Ramps and sopressata skillet

Because you can’t be a true Brooklyn Foodie if you don’t make at least one dish with ramps in the spring. RampsRamps in skilletRamps skillet with arugalaRamps skillet with breadRamps and Sopressata Skillet

Ingredients: 2 tbs olive oil 1 bunch of ramps, white and green parts divided and roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup of spicy sopressata, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced 1/4 cup of fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced 5 eggs 1 small bunch of Chinese chives (also known as garlic chives), chopped into 1-inch sections 1/3 cup of Cabot cheddar cheese, grated 2 cups of baby arugula 2 tsp fennel fronds, for garnish (optional) salt and pepper to taste a few slices of crusty bread, toasted

Directions: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the white parts of the ramps and sweat for a few minutes, much like you would with onions. Add the garlic, sopressata, red pepper, and fennel and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the green parts of the ramps and cook for less than a minute, until they just begin to wilt. Crack the eggs into the pan and let cook until they set, about 5 minutes. Add the chives, cheese, and arugula and turn off the heat once the cheese melts and the arugula starts to wilt. Garnish with fennel fronds, and salt and pepper to taste (note: the cheese and sopressata are already quite salty so we just added freshly cracked pepper). Serve immediately over toasted bread — the crustier, the better.

Special thanks to Ned, from the Carlton Bears Community Garden, for sharing his chives, fennel, and enthusiasm with us.
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Starting seeds

Starting seedsThis weekend marked my first foray into urban gardening — well, any type of gardening, really. Jury’s still out on whether my thumb is black or green, but it’s safe to say I’m Hooked on Horticulture.

I decided to be ambitious and start all my plants from seeds, rather than buying seedlings from the local nursery. I did try to pick easy varieties to grow (here’s a good resource I drew from) and ordered mostly heirloom seeds from Baker Creek. Travis’ mum also kindly sent me some of her favourite seeds. Ultimately, I ended up with the following mix:

Herbs
Cilantro
Peppermint
Genovese basil

Vegetables
Red romaine lettuce
Tomatoes – Opalka (paste), Sub-Arctic Plenty (cherry), Chocolate Stripe (large)
Scotch bonnet peppers

Flowers
Red marigold
Russian mammoth sunflower

To make the newspaper pots, I disassembled a small paper box I found and traced it onto pages of an old Sunday Times. I selected only the black and white pages, as coloured dyes aren’t typically soy-based and can leach into the soil. I then folded the pots and filled them with organic seed starting mix, and carefully sowed and watered the seeds. Finally, I placed the pots in West Elm outdoor trays and labeled them so I could tell them apart when they germinated.

The trays now sit atop my laundry basket in my washroom, as that’s the sunniest spot in my apartment. I also zipped them into a clear vinyl blanket bag I had saved to mimic a greenhouse.

It’s funny how attached I’ve already grown to these little guys. Here’s hoping they sprout soon!

Glass photographic plates

Glass Photographic Plate New YorkGlass Photographic Plate SchoonerWhen I was in London a few years back, I came across a man selling glass photographic plates at a flea market. He had crates full of them. Knowing I was seconds away from a hedonistic binge, I warned myself, “You’re only allowed to buy two, Steph.” I’m still impressed I stuck to that command.

PS: For those who want to examine every detail of that old New York map (like me!), the full size image is available if you click through.

Blueberry buttermilk oatmeal muffins

BlueberryOatmealButtermilkMuffinsFor the past few months I have been making muffins on Sunday mornings. There are few things I do with much regularity, but this is one ritual I have come to relish. My job entails creating those funny things called ‘Powerpoint decks’ so I appreciate making something tangible each weekend, and enjoying it for days thereafter. Today I used a buttermilk and oat recipe that I have been eyeing, and threw in some blueberries and sanding sugar on top.

Blueberry Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins
(adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
4 tablespoons white sanding sugar

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and let stand for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter or line twelve 1/2 cup muffin tins.
Add egg, sugar, butter, and vanilla to oat mixture, stirring until just combined.
In another large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and add to oat mixture, stirring until just combined.
Fold in blueberries.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins and sprinkle a generous pinch of sanding sugar on each muffin.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

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