jessica because she is strong and has high expectations of herself and others and pushes herself to get where she want to go in life.  What a wonderful quality to possess!  I am so proud of her accomplishments and I look forward to being there to see everything else life holds in store for her.  This girl is going places.  

What is your favorite thing to cook?  Anything that is kind of inventive and forces me to try new ingredients or techniques that I'd normally shy away from on a busy week night. My "Top Chef" cookbook is great because it teaches all sorts of fun stuff the chefs demonstrate on the show!

How about your least favorite thing to cook? Meat - as a vegetarian, I don't really care for the feel of raw meat, and I never know when it's cooked all the way!

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out? "Mike's Bar & Grill" in Berea; We've heard great things about "Melt!"

You are hosting a dinner party, what are your top 5 Dinner Party Songs? Well that would depend on whether or not there's a "theme" to the party (which I like to do from time to time), in which case I might try to find music that fits the mood of the menu. If I were just throwing a fun-filled party with friends, apps, and drinks, however, I would make sure to include an eclectic mix of everything from Sam Cooke, to the Beatles, to Pearl Jam, to Notorious BIG for late night dancing!

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?  This is so silly! I guess I'm pretty simple because I would have to say I'd like my last meal on earth to be an Asiago cheese bagel topped high with tomatoes, Pepper-jack cheese (all melty and gooey), arugula... and maybe a black bean veggie burger if I'm really hungry!

What are you currently reading? "Eat, Pray, Love" (I know... it's about time!)

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget? I do really like my lemon/lime combo squeezer, and my garlic press!

Do you have a signature go-to dish? Not sure, but most people seem to like my Fresh tomato/basil vinaigrette pasta - fresh flavors; great warm or cold.

What is your favorite thing about Cleveland? There's so much to experience during a night or weekend downtown - it's right at our fingertips and yet we rarely venture out to experience something different!

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you still cook it now as an adult?  While I don't eat many of the meals I had as a child (before becoming vegetarian), I still love my apple slices and Kraft "wrapper" cheese for after-school snacks!

Top 3 Movies of all time?  The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Forest Gump

Where do you do your grocery shopping? Giant Eagle

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?  Any type of cheese, but especially Pepper-jack.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year? Probably just to cook more healthy dinners for my husband and me. With work and after-work committees that we're each involved in it's difficult to find a time that we're both home long enough to have a real meal.

You are such an amazing artist, Jessica.  I am lucky to be the proud owner of quite a few of your pieces.  What type of art do you like doing the most and where do you find your inspirations?  Pottery/clay sculpture is my favorite art to create. Nature is a lot of my inspiration - I like creating objects with natural and organic colors and themes. I also LOVE color, though, and often find myself using every color glaze possible to create unique, whimsical motifs. Friends and family are also a huge inspiration - I just like making nice things for other people to enjoy, so I often cater to others' styles in order to present them with a gift they'll enjoy.
One word what describes you is:  Complex
Jessica and I before the Sophomore Prom, 1995

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce:


2 1-lb red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)

2 tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) butter, room temp
1-1/2 oz package wonton wrappers
1 lg egg, beaten to blend (i used egg sub)

fried shallots and sauce:
1 c vegetable oil
4 lg shallots, cut crosswise into thin rounds, separated into rings
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter
8 lg fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/3 c pine nuts, toasted 

for ravioli:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil rimmed baking sheet. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes; cool. Scoop potato pulp out of skins into small bowl. Spoon 1-1/3 cups pulp into medium bowl. (Reserve any remaining pulp for another use.) Add brown sugar and butter; mash well. Season filling with salt and pepper.

Line large baking sheet with parchement paper. Place wonton wrappers on work surface. Using pastry brush, brush wrappers with beaten egg. Place 1/2 tbsp sweet potato filling in center of each. Fold each wrapper diagonally over filling, forming triangle. Seal edges. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature while preparing fried shallots and sauce. (Can be made up to 5 days ahead. Freeze, then over and keep frozen. Do not thaw before cooking.)

for fried shallots and sauce:
Heat vegetable oil in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shallots until crisp and dark brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cook butter in large pot over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sage and red pepper.

Meanwhile, working in batches, cook ravioli in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Add ravioli to pot with butter sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to plates, drizzling any sauce from pot over ravioli. Top with fried shallots and pine nuts; serve immediately.

Recipe from
Served with Cheddar, Apple and Walnut Salad-(sub vegetarian bacon!) from

Jessica made this dish for a Girls night In and I  I have been dying for this recipe ever since.  Now that I am the proud owner I can't wait to make it myself!!  Yummm!  Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time in your super busy day to do this interview for me!  You were wonderful.  Love ya, honey!

1 comment:

  1. mmmmmmm sweet potato!! i love it



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