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Giveaway Winner, and First Farmer’s Market Meal

April 20, 2009

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First things first — wow, apparently there are a lot of you out there that love Greek yogurt (or really want to try it!) So, using the random number generator, the winner of the Stonyfield giveaway is…#60, Heather S.! Congrats, Heather; I’ll be in touch with you for your contact info so you can receive the book of goodies from Stonyfield. Thanks to all who commented!

And now, onto more good eating: namely, our farmer’s market has been open for a few weeks! Selection in early April usually includes spinach, ramps from Kingbird Farm, plenty of great meat from a few of my favorite farmers, and flowers galore.

welcome back! spiffy new sign…

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Blue Heron Farm had lots of six-packs of greens and herbs

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West Haven Farm was loaded up with gorgeous tulip bouquets

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“bread not bombs” – a great motto

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I love Fat Boy Bakery’s bread

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This is what I look for in early spring! Kingbird Farm comes through again.

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The lovely Heather, one half of the husband-wife duo who owns The Piggery

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Our first market meal this year was this pasta dish: spicy Italian sausage from The Piggery (great stuff!) sauteed with garlicky sliced ramp bulbs, then tossed together with linguine, delicate spinach, and the green ramp tops; a little pasta cooking water brings the mixture together. It was a great early spring meal: still a little hearty with the sausage since it’s still cool, but with lots of fresh, bright, green flavors.

brown up the sausage, stir in the ramp bulbs

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spicy and spring-y

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Oh, and speaking of ramps — I look forward to them every year at the market; they’re only available for a few weeks, and their flavor is incredibly delicious. For those of you who haven’t seen or tasted ramps, they’re wild leeks, often found growing in open wooded areas near water, and their taste is a combination of garlic and pungent scallion, both in the bulb and carried through more delicately into the green tops. They often come with dirt clinging to the root end, so you need to clean them as you would a scallion, usually slipping off the top layer of skin where dirt is trapped.

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clean the bottoms off the little stinky buggers

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I usually buy a few bunches at the market each week while they’re available, but I had a great surprise this past weekend. I seem to have forgotten to mention here on EoS that B and I bought some acreage this past year, and we’re building a house on the land this summer(!) — and on the land is a wooded area, near a little pond. Well, we were walking through there on Saturday, and guess what we stumbled upon?

<gasp!> can it be?!

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what makes my weekend? seeing these little guys popping out of the ground!

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RAMPS!! A whole patch of them, growing near the edge of the woods by the pond. A ramp patch of our own! Weeeeeehoooo, good eating awaits! I foresee many early spring celebratory ramp dishes in our future…

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Linguine with Spicy Sausage, Spinach and Ramps

an Eggs on Sunday original

view printable recipe

Ingredients
1 pound good-quality hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches of ramps (about 36), bulbs cleaned and sliced, green tops reserved
4 ounces organic spinach
1 pound linguine
parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large heavy skillet until shimmering. Add the sausage, out of its casing, and cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking up the chunks as it cooks. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine in a large pot of salted boiling water. When the linguine is done cooking, drain it and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Add the drained linguine directly into the skillet with the sausage and ramp bulbs, then add in the spinach and green ramp tops. Toss together to combine, adding a little pasta water as you toss, until the pasta is moistened and the spinach and ramp tops are wilted but still bright green. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and more salt if needed.

Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, if desired.

Serves 6.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2009 7:09 am

    I said “Weeeeeehoooo” also when I found ramps near our house! One of the last remaining edible wild treasures. You’ll look forward to spring more than ever now that you know it brings backyard ramps. I was told by another forager this week though that you should only harvest about 10% of what is there. If you want more than that, leave the bulbs in the ground and just take the stem and greens. That way you’ll have ramps forever, what could be better than that?

  2. April 20, 2009 9:42 am

    Got some of those tulips on my table right now! This recipe sounds great, thanks.

  3. April 20, 2009 2:06 pm

    ooh, i’m so excited to see this b/c i just picked up some ramps at the store. and i’m so bummed we don’t have any farmers markets open until next month…

  4. April 20, 2009 2:46 pm

    It’s always a joy to see spring arrive to Ithaca after a loooong winter. Enjoy it!!

    Dan
    Casual Kitchen

  5. April 20, 2009 7:29 pm

    We are a few weeks away from our spring market start-up so I am a bit jealous right now!! I’ve got to get my hands on some ramps – this pasta dish looks lovely!!

  6. April 20, 2009 7:46 pm

    I’ve never had a ramp, but now that I know they are garlicky, I am wishing I could try some now. *sigh* Those look terrific. So happy you have some on your property too. *bonus*🙂

  7. April 20, 2009 8:27 pm

    This sounds like a nice and simple way to enjoy some ramps. I am really going to have to try them this year.

  8. April 20, 2009 8:56 pm

    My best friend lives just outside of Ithaca.
    That was one of the nicest farmers’ markets I have been to (which is saying something coming from Southern California…you can find one almost any day of the week around here).
    Thanks for posting pictures of it, and the lovely recipe for ramps!

  9. April 20, 2009 11:37 pm

    Oh wow! So lucky they are growing right next to you. Incredible.

    What a great way to welcome spring while still filling the tummy in the late cool weather. I can’t wait to get to my farmer’s market this weekend. Yours is making me yearn.

    Love this and can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the ramps.

  10. April 21, 2009 4:10 pm

    I am envious of your awesome farmer’s market!

  11. April 21, 2009 11:19 pm

    Congrats, Heather! This linguine recipe sounds totally delicious. Wow!! I love sausage, so you totally sold me on this recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  12. April 22, 2009 2:08 pm

    Wow, the sausage, ramps and spinach over linguine looks and sounds spectacular! I’ve got some Piggery sausage in the freezer and some fresh spinach. Now I just need some ramp bulbs…

  13. April 23, 2009 10:53 am

    I can’t wait until ramps and morels start popping up in my backyard. Hopefully warmer weather will be here soon!

  14. April 23, 2009 5:37 pm

    Hey Michael – that’s a great tip! Ramps forever, sounds perfect.

    Jessie – they’re so beautiful, aren’t they? West Haven does a great job.

    ttfn300 – enjoy your ramps! And next month is almost here.🙂

    Daniel – oh, it’s so true! It’s such a relief when spring finally arrives here.

    sue – you must have ramps around you, right? Hope you can get your hands on some!

    Jen – oh, you *must* try them, esp. if you love garlicky stuff.

    Kevin – see above!

    Nicole – I know; we’re so lucky to have such a fantastically well-established, large, supported farmer’s market program in Ithaca. Can’t quite compete w/SoCal for year-round produce, but it almost makes it that much more appreciated when the market does reopen after a long winter.

    Melissa – yes; that’s exactly what this dish was — a taste of spring but still filling for the tummy. Yum.

    Nancy – we’re really lucky to have the market!

    Elyse – ooh, I love sausage too.🙂 Enjoy!

    MHA – The Piggery’s sausage is incredibly delicious, isn’t it? I can’t wait to get my hands on more this weekend!

    brilynn – ramps *and* morels, right in your backyard? You lucky girl!!🙂

  15. Betsy permalink
    April 23, 2009 9:51 pm

    Hooray for wild ramps! What an exciting treasure on your land!

  16. April 27, 2009 8:32 pm

    this was awesome, thanks for posting this recipe just in time🙂

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