It’s a weeknight. I’m home from work late, the garden partner’s hauling brush to the yard waste site, the phone’s ringing non-stop, there’s a meeting to go to in 45 minutes, and I’m starving. Here’s where I boast about my locavore meals: I made this plate look this good in 15 minutes. I know, right? And here’s where I stop: I inhaled what’s on the plate in 3 minutes, while watching the news and checking emails. Somewhere, Julia is weeping.
On the busiest of days, eating local can feel like a burden. When every other 20-something couple is grabbing dinner from the drive-thru/carry out place down the street, we aren’t. On nights like these, I need dinner on the table in 15 minutes and I’m in front of a refrigerator of raw ingredients, cursing “WHY THE $*%& don’t we just eat mac n’ cheese like NORMAL people!?!”
Our food system has changed because our demand for convenience has changed. In the ‘normal’ American family food comes secondary, an afterthought in all the roles and responsibilities jammed in to one day. It’s secondary in our budgets, in our schools, in our workday. It’s secondary to our smart phones, to our real housewives from wherever, to our meetings and projects and papers. Processed, pre-prepared food is so widely available we no longer have to think about food; Wahoo! So glad we all have more time to be stressed about everything else!
I’ll admit, it’s tough to make fresh bread when you aren’t home from work until 6. It takes will-power to pack leftovers when you drive by no less than 10 fast food places on a commute. I want sleep in and shop later, not get up early on a cold and rainy Saturday morning and trudge to the farmers market. There always seems to be an easier option than a local, home-cooked meal.
But in 15 minutes I put that plate on the table. A plate of such good food, that within a 2 hour drive I could introduce you to the men and women who produced it. What better option is there than that?
Ravioli and Asparagus with Garlic Butter Sauce
By Amy Sippl
1 pkg. of frozen cheese ravioli (I use Sunrise Creative Gourmet from Hibbing, MN)
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, washed and trimmed to fit in steamer basket
1/4 C. unsalted butter
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1. Add ravioli to a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Place asparagus in steamer basket and steam 5-7 minutes. (I like my asparagus very crunchy, you may need to cook it just a bit longer). When asparagus is nearly finished, place garlic and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Melt butter until just bubbly and garlic cloves are soft.
2. Drain ravioli, remove asparagus from steamer, and sauce from heat. Put several spears of asparagus atop ravioli and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. garlic butter sauce.