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Posts from the ‘What’s In Season: Spring’ Category

Spaghetti with Ramp Pesto and Shaved Asparagus



Tune in tomorrow (Saturday, April 21st) to Fox 5’s Good Day Street Talk starting at 6am to watch me make this recipe!

For the Pesto: (Yields about 3 cups)

2 bunches ramps, roots trimmed, roughly chopped

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine ramps, spinach, cheese, and walnuts in a food processor.   Pulse until combined, and while continuing to pulse,  add oil in a slow steady stream.  Scrape down sides as needed, and continue to mix until the mixture is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

To store, cover the surface with a layer of olive oil, and seal in an airtight container.  Refrigerate for about 3 weeks, or freeze in ice cube trays, and enjoy all year round.

To Complete the Dish:

1 lb spaghetti

1 lb asparagus, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1/4-1/2 cup Ramp Pesto

Parmesan cheese, for serving

Lemon wedges, for serving

Cook spagetti according to package instructions.  Just before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water, and add asparagus.  Drain, return to pot, and toss with prepared pesto.  Add pasta water as necessary until the sauce coats the pasta.  Serve with cheese and lemon.


Spring Has Sprung!

The true sign that spring has arrived!

If the gorgeous weather we have been enjoying in New York isn’t enough of a sign that Spring is finally here– for chefs and foodies alike– a trip to the local farmer’s market will make it obvious.

The vibrant greens of asparagus, spinach, fiddleheads, and of course, the ever elusive ramp are an exciting awakening. It’s not just the colors– the tastes and textures of the season are worlds away from the comforting, but heavy foods we eat during the cold days of Winter. The crunch of a fresh radish and it’s refreshing bite, the tenderness of a young stalk of asparagus, the mild sweetness of tiny snap peas. For those of us in the kitchen these things are also signals the arrival of even more amazing local produce on it’s way in the coming weeks and months.

So stay tuned! It was a busy Winter, but there are lots of great recipes, and plenty of information to come! Tune into Fox 5’s Good Day Street Talk this Saturday, April 21st, starting at 6am to see me demonstrate a delicious spring recipe with ingredients from the Greenmarket!

Still on a Rampage.

Ramps from Mountain Sweet Berry at Union Square Farmer's Market

After the harsh winters of New England everyone is ready for a sure sign of spring. For chefs and foodies, the new season will mean the slow introduction of some of natures most elusive gifts, with some flavors, after all the waiting, just sticking around for a few short weeks. Spring invites color back into the landscape with buds and leaves appearing on trees, and flowers beginning to bloom, just as much as it brings color back to plates. Colorful dishes mimic the palate of spring, filled with a range of green hues, bright yellows, and vibrant reds. The flavors that these ingredients hold are just as exciting. The tender and delicate bite of a ramp, the spiciness of a round red radish, the earthy lightness of a morel mushroom, or the sweetness of peas straight from the pod.

But there is no taste of spring as entising as the ramp. Also known as the wild leek, the ramp is an onion native to North America. The bulb resembles that of a scallion, but has the beautiful dark green flat, broad leaves to set it apart. Ramps have been available in the Union Square farmer’s market for the past few weeks, as well as in the Chelsea Whole Foods, Eli Zabars, and Eataly, and will remain in season until early June.

Enough pickled ramps for a few weekends worth of bloody marys.

Lightly sautéed they are a great addition to pasta dishes, they can be made into a pesto, and pickling them is a great way to keep them around when they are no longer available (plus, the pickled version makes a killer bloody mary). See my recipe for pickled ramps on the Martha Stewart Everyday Food blog here. In addition to the pickled ramps, here are a few other dishes I’ve made lately.

Homemade pasta with sauteed ramps, oyster mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns

Cheddar and Ramp Biscuits

Ramp Sausage at Marlow & Daughters in Williamsburg

Ramps, Asparagus, and Lilacs. Spring in a single picture.

Saturday Farmer’s Market at Union Square

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard from Eckerton Hill Farm

Though the forecast for the day predicted scattered thunderstorms, around noon the skies were clear, and it was a balmy 85 degrees in Union Square. Probably not the best day to have a Seafood Cooking Demonstration in the center of the market… But no one seemed to mind as they browsed the huge selection of produce, dairy, meat and poultry, and preserves, baked goods, and plants and flowers.

Varieties of new potatoes

The Saturday market has the largest number of venders, and the selection of products is much greater. While it was mostly the same things in season, today there were several seafood vendors, tomatoes were available from hydroponic farm vendors, and there was an incredible bounty of fresh sweet strawberries from New York and New Jersey.

Shiitake Mushrooms from Bulich Mushrooms

My first stop was at Red Jacket Orchards where I picked up a 32oz bottle of Joe’s Summer Blend juice ($3), a mix of fresh pressed apple and lemon juices. Red Jacket is known for their high-quality natural juices and ciders which are made from whole fruits that have been pressed using traditional methods, and no sugar, water, or flavors are added.

Next I stopped at S&So Produce, a farm from Orange Co., NY, that offers an incredible selection of lettuces, greens and herbs. I picked up some Baby Arugala ($2).

Bounty of Radishes at S&SO Produce

Beth’s Farm Kitchen offers some of the best jams, preserves, and chutneys I have tasted, with yummy flavor combinations like Gingered Rhubarb Jam, Neachycot Jam (nectarines, peaches, and apricots), as well as “Zany Jellies” like their Garlic-Rosemary Jelly and Mighty Hot Pepper Jelly. They also offer “Fulla Fruits,” a selection of no sugar added spreads. I asked one of the friendly older women to recommend a savory chutney. They offer about 20 varieties of chutneys ranging from the sweet Plum Chutney, to the spicy Zapricot Chutney with chipotle, apricots, and tamarind. I went with the Blazing Tomato Chutney ($8), which she recommended, and after a sample I too was sold. With tomato, apple, vinegar, sugar, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, ginger root, mustard seed, garlic, almonds, and allspice– it offers a little heat combined with a tart sweetness that would pair well with any summer grilled meats or fish.

At Hawthorne Farms they offer a huge selection of breads, baked goods, and artesian cheese. The vendor suggested I try one of their healthy protein-rich spelt breads, so I chose the Spelt Sourdough ($4), a dense and crusty loaf great for toast or sandwiches.


Breads at Hawthorne Farms

I also picked up a log of Chevre ($6) at Lynnhaven Farms, some Hydroponic Tomatoes and Basil from Shushan Valley Hydro farm, and Jumbo Eggs ($2.50 for half-dozen) and Wheat Pasta ($4.50) at Knoll Krest.

When I came home I made a delicious sandwich with some of the ingredients. See the recipe below.

Summer Saturday Sandwich

2 Slices Bread, Toasted (I used Hawthorne Farm’s Spelt Sourdough)
Plain Chevre
Beth’s Farm Kitchen’s Blazing Tomato Chutney
Baby Arugala
2 eggs, Poached
Siracha Hot Sauce (to taste)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

I left the sandwich open-faced and paired it with some simple grilled vegetable salad from Whole Foods Market.


Summer Saturday Sandwich

What’s in Season? Long Island and Union Square Farmer’s Market in NYC.

Fresh Picked Local Strawberries at the Bay View Farm Stand in Aquebogue, NY

Spring produce that is being harvested right now and is currently available in Long Island and NYC Farmer’s Markets:

Mixed Lettuces
Swiss Chard

Tomato plants (no tomatoes just yet)
Peas (Sugar-Snap and garden)
Beets (baby)
Apples(some, but not all varieties)

Fresh Leeks, great for a quick quiche or other tasty spring dishes.

and don’t forget the great baked goods, meat and poultry, dairy products, and artisanal cheeses available in Union Square on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays!

Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Potatoes at Union Square

Bundles of Freshly Picked Asparagus