Ramp Pesto

Ramps are wild leeks that can be found in wet, densely wooded areas through central and eastern US and Canada.  They grow in dense clusters in the marshy areas around rivers, streams, and brooks, and they thrive in early spring when the leaves of the forest canopy are thin, allowing light to pass through to the forest floor.  They can be identified by their broad, smooth, green leaves and white or purple lower stems.  Their taste can be described as a pungent mix between green onions and garlic. 

Ramps are at great risk of losing entire populations due to unsustainable harvesting practices. These delicate plants take up to 5 years to reach reproductive maturity. Therefore, when harvesting ramps in the wild, it’s important to follow a few rules to ensure these natural wonders continue to thrive in Vermont:  tread lightly, never harvest more than a few from any single clump, and harvest from the center of each clump rather than from the outskirts.  The best practice for ensuring the enduring health of the ramp population is to clip the ramps, rather than digging them up. Be mindful of other sensitive plants, such as trillium, growing among the ramps and take care not to disturb them. 

Once harvested, ramps can be used in any recipe where you might otherwise use garlic or onion. They are delicious pickled, grilled, or sauteed with other fresh spring veggies, though my absolute favorite thing to do with ramps is to make pesto! I like to make a big batch during the fleeting ramp season, and freeze it in smaller quantities for days when fresh ramps are just a memory. The pesto is delicious smeared on crusty bread or tossed with pasta.

Passover Tzimmes

With Passover approaching and Seder planning in full-swing, we wanted to share this wonderful Tzimmes recipe. Tzimmes is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish sweet stew typically made from carrots and dried fruits such as prunes and apricots, which is often combined with other root vegetables. The name may come from the Yiddish words tzim (for) and esn (eating), but another interpretation comes from the fact that “To make a big tzimmes over something” is a Yinglish expression that means to make a big fuss; perhaps because of all the slicing, mixing, and stirring that go into the preparation of the dish! Despite the peeling, slicing, and stirring, we think you’ll find this Tzimmes to be well worth the time and effort.

Apple Raisin Bread

This crowd-pleasing apple raisin bread features a short list of healthy, wholesome ingredients and the apple cinnamon aroma will have your mouth watering as it bakes. It’s so simple to make and will easily become a staple in your baking repertoire.

Roasted Root Salad With Clementines

There’s something particularly magical about the combination of fresh, bright citrus and greens mingling with earthy, caramelized roasted roots. The nice bitter bite provided by the radicchio balances beautifully with the sweetness of the clementines and the tart drizzle of vinegar, resulting in a complex flavor experience that will make you forget you’re eating a simple salad.