E…scape

It’s that time of year again…

Garlic Scape Time

This year’s challenge was to minimize the effects of the Allium Leaf Miner pest which had completely decimated last year’s crop. I can’t even bring myself to revisit the pictures from that devastation, so google it yourselves if you are scientifically motivated.

The local Ag agents suggested covering the crop in the early spring before the creatures emerge. I tried three versions of that. In the cold frame bed featured below, I had the doors closed until mid-April.

In this back bed I used fleece to cover the plants, which the wind and weather rearranged frequently, so there were gaps in time when there would have been access. Image below shows windblown exposure.

In the third bed, (it’s starting to sound like the three little pigs here…) I used a screened tunnel. See garlic growing tall under that screen.

I harvested scapes from all three beds over the last three weeks or so. The bed shown above was curiously the last to form scapes. Possibly the full time cover slowed growth ?

Some test pulling of the plants showed those gnarly wee beasties had indeed begun their invasion. As was the case last year, the leaves were browning early and the bulbs were not forming, or were becoming deformed.

So, this week I yanked them all.

In bed one, 100% infestation. No bulbs were saveable.

In bed two, 60% infestation.

In bed three, the one with the 24/7 tunnel, almost all of the bulbs were untouched.

Out of about 200 plants, I now have close to 60 curing in the greenhouse. If there are some critters lurking within I may lose some of those, but it’s not a total loss.

On the principle of being given lemons… I decided to make lemonade.

Well…garlic scape butter.

I saved all the scapes, which were untouched by the bugs, and yesterday I got out the cuisinart !

The recipe is quite simple. Grind up the scapes, mix them into softened butter, put that into a ziploc bag and spread it thinly to force air out, then freeze. Then it’s easy to break off what you need as you go. It is especially nice to soften and use as the spread for Garlic Bread.

I had enough leftover minced scapes to add some lemon and olive oil and also freeze for later use in sauces and such.

Bonus tip, which I learned from an old blogger whose name I apologize for forgetting, you take the butter wrappers and stack and bag them up and also put in freezer to use as ready made greasers for pre-baking pans.

So, I started this blog yesterday, only to find that my website was down…again. A long frustrating day of dealing with my server resolved the problem late in the evening. When I sat down to write this entry today…down again.

They tell me it is fixed now, for good.

If you are reading this, then at least for now…it is.

You will be hearing more often from me now as we near the big opening for the Granary Gallery Show…This year that date will be August 5.

I’ve been working full tilt at the easel, almost non-stop since last November, and you’ll see the results very soon.

In the meantime, I hope your gardens are glorious, your souls are finding peace, and there is laughter in the air around you.

Stay tuned and stay frosty out there,

Heather

 

 

 


Bon Appetite !

Julia, my hero.

I floated out of the movie theater yesterday afternoon on a cloud of whipped to the peak of perfection egg whites…

at the movies

Magnifique, Superb and Brilliant !!! I laughed and sobbed through the whole flick and the creme de la creme was the gaggle of three women sitting behind us whispering to each other in FRENCH !!!

Julia Child has been a hero of mine for almost my entire life. I watched along with the early PBS viewers as she brought us into her kitchen and taught us to cook and she was elevated to goddess status when I worked in Cambridge and would catch the occasional glimpse of her regal gait bobbing above the crowd on the cobblestone alleyways.  My log cabin kitchen today is surrounded by homages to her genius… from the NY Times Magazine article that quotes her “last meal” suggestions…

my muse

to the windchime that has hung outside the door since her passing…

windchime

to the cupboards that have her famous quote painted on them to remind and inspire…

cabinets

Ahhh Julia…

We took Lorrie’s advice and did eat before we sat down to watch…but on the way home we rewrote our shopping list and Herself made a special trip to town to fetch us the fixings for a feast…

ingredients

A little bruschetta to honor the ripe tomatoes in our garden…

prepping

bruschetta

Then a lesson from the movie and an extra step to dry the scallops (not beef this time) to get a good sear…

drying the scallops

good sear

And of course the money shot…the lobster scream !

the lobster scream

And Voila ! we have Seared Scallops for Pat and Lobster Poached in BUTTER for moi…both over a bed of spinach wilted in garlic butter… ( did I mention butter ?)

main course

Ahhhhhh… our tribute was complete with a dish of Haagen Daz velvety chocolate ice cream topped with fresh raspberries…

dessert

and we raised our glasses to Chere Julia, and to Julie whose blog was inspirational and gave Nora Ephron the medium to shine once again…to Meryll who simply was breathtaking…to life itself which we know to be the proper binge… and to love which after all else is at the very core of every meal… Salute !

Pot Luck