Mint, Lemon and Garlic Scape Dressing

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Garlic scapes are the delightful necessity of the garlic plant. In order to transfer energy to storage in the bulb, we humans stop the reproductive process of the plant. The garlic is making seed in the scapes, and if we steal these delicacies, we also benefit from a generous garlic bulb. I only know this because I am the dwarf in the garden, “standing the shoulders of giants!” Some smart grower discovered this manipulation of nature, and now we all benefit! After cutting the scapes, growers let the garlic bulbs bulk up for about two weeks before digging. Once the garlic is out of the garden, I will hang it to cure in the barn for a few weeks, sort by size to keep the biggest for next year’s crop, and begin to the cloves it into my other summer favorite garlic recipe: Chimichurri!

 

Most people who try garlic scapes love them. In terms of texture, they are a solid juicy vegetable that even veggie haters can enjoy. And, yes, they taste like garlic, only more mild in flavor. There is no prick of heat that raw garlic bulbs give off. These can be munched raw, roasted or turned into any variety of pesto or salad dressing without any intense garlic off-putting. It’s unlikely that garlic scapes will function as well as garlic bulbs for a vampire deterrent.

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Since our garden is not only giving generous quantities of garlic scapes but lettuce and mint as well, I decided salad dressing would be the next scape recipe. As you all know by now, I am the jazz musician in the kitchen riffing on this, mixing in a little Doo Wah Diddy and throwing in a little Ella Scat for my final notes. In other words, I will give you the approximations for ingredients and then expect you to build your own composition. The key to salad dressing is the balance between acidity, salt, sweet and oil. You want it to zip and glide to give a full-mouth pleasurable sense. Jazz it up until that is achieved!

Ingredients:

  • 6 garlic scapes
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spearmint leaves – (Idea: add other herbs like dill, fennel, arugula, basil, oregano)
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic (or any white wine or champagne) vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Use a blender. Put all of these ingredients into the blender and zing on high until the dressing begins to look creamy. Taste. Adjust. Enjoy.

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It’s the LITTLE Things in Life – Dill, Arugula and Mint

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My garden is still little. We had an early spring, but I got it in late. What do you make when you barely have lettuce, but the dill, mint and arugula are jammin’? You make a dressing, vinaigrette, or a dip sort of thingy, because the amount of ingredients needed is LITTLE, but the flavors are HUGE!

Seriously, you need to make this – or something like this – it’s very jazzy, meaning you can riff on it all you want! You have herbs, make this stuff! All you do is throw your junk in the blender, emulsify and enjoy. It’s the little things, the easy things, these things that make life so grand.

What do you do with this stuff? It can be salad dressing, marinade, a topping for grilled anything, a pasta sauce a chip dip, or straight from the jar if you think it’s ice cream! I would say it’s better than ice cream, but probably has the same fat percentage…a total yum job, but with a few enzymes and vitamins to help stave off guilt!

Here’s what I found out in yonder huge, but TINY garden: Dill

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New spring – green – shallots,

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Yuerba Buena – the good mint!

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Now, I am going to make you really mad at this point, because I basically just threw it all in the blender with a dash of this and a splash of that. Remember, it’s Jazz. You can do it! My measurements are approximate because I didn’t measure anything, but I know, if you have confidence, your herb dip will turn out great!

Ingredients:

  • 2 shallots
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced into the dip
  • 2 pinches of salt (taste to decide!)
  • 1 large handful arugula
  • 1 large handful dill weed
  • 3 large sprigs of mint with the leaves removed from stems
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (this is where I am fuzzy on measurement- just pour it in so that the ingredients come together in the blender without and pushing or prodding.)

Directions:  Place all the ingredients in the blender and pulse until blended. Then taste to see if you need a little more salt. (Hopefully, you don’t need less!) If it was hard to blend, add more oil. Look at the picture above until you get it to look like that – Jazz!

 

 

Mint Mock Duck Soba Salad

When husbands complete chores on the “Honey Do List,” it’s so satisfying to thank them with their favorite foods. In preparation for a backyard pizza oven, we are also working to reshape the backyard gardens, but the ground had become so hard-packed, it was very difficult for me to dig. I needed the leverage of the big guy, and so with his help got the garden reshaped, dug, double dug and implemented with peat moss this morning all before 8:00! After I divided and rearranged all the plants, and got the whole thing mulched, I enjoyed the new view out the kitchen window while chopping and prepping one of Jeff’s favorite salads.

This salad comes from Pho 79 – a little Vietnamese noodle place on “Eat Street” in Minneapolis. There they serve “Bun,” a rice noodle romaine salad with mint and mock duck with an eggroll on top, and the whole thing gets covered in a light spring roll sauce. I can’t remember if they also serve crushed peanuts on top, but I think I will try that with this one.

Since I am working with CSA vegetables, today’s salad not only has romaine, but also includes a red leaf, napa and grated turnips. I think as long as you have the nice crunchy romaine, any other greens could be added. My prefered Japanese Soba noodle replaces white rice noodles most often as I like the added health benefits as well as the saltier taste and lighter texture.

Salad:

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • napa cabbage, chopped
  • red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 4 turnips, peeled and grated
  • 2 cans mock duck, sliced
  • soba noodles, cooked (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Prep all the veggies and arrange in a large bowl. Mix the soba noodles in a separate bowl with a little of the dressing to keep them from sticking together. Top the salad with noodles and chopped peanuts.

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 inch chunk ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ginger and garlic are finely minced. Drizzle over salad right before serving.