3 posts tagged with “pasta”

  • Workhorses: Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce

    This post was sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers (OAG). What does that mean? I was paid to develop this recipe for Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce. The recipe and story I’ve told below are my own, without input or editing by OAG.

    I don’t think I’m being bold by stating turnips don’t have the same cachet as, say, kale.

    Really, when was the last time you made a beeline for the humble root vegetable at the grocery store? If you answered, ‘Just the other day, in fact,’ then you and I need to hang out.

    I love turnip. I don’t buy them nearly enough but I do sing their praises often. They’re lovely to look at, for one, with their two-tone purple and cream complexions. Baby bunch turnips, those pure white orbs against verdant greens, are stunning, too.

    Then there’s that taste, with hints of radish and mustard kept in check by the odd apple note. Oh, and turnips are budget friendly, going for less than a dollar a pound in most places.

    Are you feeling me yet on the turnip?

    They’re also incredibly adaptable. They lend themselves to all kinds of flavour pairings from simple, comforting ones to more exotic. Really, the turnip is like the workhorse of the vegetable world.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Strip Mall Gems: Don Marco’s Italian Eatery

    A pasta dish at Don Marco's Italian Eatery in Welland.

    Strip Mall Gems is a series of Eating Niagara, my column that runs in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    It’s wise to listen to your lawyer.

    Wiser, still, if he happens to be a friend with impeccable taste in food. I couldn’t help but think I was being led astray, though, when Ross Macfarlane, lawyer, friend and bon vivant, suggested I meet him for lunch at Don Marco’s Italian Eatery in Welland.

    And I wasn’t sure whether to blame him or my GPS while driving through a residential neighbourhood in Welland’s east end, past a high school, an elementary school, and brown-brick bungalow after brown-brick bungalow. Where the heck was I going?

    That’s when Don Marco’s appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in a small plaza, neighbouring a convenience store at Wellington and Lincoln streets.

    If the eggplant Parmesan was as good as Ross promised, I had arrived at the epitome of a strip mall gem: that place you’d never know existed until driving past en route to somewhere else, then making note to stop in someday.

    Read the rest of the story

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  • Peach Tree
  • Forks over spray: A remedy for a garlic mustard invasion

    Garlic Mustard

    Everywhere I go, it’s there.

    Lurking.

    Beneath trees. Along walking trails. Peaking between shrubs in parks. Brazenly towering over everything in my neighbour’s garden.

    Garlic mustard is unabashedly ubiquitous this spring. It’s also Public Enemy No. 1. This “noxious weed” is known for spreading at a rapid-fire rate, choking other greenery, and with it diversity. It’s not just plants that are at stake. After all, a lot of forest-dwelling critters’ survival depends on that foliage that garlic mustard is crowding out.

    Municipalities have licence to spray it to death. Others, like the city of Edmonton, have organized community garlic mustard pulls with the hope of doing away with — or at least controlling — this unapologetic leafy green, an invasive species with roots in Europe.

    But garlic mustard was my hero at dinner last week when I decided to do my civic duty and try eradicating this pest by eating it. This is one wild edible with which you can throw foraging etiquette to the wind and take more — way more — than you leave behind.

    It’s hard to fathom that something edible is such a villain, especially because garlic mustard is touted as having the highest nutritional value of any weedy green. It’s full of vitamins A, C and E, boasts some B vitamins and is packed with minerals, including potassium, calcium and iron. Sounds like a scoundrel alright.

    Still, as I drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake Sunday, through a heavily treed area, and saw a wall of garlic mustard filling gaps between trunks, two thoughts crossed my mind: yikes and let’s eat.

    So, with a trowel in hand recently, I walked a very short distance out my front door — you really don’t have to venture far to find garlic mustard — to the trail with no name that runs next to Holy Cross Secondary School in St. Catharines and started uprooting some towering stalks with visions of pesto and being a good citizen dancing in my head.

    Garlic mustard aficionados will tell you the heart-shaped, jagged leaves are past their prime because most plants have started flowering, showing off their tell-tale white, sparsely petaled, delicate flowers. With their slight garlicky kick and bitter green aftertaste that’s unmistakably mustard, I thought those leaves tasted pretty darn good. And there’s nothing on this plant you can’t eat, from those blooms right down to the root, which I’ve read tastes like horseradish.

    Couples out for their pre-dinner stroll and stragglers at school making their way home along the gravel walkway eyed me with suspicion as I hunched over a thicket and sliced my trowel into the earth at its base. I wrestled with the parched soil clinging with all its might to the plant’s tap root and eventually won, carting my haul home with a mix of pride and fear that some naturalist would see me with my aromatic bouquet and scold me for not taking a match to it immediately.

    But I had pine nuts and Romano cheese to introduce it to, and a food processor to help along the getting-to-know-each-other phase.

    The result was a bright green, flavourful pasta paste that was without a doubt the best pesto I’ve ever eaten. Yes, even better than that pesto mainstay, basil. Milder than biting arugula pesto and more flavourful than sweet but subdued basil, garlic mustard was clearly meant to get on well with olive oil, cheese and pine nuts. Truly, I’ve never enjoyed a pesto more.

    Though I frightened him at first with a serving of “Noxious Weed Pesto Pasta,” my skeptical husband even wolfed down his plateful and took leftovers for lunch the next day.

    pasta noodles covered in garlic mustard pesto

    “Noxious weed pesto pasta”

    Garlic mustard is apparently good in salads, sandwiches, frittata, steamed and in stir-fries, too. I used my leftover pesto to perk up a batch of lentils I cooked up the next night, all the while delighting in having been a model citizen by taking on our parks department’s most wanted with my fork.

    Garlic Mustard Pesto

    Any pesto recipe will do, replacing the basil with garlic mustard but here’s mine:

    3 cups of garlic mustard leaves, washed
    2 cloves of garlic, peeled
    1 cup Romano cheese (you can use Parmesan but I use a sheep’s cheese because of a cow dairy allergy)
    1/3 cup pine nuts
    1/2 cup olive oil (add more, if you’d like, to get desired consistency)
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (to help keep the vibrant green colour)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil, if necessary, to get desired consistency.

    Toss with pasta or lentils, or spread on crusty bread. Then pat yourself on the back for a civic duty well done. Stores up to three days.

    Remedy for a garlic mustard invasion on Punk Domestics
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