Monday, July 1, 2013

Early July Garden Update and Cooking with Garlic Scapes

The weather has been absolutely beautiful the last couple of days, temperatures have been in the 90's, and although it has been pretty warm, I just love it, and the garden has really taken off!  I spent the morning watering the garden, and soaking up some Vitamin D while reading out on the patio while I waited to switch the hose around.  The goldfinch were out, and one of the male goldfinch was singing such a pretty song, it was a very pleasant morning. 
These are some of the pictures I took of the garden a couple days ago, the plants have grown even more in the last two days with all of this heat. Last time I did a garden update, the zucchini had not germinated very well, and I had just replanted them.  The second planting did wonderfully, and are catching right up.  Something is nibbling at the leaves, but it still seams to be doing okay.  I also planted the winter squash bed, and they all came up beautifully, I am growing acorn squash, and sugar pumpkins this year, as well as miniature white pumpkins.  I have been thinning out the plants for the last couple days, trying to leave the best looking plants.  This is the first year that I have tried growing a regular sized pumpkin in my side garden, up until now I only grew baby pumpkins for fun.  Sugar pumpkins are on the smaller size, so I thought they would be a good start, I look forward to pumpkin vines rambling through the garden!

The green and purple beans are doing very well, the purple variety already have little flowers, and are filling up the bed.  It won't be long now and we will be enjoying our summer favorite.

The pepper plants are trying to catch up, I planted them far too early, and was afraid they wouldn't get going, but like everything else, the sunshine has really given them a boost, and I even spotted a tiny pepper peaking out from under the leaves.  

The blueberries are ripening up, I had to replace a couple bushes this year, so my harvest will not be nearly as large, but I am so happy with one of the new blueberry bushes I planted, the berries are huge!  Blueberry muffins are definitely on the menu this week!

The purple basil is doing very well, and starting to get it's bigger leaves, I am excited to try it out.  The green basil in the pot next to it did have a few sprouts, but they were gone when I went out to check them today, luckily I put a few basil seeds in a stray pot I had, and they are doing much better.

The most exciting thing in my garden this week are the garlic plants.  I kept hearing about garlic scapes, and how good they are.  I wasn't sure what garlic scapes even were until last week, when I decided to read up on what they were and how to use them.  Then I went out to my garden, and noticed that my garlic plants had scapes on them ready to harvest.  Garlic scapes are the curly stems you see below on the garlic plants.  They can be used like scallions and taste like a mild fresh garlic.  So I decided to harvest a few and give them a try.

 First I cut off the flower bud end, and discarded it.  Then chopped up the scapes, and sauteed it in some olive oil.  I then added to the pan some chopped pre-cooked chicken tenderloins that I had steamed earlier, and let the chicken soak up some of that good garlicky flavor and added some salt and pepper.

 I served the chicken and garlic scape mixture over a bed of curly pasta, with a sprinkle of Parmesan.  I loved the flavor and have been thinking of it since, I plan on trying it again, next time cooking the scapes a little less.  I think scapes would be a wonderful addition to a cream cheese spread, or as part of a delicious crostini topping. I want to leave a few scapes on the plants, but I will probably harvest a couple more this week to try some other recipes.  I will definitely be planting a larger bed of garlic next year for more fresh garlic scapes, I may also have to hunt some down at a farmers market.

I would be curious to know how many of you have tried garlic scapes and how you like to use them. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

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