Good day to you, chefs. Connie's been busy with Covid-modified library assignments these past few months, but she recalled seeing a picture of garlic scapes here, likely sometime last spring. While we bask in the tomato harvest, today she's sharing her flashback experience making pesto.
Connie writes: I saw a photo of garlic scapes on your blog but no recipe. A master gardener who works with me at the library asked me if I wanted
any garlic scapes this spring. I had never worked with them but said yes!
Looking online, pesto seemed like the most popular recipe. Here I provide the full recipe, but I halved it and served over pasta. Packed a punch but
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10-12)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup basil leaves
juice of one lemon
1. Place the garlic scapes in a food processor and
pulse for 30 seconds.
2. Add the sunflower seed and pulse for 30
seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the olive oil and process on high for 15 seconds
4. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until the
ingredients are combined.
5. Add the basil and lemon juice and process until you reach a desired consistency.
Hello, chefs. I found this trifecta of Cosmonaut Volkov tomatoes ripening in the Spirit Circle this morning. These grew well on our Chicago roof and in fact the seeds that started these are likely from 2011. I originally got the seeds because their name intrigued me.
The naming story varies, with Wikipedia saying Vladislav Volkov and
crew died when a Soyuz space capsule valve opened too soon upon re-entry in
1971, suffocating the crew. Other sites contain speculation that Cosmonaut Volkov seeds went into space but
I'm not able to confirm.
Rob walks dogs
Usually Rob walks Chicago, but every week he also tends pups for the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society (ACS). We love the photos and captions of his charges.
All tongues and tail
The aptly named Teddy
Bath time for Little Whitney
I've been watching vids and reading online, trying to learn how to maximize production. I topped these plants and tied down the resultant branches, which are now growing upward. We'll see if they produce buds.More here.
The ideal result
Amtrak Baked Eggs
A long time ago we were heading to Union Station to board Amtrak for the west coast. I cleaned out the fridge to make breakfast and thus Amtrak Baked Eggs were born, a good reminder that the simplest ingredients can produce a delicious result.
Good day to you, chefs of Covid Cafe. Yesterday I made this exceptional
sauce, from the cookbook From Harlem to Heaven, by JJ Johnson and
Alexander Smalls. Remarkably, I had all the ingredients on hand except for the vegetable stock, so I substituted homemade chicken stock, which lends this glorious concoction extra depth. I can't wait to try it with chicken and sweet potatoes.
We still have two jars
of our first pandemic purchase
JJ Johnson writes: In cooking school, we were
taught the five French “mother sauces” as defined by the twentieth-century
master of French cooking, Auguste Escoffier: béchamel, velouté, sauce espagnole
(a simple brown sauce), sauce tomate, and hollandaise. The foundational sauce
to the Afro-Asian flavor profile is what we call the
Mother Africa sauce: West African peanut sauce. I’d like to urge you to
stop reading this article and whip up a batch of it right now.
You can pour it over a
bowl of rice. You can dice up a sweet potato and mix it in as a stew. It tastes
delicious with the meat of the chicken thigh crumbled into the mix. This sauce
will keep for five days in the fridge and you can eat it every day, in a
different way. It’s an easy back-pocket sauce that you can’t mess up. It’s both
comfort food and comforting to cook. Give it a try. So I did. Here's the plan...
1 tablespoon olive oil
teaspoon cumin seeds
white onion, diced
cup large-diced carrots (1 medium carrot)
plum tomato, chopped
cup finely diced celery (1 rib)
clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
cup chopped fresh cilantro (1⁄4 bunch)
bird’s-eye chile, seeded and minced (1 teaspoon)
teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
tablespoons tomato paste
cup unsweetened, creamy peanut butter
cups vegetable stock
1.Heat the oil in a
4-quart pot over medium heat, add the cumin, and fry for 1 minute, stirring
constantly. The cumin will become very aromatic and a few shades darker.
2.Add the onion,
carrots, tomato, celery, garlic, bay leaf, cilantro, chile, salt, and lemon
juice, stirring to coat the vegetables in the toasted cumin oil. Sauté until
the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
3.Stir in the tomato
paste and cook for 2 minutes. Once the tomato paste is incorporated, add the
peanut butter and cook until the oil separates from the peanut butter, about 5
4.Add the stock and
stir, making sure to bring up all of the tomato paste and peanut butter from
the bottom of the pot so it is well blended. Increase the heat to medium-high
to bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook, stirring, for 45 minutes.
5.Remove bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce in the pot until smooth. Season
with salt to taste.
Click here for more on how JJ Johnson is serving his community.
Welcome, chefs, to the cafe. With so much vibrant food on the vine, we're eating mostly fresh vegetables with some protein at each meal. Now that the tomatoes are ripening, every day is delicious. And colorful, if Connie's garden is any indication...
Connie writes: This spring, after my
allium bloomed and the little purple flowers fell off, I got out the spray
paint and gave them all some new colors. It has lasted several months and
I like looking out my kitchen window at the "new" flowers which, in
years past, I would have cut back.
at Rudy and Karin's garden
Via the incomparable
Perhaps you'll find inspiration in this photo of chicken breasts with tomato
and artichoke, covered in Parmesan sauce, sent along by Rob.