Monday, June 23, 2014

East Meets Italy: Summer Love

This weekend was the summer solstice, as I'm sure you know, and we couldn't have asked for nicer weather.


The clematis finally bloomed.  Finally. 

I got up early Saturday morning to head into the city and run an errand.  Afterward, I swung by the local farmer's market and got all kinds of wonderful things-- specifically, I picked up a few really nice local cheeses: a smoked mozzarella and a fresh ricotta and an herbed goat cheese.

As I was leaving the park, the Indian restaurant's booth caught my eye.  Actually, it caught my nose.  Boy, they sure know how to pick a prime location--right by the entrance and exit to the market.  I almost succumbed to temptation, but then I thought, "You know, you actually HAVE the ingredients to make any kind of Indian food you'd like."

So I resisted and simply sped home.

And then I made a chicken korma.  Here are the onions, sauteing in all of those wonderful, wonderful spices (garam masala, turmeric, coriander).
 
And then, because I've been having problems with yogurt causing allergic reactions (I know, I know--yogurt?  but yes, yogurt, particularly the thick greek kind), I decided to simply leave it out and use only the requisite coconut milk instead.

It probably lacks a "layer" of flavor when you do this, but there's no help for it, and quite frankly, the result was pretty tasty.    Here it is, simmering away.

In case you're wondering what's lying there in it, that's a dried chili, a bay leaf and--somewhere in there-- there's also a cinnamon stick.  I don't like super-spicy, so I find if I add the chili that way, I get the flavor without having to worry that it will be so hot I can't enjoy it.

And speaking of enjoyment, I've waxed rhapsodic on more than one occasion about farro, so I decided that I'd get creative and have an east-meets-Italy combo.  Instead of rice, I cooked a pot of farro, and here's the final result, a perfect summer meal of chicken korma and farro.


And then, since I'd clearly made the segue to all things Italian, I decided to get working with those yummy cheeses.  I had a bunch of red and orange peppers that I needed to use up, so I roasted them.

I then made a ravioli filling of roasted red peppers, ricotta and smoked mozzarella.  Here is that little bit of lovely:
The only issue I ran into involved the whole wheat ravioli dough.  I used my machine to roll it out thin, but in fact, it needs to be a bit thicker because the filling is a little moist and it tended to soak through my thinly-rolled ravioli.

In short, I lost a few.  But I have a ton of filling and whole-wheat pasta dough is a snap to make, so here is the initial public offering, with more to follow later on today.  They're frozen and ready to be bagged.

And speaking of that, I also decided to seize the day and harvest several bunches of mint, lemon balm and sage, so those are now hanging and drying in a cool dry place, ready to be bagged up when they're dry and used in tea.

In short, it was a perfect summer weekend.  I managed a walk and a bike ride and some gardening and reading as well, so really, who can ask for anything more?

Keep it comin', Mother Nature.  We've waited out a lot of long, cold months for this kind of thing.

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