Garlic scapes, like spring itself, are fleeting. Scapes are intense, bold, and peculiar, and I like the look of them on the kitchen counter. One or two snaky strands are enough for one week of meals. If you have more on hand, try this pesto recipe.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Makes about 2 cups and costs $4
5-8 strands of scape, chopped
1/3 cup of pumpkin, pistachio or sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of basil leaves
Juice from one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of olive oil
Parmesan cheese (hold this if you are freezing the pesto)
Add everything except for olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are roughly mixed. Slowly add olive oil while food processor runs and process to your desired consistency.
Somewhere along the way Brussels sprouts got a bad rap. My guess is it’s because too many folks boil them like a 1950’s homemaker. Those of us who crave them know that roasting the little leafy greens brings forth a sensation that is at once smoky and sweet. Draping them with balsamic vinegar evokes a caramel camp fire.
This recipe diverges from the norm a bit, and for good reason. The fennel and hint of apple cider mess around with the taste in a surprisingly delightful way.
Roasted Sprouts and Golden Beets
Serves 4 as a side (can be doubled) and costs about $4
10-12 Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and cut in half
1 Fennel bulb, fronds and stalks removed and diced
8-10 golden beets, peeled and chopped
1-2 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of apple cider
Preheat oven to 500 degrees (or 485 if that freaks you out). Toss sprouts, fennel, beets, a bit of salt, and shallots in olive oil. Spread evenly on a baking tray and place in oven. After about 10 minutes, give the vegetables a toss, and cook 10-15 minutes more, until sprouts look charred. Remove from oven and drizzle with apple cider. Serve warm.
Curious about how to chop fennel? Check this out:
Spread vegetables evenly on a baking sheet.
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I sometimes think that eggplant looks better than it tastes. The vegetable (well, actually the fruit) drips with a deep, earthy purple, and it reminds me of home-cooked Italian meals. That said, it can be a hassle to prepare in dishes.
It’s the end of the work week, and a biblical thunderstorm is descending upon New York City. Warm. A bubbling, gloppy dish seems fitting. You notice the absence of noodles. In their place, I’ve used slices of eggplant and zucchini.
EGGPLANT & ZUCCHINI LASAGNA
1 eggplant and 2 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise (around 3/4” thick)
Salt, pepper, other seasonings to taste (oregano and basil are a must)
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
15 oz. of low-fat ricotta
1-3 cups of your favorite cheese (Parmesan is typical, but I like Vermont cheddar as well)
1 jar of pasta sauce (local or homemade if possible)
Arrange sliced eggplant and zucchini on baking sheets, brush with olive oil and a dash of salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning slices halfway through
Saute mushrooms and garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium bowl mix eggs, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cups of cheese of choice, and selected seasonings.
Oil an 8x10 baking dish and spread about half of the pasta sauce on the bottom. Cover with an layer of eggplant, followed by ricotta mixture, then mushrooms, then a layer of zucchini. Finish with the remainder of the pasta sauce and as much cheese as seems humanely possible. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and bubbly…30 minutes or so.