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Recipe and Drink Recommendations

Spaghetti with Ramps, Chiles, and Two Cheeses
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com.

  • Ramps, or wild leeks, impart this quick pasta dish with a lovely garlic flavor. When ramps aren’t available, try scallions instead.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. ramps, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 dried red chiles, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Directions: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and when melted, add the ramps and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add all the chiles and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the lemon juice and both cheeses. Add the cooked spaghetti and reserved liquid, and toss to combine.. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the spaghetti is coated in sauce, 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, with additional Parmesan at the table. Serves 6.

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Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach
Adapted from www.blue-kitchen.com.
This easy dish is a complete meal in a bowl, and takes just about 15 minutes start to finish!

  • 6 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 12 oz. spinach, chopped
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Directions: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, stir in the chorizo and brown, stirring occasionally, for just 1-2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir in the chickpeas, and add the paprika. Stir to coat, and cook2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until heated through. In batches, fold in the spinach, and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

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Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
Adapted from Yossy Arefi’s recipe on www.cupofjo.com.
A buttery rye crust and lightly sweetened creamy mascarpone cheese are topped with strawberries in this dessert. Because the tart is so simple, use the best, sweetest strawberries that you can find. Note that the recipe makes enough crust for two tarts—the dough lasts beautifully in the freezer for your next tart (see note below).

  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 8 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 3 Tbs. sugar, divided
  • 1 lb. strawberries, small and sweet, hulled, sliced
  • 3 Tbs. strawberry jam

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the apple cider vinegar and ice water. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold while you start the crust.

In a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, rye flour, and salt together. Add the butter to the flour and toss to coat. Working quickly, use your fingertips or the palm of your hand to press the butter into thin pieces, tossing the butter pieces in flour to coat them. Continue until the butter is in flat, thin shard-like pieces from the size of a dime to the size of a quarter, coated in flour. If the butter gets warm or soft at any point, place the bowl in the freezer briefly. Sprinkle with about 6 tablespoons of the ice water-vinegar mixture, and use a wooden spoon until just combined. Try picking up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together. If it easily fallsapart, add more ice water, a few teaspoons at a time, until incorporated. Don’t overwork, or the pastry will become tough. Form the dough into a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 equal portions. Press each portion into a disk, and wrap individually in plastic wrap (see note). Chill at least two hours. Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.

On a lightly floured sheet of parchment, roll out one of the disks of dough into an oval about 15 inches by 6 inches, and about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough (on the parchment) to a baking sheet. Use a fork to prick holes all over. Brush all over with the beaten egg. Bake 25-30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Halfway through cooking, check to make sure no bubbles have appeared. If there are some, press flat with the back of a wooden spoon. Allow the crust to cool completely on the baking sheet, then transfer to a serving platter or cutting board.

In a small bowl, stir together the mascarpone and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Dot the mascarpone mixture with strawberry jam, then carefully arrange the strawberry slices in rows on top, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the last tablespoon of sugar. Slice into squares, and serve.

Note: You’ll only use one disk of dough for this tart. The second disk will keep, refrigerated, for three days, or frozen (wrapped in a double layer of plastic and a layer of aluminum foil), for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

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Vegan Palak Paneer
Adapted from www.food52.com.
Taking the time to press the tofu adequately and marinating it will ensure that you wind up with perfectly cheesy-flavored and crispy cubes of tofu. Serve over basmati rice, with naan for a restaurant-quality dinner.

  • 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 3 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 10 oz. spinach leaves (about 8 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 poblano or serrano chili, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, stirred before measuring

Directions: Place the block of tofu between two cutting boards or plates, and weigh down with a few canned goods. Let sit for an hour at the very minimum, and up to overnight. Drain the liquid and pat the tofu dry with a kitchen towel. Slice into 3/4-inch cubes. Place in a single layer in a shallow baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and nutritional yeast. Pour over the cubed tofu and toss to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Arrange the tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer, and bake, flipping halfway through, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use tongs to submerge the spinach leaves in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until just tender. Transfer the spinach to the ice water bath. When cool, drain in a colander and press out excess liquid. Use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the spinach is turned into a thick paste.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chili and onion, and saute until the onion is very tender and golden, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato, salt, garam masala, cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, and lime juice. Add the pureed spinach and the coconut milk, and stir to combine. Cook 5-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and is heated through. Fold in the tofu paneer. Taste, and add more salt and crushed red pepper flakes as needed. Serves 4.

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Strawberry Shortcake
Adapted from www.cooking.nytimes.com.
This classic dessert is an excellent way to enjoy strawberries at their peak, and takes just about an hour to make.

  • 2 pints ripe strawberries, washed and hulled, sliced or cut in half, depending on size
  • 1/2 cups sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup butter, softened, divided
  • 3 cup whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: Place roughly a quarter of the berries in a large bowl. With the back of a fork, gently mash to release their juices. Fold in the rest of the strawberries and the 1/2 cup of sugar, plus more to taste. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450ºF. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, andbaking powder. Add 3/4 cup of the butter, and rub into the dry ingredients. Pour in 1 1/4 cup of the whipping cream, and mix until it forms a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for about 1 minute. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or same size glass) to cut out an even number of rounds.

Butter a baking sheet and arrange half of the rounds on it. Place the remaining butter in a small saucepan and melt. Brush some melted butter on the rounds on the baking sheet, then top with the remaining rounds. Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and pull the shortcakes apart. Brush the insides with more melted butter.

Place the remaining whipping cream in a large bowl. Beat until it thickens. Fold in the vanilla and gently beat again to incorporate.

Place the bottom half of each shortcake on plates. Top with a spoonful of berries, then top with a top half, some more berries, and a big dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately. Makes 4 generous servings.

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Ramp-Stuffed Roasted Chicken
Adapted from www.jamesbeard.org.

  • 4 Tbs. butter, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1-2 bunches of ramps, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 medium white onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

Directions: Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Place a small rack inside a roasting pan.

In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Set aside. Mix the salt and pepper together in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken, inside and out. Place the ramps inside the cavity. Set the chicken, breast-side up, on the rack. Pour the melted butter over the chicken, then turn the chicken onto one side.

Arrange the sliced onion all around the chicken. Roast for 25 minutes. Baste, then turn the chicken onto the other side. Roast for an additional 25 minutes. Flip the chicken breast-side up, then baste it once more. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to cook about 25 more minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165ºF. Remove from oven.

Remove the ramps from the inside of the chicken and squeeze their juices into the roasting pan. Drain its juices into the roasting pan and transfer the chicken to a carving board. Cover loosely with foil and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of melted butter with the flour and set aside.

Pour the contents of the roasting pan into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then whisk the butter and flour into the saucepan. Boil for one more minute, until thickened. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Carve the chicken, and serve hot with the gravy. Makes 4 servings.

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