Garlic Scapes 12 Ways

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are a lot like asparagus — in season around springtime, spear-like and pointy, crispy but tender, and gets tougher towards the root end. It is naturally fragrant when fresh but releases an agreeable mild garlic aroma once a bit of heat is applied.

Garlic scapes have an eye-catching curliness that makes you want to pick up a bundle and whip it around just to see if it springs back to shape. Don’t flog it too hard — the shape of the garlic scape stems is a good indicator of freshness. The more it resembles a pig’s tail or corkscrew, the younger and more tender it is. Avoid garlic scapes that have almost straightened out if you don’t feel like gnawing on green curly chopsticks.

View 12 Uses for Garlic Scapes »

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Asparagus the Japanese Way

Asparagus the Japanese Way - Mustard Dressing and Bonito Flakes

There are two major categories in Japanese salads — sunomono (“vinegared things”) and aemono (“dressed things”). This crisp asparagus salad falls under aemono where a simple dressing of Japanese mustard, egg yolk, and soy sauce is applied sparingly, just enough to provide that distinctive mustard heat.

View Asparagus with Mustard Dressing recipe »

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Red Hen Baking’s “Sprouternickel” Clone

Red Hen Baking\'s Sprouternickel Clone

Red Hen Baking Company’s “Sprouternickel” is a sourdough whole grain rye loaf studded with sprouted rye berries, sprouted spelt berries, and sunflower seeds. My formula is based on the ingredients listed in Red Hen Baking’s Bread Varieties page while the ingredient proportions and baking times for this first attempt are based on Dan Leader’s Vollkornbrot formula.

In my next batch, I’ll try a longer baking time and lower temperature using loaf pans sealed with aluminum foil. The bread developed a rather crunchy exterior from baking uncovered for 3 hours at 300ºF and a crustless version is probably more desirable for this type of loaf. The interior remained moist and creamy and had an assertive sour rye flavor.

While there’s a lot of room for improvement I’m quite happy with the flavor and textures of this hearty rye loaf. The sprouted berries and whole grains also makes it densely packed with nutrients and fiber.

View Red Hen Baking's Sprouternickel Clone recipe »

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Feed a Crowd: Red Cooked Pork Shoulder

star anise red rice cinnamon red cooked

Cooking for a small crowd can be really stressful for the budding Michael Chiarello. However, it can be one of the most fun things you can do for friends and family. There is something perversely satisfying with making something delicious and sharing it with people you really really care about. A lot of things can go wrong but there are a few things I always do when having a few guests over:

  1. Have lots of booze. If the food sucks, a good buzz makes it better.
  2. Make most of the food ahead of time.
  3. Hope and pray that there are no vegetarians.

This Shanghai recipe for slowly cooked pork starts off with a quick sear in copious amounts of hot oil. There is a lot of potential for an unintentional burn ward visit so use a really hot oven to brown if uncomfortable with the idea of lowering a hunk of pig in hot oil.

Red cooked pork shoulder, like most braised and slow-cooked meats, is much better made a day ahead. The sauce is slightly sweet and rendered aromatic from the use of eight-star anise, cinnamon sticks, and ginger.

View Red Cooked Pork Shoulder recipe »

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Rhubarb and Asparagus Top Chef Style

Pickled Rhubarb and Grilled Asparagus - Stephanie Izard

Leave it to Top Chefs to come up with interesting seasonal recipes using fresh produce from farmers’ markets. This pickled rhubarb and asparagus side dish is from Stephanie Izard, winner of Top Chef Chicago, but it’s nowhere to be found in Bravo TV’s collection of recipes from the show. It was posted in Green City Market’s website back when she was the executive chef of now-defunct Scylla.

Stumbling upon a list of recipes from Chicago’s well-regarded chefs is such an interesting find for me. Surprisingly, most of the dishes seem accessible enough while taking advantage of the season’s best offerings.

A quick search for rhubarb recipes usually turns up desserts so this savory preparation really stood out from the rest.

View Pickled Rhubarb with Roasted Asparagus recipe »

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