Category Archives: Shopping

Ingredient: Garlic Scapes


It might be a chicken-egg kind of situation, but it feels like farmers are taking more risks on growing and selling non-traditional produce and more home cooks are willing to buy them and be more adventurous. It doesn’t really matter who influenced whom first – I am just happy to see a surprisingly large variety of unusual vegetables and fruits available. On my latest venture to the Green City Market, I found the following inspiring little things:

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Zucchini Blossoms

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Fig Tree!

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Garlic Scapes

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Edible Flowers

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Lamb’s Quarters

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Funny Little Orange Eggplants

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Plethora of Peppers

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Bounty of Beets!

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Holy Kohlrabi!

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Breakfast Radishes

Because I was buying stuff for some specific purposes (more or less), I pulled the trigger on the garlic scapes and lamb’s quarters. Often, using these ingredients (at least at first) can just be a matter of swapping out a more commonplace ingredient for a more adventurous one. In my case, I used the garlic scapes, which are just the tender shoots of the garlic plant, like I would scallions – chopped finely into a salad. (Incidentally, I used the lamb’s quarters raw and trimmed, like mixed baby greens).

When I tasted the raw scapes, I felt like the garlicky flavor was a bit too strong and was afraid that they would overpower the rest of the salad. Therefore, I blanched them along with the green beans I prepared; in retrospect, I would skip this step. The salad ended up falling a little flat, lacking the pleasant bite that the raw scapes would have provided.

But, this is the best part of being adventurous! The process of trial and error allows you to develop a relationship with your ingredients, and I think that’s an important thing to foster. Just as a farmer learns over time how to encourage the growth and fruitfulness of his crops, the cook learns through many attempts how to bring out the best in the produce the farmer provides.  Get out to a farmers market this weekend if you can – always good for inspiration!

Farmers’ Markets


The Bun and I finally made it to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park last weekend.  I think I forgot how great (and overwhelming) that market can be.  We decided that there are some vendors whose “local” produce is negligible, but for the most part, you can really tell that the people are growing the food they sell.  Since this was our first farmers’ market in a while, it was tempting to go whole-hog and buy a ton of stuff, but we did our best to focus and decide on a purpose for everything we bought.  Hopefully, we’ll make good on each one and have some great recipes to share. 

Having such fresh and beautiful ingredients at your fingertips can be inspiring, and we’ve already managed to make some delicious food from what we bought (see yesterday’s post).  Sadly, I had to work most of the day on Sunday and wasn’t able to spend as much time in the kitchen I would have liked.  As a complete surprise, though, the Bun pulled together the most amazing cherry pie I’ve ever tasted, made with fresh Michigan sour cherries.  See below!  

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie

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