Sunday night I’m standing over the sink washing my “first fruits” of the Black Seeded Simpson heirloom lettuce from my garden. I’m probably drooling because there is just nothing quite as tender and mild as a first bite of the first cut from garden greens. I rinse the leaves, put them in a big bowl, cover them with cold water, and began dreaming about my first salad. I already have my Cordero Farms Sweet Italian sausage browning on the stove and my mission tonight is a beautiful ravioli dinner.
Here’s the story of how I made the dinner, how I visited Cordero Farms and loved on some lambs, and how I enjoyed a few moments with new friends of the RDC:
Two course dinner
When I make something like “first fruits” salad and homemade ravioli, I don’t mess with extras. Sometimes, food is just too good to get distracted from by having extra vegetables or dessert. Such was the case tonight. First up – prepping the simple salad…
Once cleaned, I always take my greens through a salad spinner ride. The less moisture, the more shelf life.
Next? It’s all about the ravioli now! I love making homemade pasta. I have a regifted pasta maker, and use it several times each year. My brother bought it for my parents, but they didn’t use it much, so then they gave it to me…I cheered…and I use it. I attended a cooking class once in Dallas and they taught me how to make pasta. “How easy!” I kept thinking once I actually walked through the process. And also, it’s fun. Making pasta is kind of like playing a grown-up play-dough game. Here’s the recipe I used tonight, and here’s the process:
Now, you’ve built the sauce, the raviolis, and your salad is clean and ready to go. Making a meal is fast and easy from this point forward. Because this lettuce is so tender and good, I decided to go with a simple vinaigrette dressing: 2 T. olive oil, just under 1 T. raspberry vinegar (I got this one from New Mexico – the raspberry is a delicate finish, not the first thing you taste), salt and pepper. Just mix this up with a fork. I love vinegars and am trying to build up my collection. Any suggestions? I have balsamic, champagne, raspberry, white, cider, malt and sherry. I want to branch out a bit!
Okay, would I make this meal again? Yes. In a heartbeat. All of it. And I wouldn’t change my filling at all. I’m a sucker for crab filling, multi-cheese filling, and now – of course – Sweet Italian lamb sausage filling! So, let’s talk a little bit about Cordero Farms, shall we?
I mentioned in my plastic bag rant that I took a road trip to Tryon last Wednesday evening. I’m so glad I did because I got to meet the co-owners of a beautiful little lamb raising establishment and have a good visit as well. To get to their location, you go east of town, then south, then jog a bit, then south some more, then east again. All told, it’s about seven miles from the downtown intersection of Tryon. I say “about” because I really don’t know – I didn’t count. But I think that’s close.
When I pulled up into the driveway, I got greeted by three Maremmas (Italian sheep-herding dogs). Their white fur is soft to the touch, and they ooze “gentle giant” demeanor. After hanging out with Nancy and Sue for a bit while drinking some of their lovely tea, Nancy proceeded to help me learn about how those I grew up with in Tuttle were connected by family history. It’s fun hearing someone with the same roots as yourself describe a different perspective, naming different families, with the same geographic connection. I think I understand a little more about whose family belongs to whom, and how. Fun farming family facts are always an extra treat for conversation.
Then we headed down to see the new baby lambs, and their mommas. Here are a few photos from that particular part of our visit:
I loved standing out in the pasture on a cool day, listening to the little bleating of the babies looking for their mommas. I learned about various challenges to raising lambs, how they got their Maremmas, and about the fact that you can make cheese from lamb milk. I had no idea. In fact, I feel like I was in Sheep School for a while. It’s amazing to visit special places like this because each and every establishment is unique. But also, similar in many ways. Nancy and Sue are warm, sharp, highly intellectual producers who are contributing a great deal to our state by what they do.
And also…they make dynamite lamb sausage.
And an extra also…just for you two (Nancy and Sue)…I joined the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Until now, I’ve ordered a few groceries to be delivered to my daughter’s drop in Norman. And, I’m a farmer’s market frequenter. However, I want to contribute to the establishment of a locally raised or grown food service delivery system, and I can best do that right now by becoming a member.
Are YOU a member yet? Visit here to join…and, to order lamb sausage!
Next time, we’re going to go visit the Urban Agrarian and see what can happen on Sundays in case you miss the market on Saturdays.