If you’ve read my previous posts you know that I had an overabundance of garlic this year. I’ve had two large onion bags of garlic sitting in an extra bedroom, and noticed that many of the cloves were starting to sprout. So this last week, whenever I had a few minutes, I made a couple of jars of pickled garlic. First I viewed several recipes online and then made up my own. Since I’m storing these jars in the refrigerator I’m not too concerned about spoilage.
3 cups peeled and washed garlic cloves
2 cup white or cider vinegar, or a combination
1 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
3 bay leaves, crumbed
Clean glass jars with well-fitting lids or small jelly jars
Run the jars and lids through the hot cycle of your dishwasher, or sterilize in a pot of boiling water (then drain).
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and spices in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the garlic cloves and boil another two minutes.
Use a slotted spoon or tongs to put the garlic into the jars. Fill jars with vinegar solution, and immediately put on the lids and tighten.
Turn the jars upside down on a dishtowel and let sit for 5 minutes. Then turn the jars right side up and let cool. The lids should “pull down” and seal (if not, it’s no biggie…you’re going to keep these in the fridge).
Place the jars in the refrigerator and use as needed in salsa, sauces, dips, salad dressing, etc. Also, the vinegar solution makes a great salad dressing when combined with olive oil.
Speaking of garlic and salad dressing…I’ve never found a store-bought Caesar salad dressing I really like, so I’ve started preparing my own. It’s really easy and only takes a few minutes.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 to 2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine all in a small bowl and whisk up with a fork. Keep leftover dressing in your refrigerator.
On a completely different note, our hens and pullets have started laying! With the really cold weather Mike has been leaving the light on them 24-7, and we are getting about 4 eggs a day.
Matt arrived from Siberia last Thursday and was excited about the summer temperatures for a whole two days. But now he’s escaping to the public library in the mornings and Cafe Plaid in the afternoons. Our house is not air conditioned, which is almost unheard of in Oklahoma. Neither Mike nor I grew up with air conditioning, and we keep telling ourselves “Billions of people live without it, and our ancestors lived without it, so we can too.” It would cost a fortune to cool this house, and a little bit of sweating in the summer has allowed us to send Matt and Aric to fancy-smancy private colleges.
Also, it really cuts down on house guests in the summer! ;>)
Saturday I harvested garlic, and wow… what was I thinking?! I should open a booth at the farmer’s market. But of course garlic is something people are always more than happy to take off your hands, unlike zucchini or mustard greens.
We have been enjoying Ozark Beauty strawberries from out backyard for about two weeks now. I planted two flats last summer (6 six-packs in each flat, a real find!) as ground cover in the formerly shady part of the back yard. Mike has been picking about a quart every other day, and last night he put a batch in the dehydrator. These tiny intense morsels of strawberryness will be a great addition to the backpacking menu – if we don’t eat them as soon as they come off the drying tray.
An update on the garlic scapes: I made a yummy stir fry the other night with little strips of pork loin, scapes, asparagus, hot pepper flakes, mushroom soy, hoisin sauce, and and dash of sesame oil. Cooking the scapes tones them down, so they were more like garlic-flavored green beans. Tomorrow I’ll put a load in the dehydrator and we’ll see how they come out.
Volunteer tomato plants keep appearing around the yard, in the garden, and next to the chicken house. I’ve decided to plant them in the space reserved (next year) for blackberries, next to the new fence on the north side of the back yard. There is just something so exciting about volunteer veggies – you never know what you might get (sort of like raising children). I remember the year we harvested enormous banana squash-type fruits from a volunteer squash plant. I’d never planted any banana squash
Kale growing next to the chicken yard
before, so I guess this was a cross between a summer squash and a pumpkin. They were a pale pink, weighed about 30 lbs, dense, dark orange flesh, and had a very small seed core. I dubbed them “beluga squash.” That fall we ate a lot of (beluga squash) ice cream, pies, bread, and muffins.
We’re having a Memorial Day shindig this weekend, so last night Mike made about 8 lbs of sausage. These babies need to sit a couple of days for the flavors to develop, and by the smell in our refrigerator, they are going to be quite tasty. We made Hungarian Raisin and Bratwust with added garlic scape pesto (you were probably expecting this, huh?) and fresh parsley. The Hungarian is slightly sweet-spicy with raisins, paprika, hot pepper and fennel (my variation), and the brat is more mellow, which should be a good contrast.
We’re going to smoke some ribs and chicken along with the sausage (sort of a “mixed grill”), and I’ll make a large green salad, some pumpkin rolls, and Mike will also grill some sweet corn. Guests are bringing desserts (Barb has promised one of her famous cheesecakes).
I’m happy to report that the garlic scapes are a good thing. So far we’ve tried the scape and avocado (scape-amole?), scape and cheese grits souffle, and the scapes and spicy shrimp stir fry.Today for lunch I made a sweet potato and kidney bean curry and served the scape raita with it. Yum!
I think the best thing to do is make scape pesto (scapes, olive oil, salt) and add it to whatever you can. Yesterday I added this pesto to my lunchtime stir-fry, and to some mayo (scape aioli) to go on our veggie burgers at dinner.
This pesto would be great added to rice, noodles, soups, hummus, sour cream, salad dressings, on pizza, in quesadillas, etc. And since we now have a dehydrator and plenty of scapes, I think I’ll try drying some as recommended here.
Mike and I spent the entire weekend working in the back yard, mostly pulling up violets and digging out daylilies. Actually Mike has been working in the backyard since Thursday, so now we have a huge pile of plants to chop up and compost (I say “we” but I mean Mike!). How can there be so much to do in one urban back yard? And we are by no means finished with our “to do” list – bean tepees, tomato cages, plant squash, harvest leeks, fertilize, transplant perennials (where the daylilies came out), plant annual flowers, mulch the strawberries, and haul in a load of wood chips for the garden aisles.
No, this post isn’t about landscaping with garlic : )
I have beau coup garlic this year – more than necessary – although people are always happy to take if off my hands. The bulbs are starting to form scapes, which will become the flower heads with bulbils, if you just leave them alone. However, Kim told me that she cuts them off and cooks ’em up, so I’ve decided I’m going to try that this year. When I let them make bulbils I end up with too many baby garlics reseeding in the garden. These garlic volunteers take at least 2 years to get to a good size (and are taking up space that could be growing other things), so I really ought to be more vicious about keeping the population under control. So anyway, here is a page that explains scapes and has some recipes, a scape page from Mother Earth News, and a great essay with recipes from the New York Times.
Hmmm…. I bet a scape and lettuce soup would be awesome. I’m also thinking of concocting:
Scape & Avocado Spread
Scape and Cheese Grits Souffle
Scapes and Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry
Cucumber, Mint, & Scape Raita
Scape and (ground) Turkey Potstickers
All of these would go well with an Odell’s beer, wouldn’t they? : )
On a slightly sad note, I must report that the spinach has been harvested and removed. It was bolting also, and and has been replaced by 10 peppers, 6 eggplant, and one tomatillo (which will be plenty, believe me!). So far we’ve enjoyed spinach salad, spinach quesadillas, and an easy saute that Mike made up using olive oil, garlic, spinach, and a dash of basalmic vinegar.