fontas food

eating my way through suburbia

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Today's dinner was inspired by the farmer's market. One of the vendors there had nothing but heirloom tomatoes. Now, how could I pass that by? I bought 2 pounds of tomatoes (a mix of the different varieties) and a red onion. Together, they would be a salad.

Wayde saw a butternut squash at the market and decided that he would make homemade ravioli, stuffed with a mixture of roasted butternut squash, veal, and cheese, for dinner.

Here are the squash pieces "roasting" on the grill (it's way too hot to put the oven on!):

For the other ingredients, he chopped up 1/2 lb. of veal stew meat and some green onions. That was combined with the squash (mashed after fully cooking) and 1/2 cup partly-skim ricotta cheese:

Feel free to use ground veal instead of the hand-chopped meat. I bet ground pork would be tasty too.

For the salad, I chopped up the tomatoes and gently mixed them together in a bowl, adding very thinly-sliced red onion. The salad was dressed with the juice of 1/2 a lime (perhaps 1 Tablespoon?) and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. After seasoning with salt and pepper, it was ready!

Look at all those colours!

Why buy heirloom tomatoes? Well, because they taste better! The flavour and aroma of these tomatoes remind me of eating ripe tomatoes right off the vine in my grandmother's garden. No supermarket tomato can compete. Those tomatoes were developed with only this in mind: they can be transported and they last a long time in the grocery store. Flavour has nothing to do with their marketability!

Heirloom tomatoes are old varieties and so have none of those "features". They need to be eaten soon after picking and they bruise easily. In fact, at the market today, I got a lesson in how to tell if they are ripe. The vendor saw me squeezing one and came over to show me how to check for ripeness, without bruising the fruit. Hold the tomato in the palm of your hand and just rub the skin with your thumb. If the skin feels firm, the tomato is ripe.

They might cost more (the vendor told me that they lose 30% of their harvest to bruising from being squeezed at the market) but the flavour is beyond compare. Believe me, they are well worth the money!

And while I've been singing the praises of heirloom tomatoes, Wayde has been busy making pasta. Now, before anyone gets scared away by the idea of making their own pasta, I will say that it would be just as yummy to use won ton wrappers to make homemade ravioli. So, don't be thinking this is too hard to make! You can buy won ton wrappers in your produce section!

Here is the dough all nicely rolled out:

Wayde used whole wheat flour for this batch.

And here he is filling the "ravioli":

And one after it's been filled:

In case you're wondering, we like the large, somewhat rustic looking stuffed pastas...

The "ravioli" were cooked by gently boiling them (very gently...remember, fresh pasta is more fragile than dried). To finish it off, they were topped with 1 Tablespoon of toasted pine nuts and 2/3 Tablespoon browned butter.

Points tally?

ravioli: 6
pine nuts: 2
browned butter: 2
salad: 1

For a total of 11 points! Wow!


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