where the wild things are. pickled rose petals

Below; Greecologies thick tangy yogurt, Dan Finn's maple syrup, wild fennel pollen foraged from the Sonoma Coast, pickled rose petals and a squeeze of lime.

I have been using a lot of rose in my kitchen lately. The smell of wild roses takes me straight back to the summers of my childhood where we spent a few precious days each year in Watch Hill Rhode Island where the shores were thick with rugosa and the air smelled of salt and rose. One of the very old houses I lived in on the Massachusetts Vermont border was surrounded by a thicket of rose. Many different varieties grew together in a tangled mass. I am sure some of them were planted purposefully over the years but by the time we moved in, both the house and the grounds had gone a bit wild. I like to imagine, that over the centuries, some of the women who had lived there were as obsessed with rose as I am and perhaps they used them for tea or cooking or for scents. The house had a long and rich history as the first post office in the town and it was said that the house harbored a spy during The French and Indian wars. Some of its former inhabitants still walked the halls when I lived there, shimmering lightly as they moved furniture and knocked things akimbo in the night. It is no coincidence that when we bought property upstate one of the first things we planted was roses, not perfect long stem roses, but the kind that grow without much care into wild blustering bushes, thick with single petal flowers and thorns. We also rescued roses from a nearby farm that was being leveled and torn down, we call these Edgar’s Roses. Over the years our rose bushes have been good to us and this year is no exception. We never spray them. When using rose for food you always want to make sure they have never been sprayed and are pesticide free.

My most recent rose obsession is a sweetened rose vinegar and pickled rose petals.The recipe is simple and while it seems a bit twee, I promise the pickled petals are the perfect accompaniment to a rich bowl of late summer yogurt or to an early fall pork roast. Make this now while the roses are abundant and summer still hangs at our door. Your fall larder will thank you later. xx

PICKLED ROSE PETALS

2 cups loosely packed rose petals ( use only organic pesticide free roses)

throw in some whole buds, they are very beautiful when pickled.

3 cups white rice wine vinegar (the white rice wine vinegar is sweeter and  less acidic than white wine vinegar, but if you only have white wine vinegar, don't worry just use it)

12 tablespoons of maple syrup ( if you use organic sugar instead of maple your liquid will stay a vibrant pink. Maple has great flavor but turns the liquid a little rose/brown)

6 teaspoons of kosher salt

 

METHOD

Submerge the petals in a bowl of water then drain lightly and lay out to dry  on dish towel. you want to bruise the petals as little as possible.

In a non reactive sauce pan, heat the vinegar, the salt and maple to just a simmer. Turn off and stir until the salt and maple are dissolved. Let cool about 10-15 minutes.

Place the rose petals in a large glass bowl and pour the cooled liquid over the roses. Store in a ball jar in your refrigerator. infuse for a a few days or so before using.The pickle will last for several months.The color will slowly fade and transform over time from a vibrant pink to a dusty brown pink. The pickling liquid will either be a vibrant pink or a brown pink depending on if you use maple or sugar. You can use this sweetened rose vinegar as you would any vinegar and use the pickled petals to accompany roasts or morning yogurt. 

 

SEE MY ROSE PETAL FRENCH TOAST HERE AND MY ROSE PETAL ICE CREAM HERE.

 

 

 

 

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.

where the wild things are.bucatini with hen of the woods and ramp butter.

I am extending the ramp season a bit with more with a few more posts. Sorry guys! On our side of the mountain the ramp is late compared to some lower zones.

I made pasta I wanted to share that is so simple. You can substitute the ramp butter for any other compound butter you feel like making. I imagine nettle or spring garlic or mixed herbs would be quite nice as well.

I used Hen Of The Woods mushrooms but you can substitute any other kind. Maitake or Shitakes would be just as good.

Bucatini With Hen Of The Woods And Ramp Butter.

Serves two

1/2-pound pasta

1/2 pound of Hen of The Woods 

3 inch long piece of old stale baguette or other bread

Olive oil

Salt + Pepper

Pecorino Romano

Set your pasta water to boil. When boiling generously salt it.

Start your Bucatini. It will take roughly 11 minutes or so and in the meantime if you have everything prepped you can cook the mushrooms and the breadcrumbs.

In a cast iron skillet or low sauté pan. Cover the bottom with a good olive oil.

Heat the olive oil on low-medium heat.

When hot drop your cleaned dry Hen Of the Woods into the olive oil and cook until some are just crispy.

Remove them from the olive oil and set in a dish to the side.

Chop your stale bread into small breadcrumbs. Drop them into the olive oil and cook for a minute or two. They will begin to brown and absorb most of the olive oil.

Add a Pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs.

Add a good dollop of Ramp butter and just melt it into the breadcrumbs.

Add the mushrooms and turn off the heat.

By this time your pasta should be done.

Before draining it reserve a cup or so of the pasta water. Set it to the side.

Drain you pasta and toss it into the mushroom ramp butter and bread crumb mixture.

Turn the heat on low and add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the mixture.

You will want to toss the pasta until all the ingredients are combined and everything is hot. 

Add the rest of the pasta water if you need it.

Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and generously grate

xx

where the wild things are. ramp and nettle butter.

Looking back at my ramp posts from last year, I realized that I never posted a recipe for nettle and ramp butter. I posted the photos but not the recipe.

http://www.hungryghostfoodandtravel.com/new/2012/4/5/where-the-wild-things-are-no-14-nettle-and-ramp-butter.html

Since the season is in full swing I thought I would share my recipe with you. I know some of you are probably so sick of ramp but I love it. Ramp has such a fleeting season. Every year I find there is more I wish I had done with it than the year before but I seem to feel that way about all the fleeting veg, wild or otherwise. 

I noticed at the farmers market this past week that some of the farmers selling ramps were offering up some ramp butter. Most of the ramp butter at the market was a compound butter, which is a mixture of butter and added ingredients, like ramps, herbs or lemon. You may have had maître d’hotel butter on your steak frites? This is a compound butter.

The ramp butter I have been making is essentially a compound butter but I make it in a different way and it is a lot stronger than the  ramp butter at the market. It is more complex and deep.

 If you want to take the fast route, you can make a compound butter by adding chopped herbs or ramps to a stick of room temperature butter. You will want to mash the ingredients into the butter and fully incorporate them into the butter almost folding it over on itself again and again with a paddle or a wooden spoon.

Here is a nice tutorial on making compound butter from Serious Eats.

I make my ramp butter by whipping up fresh cream in the food processor along with chopped ramps or nettles and herbs, depending on what kind I am making.

I mix the cream and herbs at a high speed in my food processor until the butter starts to separate from the buttermilk.  In a bout a minute’s time they will have formed a soft whipped cream cheese like spread. You could stop there if you would like and use it like a whipped butter but without separating the liquids from the butterfat it will not keep as long. I prefer to take it all the way to butter.

I pulse the cream and herbs until there are two bands visible through the sides of the processor. One will be a vibrant green liquid and the other will be the paler heavier fat of the butter as it separates. I keep pulsing the processor until the butter starts to slap the sides of the food processor.

The butter will appear grainy and clumpy at this stage and it will be sitting in a pool of liquid. This liquid is technically the buttermilk, but it is not like the commercial buttermilk that you buy in the store. It is much thinner. Commercial buttermilk is generally cultured and thicker.

 You will want to drain off the liquid. If you are feeling adventurous you can reserve it for a later use. I made ramp buttermilk biscuits with mine.

Scrape all the butter into a large piece of cheesecloth and give it good twist. The buttermilk will spurt out onto the bowl below. Drain it off into your buttermilk reserve.

You will know you have drained most of the buttermilk once the butter starts to come through the cheesecloth.

At this point stop and proceed to the ice bath.

Take a large mixing bowl and fill it with ice cubes and cold water. Spoon the butter into the ice water and gently scoop it together with your hands until you form a ball.

Let it sit in the ice bathe until it firms up for a minute or so.

Rinse the butterball under cold water and set it in a shallow bowl.

With a wooden paddle or a large wooden spoon start to fold the butter over itself pressing down as you do so. You will be forcing any excess buttermilk out of the butter by this repeated action. You are also "working" the butter. This was essentially what a butter paddle was for. Keep doing this and draining off any excess buttermilk into your reserve.

Eventually the butter will be free of all buttermilk and you are ready to store it.

You can either form it into a log or wrap it in plastic wrap and parchment to freeze for later use or you can store it in an airtight container in your fridge, I like to use glass.

It will keep indefinitely either way. If you freeze a big batch you will have it all year to throw into pastas or on steak. It is so delicious and so very different from the standard ramp butter I have seen floating around. You might have to be careful to not eat it straight! It is that good!

I hope you don't find this daunting. It is really very simple and once you do it you will find yourself making all kinds of flavored butters or maybe just fresh spring and summer yellow butter. 

Ramp Butter

1 pint of fresh cream

10 ramp greens 

10 ramp bulbs

1/2-teaspoon salt

Chop the ramps and bulbs coarsely

Add  the chopped ramps and the cream and salt together in the food processor.

Start your butter on high speed.

It will combine to a spread like texture within a minute or so. You can stop here if you want to use it like this.

At this point the buttermilk has not yet been separated from the solids.

I keep it going for another five minutes or so. You will at some point see the solids separate out from the darker green liquid (ramp buttermilk) in two bands along your processors edge.

I keep it going past this point until the butter starts to clump in small chunks and grains along the processors walls.

Continue following the instructions above.

Nettle Butter

1 pound of fresh stinging nettles

1 pint of heavy cream 

1/2 teaspoon of salt

You can make nettle butter following the same basic instructions with a few exceptions.. Start with a pound of fresh nettles. Use gloves when washing.

Blanch the nettles until bright green. (30 seconds or so)

Remove with a slotted spoon and squeeze the excess water from the nettles until the form a ball of what looks like frozen spinach.

Coarsely chop the blanched nettles and add to 1 pint of cream and 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Follow the same steps as above.

Here is a much less long-winded post on how to make cultured butter from food 52

where the wild things are. no. 20. pick a peck of pickled milkweed.

I have gone a little mad for milkweed this summer! You could have knocked me over when I first learned that it was edible. I have always known that Monarchs are dependent on milkweed for survival but I was dubious about eating it but no more, I am now a total convert. I have made milkweed frittata, a tempura of the blossoms and buds and now i have come to the pickled milkweed pods! They taste a bit like pickled ochre  and have a caperberry like texture. Do not worry, you will not end up like Sylvester with a mouthful of fluff! The tiny pods get pickled when they are between one to two inches long and the fluff inside the pod is not really fully fluff yet. I have tried these out on friends and family and the consensus seems to be that they are surprisingly good.

So grab some milkweed pods before they get too big and get pickling.

Pickled Milk Weed Pods

4 cups of milkweed buds (between 1-2 inches in size)

5 cups raw apple cider vinegar

1/4-cup sugar in the raw

2 sprigs of fresh dill flower

1-tablespoon whole juniper berries

1/2 teaspoon crushed juniper berries (crush them with a mortar and pestle)

1 tablespoon of black pepper corns

3 tablespoons grey sea salt

 To Make The Brine:

Add the spices and sugar to the 5 cups of vinegar

Heat to a boil in a non-reactive pot

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

In the mean time, clean and wash and de-stem the milkweed pods 

Blanch the milkweed pods for 30 seconds and then plunge them into an ice bath

Place the blanched milkweed pods in two 4-cup sterilized mason or Weck jars.

After the brine has infused for 20 minutes or so, return it to the heat and bring it to a quick boil and turn off.

Remove the brine from the heat and slowly pour it over the milkweed pods.

The pickled milkweed pods will last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator.

shoot lunch

One of the most awesome things about shooting at home is that you get to eat what you shoot and eat what you want! There is nothing wrong with catering, BUT it can get a bit old and repetative eating the same thing day in and day out at a studio. So when I shoot at home, I am all about eating simply. 

This was today's shoot lunch.

Farmer's market salad greens and organic hard boild eggs smashed on toasts with pickled ramps and the most AMAZING lemon caper dressing from April Bloomfield via food 52.

Basically, anything is a vehicle for this dressing. It is just that good and that addictive. really. try it.

 

See yesterday's post for Quick Pickled Ramps 

 

 

Smashed Hardboiled Eggs On Toasts With Pickled Ramps and Lemon Caper Dressing 

2 hardboiled eggs

2 pieces of your favorite rustic bread toasted

Pickled ramps

Seas salt

Cracked black pepper

Generous amount of lemon caper dressing. see recipe above

 

Toast the Bread

Boil the eggs

Peel the eggs

Smoosh one egg to each toast with a knife

Add dressing

Add a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper

Top with a couple pickled ramps

Eat every last speck!

ceramics in the below shots are from a beautiful new shop in Williamsburg called MOCIUN.

Mociun, 224 Wythe Avenue, at North 4th Street, Williamsburg (718-387-3731 or mociun.com).

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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

where the wild things are. nettle and ramp butter.

I have declared it nettle week in our house. So, while shooting a job at our place yesterday, I decided some nettle snacks were in order. We roasted some ramps with olive oil and sea salt and slathered some finish rye bread with some homemade nettle and ramp butter and topped it with the roasted ramps. It was the perfect afternoon treat, maybe the most perfect sandwich ever!

Recipes to follow on the weekend! (BUTTER RECIPE COMING SOON!)

 

 

Roasted Slightly Charred Ramps

 

1 bunch ramps

olive oil

sea salt

cracked black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degree.

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. Sometimes 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

Pat the ramps dry with a paper towel and lay them out on a roasting sheet. Thye can overlap one another.

Drizzle them with  extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Roast the ramps until just tender. 12-15 minutes at the most. Some of the leaves will brown and crisp a bit but don't worry! They still taste fantastic even when a bit charred!

Serve them with scrambled or poached eggs or on buttered toasts. If you feel iinclined and you pobably will; eat them straight off the baking sheet because they are just that good!

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