A Lovely Surprise

Garlic. Flowers.

How is it possible that I've never seen these before? Aside from the fact that I instantly wished they could be my wedding bouquet (they'll be out of season by the end of August), finding these at our farmer's market this weekend was such a lovely surprise.

I have no idea what to do with them. Anyone have any bright ideas? The farmer said she doesn't even bother chopping them, just crumbles them up with her fingers and uses them like fresh garlic. Needless to say, it's on. I'll let you know how it goes.

Until then, these lovelies will be right here on my counter. I wish all flowers smelled this good.


Reflections on Ramp Season

So guys, you know I love these things, right?

If you don't, there's a good chance that we've never spoken. Or that you've never been to the beach with me. As I have one pretty conspicuously tattooed on my ribs. (Sorry ancestors and grandmas.)

I went characteristically ramp-crazy this spring, but noticed that while nearly everyone I know has been forced to try them in my presence and (I hope) enjoyed them, there's been a lot of ramp backlash lately. I've heard grumblings of fad-ism, that people only go crazy for them because they're tough to get, even during their unfairly short season. These grumblers also mention that these 'foodies' really only like ramps because it seems pretty cool to be ferociously hungry for something that hardly anyone knows about. A secret, stinky little club. (Let's take a quick minute to discuss how much I kind of detest the word 'foodie'. We're people. We eat food. Being excited about it shouldn't get a diminutive 'ie' tacked onto the end of it. There, I said it.)

Anyway. My adoration is undeterred.

I was taught to love onions, garlic and all things in the allium family by two people. My mother, who cooked them into nearly every meal I ever ate as a child, not to mention as a grown-up, and my father, who SHOCKED me by chomping straight into a raw green onion right before my eyes. I was never the same.

So, it is in their honor that I continue to go totally allium crazy at all times of year, but especially ramp season. We (Sidekick and I) started with butter grilled ramps atop one of his most impeccable burgers. He makes the best burgers, did I mention that?

I moved on swiftly to the tastiest deviled eggs.

I, inevitably, moved on to pickles, which were gobbled up all too soon.

I also have some ramp butter relaxing coolly in the freezer. Just waiting to delight us come fall and winter - if I can wait that long.

Ramp Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (plus a few spoons of crème fraiche if you have it)
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
8 - 10 ramp tops (use the bulbs and lovely pink stems for something else, like PICKLES)
knob of butter
white pepper
smoked paprika

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 4- to 5-quart pot and bring to a rolling boil. As soon as the water boils, take the pot off the heat, cover tightly and let sit for exactly 12 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the ramp tops and saute with the butter and a pinch of salt until tender, but still bright green. Let them cool and TRY not to eat them all. When the eggs are finished, rinse them under lots of cold water to stop cooking.

Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and push them through a fine mesh strainer with your fingers over a mixing bowl (I know it sounds silly, but these will be the creamiest, lightest deviled eggs you've ever eaten). To the yolks, add sour cream, crème fraiche, mustard, ramps and stir with fork until combined well. Add the vinegar, mix gently. If you want the filling to be little looser, add a little more vinegar. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, then spoon into egg whites.

Sprinkle the smoked paprika over and serve them to grateful friends, significant others, or yourself with a cold Lillet.