Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 14, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Garlic Scapes

Cooking With This Week’s Box: 

This Week’s Summary of Recipes & The Vegetables They Utilize:

French Breakfast Radishes:  Dal with Radish Raita

Cilantro:  Thai Coconut Soup with Spinach and Garlic Scapes (See Below)

Garlic Scapes:  Thai Coconut Soup with Spinach and Garlic Scapes (See Below); Garlic Scape herb spread (See Below); Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choi

Spinach:  Thai Coconut Soup with Spinach and Garlic Scapes (See Below); Dal with Radish Raita

Hon Tsai Tai OR Bok ChoiSpicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choi

This week I’d like to start off by welcoming the Peak Season CSA Vegetable Share members!  And just in time for the peak season...strawberries!  We’re really excited to be kicking off strawberry season this week and want to remind you that this weekend is our annual Strawberry Day event at the farm.  The strawberry ice cream is scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Richard’s planning the tour route.  We hope you’ll plan on joining us!

This is a busy week, so I’m really looking for quick, easy dishes to prepare.  That’s how this Thai Coconut Soup with Spinach & Garlic Scapes (see below) evolved.  I haven’t made cream of spinach soup…well, ever.  For some reason it sounded good to me this week, but I didn’t have extra cream and I wanted to avoid that overcooked spinach flavor.  I ended up going with a Thai coconut soup concept, but I blended fresh, raw garlic scapes and spinach into the flavorful coconut milk broth.  This soup is easy and fast to make as well as being flavorful and filling.  Garnish it with scallion greens and some of the fresh cilantro in this week’s box and your set. 

Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choi
Several years ago we featured a recipe for Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choi.  This is the perfect week to make this recipe using hon tsai tai which is an acceptable substitute for the bok choi.  You’ll make use of some of the garlic scapes, scallions and cilantro in this recipe.  This will make a simple dinner and leftovers are equally as good! 

Another blast from the past recipe that crossed my mind this week was my White Turnip Salad with Miso Ginger Vinaigrette.  This is a refreshing, light salad that rounds out a simple meal when served with a piece of grilled salmon or chicken.  This salad makes use of both the greens and the turnips and is garnished with almonds for a little extra crunch.

This is definitely a week to enjoy salads and here is a recipe that was made for this week’s box contents.  This Boston Lettuce Avocado Salad with Lime Dressing will make good use of the head lettuce in this week’s box along with the avocadoes and limes from the fruit box!  It also includes cilantro…which just happens to be in this week’s vegetable box as well!  This salad will make a nice light lunch along with some crackers and sliced French Breakfast Radishes. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Ricky
Photo from Family Style Food
So what are you going to do with the delicious strawberries in this week’s box, and the next few weeks to come?  Well, this week I’d recommend using some of them to make a Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  This light, sweet dressing will go very nicely on a salad made with either red oak or Boston lettuce.  Garnish your salad with some crumbled feta and maybe a few croutons.  This would actually be a nice salad to eat with a sandwich, so perhaps you’ll try this recipe for a Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese!  Strawberry season doesn’t last long, so you’ll want to eat them while you can!  I never considered putting fresh strawberries on a sandwich, but this sounds delicious.  The cheese this recipe calls for is similar to medium to sharp cheddar.  I think this would be delicious with gouda or a smoked cheddar as well.  While we’re talking strawberries, I want to share this cocktail with you as well.  If you have any rhubarb left from last week’s box, consider pairing it with some of the strawberries this week to make Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Rickey cocktails to celebrate Father’s Day!

Some boxes this week will include baby arugula and others will have saute mix.  If you receive the baby arugula, consider this recipe for Grilled Chicken with Arugula & Warm Chickpeas which will make a delicious, simple dinner.  Eat it on the patio with some good crusty bread slathered with Garlic Scape Herb Butter (See below).

If you are looking for another way to put this week’s radishes to use, consider making this Dal recipe with Radish Raita.  The radishes add a little zing to the yogurt which is served as a condiment for the dal.  This recipe also calls for a generous portion of cooking greens.  This is your opportunity to utilize any greens that may be lurking in your refrigerator.  Radish or turnip tops, spinach or saute mix, or hon tsai tai would all be appropriate to include in this dish. 

Greens & Grains Breakfast Scramble, Photo from epicurios
Well, we’ve almost reached the bottom of another CSA box.  We’ve covered lunch and dinners for the week with quite a few dishes ranging from noodles to grilled cheese to soup.  Lets not forget to eat well for breakfast too.  If you receive saute mix in your box this week instead of arugula, use it to make this simple Greens & Grains Breakfast Scramble.  The other delicious, simple vegetable dish I’ve enjoyed for breakfast this week is this recipe for Summer Squash with Basil Butter.  Use the zucchini in this week’s box along with basil from your own herb garden!  This makes a great vegetable to serve for brunch with eggs, bacon and toast.  If you have any left, turn it into a breakfast quesadilla the next day with some Monterey Jack to hold the quesadilla filling together.

Before I close out this week’s Cooking With The Box article, I just want to invite any new peak season members to join our Facebook Group.  This is a great forum to converse with other CSA members, share your recipes, ask questions and create a great connection with others in this HVF community of eaters.  Have a great week and we look forward to seeing you at Strawberry Day!—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Garlic Scapes 

Garlic scape emerging from the hardneck garlic plant.

Garlic is a staple item in our kitchens, but bulbs of garlic to use in the form of cloves are hard to come by this time of the season.  It’s too early for fresh bulbs of garlic and if you have any garlic remaining from last fall, it is likely sprouting by now.  Even with a staple ingredient like garlic, we can continue to eat seasonally and locally when we are willing to consider garlic in its other forms.  For the past several weeks we’ve enjoyed green garlic.  Green garlic is best when it’s young and tender, but as it continues to grow the base starts to become a bulb and the layers of the plant become tough and less than desirable to eat. That’s just the way the garlic grows.  Just as we outgrow green garlic, garlic scapes start to form and we take the next step in our seasonal garlic journey.

Garlic scapes are the long, skinny, green vegetable with a lot of curl that you’ll find in this
week’s box.  Up until the early 90’s we used to remove scapes from the garlic plant and throw them on the ground!  What were we thinking?!  We were the first farm in the Midwest to start harvesting the scapes for use as a vegetable, thanks to one of our customers from Korea who asked us to save the garlic scapes for her so she could make pickles.  We thought this was odd (remember we used to throw them on the ground), but saved some for her anyway. She was gracious enough to share a jar of pickled scapes with us and that was our introduction to how delicious they are to eat!

Pickled Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are a curly shoot that forms on a hardneck garlic plant and grows up from the center of the plant in June.  All of our varieties of garlic are hardneck garlic.  This type of garlic produces scapes as part of nature’s plan for the plant to propagate itself in the soil.  Right now we want the garlic plant to focus its energy into producing a nice bulb of garlic, so we remove the scape from the plant.  Nearly the entire scape is edible and is best when harvested young and tender.  You may need to trim off the skinny end near the little bulb as it is tough sometimes.  Garlic scapes are very tender and do not need to be peeled…Easy!  Scapes have a bright, mild garlic flavor.  They can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic cloves, just chop them up and add them as you would clove garlic.  They can be grilled or roasted, pickled, fermented, and make an awesome pesto such as this  Cilantro & Garlic Scape Pesto recipe Dani Lind from Rooted Spoon Culinary shared with us back in 2015.  Check out our recipe archive for other delicious recipes utilizing garlic scapes including Pickled Garlic Scapes and Tempura Garlic Scapes.  Store your scapes in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.  They’ll store for 2-3 weeks.  

Thai Coconut Soup with Spinach & Garlic Scapes 

By Chef Andrea

Yield:  2 quarts 

4 cups chicken stock

1 can coconut milk (15-16 oz can)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp red chili flakes
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp lime juice
8 oz baby spinach
3-4 garlic scapes, cut into 1 inch pieces
Zest of one lime
Cilantro, chopped, to garnish

  1. Put the chicken stock and coconut milk in a medium sized sauce pan along with the minced ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, chili flakes, ½ tsp salt and black pepper.  Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium to medium high heat.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, uncovered, to infuse the flavors.  
  2. After 10 minutes, remove the coconut milk mixture from heat.  The next step is to puree the soup in a blender.  If you have a large blender container, you may be able to puree the whole batch of soup at one time.  Otherwise you may need to blend the soup in two batches.  First put about half of the spinach and the garlic scapes into the blender.  Pour the hot coconut milk mixture over the spinach and add the lime juice.  Secure the lid on the container and turn the blender on, starting on low speed and gradually increasing.  If you are blending everything in one batch, stop, remove the lid and add the remainder of the spinach.  If blending in two batches, blend the first batch until the spinach is chopped finely, but there is still a little texture to the mixture.  Pour the soup into a bowl and then repeat the process with the remaining spinach.
  3. Once the soup is blended, stir in the lime zest and taste it.  Adjust the seasoning to your liking with more salt, pepper and lime juice as needed.
  4. Serve the soup hot with chopped cilantro as a garnish.

Garlic Scape Herb Butter 

Photo from Dishing up the Dirt
Yield:  1 cup butter

1 cup (2 sticks) good-quality unsalted butter, softened
1 garlic scape, minced
2 ½ Tbsp minced parsley
2 ½ Tbsp minced dill
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt

  1. Using a hand mixer or a small food processor, beat together the softened butter, garlic scape, herbs, lemon juice, and salt until well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

This super-simple recipe was borrowed from Andrea Bemis’s book, Dishing Up the Dirt.  She serves this butter as a spread for a fresh vegetable platter.  This spread would be delicious on a radish sandwich, spread it on toast, use it for your morning eggs, or use it to cook other vegetable in such as sautéed spinach or sautéed baby white turnips with their greens.  

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