June 25, 2010

No Vampires Here

Let's do a little wrap up of what happened to all that delicious greenery I posted almost two weeks ago.

  • The big bag of dinosaur kale (not all pictured in the photo) was enough to make two recipes.  The first recipe I did was a batch of kale chips with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and sesame seeds.  That lasted approximately 15 minutes out of the oven.  They were crispy, flaky, dissolve-in-your-mouth delicious with just the right amount of healthy vegetable taste to them (even if I did over salt them just a bit).  I sauteed the rest with a bit of garlic and red pepper flakes to go alongside some leftover chicken mole enchiladas.  Kale can do no wrong in my book.
  • The basil was put into sandwiches and chopped into salads.  Sweet, delicate basil.
  • I steamed the green beans and we ate them alongside the tuna sandwiches.  I know, not very exciting, but when they were picked just hours before, anything more would just be distracting.
  • Dill ended up being quite the workhorse of the bunch going into three recipes.  You already saw the tuna nicoise sandwiches where I swapped the basil for the dill (excellent substitution).  Next it went into this ridiculously good radish cream cheese dip with along with some garlic and lemon - there will be a future post on this, it's too perfect for summer BBQs and snacking.  And lastly, the majority of the bunch is going into my first DILL PICKLE ADVENTURE!  I'm a little nervous about fermenting the pickles in a dark corner of the kitchen, covered only with cheesecloth and unrefrigerated for days, but for now I'll just have my fingers crossed and take solace in other people's success with the recipe.
  • Last, but certainly not least, the garlic scapes.  How cool looking are these things?  Curly little shoots of would-be garlic flowers.  I had never tried them before, and knowing they're only available for a short time each year, I grabbed a handful at the Farmer's Market.  The guy at the stall mentioned that making a pesto was a common preparation, but that he liked his best sauteed in a bit of olive oil.  I went for the pesto idea, so I could appreciate their raw flavor.  A search around the internet turns up numerous options for the pesto ingredients, but I chose one from The Washington Post's now defunct blog, "A Mighty Appetite" because it used walnuts in place of pine nuts - a substitution I enjoy with the more traditional basil pesto - ensuring that I already had all the ingredients on hand.  It was quick to whip up, tossing all but the cheese into the food processor (or in my case, a little mini-chop), and the kitchen was soon filled with a soft, almost floral garlic scent.  I actually thought the garlic factor was more toned down than in a regular pesto, and the overall flavor surprisingly delicate.  Sure, it gives you garlic breath, but not terribly so, and if you're a garlic lover like me, you won't mind so much.  If your market still has garlic scapes, go grab a handful and make some pesto for yourself, your mouth will thank you! 

Garlic Scape Pesto
Adapted from The Washington Post

The Washington Post recipe says that 2 tablespoons is enough for 1/2 pound of pasta, but I found that I liked the ratio of 2 tablespoons per 1/4 pound pasta better.  This could be due to me drastically reducing the amount of olive oil in the pesto or because I just liked more of the sauce coating the pasta.  To each his own.  Start out with 2 tablespoons for the half pound of pasta and add more if you feel like that's what you want, I won't judge.  Also, when choosing a pasta, go with a shape that can hold the pesto.  I used orecchiette, but small shells or even farfalle (bow-tie) would work too.

Yields a little over 1/2 cup

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
6 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmigiano 

1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano; add salt and pepper. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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