Of Ramps and Recipes – It’s time for Farmer’s Markets!

Spring is here, and with the weather this weekend, it seems we jumped in feet first!  One of the greatest harbingers of spring?  The farmer’s market!

For me, the thought of the market conjures images of fresh fruits (although nothing yet right now beyond apples), lots of vegetables, and odds and ends such as baked goods and cheeses.  While all this is true, please don’t limit yourself.  At the Mamaroneck market (which, by the way, you could have been going to all year long as it is a year-round market!), you can pick up fresh fish, coffee, nuts, yogurts, eggs, and so much more.

The darling of the farmer’s market foodies right now is ramps.  Ramps are in the leek family, with a wildly garlicky flavor.  A trusted source has told me that to wrap them around scallops or a nice trout is a delightful way to cook them.  I put some fresh ramps in salad for an extra zing, and put the rest into pesto.  Why would I make pesto with such a versatile vegetable?  Because it can be frozen, and I wanted to experience this taste far longer than it would be available.

Ramps!

Ramp Pesto

10 ramps, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

½ cup toasted almonds

squirt of lemon juice

dash of salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Rinse the ramps well, taking off the outer layer of the bulb and rinsing between the two stems (you’ll see).  Cut off only the very end of the bulb, and roughly chop.  Put all the ingredients into the food processor and process until the consistency you desire – I like mine almost smooth, but still a little grainy.  Have it on pasta, or, roast some cauliflower and toss it all together.  It’s divine!

Although you might think that it’s more of a fall product, PLEASE be sure to pick up some fresh apple cider from Migliorelli Farms.  I can’t tell you how delicious it is – you’ll just have to experience it for yourself!  (It doesn’t hurt to grab some apple cider donuts while you’re there…)

Cider from Migliorelli Farms

 

Apple Cider Pancakes*

1 cup flour (I mixed all-purpose and white whole wheat)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup apple cider

¼ cup oil (or applesauce for extra apple-y goodness!)

splash of vanilla (I can’t help myself)

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork (or your fingers if you’re so inclined).  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, apple cider, oil (or applesauce), and vanilla.  Mix your ingredients and pour about ¼ cup at a time onto a hot griddle, flipping when the air bubbles appear.

*If you want to make these even better, also throw in about ¼ cup ground flax seed and a healthy handful of whole oats.  It amps up the healthy factor, and I can speak from experience that the kids will never know the difference.  Add in a little extra apple cider if the batter gets too thick.

Top as you see fit – I have a lingering jar of strawberry-lemon jam from last year’s market that did the job for me.  When it’s gone, I’m going to open up a jar of caramel-apple jam.  That will be a match made in heaven!!

mmm, fresh apple cider pancakes.

One more!  Let’s talk about coffee.  Whether or not you’ve noticed, the prices at the grocery store are rising.  I purchased a one-pound bag of fair-trade organic coffee from Tierra Farm for $8.00.  That’s only about $1.00-2.00 more than what I would pay at the grocery store, with an added bonus of good karma!

fresh market coffee

I found this recipe recently for coffee cake, so it just seemed like a good idea.  You can sub in a strong cup of coffee for the instant coffee.  In my house, we call this “literal coffee cake,” since most coffee cakes are cakes you can have with coffee, but are not coffee-flavored.  This cake is not sweet, but it is strangely good.  Give it a try!

Literal Coffee Cake

Adapted from Zomppa

strong coffee (just under one cup), cooled

4 egg whites

4 egg yolks

Stevia (just under one cup)

1/3 cup oil

½ cup honey (use up to one cup if you prefer it sweeter)

1 ¾ cup flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Beat egg yolks, Stevia, honey and oil until smooth.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Alternate adding flour mixture and coffee to egg yolk mixture.  Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into batter.  Pour into greased Bundt pan  (or regular cake pan) and bake for 40 minutes at 330 degrees.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack.  This gets better after a day or two – if it lasts that long!

COFFEE cake! (literally)

One last picture, which has nothing to do with food, but of what can be found also at the market.  (Well, it could have something to do with food, if you sugar them and decorate a cake…)

Flowers from the Farmer’s Market

 

See you at the market!

 

[box] Casey DelliCarpini is a mom, wife, student, worker, knitter and self-diagnosed Foodie. She spends her spare time scouring farmer’s markets, and creating jams, jellies, pickles and baked goods galore. She loves to share, but please don’t ask her for her family recipe for bread-and-butter pickles. She guards that with her life.[/box]

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