Sunday, April 3, 2016

03 April 2016












It has been a beautiful Spring weekend. The rain cleared out just in time for First Friday to kick off the weekend in style. The Main Street program did another great job, and everyone, young and old, enjoyed the Star Wars and Disney themed event. After First Friday, we enjoyed another great meal at Chon Ngern Thai restaurant. Jeff and Cory cleaned up afterward, and we then began binge watching Six Feet Under. I had forgotten what a wonderful show this was, and I look forward to watching all six seasons for the second time around.

On Saturday, I spent most of the day installing a new rug in the den. I ordered a "rug in a box" from FLOR and assembled the rug from individual carpet tiles. It turned out great, and Jazpur had fun helping me. Later in the day, we had a nice surprise when my grand niece, Drew Southers, decided to come for a visit from Jacksonville State in Alabama. She brought along her hilarious friend, Randy Perks, and we had a great time. We took the starving college kids out to a great meal at Downtown Kitchen. They were blown away by the food and atmosphere, and Corey Shupert took great care of us, as usual. I can't believe Drew is almost 22 years old, and I am very proud of how well she is doing in college. She's studying, working, playing in the marching band and even doing some commissioned artwork on the side. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her.

One of the biggest reasons I get excited about Spring is because of the brief, but wonderful, ramp season. I've included ramp recipes from previous years, and I am always looking for new ways to cook with them. Jeff's former ramp forager passed away last year, so I was beginning to get concerned. However, our friend, Joan Denney, contacted us to say she had came across some ramps on a recent visit to North Carolina, and she thought of me. She was so kind to bring me a nice bunch, and I put them to good use in tonight's Sunday Supper.

For some reason, I have been thinking about Mediterranean food, so I decided to incorporate the Southern grown ramps into some classic dishes. I began with making a ramp hummus by substituting the "wild garlic" for regular garlic. It turned out great and gave the hummus a different flavor. For the entree, I made pan roasted chicken with zucchini and mushrooms. I served some lemon Orzo with the chicken and used some of the ramp greens instead of parsley. Again, it worked really well, and I still have enough ramps to make some ramp butter to freeze for future use. For dessert, I had made some homemade monkey bread for our guests on Saturday night, so I sliced and fried it in butter for dessert and served it with some frozen Greek yogurt and a drizzle of local honey. All in all, I really ramped up some typical Mediterranean dishes, and it was a fun afternoon in the kitchen.

Now, I am gearing up for a very busy week of client meetings, Council meetings and more physical therapy. I hope your Spring is off to a delicious start as well!




The Menu:


- Ramp Hummus with Toasted Pita

- Mediterranean Pan Roasted Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms

- Lemon Orzo with Ramp Greens

- Pan Fried Monkey Bread with Frozen Greek Yogurt and Local Honey


The Recipe – Ramp Hummus

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, well drained and rinsed
½ cup tahini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 ramps, finely chopped
Juice of 2 small lemons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika, plus a sprinkle for garnish
Toasted pine nuts, olive oil and paprika for garnish, optional

Directions:

Put the chickpeas, tahini, paprika, oil, ramps and lemon juice in a food processor, sprinkle with salt and pepper and process. Add a small amount of water, as needed, to produce a smooth purée.

Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed. Serve, drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of paprika and toasted pine nuts, optional.


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