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“Hello, Texas!” shouted the vendor at my new favorite vegetable stand when he saw me walk past with my dog Rose in tow. I waved back.  “Bonjour! Ca va?” I said, and took my place at the back of the line.

Then I saw these gorgeous green leaves popping out of the corner of the box of deep purple Japanese lettuce that looked like roquette. Just one bunch left. “What’s this?” I asked.

Green garlic, he told me. Green garlic…green garlic? Wait, these were ramps! The wild spring vegetable that’s related to leeks and scallions that everyone swoons over but I’d never seen, nor tasted, before. He said the season was almost over, maybe one more week.”What do you like to do with them?” I said. “I just chop it up and make a paste,” he said.

A pesto. That’s what he meant. So that’s what I did.

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There is nothing quite like it. The flavor is delicate, light, and almost fleeting, like wisps of spring magic. Not harsh and nary an ounce of bitterness. Definitely swoon-worthy.

I made some potatoes to toss the pesto with and thought it would be a perfect dinner side with a rotisserie chicken from Go-Go Poulet. But of course I forgot to get a chicken so I just ate the potatoes. Which felt totally okay.

Roasted Potatoes and Ramp Pesto

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound of small potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch ramps
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 large basil leaves
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  1. Put the potatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay them out on a cookie sheet flat-side down. Cook until they’ve browned and begin to wrinkle, about 20 minutes. Flip them over to finish cooking.
  1. Meanwhile, make your pesto: Put the ramps, basil leaves, olive oil, walnuts, and salt in your food processor and pulse until combined. You may do this in advance.
  1. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven into a large bowl and toss with the ramp pesto. Serve immediately as a warm side, or as a potato salad for a picnic.

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Lazy Bones Salad

April 3, 2015

roquette

About a half-bag of roquette. Parmesan curls. A small handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted. Some balsamic vinegar and good olive oil.

The add-ons: leftover olive fougasse, warmed in the oven till crisp, and the end of the baguette from the day before that, with fresh chèvre and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

Perfect for those nights when you’re too tired to cook and it’s too late to make something big.

Many nights.

When I want to go to a lot of trouble, I’ll fry an egg and put it on top. I love how the rich, runny orange yolk mixes with the vinegar.

I buy my eggs from a woman at my neighborhood market who only sells eggs and you can buy two for 70 centimes if you like, moyen or gros. I like the moyen because they are quite large enough, thank you very much, for what I use them for. Batches of cookies, cakes, and fried eggs, mostly.

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Almost Salade Nicoise

March 20, 2015

Of course, if this were an authentic salade Nicoise, there would be potatoes. There would also be anchovies.  Haricots verts. Maybe some tomatoes. And the olives would not be Kalamata, which these are; rather, the smaller Nicoise. So I know this is something else, but it is very close, and more than that, it’s really good, […]

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Broccoli Spinach Soup with Lime

February 27, 2015

Because I can be a little obsessive, and because I love broccoli and spinach, this soup has both. Maybe I just forgot about all the rain and gray, but I don’t remember such a wet patch like the one we’ve been having and are still in the midst of. It’s been messy. And mostly cold, but […]

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Washing Machine Cinnamon Biscuits

February 5, 2015

It has been gray and cold in Paris, with crazy days of rain and snow mixed together, and I have been thinking about what I could bake — toxic oven fumes be damned! — to warm up my insides. Naturally, biscuits came to mind. (Biscuits, I love you more than ice cream. No, that’s not […]

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French Toast

January 31, 2015

I’ve been putting off writing a post until I felt better. About everything. It has not been an easy reentry to life in Paris. I still don’t know how to write about the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the other horrific acts of terrorism that followed. Am I okay? People still ask this a lot. No. I’m […]

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Ho Ho Ho.

December 24, 2014

In case you’ve wondered where I’ve been, that’s a long story. Let’s just say that I’m glad this year is almost over. 2014, get outta here. Scram, you. It wasn’t all terrible, though. I wrapped up the year with a fabulous weekend at Lake Austin Spa Resort, which, no matter what, always seems to put […]

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

October 16, 2014

A few years ago, I was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner in Paris. He and his wife were from Syria, and they had one of the sweetest love stories I’d ever heard. Sasha was working in Paris as a handyman, and she had come to visit friends. The families knew each other, but she […]

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Speedy Spanakopita

September 9, 2014

This is what I made as a clean-out-your-fridge dinner the other night. I know. I sort of couldn’t believe it, either. But filo dough is one of those things I always have on hand when I’m in the U.S., because it’s impossible to find in France (instead, there’s a much thicker pastry called “brick”), and […]

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Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

September 5, 2014

Zucchini breads can be awfully boring things, but who wants to break up with zucchini bread? Not me. But I can’t remember the last time I made it. Enter my new big zucchini bread love, one of substance and complexity, with a gorgeous, dark caramel crust and tender, moist insides. The blackish specs you see […]

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