Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scraping By With Garlic Scapes!

Garlic Scape Walnut Pesto with Braising Mix, Soy Curls, Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta and Lemon
Pesto Pasta Power!
     I love Bell Organic. Not only are they the nicest people in the world, but they grow the best produce in the Wasatch Front. And just like the name implies, it's all certified organic! Last year was my introduction to joining a CSA through Bell Organic. Not only did I get an education of in the wide world of veggies, but I learned about and fell in love with new plants, like arugula. Now, I can't get enough of this spicy salad green! 
Soy Curls and Braising Mix
What More Could You Ask For?
      I feel pretty confident around greens. When collards are in the bag , I'll be making citrus collard greens with raisin redux. Green beans means pad prik king will on the menu. However, every now and again, the Bells like to switch things up with a curve ball.  Last year, I had a choice between kohlrabi or beets. Feeling adventurous, I went with the kolrabhi (I ended up making THIS). This year, garlic scapes appeared, along with a recipe for the garlic scape pesto. Garlic scapes are these snake like plants that resemble a more curvy, less rigid green onion. The taste is a much milder version of bulb garlic. Unfortunately, I didn't grab a photo before grinding them up so I'll have to rely on the internets. 
Garlic Scapes
Photo from Floyd The Guy (
     While the original recipe called for chicken and Parmesan cheese, I decided to veganize it with soy curls. I've already written about how much I love soy curls. Quick, easy to use and versatile, they are my go to for making meals. Plus, I have a 12 lbs box that I'm cooking myself through. Yup, I don't mess around. For the Parmesan cheese, I went with the Galaxy foods one, however I bet it would be amazing with the new Parmesan cheese alternative from Parmela, It got a glowing review from Vegnews saying it was "dead on".
Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta
No Semolina Flour Here!
      Just one more tip before I post the recipe. It does call for extra-virgin olive oil, something that I skimped on. I went with walnut oil because I was out of olive and had it in the cupboard. It's about what you have, folks. So don't judge me! Plus, I was using walnuts as the base, so in my defense, I thought it would complement it. It wasn't bad, but it would have been banging with some organic unfiltered cold-pressed olive oil. More modifiers make it more better, right? Even plain ole extra-virgin oil would have been better. Just learn from my mistakes or at least stock your cupboards better.
     Oh, one final tip, if you're lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe's pick up these spices below, the lemon pepper and south african smoke, they go perfect with everything, especially this pesto. My mom showed me the light on my last visit and I was able to smuggle some back to our Trader Joe's less state. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that they will last until the end of the year when we'll get our own Salt Lake Trader Joe's! I'm craving some of that cookie butter, too! 
Lemon Pepper and South African Smoke 
Trader Joe's Awesome Spice Grinders

Garlic Scape Pesto with Braising Mix, Soy Curls, Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta and Lemon Recipe (adapted from Bell Organic)

1 lb pasta, choose your favorite shape, silly. whole wheat or regular
10 large garlic scapes
1/3 Cup nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, or pistachio)
2-3 TBS vegan parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (I recommend Real Salt from Redmond, Utah)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 Cup extra-virgin olive oil (try not to substitute)
4-6 oz of Soy Curls, rehydrated and drained
1 bag of Braising Mix, preferable from Bell Organic (though you could get away with a bunch of another bag of greens, like Bok Choy, Collards, Arugula or even Kale)
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon Italian herbs, your choice.
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Lemon Pepper or Smoked Grinders from Trader Joes (optional, but not really).

     Okay, now start boiling the water. Throw some salt in and cook the pasta according to the directions. But really, you can cook pasta, right? You could use the leftover water to hydrate the soy curls, if you wanted to be ecologically conscious. Next get out the food processor or if you're like I used to be, thinking that I could just use a blender for everything, you can get away with that, too. You're life will be easier with a food processor, though. trust me. Well, unless you have a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix. Anyway, throw the garlic scapes (I didn't even cut them up), nuts, vegan parmesan, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 pepper and get crazy. Blend until smooth. This will be your pesto. Love it embrace it.
     Now, get out a large cast-iron skillet (another worth while investment, trust me) and heat that sucker up. Saute the braising mix and hydrated and drained soy curls together until the greens are wilted, maybe 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle some salt, red pepper flakes and the Italian herbs while it's cooking. Once, it's done combine it with the pasta then combine that with the pesto and then juice a lemon into the mixture. Depending on your level of pesto loving, you could just use 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the pesto and freeze/save the remaining pesto or be like me and just use it all. Choose your own adventure, folks! Top it with some tomatoes, a sprinkle of more vegan paremsan and a twist or two of the grinders. Enjoy and share!

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