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Asparagus and Ramps Soup

Asparagus and Ramps Soup

What better way to celebrate spring with some wonderfully fresh and delicious seasonal vegetables? Finally my local Whole Foods has begun to stock the produce section with the first of the spring season vegetables. Today I just couldn’t help myself when I saw a huge pile of ramps nestled against the asparagus. I knew what to make immediately what to make.

Ramps are pretty difficult to get your hands on as they are foraged and extremely limited in quantity. They taste like a combination of leek and garlic which are two of my favorite produce items to begin with. This soup is very simple, relatively quick to prepare and really highlights the flavors of both vegetables.

Ramps

First of the Season Ramps

Asparagus and Ramps Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 4 ramps
  • 1/3 cup onion (fine diced)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tbs olive oil
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Asparagus Soup Misen en Place

Asparagus and Ramps Soup

Finely dice 1/3 a cup of onion. Wash, dry and cut the fibrous bottom off the asparagus. Throughly clean the ramps, they are a wild foraged vegetable therefore they will require and extra bit of rinsing. Take 3 asparagus and finely shave them lengthwise with a mandolin or knife. Set those aside. Chop the rest of the asparagus into 1/2 in length pieces. Remove the bottom portion of the ramps and rough chop the rest.

Saute the onion over medium heat in a sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 8 minutes or until translucent. Add the diced asparagus and a pinch of salt. Allow the asparagus to soften ~ 5 minutes. Add the ramps and sauté for 1 minute then proceed to add the stock.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Place into a blender and pulse until completely smooth. Strain through a fine mesh chinois and preseason.

Blanch the shaved asparagus for 30 seconds and shock in an ice bath. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Pat the asparagus dry. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the shaved asparagus. Allow both sides to gain color then remove from heat.

Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with the charred shaved asparagus and drizzle with olive oil.

Asparagus and Ramps Soup Close

Asparagus and Ramps Soup

Visit It’s Go Time: Common Mistakes When Cooking Ramps by Bon Appetite for a great article on Ramps.

Another take on this dish can be found on Asparagus and Ramp Soup With Yogurt on SeriousEats.com

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Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box

Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box

Chicken Teriyaki was my very first taste of Japanese food as a child and has remained one of my favorite dishes. The flavors and simplistic preparation of this dish instantly had me hooked on Japanese cuisine. I love throwing together a bento box at home when I’m really hungry containing chicken teriyaki, miso soup, salad and either sticky short grain rice or noodle. You can make the sauce well in advance or even use several weeks after its made, which makes throwing together a teriyaki meal easy.


Teriyaki Sauce

1 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup mirin

1/3 cup sake

Combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar and reduce to simmer until the teriyaki sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup and syrupy ~ 20 minutes.


Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tbs canola oil

Preheat oven 350. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes flip and put to finish ~10 minutes.  Place the chicken on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.Teriyaki Chicken


Hibachi Style Noodles

1 pound Chinese style lo mien noodle

2 tbs canola oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tbs mirin

4 tbs soy sauce

1 tsp butter

1 tbs sesame seeds

1/3 cup diced scallion

Cook the noodle al dente, rinse with cold water, dry and toss with 1 tbs canola oil. Over medium-high heat nonstick skillet melt the butter and add 1 tbs canola oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add noodles and toss for a minute. Season with soy, mirin, a few grinds of pepper. I prefer to allow the noodles to get crispy, but you can cook them to preference. Top with scallion and sesame seeds.Noodles


 

Bok Choy

1/2 pound baby bok choy  cleaned, ends trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs water

1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbs canola oil

In a sauté pan with a tight fitting lid, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the  ginger stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add the bok choy and toss about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, water, cover and cook about 1 minute.

Uncover, cook until the greens are wilted, stalks fork tender and most of the water evaporated (~ 2 minutes). Remove from heat, toss with sesame oil and season with pepper.


Miso Soup

4 cups Dashi

1/4 cup shiro miso (white)

1/2 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion

Warm the dashi in a sauce pan over high heat. Using a chinois, whisk in the miso paste, then gently stir in tofu. Simmer 1 minute and remove from heat. Add scallion greens and serve.


Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box