Category Archives: Food Feature

Food Feature: Garlic Scapes

Garlic, a member of the allium family, comes in two forms: hardneck and softneck.  Hardneck varieties will develop something called a scape, softnecks will not.  When the scapes grow tall and form a pod they are cut off to redirect the plant’s energy back into the bulb and not into producing a flower.

Scapes, which resemble that of a pig’s curly tail, are edible and taste just like garlic, only more mild.  Typically you can find them at farmers’ markets towards the end of Spring.  Over the past few years scapes have been gaining in popularity (as they should!), however their season is short, like blink and you miss it, short!  Whenever this curly green edible oddity is found at market people seem to gravitate towards it asking “what is that? AND what in the world do you do with it?”  Those same customers would return the following weekend raving over their scape purchase wanting more.  By then their time had passed.  Like I said, blink and you miss them!

If you are fortunate enough to stumble upon garlic scapes, buy them!  All of them.  I stocked up this year (so prepare yourselves for a slew of recipes!) and have been eating them daily.  Typically I toss them into a veggie medley of snap peas, broccoli, and kale.   A friend found a bean dip recipe featuring scapes and shared it with me.  I’m so glad she did because it is awesome!  I made a few personal adjustments and doubled the recipe.  For the past three days I’ve been enjoying it slathered on the fresh-baked baguettes I made Sunday morning!  Delish!!

Northern Bean and Garlic Scape Dipadapted from sauced

4 cups great northern beans, cooked (I used the pressure cooker I scored at the second-hand shop during last month’s travels.  2 cups of dried beans + 8 cups of water and a splash of olive oil processed for 25 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure = 4 cups of cooked beans)

2/3 cup garlic scapes, chopped

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/8 cup olive oil

2 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp water

1 tsp coarse salt, I used alaea salt

fresh ground pepper to taste, I used a peppercorn medley

handful of fresh basil, chopped  I was originally going to use cilantro (hence the lime juice) but it is now coriander, so I went with basil.

Puree scapes with lime juice and salt in a food processor; add beans and basil, puree again.  Slowly drizzle oils into processor, add water by the tablespoon until desired dip consistency is achieved.  Spread on toasted bread, crackers, or pita chips and sprinkle a bit of course salt and pepper on top. Enjoy!

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Food Feature – Radish

Radishes are a root vegetable belonging to the Brassica family.  Typically the napiform taproot is most commonly consumed; however, this entire cruciferous plant is edible, so eat those greens!  Radish leaves make a tasty addition to both salads and sandwiches!

Radishes are a favorite among childrens’ gardens due to their easy-to-grow, fast-maturing nature; many varieties are ready for harvest in just 3-4 weeks!  Radishes are a cool weather crop and will grow best in the Spring and Fall; although some varieties, like French Breakfast (a personal favorite), are more tolerant of Summer’s heat if water is regularly supplied.

Radishes are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and folic acid; they are also rich in vitamins B and C.

To keep this root-veggie from becoming too spicy, it’s best to harvest them when they are young and small, especially the Spring varieties.  If left in the ground too long they become fibrous and hot.  Once pulled radishes will quickly become pithy (spongy), so it’s best to use them right away!  If you are storing them in the fridge place them into an air-tight container, but be sure to cut the greens off first!

Radishes are often eaten raw, but can also be enjoyed cooked or pickled.  Several days ago I decided to roast some and I’m so glad I did, they turned out awesome!!

Oven-Roasted Radishes

12-15 radishes, cut into chunks (I used French Breakfast)

2 Tbsp Tahini Paste

2 Tsp Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tbsp Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

sprinkling of garlic salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

Place a small cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 425 F.  Chop radishes and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, tahini, garlic salt, and pepper.  Add radishes to the bowl and toss to coat.  Place radishes in skillet and roast in the oven for 12 minutes stirring halfway through.  Enjoy!

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Food Feature – Kale

Kale is a variety of cabbage that parallels traits found more commonly in wild species, as opposed to the domesticated tight-head varieties seen at most farmers’ markets and food stores.  It is also called Borocle, which is thought to have originated from the Dutch boerenkool, meaning “farmer’s cabbage”.

Kale is a member of the Brassicaceae family, and also known as a Cruciferous Vegetable.  I’m just going to link rather than attempt to explain the ins and outs of biological classification.  By the way, that was me being kind of lazy; it doesn’t happen often, but I’m sure most of my readers don’t care about taxonomic rank.  If you happen to be one who does, I’d be glad to suggest further reading.  I’m sure I’ve worn out my welcome on those books at the library anyway.

Notice the cross like formation of the flower petals?  The word Cruciferae is Neo-Latin for cross-bearing.

Flowering kales, sold as ornamental cabbage, are edible as well.  Their rosette can be found in brilliant shades of pink, lavender, white, blue, violet, and red.  Growing up we always had the pink and purple shades.  I do believe flowering kale may make its way into this Fall’s edible landscaping!

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Why kale is so incredibly good for you:

1. When steamed, the fiber-related components bind easier to bile acids in your digestive track, which allows for easier excretion, thus lowering your cholesterol.

2. The Isothiocyanates (ITCs) in kale lower your risk for breast, ovary, colon, bladder, and prostate cancers.

3. ITCs play an integral role in assisting with the detoxification system.  I can surely attest to this!  I’ve eaten an obnoxious amount of kale over the last few days.  My over-wintered plants are beginning to bolt, so I wanted to eat them before the leaves turn bitter.  Have you ever been standing next to someone who has recently eaten a lot of garlic?  They seem to be surrounded by a strange aroma.  Yeah, well, kale apparently does that to me and I don’t think my coworkers are very happy about it!  Guess I’ll have to bring in a soy candle to burn when it’s a heavy kale consumption day, because I’m sure not going to stop eating this cruciferous veggie!

4.  With over 45 identified flavonoids, kale’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits are unsurpassed.  Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are risk-factors associated with cancer.

Curried Kale

large colander packed full of kale

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp panang curry paste

1 tbsp sriracha

6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp sun-dried tomato oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 large onion, diced

3 med-large red potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel mine)

2 cups water

Sautee onions over med heat with olive oil until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes.  While the onions are cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, curry paste, sugar, and sriracha, then add it to the onions.  Cook for about 2 minutes, then add potatoes and water; mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  While potatoes are cooking wash kale and remove large stems and midribs; slice into strips.  Add kale, cover, and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

For more delicious kale recipes check out the following posts: Kale Chips and Garlic, Kale and Chickpea Soup.

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