We’ve had a lot of guests lately, mostly WWOOFers. (“World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” volunteers.)
Because I want them to come back/work hard for us here, I knock myself out a little bit in “The Care and Feeding of Visitors to This Green House.”
So far, our WWOOFers have been highly enthusiastic about our vegetarian/pescatarian diet, even though they have not all been vegetarian/pescatarian. We do organic as much as possible, and of course, the veggies from our rooftop garden are organic.
This spring, we’ve enjoyed great spinach and lettuce. It’s been consistently cold and wet. This week we had our last garden spinach feed until the fall (in deep-fried wonton appetizers.) And, the peas are podding like crazy, so we’ll be doing something tasty with them in the next week. There’s nothing in the world like fresh-picked peas.
Miraculously, the slugs have not yet found the veggie garden. They are driving me crazy in the dye garden, though. We’re like some kind of “spinning-around-like-chickens-with-heads-cut-off,” trying absolutely every organic slug repellent/killer/collector, including a friendly competition for the number of slugs nullified during the WWOOFers’ stay. How can these little pests be so powerful? We need to learn from them.
On a subject completely unrelated to slugs, one of my favourite dinners has been Roasted Butternut Squash/Walnut Ravioli. Here’s the filling recipe I made up, with a few tweaks from recent guest and honorary godson, Adam, a high-falutin’ chef from London.
Butternut Squash and Walnut Filling:
Peel, seed and cube one butternut squash. Place it in a bowl along with 3 cloves of garlic and 1 chunky-cut red onion. Mix together with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage, 1 tsp hot pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, adding 1/2 cup walnuts in the last 10 minutes.
Let the mixture cool, then blend it all together in a blender/food mill.
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tbsp water
1 tsp salt
Break eggs into a glass measuring cup. Check to see that eggs measure 7/8 cup. If less than 7/8 cup, add water.
Place flour and salt in stand mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to speed 2 and gradually add eggs and 1 tbsp water. Mix for 30 seconds. Stop mixer and exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 2 minutes.
Remove mixture from bowl and place on clean surface. Dough may appear crumbly. Hand knead for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until dough is smooth, pliable and holds together in a ball.
Form walnut-sized pieces and extrude pasta through the pasta machine in the thinnest sheets.Mound teaspoon-sized butternut filling along one long side of the pasta sheet, about one inch apart. Fold the dough over and seal with your fingers, squeezing any air out. Cut with a ravioli cutter or a small round cookie cutter.
Just now, we have three WWOOFers, two from Belgium and one from Oregon. In fact, as I write this, Aaron and Sien are cooking a typical Belgian dinner: tomatoes stuffed with shrimp, French fries, salad, and waffles for dessert.
Sien kept asking me if we cook such-and-such a food here. If I said “yes,” she would look for another pescatarian recipe that we don’t cook here.
We’ve had Apple Strudel and Spaetzle with Mushroom sauce from our German WWOOFers. Interesting that the strudel is baked in milk! Gives quite a different texture.
Here’s the recipe:
German Apple Strudel
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp oil
1 pinch salt
milk, sugar, cinnamon
Method: (Oven 400 degrees)
Mix the melted butter with flour, salt, oil and water.
Stir until blended to make an elastic dough.
Peel, seed and slice apples thinly.
Flour a clean kitchen towel and roll out the dough to about 10”x14”.
Spread some milk, then sugar, cinnamon and apples onto the dough.
Line a baking pan with cooking parchment and pour a thin layer of milk into it.
Carefully roll up the dough, then put it into the baking pan.
Brush milk onto the strudel.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until browned.
Serve with whipped cream.
Eating has been more entertaining lately. I am cooking much more than I do when I’m here on my own (the dog doesn’t count as company.) As a result, I’m getting more roly-poly.
Linking to: DebbieDoos newbies fall recipes, The Charm of Home