Nothing says summer more than sweet, fuzzy peaches. This year was a bumper crop at my parent’s “farm” in the Berkshires. We’ve been making peaches and granola, peaches and basil, peach tarts, peach ice cream, peaches for snack, and the peaches are still coming….peach preserves seemed to be the obvious next idea. Either that or set up a farm stand with the kids, like I used to do when I was little. We’d make our signs, set up a table at the bottom of the driveway and sell our veggies for dimes. (Important to note: I had cows in my backyard and maybe 3 cars passed the road a day. Of course the neighbors stopped!) Ah, summer days….fleeting, summer days. Yesterday my six-year old son pointed out a tree that was changing it’s colors already. Here is an easy recipe to preserve a bit of sun, warmth, and farm stands.
I’ve never eaten a razor clam before 2 days ago. I’ve found their shells on beaches of course, but never thought about the edible creature inside. I didn’t know what I was missing….
You may have already known that we are big fans of foraging for our own food whenever possible. In today’s world, it’s a comfort knowing where our food is coming from and being able to feel good about it’s quality and purity is priceless. We enjoy showing our children the start to finish process, and we find they are more apt to eat whatever we put in from of them if they have helped find it, dig it, prepare it or help serve it.
On a recent getaway to Cape Cod, we bought a clamming permit and tried our hand at it. We had small shovels (aka we used the kids sand toys) and a couple of nets. You have to go at low tide when you can scour the sand for the clams dens. They look like tiny raised sand donuts. If you put pressure near them, a sprout of water jumps up. The kids were hysterical watching us get splashed in the face by the clam “pee”.
A few years ago I wanted to quit quinoa. Every time I cooked it according to the directions of the 1:2 ratio that you find everywhere, it came out mushy, soggy and bitter. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about! Eventually I got it through experimenting with different amounts of water. Quinoa is good. Really good. And when cooked properly, it is light and fluffy, each grain defined. Quinoa has an airy and slightly nutty quality that makes it perfect alone or easy to dress it up with endless possibilities.
In light of the gluten-free era, quinoa has become very popular, but it’s actually an ancient grain. And when I say grain, I mean seed. Because it’s the seed of the plant that we eat. And that makes it gluten-free, high in protein, and packed with all sorts of nutrition. It’s related to the spinach and swiss chard family.
In the Ferioli household, it’s been all about ramps lately. We are eating them like they are going out of style….wait, they actually are! Ramps (also known as wild leeks, spring onion, wood leek, and wild garlic) only grow three weeks out of the year. We are lucky enough to live in New England where they do exist, and we know a secret place where the ramps grow like grass. Shhhhh……
There’s nothing like foraging for your own food. That connection, (especially for kids!) of searching, digging, touching, and finally cooking and eating, makes it all so nourishing and just a bit more fun.
The earlier you pick the ramps, the sweeter they are. They are delicious in pesto (recipe below), sautéed, or in soups. Ramps can be eaten in it’s entirety from it’s root (very similar to a leek root) to the leaf which is like spinach but a bit firmer, when cooked.
Over thirty years ago, when I was a wee child, my parents bought a “fixer-upper” that over they years they have turned into a beautiful home. It sits upon a few acres and is surrounded by cow pastures. I grew up with the cows and sheep as neighbors and my dog Zeb, as my playmate. We did have human neighbors as well, just not that many. One neighbor, an old man named Mr.Wood, took my father out for a man-to-man nature walk one day. It was then when he showed my father this place, this really magical, hidden place a couple miles behind our house. Bordering the mountains and a winding river, lies the ramp forest, quiet and still, untouched.
Someday I am going to be organized enough to get a post ready for upcoming holidays. But alas, that time has not yet arrived. Here is my Post-Mother’s Day Orange Cake recipe a few days late. If you are an organized person, perhaps you’ll remember this for next year! And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s out there!
A friend asked me for a cake idea for her family’s Mother’s Day meal, and I suggested this one as it’s quite easy to make and it’s always been a crowd-pleaser. I needed an excuse to translate the recipe from French anyways and voila, now we have it!