Buttercups, Ramps, and Rhubarb

When it come to the fields and cow pastures of Vermont, spit bugs and buttercups are synonymous.  Oily golden flowers supported by precarious green stems extending downward to meet in a sharp V.

The V is where the spit bug lives.  Translucent green, as small as a speck, and protected by a cocoon of his own frothy mucus.  Our fields were full of buttercups in the spring and therefore full of spit bugs.

We would carefully pick handfuls of flowers, passing over the spit bugs with laser precision.  Memories resurrected by the presence of buttercups at the Union Square greenmarket, I habitually probed them for any slimy friends.  None present.

Influenced by current NYC food trends, I also purchased two bunches of ramps at the same greenmarket for $3.00 a bunch.  Until this spring, it was my understanding that a ramp was a gentle incline often used in the place of stairs.

Ramps have a strong earthy garlic smell, and after removing the roots, the entire plant is edible.

I sliced the bulbs in half and coarsely chopped the greens.

The first bunch of ramps was used to make a pasta dish from Lucid Food.  This dish also called for morel mushrooms, but at $10 a mushroom, I used shiitakes instead.  With a glob of mascarpone:

Pizza and ramps are a popular combination and the inspiration behind this focaccia bread.

Simple topped with only ramps and cheese, and so good that I ended up making it again a couple of days later.  “Ramps” feels weird to say… rough and undignified.  I vote for a name change.  They are also referred to as wild leeks.

Ramp Focaccia Bread

  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup water (warm)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Mix together all ingredients except oil.  Once combined add the oil.  Knead for about 10 minutes.  Form dough into a ball, coat with oil, and let rise (covered) for 45 minutes. Oil a pan with olive oil and spread with cornmeal to prevent bread from sticking.  I used a large cookie sheet which ended up being the perfect shape for my bread.  Stretch the dough into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch think.  Place dough on pan, cover, and rise for another 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 f.  When dough has finished rising, make dents all over the surface with your fingertips and brush with olive oil.  Top with ramps, mozzarella cheese, and ground pepper.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Posts have been rhubarb heavy lately, but I do have one two more recipes to share.

Mexican Rhubarb Chocolate Brownies.  Spicy, sweet, chewy, delicious.  I know, they sound weird.  Just trust me on this one.

Spicy Rhubarb Brownies

  • 1 cup sliced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp or more (I used more) of chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz chocolate chips

Oven to 350 f.

Mix rhubarb, water, and 2 tbs sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Lower heat and cook about 10 min. until rhubarb is soft.  Remove from heat and puree in a blender.

Mix flour, baking powder, chile powder, and cinnamon.  In a saucepan melt the unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate.  Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the rhubarb mixture and melted chocolate.  Slowly add the dry mixture.  Finally, stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into a greased small baking dish (9×9 or something like that, I lined the bottom of mine with parchment paper) and bake for 35-40 minutes.

And the last rhubarb experiment…. a much lighter lemon rhubarb bundt cake with buttermilk.


2 responses to “Buttercups, Ramps, and Rhubarb

  1. Rhubarb! Ramps! I’m drooling here. Gorgeous eats.

  2. I purchased and planted a rhubarb plant.Did you pay for the buttercups?

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