Eat local and eat slow this summer

As school ends and summer begins, it is time to eat local and eat slow. The Slow Food movement, around for almost 40 years, has its origins in Italy. The Slow Food movement encourages good, clean and fair food. Good food is delicious and nutritious; clean food is sustainably grown and focuses on local, seasonal production; fair food ensures dignity and fair wages for everyone involved from field to fork. 

Summer is the easiest time for New Hampshire families to take part in the slow food movement. For the next few months, neighborhood farm stands and farmers markets will be filled with locally grown vegetables, fruits, meats, fish and eggs. In addition, cheeses, ice cream and other local dairy products are easy to find. Or if you like to get your hands in the dirt, perhaps you’ll even grow your own slow food this summer.   

Ravioli with Asparagus & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Quick Pickled Red Onion (optional — do ahead — recipe follows)
2 T. butter
2 T. minced red onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1-2 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
8-12 oz. asparagus, trimmed and chopped
8-12 oz. mushrooms, trimmed and quartered 
1 1/4-1 3/4 lb. homemade, fresh or frozen ravioli
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Prepare sauce: melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, add shallot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add garlic and sauté two minutes more. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add chicken broth, juice of 1/2 lemon, thyme and bay leaf and simmer for five minutes.

While sauce simmers, heat a little olive oil in pan over medium high. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned. 

Add asparagus and mushrooms to sauce and simmer until asparagus is tender-crisp, about three minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare ravioli: cook ravioli according to package directions less one minute. Reserve a little pasta water and drain ravioli.

Add ravioli to sauce with some or all of the pasta water as necessary and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for one to two minutes.

Transfer ravioli and vegetables to a large platter or individual shallow bowls, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, garnish with pickled onions and serve.

Quick Pickled Red Onion   

1 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
6 pepper corns
1 bay leaf

Put sugar, salt and vinegar in Mason jar. Let everything sit for a minute or two to dissolve and give it a good shake. Add a cup of water and shake again.

Add onion, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf. If necessary, add a little more vinegar and water to cover the onion. Refrigerate for at least two hours and up to two weeks. 

Cover and refrigerate the extra onion – it is delicious in salads and on burgers.


Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Serves 8

6 T. butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
Pinch nutmeg
1 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 c. sour cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
About 12 oz. rhubarb, cut in ½-inch pieces 
Crumbly Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or deep-dish pie plate. If using a springform pan, line with parchment paper and butter paper. Dust pan or plate with flour and tap out excess. 

Put flour, orange zest, baking powder and spices in bowl; whisk to combine.

Put butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy, about three minutes. Add egg, sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until just smooth. Do not overbeat.  

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange rhubarb on top of the batter in a single layer. Sprinkle with the Crumbly Topping.

Bake cake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until cake is golden and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes. Remove springform collar and continue to cool.

Crumbly Topping    

1/4 c. all-purpose flour
6 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
Pinch nutmeg
3 T. cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/3 c. oatmeal

Put flour, sugar and spices in small food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add oatmeal and pulse until topping comes together in lumps.

Susan Nye writes for several New England magazines and newspapers. She shares stories and recipes on her award-winning blog Around the Table at www.susannye.wordpress.com.  

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