Jun 28, 2010

(E)SCAPE---Meatless Monday(and its a two-fer!)

Yesterday, while at Sundance, SA and I perused the vegetables and couldn't pass up one of the beautiful eggplants and some garlic scapes.
what is a garlic scape you ask?
"While many people are aware of the many uses for the garlic bulbs, not as many persons are aware that the stalk of the garlic plant is also edible. Often referred to as the garlic scape, the stalk also contains flavor and can be used in a number of different recipes."
I had read about these bad boys on another blog and in honor of Eclipse coming out this week errrr I mean... since we love all things garlic I wanted to try them, and jumped at the chance to buy some.
The Scape in all its glory:

Aren't they pretty little things?
These scapes were bound for glory... the glory of:

Fresh Pea, Scape, and Lemon Risotto
1/4 c. Onion finely chopped
1/4 tsp. Lemon Rind
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 C. Arborio Rice
3 C. Chicken Stock
1/4 c. Garlic scapes cut on a diagonal
1/3 c. fresh peas (or frozen)
2 TBSP salted butter
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese (Please use some quality here, folks, none of the fake stuff in the green container!)

Heat chicken stock in a pot on stove on medium heat. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for five or so minutes until the onions are no longer crunchy. Add rice into pan and stir for a minute, coating in olive oil. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Keep the burner just high enough to barely simmer the stock and risotto. You must pay attention, and stir it more than occasionally, but you don't have to be a slave to the stove top.
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add garlic scapes, peas, and lemon zest. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm. Once it is done, take it off the burner and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.

Maybe it's just that newly birthed blog high, but I have the urge to also share what we had with the risotto! Remember that beautiful eggplant I got at Sundance? Yeah that baby was calling my name, and I knew just what I wanted to do with it.
Last week a coworker had recommended the Farmers' Market Cookbook presented by Vegetarian Times, so I picked that up this weekend, and boy was I glad I did! It's absolutely chocked full on awesome vegetarian recipes with seasonal ingredients, stuff that I'm practically drooling to make and fits quite nicely into our three meatless meals a week plan. One recipe that really stood out to me, though was:

Seared Baby Eggplant with Mozzarella and Basil Oil
adapted from Vegetarian Times, Farmers' Market Cookbook

Basil Oil:
1 c. tightly packed Basil leaves
1/4 c good quality olive oil

1 Large Eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 TBS. Olive Oil
2 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar
1 6oz ball of mozzarella, sliced
salt and pepper

1. To make Basil oil, Blanch basil 5 seconds in pot of boiling, salted water. Drain; plunge into ice water, pat dry and puree in blender with olive oil. Set aside.

2. To make Eggplant: Place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Rinse, pat dry.

3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and cook five minutes or until browned, using a spatula to move slices often to prevent sticking. Flip eggplant and add Balsamic vinegar, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more or until vinegar has evaporated, and second side of eggplant is brown.

4. To serve, place mozzarella slices on serving plates. Top each cheese slice with eggplant and basil oil. Salt and Pepper if desired.

SA and I really really enjoyed the eggplant and risotto. The garlic scapes are definitely something that I will want to get again, as they tasted completely different then I expected. I bit into one of the raw scapes and it had a very strong taste that was between raw garlic and onion, however once cooked in the risotto they were quite mild, and delightfully crunchy, almost like asparagus. The eggplant was delicious and I think that it will translate to a great summer appetizer. It reminded me of a caprese salad, and I actually preferred it to the normal tomato caprese. (But ask me again in a couple of weeks when tomatoes are in season which I prefer :))

PWC(Playing While cooking): Vampire Weekend, Contra

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