More ramps? Yes, just one more little recipe, I promise.  This one begged to be recorded, since I have now made it three times over.  Preserving ramps is wonderful, but using them fresh from the ground is far more desirable.  I know I'll probably loose a few "likes" and maybe a few notices to unsubscribe from my newsletter.  Such is the nature of tossing ramps around like they are something everyone can get.  As long as I am able to sustainably acquire ramps each spring, I will continue to do so, and the ramp recipes will continue.  But unlike my recent ramp jam, in this recipe you can certainly substitute some green onions in place of the ramps.  In fact, green onions is what I normally use for this dish during the rest of the year, and they are no less delicious. 

    Foraging for wild edibles is definitely a little hobby of mine.  As long as I can remember I have been interested in this topic.  As a young girl I would comb through books on wildflowers and herbs and spend countless hours in any patch of woods I could find.  Not much has changed after growing up a bit, except for the fact that two little boys are now normally running ahead or trailing a bit behind me.  My oldest says, "I'll help you find flowers and mushrooms, Mama." Although we still haven't been successful in the mushroom department yet.  All of our hard work is normally rewarded with a little picnic by the river.  Yesterday we even got to pull our shoes off and kick around in the cool water, under a sun filled sky.  We headed back home wet, covered in mud, but drenched in happiness. 
--Although it is not required, having a well seasoned cast iron pan for this recipe would help tremendously.  I have amassed a small fortune of vintage cast iron pans in the last few months, and I can tell you they have made a huge difference in the food I cook.  Because of this, I have gotten rid of all my non-stick pans.  It is cast iron all the time now, and the few remaining all-clads seem to be getting a little jealous.  

Sautéed Vegetables with Ramps

serves 4

3-4 large carrots
1 bunch of asparagus
8-9 ramp bulbs (or subsitute green onions)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup white wine
ground black pepper to taste


Peel and cut the carrots into 3-inch batons.  Peel the woody ends of the asparagus and slice diagonally into 3-inch pieces.  Diagonally slice the ramps, both the bulb and the greens.  Heat the 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add the carrots and asparagus and saute until they are slightly browned and have a vibrant color, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and 1/3 cup of white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated.  Add the ramps and continue to cook until they are wilted and fragrant.  Taste a carrot to see if you need any more salt and add a few cracks of black pepper.  Serve warm.


Foraging for Wild Edibles

    This last weekend I decided to take a class on wild edibles.  It was the first in a three part series that will take place over the next few months.  We walked for a few hours on the Duke Farm property, identifying wildflowers and what most people would consider weeds.  We got to taste everything except the stinging nettles (pictured above).  With nettles you have to dry or cook the leaves before eating them, because they have little spikes all over their stems and leaves that contain formic acid.  I have never used nettles before, but I feel a little more comfortable with them, now that I know what they look like.  Bring along a pair of gloves if you are going to pick some.  Nettle stings, although not very long in duration, are really uncomfortable.  Sort of like a mild bee sting.     
    I am always amazed at how many species of hawks there are in this area.  I'm not exactly sure which this one is, but she wasn't at all disturbed by the presence of people.  They are beautiful, but I can't help but be a nervous Mama.  Our chickens will definitely need to have supervised free range time each day.    
Some wild watercress, but not enough to collect for a salad.  I'll definitely be looking for more of this!
    The leaves and flowers of violets are edible.  They make a beautiful addition to salads.  The jack-in-the-pulpit (above right) has edible roots, but they are mostly just pretty to look at.  This one looks like it got nibbled on by something. 
    The little white flowers (pictured above), belong to the garlic mustard plant.  This invasive weed was actually one of my favorites we tasted during our class.  The raw leaves were delicious, having a slightly bitter and sharp peppery flavor.  I have heard of people making a pesto from garlic mustard, but I'm most looking forward to having some in a tender green salad.  One of the things we learn about this class was that early bitter spring greens like garlic mustard and dandelion, are actually digestive stimulants.  They give your system a kick into gear, and are great to eat before consuming a very large meal.         
    This little doe I found grazing around in the woods later that day.  She didn't seem all that bothered by me, and she let me get close enough for a picture.  Beautiful creatures, but I also secretly wish my father is successful at hunting this year, so I can add some deer meat to my freezer.    
    Two days after my class I took a little walk down by the river and grabbed of few of the things I learned about.  The first dish I made was some scrambled eggs with greens, garnished with field garlic and violets.  I threw in a few of my hydroponic tomatoes because they are still growing great!  I'm really looking forward to trying out more of these spring edibles in other ways.  And in a few weeks I will attend the second class, and hopefully learn a whole bunch of new edibles.   
 


Comments

04/29/2014 3:03pm

I think you are so ridiculously cool that you forage for wild edibles. It's something I really dig and am super interested in. I love reading about your adventures! And that vegetable dish looks great! Love the addition of wine in it. Sadly, mine will have to be with green onions, but hey, that's okay :)

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04/29/2014 3:38pm

Green onions just for this year...NEXT year we're having our donut/ramp exchange ;) And we can always take a look at all the other edibles while we are at it!

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04/29/2014 4:03pm

"I know I'll probably loose a few "likes" and maybe a few notices to unsubscribe from my newsletter. Such is the nature of tossing ramps around..."... haha! Love it.

I can't believe this is how you spent your childhood -- every parent's dream child (what mischief is your child into... well, she's heavily into foraging wild edibles ;-). I'm loving this beautiful, earthy ramp sauté with its contrasting colors and white wine (yum!) and how cool that you were able to find a class that is right up your alley too. Tell me, how do the boys like the ramps? Are they involved in the foraging process with you? I sure hope so; what an incredible education they must be receiving from their mama. And your photos... the doe, the hawk... incredible. I feel like I'm looking at National Geographic photos. (love that the doe trusted you ♡).

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04/29/2014 5:13pm

Hehe...do you know that I actually got 3 unsubscribers...too funny! I always say people are scared of vegetables.

I don't think the boys have tasted a ramp yet...they normally won't touch anything green...unless it is a juice! They definitely help to forage though. My oldest loves to pick me dandelions. I showed him that he could eat the flowers and he took a small bite, but declared that they did NOT taste good. I like to think they are getting a good education out in the woods and I am so surprised at what they know already. We saw a tree that fell over from a beaver and I asked my oldest what did that? He said beaver without any prompting from me. They amaze me all the time!

That doe did trust me a little too much...but the woods where she lives are protected from hunting so I'm sure she hasn't encountered anything that wants to harm her.

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04/29/2014 6:41pm

You get an extra "like" from me for each ramp post :) I found another spot in my area, but they seem kinda skinny and there aren't too many, so I'm leaving them alone for now.

Your foraging course sounds really cool...looking forward to seeing what you find next time!

I'm learning a lot about wild edibles (and their culinary/medicinal properties) as well and its so fascinating how much free food there is around us if we just know what to look for.

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04/29/2014 7:53pm

Thanks Sofia!!! You can always just take some of the leaves if you are worried about how many are around. They will grow back as long as the bulb stays in the ground.

The class was wonderful. I think the next class we might go more into tinctures, decoctions and infusions. And there was a woman in my class that knew a lot about mushrooms. Wish I could find a mycology class like the one you took.

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04/29/2014 11:18pm

It wasn't a class...I just joined the mycological association in my area for a foray. I did a quick search and it looks like there's one in NJ too: http://www.njmyco.org/. It'll probably be very similar. I found it interesting that few people had any interest in actually eating the mushrooms but it was a great experience anyway :)

04/30/2014 8:54am

Oh cool! Thanks so much...I'm going to check that out! I've gotten much more interested in mushrooms lately.

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04/29/2014 10:44pm

Ramp it up, I say! Ramps rock! I had to smile at your mention of losing a few likes with each ramp post. On the subject of blogging and likes and subscribers I am always amazed at how little it can take to get a reader to unsubscribe. I mean, what did a tiny ramp ever do to anyone anyway? I can relate; each time I feature an alcoholic beverage, say a cocktail or a particular amaro, I lose at least one reader. What can I say? Our public is fickle! This is a beautiful post in every way. Brava! And good for you for getting rid of the non-stick pans. Those non-stick coating never did anyone a lick of good. Keep up the lovely work. It is always a joy to visit your site.

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04/30/2014 8:56am

Thanks Adri, I guess we can't make everyone happy all the time right? I haven't posted any alcoholic beverages yet...I'll have to give it a try and see how many bite the dust ;) Thanks for stopping by :)

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04/30/2014 1:19pm

Just think about how gorgeous that plate of eggs and foraged greens will be next year when your hens are laying!

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04/30/2014 1:25pm

hahaha...that is EXACTLY what I am thinking Katie!!! I can't wait :)

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08/27/2014 12:50pm

our progress in opening

05/05/2014 6:26am

I think this is great. I wish I could have a garden to work in, but I stay at a flat for the moment. The pictures are great :-)

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05/05/2014 5:34pm

Thanks John, I was many years in an apartment so I understand. I am so lucky now to have a bit of yard to garden in. Have you looked into hydroponics? Some sets ups let you grow a little herbs and veggies inside, just enough to enhance some meals :)

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I still have never had or seen ramps -- can you believe it? But I trust you so if you love them, I'm sure I will. Eventually. When I can find some!

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05/09/2014 3:42pm

I can believe it, because there are even more people who have never even heard of ramps.....We are going to have to fix this one day!

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05/16/2014 9:48am

Your photos are gorgeous! With the warmer weather finally here I'm so inspired to cook with veggies and fruit so this dish is perfect. :)

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05/16/2014 10:40am

Thanks Tina! The warmer weather definitely brings inspiration...all those fresh and local foods make me ready to cook and EAT :)

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10/30/2014 4:17pm

Modern education is often referred to as covering a person’s finger with rings. This is because of the fact that a modernized education has brought so many opportunities with its self that a person can readily engage himself to the type of the job he wished and meet success according to his caliber.

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