Roasted Garlic Scape Soup

These past few weeks, our farmer’s market has yielded some pretty great stuff, in particular strawberries (which actually taste like awesome strawberries), rhubarb, all sorts of herbs and onions, and one of my favorites this time of year, garlic scape. I buy garlic scape every time I see it at the market, and I make a variety of things with it, but this year I decided to make a roasted garlic scape soup. If you are not familiar with garlic scapes, it is essentially the flower bud from garlic, and have the taste of a mix between a mild garlic and onion flavor. That’s right up my alley.

This roasted garlic scape soup is not only easy to make, but it’s super comforting, loaded with great flavor, and has the texture of a nice bisque. Not the prettiest of soups, but one that you will want to make again.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt, and more to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 small to medium sized shallots
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, stem removed

I like to roast my scapes, garlic, and shallots (both skin on) over some charcoal, but you could place yours in the oven on high heat if you prefer. It’s summertime so I make every attempt not to heat up the kitchen. So start by rubbing the olive oil all over the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and season with some salt, and place onto your hot grill, turning along the way. You want some nice charred marks on the scapes, as well as to soften the shallots and garlic. So once they are slightly charred, remove them from the grill and set aside.

Chop up the garlic scapes and carefully remove the skins from the garlic and shallots.

Next, get a pot onto the stove and pour in the chicken stock. Add in the cubed potatoes, and the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Once they are fork tender, this is when you want to bust out your immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, I highly recommend you purchase one, then you can carefully ladle, in batches, the soup mixture into a blender, making sure you cover the top and place pressure down onto it. Hot stuff in blenders without putting a towel over the top, once covered, can lead to a mess. Trust me.

So whichever route you take (I used an immersion blender), blend until you have a nice smooth puree.

Keep the pot on medium to low heat, and continue to cook. Add the half and half, black pepper, red chili flakes, and fresh thyme. Stir, cook for a few minutes, and taste. If more salt is needed, add a bit more.

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle some into a small soup bowl, garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and dig in. This roasted garlic scape soup is super smooth, and you get the taste of everything you put in there. It’s comforting, easy, and delicious, and granted soup season has somewhat past us here in Wisconsin, it is still worth making.

So if your market has scapes, get a bunch of them and give them a try. It’s a must if you love garlic. Hope you enjoy!

 

Thai Curry Mussels

It was not too long ago when fresh mussels were on sale at one of our local grocery stores. In the past, I typically would buy them frozen, then steam them but as they were fresh, I decided I would go all in. It was my kids last day of school, and I figured I would throw it out there and see if they would be keen on the idea of having them as an end of year celebration. Low and behold they did and I decided to buy a few pounds of mussels. What’s funny is that one of my pickiest of eaters (he’s getting much better) was stoked about eating them. So I arrived home, and got to work. At first I thought I would do a simple wine and butter sauce to steam the mussels in, but then I quickly turned my attention to making a killer Thai curry and coconut broth, introducing something a bit different to them. These Thai curry mussels had just the right amount of heat that did not distract from the flavor of the mussels, and my kid ate a ton of them.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 can of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 lbs fresh mussels

Simple stuff here, and feel free to use other types of curry paste. I used the prik king curry paste from Maesri which is a spicy ginger style of curry paste, and one that I really like, but feel free to use their red or yellow paste if you have that in stock.

To a large pot, large enough to house the mussels, get the heat going on medium heat. Add the canola oil and bring it to a light smoke, only a couple of minutes, then add in the green curry paste. Stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the coconut milk, and water, and stir to incorporate and break down the curry paste. Once this comes to a simmer, add in the mussels.

Make sure that all of the mussels are closed, and feel free to scrub off any exterior beard material from the mussels ahead of time should they not already be cleaned.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Stir the mussels into the coconut curry mixture, then cover, and cook and steam the mussels until they all open up.

Please note, that any mussels that do not open up, then discard.

Once the mussels are all opened, pour the mussels and broth into a large serving bowl and dig in.

Feel free to serve these with some nice crusty bread, or spoon the broth over some cooked jasmine rice.

It was funny watching my oldest go to town on these. He could not stop eating them, and he loved the spice from the broth. These Thai curry mussels were a great way to end the school year that’s for certain. Hope you enjoy!

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb has been in abundance at our local farmer’s market these last few weeks. We purchased a plant last year and are waiting to harvest the rhubarb, most likely next year, so I decided to buy some from our favorite farmers. When growing up, we had a small rhubarb patch in the backyard, and I recall eating it raw for the most part. It was sour and extremely tart, and as a kid that was right up my alley. However later as I began to experiment with rhubarb, I knew that cooking this vegetable down with sugar was the route to take. So with this recent batch, I decided to make a simple rhubarb jam, and I am glad that I did. We’ve been using this jam on toast for breakfast, as well as drizzles over cheese and crackers. It has that perfect balance of sweet with subtle tartness that has you wanting more.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Ball’s canning jars, boiled in water for 5 minutes
  • 4 large ribs of rhubarb, cleaned, and diced
  • 3 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • pinch of salt

Start by adding the rhubarb, sugar, water, and lemon zest to a large stock pot. Let that mixture rest in the pot, off of the heat, for about an hour to let things meld. Heat the pot over medium heat, and stir, cooking for about 20 minutes, letting it come to a small boil. Continue to stir.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Continue to cook until your jam begins to thicken. Make sure you stir the rhubarb frequently to prevent the sugars from burning on the bottom.

Once thickened, I use a stick blender and blend this all together to pulse and blend the softened chunks of rhubarb. This also thickens the jam into a perfect consistency.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Once blended, carefully pour into the sterilized jars, let cool, then seal and place into the refrigerator to chill. Once this has fully chilled, do as you please. We’ve been using the rhubarb jam on toast, peanut butter sandwiches, and drizzled over soft cheese. It’s good. REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

One of the things I truly love is snacking. I could snack all day long, however I find that my snacking time is really only after work. My go to snacks are pretty much cheese, hummus, or kettle style chips. As the cheese and chips are not all that great for me, I decided to turn things up a bit and make some simple skillet fried chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.  Chickpeas after all are what I use to make hummus, and as I have roasted them in the oven in the past I wanted to do something a bit different with them this time. This is where a bit of oil, cloves of garlic, and a can of chickpeas came into play.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and lightly patted to dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skin removed, lightly smashed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature, a couple of minutes.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Next add in the chickpeas and garlic, and give this a good toss. Continue to cook, and toss at this temperature for about 20 minutes, or until they become nice and crispy. Once crispy, season with salt and thyme, giving them another good toss.

Serve immediately. The result is a great crispy exterior, with a creamy interior along with great garlic notes (feel free to eat the garlic), and a salty thyme flavor that have you going back for more. This is truly a great after work snack, and one that is good for you to boot! Hope you enjoy.