Last Christmas I was gifted with a lovely cookbook by Katie Webster.
If the cover isn’t enough to convince you of its loveliness, a quick glance inside would surely do so.
Katie Webster has created a lovely book with her superb photographs in and out of a Vermont kitchen. As a bonus she has included some fantastic recipes as well.
As often happens, I have taken the book off the shelf occasionally to peruse the recipes and enjoy Katie’s photographs. However, it wasn’t until I changed my diet a few weeks ago that I actually tried any of the recipes. Since eliminating processed sugar from my diet and only using maple or honey it made sense for me to go to this book when searching for a cake recipe for my mom’s birthday. The Maple Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (page 147) was the perfect choice. Then when my step-daughter’s birthday rolled around I opted for the Maple Apple Almond Torte with Maple Cinnamon Glaze (page 151).
In the introduction Katie reminds readers of several reasons to choose maple over other sweeteners. The one that resonates most with me is:
It’s healthier than other sweeteners.
Unlike refined sugars, maple syrup has not been stripped of its micronutrients during production. It contains trace amounts of calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, as well as more than fifty known antioxidants. With a score of 54, it falls lower on the glycemic index than many other sweeteners. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Those birthday treats were such big hits that I began to look for some other new recipes that would fit my new diet. In several recipes I saw something called ramps, which I had never heard of. So, I googled it and here is what I learned from www.wildedibles.com:
Ramps (Allium tricoccum), or wild leeks, occur at higher elevations in Eastern North America from Georgia to Canada. Their sharp flavor is characteristic of a combination of garlic and onion. Ramps are easily recognized by their 1 or 2 broad leaves measuring 1 to 2 1/2 inches wide and 4 to 12 inches long. Foraging ramps has long been a popular activity throughout their range. Historically ramps were regarded as a spring tonic in the Appalachians. They are widely celebrated by tens of thousands of ramp lovers who attend numerous ramp festivals every spring. Ramp festivals are partly responsible for severely impacting ramp populations throughout their range.
Avoid the deadly lily-of-the-valley which looks similar to ramps. While ramp leaves have a pungeant garlic odor, lily-of-the-valley has no odor.
You may recognize these if you spend any time walking in damp wooded areas.
Well, wouldn’t you just know that a few days later, on a bike ride on Kingdom Trails I came across some ramps! I picked one and smelled the root and stalk to make sure and there was no denying their distinctive smell. So, we brought a few home
and I cut them up and sauteed them in a bit of clarified butter and . . . OMG they were delishious!
I am anxious to go get more and try them mixed in a garden salad, sauteed with other veggies, mixed into a batch of pesto. . .
you get the idea. I have become a ramp fan and love that a walk in the woods can yield something to add to the dinner table.