where the wild things are. no.15. eggs and ramp. easter breakfast.

What a gorgeous day it was here in New York! Spring has finally arrived and ramp season is in full swing both in the city and the forest. We celebrated by making poached eggs over rosti with sauteed ramp greens. (the greens were left over after making pickled ramps. The greens have a soft woodsy taste. I don't find ramps to be especially strong in flavor despite their intense onion aroma) The Green Market at Union Square this week was such an inspiration. I couldn't help but to pick up these beautiful organic eggs to accompany the ramps we gathered on our land upstate.

 

 Sauteed ramp Greens

 

1 bunch of ramps

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

 

Rinse the ramps under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.

Gently peel back the  lower outer most layer of the ramp and discard.  If the roots are on the ramps the outermost layer can be a bit transluscent and slimy, this is what you want to get rid of!

Cut the hairy root ends off the cleaned ramps and discard.

If you are using the bulb end of the ramps for pickling, cut them just above the pink stem, This will give you the bulb end for pickling and the green for sauteeing. You could opt to just sautee the whole cleaned ramp if you wish. I did it this way because I was using the bulbs for pickling.

Pat the greens dry and and plop them ino a large cast iron skillet.

Add a drizzle of olive oil.

Toss the greens over low heat until JUST wilted. do not overcook.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rosti with a poached egg or on any grain or toasts. Eat them any way you would a wilted spinch.



organic egg

organic egg

wild ramps

wild ramps

sauteed ramp greens

sauteed ramp greens

poached eggs over rosti with sauteed ramp greens 

poached eggs over rosti with sauteed ramp greens 

poached eggs over rosti with sauteed ramp greens and pickled ramps

poached eggs over rosti with sauteed ramp greens and pickled ramps

best coast picnic

Last week I was out on the West Coast and visited with some friends in Albion, in Northern California near Mendocino. The drive up Highway 1 from San Francisco is absolutely stunning no matter what time of the day you choose to do it. Before heading up North we stopped at Bi-Rite Market to pick up some provisions. Bi-Rite is at the center of the food frenzy happening around 18th Street and Guerrero. (Tartine Bakery, Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria and Bi-Rite Creamery all share the block and now very near is a Freeman's Barber Shop) Bi-Rite is the sweetest little market busting at the seams with gorgeous produce, citrus, meats and cheeses. We picked up some Anna's Daughter's Rye Crackers (there seems to be a major cracker scene happening out West) and some Cowgirl Creamery Inverness cheese, both, which are not available on the East Coast. The Inverness cheese is pure Jersey cream heaven and was perfectly paired with the thin rye crackers. We also picked up some Satsuma oranges and some smoked salmon. Then we hit the road, crossed the red bridge and started our adventure North. The Cow Girl Inverness cheese barely made it past Bolinas before we had devoured it entirely. It was tempting to open the second one we had picked up for our friends but we stayed strong. While in Albion, we decided to go for a picnic near the Mendocino Headlands. It was gorgeously foggy day. We stopped to pick wild watercress, which we spotted in the fresh water trickling towards the cliffs. Even though it was a foggy day, the picnic was brilliant! We did of course have some Mast Brother's chocolate to share with our friends so we could give Brooklyn a little love. We traveled with chocolate and Bellocq Tea to share with West Coast friends.

On the way back through San Francisco, we made sure to leave time to run to Bi-Rite to pick up those provisions once again to share with family in New York. We grabbed our last Tartine croissant, ran into our friends Gemma and Andy in line at Tartine and had a quite a laugh as we ran into them in Stockholm last summer! We see them more around the world than in Brooklyn. (They were just honored in PDN's 30) We then headed to the airport and said goodbye to San Francisco and headed home, cheese in hand. Last Sunday we had a best coast picnic right here on Broome Street, the only thing missing was the fog.




where the wild things are. no.1. wildcrafting and wild edibles.

This post marks the start of an ongoing series relating to foraging, wildcrafting and wild edibles.  Gathering wild edibles has been something I have always done without really thinking about it. It was a way of life growing up on a small New England farm in a very rural area. There wasn't a season that we didn't gather some kind of wild edible. It helped that my stepmother was an amazing gardener/botanist and a Vermont farmer’s granddaughter. We spent countless hours in the woods and the fields on our small farm where she would point out edible plants to us. In part it was an economic choice to gather these treasures as it has historically been for many New Englanders. In the early days of may she sent us out to gather the tiny wild strawberries that grew in the cow pasture. With them she made her coveted wild strawberry jam. When we drove her crazy she shooed us outdoors to find "sour grass" or sheep sorrel and other wild greens for the salads. At summers end we gathered blackberries and elderberries, and with the colder days of fall we were sent in search of wild grapes and cranberries. I can still find the exact spot on my dad's property where wild cranberries grow and the one juniper bush lives at the wood's edge in that far corner of the large field. At the time I was not so crazy about growing up on a small family farm, but now I think it was the perfect place to be. We were given an absolute freedom of the woods that I am not sure kids have today. When I moved to New York for school some twenty odd years ago I never thought I would stay, but here I am, a complete city dweller.  So I have decided to bring a little of the woods and the country into my city life by using more wild edibles on a regular basis. Some of these I will gather myself when I can and others I will get from professional wildcrafters and gatherers at the many local markets here in New York City.

I was inspired by a recent trip to Faviken in Northern Sweden where I had the most unusual and spectacular meal of my life. I ate mushrooms and moss and lichens and a seven year old dairy cow, but it was the philosophy behind it that mostly had me hooked. The Sweden trip renewed my interest in gathering.  As I mentioned earlier, I am not a stranger to gathering by any means, I gather ramp and wild onions, dandelion greens and teaberry and of course all kinds of wild berries in Upstate New York where I go to get out of the city. The Sweden trip made me realize it can be part of my every day life even if I am not constantly living in the country. At Faviken, they take great care with what they pick. They gather ethically, only harvesting small amounts of wild edibles. They realize they have a relationship with the forests and the fields and they must at all costs protect that delicate balance. The dishes they serve are very minimal. I was suddenly seeing the beauty and the flavor in a single pea flower as opposed to a whole pile of them. I fell in love with the long forgotten lovage plant. I had wild herb infusions every morning and a cold juniper infusion with dinner. Walking the woods with Magnus, the chef at Faviken, suddenly everything seemed very alive. We talked about reindeer lichen and old man's beard, mushrooms and berries.

As far as mushrooms go I have never really spent much time picking them. I went with my grandparents and their Italian friends a couple of times in Northern Vermont, where they lived for many years, to pick chanterelle's and morels. I don't feel particularly confident picking mushrooms myself.  Since there are so many poisonous similes I tend to leave the mushrooms to the experts. There is a definite science to mushroom picking, spore prints must be done and guides should be consulted. I would never pick mushrooms without checking a guide and doing a spore print.

That is a whole other post for another time! 

 wild strawberry