First a disclaimer: I’m not here to slam restaurants. I am always more than happy to pay for good food and good service and take no issue with paying exorbitant prices for wine, as I know that is how restaurants stay afloat. But, sometimes, a place just leaves me wondering why. Why, when the menu is almost exclusively vegetarian are we paying so much for a screw top wine? Why, when the entrée servings are virtually appetizer size (Five mushroom ravioli’s? Really?)?
We had been to this restaurant before. It was always cozy, relaxed and affordable with the friggin’ best sautéed mushrooms ever. Renovation and expansion has led to fine dining prices and overly salted pan-fried trout. So salty, that Adam’s mom had to scrap off the breading. Mushrooms were salty, too. As was my (really expensive) roasted chicken with three tiny potatoes.
Maybe they were having an off night in the kitchen. I’ll give them that. But still, corn syrup laden Tillamook ice cream with our rhubarb crisp? I couldn’t even taste the rhubarb it was so sweet. Why not Julie’s Organic? Or Coconut Bliss?
This is all is about to lead me to my current rant about how, I feel, farm-sourced foods in Portland are only affordable to the elitist. But I won’t go there. I want to (and do!) support local farmers with my shopping dollars, but it aggravates me, that even without the middle man, a bunch of local kale is cheaper at Whole Foods than at the Farmer’s Market. It just doesn’t seem right to me. Especially when an entire demographic is excluded from the farmer’s market because it’s cheaper to shop at Safeway.
OK, I went there a little bit. Sorry.
I do love the farmer’s market, I do! I especially love the act of exchanging money for produce with a farmer whose still got soil under his fingernails. I love the fact that the only favas not grown in Mexico are found at a tiny mom and pop stand in the corner of Thursday’s market. Those things are important, very important. But, like many folks in our fair city, I don’t have a lot of money, and as I spend a huge chunk of my income on food, I think this year, I’m going to the source. No middle man, no market stand rent, just produce and the farmer. I’m headed to the farms.
Half-Moon Buckwheat Ravioli with Veal and Pea Tendrils
If you take issue with my cooking with veal, read my post on veal here.
What you’ll need~
1/2-cup all-purpose flour
1/2-cup buckwheat flour
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 spring onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful of dried mushrooms, soaked
3/4-pound ground veal
1/4 pound or more pea tendrils, gently torn
Salt and Pepper to taste
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano
To reconstitute your dried mushrooms, place them in a small bowl. Add very hot, but not boiling water and fill with enough water to allow the mushrooms to expand. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Drain and chop.
Stir the flours together in a large bowl. Add salt and mix in beaten eggs.
Add just enough water, little by little, to help the dough form. I used about a 1/4 cup.
Knead the dough in your bowl for a few minutes until the dough has a consistency that is soft without being sticky. If your dough is sticky, add flour as needed.
Lightly flour a surface and knead buckwheat dough for about 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let set for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to form.
In the meantime, warm olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add chopped onion and stir for a few minutes until just beginning to become translucent.
Add cremini mushrooms and reconstituted dried, chopped mushrooms and stir for a few minutes.
Add ground veal and cook until barely pink in the middle.
Toss in pea tendrils give a good stir or two, remove from heat and place mixture in a large bowl. Let cool for a bit then place the bowl in the fridge. This will help the ingredients to come together.
Lightly flour your board again and roll out ravioli dough. If you have a pasta maker, I highly recommend
using it, because it’s a bitch to get the dough as thin as it should be.
Roll out the dough as thin as you possibly can and use a ravioli cutter, or cookie cutter of your choice (I used an old biscuit cutter) to cut out shapes.
Spoon filling into cut ravioli leaving enough room to allow you to smoosh the edges together without any of the filling spilling out. Grate a bit of Pecorino Romano into the ravioli and gently fold the dough into a crescent shape.
Press the edges together and set ravioli on a parchment paper until you have them all filled and ready to cook.
Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Gently drop ravioli in the water and cook for about 4 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove ravioli from water and place on a plate or serving platter.
Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, and a generous grating of Pecorino Romano.