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Heart & Sole Food

Sprouting Winter Energy Food

 

Winter can be a difficult time for gardeners.  After harvesting fresh food for most of the year, freezing temperatures and inclement weather keep even the bravest farmers indoors, dreaming of tomato juice dripping from the chin, sweet corn kernels popping like caviar against teeth and crunching luscious, colorful leaves that delight the eye as much as the palate.  Farmer’s markets, with fresh wares produced in greenhouses or high tunnels, offer solace, but there is nothing that compares to eating one’s own fresh food.

 

 Winter makes gardeners long for summer's bounty.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution for those who enjoy watching seeds germinate and become edible sustenance and the process is fast, easy and only requires a few ordinary household items, a handful of seeds and a sunny window.  To alleviate those mid-winter gardening blues, try growing sprouts.  In a matter of days, with minimal effort, you can have fresh green produce for salads, sandwiches or toppings for almost any dish.  Well, maybe not chocolate cake.  But then again, that could be an interesting combination . . .

 sprouts seeds

Wide mouth jars work best for sprouts.

Before “planting” seeds to sprout, gather the following items:  1 quart glass jar, a lid to fit the jar, cheesecloth, mesh screen OR a paper coffee filter that will fit inside the lid, something that will hold the jar at an angle to drain, such as a dish rack, fresh water and some seeds to sprout.  That’s it.  Easy, peasy. 

 sprouts seeds in jar

Soak seeds overnight in a dark room.

Sprouts are an ideal food, especially during winter months when human bodies may move less.  Bursting from dormant seeds, sprouts are loaded with energy and eager to become mature plants.  The sprouting process increases vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels and makes seeds, especially legumes and grains, easier to digest.  Before sprouting any seeds for consumption, be sure to obtain them from a reputable source, such as a health food store or reliable online source, to avoid any possible contamination, or use seed saved from your own plants.

 sprouts beginning

Drain water from seeds using a rack.

To begin, place 1-2 tablespoons seed in the quart jar.  Cover seeds with enough water, about 1-3 inches, to completely cover the seeds.  Attach the lid, with mesh, cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place the jar in a dark place, such as a cabinet or closet, overnight or about 12-14 hours.  *For beans, allow more time for soaking, as much as 18 hours.

 sprouts 2

Sprouts fill a quart jar in just a few days.

Drain the water through the screen and place jar, on angle, on a rack or other device to hold it in place.  Cover jar with a dark cloth.  Continue to add water, shake the seeds and drain, covered, several times each day for about 4-7 days or until sprouts look ready.  On the final day, remove the dark cloth and allow sprouts to absorb sunlight in order to turn bright green.

 sprouts 3

Exposing sprouts to sunlight allows them to turn bright green.

Remove sprouts from jar, shaking to remove excess water and seeds that did not germinate.  Store in refrigerator and use within a week. 

 sprouts and veg

 Add sprouts to other chopped veggies and herbs for extra plant energy.

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Winter Garden Foraging

For gardeners lucky enough to live in seasonal growing climates, Winter fields offer respite from intense cultivating and singular beauty that echoes growers’ time of reflection and renewal.  In my neck of the Western North Carolina woods, January is not typically a productive gardening month; however, 2017 ushered in unseasonably warm temperatures after a lush snowfall, encouraging growth and offering abundant “free food” for foragers who know where to look.

CreasyGreens

 Creasy Greens grow abundantly in Winter fields throughout the Southeastern US

A few days ago, as Richard and I walked through Heart & Sole Gardens’ winter fields, we made plans to plow, till and plant.  We discussed where to move tall cages and noted muddy imprints that indicated a rise in deer population, probably foreshadows for a Summer crop battle.  Tucked amid dried grass and the last standing popcorn stalks, we discovered a patch of lush greenery.  Grabbing a basket and snippers, our hands worked to gather these crispy leaves, a type of wild cress that packs flavorful punch, along with a healthy dose of nutritional goodness.

creasy green pesto

Ingredients for fresh Creasy Greens pesto

Dependent upon preserved harvests to survive harsh mountain winters, early Appalachian settlers included cold hardy creasy greens in diets, a practice that prevented scurvy, a condition caused by lack of Vitamin C.  Growing in open fields throughout the Southeastern US, creasy greens boast significant levels of Vitamins A, B, E and K, along with calcium and iron.  Tender young leaves are similar in flavor to mustard, a mild heat that intensifies as the plant matures.  In early spring, creasy green blossoms, tiny yellow flowers that cluster on stalks, make beautiful, edible garnishes or salad ingredients.

creasy green pesto 2

 Creasy Greens pesto, prepared

Warm days also encouraged green garlic to produce, so I dug a few bulbs while Richard inspected some large logs we need to remove.  Remnants of a creek restoration project, the walnut, cherry, poplar and locust logs will find useful purposes, but for now, they play host to another wild food.  Spotting beautifully clustered caps along the logs’ undersides, Richard fetched another basket and we harvested about ten pounds of oyster mushrooms, a delicious wild delicacy. 

 oyster mushroom cluster

Oyster Mushroom Cluster

Back at home, I cleaned mushrooms, washed creasy greens and removed root ends from garlic.  With such fresh, tasty ingredients at hand, it is impossible to resist the urge to combine them for a meal.  A few of the mushrooms were exceptionally large, perfect “crusts” for individual pizzas.  Creasy greens and green garlic served as the base for pesto and I pulled some tomato sauce from the freezer, a rich concoction made when heirloom tomatoes were in season.  After baking the pizzas, topped with a bit of fresh mozzarella cheese, Richard and I agreed our wild food meal was one of the best we ever had. 

oyster mushroom pizza

Pizza, pre-baking.

Creasy Greens Pesto

Increasingly popular, creasy greens seeds are now offered for sale in several seed catalogs and online sources.

• 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (substitute pecans or other nuts, if you like)
• 1 small green garlic, tops and bulb, chopped (2 whole garlic cloves, if green garlic is not available)
• 1/3 cup excellent olive oil
• 2 cups fresh creasy greens, washed and roughly chopped
• 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Place nuts, garlic and greens in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Pulse a few times to combine and add cheese.  Pulse a few more times.  Turn on machine and allow mixture to blend while adding olive oil in a thin stream.  Continue to blend until mixture is thoroughly combined.  Season with ¼ tsp. salt and about 6 grinds of black pepper.

oyster mushroom pizza baked

 Serve baked pizza atop fresh Rocket, aka Arugula, for fresh crunch

Wishful Thinking

As 2016 draws to a close, Heart & Sole Gardens is a peaceful place.  Honeybees tuck into hives, fields lie fallow, except for patches of Fall greens and garlic, and wire cages stand as sentinels, ready to contain next Summer’s tomatoes and peppers.  Dry weeds crunch underfoot and both streams gurgle loudly without green brush to muffle sound.  Small birds flit among tall weeds, searching for food and shelter and ground hogs hibernate in underground dens, sustained by garden produce they consumed. Winter fields, bare of lush green leaves and vines, hold endless possibilities for future plantings and, although I promised to scale back this year, not cultivate quite as much real estate, the gardens whisper, asking for the chance to produce abundant bounty. 

 

Winter fields whisper possibilities.

It doesn’t help that my mailbox teems with seed catalogs, sporting glossy colorful photographs of beautiful fruits and vegetables, enticing me to order far more varieties than is reasonable.  “Bright pink and red vanilla-scented flowers” describes Red Milkweed and I am powerless to resist ordering the seed packet.  Besides, Monarch butterflies depend upon milkweed and should I not do my part to feed those beautiful winged pollinators?  Photographs of lettuce leaves encourage a list of possibilities and recalling last Spring’s salads, crunchy and colorful, I add a few new specimens to the order.  Kohlrabi is a plant I always wanted to try and my husband’s 98-year-old uncle grows it successfully and proclaims it delicious, so why not add it to the list?  Since it is available in both white and purple, maybe I should get both?  I try not to linger over heirloom tomato pages.  Even with saved seeds from hundreds of varieties, surely there is room for one more?

Gardeners' wish books.

As children, my brother and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of The Wish Book, a mail-order catalog that arrived in plenty of time for youngsters to explore a wealth of possibilities for Christmas wishes.  Patiently taking turns with the thick volume, we dreamed of Easy Bake ovens, race car tracks and many other tempting toys.  Now, as a gardening adult, seed catalogs are my Wish Books and, even though online access is easy, there is something about holding that tangible collection of offerings, turning pages, marking items for future looks, that recalls the same childhood anticipation.

 

Potatoes often yield humor.

After the busyness of the holiday season, I look forward to snuggling next to the fireplace, warming my back as I turn pages of dreams.  Already, the seed potato order is processed and delivery will be late February.  If the crop is a typical yield, one hundred, fifty-five pounds of seed will produce one thousand, five hundred and fifty pounds. Scale back?  Maybe next year...

Rocket's Fall Launch

In an attempt to extend Summer’s flavor, I filled a cookie sheet with green tomatoes and placed it on a pantry shelf.  Last night, we enjoyed sandwiches with the season’s last large slicing tomato.  Although it is a variety called Pineapple, I label this special tomato plant with the name of the man who shared seeds with me.  Ralph Triplett, Harley-Davidson rider, blueberry farmer and volunteer barber, also grows delicious tomatoes and to properly honor fruit that will be absent from my table until July, I chose a special green to pair with the Ralph tomato.

           arugula leaves

After first planting seeds in 2008, arugula, nutty, peppery and addictive, quickly proved to be a family favorite Fall and Spring crop. Unaware of “arugula-gate” at the time, I included arugula seeds with my catalog order because I found the description intriguing.  Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, for readers unaware of details surrounding “arugula-gate,” lamented the price of arugula at Whole Foods, in an attempt to highlight farmers’ plight to profitably sell produce.  The comment backfired and critics labeled Obama an elitist for eating an inexpensive, exotic green.  Perhaps those critics were unaware of arugula's history and worldwide popularity.  Thankfully, this delicious herb is increasingly stocked in US kitchens and anyone who has a few seeds and a bit of soil can grow and enjoy this tasty treat.

Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, arugula, eruca sativa, is a worldly plant, called roquette, rucoli, rucola and garden rocket or simply “rocket” to British gardeners.  Nutritionally, arugula is packed with Vitamins C, A and K and at only about eight calories for a two-cup serving, is an excellent choice for weight management.  According to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, arugula is one of the most nutrient-dense foods, packed with substances that promote good blood pressure, eye health and cardiovascular function, along with other health benefits.  Although I could find no clinical research to support a persistent belief about arugula, for thousands of years, this leafy green, purported to contain aphrodisaical powers, was ingested for sexual health.  Roman poet Virgil wrote that arugula “excites the sexual desire of drowsy people.” 

Far less expensive than Viagra, easy to grow, nutritionally packed with health benefits and delicious, to boot, perhaps it is time for Americans to stop calling this plant by a name that makes it sound exotic, medicinal and expensive.  I vote with the Brits: Rocket, a name that befits a plant that grows extremely quickly.  Somehow, I think Virgil would approve that moniker.

If you would like to grow your own rocket, the plant thrives in most soil types and grows equally well in the garden or a large container.  Sow seeds successively to maintain a crop of baby leaves, but allow mature plants to bloom and enjoy the edible blossoms with salads or as garnishes.  Be sure to leave some seed pods to dry and harvest the seeds to use in the kitchen or plant the next growing season.  Saving seeds results in almost no cost to continually grow fresh rocket.  With that practice, we can all work together to remove the elitist tag from a plant that never deserved to be designated as such.

Arugula rocket breakfast

Rocket Breakfast

For peppery punch, add rocket to scrambled eggs, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches.  Try this easy, yet delicious, twist on a breakfast classic. 

For each serving:

• 1 ounce angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
• 1/4 cup diced red onion
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
• 1 teaspoon capers, drained
• 1 egg
• 1/2 ounce fresh rocket (a big handful)
• 3 ounces grilled or smoked salmon

Heat oil in large skillet, cook onion until translucent. Add capers and cream cheese, stir until cheese melts. Add pasta and egg, stir while egg cooks to coat pasta with sauce. Add rocket and combine with pasta mixture until greens wilt.  To serve, top with salmon. 

* Since cheese, capers and fish are salty and rocket is peppery, taste before seasoning.

Waste Not the Wonderful Watermelon

One of my favorite childhood memories is gathering at my grandparents’ home on summer Sunday evenings with our extended family. Sometimes, my grandmother would stir cream, sugar and vanilla flavoring and pour the mixture into a large cylinder. Packing ice and rock salt around the cylinder in a churn, she attached the hand crank and each child turned the crank until it was too difficult for our small arms to handle. At that point, my grandfather, father and uncles stepped in to complete the job and when my grandmother removed the lid, we all eagerly scooped homemade ice cream into waiting bowls, sighing with delight as sticky drips fell from our chins. While making ice cream was an occasional event, far more often, we enjoyed another treat that was every bit as special and delicious.

Watermelon Moon and stars

Heirloom Moon and Stars Watermelon

Plucked from my grandmother’s garden, chilled in a galvanized tub filled with ice and cold well water, fresh watermelon, with its sweet flavor and singular aroma, signaled Summer like no other food.  Wielding a huge knife, Granny split the melon in half and all the children gathered to watch the first cut, impatiently dancing from one foot to the other until waiting hands received a slice.  A large salt shaker was passed and after a liberal sprinkling, I would dive into crisp, red flesh that crunched, filling my mouth with sweet, salty flavor and seeds.  My brother, cousins and I would hold contests to see who could spit watermelon seeds the farthest and my mother cautioned us to avoid eating any seeds.  “If you swallow watermelon seeds,” she would say, “they will grow in your belly and send vines out your ears.”  Despite the warning, I sometimes ate seeds and anxiously imagined how painful it would be to sprout leaves from my ears. 

After weeks of no rainfall at Heart & Sole Gardens, late summer showers saved the watermelon crop from dismal failure.  Two heirloom varieties produced juicy, sweet fruit and I celebrated the small harvest by enjoying fresh watermelon in every way I could think of and preserving as much as possible for later use.  Although fresh, crisp watermelon flesh is about as Summer-Sensational as a food can be, this fruit offers adventurous cooks a wealth of opportunities to creatively reduce food waste.  Watermelon seeds, despite my mother’s warning, pack a nutritional punch and a significant source of protein and watermelon rind cubes are perfect for pickling, retaining crisp texture and absorbing sweet or salty solutions.

watermelon seeds

Watermelon Seeds Pack Nutritional Punch

Plan now to try some of these suggestions for your next melon harvest and, if you are lucky enough to still have a fresh watermelon, the pickle recipe is tasty and pretty enough to present as holiday gifts.

• Roast watermelon seeds in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes, stirring after ten minutes. Add a bit of olive oil and herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, etc., for more flavor.

• Combine fresh watermelon juice with dried coconut powder to make a thick paste. Apply as a facial and allow to dry. Rinse face with cool water and note how smooth skins feels.

• Save heirloom seeds and place, on a glass plate, at room temperature until seeds are completely dry. Store in a cool, dry place or the freezer and plant next year.

• Dehydrate slices of watermelon flesh for a unique “candy” treat.

• Juice watermelon flesh for a refreshing beverage.

• Freeze juice cubes to add to any beverage for watermelon flavor.

• With or without salt, enjoy a slice of fresh watermelon. Keep a napkin handy!

watermelon rind pickles

Spicy Watermelon Rind Pickles

Wash and dry and fresh watermelon. Slice into sections and remove all colored flesh and seeds. Peel outer skin and cut remaining flesh into bite-size cubes. Add watermelon chunks to large pot of boiling water, lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove watermelon from water and pack into half-pint jars, along with garlic cloves, fresh sprigs of fresh basil and oregano and slices of red Serrano or jalapeno peppers. Pour hot pickling solution over packed jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with clean cloth and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and immediately transfer to a countertop covered with a large towel. Invert jars for 6 minutes, upright and cover with towel. After 24 hours, check to be sure lids sealed and refrigerate any that do not. 

Pickling Solution

Note: This recipe is a variation of my husband’s grandmother’s, Vestal Coffey Anderson, and I make it by the gallon to store in the refrigerator, reheating and using as needed throughout the year.

• 2 cups white vinegar
• 1-3/4 cups water
• 4 tablespoons kosher salt

Combine ingredients in a large pot and simmer on stovetop until salt dissolves.

watermelon compost

Rind peelings and the stem end are left to compost

Organic Gardening is for the Birds

March 25, 2016. Good Friday. Distinctive chatter welcomes me to Heart & Sole Gardens. Martin scouts circle overhead. Purple Martins, that is. Migratory birds we regard as pets claim the gourds we provide for them to nest and raise their young. After an annual flight from South America, taking as long as six weeks and covering as many as 5,000 miles, this is no small feat. As long-time Purple Martin hosts, we anticipate the scouts’ arrival as eagerly as the harvest of summer’s first ripe heirloom tomato.  Perhaps, even more so.

Martins arrive March 2015

Purple Martins eagerly explore summer homes

Foregoing the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers translates to providing a garden habitat that encourages insects, reptiles, mammals and birds to linger and feast upon organic bounty. Adding composted manure to soil helps earthworms as they tunnel through miles of earth, aerating ground and depositing nutrient rich castings. Seedlings thrive, enticing deer and groundhogs, those eating machines, to munch tender foliage and stems. Blossoms open and invite a medley of winged pollinators that complete plants’ sexual acts and result in fruit and vegetables that feed humans, insects and animals. In a garden, Life and Death coexist, constant mortality reminders for the gardener. Within this intricate food chain, birds assist farmers as they devour insect pests. At Heart & Sole Gardens, we nurture Purple Martin families and delight in their aerodynamic antics as much as we appreciate their insect control.

Social birds, Purple Martins often engage human workers with song. Swooping low over my head, they frequently lure me close to the tall poles that hold their gourds and serenade with a lilting voice for as long as I linger.  When my mimicking efforts elicit response, it is interaction that pleases us all.  After years of attentive listening, I quickly recognize a Martin distress call and often help shoo predatory hawks, watching a group of Martins chase the marauders into the distance and observing the return flight, which often includes “wing bump” celebrations.  Useful and entertaining, Purple Martins bring joy and happiness to weary farm workers and their late summer departure leaves a quiet sadness in the air.

Martin gourds all sanded

While plastic homes are available for purchase, our Purple Martins seem to prefer gourds

While they are in residence, Purple Martins enjoy the work of our old Blue Ford tractor as it tosses bugs and sends flying insects into the air. Long before the tractor enters a field, its rumbling approach signals Martins and they eagerly line the poles that hold their homes, their animated chatter filling the air. As soon as the tractor lumbers through dense weeds, the Martins descend, swooping low over the driver’s head and almost touching the earth as they dip into the machine’s wake.

No lengthy journey can be without peril.  Bearing evident scars, one Martin scout, the first to arrive and claim housing for a colony, sported a damaged wing and a deep “V” marked missing feathers.  Since he instantly engaged me with his chatter, I believed him to be a previous Heart & Sole resident and, throughout the summer, he never failed to greet me at the farm, often pausing to rest and sing for me while I worked.  With his in-charge attitude, I dubbed him “Chief” and enjoyed his exuberant joy as much as he seemed to enjoy his temporary abode.  The damaged wing did not slow his flight and he zoomed as quickly as any Martin, snatching mid-air treats with the precision of a bat and diving from great heights to settle on the metal pole, inviting me to take a water break and enjoy his cheery song.

While it is impossible for me to recognize individual Martins by sight, the damaged wing identified Chief and I often enjoyed his presence. Martins frequently entertain and visitors from other colonies regularly swooped by, but Chief flew closer to me than any other bird and lingered much longer than any of his kin. With an obvious handicap, I worried about his return flight, but throughout the entire summer, he never showed signs of weakness or disability.

July 13, 2016. My farm journal includes this note: Three Martins, one with damaged wing, Chief, chattered and visited.  Late for them!  On July 15, 2016, I recorded my last Martin sighting, two females or juvenile males, it is difficult to distinguish the two, and wondered if Chief were journeying to South America.  I sent him prayers for safe travels and healing vibes for the damaged wing, along with hopes for his safe return in 2017.

In mid-August, our friend, Gary Greer, used his Bobcat machine to lower our Purple Martin gourds so we could clean and repaint them in preparation for next year’s arrivals.  Nestled inside one gourd was a dead bird. Adult. Mature. Male. No apparent injury and hot, dry summer weather left him intact, his deep purple plumage iridescent in afternoon sunlight when I carefully removed him and cradled him in my hand. Almost as weightless as a single feather, his wings were tightly tucked and I considered pulling them from his body, just to be sure there was a missing feather, but I resisted. In my heart, I knew this bird, could hear his lively chatter in my memory, see his head cock as he listened to my rudimentary attempts to mimic his song. Chief. 

Did he know he would be unable to make the return journey to his winter home? Did his companions linger to keep him company until the last possible moment?  Did he know how he brightened my days? Was his a painless death? Lightly stroking his beautiful body, I tearfully pondered these questions. 

We placed him in our home’s pet cemetery, alongside Boykin Spaniels, Dixie and Chipper, felines, Tiger and ‘Possum, and almost-wild bunnies, Hoppy and Thumper, with prayers of thanksgiving for his life. As beneficial birds go, he was a champ.

Godspeed, Chief. 

Martin Chief

Garlic Chive Scapes, Versatile and Delicious

While asparagus is clearly the vegetable winner when it comes to Spring harbingers, garlic scapes, those intriguing shoots that form on hardneck varieties, are not far behind.  Prized by professional chefs and adventurous home cooks, scapes are ideally harvested before they open to reveal beautiful pink clusters that look like blossoms, but are actually bulbils, the basis for new garlic plants.  Although delicious, garlic scapes, like most fresh foods, enjoy a brief season, but unlike asparagus, garlic has a “cousin” that produces scapes in late Summer/early Fall and offers harvesters another chance to gather fresh garlicky flavor.

Garlic scapes row may 4 2016
Hardneck Garlic Produces Large Scapes

Garlic chives grow from a fibrous, inedible bulb and produce flat leaves look more like grass than the round leaves of onion chives.  Allium tuberosum is a popular choice for herb beds or flower gardens and since garlic chives reseed freely, it is easy to grow a large crop within a few short years.  Tolerant of heat and cool weather, garlic chives require little maintenance and are not picky about soil conditions, making them a desirable plant for most home gardeners.  Excellent border or container plants, garlic chives reach about 15 inches in height at maturity and clusters of white blossoms open to attract a multitude of pollinators.

bumblebee on garlic chive
Garlic Chive Blossoms Attract Numerous Pollinators

Allow flower heads to dry for intriguing additions to fall floral arrangements, but shake small black seeds free before using the dried heads.  Left intact, these seeds will drop and scatter across floors, furniture and counters.

 garlic chive seedhead
Garlic Chive Seedhead

Mentioned in Chinese texts over four thousand years ago, garlic chives are prized by many gardeners who grow this hardy plant as a beneficial garden companion.  Touted as a deterrent for Japanese beetles, whiteflies and black spot on roses, garlic chives also are traditional medicinal herbs used for liver, kidney and digestive problems or to boost the immune system.  A star in many Asian dumpling dishes and soups, garlic chives are as tasty as they are useful.

Both flowers and leaves are delicious in compound butter, herbed vinegar, fresh salads, stir-fries, roasted tomato sauce and mashed potatoes, but it is the scape-like bud that offers a special culinary treat.  Garnish with these small buds for edible visual interest or place them across roasted chicken, hot from the oven, and let them wilt while the bird rests, draping crispy skin in perfume and flavor.  Mince several garlic chive scapes and top baked potatoes or mashed potatoes or add them to late season pickles.  Use both leaves and scapes to create a pesto.  After tasting garlic chive scapes for the first time, you may wonder how you ever cooked without them!

garlic chive scapes
Garlic Chive Scapes

Fortunately, potato harvest, garlic scape season and a bit of cooler weather combined in my geographical area this year and we enjoyed Potato and Garlic Chive Scape Soup for a taste that heralds Fall as much as hardneck garlic scapes announce Spring’s arrival.  If you miss garlic chive scape season this year, make plans to grow your own next year.  For beauty and versatility, this plant is a winner.

garlic chive scape and potato soup
Garlic Chive Scapes Add Delicious Flavor to Soup

Potato & Garlic Chive Scape Soup

• 2 thick slices bacon
• 1 tablespoon garlic chive scape, minced
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
• 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
• ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
• 3 cups peeled potatoes, diced
• 1 small baked potato, mashed
• 4 cups hot stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• Fresh garlic chive scapes for garnish

1. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy

2. Place bacon on paper towels to drain and add minced garlic chive scape, garlic and onion to hot bacon fat.  Cook over medium heat until vegetables are translucent, about 4-6 minutes.  Add wine and continue to cook until almost all liquid is reduced.  Add potatoes and stir in hot stock.

3. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

4. Bring soup to boil, then simmer for about ten minutes.

5. Stir baked, mashed potato in soup.  Simmer for about ten minutes.

6. Remove from heat, stir cream into hot soup.

7. Serve with crumbled bacon and fresh garlic chive scapes.