Today was an exciting day at the Carroll Gardens Farmer’s Market. There were ramps and asparagus! Seeing these signs of spring made me feel better about still wearing my winter coat on April 21st. I was hoping that Grazin’ Angus had some fresh cream so I could make my own butter, but they didn’t. They did have their own butter, which I used for this recipe. Thanks for Birdworms and Buttermilk for this great idea. I think this would be a great base for sautéing some of the asparagus I got this morning. I tasted a little bit of this today, and reluctantly froze the rest.
- 1/2 pound butter, softened (I used unsalted, so I added salt to the recipe)
- 1 bunch ramps, cleaned
- zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- Place butter in medium bowl; set aside.
- Blanch ramps in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Squeeze excess water and then chop the ramps.
- Add the chopped ramps, zest, lemon juice, and salt (if using) to the butter and mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula.
- Form the butter into a log shape on a piece of parchment paper. Tightly roll the parchment paper around the butter, and twist the ends tootsie-roll style. Store in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy.
Here is another take on lemon dressing (remember the first one?). This one is Alice Waters’ version, and is great served on something as simple as romaine leaves alone. It involves heavy cream, but don’t be scared–just a small amount goes a long way.
One of my favorite stops at the farmer’s market is Milk Thistle . They have different types of milk, yogurt, and cream, all served in glass bottles that you return to them. Also, once I tasted the freshness of their products, I realized what milk is supposed to taste like. Now I understand that milk is much more than just an excuse to get a milk moustache.
Since this recipe requires just a touch of heavy cream, what can one do with the rest of the bottle? Perhaps add a bit to a tomato sauce for pasta, or to pureed carrot ginger soup (recipe to come in fall…) Also, you can quickly and easily make fresh butter or sweet whipped cream. Here’s how:
1. Butter: Pour room temperature cream into a jar with a secure lid, at least double the size of the cream. Start shaking. Keep shaking. With Milk Thistle cream, you only need to shake for 5-10 minutes. (I have tried this with store-bought mass-market cream and it takes longer. I have also tried this with 26 5th graders from NYC and they think it is the absolute best thing ever.) Then, the cream will turn into a ball. Shake a few more times. Then, strain out the liquid. That liquid is buttermilk, which you can reserve for pancakes, dressing, etc. Now, get back to shaking. Strain out more liquid. Add a few tablespoons of water and shake some more, then strain (once you add water you will not save that liquid anymore). Add water, shake and strain 2-3 more times until liquid runs clear. Optionally, add salt. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.
2. Whipped Cream: Pour cream into a large bowl, and start whisking. Keep whisking until it starts to get very thick. (Apparently, peaks will start to form but since I don’t bake I just know to stop when it starts to get thicker and a bit harder to whisk.) Then, add a a little bit of vanilla and some sugar depending on how sweet you like it, and whisk a little bit more. DO NOT overwhisk or it will basically turn into butter. This whipped cream is delicious of fresh berries or any other fruit.
And now, the Creamy Lemon Dressing Recipe!!
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Stir together vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
- Whisk in olive oil and heavy cream. Taste and adjust as necessary.
- Toss with greens. Optionally, top with chopped herbs you have on hand, such as basil, chervil, chives, and tarragon.