Week Three

Expect the following in this week’s share:

lettuce

1 bunch arugula

1 small Napa cabbage (see note)

spring greens mix

1 bunch kale

1 bunch radishes

1 bunch basil

garlic scapes

Small Napa Cabbages We have to harvest Napa cabbages this week that aren’t quite ready to harvest. I spent time yesterday pulling most our crop out of the ground because they had all put up seed stalks. I fear that the few remaining cabbages are on the verge of putting up seed stalks as well, so they shall be harvested. These cabbages haven’t formed a tight cabbage head yet, but I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I brought one home to taste test it to make sure it would be suitable for this week’s distribution. I made a quite yummy salad, which I am sharing with you here.

Napa Cabbage Salad

serves 2

1 small head, washed and shredded

1 small bunch chives, chopped

5 basil leaves

handful peanuts, chopped

for dressing:

1 TBS sugar

1/4 tea salt

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2-3 TBS neutral oil, such as grapeseed or organic canola

Dissolve sugar and salt in the vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk the oil in.

Place shredded cabbage in a medium bowl, cover with dressing and toss well. Top with chopped chives, chopped basil and peanuts. Serve immediately or let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Garlic Scapes

These beauties are the flower buds of the hardneck garlic. If allowed to remain on the plant, the plant would put all its energy into making a flower and that energy would be taken away from forming a nice, fat bulb of garlic below the ground. So, we chop them of as soon as we see them and eat them!

Garlic scapes are very garlicky, but, because of their texture, have limited uses. One time last year I fried garlic scapes in a lot of oil over low heat for a really long time, until they were soft, yet slightly browned and crisp on the outside. Boy, were those good! You can also mince them and saute them like you would cloves of garlic. I have found my favorite use for them is pesto, and fortunately, we’ve got some gorgeous basil this week that makes it all possible.

Garlic scapes are relatively good keepers, and will probably last into next week if kept sealed up and dry in the fridge.

1-2 scapes = 1 large clove garlic

Garlic Infused Vinegar

For my garlic scape pesto, I only used the tops because they are the most tender. The stems are quite garlicky too, and I didn’t want them to go to waste. I remembered a conversation I had with member and chef Lagusta last year about making garlic infused vinegar out of the scapes. Lagusta recommended using a lot of scapes, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar, and letting the mixture infuse for 6 months. What a treat to open that up in December!

After making my pesto, I simply chopped the stems and added them to white wine vinegar. You could also try adding other flavorings such as chilies or herbs.

All infusions are best after 6-8 weeks, so putting a date on the jar is wise. Place the infusion in a cool, dark spot, such as a pantry or cupboard. As often as you think of it (but not more than once a day), give the jar a little shake to help release the flavor into the vinegar.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Makes 1-1/4 cups

5-8 scape tops

1 bunch basil, leaves torn off stems

1/2 cup nuts, I use walnuts or, on special occasions, pine nuts

1/2 cup plus 1 TBS good quality olive oil

1/4 tea salt (or more to taste)

Place the tops of the scapes in a food processor and process until well chopped.

Add the nuts and process into small pieces.

Remove scape/nut mixture from the food processor bowl into a small bowl. Place basil and salt into food processor bowl and process until finely chopped. Stop and scrape down sides if necessary.

Now, either add all ingredients into the food processor bowl–garlic/nut mixture and oil–and pulse 2-3 times, or, mix all ingredients by hand in the small bowl. Store pesto in the fridge in an airtight container or freeze in single servings.

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