Garlic scapes are beautiful, curly stands that look like they belong in a flowery bouquet rather than from an often-tossed part of the garlic plant. Garlic scapes are the green tops of a garlic bulb, and are almost never found in grocery stores, but they often turn up at early summer farmer’s markets. I’d never cooked with them before, so when they wound up in my first CSA box of the year, I was a little stumped as to what I should do with them!
How much do you love hummus? I LOVE hummus. I often eat it for lunch at work – either in a sandwich instead of mayo, or on crackers, or as a dip for veggies. As a result, I buy a lot of hummus.
I’m pretty particular about how I like it – easy on the garlic, not too much cumin, add a hint of lemon. It never occurred to me that I could just make it myself and tweak the recipe how I like it, saving those $$$ I was spending on my hummus habit.
Pie that you can eat with your hands?! Pie to go? Pie you can pack in your lunch? Pie for your picnic basket? Pie without MESS!? The best thing ever. Hand pies are an invention for pie crust lovers, for carrying with you, and to save you clean up at dinner parties.
These Rhubarb Hand Pies are filled with tangy rhubarb and are surrounded by flaky sour cream dough. I first made a version of these last year (Ick! Look at those terrible iPhone photos!) and love making them for a special treat.
They do require more effort than a pie – you’re not just dumping filling into a pie crust and throwing it in the oven. There is a delicate procedure of rolling out dough, cutting it into equal-size rectangles, filling half the rectangles with tangy rhubarb tossed in sugar and flour and then pressing the edges of each pie with a fork to seal them together. And THEN throwing them in the oven.
If I had to pick my favourite and most-used kitchen gadget, it would be my food processor, hands down. The first time I ever used it was to make hand pie crust dough, a task I usually found so tedious. After I’d added my ingredients into the food processor, pulsed a few times, and saw the dough come together all on its own, my life changed. It was a miracle!
Since then, I’ve used my food processor for more pie doughs than I can count, and crisp toppings, salsa, breadcrumbs… But my next life changing moment happened when I decided to make pesto for the first time ever. Two years ago, our first rooftop veggie garden was overflowing with more basil than we could ever use. “Let’s make pesto!” J said excitedly. I looked speculatively at our two voluptuous basil plants and we started the arduous process of pulling off ten thousand basil leaves. A splash of olive oil, a few pine nuts, and 1 minute later, we were rewarded with 10 jars of pesto. Best ever.
The real reason I decided to make this loaf is because even though J decided he liked the buttermilk scones I made last week (he usually hates scones), he still wouldn’t willingly pick one up for breakfast – and that guy needs a freezer full of muffins to get him through workday morning breakfasts. (We have an agreement where I keep the freezer stocked with baked goods and he always takes out the trash and recycling – my most hated household task! The best part is, we both think we have the better deal!) J loves to grab a muffin, heat it in the microwave, pour his coffee, and head to work. When he reminded me of the lack of morning baked goods in our freezer, this cinnamon ribbon loaf was born!
Happy Cinco de Mayo! And this post is not Cinco de Mayo related at all (what a bad blogger!). But I promise you that J and I will be celebrating with a Mexican feast tonight – we’re going to try these Ancho shrimp tacos from Bev Cooks (check out her blog too, she is one hilarious lady!) and we’ll be serving up our favourite Lime Margaritas.
Instead, today I’m bringing you one of my favourite party tricks – these Spicy Rosemary Cashews are one of my go-to appetizers to share on the coffee table when we have guests over. They’re super simple to make and we always have fresh rosemary on hand in our garden. I love appetizer nibbles – in fact, one of my favourite things to do for dinner is have different crackers and cheeses and meats to nibble on, but the thing is, I often get carried away with huge appetizer spreads. And then I can’t eat my dinner.
I like making these spicy rosemary cashews for an appy, because even though they’re small, they pack a punch, and no one is going to go overboard eating handfuls and handfuls. Except maybe me ;) I promise your guests will gobble up these tasty morsels!