The Great ‘Scape

The Great ‘Scape, Garlic Scape that is……

Whirly gigs? No, garden friend, they are garlic scapes: the unopened buds of garlic blossoms. And they are delish! They have a very mild, fresh garlic flavor. I have two ways of preparing them. One is to remove the bud from the stem of the plant. Saute the odd-looking bud-things in a bit of olive oil, add a dash of balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Consume as a stand alone veg.

The second method is to whack up two or three of them whole, including the stems, when fixing your weekly greens. Cook as instructed before: after rinsing quickly in water, shake vigorously to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely,or as you have come to understand my methodology, whack into largish, say, one or two inch pieces. Toss in a sauté pan with a few drops of oil, cook quickly until the greens just start to wilt. Since the husband is wild about greens, that’s exactly how we are going to cook and eat them tonight. Eat with a grin on your face knowing your blood is getting cleaner by the minute.

As you might have noticed, I used the term weekly greens, since they have been included in the share again this week. Two bunches of greens: one of red Bor kale and a gorgeous bouquet of spicy mustard greens. You know the drill: whack with the garlic scape and include part of the golf ball-sized spring onion. I am saving part of the white onion for cooking later this week. Lightly rinsed, wrapped loosely in a paper towel, put inside a plastic bag, it will stay fresh for 3 or four days.

Now, some of you are still wondering what other culinary treasures were in this week’s share: wonder of wonders! Sugar snap peas. As our lovely gardener Casey says, “You can cook them, I guess, but why when they are such a delicious snack raw?” OK, I am siding with the gardener this week and will eat them raw as snacks……or make that snack, singular. One handful for the husband and one for me.

Arggghh me mateys. There were two more heads of the Pirat (no “e”) lettuce, all blushed bronzish purple and so fresh you hardly want to put a dressing on the leaves. In fact, the only dressing I am using on these early lettuces is a splash of lemon juice and a drop or two of very light oil. Fresh s & p to taste.

To keep these lettuces crisp and ready to eat, I rinse them in cool clean water, and don’t over do it, these are already clean and organically grown, we don’t need to scrub this stuff. Shake or spin dry and wrap in a paper towel and put in a large plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. These will last about 5 or sometimes even 6 days. Truth or dare: I have a head left over from last week and it is still nice. Not as nice as the new ones I picked up today, but totally edible and ready for the table tonight.

There was a small bunch of mizuna in today’s stash…..so it goes in the salad tonight with the lovely Pirat leaves. I also scored a couple nice branches of oregano. I could have had more, but I grow my own so I left more for others. I have no idea how this will get used this week.

And glory be, today was strawberry day! I didn’t mention strawberries last week because there were only enough for everyone to have a few to eat while loading up the groceries. I brought a pint of them home. They are resting quietly (as strawberries are known to do) on the counter on a paper towel. You don’t want to refrigerate them because the cold will cause them to lose their flavor. This variety is named Chandler and they are heavenly. To eat them is truly an earthly delight. I am going to eat them up for breakfast with some vanilla bean yogurt. I might even share. Maybe.

(this journal entry appeared in The Idaho Statesman garden newsletter, online edition, Thursday, June 12th, 2008. If you subcribe to the Statesman’s newsletter, it will be delivered via email.)