Garlic Scapes: What Are They & How Do I Cook Them?

I remember the first time I received garlic scapes in my CSA – like a number of the offerings that initial season, I had never before encountered such an edible. They looked a little like scallions but were named after … Continue reading

An Everlasting Meal of Chicken Soup

Inspired by the poetic and lovely book An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, I filled a pot with water and plunked in a salted, whole chicken. This might have seemed like blasphemy a week earlier. Boiled chicken had a very … Continue reading

Mint-Pea Tendril Pesto with Local Lamb Chops

Last night was my first foray into lamb chops. I do like lamb, but I have the opportunity to eat it so infrequently. Well, with my meat share, I have four lamb chops waiting to be consumed, so I thought, no time like the present. As promised in the last post, I used more pea tendrils (all of the stalk – not just the most tender ends) and put in a food processor with a bunch of mint (leftover from the garden – mint is pretty hardy) and a small clove of garlic. I turned on the processor and streamed in olive oil, a few dashes of salt and a few twists of pepper.

For the chops, I seasoned with chopped rosemary (also some of the last holdovers from the garden – this is a woody herb that lasts until the hard frosts), salt, pepper and olive oil. I let that sit for an hour or so, and then cooked it on a hot grill pan for about 5 – 6 minutes on the first side, and another 4 on the other. I served this with the pesto on top – WOW! Chestnur farms raised easily the best tasting lamb chop I’ve ever had – and this is despite the slight marbled fattiness.

I served this with butternut squash risotto and carmelized onion and steamed radicchio. All courtesy of the last week of the farm share. It’s almost November and local still has never tasted so good.

Pea Tendril Pesto

I didn’t know what to do with the pea tendrils from the farm share. I was told to “fry them up”, but I tried that last year and they weren’t that tender (despite their name). So, last night I came up with something new. I took off the top half (smaller leaves, more delicate stalk) and threw them (about 1 1/2 loosely packed cup’s worth) in the cuisinart with a large chopped clove of garlic and about half as much basil. With the motor on, I drizzled in olive oil, salt and pepper as if I were making regular pesto. I also added my last tablespoon of pine nuts and served it atop a mound of baked spaghetti squash (halved, roasted in a dish with water), but it would be great on any (real) pasta, or dabbed on local wild scallops as I’m having tonight.

This pesto is a bit lighter and brighter tasting than straight up basil. I think I might try making pesto with the bottoms and mint and just a small clove of garlic, maybe serving them up with lamb chops from the meat share. Yum.

Locally Caught Scallops with Herb Pesto

scallops with pesto

I’ve been craving seafood lately, but with my bounty of veg from the farm share, farmer’s market and my garden, I rarely had to go to the grocery store (yea!). However, that meant that without a special trip I wouldn’t be able to satisfy my shellfish itch. So, I figured I would stop by Whole Paycheck and pick up a few staples while perusing their seafood section, which is well-labeled with sustainable local and wild catch options.

Luckily I found some (rather expensive) locally caught scallops. I bought only 8 of them – richer flavor equals needing less to satisfy.

For dinner I heated some olive oil (but you could use local butter) in a cast iron skillet and tossed in the salt and pepper seasoned scallops. After no more than 2 minutes I flipped them, and then took them out 2 minutes after that. These were large scallops – 8 of them was about 3/4 lb – so the time would be even shorter with smaller scallops. You definitely don’t want to overcook.

For the pesto sauce I threw celery leaves, dill and a bit of leftover basil leaves into the processor (but you could use whatever fresh herb odds and ends from your garden or fridge) with 2 cloves of fresh garlic. I drizzled in olive oil until it was the consistency I liked, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I like to squeeze half of a lemon in as well for brightness. Drizzle over the scallops and serve – perhaps with a nice caprese?