Posts Tagged ‘vinaigrette’

Unrecipe of the Week: Cooking with Garlic Scapes

June 24, 2013

Garlic scapes are the green leafy stalks of the garlic plant that grow above the ground shortly after the first leaves appear. They are long and curly at the ends, and are usually cut off, as they inhibit the growth of the plant, resulting in very small garlic bulbs. Most garlic scapes are tossed into the compost heap, but they are completely edible and delicious. The farmer’s market is full of them right now, but act quickly, as these are only available in the early summer.

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Think of these green stalks relating to garlic cloves, in the way that scallions relate to onions. They possess the same garlicky flavor, albeit a bit milder.
We experimented with some of these unusual stalks, and found them to be quite versatile.
Here are just a few ways to use garlic scapes:

Use them to make pesto:
Instead of using basil (or any other green vegetable you like) and garlic cloves, place chunks of garlic scapes into the food processor, with a large handful of pignoli nuts. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil until the sauce forms a smooth consistency. Add Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, or spread over grilled fish or chicken.

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Use them in dips and spreads:
Take 1 can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) and some garlic scapes (we used about 16”-20” worth, cut into chunks) and put them in the food processor. Add a handful of parsley if you like and process until finely minced. Add the juice of one lemon, and with the machine running drizzle in olive oil until it forms a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita, or grilled vegetables, or as a sandwich spread.
Use them in a traditional vinaigrette, with olive oil, Dijon mustard and either balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice.

Finely chop them and sprinkle them in salads, over pasta or vegetables.

They cook quickly, so if you are using them in a recipe, add them near the end to avoid them browning.

Now that we have gotten you started, surely you will come up with lots of great uses for garlic scapes.  Let us know in the comments what your favorite uses are.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Perfect Salad Dressing

April 16, 2013

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Homemade salad dressing is so easy to make, and so much better than the store bought variety. A simple vinaigrette can be made with oil, and anything acidic, such as vinegar, or citrus juice.
As a baseline, dressing should be 3 parts oil, to one part acid. Depending on the ingredients, and what the dressing is being used on, that might need to be tweaked a bit. Personally, I tend to  err on the side of extra acid, preferring a little more tang to the dressing.

To make the perfect salad dressing, start out with a good quality oil. Olive oil is the most common base for a vinaigrette, but other clean, flavorful oils such as walnut can also be used.  Vinegar, or citrus juice can provide the acid.

There are lots of types of vinegars on the market. Balsamic vinegars can range from tart, to syrupy and sweet, depending on how long it has been aged. There is even a white balsamic, that has a milder taste. Red wine vinegar is a bit more tart, and half wine vinegar and 1/2 balsamic can be a nice blend. There are also flavored vinegars which add an extra element.  Lemon juice is a nice alternative to vinegar, as is lime or even grapefruit juice.

Whisking, or shaking the mixture will cause it to emulsify, thickening it slightly.
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Once you have the basic recipe, it is fun to experiment with fresh herbs or other condiments.

One of my favorite tricks is to make the dressing in a dijon mustard jar that is almost empty. Just pour the oil and vinegar or lemon juice into the jar, and shake it vigorously. The mustard left on the sides of the jar will mix in and add another level of flavor to the mix.

Once you start making your own dressings, you will never want to go back to bottled versions, which are laden with preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.

Enjoy!

Photos:Glasshouse Images


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