Cookblog & Son

With this crazy non-winter, besides the stirring in the garden all the wild edibles are rousing themselves bright and early. Besides the wild garlic–a perennial favorite, and every bit as good as its over-hyped and over-harvested cousin the ramp–garlic mustard is getting a vigorous start all around the house. Since it’s ubiquitous, invasive, and extremely tasty (it’s one of my absolute favorite wild greens) there is a multi-faceted pleasure in its consumption that encompasses ease, righteousness, and hedonism.

Thus a recent afternoon found me and the kid outside grabbing at the tender, heart-shaped leaves that cluster against the foundation of the house and in shady spots around the periphery of the yard. My plan was to sauté them like spinach, with a healthy glug of vinegar to finish, since my kid loves him some vinegary greens. And we were going to roll out some fresh pasta or the main part of the meal. But he had other plans.

Once we got inside, all of a sudden he started telling me that he had a great idea for a dish. So I got out the stuff he needed and spotted while he got it together. The washed greens went in the food processor along with olive oil, blackcurrant vinegar (his favorite), salt, and Korean pepper powder, which he’s really into these days. He blended it all into a smooth viridian pesto, then tasted it and added more salt and vinegar. Once he was satisfied, he said we should just eat it with spoons as a side dish.

Since he had already rolled out all the pasta into sheets–a task he does entirely by himself–I suggested that maybe the pesto would make good ravioli filling. He agreed. So we beat in an egg and a generous grating of parmesan.

The resulting mixture was still a bit liquid, though, and as I folded over and sealed the ravioli it became apparent that they would all open up in boiling water, becoming some very sad giant pasta rectangles boiling in garlicky green water. So we cooked them in a bit of butter and olive oil instead, giving them a potsticker sort of vibe and a nice toothsome texture to accompany the sharp green filling. The sauce was homemade tomato purée from last summer with garlic, herbs, and a bit of heavy cream. They all vanished, as did those I set aside for his lunch the next day, with the sauce in a separate little jar so they wouldn’t get soggy. He was rightly proud of himself after this dinner.

5 comments to Cookblog & Son

  • Inspiring – it’s so cool that you and your son can do something together that gives you both pleasure, and also lets him practice being creative and scientific. I think that our kids learn a lot from our commitment to this hobby – the example you set as someone who wants to learn and to write about that, and your consistency in this…almost more important for him than the actual subject matter. You are both very lucky!

  • My favorite of your posts always include Milo.

  • Peter

    Neil: He’s learning a lot from the kitchen. It’s very gratifying to watch.

    Zoomie: I neglected to take any pictures of him rolling out the pasta.

    El: See above. Your seeds are on their way.

  • Mo

    I love this!!! I can only hope my kids develop a love of food like this! You need to include more pics of the kid, he is one adorable addition to your blog!

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

Rage Against The Vitrine

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