The Garlic Escapade

Hi friends!  Today want to talk about garlic scapes.  In case you don’t know what a garlic scape is, it is the flower stalk of  a hardneck garlic plant, picked before the flower can bloom, thus enabling the garlic to grow bigger, without having to use energy to bloom a flower.

Here’s one of my little helpers, hanging out in the garlic.

When we first bought our house, I noticed that a previous occupant grew several garlic plants against the garage. But, because we were so busy working on the house, I didn’t do anything with them last year. Now we have our garden in and the garlic is flourishing. When the plants started shooting out their scapes this year, I wasn’t going to let them go to waste.

With a little help from one of the gnomes, the scapes were harvested.

 

All clean and ready to go!

 

As you can see, my harvest was a large one!  I didn’t quite know what to use them for first, so I decided to use them as a  topping on myblue cheese  BBQ tempeh sandwich.

I also figured they made a dandy replacement for the yucky stalk of celery in a Bloody Mary.

I also chopped some up to use in a polenta Parmesan dish I made last night, which I will be sharing on the blog soon.  I plan on using as many as I can and then freezing the rest.  You can use the scapes to make pesto too, but I my basil plant isn’t big enough for that, yet.

Have a great night everybody, and keep cooking!

Soup!

Soup indeed, black bean soup more specifically. My friend asked me for this recipe after she had the soup almost a year ago at my house. That made me happy, because apparently she liked the soup so much, she remembered it and wanted to make some herself.

If you were to come to my house for dinner, there is a good chance I will feed you soup, salad, and good crusty bread. That is my favorite meal to feed people. There is something so satisfying about this type of meal. I love the communal feel of this type of meal (sorry for the rhyme). It’s easy to throw together or make ahead, giving you time to enjoy your guests company, instead of fussing about every last detail. The reason you invite guests over for dinner is to hangout and catch up, not be stressed.

So, soup! This is is my tried and true black bean soup that I make often. Now I know summer is approaching, but since here in Upstate New York, our evenings are still chilly from time to time, you could easily justify whipping up a batch of this on the stove top, or you can even throw this in your crock pot for an easy meal.  Sorry the photo isn’t great.  The light was low and I was hungry by the time I got to snap a photo.

 

 

Mandy’s Black Bean Soup

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 cup chopped red onions

3 minced garlic cloves

1 cup chopped bell peppers (I like red or orange)

2 large cans Goya black beans

1 can (14.5 oz) Redpack diced tomatoes (my favorite brand!)

1 cup vegetable broth

1 envelope Sazon Goya

To taste:

chili powder

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

cayenne pepper

hot sauce

garlic powder

lime juice

If you make this in a crock pot, cook your onions and garlic down in a frying pan first and then add the rest of the ingredients.

For stove top cooking:

Heat oil in the soup pot, and add the onions, garlic, and peppers. When these ingredients have cooked down, add the beans (use one can with all the liquid and drain the second can), the tomatoes (drain all of the juice out of the tomatoes), and the Sazon. Now, add the vegetable broth and give everything a big stir. Add the remaining ingredients, using your own taste buds as a guide.

I usually let this simmer on low for about 45 minutes, stirring often. If the soup looks too thick, just add a little water.

Serve with sour cream, pickled jalapeno slices, and tortilla chips. The last time I made this, I didn’t have any bell peppers, so I sliced up two lonely, leftover carrots I found in the crisper. It made a nice addition to the soup, so I might do this again. I think adding a cup of corn kernels would be nice as well.  As for the tortilla chips you see here, these were some leftover whole wheat tortillas that I brushed with olive oil,  sprinkled with salt, cut into triangles, and baked on a baking sheet until crispy.


I also wanted to mention that I am harvesting the garlic scapes from my garden tonight and I would like any suggestions you may have for preparation. I am going to attempt to freeze some as well, so let me know your favorite way to eat ’em!

Have a lovely day friends and keep cooking!