July 03, 2012

Garlic Scapes and Daddy

Ive been away awhile, I know. First I was sick with shingles and could barely walk for two months, then my dad passed away and I was home helping mom awhile. But Im back now and hope to start posting much more.

My dad was the other chef in the family. No he didn't cook professionally as I did. But we often would talk about foods we tried and shared recipes. I would take one of his and add more to it and he would take one of mine and adapt it to cooking a different way. We were always experimenting and trying new things. Dad was limited as to what he could try since mom didn't like much. So in honor of my Dad, I decided to dedicate this blog to him.  It was an experiment and I found out I love garlic scapes. I bet Dad would too.
 I went to the Farmers Market Sunday and found garlic scapes. Ive been hearing so much about them. I never had them before and even when I picked one up and smelled it, it didn't have much smell. So I thought, whats the big deal with these? But I bought 3 bunches anyway. I read about garlic scape pesto so I thought Id try that. I figured if I didn't like it I would just add basil, which I also bought.

But I was in for a surprise! As you cut them they do smell heavenly ......of garlic and almost grassy. My whole house smelled of it while working on my recipes. I tasted it and OMG !!!  and so now its my new favorite thing. I'm hoping to go back this week and get more cuz the season is very short for these things. For more info on scapes: http://gardening.about.com/od/herbsatoz/a/What-Are-Garlic-Scapes.htm

I did some research on them before I did anything with them and I'm glad I did. These funny looking things have a flower bud and apparently you cut those off and discard. When I wandered online for info, I never saw anyone say that in their recipes. So remember to cut off the flower head and trim the bottom of the stem. Some stems are quite tough. I found I would cut and it would be hard and pull a string on it like when your cutting celery. So keep cutting till its ez to cut. I found most stems only needed one or two cuts but there were a couple that needed more. You want the tender parts.  
Then I cut them into about 1in. lengths. I did this because I was going to but them in the food processor to make pesto. I have a small processor. I chopped all of them in the processor and dumped it in a bowl, trying to figure out what to do with so many. I thought OMG I bought too much...........wrong! After I started using them, I thought OMG I need more! lol They are that good.

And so I made Garlic Scape bread to have with dinner. And then I got carried away with my chicken and tossed some chopped scapes on that too while roasting. Finally I made the pesto. ...two batches. I have just enough to make more Garlic scape butter and Ill freeze that.  

 Garlic Scape Butter for bread

1/2 - 3/4 c. chopped garlic scapes
1 stick of butter
1/4c. Parmesan cheese
Process all in food processor till blended. Taste (omg, yummy!) and add S & P if you like.

Spread this on some nice crusty bread. I had a nice Ciabatta bread from the market too. I bake mine at 400 degrees till it starts to get brown on the edges and crusty on top. This will make the greenest bread you ever saw and will confuse people......until they taste it! I like this better than regular garlic bread. Its much more mellow and yet has quite a garlic taste. 

 Garlic Scape Pesto Makes about 2c.
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*
    Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    A few generous grinds of black pepper
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    *Or use half scapes and half herbs such as basil, dill and chervil

Toast pine nuts in a small fry pan if you want. Put all ingredients except oil and Parmesan in a food processor bowl. Pulse till mixed. Slowly add the oil while processor is running till mixed in. Remove from processor and put into a bowl, mix in Parmesan.

 At this point taste it and see if it needs S & P. I froze mine in small jars  to preserve till I need it. 
(sorry about that, I started to cut the chicken apart and remembered I didn't take a pic of it yet!)
My 3 Garlic Chicken Serves 4

1 lg. roaster chicken
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 carrots peeled and cut into 1in. chunks
Garlic powder
Fresh garlic
Garlic scapes, chopped
Fresh thyme and parsley
1 stick of butter
2c. chicken stock
S & P

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add potatoes and carrots to pan. Sprinkle with thyme, parsley, garlic powder and S & P. Pour chicken stock over all.

Put chicken on top of veggies. Into the cavity stuff 1 stick of butter, cut into chunks, several sprigs of fresh thyme and 5 or 6 garlic cloves. These do not have to be peeled. Sprinkle chicken with S & P and some chopped garlic scapes, (a few tbsp.)  and put in the oven.

You can baste the chicken with the stock in the pan now and then while baking. The butter will meld with the flavors in the bird and make a nice baste for it. Bake till veggies are tender and chicken is done about 1 1/2hrs. I cover it with foil for the first hr. Then I remove the foil and test the veggies. Return to oven to brown and crisp up chicken and veggies. I found at this point I usually need to raise the oven temp to 400 degrees.

This is a one pot meal I served with the garlic bread and it was soooooooooo good. 

1 comment:

Alida said...

Welcome back! I am sorry to hear you had shingles as well as problems at walking. I had shingles last October and I know it is really hard to cope with. It just knocks you down!
Anyway I am glad it is all over and you are back cooking. Love especially your pesto!