Garlic scape obsession

Garlic scapes have arrived with Week 3 of the CSA–one of my all-time favorite produce items.  Many of us get really excited when the garlic scapes arrive.  There are a lot of ways to use garlic scapes, but this is my go-to recipe because it is so versatile.  You can add any number of herbs, nuts, cheeses, or other goodies (sun-dried tomatoes, anyone?) to the base pesto mix of garlic scapes, salt, and oil–you have limitless possibilies!  I also made a loaf of bread stuffed with the pesto and some Brie cheese–talk about a yummy taste bud experience:

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Today’s garlic scape pesto uses oregano, a touch of basil, parsley, green onions, and sunflower seeds.  Last year I showed you how to make 3 different garlic scape pestos, including sage and walnut, the Asian pesto, and another parsley variety.  I’ll post those recipes on my website soon–but there are other priorities right now, like harvesting buckets o’ strawberries, for example!  Yesterday I harvested about 3 pounds of strawberries from the garden, and there’s more to come later this week.

But the video will show you the basics until I get get around to posting those recipes!  Enjoy–and be on the lookout for vampires!

CSA week 1: baby bok choy potstickers

The first CSA pick up was yesterday, and as promised, I created a video to demonstrate a way to cook up your shares.  I used 5 of the 7 items in our share (I was so hungry after I finished making the celeriac chips that I forgot to use the mixed greens –oops!).  Not a bad way to start of the season.  Enjoy your share and thanks for choosing to eat locally!  I’ll post the recipe later this week here.

Cabin cookin’

Last weekend I went chasing after Sandhill cranes–my girlfriend and I have done this for a second year in a row now and we have deemed it an annual event now.  We mounted our cameras on tripods and set off through the willows, looking for these beautiful birds.  We found some, but they are skittish creatures, so we were never able to get very close for good photos.  We scurried from shrub to shrub like ninjas, with our tripods and packs, and I’m sure it was quite a site to see.  This pair was hard to spot–we actually heard them give away their location.

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And even if we didn’t capture any award-winning crane photos, we had a great time anyway.  The scenery was spectacular!

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We stayed in a Forest Service cabin and I cooked dinner.  We had a grilled pork shoulder steak marinated in Osaka Sauce, rice noodles with Asian garlic scape pesto, and peach-huckleberry cobbler with cranberry whiskey and vanilla Greek yogurt.  This dinner did not disappoint!  I made a video of our cabin cooking adventure, and though it is very unstructured, it does capture the essence of our dinner party in the mountains pretty well, I think.  The recipe for the Asian garlic scape pesto is here.  We’ll make this pesto (in a more structured kitchen setting) when the garlic scapes arrive in the CSA shares next month!  So stay tuned!

 

Asparagus with carrot crepes

This recipe is delicious.  I’m just going to throw that out there right now.  It’s time consuming to make, but not difficult.  Crepes can be tricky, but you just need to make sure you cook them well on one side before you try to flip them.  Otherwise you’ll end up with a “beautiful mess” like the one featured near the end of the video.  If you have some asparagus just waiting to be used, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

 

 

 

Doggy birthday cake

MaeBelle is turning 12 this week!  To celebrate, today we made a birthday cake using sweet potatoes, applesauce, carrots, and peanut butter.  It was a hit!  If you want a printable version of the recipe, it’s here.  And of course, my goofy video showing how we made it today–it was an experiment in-the-making!

Weekend fun in the kitchen: mini blackberry lime cheesecakes

Wow, the weekend came and went so quickly!  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend cooking since it’s usually the only time during the busy week I can afford to devote a lot of time to cooking.  I made those blackberry lime cheesecakes again!  Y’know, the ones I made last weekend, on Earth Day with my solar oven.  I used my solar oven again, but the clouds had different plans for me this time.  Time also got away from me and it was just too late in the day to finish baking them so I had to finish baking them in the oven for 10 minutes.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all…

I made another video for this recipe (be sure to watch the bloopers at the end):

And if you want to print a copy of the recipe you can find it here: uf-blackberry lime cheesecakes.  Enjoy!

First Cooking Video! How to make Asian coleslaw

Ok, so it wasn’t the hazelnut carrot cake, but this was a good first video.  It’s not polished, but it’s something to work from.  I’ll decide what I like, what I don’t like–and hopefully I’ll get some feedback on what viewers like and don’t like–and I’ll begin to refine my presentation over the next few weeks.  There’s a reason I did this first one well in advance of the first week of the CSA!

If you don’t have access to Osaka sauce, you can use another Asian marinade sauce as a substitute.  Or, you can purchase the Osaka Sauce directly from Mustard Seed, along with several other sauces (and I highly recommend the Asian Oil & Vinegar and the Teriyaki Sauces–both are delish!).  I also noticed they have two new sauces–we will definitely be trying those out with the CSA shares this year!

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful evening after the rain we got today, big fluffy clouds in the sky–I’m going to grab my camera, hit the trails, and see if I can capture a beautiful sunset!

Thanks for reading and watching!

~Sara

I just….need a salad!! Pronto.

I’ve gotten spoiled with my CSA share in the summers:  I hardly ever go to the grocery store.  And when I do, it’s mostly to get staples like sugar and flour…and the occasional can of black beans (if I’m too lazy to soak and cook dry beans) or mushrooms (which I do not grow….yet.).  By the time January rolls around and I haven’t gotten my weekly allotment of salad greens for a couple of months, I start to have major cravings.  So yesterday I broke down and went to the grocery store to buy salad greens.  And apples.  And pears.  And several other things.  It was the first time I’d had a major grocery outing in several weeks and it hurt.  Not in the pocketbook, but just from the fact that I had to buy grocery store apples!  Oh, the agony (Cue dramatic ‘damsel in distress music’ now)!  Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.  I don’t feel too bad about buying apples and pears.  At least the apples and pears are fall-winter ripening fruits that have a long storage time, thus they are sort of ‘in season.’  And the apples came from Washington, so at least they were a regional item.  And the greens?  Well, I could be growing them in my basement right now, but I’ve had a lot going on so it hasn’t made it to the top of my priority list yet.

I know it may seem extreme to not just go to the grocery store and buy some damn salad.  Especially in the wintertime when there is no salad growing in Montana, unless it happens to be in a greenhouse or in my basement under lights.  But it’s hard for me now that I’ve seen and tasted what local eating is like.  I’ve really gotten…militaristic?  some might say snobbish?  about eating as much locally-produced food as possible.  I guess I try to hold my food sources to high standards now that I have labeled myself a locavore, though I do have plenty of grocery store staples that are not local: cereal, crackers, chocolate chips, canned pineapple, the list continues (and it does include things that do not start with the letter C).  So I suppose I risk sounding like a hypocrite if I will eat canned pineapple but I won’t eat store bought salad?  Maybe it’s because I know I can’t buy a Montana-grown pineapple (though I do have a pineapple plant in my living room that has never produced fruit in the 4 years I’ve had it–but I’ll keep waiting) that I justify buying the pineapple but not the salad?  Hard to say.  I guess all I can do is try to limit my non-local foods as much as possible and not judge myself too hard even if it means I break down once and a while and buy a salad in January.

Oh, the internal struggles of a locavore…

Having said that, there are plenty of items that I don’t buy fresh when out of season.  As I walked through the produce section of the grocery store, I glanced at the dozens of plastic cartons of raspberries and thought to myself…”Why would anyone spend so much money on raspberries in the grocery store in January?”  First of all, even in season, raspberries are such a delicate fruit that they just don’t travel well.  By the time they make it to the display at the grocery store, they are on the verge of rotting, if they aren’t already.  And secondly, they just don’t have the same appeal as raspberries you pick yourself in the summer.  There is nothing quite like popping a warm, sun-kissed raspberry in your mouth that you just plucked from the vine.  That is the unadulterated taste of summer.  Not hot dogs.  Raspberries.  Of course, raspberries are thorny little buggers, so you often end up with a few scratches to show for your blood-red stained hands and lips.  But it’s all worth it.  And picking raspberries with friends?  Even better.  Let them crawl around on their hands and knees, hair getting caught in the brambles, arms getting scratched to hell.  Of course, they get the best, hidden berries so it’s a trade off.

But I digress.  We were talking about salads, weren’t we?

So I bought the greens and the apples and pears.  I took them home and I made a giant salad.  Even though I bought the organic, triple-rinsed greens, I just cannot in good conscience eat salad greens without washing them first.  Unless I pluck it from my own garden and know for a fact that a bird has not pooped on it, I must wash it.  I broke out the salad spinner that hasn’t seen activity for several months (Hello, old friend!), washed my greens, gave them a good spin, and plopped them in a bowl.

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I chopped up a pear and added half of it to my salad.  I pulled out some dried cranberries.  I added some goat cheese crumbles.  And I drizzled some honey-mustard dressing on top.  But perhaps the best part of my salad was the sweet-spicy walnuts and sunflower seeds I added to the top.

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I made them myself: maple syrup, cayenne pepper, olive oil, a dash of chili powder and salt–into the oven at 225 degrees F for about 25 minutes, stirring once.  Yuuuuuuuum!  They were spicy for sure!  I used a LOT of cayenne pepper.  But when added to the salad the heat was dampened a little by the salad dressing and goat cheese and they were the perfect addition to my salad.  I like something a little crunchy-nutty in my salads and I’m often throwing a spoonful of raw sunflower seeds in my salads in the summer time, so these were a special little treat.

I inhaled that salad.  And I felt so much better getting some raw greens in my body.  I just needed them.  It’s funny how I tire of salads sometimes in the summer because we get greens of some sort every. single. week.  But then once they’re gone, it doesn’t take long before I pine for those crisp heads of lettuce or spicy bags of arugula we were getting inundated with weekly for 5 months.  Fortunately, June 6th is only about 19 weeks away.  Not that I’m counting…

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That salad was so good that I ate it again for dinner tonight.  Maybe I’ll even have it again tomorrow, this time with that regionally grown Washington apple.