May 14, 2008

Ramps (also called “Wild Leeks”)

I just finished serving jury duty for a trial that lasted a whopping two full weeks! On the upside the trial was conducted in the New York Supreme Court, which is the courthouse with all the steps that you see in Law & Order. That made me feel kind of cool, and of course I was sure to smile whenever I left the building since I was in the background of many tourists’ photos.

So what was my case? Well, as Uma Thurman’s stalker trial was going on a couple buildings down, I was placed on a trial dealing with the breach of an oral contract and fiduciary duties related to a hedge fund partnership. Okay so honestly I actually thought it was really interesting, but I know one of my fellow jurors disagreed as he literally slept through half the trial!

I have a bad habit of laughing at inappropriate moments, and there were definitely plenty of times throughout the trial that this bad habit was challenged. For starters, one of the defendants was named Mr. Freelove. Are you kidding me? Every time I heard the lawyers or witnesses say his name, I kept hearing in my head (set to very cheesy music) “Doctor Freeeloooove”. Yes, I chuckled each time.

I also loved that every time an important point was made, everyone’s heads would snap towards us jurors to see our reactions. Their faces were so serious. Yes, I laughed here too. Not sure how they read that reaction.

Meanwhile, our judge was a sweet older woman but she could not hear a word! Throughout the entire trial, she kept abruptly yelling out, “What? What? You have to speak louder! I can’t hear you!” Yes, I laughed out loud at these moments too.

Then of course there was one witness who had these abnormally massive hands. I kid you not, the palm of his hand alone was about ¾ the size of his face! His hands were just as out of proportion as the woman with “man hands” in that Seinfeld episode. Yup, I laughed.

Anyway, despite the entertainment of the court room, the days were long and tiring. So after being cooped up in the court room for yet another day, I decided to take advantage of how beautiful it was outside and walked home one day. Along my walk I came upon the Union Square Greenmarket. This time of year the market is filled with farmers selling ramps. I have always been curious about ramps so I picked some up and continued my way home.

Ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a taste that is somewhere in the middle of onions and garlic. If you buy some, you will quickly smell that they have a strong odor that is closer to garlic (I might even go as far to say that they have a stinky smell). As I suggested above, ramps are only in season in the spring time. I also learned that they are native to North America, and I believe that they are most popular in the Appalachian Mountains.

So where can you find them? Unfortunately, even with access to all the wonderful grocery stores in New York City, I have only seen them at the Farmers’ Market. So you may need to go to your local market to find them (but how great it is to support local farmers!). I also found that you can order them online from Earthy Delights.

So what did I make with my ramps? I sautéed them for a sauce served with a delicate white fish, which was such a great combination. Stay tuned as I plan to post my recipe for the dish I made…

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