Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Enjoying the chill

You won't catch me complaining about the chill in the air this week (that is, of course, unless my plants suffer as I think I was a little over eager with my basil...).  I've got chicken roasting in the over, a glass of red wine in my hand and am curled up in front of likely the last fire of the season with my pup.  Sundresses and white wine in March, sweats and red wine at the end of April.  There's something to be said for making the best of what you're given.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Best day ever...

Purchased right in Latham...
I did a lot of running around yesterday morning, trying to be as productive as possible while the weather was nice.  I was on an (unsuccessful) hunt for ramps, fearing I'm already too late.  There were none to be found at the Troy Farmer's Market so while I was working my way back to Albany, I decided to pop into the Fresh Market as a last ditch effort.  No ramps, but I did discover that the store is now carrying what is perhaps my very favorite thing in the world - Jeni's Ice Cream.  I know I'm rambled on incessantly about it here, and plenty of people in my life think I'm insane for shipping ice cream from Ohio, but it's just that good.  Especially the signature salty caramel flavor.

I stood in disbelief in the freezer section.  I may have exclaimed my joy out loud, I'm not quite sure.  For those of you unfamiliar with Jeni's, sticker shock is likely.  It was $10.99 for the pint at Fresh Market. I think it's $7-8 bucks at the stores, and by the time I have it shipped, $10 or $11 bucks a pint is about right.  Here's the thing - you don't eat a lot in one sitting.  It's so rich and satisfying that just a bit goes a long way.  I usually have about a ramekin full when I'm treating myself, so a pint has the potential to last.  Keep in mind, I said potential ...  Of course it's not an everyday treat, especially at that price point, but it is worth the occasional luxury.

So, I'm a very, very happy girl.  It's not every day you go searching for one delicacy and find another.  But if anyone has a lead on some ramps....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blackberry-lemon Shortcake

I've taken quite the hiatus these past few months.  I'm not really sure what I've been eating, but it certainly hasn't been anything creative coming out of my kitchen.  But Spring has a way of rejuvenating, doesn't it?  I've built new garden boxes, the basil and arugula are in, and happily my blueberry bushes are heavy with buds after last year's dud season.

Last week I found myself on Long Island and took the long way home so I could swing by Trader Joe's (perhaps the last time I need to lug TJ's stuff back from Jersey?!).  I'd grabbed a jar of lemon curd, which I love but so rarely use.  Today, while out running errands, I spied a decent deal on plump, gorgeous blackberries and the stars aligned...

I decided to make a blackberry shortcake and top it with lemon curd.  I didn't want to just fill a shell with raw berries, so I used maybe a third of what I had to make a chunky sauce.  I started with just a little bit of water and brown sugar at a boil, dropped it down to a simmer and dropped the berries in.  Some freshly grated nutmeg, vanilla and about 20 minutes and I had a sauce.  I tossed in the rest of the berried, stirred them to coat and that was it.  I'd grabbed shortcake shells because they were handy, but I think this would be awesome on pound cake or homemade biscuits.

Happy Spring!