Tag Archives: vegetable

New Leaf

Hi there. It’s been a while, but I’m back. I’m not here to scatter handfuls from my bushel of excuses on lack of posting over the past month–that’s so 2005. Instead, I’ve got more posts that involve acutal cooking and pretty pictures of food. About time, right?

I’ve recently partnered with a certain Ian to get into some healthier habits. I haven’t been very interested in cooking lately, and I feel like everthing I eat comes out of a crackly plastic bag. Sloppy nutrition makes me tired and I don’t want to cook when I’m tired, so I end up in a not-too-pleasant cycle. So in order to feel better, and feel better about myself, I’m going to concentrate on cooking healthy foods more often.  I’m a bit of an amateur nutrition buff, so I’ll be writing about the health benefits of the things I cook. Dessert lovers, don’t worry–this isn’t going to become a shame-dispensing health site. I promise only to share the most delicious recipes and ingredients, including plenty of cookies, jam, custard, and ice cream.

That said, I’m turning over a new leaf–literally (you knew that joke was coming). This bundle of joy is Red Russian Kale, one of my favorite leafy greens. It’s much milder than other kales, and one of the prettiest brassicas around. When it’s young like this bunch, you barely need to cook it at all, and it could even serve as a salad green once de-stemmed, or shredded in a delicate slaw. The leaves are so tender I couldn’t stop myself from taking a bite of one on the way home, even though I prefer them sauteed. I cooked this kale the way I cook most leafy greens. Just a quick stir fry with some oil (about 2 Tbs) and a minced clove of garlic, and it’s ready to go. I chop everything up, heat the oil on high, toss in the stems, stir about 2 minutes, add the leaves, stir for 2 minutes, add the garlic, & stir 2 more minutes.

Everyone knows that the dark green leafies contain lots of iron, calcium, manganese and vitamins A, C , and K. But did you know that they fight cancer and aid brain function? Dark brassicas are commonly used as a liver detoxifier; high fiber content means they cleanse the colon as well. That brings to mind their high sulfur content (it’s why they smell a bit like an unlit match as you cook them), a clever inclusion gives them slight antimicrobial properties.

But forget about all that for a minute, and listen when I tell you that they are delicious. Cooked in a little oil, with some garlic and maybe a bit of red pepper, these greens are soft, rich, fresh, and nourishing. I don’t salt them because their mineral content makes them taste salty enough. And you know, for health. These might be just the thing to wean me off of my Peanut m&m habit. So here’s to the new me, the new you, and the new crop of kale. Consider this new leaf flipped.

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Filed under dinner, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetables

Ramps

ramps

It’s a little odd for me to pay for something that in childhood I used to pull out of my mother’s garden and lay on the sidewalk to dry. Ramps were not welcome in the house because of their sharp, swampy odor, though I thought their pink stems and silky green leaves pretty enough to wrap around dolls. My mother hated the smell of ramps even more than the star-topped stalks of field garlic, another pretty weed I like to pick. I remember a knowledgeable neighbor telling me that they were edible, but with the implication they were not a delicacy but a last resort. Like, if you were lost in the woods and starving you might consider eating ramps, but not before then.

Fortunately, ramps are as fashionable in the food world now as they were on my dolls back then. That means they’re sold at greenmarkets so that city folk everywhere can delight in the bittersweet wild leek experience.

I picked up my first bunch of the season today in Union Square, and they’re waiting for me to decide how to cook them. The decision feels momentous since ramp season is so short. I want to make sure they’re the star of the dish, not overwhelmed by too many fussy ingredients, but I also want that dish to be fairly special.

Sautéed with some olive oil and spring mushrooms? Ramp ravioli? Potato-ramp soup? Ramp-fried rice? Ramp pesto? Ramp omelet? Slivered over a salad?

Maybe I’ll have to forage for some in Central Park so I can make every ramp-filled recipe my heart desires. I just won’t bring any home to mom.

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Filed under Vegetables