Saturday, June 7, 2014

20 Locally Grown Weeks, Week 2: Garlic Scape Pesto

I had been hearing that you can make pesto from garlic scapes for a long time, but this is the first time I tried it. WHY did I wait so long?! It was delicious and the kids really enjoyed it. Dora often complains that true basil pesto is too spicy (from the raw garlic), but garlic scape pesto is milder, and stays green! 

The recipe I found called for pine nuts and parmesan like a traditional basil pesto, but I used what I had on hand. I rarely use pine nuts because they are just so stinking expensive (although they are, of course, delicious). I found cashews to be just right, adding the butteriness that you usually get from pine nuts. 

I rarely measure anything when making pesto - just go for it until the consistency and taste is right (requires tasting as you go). 

Use as you would any pesto - ours went into pasta with halved cherry tomatoes, grilled sausage, and a little pasta water. Mmmm. 

Garlic Scape Pesto (adapted from Food52)

In a mini-food processor combine:

1 bunch garlic scapes, sliced
1/2 cup (or so) roasted cashews (I like the "not too salty" cashew pieces from Trader Joe's) 
1/2 cup (or so) grated Asiago 
olive oil (until it reaches the right consistency) 
freshly ground black pepper 

Keeps in the fridge for a week-ish. 

Bonus: This week I also made Minestrone Soup with Collards and White Beans. I used this recipe, subbing in chicken broth for the water. Also I pureed some of the beans with some water (instead of smashing with a spoon). 

Monday, June 2, 2014

20 Locally Grown Weeks, Week1: Napa Cabbage 2 ways

This post is late. Oops. But let's not let that get us too off schedule - I made a delicious garlic scape pesto tonight that I can't wait to share! 

For now, we'll return to last week with 2 great Napa Cabbage recipes. I know - I'm whimping out a little because Napa Cabbage is such an easy ingredient to work with (I think). It's great sliced thin and turned into a salad or slaw, or tossed into a stir fry with ground pork, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. But I made two different salads last week that are worth sharing here. 

One final note: I am no chef. I am definitely not a recipe writer. I'm a recipe reader, though. I love to read recipes and often do just for entertainment. I've gotten good at (usually) choosing ones that work well, making small adjustments that will suit my family, and adapting them to what we have on hand. So, I'm not promising to present original recipes here - just sharing what's working for us, what changes I've made, and illustrating things along the way. 

Recipe 1: Shredded Napa Cabbage Salad with Radishes, Golden Raisins, and Dijon Dressing (click link to view) 

We had this as a side dish with ... wait for it ... hot dogs and corn on the cob for Memorial Day. The kids thought it was kind of spicy (Napa Cabbage and radishes both have a bit of bite) but I have to say this is one of my new favorite ways to use radishes. I always think radish slices in salad are too much, but using matchsticks was perfect. 

Added bonuses: 

  • While we had the grill hot, I grilled some chicken cutlets to cut up and add to salads through the week. I added leftover grilled chicken to this salad the next day and it was even better than the day before. 
  • This recipe calls for fresh chives. When I have a new recipe calling for fresh herbs in summer, if I don't already have it growing in my garden, I just buy a pot at the store and plant them for use all summer (or longer if they winter over). 

Recipe 2: Next we enjoyed the second half of our Napa Cabbage as a slaw with fish. The original recipe called for salmon, but I'm honestly not a big salmon fan so I used tilapia (sorry - I know there are tilapia haters out there). 

Napa Cabbage Slaw with Curry Dusted Fish (adapted from Martha Stewart) 

1/2 head Napa Cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced 
3 - 4 carrots, shredded 
a handful of fresh mint leaves (don't plant this in your garden. I learned the hard way. I tore it all out last year and it's already back in my garden) 
1/4 cup-ish fresh lime juice
2 Tbs olive oil 

tilapia filets
2 teaspoons curry powder
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 

Combine the cabbage, carrots, and torn mint leaves, then dress with a mixture of lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat broiler. Season fish with salt and pepper, then rub all over with curry powder. Place on a lightly oiled, broil-proof pan and broil until it's done - which means watching it like a hawk and taking it out pronto so it doesn't get overcooked. 

I served this with rice. The next day the slaw was even better, again delicious topped with grilled chicken. 

Thanks for reading! More to come later this week and beyond!!