leave your inhibitions at the door
As I mentioned in my first farmers market post, I always try to buy something different in the hopes of improving my cooking skills. But I do have some weekly rituals and one of those is to buy eggs from one of the Amish booths. The eggs are naturally-raised and taste better than regular supermarket ones, well worth the $3.50/dozen price tag. I’m finding that the more I interact with the Amish, the more I learn. And the more I learn about them, the more I find disturbing. For instance, like many people, I had always thought they lived the simple life, with no power tools and cars, which is disturbing enough. Yet I have never seen one single horse and buggy at the market. I’m convinced they arrive extra early in their black Escalades with spinning rims, drop off their eggs, and then park blocks away.
This past week brought two more image-shattering revelations. First, the Amish teen I bought eggs from had braces. Yes, braces. I know that’s not terribly mind blowing, I just never guessed they’d be as vain as us regular folk. Maybe he was on Rumspringa (woohoo!!). But there was a more sinister development last week in Amishville – Willard Yoder. He’s the young Amish guy in Indiana who recently got busted for sexting with a 12-yr old. The randy Mr. Yoder allegedly decided to make like Congressman Weiner and send explicit texts and images to the girl. The local Indy 5-0 caught him when he pulled up to a restaurant in his horse and buggy, hoping to meet up with her. Now how cool would that have been if they went on an OJ Simpson slow speed chase with helicopters and everything? Lots of questions to be answered, but #1 on the list – how the hell does he charge the phone?
The other farmers market oddities this week were Garlic Scapes, which are the stem that grows out of the garlic plant that eventually becomes the flower.
If you dust off your old biology textbooks, you’ll know that plants produce flowers so that they can attract bees to spread their pollen and shit. It’s kinda like Friday nights when the guidos in Royal Oak (Michigan’s Jersey Shore) douse themselves in Axe, slick back their hair and put on their douchebag Affliction t-shirts. They make themselves all pretty to attract honey(bee)s so they can get their seed all over them. Wonder if they do the same thing in the Amish community…
Anyway, plants expend all their energy to make flowers. Cutting off the scapes redirects that energy to the roots so you get a nice big head of garlic. The scapes themselves are long, slender, green, and have a small bulb at the end – very much like Kermit the Frog’s penis. Flavor-wise, they have a pungent garlic flavor when raw, but when cooked they only have a hint of garlic flavor and take on the texture of asparagus. Really intriguing stuff, but I guess I should shut up and get to how I cooked them – 3 versions this time. Peace.
I chopped them up, sautéed in butter, and made an omelet with mushrooms, herbed goat cheese, and some minced prosciutto. They gave the eggs some nice texture (just like asparagus) and the garlic flavor was very subtle. I’m assuming you all know how to make an omelet, but let me know if you want me to post on it.
Garlic Scape Pesto
This seems to be the most popular preparation with the scapes replacing the basil and chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts. I’ve never been a huge fan of pesto. To me it’s a lot like hockey – I can appreciate its popularity but, ultimately, it’s a white thing.
There are all kinds of recipes for it, I chose this because I had everything on hand. Stolen from Kim O’Donnel.
1 cup garlic scapes , cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/3 cup walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmigiano
salt and pepper
– Blend the scapes and walnuts in a blender or food processor until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil. Empty into a bowl and fold in cheese. Season to taste.
I simply tossed some of this into warm linguine as a side dish to some roasted herbed fish. It was ok, a little strong on the garlic; probably won’t make it again. But the pesto was good in…
Pizza with Grilled Scapes
This was out of this world good. Baking the pizza took the edge off the pesto and it matched perfectly to the saltiness in the cheese and the sweetness of the crust. Just like with sautéing, the whole scapes became a lot like asparagus with only hints of garlic. Will definitely make this again.
1 – I tossed the whole scapes in a bowl with some olive oil and fresh herbs from the garden – parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, plus some salt and pepper.
2 – I had the grill going already, so I just tossed the scapes right on and grilled for a few minutes. The length of the scapes made sure that none fell through the grate.
3 – I spread some of the pesto on a super thin whole wheat pizza crust and topped with mozzarella and the grilled scapes. I suck at making dough, so I bought it premade. I don’t often cut corners like that, but sometimes it’s necessary – call me an ugly Sandra Lee, but without the nice boobs.