Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta

Ramps, a seasonal treat in the Northeast US, are in danger of being over-harvested. Since they are very slow to cultivate and difficult to farm, foraging is still the main way to find them. A wild ramp patch can be quickly overrun and destroyed. The most sustainable way to harvest ramps, if you find them yourself, is to cut only one leaf of each plant, leaving the bulb and second leaf to continue growing. This is least impactful on the soil, the plant, and the colony as a whole. You’ll find ramps in this form from sustainable vendors. 

Every spring I’m reminded of how happy I am that we bought a house in the Hudson Valley. The sun is out and I’m sitting on our deck, watching the chickens romp around the ‘garden’. Yes, ‘garden’ is in quotes because it’s mostly weeds, rocks and buried concrete (why, previous owners? Why?). And yes, those pesky chickens are obsessed with destroying the few plants we’re actually trying to grow. But none of that matters! Gardens can be planted. Chickens can be strangled penned. The important thing is that it’s ours and we love it (sometimes).

Another fantastic thing about spring is all the wonderful fresh green things that are just beginning to show up at the farmers’ market (or your own garden, if you’re lucky and/or talented). A simple pasta dish like this takes full advantage of these fresh flavors, pairing the tender vegetables with crispy pancetta* and a light, creamy sauce.

*You could absolutely leave the pancetta out for a vegetarian dish. You’ll probably want to add a bit more salt since the pancetta is salty.

Spring Pasta with Ramps, Peas and Pancetta
Ramps (wild leeks) have a lovely garlicky flavor. I love them with peas and pancetta but you could use any tender spring vegetable you like.

Since this is probably the last ramp recipe of the season (sob), it needed to be not just a really good one, but also flexible.

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken
Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

These peanut noodles might be one of the most delicious and easiest recipes we’ve ever created. It’s basically the love child of Chinese cold sesame noodles and Thai chicken satay. If you like those kinds of flavors, I think you’re going to be pretty happy with your dinner.

It’s also happens to be very adaptable. You can make a vegan version with tofu. You could grill shrimp instead of chicken. You could add pretty much any vegetable you would throw into a stir fry (I’ve listed some options with the recipe below).

Fresh Chinese wheat noodles
Fresh Chinese wheat noodles

We found these fresh noodles at our local Asian market but dried spaghetti works equally well. I’ve also seen fresh Chinese egg noodles for sale at our grocery store and those would be great too. Whatever style you decide on, cook them until they’re al dente (but don’t undercook them either).

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Shrimp and Corn Coconut Curry with Noodles

Shrimp Curry with Sweetcorn, Coconut and Noodles

Shrimp curry is easy to make, and we flavor it with coconut milk and add fresh corn for a summery touch, but you can make this all year round!

While I love hot dogs and hamburgers and all those great American summer favorites, I find that by August I’m actually kind of bored of them. That’s when I crave something completely different, something that will wake my tastebuds right up.

Something like this fiery red shrimp curry, made silky by coconut milk and topped with lots of bright herbs like mint, basil and cilantro. We made it with wild-caught North Carolina white shrimp because they looked amazing at the market but you could easily swap them out for chicken thighs or breasts (cut into large bite-sized chunks), tofu, even chickpeas would be a delicious vegan option.

Sweet corn is in peak season right now and while it lasts I add it to just about everything, but it really does work incredibly well here. Corn and shrimp are a classic pairing but with the curry sauce, it’s crazy good. If fresh corn is not in season, frozen works perfectly well, too.Shrimp Curry with Sweetcorn, Coconut and Noodles

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Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing

A crunchy, spicy red cabbage salad flavored with miso and ginger. Ideal as a side for Asian meals, or as a standalone lunch. Just don’t call it a slaw!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to serve alongside the Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps we were planning on making, I knew I wanted something bright and fresh to counter-balance the rich grilled beef.

That’s when I decided to take our Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad recipe and mix it up a bit. I love, love, love miso and the addition of it gives this dressing a richness that is almost creamy, though there’s no mayo or any dairy in it. It’s actually almost a nutty flavor. Matt said it tasted like the peanut sauce you get with satay, but even better (and there’s no peanut in it either). It also happens to be vegan and can be made gluten free if you use tamari in place of the soy and use a GF miso, like this one).

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing
Vegetables are so pretty.

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Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

With the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy, our grilled Asian chicken skewers are a treat any night of the week. We like to serve it with creamy avocado-cilantro sauce. 

Hooray, it’s allergy season! I don’t know about you guys, but I could power a small town with the force of my sneezing alone. I basically look like a teary-eyed, puffy-faced medical emergency this week, to the point where even my beloved dog is giving me side-eye and calling around to find a replacement begging target should I expire before dinnertime.

Be that as it may, I will not let a little thing like debilitating histamine reactions stop me from doing what I’ve been waiting months for. That’s right, grilling! Last night Matt dusted off the old grill, gave the spiders living inside it their eviction notices and warned the neighbors that delicious smells would be wafting their way soon.

And I gotta tell you, we have made this chicken three times in the last month and it is amaaaaaahhhhzing. The first two times we cooked it inside on a grill pan and set off our smoke alarm about 15 times during the process. You know what? I REGRET NOTHING. It’s that good. It’s spicy and sweet and tangy and sticky in exactly the way you want food on a stick to be.

Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
Our Asian chicken skewers take only 30 minutes so they’re perfect for weeknight meals.

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Buckwheat Blinis with Salmon Roe and Crème Fraîche

These buckwheat blinis have become our go-to new year’s eve appetizer – topped with creme fraiche and salmon roe, they taste as fancy as they look.

Buckwheat Blinis with Salmon Roe and Crème Fraîche

I’m sorry, did you not know that we Nerds (with Knives) are not only skilled in the art of playing video games and discussing whether the 10th Doctor was the best Doctor (answer; yes. Yes, he was). We are also fancy mother-effers.

Yup. We enjoy the finer things (she says whilst dipping a burnt tater-tot into ice cold ketchup. Organic ketchup.)

It’s true. Every once in a while we like to make something that feels extra special. Usually on New Year’s Eve, we buy a little jar of salmon caviar and make our own home-made buckwheat blinis. Now, I love caviar. It’s salty and briny and tastes like a mermaid’s dinner so one would think that the roe would be the star here. Wrong. It’s the blinis. They are so good. They have a lovely earthy flavor from the buckwheat flour but are also just a little buttery and rich. Honestly, I want to make them as pancakes for breakfast.

Buckwheat Blinis with Salmon Roe and Crème Fraîche

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