In Season :: Ramps & Warm Ramp Vinaigrette
You know spring's in full swing when ramps hit the greenmarket and grocery stores. A type of wild garlic/spring onion, ramps are some of the first spring produce to poke their way through the ground as the weather warms. Get them while you can as they're only around for about 4 to 6 weeks. Grilled or sateed they'll add a distinct garlic/scallion/onion flavor to pastas, eggs, pizzas (Mario Batali's king for this one) and more. I had them simply raw last week at Northern Spy paired with beef tartare, seriously unbelievable.
Earlier this week, I chose a less traditional path for these little leafy onions and did up a warm ramp vinaigrette for simple spring lettuces. A lovely and light starter for my family's Passover meal, but it'll make any meal a bit more intriguing.
Ramp Vinaigrette ::
1 small bunch of ramps, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
4 to 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly cracked pepper
In a small skillet over moderate-low heat, add all ingredients and bring the vinaigrette to a simmer and lower the heat to stay warm and reduce slightly. Serve over fresh, crisp greens like red and green baby romaine.
image :: pinterest via Laurel Messina
Little Lovelies :: Grandma’s Macaroons
These beauties are dangerously addictive and are perfect for when you're time-crunched and need to whip up something fast for your next dinner party, brunch or springtime soiree. Coconut macaroons hold a special place in my heart--they're simple, oh-so-delicious and these shown above come straight from my Grandma Bebe's vintage recipe box. What better to finally welcome spring weather with a tiny, tasty treat. Thanks grandma!
Coconut Macaroons ::
Serves :: 24
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of sweetened, flaked coconut
1 14 ounce can of condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (as with most baked goodies, I opt for extra-vanilla - I run strong with 1 tablespoon extract and make sure it's good quality vanilla, I promise it makes a huge difference)
dark chocolate chunks for melting (if you wish to take the extra-decadent step of coating the bottom with chocolate or doing a light chocolate drizzle over top)
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix coconut, condensed milk and vanilla together in a large bowl. Lightly grease two baking sheets or cover them with parchment paper. Spoon coconut mixture into little compact balls and place on baking sheets about an inch or two apart. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes and flip baking sheets. Bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
*For chocolate dipped or drizzled macaroons, melt about 1 cup dark chocolate chunks/pieces in a double boiler (I usually fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place a metal or glass mixing bowl on top with the chocolate). Dip macaroons in chocolate or take a spoon and lightly drizzle chocolate over top. Place macaroons back on the baking sheet and in the freezer or fridge for 15-20 minutes to set the chocolate.
What to Watch
Set your DVR's, celebrity UK chef Jamie Oliver is taking on LA with season 2 of Food Revolution starting tomorrow night, Tuesday April 12th, on ABC at 8pm EST. Jamie's set on tackling childhood obesity and bringing positive change to the school lunches served within LA's Unified School District. Rumor has it that he encounters quite a few stumbling blocks, but you'll just have to watch for yourself. Season 2 is another step towards growing the conversation around our country's eating habits and vying for healthier change. You can support change by signing his Food Revolution petition to revise school lunch standards across the nation.
And on the big screen, a new documentary just premiered in the past few weeks highlighting one man’s cross-country 3,000 mile quest to change his health and weight for good. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is unbelievably inspiring. Joe Cross was 100 pounds overweight and fighting a debilitating auto-immune disease with steriods and countless, and costly, medications. His mission to reclaim his health brought first to NYC and then on a cross-country trip, consuming nothing but fruit and vegetable juice for two months (we’re talking serious determination and a battery-powered Breville juicer in the trunk of his car). While clearly not sustainable long-term, Joe’s habits helped him achieve a healthy weight and put his disease well into remission. Three years later, he’s medication-free and eats a well-balanced diet (which in his own words, most definitely includes the occasional pizza and beer). Whether you’re fan of heavy juicing or not, the takeaway message of the film reminds viewers that most of us are eating no where nearly enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Make that the majority of your diet (50% or more) and you’ll reap the benefits, more energy and acuity, better digestion and of course, weight loss if you’re seeking to shed a few extra lbs.
For screenings and showtimes near you, check the movie’s website here.