Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cooking with Ramps

 You really have to like ramps to work with them because they are covered in mud.  I spent almost 2 hours cleaning 1 pound of ramps.

 Mud can hide in the area where the green meats the white so they have to be rinsed thoroughly.

 One recipe I made with them was a rustic ramp quiche.  You just make your favorite quiche crust, roll it in a rough circle and roll the edges.

 Chop the green part of the ramp and press it into the crust.

Mix some egg, cream, diced ramps and salt and pepper.  Spread it over the crust and sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 1/2 hour at 400 degrees.
It should be deep golden and crisp on the bottom.
 Next up I made shrimp and grits with ramps.  I made stone ground grits using ramp butter.

 I added grated Double Gloucester cheese to the grits.



 I pan fried the white parts of the ramps until they were crisp.

 And pan fried the green part until they browned.

 I sauteed some shrimp with some bacon, diced red pepper, Cajun seasoning and salt and pepper and served them over the grits topped with the ramps.

This was brunch for The Blog Tech and his fiance last Sunday.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Ramp Festival Part 2

Hometown pride.

This ramp festival gets better each year.
You can board a train and take a scenic ride through the mountains.

The Fiance was enthralled with the engine and asked the engineer if he would give her a tour.
He was happy to oblige.

She got to sit in the engineers seat and he gave her a tour of the engine room.  Here she is coming out of the back.

Click on any of the pics to get a closer look.


This is our favorite booth.  A woman from Columbia and a woman from Venezuela make delicious cachapas.

They are cornmeal pancakes cooked on a griddle with cheese and pulled pork.  That little cup is ramp sauce to die for!

Ramp butter, ramp dip and ramp seasonings.

Hillybilly Philly cheese steaks.

The ramp and sausage risotto from this booth is some of the best risotto I've ever eaten.


This guy really cracked us up.  One booth was selling quarts of ramps sauteed in bacon grease.  He bought one and sat here eating the entire quart of ramps plain.  That is true ramp love.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Ramp Festival

The Blog Tech had been telling his fiance about our favorite ramp festival for a year and we took off very early on Saturday to drive to it. The countryside we drove through was beautiful.


 We always stop at this place on the way to sample all of the food they prepare with ramps. As you saw in the post from last week's ramp festival, the fiance LOVES ramps.  She sure is marrying into the right family.

Click for a closer look to see what they make with ramps.

 A ramp dog.

 Ramp homefries.

 And their favorite was the ramp milkshake.  They sucked that baby down in a nano second. Then we headed to the ramp festival which I will show you once I go through all of the pics.

 On the way to the festival, we stopped along the road and bought bags of ramps from one of the many locals selling them.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kentucky Butter Cake

Cake Friday was back this week and I made a Kentucky Butter Cake.  The Fiance said this might be her favorite cake.
 Recipe:



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • BUTTER SAUCE:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then add the flour and buttermilk, alternating after each addition until a thick batter has formed.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for approx. 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cake partially cools, make the butter sauce. In a small saucepan, combine all the butter sauce ingredients. Heat until bubbles just begin to show up around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat. Poke holes all over the surface of the cake and down into the cake, be careful not to puncture all the way through. Pour the butter sauce evenly over the top of the cake and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, allowing the butter sauce to set.
  5. Once cake has completely cooled, invert onto a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar.




Friday, April 29, 2016

Homemade Rice-A-Roni

To break up the monotony of salads for lunch each day, I made Lebanese meatballs with Greek salad, pita and homemade rice-a-roni the other day.
 I hadn't made rice-a-roni in years and I forgot how much my kids like it.  My husband too!

recipe:

  • 2 oz vermicelli, broken into half inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup long grain rice (not instant)
  • 4 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • dash garlic powder
  • 2 3/4 cup water or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp butter

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add broken pasta and rice.  Cook until lightly brown.

Add water and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed.
 So good and so much better than store bought.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Feast for the Kids

The after school program ends next week.  I am trying to make the kids last meals memorable.  Recently, I stopped at a smoke house to stock up on bacon and sausages.They gave me a half ham and a container of their ham salad for free.  I guess they smoked too many hams for Easter.  I decided to make the kids a groaning board of meats and cheeses.
 I also baked them 60 rolls.


 They could make small sandwiches if they wanted to.

 This tray is so big it was tough to get a pic of it.  I filled it up with smoked cheeses, regular cheese and lots of sliced sausages.

 I added lots of assorted nuts too.

I baked the ham in maple syrup and cut it into wedges then added some grapes and strawberries to the tray.  The Summer program starts in July but over 100 kids have signed up for it so other than occasionally making hot dogs, I won't be able to feed the kids until next Fall.  I hate to even think about how they will eat until then. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Caprese Pasta Salad and Focaccia

I made the after school kids this caprese pasta salad for their dinner yesterday.  It was almost 85 degrees here so I wanted to make them something cool and refreshing.  I diced lots of fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and fresh basil.  I made a balsamic vinegar dressing and tossed it with bowtie pasta.

 And I made rosemary and sea salt focaccia to go with it. The kids had never heard of focaccia before.

 They sure liked it.

 One of the kids pulled The Blog Tech aside and told him he can never thank him enough for feeding them each day.

 He said that knowing he will get a home cooked meal each day is such a relief to him.  He told The Blog Tech that he used to live on soda and chips from the Dollar Store.  Why can't our government help these kids?  When I think of the money being spent on this election yet there is no money to feed our kids?  It's just not right.