Funny story about the ramps you see here: I went to visit my cousin in Saratoga last weekend, and on Saturday morning we went to the Farmers’ Market. I bought these, as well as some greens and herbs, and because I was about to buy pastries (If you are ever in the area, Mrs. London’s has what is possibly the best Almond Croissant in the world. It’s incredible!), my cousin sweetly asked if she could help me carry something. I handed over the ramps. What I didn’t realize was how strongly they smelled – a true understatement – and how over the course of the next hour, as we wandered in and out of stores, how many strange looks and comments we would get, eventually being dubbed the “onion girls” by one store owner. : ) Ooops!
That’s the thing about ramps. They’re potent in both scent and flavor (Especially in this case!), but like the fiddleheads I mentioned earlier this week, they’re a seasonal delicacy that shouldn’t be missed, if you’re lucky enough to find them. If you’ve never had them before, they taste like a cross between a leek and garlic with an arugula-ish peppery bite.
I am sure there are more creative ways of preparing them, since at the market alone I overheard two women discussing some ideas, including dipping the ramps in buttermilk, breading and frying them onion ring style. That sounded delicious – albeit labor intensive – to me! I love to make pesto with them though. It’s quick and easy to do, utilizes every part of the ramp, and freezes easily, meaning you can enjoy that ramp-y flavor all year long, if so inclined. I paired mine with hazelnuts, and drizzled raw honey over the finished product for some sweetness to cut the spice. The flowers are optional of course, but always recommended!
While I definitely have a few pieces of cheap costume jewelry that I love, the items I wear the most radiate “vibes”. Maybe that sounds funny, but what I mean is that those pieces were either made with some sort of intent, are one-of-a-kind, came from or remind me of a certain person/time in my life, or have a cool vintage thing going on (Sometimes, all of the above.). They just feel good, you know?
To give you an example, here is a smattering of a few of my favorites, and the stories behind them:
The first piece of jewelry my Dad ever bought my Mom was a fiery opal ring. He knew that I had always admired it as a kid (AKA, “borrowed” it from her jewelry box, a lot!), so he recently had an almost identical one made for me. That ring is special on many levels.
I randomly happened to be in Washington D.C. for job training when the Dalai Lama was visiting in 2010, so there were exhibits and vendors lining the streets. I picked up a skull bracelet at one vendor, and the man running the stand explained to me that it was meant to symbolize the impermanence of life. Truth be told “impermanence” was totally on my mind at the time because that job was not a great fit for me, and I was hoping it would in fact only be a temporary stepping stone to where I was meant to be. I bought the bracelet with that thought, but even today, it serves as a great reminder on all levels.
I have a ring from an elementary school field trip to Howe Caverns. I believe it’s supposed to be a “turquoise” stone, with an adjustable silver band, that most definitely came from a 99 cent souvenir bin. I love it though – especially because you can actually see where the stone is glued on. It always makes me smile.
Both of my grandmas adored jewelry, and had fabulous but uniquely separate taste. One was understated and liked garnets and pearls, while the other wore flamboyant pieces in all different colors, shapes and sizes. I was fortunate enough to inherit some of that. I wear something from each of my grandmas every day, because I genuinely like the jewelry, but more so because I am always trying to channel the strong, intelligent – and sasssy! – women they were.
In the photo above, I am wearing a mix of the “Tight & Bright” and “Boho” Stacks from Tiny Devotions. I purchased both of them when I first moved to Santa Monica. I was drinking a lot of chai tea lattes, running around in my Minnetonka lace-up boots (Seriously, my fave; they’re so comfortable!), and spending a lot of time at the ocean – so per their descriptions, it seemed like I had to have these bracelets too. If you’ve been following along here, then you probably know that I’m a long-time fan of TD. I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with them on a few photos for their latest collection, which launches today. I would be thrilled if you wanted to take a peek!
I also took the liberty of rounding up some additional vibe-worthy pieces. A couple of them are from Sweet & Spark – an awesome online source for vintage finds, while the others are all artisan-quality or handmade. Even though the garnet ring is pretty aspirational for me, I chose it because I knew my Grandma would love it. : )
Any other places I should be looking? If you have suggestions, please share!
The title of this post is admittedly pretty ridiculous. : ) But it also perfectly sums up what this recipe is: simple to make, and loaded with fresh peas and cheese; Smoked Gouda to be exact! So basically, I had to do it.
I grew up eating variations of this (Rice + Cheese + Not-So-Hidden-Vegetable), and still love it served as a side, or as a full meal. You can use brown rice to make it, but I’ve been using a sprouted version with a mix of brown, red, and black, from Trader Joe’s. If you have the opportunity to try this particular blend, I highly recommend doing so! It’s inexpensive at $2.99 a bag, and like other sprouted rice, cooks quickly and has a sweeter, nuttier finish.
Maybe you’re wondering “What the heck are fiddlehead ferns?”. Or maybe you’ve seen these gnarly looking veggies hanging out at your local Farmers’ Market. Or maybe you love them and look forward to cooking with them every Spring. ???
I posted the top photo on my social media accounts last week, and based on the responses I received, the answer is all of the above! (I honestly never thought that there would be so many strong reactions to them; good and bad – but mostly good!).
So for those of you who are unfamiliar with them or are just generally curious, and those of you looking for a new recipe, here are the deets:
My family and I frequent a Persian restaurant in Naples [Florida], that just plain glows. The decor is in muted shades of pink, purple, and teal with lots of metallic touches, which in and of itself is enough to sell me on going. They serve tea in the most beautiful pots, make rose water and champagne cocktails (Which again, sold! I ♥ rose water!), and dish up plates of fresh and fragrant food.
My favorite items on the menu are Spicy Kermani Beef (A tender cut of meat in a saffron, tomato cream sauce. It’s majorly delicious!) and a variation of this salad. Like the title says, it’s pretty; made with ample dried fruit and garden veggies. The dressing is heavily flavored with cloves and cumin. If you go in for taste-test before you dress the salad (I always do!), it may seem bold initially, but I promise, it really works once you mix everything together. This is definitely a hearty combination, so I recommend sharing!