where the wild things are. ramp bloody mary.

It has been one of those weeks. I am really looking forward to chilling inside today on this rainy rainy Sunday.

My bed and a good book is calling me. Today is kind of perfect for this spicy Ramp Bloody Mary. You might want to brew up a batch of this ramp infused vodka while you can still get your hands on some ramps. It is super easy and great way to have ramps throughout the year, that is if you don’t get too addicted and drink it all too fast!

Take a fifth of good vodka. 

Pour it into a large mason jar (I used a Le Parfait Super)

Trim and clean between fifteen and twenty ramps. 

Remove the greens to use for something else.

Place the ramp bulbs and stems in the vodka and store in your fridge from 3 months to one year.

I left mine for a year but after three months they were fairly infused. It is up to you how long you leave them.

Mine started to break down after one year and I eventually strained them out.

Infusing can happen rather quickly but I tend to push it's limits. Check the vodka from time to time to see when you like the taste of it best.

This Bloody Mary is rather spicy and full of horseradish. I like it that way but you can obviously tweak the spices to your liking.

I add crushed juniper to mine as well to give it a woodsy piney taste.

Enjoy!!

 Bloody Ramp

In a an extra large Mason Jar Mix:

3 ounces vodka ramp vodka

10 ounces tomato juice 

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 drops Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon homemade celery salt

3 tablespoon fresh grated horseradish 

Shake and Chill the bloody Mary mix

When The Bloody Mary mixture is good and cold; Rim the glass with homemade celery salt

Pour the mixture over crushed ice and serve

Serves two.

Garnish with pickled ramps or a crisp celery stalk.

See this post from last year for Juniper Pickled Ramps.

Celery Salt

10 fresh green celery leaves

1/4 cup sea salt. I like grey.

Combine the sea salt and the Celery leaves in a mortar and pestle and blend together until you have a fine green salt.

It may be a little wet.

You can set it out on a baking sheet to dry and then store it in airtight jar in a darkened place like a pantry or stick the jar in the freezer to store it.

The green color will slowly fade over time.

inspired by the day... irish soda bread. sort of.

I woke up this morning determined to make an Irish Soda Bread. I saw a post on modern farmette on Dulse butter and it has been rolling around the back of my mind ever since.! Anything relating to Inish food peaks my curiosity. Since I don't have Dulse, I am going to substitute juniper. Next time I get some seaweed I will try her butter, for now it has inspired me nonetheless.

I have eaten Irish Soda Bread less than ten times in my life, two or three were in Ireland and the rest, every so often at home. It is something my stepmother liked to pull out around this time of the year along with corned beef and cabbage or New England boiled dinner. St. Patricks Day and Easter inspired these things along with the annual hot cross buns and the coconut lamb cake... a cake in the shape of a lamb covered in swirls of coconut frosting.

These foods have not really made it into my repetoire of cooking in my adult  life. I tend cook with a laissez- faire mediterranean bent, focusing on local and seasonal foods. I pull a lot of my inspiration from my maternal grandparents who were  from Rome and Puglia. Every so often however, I nod to my step mother's roots, Irish, French and New England Farmhouse Yankee beacuse you can never quite deny where you come from. I thank her often for all my canning abilities, cheese making and butter making skills. I learned early how to be a true pioneer, growing up on a small family farm I can milk a cow and a goat, butcher a hen, tap my trees and make  farmhouse cheese. Not bad for a renegade distracted tomboy with one foot out the door and her Piscean head in the clouds all the time. At least I learned something!

So.. on this bright sunny day I have decided to make an Irish Soda Bread. The house is quiet as there is no one home but me. Will anyone be here to eat it before it turns rock hard as they are apt to do? Let's hope! I may find myself carrying it over the bridge to share with Meredith and Clementine. I love the way a soda bread looks. I am a sucker for old school rustic beauty. I can just imagine it sitting on a farmhouse table in the late 1800's with a bit of Modern Farmette's Dulse butter.

I just saw that Food52 did a whole post on Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Brown Soda Bread. See it here.

 

Juniper Butter

One half pint of organic heavy cream

6 dried juniper berries

Pinch of sea salt

 

Pour the heavy cream into your blender or small Cuisinart

Crush the juniper berries with the back of a spoon and add to the heavy cream

Add a pinch of sea salt

 

Blend at a high speed until the butter forms and separates from the buttermilk

Removethe butter and strain in a cheese cloth

Discard the butter milk liquid

Refridgerate until firm

 

 

Brown Irish Soda Bread With Dates and Raisins

(Quick Irish Soda Bread)

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking 1964 edition. My grandmother's  copy worn and tattered...

I bastardized this recipe. just saying.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Sift together in a large bowl

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry ingredients

 

6 tablespoons chilled butter cut in small piecesadd the choppped butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles a coarse  corn meal

 

1 tablespoon black strap molasses

 Add the molasses

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup dried dates 

a few shelled green pistachios

1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk

 

Add the dried fruit and the buttermilk

Mix until just bended

 

The dough should not be dry.

Put the dough in a greased cast iroon frying pan or on a sheet pan

Form into a round loaf or mound

Cut a bold cross on the top, letting it go ovethe sides so the bread will not crack.

Bake 40-50 minutes

 

This particular recipie was like a rich brown scone. not exactly soda bread but delicious just the same!

THe original recipie calls for white flour

white sugar and raisins

 

( I added the dates , pistachios, molasses and wheat flour)

where the wild things are no. 10. juniper pickled onions.

Strangely, I have been craving juniper this past year. It started late last Summer, upstate, with a series of wild cocktails and juniper stuffed trout. I have since experimented with a number of recipes and drinks, to which my friends can attest, as I have plied them with many a juniper tipped cocktail.  I had never really incorporated juniper into my cooking in the past but now, I don't think I could live without it!  It should really have come as no surprise to me that I would like it this much. I do, after all, love gin, that brilliant aromatic spirit, spiced with juniper and other aromatic herbs and spices. I discovered gin in my early twenties.(Right now my two favorites are Hendricks and Breuckelen  Gin.) Juniper smells both medicinal and like the darkest forest floor. It is very complex. I have many Juniper recipes to share but for now I will post my current obsession; juniper pickled onions! Once you try them, there is no turning back.

 

Juniper Pickled Onions 

 

 (I added a few shallots to this recipe)

3 cups Japanese Apple Cider vinegar

(you can use Bragg's Raw Cider Vinegar if you want, I used what I had on hand)

1 tablespoon dried Juniper berries

1/2 tablespoon crushed Juniper berries (crush with mortar and pestle)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon black pepper corns

3 tablespoons sugar

 

 To make the brine:

Add the spices and sugar to the 3 cups of vinegar

Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot

Turn off and allow to steep for 20 minutes for the spices to infuse

In the mean time, thinly slice 2 medium  red onions

 

After 20 minutes, heat the brine to a slow simmer.

Divide the onions into thirds and drop into the brine for 20 seconds.

Remove after 20 seconds with a slotted spoon and set aside.

The onions will turn a brilliant pink.

When all the onions have been run through the brine, turn it off an allow it to cool.

When cool put the onions in a Weck or Ball jar or some other airtight storage container and pour the remaining brine over the onions.

The pickled onions will last for a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.

where the wild things are no. 7. the colors of winter. a photo essay for kinfolk magazine.

I just received Kinfolk Volume Two. It is full of beautiful words and images created by over 60 artists and writers. Below is a photo essay we shot inspired by wildcrafting and the colors of winter. When I get upstate tomorrow, I am going to brew myself some tea, curl up by the fire and savor it cover to cover. Now, let it snow!!!

 To order Kinfolk Volume two click here and then run to your mail box everyday to see if it has arrived!

Prop styling by the lovely Angharad Bailey.

To see outtakes and an extended story click here.

All photos copyright Gentl and Hyers 2011.