Guest blogger and friend Elliott Shaffner of F for Food and photographer Fred Turko are reflecting on life in LA, where they lived before moving back to Richmond, and the interesting bounty of spring here. Fava beans, peas and RAMPS! Below is Elliot's post with recipes. Thanks Elliott!
Lately, I have been thinking about my LA days. Probably because the weather in Richmond right now is in that Spring Sweet Spot; around 70 degrees, sunny and low humidity – not to mention all of the extremely colorful colors, birds chirping and lots of people OUTSIDE. Minus the extremely colorful colors and add a couple of layers of smog, it's pretty much what LA is like 99.3% of the time. Thinking about this now, it's hard to believe I took it for granted. I owned a dog walking business. I was outside all of the time. For years. I ardently lusted for thunderstorms and cicadas, I devoured other people's snowstagrams like Doritos, Detroit even seemed interesting. I can vividly remember one July day sitting swaddled in a blanket on the couch in my living room with a fire in the fireplace, marathoning True Blood like I was holed up in a ski lodge during a blizzard.
I've also been thinking about LA because admittedly I really miss all of the year round fresh, local produce. During this last downright brutal Winter in here in Virginia, and up until very recently, it seems all we've had to offer in the way of fresh fruits and veggies
has been kale, chard, collards and the like. But now that Spring is fully upon us, only like the coolest, hippest, most Instagrammed and Pinned gem of produce (rhubarb coming in at a close second) has just come into season here, RAMPS! Also big excitement happening, FAVAS! And PEAS! All of these literally taste green to me like a mouthful of Spring.
Praise be that Little House Green Grocery has all the cool, hip, produce bases covered. Here are a couple of incredible recipes from the meal we prepared with the the majestic green bounty of said glorious produce from Little House. It's all very bright, very green, very Spring, very healthy and very delicious. Plus, this entire meal is also very vegetarian!
Who needs LA? It's all happening right here, right now. Mind = Blown.
Pea Shoot Salad with Fava Beans, Cauliflower and Radishes
- 6 ounces pea shoots
- 1 pound fava beans, shelled
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted cauliflower floret
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a small pot of water with a tablespoon of baking soda to a boil. Blanch the favas for no more than two minutes. Place them in an ice bath. When cool, remove the inner shell by either popping the bean out with your fingers or using a paring knife. Set aside. Meanwhile place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and roast for 1015 minutes or until lightly browned.
Toss the pea shoots and radishes with the dressing. Top with the fava beans and cauliflower and
Lemon Honey Mustard Dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine ingredients and finish with salt and pepper.
Ramp Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound pasta
- 1⁄2 pound ramps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup toasted almonds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1∕3 cup olive oil
- Shaved Parmesan and sea salt for serving
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. On a sheet pan, toss the ramps with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Roast until the leaves are golden and the bulbs are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve a couple of coarsely chopped ramp greens. Transfer to a food processor and pulse with the almonds, salt, pepper, and lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic until smooth. With the blade running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until just combined. Cook pasta for 10 minutes, or until just al dente, and drain. Reserve 1⁄2 cup cooking water and add it by the spoonful to thin out the pesto to your liking.
Toss the pasta with the desired amount of pesto and and stir in reserved ramp greens and serve with some shaved Parmesan and a little sprinkle of sea salt.