Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day with Grilled Asparagus and Ramps!

Take a moment and thank the earth today for being our home, the earth's water for quenching our thirst and giving us power, the trees for giving us fresh air and beauty, and best of all, the soil for feeding us and every other living thing. Today would be a perfect day to cook a special "Earth Day Meal" - try to use local products, avoid using plastic bags or non-recyclable or re-usable packaging, and eat with the lights off. Talk to your kids or your friends about the great world that sustains us, and try to give back - plant a few seeds, build a bird sanctuary, ride your bike instead of drive, and keep the earth in your thoughts. Gratitude and respect brings health, and the healthier the earth is, the healthier we are.

My treat on earth day is going to be a yummy potato and chard casserole, but I thought I'd share a delicious way to prepare two of my favorite spring vegetables.

Last weekend at the market was pretty inspiring - the asparagus was piled high, the rainbow chard brought colors other than green and brown to the tables, and the rhubarb is showing itself to be a stable spring top seller. Also, the ramps are here! I love ramps - also known as spring leeks - the beautiful, flat-leafed alium is similar to a scallion, but has a real garlicky kick. According to John Mariani, author of "The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink," the word ramp comes from "rams," or "ramson," an Elizabethan dialect rendering of the wild garlic. They are native to North America, and can be used in everything from buscuits to pesto. Mmmm... ramp pesto...

I decided to pair some ramps with my other favorite - asparagus - on the grill. Portland had her first really GORGEOUS stretch of sunny days last weekend, and in order to celebrate and extend these delusions (or anticipations) of summer days, I busted out the Weber and tossed the veggies in olive oil and rosemary, grilling them for a few minutes - just until they are slightly browned and tender.

You could also broil them, if its too early for the grill - but this gave them a great smoky flavor, and the leaves of the ramps crisped up like chips, while the asparagus was perfectly tender. Simple, flavorful, and earth friendly. Eat Well!

How are you going to thank the earth today?


  1. Two of my favorites, together. How awesome. My rhubarb is finally big enough to cut--that's how I'll be celebrating tonight. I'll make a savory sauce for some pork chops. Happy Earth Day!

  2. Looks great! I love grilled veggies. Do you know if ramps and spring garlic are the same thing. I have never heard of ramps before.

  3. I'm jealous of your ability to grill these days! It's still a bit cold for us and we probably won't grill outside until end of May... looks delicious!

  4. That is a nice way to celebrate Earth Day. I am looking forward to the local asparagus and ramps.