Let’s talk about dreams for a second. I have huge ones and I’m going to revel in a particular vision right here, so just indulge me for a second. Some day, I hope to roll up to a respectable newsstand and lay eyes on an equally respectable cooking publication, emblazoned with the predictable “SUMMER GRILLING ISSUE” thing and whoa, there won’t be a greased-up burger or a sauce-smothered mountain of ribs on the cover. Am I waiting on a new publication entirely/looking for (plant-based) love in all the wrong places? These timely summer volumes always have some veggie options hiding within, and great ones most certainly, but that predominant fire = meat mindset is old hat to me (stating the obvious for the win). Hippie dippy dreams much? I’ve moved on I suppose.
And by that, I mean that I’ve made you something really deluxe for your own barbecue adventures (onwards + upwards!). I do love some simple grilled vegetables with a nice bit of oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, herbs, whatevs. They’re a fuss-free addition to dinner that has everyone rolling with the health wave. You can sip a very cold beer (or an equally cold kombucha) while lazily flipping them for even char. Everything about that is completely right. But I wanted to make something main course-appropriate that fed into my health warrior inclinations. Cauliflower, tempeh, a jerk-ish marinade, ginger-mango-miso dressing and a crucial grilled greens method to the rescue.
Both the marinade and the mango sauce have an extra few ingredients, but I found a lot of them were pantry items for me (and there’s overlap between the two recipes). And the sauce is so worth it–it’s sweet, salty, ginger-spicy and has a lovely not-too-thick consistency–basically tasty and fitting on everything it touches. The grilled greens method is something I picked up when I was interning at a restaurant. The greens would go for a dip in a soy, red wine, herb + spice mix, go right to the grill, smothered in an old sheet pan and two minutes later: perfect tender greens. I kind of massage mine in a lime-y soy mix rather than dunking them outright. The method speaks to laid back dinners outside for sure.
Anyway, a little preparation on your part means dinner made entirely on the grill and some chill time outside afterward, which I’m pretty sure is something we’re all after in these warmer days. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pestering my man about a beach trip for a while, and all the plans that I could possibly dream up for the next few months are kind of hazy and sunset-hued. My cruiser’s been in for a little tune up and is riding very smoothly. Feels like we’re right on the edge of summer’s gifts, right? Soak it in, all :)
jerk-style veggie grill w/ tempeh, greens and mango-ginger-miso sauce
notes: Any vegetable is fair game here. I chose cauliflower mostly to see what it was like on the grill. Also, I realize this jerk marinade mix is probably not authentic, hence my use of the word “style” in there. Let’s let the authenticity thing go for a bit? K THX.
mango-ginger-miso sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
1 small shallot, peeled + rough chopped
1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
1 tsp light miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup/agave/raw honey
1 tsp hot toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
salt + pepper
jerk-style marinade ingredients:
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
juice of 1 lime
splash of tamari
4 green onions, rough chopped (+ extra to garnish if you like)
1 hot pepper (I used a jalapeño because dang those scotch bonnets are hot), seeded + rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled + rough chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground allspice
salt + pepper
grilled greens + veggies:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into thick slices
1 block of tempeh, cut into triangles
as much cleaned greens as you want to eat (spinach, chard, collards + kale are all good)
tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
cooked quinoa, rice, millet etc for serving (I had some black lentils + quinoa in the fridge)
sesame seeds for garnish
Make the dressing: throw all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a creamy and smooth mixture is achieved. Store in a resealable container and set aside, keeping it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Make the marinade: throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a smooth puree is achieved. Place the cauliflower and tempeh pieces in a large ceramic dish and pour the marinade over top. Let it sit in this mix for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill to high. In a large bowl, toss the greens with a splash of oil, some tamari and lime juice to taste, salt and pepper. Set the bowl aside. Oil the grill lightly and place the marinated cauliflower and tempeh on top. Grill until char marks appear on both sides, about 2-5 minutes per side, depending. Transfer the tempeh and cauliflower to an area of the grill that doesn’t put them in direct contact with flame as they finish. In a general way, I find the cauliflower benefits from a bit of extra time. Don’t be finicky with them. Letting them sit means a lower occurrence of sticking. In the last moments of the cauliflower and tempeh grilling, place the greens onto a spot on the grill, trying to keep them tightly together. Put a heavy pot lid down on top of the greens and let them cook until slightly wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Lightly toss them once to promote even wilting. Remove everything from the grill and serve with mango sauce, cooked quinoa/rice etc. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra green onions.
Hello, hello! Going to be a bit of a dine and dash today. Life is extraordinarily full at the moment and wouldn’t you know, my yearly spring cold has arrived just in time. I’m on the mend, sniffling just a bit and seeing the light. A touch of sickness can be this little blessing in disguise sometimes. It forces a powering down, some self love in the form of cozy hot drinks, and rest! Oh gosh, the rest. It demands a nourishing and mindful response. There’s a once-again new perspective on wellness, a few life things sorted out, fresh sheets on the bed, windows wide open, and the world is brand new.
Anyway, as I’m pulling out of this sniffly business, I’m getting a little more excited to meet all of the endeavours face to face. I’m anticipating the madness a little more positively because I’ve got myself a little plan. Wanna hear it? Enjoy the crazy. Frolic in the crazy even. I’m usually a put-your-head-down-and-work-til-it’s-over type when it comes to mastering the tasks of life. I’m trying to make laser beam focus coexist with pleasure and I think it’s gonna be pretty rad.
So I made you some potstickers too. They have little cuts of sweet spring vegetables, tender shreds of new cabbage, lots of ginger (sinus clearing yay!), fresh mint and an insanely delicious maple and soy dip, all flecked with sesames, scallions and chili flakes. I love pretty much anything in the dumpling category because you get to hunch over the plate in anticipation of filling overflow/sauce drips. They demand fully vested eating and are generally always delicious. Also, every culture has one, which obviously points to their inherently good + true nature. These look finicky, but they’re honestly VERY hard to screw up. I worked for a chef that joked about wanting a house made from fried wonton wrappers once. These things are durable, I’m telling you. If you kind of manhandle them while you’re trying to pinch them shut, no worry. It’s gonna be fine.
spring vegetable potstickers w/ sweet chili soy dip
serves: makes about 24
notes: Check the ingredients on your package of wonton wrappers to ensure that they are vegan/free of nasties. You could also wrap the cooked veggies with boston lettuce leaves and nix the sauteeing step for a lighter option, or possibly try some rice paper wraps.
1 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil, divided
1 small shallot, small dice
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
6-7 stalks of asparagus, woody ends snapped off + small diced
1 cup shelled fresh/frozen peas
1 cup shredded green cabbage
juice of 1 lime
salt + pepper
2 sprigs of mint, leaves chopped
24+ wonton wrappers
sweet chili soy dip ingredients:
¼ cup tamari or nama shoyu
2 tbsp maple syrup/raw honey/agave
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
couple drops of hot toasted sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 green onion, thinly sliced on a bias
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Heat 1 ½ teaspoons of the grapeseed oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and ginger to the pan. Stir them up and cook until fragrant and shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus, peas and cabbage to the pan. Sauté until the peas and asparagus are bright green and the cabbage is slightly wilted. Add the lime juice, season the mixture to taste and remove from the heat. Add the mint, stir, and allow the mixture to cool.
Divide the vegetable filling amongst the wonton wrappers, placing about 2 teaspoons of it in the center of each wonton square. Moisten half of the edges with a bit of water and fold the potstickers up, pinching the tops shut as you go.
Wipe out the sauté pan and heat the remaining grapeseed oil on medium heat. Fry the potstickers in batches until they’re golden brown on both sides, about ½-1 full minute per side. Introduce more oil to the pan as needed to finish them up.
For the sweet chili soy dip, whisk all of the ingredients together. Serve the potstickers hot with the dip on the side.
Have I ever told you how this blog came to be a real thing? As in an internet real thing? My friend Michelle pushed me to do it. It took a bit of convincing. I generally liked food blogs, but was also annoyed by them all the same. The more I mulled over the actual existence of it, the less I thought I had to contribute to people’s actual lives in a productive sense. I knew a few things about cooking, had studied nutrition and held some very solid dinner parties in my time (including that one where I made straight bourbon slushies with little more than a sprig of mint to “soften the blow”), but a regular log of that stuff–where people can see it and generally like or be annoyed by it too? Eeeeeenh. It took me a solid bit of time, waffling between the reasons why or why not (see what I did there?).
And my friend kept at it until I dredged up the gumption essentially. She would gently nudge me on what I could contribute in a real way. There were texts asking me about a particular ingredient or cooking technique, with the obligatory reminder that qualified the creation of a site. Jokingly, she would mention its sheer benefit to her own life with food.
So I tried making and photographing a few things with a purchased domain just kind of sitting there. I agonized about those first recipes. They weren’t good enough, I hated the photos (I have an embarrassed fondness for a lot of my old photos now), the whole thing felt kind of silly (“blog” as an actual word, bluh awful)–just riffing on healthy seasonal foods to a solid following of 12 people (hey mom!).
Nowadays, the number of readers is a bit higher and this project has contributed a lot of (sometimes crazy) greatness to my life. I’ve only been tempted 4 times that I can remember to start a post with “Guys, I hate blogging. Fuuuuuuu–” …So, many wins. But still, every little speck of opportunity I get because of it, you betcha I’m letting my instigating friend hear about it first and foremost. This usually leads to a blitz of !!!’s and “Holy shit!” kind of texts, which is pretty much the most fun. I was compelled to talk about this here, to serve as a reminder of the serious abundance she’s helped bring into my life and why I keep at this thing. What I’m driving at here: You need to keep the good + positive people around you, to remind you that a blog isn’t always the silliest thing in the world. Or to just help you work towards actually creating and becoming something to wave from up high with all of your pride.
Since Michelle is pretty keen on pointing out that I probably just want to post breakfast treats all the time (I do), I made some waffles for y’all this week–with my first bunch of rhubarb that I bought from a really sweet lady on the side of the road over the weekend. She weighed the bunch on an old-time-y scale, questioning its accuracy as the bunch seemed to thicken rather tremendously. I brought it home and stewed half of it with tons of vanilla bean flecks, orange zest and juice, and slid the mushy heap of it right onto the tops of golden, yeasted buckwheat-y waffles. What could be better enjoyed outside in a spring splendour? Nothin’ at all.
Did you know that rhubarb and buckwheat are botanical relatives in the category of pseudocereals? I thought this was kind of interesting for a few reasons. Both ingredients seem to take a few tries to fully appreciate for one. Buckwheat flour has a bitter, wine-y quality that requires thoughtful pairing in a general sense–in blinis with smoked fish + horseradish, mixed into pancakes with roasted pears, as noodles in fragrant + perfectly salty/pork-y ramen broth. Its aroma is sweet and colour delightfully purple-ish heather grey (this tends to fade throughout the course of cooking/baking). Rhubarb is notoriously sour, and like buckwheat, not often enjoyed on its own. Pairings of berries, heavy cream and heaps of sugar are utilized with frequency and um yep, it’s pretty delicious with riesling and other white wines. So I thought that the two together would make a very happy union, one offering up what the other lacked with an enthusiastic drizzle of maple syrup, a heavy hand of wholewheat pastry flour to balance the assertiveness of the buckwheat and flecks of warm spice throughout the waffle. We ate them outside in the shade, perched at the tiniest patio table, completely full in all ways imaginable.
Waving hello from some strange (but wonderful) summer-in-spring weather, bike rides + new albums on repeat. xo!
raised buckwheat waffles + vanilla bean braised rhubarb
notes: You have the option to raise the batter on the counter for 1 hour before you plan to cook the waffles OR for a 1/2 hour on the counter + a covered overnight rest in the fridge for extra developed flavour from the yeast. The stewed rhubarb remains pleasantly sour, so I would recommend serving these with some maple syrup on the side for the lovers of sweetness in the am hours.
raised buckwheat waffles ingredients:
1 cup warm almond milk (or other milk that you like)
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tbsp raw honey/maple syrup/agave
2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra to grease waffle iron
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wholewheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 tbsp warm water
pinch of fine sea salt
vanilla stewed rhubarb ingredients:
1/2 lb rhubarb, cleaned + cut into 3-4 inch pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup + extra to serve
zest + juice of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped
In a medium-large non reactive bowl, combine the warm almond milk and yeast. Let the yeast dissolve and become part of the milk for a few minutes.
To the almond milk and yeast, add the honey, oil and vanilla. Give it a stir. Add the buckwheat and wholewheat flours, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir until just combined, then add the water and stir one more time. over the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1/2 an hour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or let the batter sit on the counter for a full hour and go from there if you’re okay with slightly less developed flavour).
Meanwhile, make the braised rhubarb. Combine the rhubarb, maple syrup, orange zest + juice and vanilla bean seeds in a medium saucepan (throw the vanilla pod in while it cooks too). Let it sit over medium heat until there’s some faint bubbling. Let the rhubarb cook until soft and syrup-y, about 12 minutes. Set it aside or keep it warm until you’re ready to serve the waffles.
Remove the batter from the fridge and stir in the fine sea salt. Let the batter rest while you preheat the waffle iron. I find a higher done-ness level is desirable with yeasted waffles in general, so there’s that. Grease the waffle iron and cook waffle batter according to your maker’s directions (almost 1/2 the batter per waffle in the iron for 3 minutes or so for me). Enjoy waffles warm with the stewed rhubarb.
Any expanded thoughts or musings on my week that I could offer you today would just be a heap of slashed clippings, loose (+ heavily frayed) threads, scratches on paper napkins, and trailed-off sentences with space-y eyes. Notes from the heap: how is it possible that #humblebrags continue to rise out of the lower regions of the online/spilling-into-real-life world? Cut that out, internet. An introduction to Let Me Google That For You a couple weeks ago has led to much temptation in the contact form submission/questions area of managing this site (side note: if you email me a question, I promise I won’t be a demonstrative POS). My dependence on a computer for a majority of my work/communication is kind of weighing on me lately. It’s a machine that executes repetitive sequences of all types with zero variation. When I think of the greatness of life, I see waves of moments that surely intersect (sometimes serendipitously), but never fully repeat with exactitude. Technological devices have been temporarily sucking the existential magic out of things for me I guess (fully realize that I’ll change my mind on this in like, 2 minutes). Anything described as “charming” is just a write off in general. Oh and! I’m still reeling from the amount of money I spent on some mediocre sandwiches over the weekend.
It’s not all bad though. The blood orange soda I got with my crummy sandwich was lovely, this site/movement of no-fucks-given is just the thing for me in this particular spot in time, I got my hair whipped around by some wild lake breezes the other day and dang if Leo isn’t still the dreamiest ever in Gatsby, AMIRIGHT?! (I’m right) Oh yeah, and this little thing that’s happening.
ANYWAY. In the interest of getting out of my own mind a bit, I made you some tarts with chocolate ganache-y good stuff. I had a college externship at a place that made these too-cool chocolate terrines with a nut and date core all running through them. Slices of it would get plated up with some cashew-based chocolate + orange ice cream and beautiful slices and spirals of fresh fruit. This mousse/ganache-ish filling is a riff on that terrine base. There’s plenty of avocado chocolate mousse recipes out there, but I love this one for the sheer amount of melted chocolate. Versions of it with cocoa powder are great, but this one rules. Trust. The first time I was tasked with making it at the restaurant, I had blitzed up the ripe avocado with vanilla and whiskey into a smooth paste. Then came the point in the prep where I would just drizzle the melted chocolate into the feed tube of a food processor while the motor ran. As I was doing this, the chef/owner kept telling me over my shoulder “More chocolate, more chocolate, more, more. You want it so thick with chocolate that the thing can’t even move.” Obviously this stuff is rich, delicious, deep, dark and perfect.
And this pastry is officially my go-to for sweet + savouries right now. Wrestling with cold coconut oil is kind of frustrating sometimes and I’m not terribly into the flavour of most non-dairy butter substitutes. This olive oil-focused tactic from The New York Times just needs some stirring (ie no cutting in of cold fat), a small pulling together with the hands and it’s good to go after a little rest. It’s highly forgiving, non-fussy, a breeze to roll out and delightfully crisp. It’s my fave and I want it to be yours too. I’ve tried it with a bunch of different whole grain flours (rye, spelt, wholewheat, buckwheat, millet), in sweet and savoury versions and it’s perfect every time. Bake up the tarts, slap the ganache in and oh yeah, there’s coconut whip on top. Everything is kind of looking up I think :)
PS! I have a guest post at the wonderful A Couple Cooks blog this week as well. Sonja and Alex have started an excellent series called Healthy + Whole that focuses on accessible and wholesome recipes with real ingredients, overcoming fear/intimidation in the kitchen, and reconnecting with the earth that provides for us. Plus they are really lovely people to boot. You can see the post here.
little chocolate tarts w/ simple olive oil pastry + coconut cream
pastry lightly adapted from The New York Times/Martha Rose Shulman (PS: there’s some gluten free instruction there too)
serves: makes 8 if you re-roll the pastry scraps (or 6 with leftover chocolate ganache)
notes: I stayed simple with mine, but orange zest, various types of booze, almond extract, orange blossom water or ginger would all make nice additions to the filling.
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp/100g whole spelt flour
1/2 cup/55g light spelt flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp granulated sweetener (coconut/maple sugar, evaporated cane)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice (or white wine/white balsamic vinegar in a pinch)
chocolate ganache ingredients:
1 medium-large sized ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want this)
2 tsp vanilla extract
faintest pinch of ground cinnamon (mostly to boost the flavour of the chocolate)
tiny pinch of sea salt
coconut whip ingredients:
1 can of full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen’s Organic + Whole Foods 365 brand are my faves), refrigerated for 24+ hours
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 6-8 muffin cups with olive oil, spray oil etc and set aside.
Make the pastry: Combine the flours, salt and sweetener in a large bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and stir into the dry ingredients until uniform little clumps appear throughout the mix. Add the water and lemon juice. Stir until the pastry starts to come together. Dump it out onto a floured surface and bring the pastry together with your hands. It should feel lightly moist (not not tacky), elastic and giving. Shape it into a disc, wrap with saran and store in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.
After it’s rested, remove the dough from the fridge and flour a working surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to 1/4-1/3 inch-ish thickness. Using a 3 1/2 – 4 inch circular cutter, punch out circles of dough. I punched out 4 on the first go, pieces together the remaining pieces jigsaw puzzle-style and re-punched more circles and it all worked out. Gently fit them into the greased muffin cups, crimping/creasing them if you need to. Prick the bottoms of the crusts with a fork. Place some little squares of parchment on top and weigh them down with dry beans/pie weights. Bake the crusts like this for about 10 minutes or until you notice little brown edges on the tops. Remove the papers/dry beans and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crusts are fully golden brown. Allow crusts to cool before filling.
Make the ganache: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, melted chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Pulse the mix a few times to get it going. Then flip it to high until the mix is completely incorporated, thick and creamy. Set aside until ready to use. It will harden considerably if you store it in the fridge, so keeping it covered on the countertop is fine.
Make the coconut whip: Open the can of coconut milk and extract the solid mass of coconut cream from the top of the can (and only the solid mass). The leftover milky water is a nice addition to a smoothie. Put the solid coconut cream into a medium bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat everything together with a hand mixer on high for a minute or so, or until you’ve achieved an airy whipped-cream-ish result. Store this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Assemble the tarts: Fill the shells with chocolate ganache, top with dollops of coconut whip and garnish with chopped almonds, cocoa powder dustings etc.
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A part of me kind of feels a bit ridiculous for posting two recipes with ramps/wild leeks today. Let me qualify this feeling a bit. A lot of people on my instagram/twitter feed seem to be enjoying this first spoil of spring (on the real: like lots). I definitely had a bit of a laugh when I read that they were sought out aggressively as some sort of “foodie merit badge” in an article that was published last year. I enjoy their mild and sweet onion-to-garlic taste and burst of first warm season nutrition, certainly. Spotting them on a Spring hike offers a special kind of thrill, a sense of discovery that is uncommon with more typical food-sourcing practices. There’s an intense freedom in sourcing your own food by wilder means. It’s a process coloured by curiosity, passion and independence.
But there is growing evidence that ramps/wild leeks are over-foraged. A more direct way of explaining this: since their glamorization of recent years, less thought is being given to their sometimes 18-month germination stage (kale is 5 days by comparison) and multi-year growth period necessary to produce an edible bulb. I sprialed down the rabbit hole reading blog posts and articles about dwindling ramp populations, stories of families that would look forward to gathering a few every year, having to go deeper and deeper into the forests for them as time has worn on. Those gorgeous photos of leafy bundles piled high at a farmer’s market table seem to capture a myopic worldview to me now. Fortunately, there are plenty of pieces that detail on sustainable harvesting techniques. In the discussion of local eating (whatever it may be defined by in whatever circle you find yourself in), entitlement, movements of excess and the need for more thorough investigation always seem to come up in an ethics tug of war.
Anyway, as with all things we take into our bodies that become a part of us, there has to be some serious thinking involved. I enjoyed these first bits of spring to the brim of fullness, from painstakingly washing away the grit and forest-y attachments to the actual enjoyment of the end product. Taking them in slowly and approaching the food with thought means a longer-felt sense of satiation for me. Very simply stated: I’m good for the year. Bring on the peas, strawberries and garlic scapes too please? Today I’m sharing two things I made with my little bundle of the alliums with you. There’s a brilliantly simple asparagus soup that capitalizes on that sweet onion flavour and a rustic spelt bread with some chopped greens folded in. Enjoyed together? Yes, yes.
I’ll also add a few notes on asparagus soup. I have to tell you, I’ve had some awfully crummy versions of it over the years. Ones where the sweetness of the perennial is overwhelmed by salty stock. Or the vegetable is very clearly overcooked, that damp funk ringing loud and clear. Sometimes its lightness is smothered in parmesan or truffle to the point of obscurity. With some trial and error I’ve learned a few key principles to follow when simmering up a soulful pot of this goodness. The seeming main point of this dish is to preserve and glorify that spring vegetal sweetness. Here’s how you do that: utilize acid in the form of white wine and a fresh squeeze of lime at the end. The lime adds a perfect sour lift that doesn’t turn the dish into asparagus + citrus soup. It serves the soup without overwhelming. Also, use a bit of heat, but not to the point where you can feel it. I add cayenne near the beginning of the cooking process and it merely serves to heighten sweetness. Lastly, enrich your stock with some wilt-y asparagus bits. Asparagus sweated out, simmered and puréed with asparagus stock? That’s the Platonic ideal of clean asparagus flavour right there. This is important.
Lastly, I made you some bread with chopped up ramp greens. Any sort of herbs would be nice in this (although in lesser amounts if you’re using rosemary, oregano, thyme + the like). The recipe is pretty simple and forgiving. It does require about 2 hours of mostly inactive time, but as with all warm and fresh bread-like things, it is certainly worth it.
simple asparagus + ramp soup recipe
notes: As I mentioned, I like to simmer my vegetable stock with a few chopped up pieces of asparagus prior to making this to really amp up the sweet asparagus flavour. Inevitably a few spears go off/wilt-y in a bunch, so I just chop those up and toss them in with the stock until they’ve gone a little past the bright green stage.
2 tsp grapeseed oil
12-15 ramps/wild leeks, cleaned + chopped, white bulbs + greens divided
1 medium waxy potato, peeled + 1/2 inch dice
1 bunch of asparagus, woody base ends removed, stalks cut into 1-2 inch lengths
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
heavy splash of dry white wine
salt + pepper
4-5 cups vegetable stock/asparagus stock
juice of 1 lime
kale chips (kale tossed in oil, salt + pepper and baked in a single layer at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until crisp)
extra virgin olive oil
chopped chives/chive blossoms
violet flowers (SO optional, guys. They’re all over our lawn and I shot this outside and whoa, there they were :))
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped white ramp bulbs to the pot. Stir them around and cook them until slightly softened. Add the diced potato, asparagus and cayenne. Saute the vegetables for a minute or so. Add the white wine, let the alcohol burn off a bit and stir the vegetables some more. Season everything with salt and pepper. Keep cooking the vegetables until the asparagus is bright, bright green.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot (enough to cover by an inch or so) and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
Carefully blend the soup in batches in your blender to puree. Add the lime juice to the pureed soup and stir to combine. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary. To serve, bring the pureed soup to a boil and serve with any garnishes you like and slices of the spelt bread.
spelt bread with ramps recipe
barely adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in The Guardian
serves: makes 2 small loaves
notes: You could experiment with ratios of whole spelt to hard bread flour, but I tend to go with this recipe when I want a no fuss, lightly grainy bread. Of course, you can use other add-ins you like or just enjoy it plain.
2 1/2 cups/300g whole spelt flour
1 1/3 cups/200g hard bread flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 package of instant yeast (8 grams)
1 cup chopped ramps/wild leeks, green leafy parts only
1 1/3 cups water
oil for greasing a bowl
In a large bowl combine the spelt flour, bread flour, salt, yeast and chopped wild leeks. Stir them to combine. Add the water and stir until a dough starts to form. Bring it together with your hands. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together. Knead for 8 – 10 minutes or until a supple and smooth dough forms with the slightest tackiness to it. It should feel warm and alive. It isn’t necessary to knock yourself out kneading this–just slowly keep on rolling it off the wrist until it feels good.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, rolling it around to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, cut it in half and form both pieces into round ball shapes by gathering/pinching dough on the bottom of the ball with your fingers. Once you’ve shaped both breads, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the sheet with a damp towel and let the bread rise for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and secure a rack in the middle of the oven.
Once you’re ready to bake, use a very sharp knife to cut a slit into the top. Nestle a whole ramp leaf in there if you like. Bake the loaves until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom, about 25 minutes. Allow loaves to cool slightly before enjoying.