Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garlic Scapes! Garlic Scapes! Garlic Scapes!

Don't forget - buy your tickets to the new Slow Food Whidbey "Taste of Whidbey" event at the markets on Saturday!  Limited tickets available so best to pre-purchase if you can.  $25 a ticket.  Event will be Sunday, June 27th at Greenbank Farm from 2 to 4 p.m.  Five local grocers, five great local chefs working together to offer a "tasting" of Whidbey's great seasonal fare.  Plus wine from Whidbey Winery!  Great food, great cause.  Come eat and hang out with the growers, chefs and other foodies!  We will have tickets at the Coupeville and Bayview Willowood Farm booths for sale.  Tickets will be available at the door day of the event, until we run out!

And now, back to our regular scheduled topic.  Something about garlic scapes, I do believe!  To refresh my memory, here's a photo.  Or two. Or three.

So here they are, in all their garlicky glory.  The "scape."  Beloved in Asian cuisine, relatively unknown in American.  Produced by "hardneck" garlic.  Essentially the "seed head" of a garlic plant.  Each garlic bulb only produces one.  Once a year.  Precious, precious commodity.

And another precious commodity.  My youngest, at about 6 months.  Her teething ring of choice?  That's right folks, nothing appeases a teething baby better than a garlic scape!  Not only a great shape to grab for little hands, and the perfect mix of firm/soft and unbreakable texture.  But then your baby has garlic breath!!!!!!!  My farmer heart overflows with pride.  
                                                                                  And here's Farmer Georgie.  Taking a "scape smoke break" in the garlic field.  Because we all have our vices.  Mine?  Dirty hands and garlic scape ciggies.

So, as many folks ask when seeing garlic scapes for the first time.  What the heck can you do with these things!  As the pictures above show, what the heck CAN'T you do with these things????
In general, garlic scapes can be used in anything you would use garlic in. They will be a bit milder.  But...If you want to get a bit more creative.... Try grilling them!  Try braising them!  Try stir-frying them! Try them with a pot roast!  Try them under a bed of salmon!  Try them in pesto!  Try them pickled!
Really, as long as you have taste for garlic, you are going to like garlic scapes.  Think asparagus texture, garlickly flavor.  How can you go wrong with that?
Here are a few recipes, to get you even more inspired...

Oystercatcher’s Quick Pickled Garlic Scapes
Courtesy of Joe Scott, Chef at Oystercatcher in Coupeville, WA
·      Garlic scapes, however many you want to pickle, chopped into 1 inch pieces
·      Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
·      Rice Vinegar
·      Dash of salt
·      Sugar to taste
·      Pinch of whole fennel seed
You will need equal parts of the vinegar, how much depends on how much you are going to pickle.  Chop garlic and pack clean mason jars.  Boil equal parts of both vinegars, add sugar and salt to taste.  Sugar should balance the acidity of the vinegar.  How sweet – versus tart – you make it is a personal preference depending on how you like your pickles.  When boiling, pour over scapes.  Add a pinch of whole fennel seed.  Seal lid.  These pickles are ready in 4 hours.  If you prefer to keep the scape whole (which gives you a very cool shape on a plate), you should plan to let the pickles sit for at least a week (or more) so they absorb the pickling juices.  By chopping the scapes you provide more surface area to absorb the pickling juices quickly.

Garlic scape pesto
1 pound garlic scapes 
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Pine nuts if available
Chop the garlic scapes into 3 inch lengths. Put it int he food processor and process until pureed. Add the parmesan and pine nuts and process until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil as the food processor runs and continue until all the oil is combined into the garlic. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator.
So, have fun with garlic scapes!  And yep, we will be bringing them in LARGE the Coupeville and Bayview markets this weekend.  Along with the following fresh from the fields goodies:
From Willowood Farm:
Broccoli, kale - 3 flavors, collard bunches, chard bunches, fresh garlic, garlic scapes, mesclun mix, spinach bags, red japanese turnips, purple Italian artichokes, kohlrabi, pac choi bunches
From Prairie Bottom Farm:
New potatoes, cauliflower, beet bunches, carrot bunches, radishes, peas, Walla Walla onion bunches...
From Whidbey Green Goods (Bayview market only):
Peas, scallions, cabbages, celery...

So hope to see you at the markets!
Farmer Georgie, Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie


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