Their accumulation shows us how time passes by and how it's impossible to ever catch up. We have to admit that they are in the past, and that is a difficult task. Letting things, people or events go is painful.
However I'm proud to report that recently, the Spring Cleaning Bug bit me, and for the first time in my twenty-something years of life (OK, add 10 or 15 to that), I've felt the urge to organize our home. I went crazy at the Container Store believing each and every one of their organizational promises. And little by little, those issues have been making their way into the recycling bin. Ahhhh it feels good (and quite unique, in my unaccustomed case)!
It must be the magic of spring and that hope of renewal and growth... And although I still have a long way until I'm finished (maybe next Spring I'll get the fever again?), I'm hoping I can grow the habit inside me. At least, I'm in the right season to grow something, right? (and with my black, decrepit thumb, I'm sure it won't be plants)...
Along with my spring organizing (that might be gone by tomorrow even if now I'm stating that I'll keep it up), I've been enjoying other seasonal gifts: the amazing sprouts, micro greens, blooms and shoots that have made an entrance into the markets.
I'd have to say that our favorites so far, have been the ramps that I first got at Union Square, and later found at freshdirect.com. It was nice to buy them online to avoid elbowing my way through the chefs buying them in the hundreds at the farmers' market.
Ramps are members of the allium family (the onion, leek, garlic, scallion, shallot and chive clan). They are an early spring vegetable, with a very short season (so hurry up and buy some. You won't regret it!). They are also known as wild leeks or wild garlic.
Their flavor is a combination of onion and garlic, but despite their strong taste, there's something delicate in them. Their bulb makes them look exactly like scallions, but their soft green leaves at the end of their stems make them easy to distinguish (they look like as if scallions were mermaids). With the exception of the hairy-looking things (roots) at the top of the bulb, the whole thing is edible.
I've been roasting them, and we've been devouring them. I've served them atop of lentils, pasta and mixed with other roasted vegetables (asparagus, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini), or you can use ramps in place of onions or garlic in any recipe. Add them raw to salads or cook them into soups.
Like the rest of the stinky allium dynasty, ramps are a great source of heart-friendly allicin (although this compound decreases in concentration with heat, so go ahead and munch on them raw if you want to take maximum advantage of the phytochemical).
Ramps are also rich in vitamins A and E, antioxidant nutrients necessary for healthy teeth, skin, bones, and immune and reproductive systems. Ramps, and alliums, in general, also provide minerals like manganese, iron and chromium, which participate in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
My advice: RRUUNN to your closest green market, specialty store or if you are in the NY area, just freshdirect them. I'm so nice, that I'm adding their link to save you time and effort!!
Too simple, and too delicious. Unfortunately, just like our magazine issues, ramps are time-sensitive, so try to catch up today, or just like the present, they fade soon.
Ramps are delicate, so there's no need to turn them into carnival queens with seasonings.
1 bunch ramps (approx
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Wash ramps and cut off the bulb filaments, and if necessary, peel with your fingers a layer or too from the white parts.
Place ramps on prepared sheet and drizzle them with oil.
Mix with your hands so all of them are covered evenly.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, until you can hear the leaves sizzling in the heat and they brown and caramelize.