Tuesday, May 11, 2010

springtime delights

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I was so tickled when I ventured into the kitchen for my coffee this morning and saw the way Andy had arranged the asparagus left over from last night. It looks like it belongs in that blue Pyrex bowl.

It's Michigan asparagus, of course. And we ate some of it last night in this amazing asparagus and pancetta hash, from the Smitten Kitchen blog. I mean, Michigan asparagus, pancetta from Creswick Farms, some ramps foraged by Andy, potatoes, all topped off with a fried egg from a friend's hen--how can you go wrong?

Speaking of ramps...

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The bad thing about Michigan is spring comes late, and there are often freezes, so you have to be kind of patient waiting for local produce. The good thing is, once it arrives, there's lots of it. And in the meantime, you can always forage for fun things like morel mushrooms (not sighted in our neck of the woods so far this year, sadly), fiddlehead ferns, and ramps, which we just discovered this year. Andy went out yesterday and brought home the above giant bag of them. I wish you could smell their garlicky goodness.

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So for tonight's dinner we're going to follow another Smitten Kitchen suggestion and sautee up a mess of ramps to eat on toast with some local cheese, Creswick bacon, and fried egg...with a side of more asparagus. (By the way, I didn't love love LOVE asparagus until I moved to Michigan and had it the way Andy prepares it: roasted with olive oil and tamari sauce, or olive oil and sea salt, until it's nice and caramelized. So good!)

Yum. I am ready for dinner! What are you having?



  1. Oh yummy Karen, I want to come for dinner! I have never seen ramps here to forage for. We are on the lookout for morels, we keep checking our secret spot every few days, no sigh of them yet.
    I love asparagus roasted with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and chopped garlic, roasted till it is all crispy good!
    I wish we lived in an agricultural area! Rock and bush here,

  2. Mmmm...garlic! Yep, no morels here because it was too dry earlier. Now we have the rain, but it's been too cold. But the ramps are making me happy!

  3. Wow! Talk about earthly delights. Tonight I had a salad of bagged greens that I revved up with some fresh-picked greens, including sorrel, garlic flowers, and violets from the yard (the blossoms AND the stems). I have got to check out ramps. Hadn't heard of them until your wonderful blog.

  4. This is adorable! I love how Andy arranged the asparagus! Too funny!

    We love to eat local as well...I actually just purchased a book chalk full of recipes by season and area for my mother-in-law, and now I am wishing I had picked one up for myself! All of your yummy meals are making me hungry!

    I received the 40s butterfly dress! I LOVE. LOVE, LOVE it! Now I just need to get back in shape so it drapes on me properly!

  5. Asparagus season is my favorite. I sometimes take for granite that I live in California and we don't have to worry about heavy freezes in May. I have yet to try Smitten Kitchen, but after reading this I think I'm heading that way now.

  6. Whoa -- when I said violets from the yard, I meant the blossoms AND the leaves. Don't eat the stems, folks, but do pick the blossoms and leaves and eat them. They're packed with vitamins. Now, off to find those ramps Karen mentions in her bog.

  7. Thanks for the clarification, Amy! :D Your salad sounds delightful.

    Andy foraged some fiddleheads for us once, but we ended up not eating them because we couldn't verify if they were the right kind to eat or not. Always better to be safe than sorry.

    For those interested in foraging their own ramps, I believe that in the US they are found only in the east (east of the Mississippi or so). Andy found ours in a swampier area, near skunk cabbage. They have two or three leaves shaped like those of a lily, and they have purple stems, Use screwdriver or some kind of gardening tool to dig down a few inches and underneath them to loosen the bulbs.

    K--I am so happy about the dress! It's a favorite. And if I lived where you live, I think I'd have real trouble not getting enormous from barbecue and meat-and-threes (very fond memories of my road trips south)!

  8. That looks so great!! And even better your from Michigan! Yay for the mitten!

  9. a man in the kitchen...is a slice of Heaven...
    lately I've been on a real comfort food binge...vegetarian style.


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