Tag: Ardith Mae

novel squash ravioli, again 10/10/10

Ground cherries aren’t just for salads, salsas and spreads.  The pasta recipe described below doesn’t conform with any known Italian tradition, but until about 300 years ago neither did the tomato, so maybe in another hundred or so  . . . .

I hadn’t yet published the post I had begun two weeks ago (describing a very good meal featuring squash-filled ravioli), when we enjoyed virtually the same entree again two nights ago.  It was a winner both times, so I’ve decided to use the second meal as an opportunity to post something which would include the binary date 10/10/10.   Of course the real reason for this blog is the deliciousness of the meal – and the fact that it was almost a complete, largely-serendipitous invention of my own.  It’s also incredibly simple, quick, very, very easy, and clearly healthy.  Also, if you’re as fond of squash- or pumpkin-stuffed pasta as I am, but slightly tired of sage and butter route and looking for new ways to enjoy it, read on.

  • sliced heirloom tomatoes (two small “peach” heirlooms and one small orange heirloom, all from the Berried Treasures Farm Greenmarket stand), served with drops of good oil and castings of shredded basil, the herb also from the Greenmarket;  accompanied by an awesome chevre from the Greenmarket’s Ardith Mae Goat Cheese and thin slices of Balthazar Bakery‘s multigrain crescent bread, from Citarella
  • squash-filled ravioli from Eataly (fresh egg pasta “stars” stuffed with pumpkin, amaretti, mustard, salt and nutmeg), sauced with oil and a bit of cooking water, a handful of halved ground cherries (a recent obsession of mine) from Pittstown’s Oak Grove Plantation in the Greenmarket, chopped cutting celery* from Brewster’s Ryder Farm stand, also in the Greenmarket, a generous crush of pink peppercorns (a secret passion) purchased, some time ago, from Dean & Deluca in Tribeca, oil, and grated Parmesan
  • wine:  Sicilian white, Corvo Fiore 2009, from Eataly Wines

* in September the ground cherries used were from Berried Treasures;  also, I had used lovage instead of cutting celery;  I’m not surprised that I preferred the lovage, but then on the second night I tried a few pieces of pasta with some torn anise hyssop leaves, from cuttings picked up at Keith’s Farm in the Greenmarket, suggesting it and any number of other herbal possibilities

mussels with tomatoes, lovage 8/30/10

Yes, it really was hot, both inside the apartment and out, but assembling this simple meal didn’t add anything to the temperature of the kitchen last night (the thermometer was already showing 86 degrees at 10 o’clock, but it didn’t register any higher after I was done cooking).

The flame under the covered pot was on for only about two or three minutes, so little of the heat it generated escaped into the room.   Also, we had two efficient fans in the dining area near the window, so within only a few minutes after I had thrown everything into a large enameled cast-iron pot we were able to enjoy a perfect late-summer supper.

When we had finished this course I realized we had still had some wine (we must have been really busy with the bivalves), so I brought out a sampling of some excellent light cheeses.  We followed that small course with some luscious plums.

By the way, while I’ve had a lot of shellfish casualties in the past, there were almost none this time:   Of the two pounds I started with, not one mussel was lost after making it into the pot (although three, which had already opened, had been rejected while I was cleaning them).   O Canada!

I want to say one more thing about this meal:  I’m crazy about lovage.   I have to restrain myself, or I’d probably try to introduce this herb into at least half of the things I put together.  This time however the recipe, by Jerry Traunfeld (which I found in a piece by Sara Dickerman in the Times Magazine four years ago), already called for it.

  • small mussels (farmed in Canada, somewhere in the Maritimes) from Citarella, steamed with a third of a cup of dry Vermouth, a little butter, 2 cups of diced “Black” (mahogany-brown) heirloom tomatoes from Bill Maxwell’s farm, ground pepper, chopped shallots, and generous amounts of lovage, also from Maxwell’s;  served with crusty long (Italian?) bread from Citarella
  • cheese:  from the Greenmarket, two wonderful soft-ripened goat types, “bigelo” and “doolan”, from Ardith Mae in Hallstead, Pennsylvania
  • wine:  Tuscan, San Quirico Venaccia di San Gimignano 2008, from Appellation Wines
  • three varieties of ripe plums from New Jersey’s  Tree-Licious orchards, picked up in the Greenmarket three days before