I got some much needed rest this weekend, although I feel like I’m still a bit under the weather. It seems as though I’ve been sick for two or three weeks now, but Kramer hasn’t caught anything, so I guess it must just be allergies. I’m new to the whole allergy game – do they last this long? Either way, what can you do? Friday night, Kramer and I stayed close to home. We had a drink at a bar around the corner from us (The Tradesman), then headed home to continue watching Shameless, which we are halfway through the first season of and absolutely adore – Emmy Rossum is incredible in it, and so is William H. Macy, as always. Saturday morning, we got up early, made some breakfast, then headed out to see The Avengers. It killed at the box office this weekend (All previous records broken! The Avengers 2, 3, and 4 already green lit! Pigs can fly!), and I can definitely see why. I was sort of bored for the first half, to be honest, but the second half was packed with non-stop superhero fighting action, so what’s not to love about that? I think the ending was a solid 30-minute action sequence, and add that to a bunch of great Tony Stark zingers, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed hit. I’m still much more eager to see all of the other summer blockbusters, though, like Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises. I have a feeling TDKR will give that $200mm Avengers opening weekend a run for its money. After the movie, we met up with Kramer’s sister Rachel for cheap tacos and sangria at The Saint Austere near our apartment, followed by some fries and margaritas (those go together, right?) at Burnside Brooklyn – that section of Grand in Williamsburg is just crawling with fantastic bars, so they were all doing a little something for “Cinco de Derby”. Full and happy, we wandered over to our friend Lindsey’s apartment for a get together to celebrate her and her boyfriend’s move to the neighborhood. On Sunday, it was another early rise for us as we headed out to Kramer’s boss’s new apartment for our second housewarming party of the weekend, where we had perfectly chewy bagels (with lox, of course) and plenty of mimosas. We wandered around the Upper West Side for a bit, then headed home to watch the most recent Saturday Night Live (Eli Manning was fantastic, believe it or not) and eat banh mi from a spot near us called Nam Nam that we hadn’t tried since living in the neighborhood, but will definitely be ordering from often because the sandwiches were really good, as was the bubble tea.
I made this pesto last weekend, but I just took the photos off my camera this past weekend. We ate this pesto with everything – chicken, on sandwiches, salads…the possibilities are endless and always delicious. Ramps are only available in the spring, so they are a ~hot~ item among people who concern themselves with that sort of thing, and to be honest, they are a bit over-hyped. They do have a distinct flavor, in that they are not quite as strong as garlic, but more savory and flavorful than spring onions. I think that they are just highly valued because new and/or rare ingredients are always fun to play with, so when something is only available for a limited time, of course the prices will be inflated and people won’t be able to shut up about whatever happens to be the item of the week. Since ramp fever has started to wind down, I was able to score a bunch of them for $4, which is a deal considering I have seen them for for $8 or $9 a bunch, which is insanity. Seeing as how they are so “special”, I wanted to try to do something with them that really showed off their unique qualities. I figured a pesto would be the best way to go, as you can put it on anything and it not only enhances whatever you’re eating, but it’s also got great flavors on its own. Full disclosure: I even used this pesto as a spread for some crackers. Before ramps are completely gone in 2012, seek them out and make this pesto – it’ll certainly put you in the spirit of spring.
Allow the ramps to cool to room temperature, then combine them with the pine nuts and Parmesan and chop away.
- 1 bunch wild ramps, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- ground black pepper, to taste
- First, clean your ramps. It is best to place them in a large bowl of cold water and rub off any bits of dirt. Change the water once or twice if you need to while you clean the ramps – it’s best to do it this way, as they are delicate and you want to preserve as much of their flavor as possible. Dry the ramps and slice them very thinly.
- In a medium sized pan, melt your butter and add in the ramps. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until just slightly wilted and browned. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Grate your cheese and combine it with your pine nuts on a large cutting board. Add in the room temperature ramps and use a very sharp knife to chop everything together, scraping together and chopping again, until the pesto is very fine and sticks together in a ball when you mold it together with your hands. Place the pesto in a bowl and pour the olive oil over it, mixing it together with a fork. Taste and add some fresh black pepper (and salt, if you think it’s necessary, but I didn’t add any). This pesto will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – add more olive oil as you need it, as it may dry out a bit in the fridge. Serve on sandwiches, pasta, salads, meatballs, chicken…the possibilities are endless!