I started up my CSA for vegetables a few weeks ago, and have been veritably drowning in spring greens since. Before my first CSA, I had not heard the term “Asian greens,” and now I can recite to you the names and general descriptions of several types of Asian greens. From the familiar bok choy to mizuna to several varieties of Chinese cabbage, I’ve seen it all. Continue reading
Spring was slow to arrive to the Midwest this year, and the spring crops accordingly late. So while others have moved on to the abundance of strawberries, it’s still pretty much all asparagus and rhubarb here in Chicago. I was thrilled to finally be able to pick up some rhubarb at the market, with little more of a plan than “bake it in something.” Continue reading
Last spring, my quest for ramps was epic yet ultimately futile. Turns out you have to get to the farmer’s market when it opens at 7am, and I think the earliest I ever managed was 8am. 7am on a Saturday is a lot to ask, even for ramps. But this year my neighbor introduced me to a vegetable delivery service which supplies ramps, and I can finally be a proper foodie.
If you are unfamiliar with ramps, they are a seasonal craze that has admittedly gotten a bit out of control in recent years. They’re really a wild form of onion, and were once so abundant along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River that Chicago takes it name from a Native American word for ramps. They smell grassy and garlicky and tastes like a cross between onion and garlic, its sharp punch of flavor mellowed by a touch of sweetness. They are admittedly delicious, but what makes ramps the unicorn of the allium family is their short season (a brief few weeks) and their wild provenance. Continue reading