Archives for posts with tag: Fort Greene

IMG_3453

Rhubarb is one of my favorite fleeting vegetables of spring—in season in New York from roughly the end of May to mid- (or sometimes late-) June, it briefly crosses over with strawberry season, inspiring countless james, pies, and cobblers (my post last year for a strawberry-rhubarb pie). Well, it’s not quite strawberry season yet but the rhubarb was out yesterday in all its pink-red-and-green glory. What’s a girl to make?

It seemed each person I passed as I approached the farmer’s market was toting a bagful of just-picked rhubarb. (I should’ve asked what they were planning to make!) I was cruising Smitten Kitchen blog for ideas and came across a recipe for a rhubarb “snacking” cake: a layer of cake batter under a layer of rhubarb under a layer of crumb. Moist and not too sweet. And no strawberries required.

IMG_3432

IMG_3441

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I tweaked Deb’s recipe by reducing the sugar; substituting greek yogurt for sour cream; and reducing the flour in the crumb. And I had leftovers of the rhubarb mixture so I sautéed for five to ten minutes and plan to use it on top of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Note: I found the cake needed the full sixty minutes for the crumb on top to brown.

Cake
1 1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 c sugar, divided in 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 c plain greek yogurt

Crumb
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan with butter. (Optional: you can line the pan with parchment paper.) Stir together the rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/2 c sugar and set aside. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger together. Add half of this mixture to the batter, just until combined. Continue, adding half the yogurt, the second half of the flour mixture, and the remaining yogurt, mixing between each addition until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the batter in a single layer.

To make the crumb: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together, then stir in the melted butter until crumb-size pieces form. Spread evenly over the rhubarb layer. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes and the crumb is golden on top. Cool completely.

IMG_3444 IMG_3454

Advertisements

IMG_3396

What better way to celebrate spring than waking up early on a Saturday morning, going to your nearest farmers’ market, and buying up a big bundle of fragrant ramps?

I think because of their popularity the price of ramps have gone up since last year. Now, instead of $3 a bunch, which was about 1/4 pound, they are $15 per pound at the Fort Greene farmers’ market. C’est la vie. It’s one of those times I feel a wee bit silly as a New Yorker—paying for over-priced seasonal vegetables at the market, because, well, that’s the only way I can get them. Well, not the only way—last year my friend picked them wild upstate and I made this ramp butter. The year before I gave you a recipe for linguine with ramps.

This is the second weekend I’ve bought ramps at the market and I imagine they’ll be around for at least one more week, making it to next weekend’s market for perhaps the last time this year.

This year inspired in part by David Tanis’s article in the Times on fried eggs and ramps, I wanted to keep it simple. So last night I made bulgogi with whole sautéed ramps eaten in lettuce leaves with Sriracha and thinly sliced cucumbers. This morning for brunch I made a quick omelette with sautéed ramps, this time chopped up not whole, and a salty sheep’s milk cheese from Turkey (beyaz penir), similar to feta. Use the entire ramp—stem and leaf—just remember to clean the ramps thoroughly and chop off the roots.

Omelette with Ramps and Feta

Serves 2

4 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound ramps, cleaned and trimmed
2 ounces beyaz penir or feta, crumbled
salt and pepper
Sriracha, to serve
Cucumbers, thinly sliced, to serve

In a medium bowl, whisk four eggs with the milk. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small oven-proof skillet.

Turn the broiler of your oven on (on low if you have the option).

Chop the stems of the ramps into small slices and set aside. Chop the green leafy tops into small ribbons. When the pan is hot toss in the chopped stems of the ramps and lower the heat, sauteéing for one or two minutes. Add the ribbons of leafy greens to the pan, sauté for another minute, then add the eggs. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese on top. Do not stir or scramble, just let the bottom of the eggs cook for about two minutes undisturbed.

Transfer the skillet carefully to your oven (or underside of your oven if that’s where your broiler is) and cook the top of the eggs for three to five minutes, until it just starts to brown and puff up. It’s quite a beautiful thing!

Serve with spicy Sriracha and sliced cucumbers.

IMG_3390

Ok so the funny thing happened once I was home from the market. I couldn’t crack open the three-pound Amber Cup squash I bought moments earlier. I’d never tried this variety of squash but it was a little smaller than the kabochas (i.e., lighter to carry home) and, as the sign read, it’s “another orange kabocha”—sweet, orange-fleshed, perfect for roasting. The problem was, Jill was due to arrive at any minute for an impromptu lunch and the darn thing would not yield to the gentle, nor increasingly firm, pressure of my knife. Could we have eaten at one of the twenty-six restaurants serving brunch within a stone’s throw of my apartment? Yes. Would it have been easier? Faster? Cheaper? Yes, yes, and yes. But once I get a cooking idea there’s little stopping me.

And I had a very particular craving. Last December I had a memorable lunch at ABC Kitchen with my father and stepmother. I was going to buy my first real rug and it seemed fitting, and fun, to do this a) with my step-mom who is somewhat of a rug connoisseur and b) after filling our bellies with Dan Kluger‘s delicious seasonal fare across the street from the rug emporium. In addition to the pizza with egg, the veal meatballs, and the beets with homemade yogurt, we shared a piece of toasted sourdough bread with kabocha squash, ricotta, and apple cider vinegar. It was my favorite part of the meal that afternoon but I had nearly forgotten it until this week: Bittman wrote about this very dish as an impressive appetizer to serve on Thanksgiving.

But as the clock struck two p.m. in Brooklyn my guest arrived and I was standing in the kitchen with a cold, heavy squash, realizing I had to be on the Upper East Side in two hours no less. I put the squash aside (I’ll deal with YOU later) and came up with an instant plan B. I had the sourdough bread from Hot Bread Kitchen, the fresh ricotta, the sage, the onions—just not the roasted squash. So I decided to substitute it with honeycrisp apples I purchased that morning at the market, reducing them in apple cider vinegar with caramelized onions. Lunch in ten minutes: voilà.

But today was a new day. I took another stab so to speak at the Amber Cup. Mano y mano. Turns out, I just needed to roast it whole. After thirty or forty minutes in a 400-degree oven the flesh was cooked through and had separated from the skin on its own making it very easy to work with. While the squash roasted I caramelized onions in a medium saucepan with a generous amount of olive oil—when they got good and browned I added apple cider vinegar and maple syrup and reduced to a glaze. You combine this onion mixture with the flesh of the cooked squash and add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and mash with a fork.

I toasted a slice of sourdough, slathered on a generous spoonful of the ricotta from Narragansett Creamery, and  topped it off with the onion-squash mixture and a tiny bit of fresh sage. There was some debate in my household whether to use sage or mint and I even found conflicting recipes, one calling for sage, the other mint. Sage just seemed to fit the season to me more, but the mint would also be delicious.

And when you’re going to make something with squash, consider this piece of advice from Bittman: almost any winter squash will yield to a sharp knife and some patience, though as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, thin-skinned varieties like delicata are easier to peel or can be left unpeeled entirely.

Squash Toast
Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

1 2 1/2 to 3 lb kabocha or other yellow-orange squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces if possible)
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried chile flakes
coarse salt
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c maple syrup
Thick sourdough bread
1/2 c ricotta (mascarpone, goat cheese, or feta would also work)
Chopped mint or sage

Heat the oven to 425. If you’re working with a hard to cut squash, you may need to roast your squash whole. Otherwise, toss the pieces with 1/4 c olive oil, chile flakes, and about 2 tsp salt in a bowl. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. If whole, you will need at least thirty minutes and up to an hour to cook through. Remove from the oven and let cool a little.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 c olive oil in a medium saucepan then add the onion slices and tsp of salt, stirring occasionally, and cook until starting to caramelize, about fifteen minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir, and cook for another fifteen minutes over low heat until reduced and syrupy. Combine the squash and onions in a bowl and mash with a fork until combined. Season with salt and black pepper.

Toast thick slices of bread. Spread cheese on top, followed by the squash-onion mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt, black pepper, and garnish with mint or fresh sage.

%d bloggers like this: