This B*tch can't Cook

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am a woman of many, many talents.  Do you want to have discussions where we discuss post modern {fill in your blank}? Or use the word Hegemony or Ontology or Remediation, for real, as part of our conversation?  Want to jump into discussions about brain development and the infinite fascination of how hormones and electrical impulses form babies brains in tandem with life experience?

Do you want to discuss the feminist underpinnings of women's traditional crafts and how I believe my rug hooking to be a subtle feminist act paying tribute to the women who came before me?  Literature?  Why children love to play games about death?  Foreign Films and why I think they tie into a larger socio-cultural story telling tradition that we should be watching in order to have a better vision of who we are as humans and how we can understand the complexities of other cultures that are not our own? Zombies? Graphic Novels and Comics?

Yes, all of these things are topics into which I can slip with ease, slowly back stroking in the warm waters of ethereal intellect.

The practical matters of Cooking? Sigh. Just not my forte.  I love to eat, of course. I love to eat new and exciting things and will almost never say "No, thanks". At least until I have had enough to know that it is not for me.  I am an appreciative guest, for I will love nearly anything you put in front of me if only for the joy of not having had to cook it. (Tuna Noodle Casserole not included.)

And then I signed us up for a CSA (A share of a local organic farm). I wrote the cheque for the CSA, and so I feel doubly obligated to figure out something to do with the flood of vegetables now living in the lower shelves of our refrigerator.

Now, the rabbits can take care of the lettuce we don't get to - They eat a literal shitload of lettuce. A rabbit shitload of lettuce.  They will happily take the kale and chard and collards and bok choi  if we don't get to them.

No, it was the vegetables that I was uncertain about which worried me most.

The Kohlrabi was my first challenge.  I mean what the hell is this thing? And what the hell am I supposed to do with it.

I solved it by slicing it into sticks, tossing fresh lime juice over it and some red and black pepper, a handful of sea salt and munching through it like there was no tomorrow.  Delicious.

My greatest challenge, to date, has been the garlic scapes. 3 Weeks of Garlic scapes and I have to believe that there is more coming.

 Here is my first weeks attempt to wrangle the scapes. It was a slightly more complicated recipe than I would normally even TRY. I mean there was oil and brown sugar and caramelization and then white wine simmering to deglaze the other caramelized bits. THEN I had to add cheese I had never used before, but the recipe promised it was a cheese that wouldn't melt, and I had to have already chopped the tomatoes to get them into the pan.

Do you see this? THIS is complex. I can chop and throw lime juice on something.

Despite the burns on my arm from the oil/sugar and garlic scape beginning, it all ended up being pretty dang good.

I learned that I can chop the scapes, denuding them of the tips past the flowers which are vaguely stringy.  I learned that they kind of have a similar texture to asparagus - so that I needed to cook them, but not overcook them.  Too much and they are mush. Too little and you are chewing on very crisp garlic stalks.

My next adventure was undertaken on Sunday. I knew I was going to use the first Zucchini to make stuffed Zucchini. There is nothing about that dish that Emily can find lip-curlingly heinous, so a safe bet.  But I had another set of Scapes and needed to do SOMETHING.

Pesto was what I made.  Yeah, Yeah, a VERY rough pesto since I don't have a food processor and the blender laughed at me as I tried to use it's feeble blade to masticate the scapes. Simple enough, though - right? Scapes, slivered almonds ( quickly pan roasted), parmesean cheese and olive oil.

My first inkling that this was a winner was Emily taking a small bowl and some crackers and wandering off to snack.

Snack? On Vegetable based Dip? Was there some kind of hallucinogen in the garlic scapes?

Then Terrance wandered in and took some.

What the hell? Both members of my family who NEVER take anything I cook unless it is practically forced down their gullets, maintaining faces that indicate imminent death have both just voluntarily eaten something I have made?

The following day, they both ate more. MORE?!?!?

Terrance never eats leftovers. NEVER. Not in 20 years have I seen him re-heat something. It drives me crazier than I currently can attest to being.  But there he was, munching away happily.  On garlic scape pesto I  had made the day before.  After looking over my shoulder to check for all four Horsemen  who surely must be on the back porch, I quietly crept away.

I am thinking this pesto could possibly avert the Apocalypse, if it came down to it. Well, at the very least Famine would eat it. He is, after all, Famished.

Ba- dum-dum - Cymbal.

(two small things to note here. 1. I am thinking of the scene from The Young Ones, where Neil finds the 4 horsemen in the fridge and 2. The Undertones- Teenage Kicks is playing on my itunes completing my 1985 or so fugue state.)

9 Baleful Regards:

Linda said...

Now, Dawn, I think maybe you're a bitch who CAN cook! There's hope for you yet!

Dawn said...

Aw Linda, You have never seen me cook. It is a tortured process as I have no natural grace in the kitchen and am loathe to clean up the ungodly mess I create.

Picked up this weeks basket today. More Garlic scapes. I think I am going to try a refrigerator pickle with them, as I have one more week of scapes ( so I am told by the farmer) I am also freezing some of the pesto to use later in the season when we are drowning in tomatoes.

Tonights veggie masterpiece? Kale with butter/salt/pepper and thinly sliced zucchini on the grill - steamed in aluminum foil.

Partly it is because I am cheap and if I bought a 500 dollar basket, we are eating it ALL, dammit.

Today we also got beets ( 2 kinds), shallots, cabbage, broccoli, cukes ( a yellow cuke too) green and purple basil, more garlic scapes, zucchini, kale, a couple of types of lettuces, and more that I can't recall at the moment.

And now I am off to scour the internet for more ways to use vegetables.

Heather said...

Looks good. I've never even heard of garlic scapes. I thought you were mistyping SCRAPES - I thought how the fuck to scrap a garlic??

Heather said...

oh geez SCRAPE a garlic!

Bridgett said...

As I started reading I was going to recommend garlic scape pesto, but you beat me to it! Isn't that delicious? My sister made me a batch of it last summer and I couldn't get enough of it.
And good for you for getting a CSA! It's such a great way to support something good while at the same time forcing you to eat better. Win-win.

Dawn said...

Bridgett - I made another batch tonight, for freezing. The farmer told me that I get one more harvest of them, so it may be more frozen pesto to wait for the tomatoes.

I also pickled a batch of the scapes, with a korean type brine, and 2 jars of pickled beets which I anticipate being my secret obsession with goat cheese.

I couldn't have been happier when I read I could freeze the pesto.

Blue House Studio World HQ said...

A simple, tasty recipe for white bean/garlic scape dip although you may need a food processor.

lanfear said...

'Delurking' to beg - recipe, please, pretty, please?

Dawn said...

For the pesto I used this recipe - Although loosely because I hate to be confined to measurements.

Before she left for camp, I caught Em sneaking the frozen stuff out to nibble on.

Now that is some good shit.

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