Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Garlic scape season is here!

You know you are a food educator -- and not a graphic designer -- when you find yourself making pictures like this one, just cobbled together moments ago for a friend who tends a nearby community garden plot. This pathetic excuse for a how-to diagram was too hilarious for me not to share here.

But it's garlic scape season, and I was worried she might accidentally snip too much (perhaps cutting off the leaves and thus harming the developing bulb) or too little (wasting the single, delicious scape each plant produces) without me there to guide her. (I swear I am not a control freak.) "Once you snip one or two," I told my students at Drew-Freeman last Monday as I demonstrated harvesting garlic scapes that were fated to end up in some delicious, spicy salad dressing during our final class/celebration/harvest, "you'll get the hang of it." And they did.

Actually, some of the teachers who helped out all year will be tasting some of the fruits of our garlicky labors tomorrow, when I bring them small jars of pesto made with the remaining Drew-Freeman scapes and some greens from my own little garden plot out back. No basil, though, thanks to some nefarious rodent that took a liking to the leaves of my little baby basil transplants in the garden. Bah. Who says pesto needs to be made with basil, anyway? I laugh in the face of culinary convention, and boldly claim here -- right in black and white (or whatever this font shows up as in your browser) -- that you can make pesto in near endless variations. And I did.This is a little more adventurous than the admittedly-perhaps-already-adventurous swiss chard pesto I posted here awhile back.

"Whatever's Around" Pesto

Combine in a food processor and blend together:
1. something garlicky: a few cloves of garlic (peeled) or a handful of garlic scapes
2. something leafy and green: a few cups of fresh basil, spinach, swiss chard, parsley -- go nuts!
(Speaking of nuts....)
3. a handful of some kind of nut: walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts
4. a couple glugs of olive oil (or, heck, you can try other oils if you like)
5. a handful of shaved or grated salty cheese: parmesan, pecorino, asiago (or omit, to make it vegan)
6. a pinch of salt

The possibilities are almost endless! And so are pesto's uses! Toss some in with cooked pasta, slathered on a grilled cheese sandwich, mixed into salad dressing for a pasta salad, as a marinade for chicken or fish.... Lord, I love pesto.

I did draw the line when my friend and colleague, Jessica, suggested a peanut and kale pesto, but I am glad that she disregarded my recommendation to abandon the idea because I later learned her family LOVED it. (See? I can admit when I'm not right. It doesn't happen often, though.) ;)


  1. he he he. The peanut kale pesto with light grapeseed oil went over really well at the Suitland Action Team meeting last night. I am gonna try kale and sunflower seeds next- just trying to keep it within the scope of what we are growing at Drew Freeman.

    The scape above looks great! so 2 curls is enough to know it's time to harvest eh?

    1. Even one scape curl is fine. The ones we harvested today at Drew weren't even fully single-curled, but since we had to get harvesting, I clipped what there was.

      When do I get to try your soon-to-be-famous peanut and kale pesto??


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