Ramp and pistachio pesto

Monday, May 29, 2017

Over the past few years, our perspective on traveling has changed quite a bit. Nowadays, when we travel, we like to experience the local culture rather than hitting all the tourist attractions. We want to eat like the locals, shop at their farmers market, and hang out where they would take family and friends visiting from out of town. For those very reasons, our recent New York trip is one of my favorites to date. We only scheduled one tourist attraction per morning then tried to hit the local hang-outs for the remaining of the day.

With my love for local produce, I knew that a farmers market visit was a must. A few months before our trip, I scoured the internet for farmers markets nearby our hotel and found quite a few. With the Union Square Greenmarket walking distance from our place, I started stalking their Instagram account to see what’s available. As luck would have it, I saw one of my favorite alliums, ramps, appearing on their feed and resolved to bring some back to California. In case you don’t know what ramps are, here’s a little tidbit as to why they’re so popular.

After the 2800 mile journey from NYC to San Diego, I was elated that the ramps made it to my kitchen without any problems. If someone had told me a year ago that we would be visiting New York in the spring and bringing home some ramps, I would have a flabbergasted look on my face. So here we are with this culinary treasure and plenty of recipes to showcase them! Last year, when I made a ramp and hazelnut pesto, I was able to enjoy it with pizza, pasta, toast, roasted chicken, and even fish. The hazelnut was a bit more time consuming to de-skin so I decided to make a ramp and pistachio pesto this time. We went through the first batch of pesto in a few days, using it as a spread for toast to enjoy with breakfast and lunch and will make a few more batches before the season comes to an end.

Ramp and pistachio pesto

½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, finely ground
2 oz ramp leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup olive oil and extra for top layer
2 tbsps lemon juice
¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

1. Use a pestle and mortar to pound the chopped ramps into a paste.

2.Add the ground pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice and pound to mix together.

3. Mix in the Parmesan cheese.

4. Season with salt to taste.

5. Transfer the pesto to the clean lidded glass jar. Add a thin layer of olive oil to help preserve it.  Store in the coldest part of your fridge for up to a week or freeze it for up to three months.  Thaw when needed.

Book Review: Food52 Ice Cream and Friends

Monday, May 15, 2017

I impatiently waited for the Food52 Ice Cream and Friends book to arrive and couldn’t be more excited to try some of the recipes.  Unlike other ice cream books, this one took a unique approach to ice cream making, skipped the usual basic recipes and focused on really exciting flavors like fresh ricotta, lemongrass chile ginger, horchata, butternut squash and tahini, and so many more.  Besides ice cream, there were other recipes for gelato, sorbet, cakes, and drinks.

One of the first recipes that I tried was the cherry snow cone since we had a lot of cherries from our farmers market trip.  By the way, this recipe called for Pernod but I substituted it with kirsch since we had that available.  I also made a non-alcoholic version for our little guy and he enjoyed it.  It tasted so refreshing.  The ricotta ice cream was good but definitely needed a fruit compote topping to make it shine.  Next time I will add a fruity swirl instead of making a plain ricotta ice cream.  I have always wanted to make mochi from scratch so that was next on the list.  It was surprisingly easy to make and tasted similar to the mochi that I usually get from local frozen yogurt joints.  

So far I have really enjoyed the recipes from the Food52 ice cream book and can’t wait to try the halvah paletas, mango lassicles, s’mores ice cream, and chocolate tacos.  The recipes do not have a long list of ingredients and instructions are easy to follow.  I highly recommend the Food52 Ice Cream and Friends book to ice cream novices and connoisseurs alike especially if you’re looking for interesting flavors to try.       

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher