Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm still here, and the book is...kind of...done? I'm goin' fishin'....

I guess when the recipes are all written, the essays polished and placed, and all the photos (but for a couple) taken, and my editor tells me I'm off her hook for a few weeks, until there are laid-out pages to proof, that my work is pretty well finished.  It's just that, as it all came together in bits and pieces, with mucho editing, rewriting, swapping recipes in and out, it's hard to feel that it's really done.  I'll feel differently when I see those page proofs, for sure. 

For now, I'm not going to think about it.  I've got new laces in my wading boots, my line is dressed--even washed my vest, haven't done that in years!  Tomorrow I'm heading out down U.S. Highway 52 to the Whitewater, to wet a line for the first time this year.  Gone fishin'.

Before I go, a recipe:  From a Wisconsin woods I was able to gather a sack of ramps this week, and for dinner last night I prepared this pasta dish, a wild and smoky carbonara:

Cut a thick slice of bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.  Take a good fistful of ramps, separate the green tops from the bulb and stem sections; slice the greens thin, chop the rest.  Sweat off the bacon in a big skillet, and as it's starting to brown, add the chopped ramp bulbs.  Cook those until they're a bit brown, and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile you're cooking some pasta--we used thin spaghetti--five or six ounces serves two at our house. 

In a small bowl combine an egg with 1/3 cup of cream and mix well.  You also need some grating cheese--Wisconsin asiago for us, about a half cup grated.  And then just salt and pepper, a good pinch of espelette or cayenne pepper. 

When the pasta is done save about 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.  Add the pasta and cooking water to the skillet and turn the heat on to medium.  Add the egg-cream mixture to the pasta, tossing with tongs to thoroughly distribute it--also mixing in the bacon and ramps still in the skillet.  Add half the cheese, and the ramp greens, a few grinds of black pepper, couple pinches of salt, and the espelette or cayenne.  Serve it out and bring the rest of the cheese to the table to add to taste.

The aromas of this were amazing, especially as these were the first ramps of the season.  Those wild alliums have gotten caught up in a lot of retro-culinary hoopla and trendy cheffiness in the last few years--you'd think they were as rare and precious as saffron or truffles.  They're not, but they're maybe just as good; for a few weeks in the spring, it's worth eating your fill.


Sharon Parker said...

Congrats on finishing, more or less, the book! Happy fishing!

Trout Caviar said...

Thanks, Sharon. I think it's going to be like magic when I do see page proofs--all those bits and pieces finally fitted together in a whole.

Re the fishing: 86ed by high wind, high water and low temps. I'll give it another try next week.

Best~ Brett

angie said...

Yay! (I'm behind reading blog posts). Congrats!! What a sense of accomplishment you must feel. Hope the fishin' was good.

sylvie in Rappahannock said...

It does sounds like a major accomplishment to me... Happy fishing.

Trout Caviar said...

Thanks, Angie & Sylvie. When I eventually did get out fishing, it was remarkable. Report to follow next week.


rivertreekitchen said...

I'm a freelance cookbook editor and was hired by your publisher to proofread your book. What a pleasure! I took a break from proofreading to see if I could find some late ramps along the shore of the trout stream on our property (no luck, I'm afraid). I hope to be cooking from this book for a long time.

Trout Caviar said...

Hi rivertreekitchen: A cookbook editor/proofreader who lives on a trout stream? Sounds like you're the perfect person for this project! Thanks for the kind words. I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed reading the proofs.


p.s.~ Sorry you struck out on the ramps. They're still looking fairly fresh in the northern part of their range, but getting harder to find as everything else grows up. I'm pickling some today.