Last week I saw a Facebook post from a British Columbia based seed company called Westcoast seeds. This is where I purchase all my seeds from and they’re always a great source of local knowledge. The Facebook post was perfect timing since it was all about garlic scapes (garlic scapes are the “flower stalks” of hardneck garlic plants, although they do not produce flowers). I was just looking at my garlic and noticed all the scapes and wondered what I was supposed to do with them. This is the first time I’ve grown garlic and it’s all new to me so I take whatever help I can get… thanks Westcoast seeds!
You’ll see from my photos that the scapes are simply stunning. Perhaps it’s the designer in me, but all I see is the beauty in the shape and colour of these curly flower stalks. The Facebook post mentioned that it’s best to remove the scapes from the garlic at this point but also mentioned that some people like to make pesto with them – perfect, another great culinary experiment to attempt! So, although I found it hard to do, I managed to chop off the beautiful scapes and take them into the house to experiment with garlic scape pesto.
Please take a moment to “ewww” and “ahhh” and gush over the photos for a moment – seriously, another of nature’s splendour’s.
1/2 cup garlic scapes, finely chopped (6-8 garlic scapes)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup raw almonds toast them lightly, if you’d like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until entirely mixed. Feel free to add a little extra olive oil depending on the desired consistency.
Serve with crackers, toast, pasta, gnocchi or rice. Enjoy!
Marinated Feta Cheese – A few weeks ago I attempted to make homemade feta cheese. You’ll notice that you see no such post about how to make feta cheese… that’s because it was a flop – I made something, but it definitely wasn’t feta cheese. Before my sorry attempt, I did a lot of research on feta and came across some really great recipes. One recipe I found over and over was marinated feta and wow did it look good. Now that I’ve had time to lick my cheese making wounds, I decided I would probably have much more success with the marinated feta (especially if I used beautifully made store bought feta). I looked around and eventually decided to make a combination of a few recipes. The result was fabulous.
This is wonderful to keep in the kitchen, to add to dishes or simply eat straight from the jar. It should keep for at least a couple of months – if it lasts that long. Just think what a great hostess gift this would make, tasty and gorgeous to look at. Oh, and you can purchase the cute little jar label here.
Feta cut into 1″ cubes (I actually made some cubes a little smaller too just for snacking on).
Olive Oil (enough to fill up the container)
Fresh Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary (mine were fresh out of the garden)
4-5 Cloves of Garlic
Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
8-10 Sundried Tomato Slices
6-8 Green Pitted Olives (quartered)
Pinch of Chili Pepper Flakes
Sprinkling of Steak Seasoning Spice
Get all your materials ready and start by adding enough cubes of feta to fill the bottom of the jar.
Add 1/3 of all your ingredients (except olive oil) and try to keep most of the ingredients to the outside of the jar (it just makes the jar look prettier when you can see all the beautiful ingredients).
Add olive oil until it cover the feta and then repeat with another 1/3 of the ingredients, add olive oil and then finish off with the last 1/3.
Add lemon juice and then pour olive oil into jar until all the feta cubes are covered. Give a very gentle shake or roll of the jar to mix the ingredients around.
Seal and let sit for at least 3-5 days to allow flavours to develop.
SERVE: You may want to stick a toothpick into every feta cube or just serve it as it is. Try with toast/crostini, crackers or bruschetta. Also great in eggs or salads.
You can also use the leftover oil in the jar in rice, quinoa and lentil dishes, pasta as well as roasted veggies.
5 Minute Mediterranean Hummus – Growing up in rural Ontario, my opportunities to sample a variety of culinary options were incredibly limited – I was a meat and potatoes country girl all the way. The first time I tried hummus was when I went away to University. I think I almost died and went to heaven at my first experience with hummus – so rich, creamy and flavourful. I’m pretty sure that’s all I ate for that entire summer. Then I went to Greece about 10 years ago and had the fortune to sample the real authentic stuff. Oh how I love Mediterranean food!
Tonight I was thinking about my love for hummus when it occurred to me… why not add some of my other favourite flavours to make the ultimate tasty dish. I ran to my kitchen and whipped out whatever ingredients I could find in the fridge and got to work. When I was done and had my first taste, I knew this recipe was a keeper.
I love this time of year. So much hope and anticipation for the fun times yet to come with the warm weather soon approaching. In Victoria we’re blessed to have mild winters which for me never gets tiring. Growing up in Ontario with 6-7 months of cold and snow has instilled in me a general hatred towards cold weather; one that I still feel after living here in the promised land for the past 15 years.
One thing I learned to love living in Ontario was the wonderful gardens you could grow there. My mother’s garden was huge, probably about half an acre. Oh how I used to love watching her garden go from a pile of dirt to a medley of incredible fruit and veggies in a matter of months.
Now that I finally have a “deer free” area, I have my own very tiny chunk of land to grow a garden. Even though it’s small, it has a southern exposure with a beautiful rock wall as a wind guard and protector. We just moved to this house about a year ago so last year was my first attempt at a real garden – overall, it was generally successful but I hope to have better results this year.
So, what’s with the garlic? We’ll it’s the first beautiful green thing to shoot through the soil this winter/spring. It just looks so lush it’s hard to believe it’s still March. And well, I have an embarrassing thing to admit; last year I planted my first garlic bunch in June… turns out it won’t grow if you plant it then. I was asking my very knowledgeable friend and co-worker something about Garlic early last summer and she said “you didn’t plant garlic this summer did you” and I looked her square in the eye and said “no, of course not”. Yes, even though I’m a complete amateur, I was too embarrassed to admit the truth to her. So later this past fall, that same friend gave me some of her beautiful garlic bulbs and I planted the cloves. Now, that I have these gorgeous plants coming up in my garden I feel triumphant. I can’t wait to pick them now; I’m already planning all my recipes out for the summer harvest.