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Beet Ravioli

Beet Ravioli

Ingredients:

  • 2 large red or golden beets (about 14 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 package all natural won ton wrappers
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil; place on baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Open foil carefully (steam will escape). Cool. Peel beets; finely grate into medium bowl. Add ricotta cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs.

Beet filling

Sprinkle 2 smooth kitchen towels with flour. Place a wonton wrapper on work surface, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic. Place small bowl of water next to work surface. Spoon 1 teaspoon beet filling onto half of each wrapper. Dip fingertip into water and dampen edge of wrapper. Fold dough over filling, pushing out as much air as possible and pressing edges firmly to seal. Transfer to prepared towels. Repeat with remaining wrappers. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen solid, about 6 hours. Transfer ravioli to resealable plastic bags.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and stir in poppy seeds; keep warm. Working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until cooked through, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to skillet with melted butter; toss to coat. Divide ravioli among 8 plates; sprinkle with Parmesan

My thoughts:

The magenta of these ravioli caught my eye in a winter kitchen-scape littered with potato peels. Having only met beets last Tuesday, I’m still growing accustomed to their extroverted color. It was in the middle of preparing this recipe that I realized the full meaning of “beet red.” Why is it that the good metaphors always get overcooked in pop culture?

The recipe is very easy to follow.  One person can easily do all of the prep. A large Italian family is required for the assembly and cooking of the ravioli. Also, there is not much direction in how to tell when the ravioli are done. It’s not like spaghetti that you can throw against the wall to determine if it’s al dente. My first batch, which I cooked the full two minutes, was flabby and fell apart, making my water go beet red. After some trial and error (meaning I googled “ravioli cooking time”) I discovered that ravioli are done when they rise to the surface. The only other problem I encountered was how to keep the cooked ravioli warm while finishing the rest. If left them in the butter, they got greasy. But leaving them in a bowl yielded a sticky mess – even though I drizzled in some olive oil.

But even the sticky mess couldn’t smear the beauty of the final presentation. I served the ravioli on a bed of wilted garlic-y kale and crumbled Pecorino. The bitterness of the kale along with the tang of the cheese cut the sweetness of the beets.

Gary verdict: “I’m very new to beets, and I always expect meat and/or cheese in ravioli, so it threw me off, but I was enjoying it by halfway through.”

Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 7:23 pm. 1 comment

A beginning…

I’ve been searching for a ripe beginning. Maybe it’s the economic squeeze or the recurring cold snaps. Whatever the reason, a good beginning has been hard to come by. All the ones I’ve tried have either been weak and watery, or tough and bitter. Even the ones that looked fresh turned out to be stale or sour as soon as I cut them open.

So, in the absence of zesty ingredients, I resorted to gimmicky preparations of bland ones. A relevant quote. A startling statistic. A thought-provoking question. While these facades sufficed, they lacked the flavor of a fresh-from-the-farm beginning. They tasted like I’d dumped them out of a packet, added water, and stirred till thickened. I craved something else.

Beginnings need to be organic. You should be able to taste the thoughts that fertilized it, the ideas that shone on it. You ought to feel as if you know the grower. So, to begin, I’d like to share some of my reasons and goals for this blog. Think of it as the farmer giving you a tour of the implements and barns he uses to care for his farm.

The structure that defines the landscape around here is my need for a place to relate my newest recipes and domestic adventures. Even more than cooking, I love to share what I’ve cooked with others- hence why I rarely cook for myself. Because it’s not practical to invite all of you over for dinner regularly (although I’ll strive to invite all that I can), I want a place to be able to show off my cooking prowess and receive consolation on my stovetop disasters. I aim to include recipes, pictures, tutorials, and thoughts on the finished product. Whether its cooking, cleaning, decorating, gardening or something else, I need a kind of virtual bulletin board to pin up the things I’ve created.

The grazing land that I hope sustains this blog is my desire to be a part of the daily lives of the people I love. I want a simple authentic way to keep in touch with my family and friends. Facebook is nice for cookout invitations and major-life-event-pictures. But I want to give –and receive– more than banal status updates. I want you to know more than the events that I’ve been up to. I want you to come to understand what I’ve thought about what I’ve been up to.

Sitting in the dusty shadows underneath some hay, is my goal to use this blog to practice my rusty creative non-fiction skills. I used to be good at wielding such a heavy implement, but time has weakened my wrists and attention span. I would like to again fatten up those muscles as I till the ground for more than just a beginning.

Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 10:51 am. 2 comments