CSA

Still waiting for the mushrooms. Found some old oysters, but that’s it. But fortunately there’s other food excitement.

I got my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box Saturday from Spring Creek Farm located in Elk Valley. I consider Adam and Shelby friends. Ellen and I love their place. We went up there a few weeks ago, and they had a very cute new Belted Galloway calf as well as piglets and lambs. Our box had fresh arugula, sorrel, spinach, mixed lettuce, head lettuce, large bunch of dill, and mustard greens. I made a giant salad (arugula, prosciutto, roasted parsnip and cured egg yolks to go along with lamb shanks that I also got from Adam and then braised. Yummy.

Fresh local strawberries are in, and we’re loving them. Today, I made a two layer sponge cake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream. It was my first ever sponge cake, but it turned out fine. It was a recipe and techniques out of Cooks Illustrated (we subscribe). You can view a video on www.CooksIllustrated.com/june16.

Hopefully, black trumpets and chanterelles aren’t far off.

 

Kimchi Deviled Eggs with Ramp Powder

Here is a simple use for two of the ramp products I mentioned in my last post. I imagine any mushroomer knows that eggs are the perfect conduit the first time you eat a new species. Well, why not use an egg’s firmness and neutrality to extend the flavor of other foods in short supply – such as ramps.

eggsAfter hard-boiling the eggs and halving them, I simply mixed the yolks with mayo and sour cream until I got the proper consistency. Then I stirred in ramp kimchi that I had chopped very fine, and a smidgen of salt. After that, I built the eggs and sprinkled ramp power (instead of paprika) on top. Works great and is simple. Plus, it’s easy to control the heat to one’s personal taste.

On a related note, I put up six raw egg yolks to cure in salt and sugar (recipe from Broad Fork). Consequently, I had six egg whites left over. I plan to fry them thin (like a tortilla) in a non stick pan, spread out the leftover deviled egg mixture, and then roll the egg white like an enchilada.

Cooking is a LOT more fun since I have the cataracts off both eyes now.

 

Preserving Ramps

bunchOur ramp season is over around here, so I thought I would pass on some of the various ways I’ve used to preserve the ramps for use during the winter months. Traditionally, if you are fortunate enough to have morels, the best eating is fresh ramps, diced potatoes and morels all fired up in a cast iron skillet. However, you can freeze the ramps, make pesto, pickle the bulbs, make a ramp powder, and, if so inclined, make a batch of ramp kimchi.

EdEd made his pesto and put it up in jars. I made mine and froze them in a muffin tin and then vacuum sealed them in quantities that would make a pasta meal for 2-3 people depending on their appetite. I used a variation of recipe from the internet, but substituted preserved lemons for the salt and lemon zest/juice. Preserved lemons are are a Mediterranean substitute for vinegar as a way to add sourness without the use of vinegar, which is made from wine, for religious reasons. Lemons are partially cut into quarters and pestothen brined. preserved_lemons

 

 

 

 

freezeAnother way to preserve is vacuum sealing the entire ramps. I have found they still work well several years after freezing – especially if you are using a recipe that calls for chopped whole ramps.

 

 

picklesPickling the bulbs is always a great option. I use a pickling spice mix that I buy when I’m in a large store, such as the DeKalb Farmers Market in Atlanta. Also, I water bath can them so they will have longer shelf life than simply taking up space in the frig.

 

 

powderAfter you pickle the bulbs, making a powder from the leaves is great. I also always bring back a bag of leaves from the ramp patch specifically to dry and grind. I use my food dehydrator and then grind the dried leaves in a spice grinder. I also like to dry a few bulbs and the purplish stems to make a coarser powder. The leaf powder works as a “finish” aromatic garnish while the coarse grind makes a great garniture to add flavor to a dish toward the end of the cooking – whatever the dish.

kimchiIf you are a fan of kimchi, as I am, ramp kimchi is a good way to go. I made a gallon this year. I’ll use it in my creamed kimchi collards this fall. I’m also going to try minced kimchi as a substitute for pickle relish in some deviled eggs this week. Be sure to cut the ramp leaves in large sections, and you can use them as a wrap around chopped pork or other bite-sized meat servings as great appetizer.