Garlic Scapes

>> Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ahhh, garlic scapes. This ingredient is one of the main reasons I love coming to the Green City Market; they have such a delight assortment of vegetables, fruits, and cheeses that I have never seen or heard of before. Naturally when my eyes set on what appeared to be a very large scallion, I had to inquire, what is that thing? A sign and a polite - it's a garlic scape - from the farmer led me to the obvious conclusion, oh, a garlic scape.

I often feel pressure at the farmers market to buy things, especially when I show a hint of interest. Not because the farmers themselves are pressuring me, but because I feel like I should be trying new foods all the time. That morning was no different. After noticing the "scapes" for weeks I decided to bite the bullet and buy them. Despite my purchase I still didn't have any clue how to use them or what they were...

After a brief bit of research (and help from my friend Megan) I found that the garlic scapes are actually the green things that grow out of the bulb of garlic. They are often cut so that the growth can focus on the bulb below. The green stalks eventually produce a flower and is why garlic is known as the "stinking rose."

Ok so now we know what the scapes are - still what do we do with them? Luckily Megan sent me this Serious Eats recipe for garlic scapes pesto which is copied verbatim below:

4 to 5 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
Large handful basil leaves
1/4 cup almonds, toasted in a dry skillet until slightly browned
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound linguine or other pasta

1. Combine the garlic scapes, basil, and half the oil in a small food processor or blender. Process or blend until the leaves and scapes are finely chopped, then add the nuts and remaining oil. Process or blend until nicely pureed.
2. Remove to a bowl and stir in the cheese. If necessary, add more olive oil to create a loose paste. Season with more salt if needed.
3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and toss with the pesto. If necessary, add some of the pasta water to create a creamy texture. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese.

It's not a far cry from this pesto recipe involving walnuts. It was so creamy, and the garlic is much milder than regular cloves. Whenever I see garlic stalks I will definitely make the the purchase again! 


Skinny Cow Cups

>> Sunday, June 13, 2010

This past weekend I signed up to attend The Perfect Cup free event with my friend Sara sponsored by Skinny Cow. I didn't know much about the event, but I knew that there would be the following:
1) Free Booze
2) Free Ice Cream
3) Bra fittings (perfect cup - get it?) 

Regardless of why we were really there I was obviously more focused on #1 and #2.  

I have to be honest, I was mostly excited about the cocktail when we first walked in. I have had Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches in the past and while tasty they never really did that much for me. Signature cocktails and I have a  lot more in common and this was a great one; lavender infused lemonade with sparkling wine. Don't mind if I do...Needless to say I briskly made my way through both my drink tickets. Next step: ice cream bar!

Walking up there was a display showcasing the five flavors of skinny cow's "perfect cups." Each of these cups have less than 150 calories and 4g or less of fat. Not too shabby if you ask me! They offered the following flavors:

  • Chocolate Fudge Brownie
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Carmel Cone
  • Cookies 'N Cream
Nothing too left field, but some big hitters in there. I went for Strawberry Cheesecake and Sara opted for Dulce de Leche. I have to say, I was kind of impressed! The ice cream was very creamy and the strawberry preserves were tasty and not overboard sweet. I didn't get to try Sara's but she said she enjoyed it although it was a little rich.
Would I buy these again? Yes, especially because they are sold individually. I wouldn't eat too many though considering the only ingredient I really recognized was skim milk, but hey, for 150 calories I may just put all of that aside and enjoy the delicious ice cream.

As if this event wasn't wonderful enough. The beautiful super model Veronica Webb was a guest MC! I actually got to meet and talk with her and she caught me googling her...model fail. 

I love Chicago. 


Top Chef Masters with A Top Chef Master

>> Thursday, June 10, 2010

I can't believe that I am about to write this post; everything from tonight seems so surreal. Tonight I watched Top Chef Masters with Chef Marcus Sammuelsson (of Aquavit in NYC) one of the five chefs chosen to compete in tonights episode, at the rooftop bar of the fabulous Affinia Hotel in Chicago

I heard about this event courtesy of one of Chicago's best food blogs 312 Dining Diva. Immediately I knew I had to invite my cousin and fellow foodie, Dory, to come along. Naturally, she was in, along with her foodie friend Amy. So tonight we met up with very little expectations; at the most we were hoping to get Chef Marcus to sign a cookbook...ah, naivety you keep me young...

We arrive at the Affinia hotel and take the elevator straight to the top to C-view, the sky bar for the Marcus Sammuelsson restaurant downstairs in the hotel, C-house. We head outside to the beautiful patio and sit a long table that stetches nearly half the porch. Looking around I can't believe I am here. The view is unreal, the weather is perfect (70 with a soft breeze) and I know the food is going to be amazing. 

We start off cautiously with couple of cocktails (I got the Yes Chef!) and a plate of three cured meats, a special running on Top Chef nights for $10. To start we had:

- Salmon - "pastarmi" style
- Guanciale - cured pork jowel
- Jamon Serrano - dry-cured Spanish ham 

This was served with grainy mustard and grilled french bread. Out of all three, I think my favorite would have to be the Guanciale. There was such a nice blend of fat and meat that it made each bite melt in my mouth. Before I knew it I had consumed about half the portion and had to be put in cured meat time-out. The salmon was in a close a second. So light and delicate, I easily could have eaten half. the Jamon Serrano was delicious as well, but compared to the other two, this one was my least favorite. While a nice blend of fat and meat, I felt like I had the flavors before. I loved them, but again, the other two were just amazing. 

For dinner we ordered:

- Mini Yellowfin Tacos
- Lobster Club
- Bacon and onion jam flatbread

Thinking about these make my mouth water. The tacos were in fact mini, I dare say even bit size! I didn't order them but was completely happy with the one I sampled. Light, fresh and clean are all the adjectives that come to mind. This would be a great dish to share among a group. The lobster club was about as decadent as they come. Lobster, bacon, mayonnaise - what's not to like? And that's exactly the sentiment I had. It was so delicious and creamy I easily could have eaten the whole thing, but alas it was not my main meal; I ordered the flatbread. When it arrived in front of me I instantly smelled the bacon. Ah, sweet, sweet, bacon. Cheese, bacon, pears, and onions are never a bad combo and this was no different. The flatbread itself was a great balance between crispy and chewy. 

So you would think the food and atmosphere would be enough right? You would be wrong. To top this evening off, we watched the episode in which Marcus is featured with him all night. It was truly an amazing experience to watch someone on TV while they are standing (and yes, he was standing right next to me) during the show.

Chef Marcus was so kind, fielding our questions, signing our cookbooks and in general, just hanging out. He was completely unpretentious and inviting (much like the food at C-view) and created a memorable night for me. I wrote on a napkin my blog, so Marcus if you are reading - thanks for making my night!

It's going to be hard to top this one, but I have a lot of big foodie events coming up so stay tuned!!


She and Him - Millennium Park

Mr. Charles Shaw (some of you may know him as $2 Chuck), pretzel roll, brie, sausage and my good friend Sara (she has a blog and it's awesome) made for an absolutely amazing Monday night in Chicago.



Share |

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP