Showing posts with label Dane County Farm Market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dane County Farm Market. Show all posts

29 April 2014

Asparagus-Asiago Ravioli with Chicken and Caramelized Shallots


Asparagus-Asiago Ravioli with Chicken and Caramelized Shallots

Life does not always go as planned when you are the decision-maker for an Alzheimers' Disease patient. From time to time you receive calls from the patient's caregivers, and you put your other plans on hold and attend to more important matters. It it simply one of the things you live with; you have no other choice.

So when I finally got around to preparing the fresh-frozen Asparagus-Asiago ravioli I bought from RP's Pasta Co. at the Dane County Farm Market, time was tight. The pasta had thawed and it wasn't supposed to; my fault completely for not packing it in ice for the more-than-three-hour drive from Madison to the northern hinterlands.

Moreover, the light was fading. I prefer to photograph my food in natural light; since my kitchen has only one north-facing window, I am forced to shoot my food in the dining room or TV room. But we've had nothing but gray days lately and the golden hour I was hoping for was non-existent.

But anyway...

I cooked the pasta according to package directions. While it was cooking I caramelized three large sliced shallots in olive oil with a space of balsamic vinegar and added some cooked chicken medallions. tossing in fresh thyme as an afterthought. I needed a quick "sauce" and did not want to hide the flavor of artisan-made ravioli with a bottled sauce.

I sprinkled grated Parmesan on top to marry the pasta and its partner; it was a throughly delicious supper, and I can't wait to try more offerings from RP's Pasta.

According to the RPs Pasta Web site, products are "made in small batches on Italian machines, hand-rolled and extruded through brass dies to produce an al dente texture." The company motto is "Farm to Fork with a Conscience."

I can't argue with that: In fact, I'm delighted to know it's made in my second home town, Madison, Wisconsin.

The ravioli was exceedingly fresh smelling. When I opened the packet, it smelled of lemon. While cooking, the pasta maintained its asparagus-green color. It cooked evenly, although I should have chosen a larger pan for cooking it. The pasta paired well with the sweetness of my caramelized shallots. I almost think raisins would have been good here; and I'll try them next time.

This is not a sponsored post. I liked the product and wanted to share it with you.

26 April 2014

Madison, Wisconsin: A Haven for Food Lovers and Locavores

Radishes at a Wisconsin farm market
I missed my local farm market Saturday, but I had the chance to visit the market that started it all for me: the legendary Dane County Farm Market on Madison, Wisconsin's busy capital square.

Madison shares a huge hunk of my heart with Paris, France. I like cities, especially cities that have an enlightened and progressive populace. Madison and Paris meet that criterium.

During my 10 years as a Madisonian, I had easy access to the Saturday market: I lived five blocks away. I'd get up early, grab my string bag - which I still have - and head down Carroll Street for the best fresh vegetables as well as baked goods. I'd go back to my studio apartment, eat my breakfast tartine or muffin, and head back to the market for more produce. I probably spent less than $25 a week and always had organic produce on hand.

My Saturday lunch was always a fresh vegetable salad with sourdough bread. On Saturday night, I usually often cooked dinner for a friend, ate leftovers on Sunday, and made soup on Tuesday or Wednesday.

It was a thrill to be back on Saturday.

It's early in the season yet, but I found tomatoes, shallots, carrots, lettuce, meat, eggs, cheese, baked goods, flowers and vegetable plants and much more at the market. The vendors were as friendly as usual, though this is likely a new generation of growers.

Madison, always in the vanguard, has become a leader in Wisconsin's Eat Local movement. It's only been three years - too long! - since my last visit, but I found many more restaurants promoting locally sourced food, more than I noticed on my last visit.

I discovered an exquisite publication from Edible Madison. Check the link to learn more about the locavore movement in the Madison area.

Certainly one of the pioneers of the eat-local movement in Madison is Odessa Piper. She's no longer in Madison, as far as I know, but it's no stretch of the imagination to credit her with the thriving eat local movement in Wisconsin's capital city: Piper's restaurant, L'Etoile, now under new ownership, promoted use of local produce, dairy foods and meat in a time when imported food carried a good deal of prestige.

Thank goodness for Piper. May her lessons be long remembered here in Wisconsin.