Ramps!

One of spring’s rarest ingredients just because the season is so short.

I was delighted when I found some today and decided to make a pasta with it.

Ingredients:

Ramps

Shitake Mushrooms

Smoked Salmon

Spinach, whole wheat, and regular spaghetti

Zest of a Meyer lemon

Butter

Whole grain mustard

White wine

Creme Fraiche

 The lovely ramps

The Meyer lemon is from my sister’s tree!

Perfect lunch before an intensive session of spring cleaning!

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Butternut Squash Soup

The farmers’ market felt a bit empty because many of the stalls were empty.

What does that mean? Winter is quickly approaching!

What made me instantly happy: A wide variety of squash!

Acorn, butternut, delicata, hubbard, and spagetti squash all beckoned.

After a bit of contemplating, I decided on three perfectly pear-shaped butternut squash.

I dashed home and started defrosting the chicken stock I made two weeks ago.

Simple way to make butternut squash soup:

1. Wash, scoop out the insides, and peel the skin of the butternut squash.

2. Heat a large stock pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter.

3. Rough chop two small white onions and add them to the pot when the butter melts.

4. Cut butternut squash in 2 inch pieces and add them to the pot.

5. Add about three pinches of salt, one pinch of pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and chili flakes as desired. Mix well.

6. Once the squash become tender, pour in chicken stock, just enough to cover them.

7. Boil away until the squash becomes completely cooked through.

8. Ladle the soup into the blender and puree it until smooth.

9. Pour it back into the pot and adjust seasoning if needed.

All-in-all, it took about 45 mins. The soup turned out creamy, sweet, and velvety. It really was a perfect dish to have on a fall afternoon.

Oh Baby Corn

Do you like baby corn?

I don’t.

(Of course I don’t mean the real baby above!)

I don’t like the texture, the taste, the smell, and the appearance. I’m usually not a picky eater but just thinking about it makes me slightly sick. Although I have to admit that I haven’t had fresh baby corn, which might be truly delicious!

Don’t these look good?

Where does baby corn come from? Is it a smaller version of the corn that we usually have or is it a different variety altogether?

Turns out, baby corn is baby corn!

According to a Washington State University report, fresh locally grown baby corn has better texture and flavor compared to canned imports. Apparently, mid-August to mid-September is the season for finding baby corn at farmers’ markets.

The report recommends the following ways to prepare and enjoy baby corn:

  • Serve raw with other vegetables and a low-fat dip.
  • Toss cooked baby corn into your favorite pasta salad or tossed salad.
  • Include baby corn in any stir-fry dish.
  • Add baby corn to spaghetti sauce, a rice and bean dish, or casserole.
  • Serve steamed baby corn as a side dish topped with a bit of olive oil or butter and a dash of salt.
  • Include raw baby corn in vegetable soups or stews, adding near the end of cooking time.
  • Marinate baby corn to serve as a vegetable side dish or add to pasta or tossed salads.

To be honest, I am still not convinced that any of these preparations will make me an avid baby corn eater but I’ll have to wait till next summer to really decide for good.

Becoming an American Shopper

When I first got to Bloomington, I HAD to attend international student orientation or else they wouldn’t let me register for classes.

What I gained from it was very little but one thing from the handbook did stick:

“Most Americans buy food for a week or more at a time in supermarkets.”

I first scoffed at this because I have always bought groceries on a daily basis. This is largely because I constantly change my mind on what I want to eat. I also really enjoy the process and want the freshest ingredients possible.

The fact that Saturdays are when the farmers’ market opens has made me a once a week shopper.
This requires a tight control over what is in my fridge, freezer, and pantry so that I don’t waste or run out of food before my next run.

This is what I got from the farmers’ market last week!

How would you maximize Saturday shopping day?