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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eureka!

Ever learn a new word and then just love it so much that you want to use it all of the time? I felt that way when I was a kid and learned the word eureka. I tried to incorporate it into much of my speech. I would "discover" things just so I could say, "Eureka!"

A friend recalled once a time we were playing on the swings on the playground (this friend had already managed to tolerate exposure to my random moments of insanity) and I decided to see how high I could swing before being brave enough to jump off midswing. As I landed with a thud on the ground, I bravely declared, "Eureka! I discovered the law of gravity!"

"Okay, Rachel. Get to the point. Why are you once again boring us with your endless anecdotes?"

Oh yes, I do have a point. I had a "Eureka Moment" this week. I learned in school that eureka means, "I have found it." (Or that's what I was told Archimedes meant when he went streaking through the palace).

Well, maybe instead of "Eureka," I should say, "Eu-LEEK-a". I have discovered something I have been looking for!

(Wow classic TERP material: Pointless story and bad pun. I'm on a roll today.)

For the best couple of years I have been trying so hard to find ramps. I have looked at the farm markets. I have attempted to forage for them. One would think that the ample fields and ponds surrounding my barn would be ramp central, but that would be wrong. In the past I have never been able to find a single ramp.

Well, I did some foraging elsewhere - namely Whole Foods - and, lo and behold, found ramps this week. The suckers are grown way upstate (as in REAL upstate - not Westchester), which seems like an odd need when some people manage to find them in Yonkers (which, I repeat is NOT UPSTATE).

So I had ramps. Only half my struggle was over. Now that I had them, what was I supposed to do with them?

To tell the truth, I had no clue.

I had to come up with things I might usually make for dinner, given the current restrictions I've been placing on my meals, and find a way to incorporate the ramps. I promised myself it would be something other than pesto. I had my charmoula this week. I don't need any more pulverized green stuff!

I started to think pork. I bought a tenderloin and sliced it into medallions. Each one was wrapped with a ramp and secured with a toothpick.

They were browned on both sides in a pan and finished in the oven.

I deglazed the pan with sherry and added some fresh sage. Then I finished it with a little cream.


For Kevin I placed a piece of halibut on a bed of ramps and lemon slices, rubbed it with a little olive oil, sprinkled it with pepper and just a hint of salt, topped it with more lemon slices and baked it in a foil pouch.

I served kale chips on the side. I learned a neat trick from Simply Gluten Free to use a little vinegar on them. I took it one step further and used rice vinegar and sriracha to them. This added a bit more flavor so I could cut back on the salt (I used to use tons of salt on my kale chips).

Pork was really good. The ramps gave it a nice flavor. I hope I can find these again next spring.

Ramped-Up Pork Medallions
Ingredients
1 Pork tenderloin, cut in roughly 2" thick slices
Enough ramps to wrap each slice
Salt and pepper
2 tsp fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream
Olive oil for sauteeing

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Wrap each pork slice with a ramp and secure with a toothpick. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a pan. Brown the pork slices on both sides. Place in the hot oven an additional 5-10 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove pork from pan. Deglaze pan with sherry and add sage. Allow to reduce down for a minute or two. Stir in cream. Place pork medallions on a plate and top with sauce.

ADDENDUM: I still had about 5 leaves left over this morning along with the bits of bulb and stem. I chopped up the bulb and stem bits and sauteed them in butter and then scrambled eggs in it. Yummy. I grilled the leaves on the side. WOW! Grilled ramps are delicious!

9 comments:

Sue said...

Lovely recipe.

My buddy Phyllis was going crazy looking for ramps too. Eureka! She found some.

katiez said...

I keep hearing about them - but I've never seen them.... I do have my green garlic, though.
Now I want ramps so I can make the pork..... darn!
I wonder if I can plant them?!?!?

Donna-FFW said...

OK why the uppercase NOT upstate when referring to my hometown of Yonkers, before I became a married transplant jersey girl? Huh? Huh?

Where the heck in Yonkers did she find them anyway? Stew leonards?

Emily said...

You are so creative! I love the way you used the ramps. I've never had them myself, but would love to try them.

I LOVE kale chips! So good. I'll have to try the vinegar trick.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sue - thanks and I see she had to find them in the store too!

Katie- Green garlic is great. I have only started seeing that at farmer's markets last year, so consider yourself lucky that you can get it.

Donna - Because Yonkers is NOT UPSTATE. Yonkers is about as downstate as one can get without being in NYC. Tell someone from Syracuse or Saratoga that Yonkers is "upstate" and if you're lucky, he'll just laugh at you.

Emily - I'm glad I'm not the only one who suffered ramp-free for so long. Definitely use a little extra kick in your kale chips. I get bored with them just done with salt and oil sometimes.

peter said...

I ordered ramp bulbs from a place in WV and planted them next to the garage- they come up every spring and need no maintenance: http://www.rampfarm.com/
Wrapping the pork was a nice idea.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love Eureka! I'm going to start using it.

Heather said...

Ooh, I might use Peter's ramp hookup link. I keep thinking they'd grow well in the Pacific NW, but we just don't have them here. Gotta grow my own, I guess.

The Blonde Duck said...

LOVE the sugar shark office comment. :)