Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Spring Harvest Explosion!
I seriously can not tell you how excited I've been for the green market to get going this spring season. It's seems like forever we've just had apples, apples, potatoes, and onions. And the onions are really starting to even look a little sad.
However, as the city has started blooming on every corner, I've been getting my hopes up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that something new and green would pop up.
Last week I got my first strike with ramps. Now, I really had no idea what ramps were, only that there was literally a line to get them. I figured I might as well give them a shot.
It turns out, ramps are wild leeks, supposedly similar in flavor to onions and garlic. Hearing this made me very excited to try them. I got myself some pasta, some hot house tomatoes just for the occasion, and some of the seasons first spinach as well as some chicken sausage.
I cooked my ramps with a few leaves of spinach just a bit with garlic in some olive oil until wilted, and tossed them with the tomatoes, and then the sausage with more olive oil and pasta.
I'll be honest, it was just not what I'd hoped. The ramps were fine, but not all that flavorful. I ended up wishing I had added more garlic or onions or peppers. Oh well, for next time.
However, this Wednesday, I got my real spring harvest wish. The market literally tripled in size! Almost everyone has come back! I filled my bag with beautiful green asparagus, rhubarb, arugula, radishes, baby greens, and burpless cucumber. Yes, it's really called burpless cucumber.
Sold by my most favorite tomato lady from Jersey, who I would say has the most beautiful produce in Union Square, she assured me I would never go back to regular cucumbers again. (If you google burpless cucumbers, the first thing that comes up is a study, which discusses the cucumbers, and judges' burp resistance, which I found highly amusing.) They were in fact delicious with a delicate flavor you just don't find in a grocery store cucumber.
I tossed the asparagus with olive oil, sea salt, and a bit of black pepper and roasted them in the oven at 350 for about 5-7 minutes.
In celebration, I also decided to spring for scallops from Blue Moon Fisheries, and they were excellent! I sauteed them in butter with shallots, garlic and a bit of lemon juice.
I also cooked rhubarb for the first time! I don't know if I've ever had it before, but have heard delicious things about it! I emailed my fabulous mother in law for recipe suggestions, and ended up with the following for a rhubarb nut bread among others. I halved this to only make one loaf, but it turned out great! Thanks Chris!
Rhubarb Nut Bread
Courtesy of the Trapp Family! (Alex's Grandmother)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. canola oil (or similar)
1 c. sour milk (add a tablespoon of vinegar to the cup of regular milk)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 c. nuts
Topping: 1/2 c. sugar 1 tablespoon butter
Stir ingredients together in order given (except Topping). Pour into 2 well-greased and floured loaf pans in equal amounts. Mix sugar and butter together and strew over each as "Topping". Bake 325 degrees about 40 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cheers To Spring!