I’ve mentioned several times how when I first moved to Boston, my eyes and senses were awoken with the concept of seasonality, something that had been absent in the first 25 years of my life. Fall meant squash and apples, which led to pomegranates and fennel and citrus in the Winter. But Spring meant something entirely different. Spring boasted green in all varieties, with long awaited waves and surpluses of artichokes, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, and spring onions. Boston’s restaurants were flooded with menu items incorporating each of these into the mix.
Prior to this exposure, ramps had always only meant elevated pieces of floor, but they are actually wild leeks, garlicky types of onions that can be sauteed or pickled or roasted. When the world wouldn’t stop talking about them, my curiosity made me jump on the ramp bandwagon and cook with them. So on a nice afternoon Spring day, I made myself a super easy lunch showcasing all that New England Spring produce has to offer. Simple cut up asparagus sauteed with oniony ramps, raisins and almonds. Couldn’t be easier, couldn’t be healthier, couldn’t be more delicious.
Continuing with the produce obsession, and given the fact that I graduated from BU a short while ago and moved back home in a whirlwind, I am off to Europe for the next ten weeks, working on four farms in Italy and Spain, and then traveling all over Eastern Europe. I’ve always wanted to live abroad, and I figure if I don’t do it right now, I’ll never get the chance to. This is so special to me because one short year ago, this was TOTALLY not on my horizon, as I was ready to move back home into a settled life with a settled someone. But I always knew deep inside that it wasn’t for me, at least not in this moment of blossoming. I wasn’t done exploring and living. A special mentor of mine, and someone I deeply admire who constantly offers crucial gems, pearls, no, DIAMONDS of life wisdom told me, “don’t be the person in the nursing home that no one wants to visit because they’re bitter. they’re bitter because they didn’t do everything they wanted, even though they knew they should have. take chances.” This resonated with me deeply, and it changed my insides. I couldn’t let it go.
As that settled life is no longer the case, I happily depart and take advantage of what life has to offer me, moving boldly in the true direction that my life is taking me in. I will never be 26 and full of youth again, with the world at my feet and minimal responsibilities. I know if I don’t do these things now, I will regret them forever. The farm life has always interested me, and when I move back home to Miami in August for good, I want to use the knowledge I gain abroad to make this city better in terms of healthy eating and produce.
So because I have no idea what my internet and WiFi situation will be like, I will sadly not be posting regularly until August. But I really will do my best to keep this updated with little tidbits of my journey. I feel and know that it will be life altering in so many ways that I cannot grasp as of yet. My always thirsty sense of wanderlust will be continually quenched for the summer.
Many hugs, kisses, and good eating and life living until then.
Asparagus sauteed with ramps
Note: if you don’t have ramps, use scallions or leeks or shallots. Even red onion. I hate to say this, but I feel like ramps are just a teensy bit overrated. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was more than this. Sorry, New England and ramps extraordinaires!
Also feel free to use whatever dried fruit or nut you have on hand. Pistachios, walnuts, dried cherries, golden raisins could work as well. As always, it’s up to you.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
4-5 ramps, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ramps and cook for about one or two minutes, until they soften up. Add the asparagus and cook for about five more minutes, as they ramps soften and asparagus gets crisp. I like the asparagus a little al dente here, with some bite. In the last minute of cooking, add the toasted almonds and currants and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.