I’ve been dreaming of having a farm and growing my own food for as long as I can remember. Somehow I’ve ended up living and working in downtown Toronto, but the dream is alive and kicking. It’s not so much that I’m ignoring it, as nursing it quietly, until its time comes. Part of keeping the dream alive was taking a week off work back in May to volunteer at Everdale Farm and learn a few things from the fine and knowledgeable folks there. Everdale is a non-profit teaching farm that has trained many new farmers. It’s certified organic and a tremendously inspiring place to be. Despite a rainy week, I got my hands in the dirt, did a lot of mulching and weeding, cooked some lunches for the staff and interns, and got to take a permaculture workshop. The instructor, Jessica Roder of Wild Craft Permaculture started off the course with this video which is an awe-inspiring example of sustainable living architecture.
This weekend I got to work at Everdale’s stand at the Brick Works Farmers' Market. It was so great to see my old friends from back in May and see their bountiful harvest.
Selling freshly picked veggies brimming with life is something that just makes you feel good. Like really really good. The whole stand smelled like earth and a medley of fresh greens and herbs. And the basil, oh the basil. I was basically on a basil high the whole morning and couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I was going to make with my veggies when I got home. The thing that needed immediate attention though was a bag of beet greens. A lot of customers had been asking me all morning for their beet tops to be removed. And I’m the kind of person who buys beets more for the greens than the root so... I couldn’t let them go to waste and I came home with a bag full of discarded greens. Dear rejected greens, you are welcome in my kitchen, and I will eat you up in a flash. Usually I just steam them with butter and garlic but I decided to try a beet green ravioli... and for the simple reason that buckwheat and I seem to be having a lifelong love affair (this is something I will come back to in another post), I decided to make the pasta dough with my favorite grain (which is not really a grain!). But you can also use wheat flour or do a half and half mix for a less intense buckwheat experience. (I know everyone is not as fanatic about buckwheat as I am ;-)
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tbsp olive oil & salt to taste
water as needed
1 to 2 pound of beet greens, steamed & chopped
About 1 cup ricotta cheese (I found buffalo ricotta which was lovely)
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup walnuts
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt & pepper (to taste)
¼ cup butter
Fresh sage leaves (I used thyme because that’s what I had in the garden, but sage would be ideal)
Mix the dough ingredients together and add small amounts of water until you get a smooth but not sticky dough. Knead and shape into a ball. Let it sit while you work on the filling. Make sure that all the water is fully squeezed out from the steamed beet greens. Mix all filling ingredients. Roll out the dough, cut into circles or squares, add a teaspoon or so of filling and moisten the edges with water so you can press the edges shut. Bring water to a boil and cook the pasta for around 5 to 7 minutes. Melt the butter with the sage and garlic, let it brown a little, and drizzle over the ravioli. Top it all with grated beet or parmesan.