fava beans

fava beans
fava beans

We finally got to the farmer’s market early enough last week to get hold of some fava beans. They tend to sell out fast, given that you really need to buy at least a pound or two to have enough worth eating. I don’t often feel like spending the time to shell and peel fava beans, but I like to make sure we have them at least once a year.

When we first started getting favas (always from the same person, Debbie of Colony Creek Farm), I knew one way to fix them: blanched, peeled and sauteed with green onion, prosciutto and some cream, then tossed with pasta. Delicious, indeed, but we actually managed to burn out on the flavor. I wanted to try something different, and we just happened to pick up a fresh bunch of garlic scapes at the same market, which made me think Pesto. Continue reading

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garlicky lamb sandwich

lamb sandwich

Just a quick one today (then you can get back to your 4th of July preparations – we hope to be barbecuing, if it doesn’t rain too much). It may be only a sandwich, but it’s a sandwich worth talking about, and we’ve had it for lunch twice this week ’cause it was so good.

We had leftover grilled lamb from earlier in the week, leftover piquillo peppers from a salad we had made, and pesto made from the last of the garlic scapes. I sliced the lamb nice and thin, and piled it and the peppers on a fresh soft ciabatta roll with some mayonnaise and pesto, and it became an amazing, savory, garlicky lunch. I can’t think of a thing that would have improved it, except maybe a salad of baby greens and a glass of rosé. Mmmm.

a new way to eat garlic

garlic scapes

I’ve been growing garlic for years – it’s one of the few vegetables that I consistently have in my garden, and I can usually grow enough that we only need to buy a few heads in the spring to tide us over. I used to grow softneck, but I discovered Rocambole hardneck garlic about 5 years ago and have grown it exclusively ever since – I think it has a better flavor, and it’s often much easier to peel.

One major difference between softneck and hardneck is that hardneck puts up flower stalks in the spring. If you leave them on, the flowers turn into little clusters of bulbils, taking energy from the main bulb, so it’s best to cut them off – I haven’t always been good about this, but I usually make it out there at some point, haphazardly whack off the flower scapes and compost them.

garlic scapes

But this year! This year I’ve been reading food blogs, and I’ve discovered something new. Turns out, if you pick the scape before it blooms and hardens, you can eat it! I have never seen this information in a cookbook, not even my Alice Waters book. Continue reading

Meatballs with arrabbiata sauce

chopping garlic
One of our tried-and-true, easy to make, yummy weeknight dinners. Both the meatballs and the sauce are inspired by recipes out of Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and are basically just vehicles for garlic. And an excuse to drink red wine.

J almost always makes the meatballs in this house – here’s how he did these. He started with two pounds of ground beef, almost the last of our local half-a-cow that we bought last year. The beef was mixed with 1/2 cup each of bread crumbs and milk, two eggs, salt and pepper, and a head (yes, a head!) of chopped garlic. The original Bittman recipe called for onion, but the first time J made it we were out. He substituted garlic (which we grow ourselves), and we liked it so much it stuck. The meatballs get baked for about 20 minutes in a 375° oven. We generally use parchment paper, it helps tremendously for cleanup. Continue reading