union square greenmarket

Obligatory beauty shot of  ramps.

Obligatory beauty shot of ramps.

A few months ago when we were in the throes of absolutely miserable weather, I had this feeling that ramp season would be embraced even more fervently than before, if only because it was definitive proof that spring was finally here and the long tyranny of this winter had come to an end. There had been some backlash against the ramp’s trendiness over the last few years, with some sniffing that while good, the hype surrounding them had ballooned out of control. Even by the time I had first gotten my hands on a few bunches back in 2010 the eye-rolling had already begun, but thankfully that hasn’t stopped the influx of ramps into the Union Square Greenmarket. As J. Kenji López-Alt rightly pointed out in 2011, part of what makes the ramp special is that we do have to wait for them to come every year and when they are available we have to make the most of them—in our increasingly on-demand society, it’s kind of refreshing to exercise some patience when it comes to food.

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 Pickled Ramps, Day 1

The end of winter/beginning of spring is a rough time to have blog friends who live in places like California. They torture you with their tales of how amazing the weather is and with their gorgeous photos of Meyer lemon trees and budding strawberries, telegraphing tales of warmth to us suckers from the Rockies to the East who have to suffer through the indignities of the winter-spring transition that usually means lackluster fruits without an end in sight. Even with the relatively mild winter we had here, this can be a rather frustrating process while we wait for spring produce and weather warm enough to finally start planting things. One benefit we do get this time of year, however, is ramp season, but because we aren’t allowed nice things for very long, that season is cruelly short.

It’s been almost a year ago to the day since I’ve last had my hands on some ramps: having taken the day off to catch the Copa del Rey final between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, I headed down to Union Square that morning to get what I figured would be the last of the ramps of the season and to finally try the pizza at Eataly. I think I ended up taking a good $12 worth home and we made salsa and pesto and all kinds of good things. (That was also the day that Michael told me that the job he wanted and eventually got was available once more, but it’s best not to get into that particular memory.) With us no longer being a mere two subway rides away from my favorite greenmarket, I had resigned myself to having a ramp-less spring this year, as Google searches came up with a lot of ways to build a ramp, but not to buy wild leeks locally. This, to be honest, didn’t surprise me all that much. Read More

Purple Basil

This week’s Weekend Cook & Tell on Serious Eats was a good impetus to head down to the Union Square Greenmarket, as it served as a reminder to me to try to take advantage of the local tomatoes that would both be at their peak of deliciousness and also their lowest price. It didn’t occur to me until we emerged from the subway (and overwhelmed by the amazing smells everywhere) that we would also be getting the first of the fall harvest as well, so it took a good lap around the market for us to figure out what we wanted and where exactly we were going to purchase it all.

Michael wanted to roast a chicken, and as we passed the random vendors selling jazz albums and the community compost center he proposed pairing it with a nice pasta made with a gently cooked fresh tomato sauce with basil and mozzarella cheese.

Who am I to say no to that? Read More

Bumming around Chelsea

If I could be a building, I would be this building.  This building is me.

–Michael’s former roommate E on the Chelsea Market

We love having our friends come visit us here–not only does it give us an excuse to look for new restaurants, but it also shakes us out of our normal routine a bit.  One of Michael’s former roommates (E) came down Saturday morning and we headed to Chelsea for brunch and to take him to the Chelsea Market, and it turned into a tour of some of our favorite New York food haunts. Read More

Hibiscus Margaritas

My company follows the holiday schedule of the NYSE, which meant that I had Good Friday off for the first time since college.  Normally, a day off like this would mean that we’d be spending it in transit to visit our parents, but because Easter falls on a Sunday and therefore requires our presence at one of their houses that day for both church services and the traditional meal, our plans ranged from Saturday until Monday… Read More

Lamb Steak, Pan-fried Sunchokes with Cippollini Onions and Fried Okra

The darling Mrs. posted the secundi piatti first and the prima second, but with good reason.  If you lived in the Northeast, you may remember that the weekend mentioned in the title was a delightfully sunny respite from the drenching rains that serving as soaking bookends, the second of which we are finally clearing now.  Why not celebrate a break in the thunderheads with a trip to the Union Square Greenmarket? Read More

Considering how lousy the weather was here last weekend (based on what we heard, as we were in Boston and missed the worst of it), it was hardly surprising to see New Yorkers out in force over Saturday and Sunday, all trying to enjoy as much time outside as humanly possible.  We were fortunate enough to have good reasons to head outside both days:  on Saturday it was to check out the goods at the Union Square Greenmarket, and Sunday I needed to walk over to Pinkberry to do some research for work.

Yes, you heard me right:  I had to go to Pinkberry for work.  More on that later.  Read More

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