Since turning 30, I’ve been mulling over what the term “grown-up” means. When I was younger, I thought being a grown-up was nothing short of awesomeness. You can stay up as late as you want, eat whatever you want, you get to drive a car, and you always have cash in your wallet for unexpected emergencies, like the ice cream truck.
Unfortunately, we eventually grow up and realize all of these perks are true. The trouble is we pay for the consequences of our grown-up actions, in the form of things like car insurance and numbers on the scale. I may be a grown-up who lives and dies by the Mr. Softee truck, but I find myself throwing in an extra workout just to keep chocolate softserve off of my thighs.
The thing is, when I was a kid, I never realized the sheer amount of anxiety that comes along with being an adult. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, maybe it’s because I’m high strung, but I worry about everything.
Will the rent get paid?
Have I had enough protein in my diet today?
Is the Big Man going to get hit by a subway train on his way to work?
Am I going to get hit by a train? Maybe I’ll just stand a little farther back from the platform edge. And I’ll text him to do the same, just in case.
I’ve been working my way through Mad Men lately, starting from the beginning on Netflix. The characters on the show are what I thought adulthood would be when I was younger. Grown-ups are Betty Draper, in all of her young-housewife glory, serving Heinekens and mini meatballs at a cocktail party and drinking bourbon while pregnant. (I’ve matured a bit since then, obviously)
I’ll be heading to the Eat Write Retreat in Philly in a few weeks, and I am beside myself with excitement. I need a good shake up, a weekend away with other food blogger nerds, something to reinvigorate my writing ans blogging. In preparation for the big weekend away, the EWR team sent me a big, fat goody-box full of OXO tools and a couple of cans of California Ripe Olives. The OXO gadgets were for my own personal squealy enjoyment, but the olives – my “secret ingredient” and a sponsor of the weekend- were to be made into an appetizer. Attendees who participate in developing an appetizer recipe for the “Amazing Apps Challenge” are entered into competition, and the winning recipe will be chosen on the last night of the retreat.
What else says, “I’m pretending to be a grownup with party appetizers” than cheese crostini with olive tapanade? To up the ante, I included a big leafy batch of ramps, the darlings of springtime food nerd cooking. Ramps are those wild onions you’ve probably been hearing everyone gush about- garlicky and versatile, they make foodies froth at the mouth and scoop them up out of the farmer’s markets in droves. Charred ramps mixed with diced California Ripe Olives and lemon zest makes a tapenade that is buttery, lemony and mellow. It is beautiful when slathered atop melted Jarlsberg cheese crostini.
They’re the perfect little appetizer when hosting a grownup, Betty Draper- style cocktail party; just please make sure nobody’s drinking bourbon while pregnant.
charred ramp and olive tapenade on jarlsberg crostini
serves 8-10 as an appetizer
6-7 thin slices of good, crusty bread
¼ pound Jarlsberg swiss cheese, sliced
1 bunch fresh ramps, cleaned thoroughly (about 6-7 ramps)
1 can (6oz) California Ripe Olives, drained and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing and tossing
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 400*F. Cut or tear the bread slices into bite sized pieces. Brush or drizzle with olive oil, then lay a slice of cheese on each piece, and set the bread aside.
Fire up your grill to medium, or heat a ridged grill pan on medium-high heat until very hot. Toss the ramps with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Grill the ramps until char marks appear. Allow to cool slightly, then mince.
Zest both lemons, reserving 2 tablespoons of zest and setting aside. Combine the remaining zest with the minced olives, then juice the lemons and add the juice to the mixture. Add in the minced ramps, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced garlic. Toss well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toast the Jarlsberg crostini until the edges of the bread have browned and the cheese is melted through. Remove from the oven and top each crostini with a spoonful of tapenade, then sprinkle with the reserved zest. Serve immediately.