EAT THIS: Plum & Ricotta Tartine

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When today promises to be even longer than yesterday and you’re not sure when your next meal will be, start with toasted whole wheat sourdough slathered in ricotta and topped with sliced plums, honey, fresh thyme and black pepper. This pairs nicely with a latte and some last-minute packing for a much-needed weekend getaway.

EAT THIS: Asparagus, Scallion & Ricotta Tartine

Asparagus Scallion and Ricotta Tartine

Top toasted whole grain bread with ricotta cheese, pan-grilled scallions and asparagus, lemon zest, salt and pepper for a quick and delicious breakfast when you’re eager to get out and smell the roses (literally if, like me, you’re lucky enough to live five minutes from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden).

EAT THIS: Roasted Broccoli and Ricotta Panino

Roasted Broccoli and Ricotta Panino

You know those broccoli florets you lifted from last night’s office holiday party? Roast them with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes then layer them onto toasted ciabatta along with ricotta cheese sprinkled with nutmeg and a little more olive oil, and you just may recover in time for tonight’s party. ‘Tis the season.

Ramp, Fig and Ricotta Tartine

My first year of graduate school concluded twelve days ago. I’ve read a novel, gotten a pedicure, and made my annual pilgrimage down to Baltimore for Beth and Don’s Memorial Day BBQ. This is me with the chipotle, espresso, and bourbon barbecue sauce that I used to glaze a 14.5-pound brisket.

Jasmine on the Grill

Life is beginning to return to normal, though I am a bit mystified by what everyone does in the hours between working and sleeping. The stress of holding down a full-time job while cranking out research papers seems to have transformed me into a (reluctant) morning person. I have been trying to make the most of this found time, particularly on Saturdays when the greenmarket near my house is open.

It turns out that the early bird gets the ramps. For those who are not familiar, ramps are an early spring vegetable much beloved by market-driven chefs, locavores, and those who like to fancy themselves in the know. (For an interesting summary of the arc of the ramp, check out Hugh Merwin’s recent Grub Street post.) Ramps taste like a cross between a leek and green garlic and make for a lovely pesto. But I like them best grilled whole.

Ramp, Fig and Ricotta Tartine

  1. Cut a thick wedge of rustic bread (whole wheat sourdough from Bread Alone in this case) and set it to toasting.
  2. Bring a cast iron pan up to medium low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Rinse your ramps and trim the very tip, then set them in the cast iron pan, leaving the greens hanging over the edge. (This technique is key in my opinion, as it allows you to get a nice sear on the white portion of the ramp without overcooking the delicate greens.)Ramps
  4. Once you have some nice color on one side and the ramps are starting to soften, use the greens as a handle to flip them over and sear the other side. Then shift them fully into the pan and briefly cook the greens.Grilled Ramps
  5. Spread a thick layer of ricotta cheese onto your toast, add a thin layer of fig preserves, place your grilled ramps on top and finish with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy.

Ramp, Fig and Ricotta Tartine

Pesto Redux

I find myself working from home today while trying to fend off an illness whose most notable symptom is the sensation that there is a vise across the bridge of my nose. I left work early yesterday and it was all I could do to swing by the drugstore for some (to be used for legal purposes only) decongestants.

I rolled out of bed this morning, made some coffee, and got to work. By 12:30 I had sent 43 emails and held two conference calls. (Remember when sick days were a thing?) The vise was tightening. I was hungry and I had failed to stock the fridge. It was chilly and gray and I had no interest in donning pants. I was going to have to make do with what I had.

There was some kale from my CSA, a quarter cup of ricotta cheese that seemed to still be good, and an open bag of whole wheat penne. While I am not above making this a meal, it seemed a little sad. Then I remembered that rosemary-basil pesto I had frozen during the last gasps of summer and it all came together. Twenty minutes later, I was sitting down to a delicious lunch – and my next conference call.

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