Vegetables of the Week: Garlic Scapes, Napa Cabbage, Beets, Dill, and Endive

So, this is my first “vegetable of the week” post.  I planned on focusing on one vegetable or produce item, which is Garlic Scapes this week, but this post is pretty free form and discusses a few of our other CSA produce items.  I will link back to what we have used these things for in the past for recipes, since this week entails more visitors, and well, will not be the ideal week to assemble recipes from the meals we cook.  Just one of those weeks.

Veggie Pantheon

Garlic Scapes.

This week, I’m focusing on Garlic Scapes, because I am so enamored with them.

What are they? Garlic scapes are the part of the garlic plant that would go to flower if only you’d let it. It’s a stalk that pokes out the top of the plant in a curly Q and when it begins to mature it straightens out with a spherical flower on top. But, farmer’s don’t want them to flower, they want the plant to dedicate its efforts to the bulb, which is what you normally eat as garlic. So, they cut off the stalk that would flower. This shoot, when cut off early is nice, tender and mildly garlicky. I think I would use this in everything if I had my choice…. but it really is a small crop, so we don’t get a ton of them from the CSA, but I will say that other farms sell them at Farmers Markets right now if you fall in love with these guys.

How do I use them?  I use garlic scapes like regular garlic (like in sautees) but they cook very quickly.  Last year, we made Spiced Vegetable Whole Wheat Couscous with Garlic Scapes, Asian Tofu Stirfry, and Spiced Summer Squash with Feta, in this capacity.  I also use them raw, since they are mild and often make a zingy salad dressing with them, here’s a link to last year’s post of garlic scape dressing.  A CSA member reminded me of another wonderful to use them: toss them with some oil, salt and pepper and roast them until tender and serve them on top of meat or as garnish for just about anything you can think of. This week I’ve used them sautéed in a frittata (they go really well with eggs), and raw chopped up mixed in cream cheese in thin pancakes filled with some endive and blue cheese.  If you have any particularly favorite ways to eat them, feel free to comment!

Storage: My favorite way to store them is in a paper bag in the fridge… they last months if you don’t eat them up immediately.  You can also preserve them by drying them (something I’m going to try this year).

Napa Cabbage.

Napa, or Chinese Cabbage.  Milder than regular cabbage, with more of a bok choy like flavor.  The stem is thick and crunchy and the leaves are delicate.  Great for asian stir fries, salads, soups, and slaws.  What are we going to do with this, this week?  I ate some in a breakfast stir-fry.

Stir Fried Garlic Scape, Scallion, Snap Pea and Napa Cabbage. Stir-fried in bacon grease, and given a dash of soy sauce near the end. I served it with an egg fried in the soy sauce-bacon grease pan (nom) and toast.

Related Posts:

Curly endive, or frisee.

A bitter green, related to Belgian endive and escarole.  It is good raw in salads, or sautéed.  It is usually a little strong to have on its own, and is mixed with other salad greens, and goes well with strongly flavored items like blue cheese, bacon, and balsamic vinegar.  I already ate a bit on thick pancakes with garlic scape cream cheese and blue goat cheese, and Theresa made a Beans and Greens dish last night for dinner with them.

Beans Greens and Rye. A lovely tomato sauce with cooked beans and rye berries, green beans, and escarole. Seasoned with oregano and rosemary, smoked salt and smoked mozzarella. Nom.

Related posts:

Beets.

Man, beets.  Where do I begin?  They deserve their own post, they have so many uses! But, one thing to point out: their greens.  Usually we get them with their greens during the early season.  They are delicious, and can be used like spinach, but are sweeter.  And if you’re interested in fun was to store them.  I recommend you cut the greens from the roots, this will keep the greens from shriveling.  If you’d like you can try treating the greens like cut flowers and put them in water.  One of the best ways to make them last is to put them in water like this and then in the fridge for storage.

Beet Green Arrangement.

Dill.

A lovely herb.  I won’t go on too much about Dill, other than draw your attention to this recipe: Greek Rice, which uses both dill and spinach, two items from the CSA this week. I’m thinking of making something similar with wheat berries, or oat groats…

And that is my veggie post for the week.  If you have any recipes or ideas you’d like to share, please comment!

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