I'm busily packing up the vehicle to head your way with this week's shares. It's going to be a fun week this time around, with items that perhaps you haven't tried before. This week's shares will include spinach (the same variety, indeed the same planting, as last week), green cabbage (Farao, an early variety), Romaine lettuce, and garlic scapes. We also have rhubarb this week, as well as more of the Greek oregano.
Rhubarb is a fun vegetable that is tart and sprightly. It must be cooked before eating it (or pickled, which chemically amounts to the same thing), and is extremely tart, so a sweetener is necessary. My favorite way to have it is simply as a sauce or compote: cut the stalks into one-inch chunks, add about a cup of water and at least a half cup of sugar, and simmer uncovered until the chunks are tender, about twenty minutes. I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla as well. This is fantastic warm or cold on toast or over vanilla ice cream. Or if you're adventurous and you have an ice cream maker, you can make an excellent homemade rhubarb ice cream. You can also make a chutney with it--simply replace the apples with rhubarb in any chutney recipe. You could, in that same chutney, use the garlic scapes (or whistles) in place of the onions.
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks and buds of hardneck garlic varieties. We cut them from the garlic plant as soon as they appear in order to allow the plant to direct energy into bulb growth. They are milder than the bulbs, but still distinctively garlicky. You can use them in any number of ways--grill or roast them as you would asparagus or green beans (they like the same accompaniments, like lemon, mayonnaise or hollandaise, Parmesan cheese or capers), or use them as an onion substitute, or make a pesto out of them. That's actually why I included the oregano again this week; well, that and the fact that I had enough to harvest for you before the oregano bloomed. We made an oregano pesto about a week ago with the entire bunch of oregano you got in your baskets, plus the juice and zest of one lemon, plus a couple spring onions. I'm going to do the same again tonight, only trading out the onion for a handful of garlic scapes.
Happy Summer Solstice and Happy Eating,