Well Dined

8Jul/132

Garlic Scapes

Well Dined | Garlic Scapes

I saw these guys at the Farmers Market and though, "What the heck are those?"  So out came the phone and Google searching commenced.  Garlic Scapes, as it turns out, are a shoot that grows out of the top of the garlic plant.  They need to be removed so that the plant can focus on growing the bulb instead of flowering.  This is fortunate, because the also happen to be insanely delicious.  They taste like garlic, but without the bite, and can be used like scallions.

Well Dined | Garlic Scapes

I bought myself a big handful and set about looking up recipes.  The most common way to use them is in a pesto, so of course I did not make that... because I'm weird.

Well Dined | Garlic Scape Carbonara

Instead, I made carbonara - with guanciale (cuz I'm legit) and peas (which put an end to my legit-ness, but I don't care cuz I love peas).  You are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about, I don't blame you.  Here is a link to a great article about the do's and dont's of real carbonara.  TLDR (too long, didn't read for all you non-techies) - while bacon and pancetta are acceptable, guanciale is the best; peas are a definite don't.

Well Dined | Garlic Scape and Gruyere Biscuits with Goat Butter

I also made biscuits - with garlic scapes, Gruyere, and goat butter (another new obsession of mine).

5Jul/130

Roasted Radish Flatbread with Honey

Well Dined | Roasted Radish Flatbread with Ricotta and Honey

So this little beauty came about due to inspiration from Bev Cooks and the need to get rid of a lot of leftover ingredients from other meals.  Sort of a clean-out-the-fridge-in-the-most-delicious-way-possible sort of thing.

Well Dined | Seared Scallops with Lemon Ricotta Pasta

I had leftover ricotta from this recipe, with you may recall from last week.  Well, not really leftover since I purposefully made double the amount I needed.

Well Dined | Spring Vegetable Salad

And I had little nubs of radish left over from this Spring salad I made inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe.  I didn't post about it but it had butter lettuce, shaved radish and fennel, blanched peas and asparagus, and fresh mozzarella in a lemon juice and sour cream dressing.

27Jun/130

Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Seared Scallops

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You guys know how much I love homemade ricotta.  In case you don't - it's A LOT.  I've also been kind of obsessed with peas lately.  So I was super excited to try out this recipe.

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I had never made scallops at home before, so I was pretty nervous.  But as it turns out, it's pretty easy!  Just make sure that you buy them no more than 1 day before you want to cook them, keep them on ice if you aren't going straight home, and store them in the coldest part of the fridge.  Also, be warned that your house will smell like seafood after you cook them.

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As for the pasta - whole wheat linguine, lemon, peas, thyme, and of course - fresh ricotta.  Fresh and light and creamy deliciousness!

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Eat me!

Here's one more shot to tide you over...

25Jun/130

Peas and Carrots

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You know that Forrest Gump quote, "Jenny and me was like peas and carrots."?  I could not stop saying that while making and eating this dinner.  The classic duo of peas and carrots, back together again in the form of soup and risotto.

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This pea soup has a base of English peas, sugar snap peas, and leeks.  So much green!

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But more importantly, it has bacon.  You start by crisping the bacon and removing it.  Then, in the same pan, you cook celery, onion, and leek in the bacon fat before adding chicken stock and rosemary.  Meanwhile, blanch the peas.

20Jun/130

Cheesy Brown Butter Grits with Ramps and Fiddleheads

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It's another vegetarian lunch brought to you by Sarah and Melissa!  Unfortunately I am posting this a bit late and you probably can't get some of the ingredients anymore, sorry!  There's always next year.  There are a lot of delicious components in this dish - Gruyere, brown butter, delicate ramps, and the very weird but very cool fiddlehead ferns.

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These guys are kinda funky looking, huh?  They have a short season in Spring and taste a lot like asparagus.  You need to wash them well when you get them, and it can be a little tricky to tell what is dirt and what is their little gripper feet - so I recommend soaking them in a bowl of cold water then rinsing them off one at a time.  Time consuming, but worth it.

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Another short season, Spring item - ramps.  Most commonly found in Appalachia, these little guys are a wild onion variety that have a pronounced garlic flavor.  And they are just so pretty, too!

18Jun/130

Asparagus Custard Tart

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We are coming to the end of asparagus season, but you may be able to get one more use in - and I recommend this one.  An asparagus flavored custard with goat cheese and Gruyere, tucked inside a flaky puff pastry shell?  Yes, please!

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This Martha Stewart recipe uses the stalks and tips separately.  The stalks get pureed into the custard, and the tips decorate the top of the tart.

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The custard is made with asparagus, eggs, cream, and flour (I altered the recipe based on comments - adding more flour to help it set up).

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The custard goes into a pre-baked shell, then the cheeses are sprinkled on top, followed by the asparagus tips.

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The texture is gorgeous and the asparagus is definitely the star of the show.  Yum, yum, yum - get out there and grab the last of the asparagus!

16Jun/130

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

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I have been dying to make this pie ever since I discovered the recipe last summer, sadly too late for strawberry season.  I love the combination of sour cream and fruit - really, REALLY love it.  One of my favorite pies ever is this creme fraiche and peach pie that you know I will be making as soon as peaches are in season.

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The filling is so easy it's almost silly, but before we get to that I want to talk about this crust.  This crust!  First of all, can we acknowledge that that is the prettiest crust I have ever made?  She's improving, ladies and gentlemen!  Part of that is due to how easy this crust is to work with.  I had thought I discovered the secret to good crust two years ago with Martha Stewart's half butter, half shortening pate brisee - BUT, then I discovered this recipe with butter and lard.  Lard, folks, is the bomb.  Why have I never used it before?!  After all, shortening is just pretending to be lard - so why not go with the real stuff?  The texture, the taste, the ease of rolling it out even when it's cold - *sigh*.  Please tell me you will make this.  Seriously, go make it right now.

13Jun/130

Spring Pizzas

I am one of those people that refuses to let go of a season, so I apologize if Spring drags on a bit for me here (especially since I am always late posting).  But we are still in the transition period from Spring to Summer, so it's not THAT bad (I hope).

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Anyway, during one of my weekly lunches with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies, we decided to make a shaved asparagus pizza with some gorgeous purple asparagus that she got from a local farm (she talks about it here).

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Isn't it beautiful? It turns out that this asparagus is super juicy, so it released a lot of liquid during cooking that we had to mop up with paper towels.  If you have some big, juicy stalks and want to make pizza, I recommend sauteing them a bit first or tossing with kosher salt and draining on paper towels for a bit to draw the moisture out.

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Here is the beautiful whole wheat pizza dough that Melissa had ready to go when I got there.

6May/130

Barley Risotto With Asparagus – 2 versions

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On one of our weekly lunch adventures, my friend Melissa and I decided to try out a risotto made from barley.  Barley is a whole grain that (unless you have a wheat allergy) is better for you than rice, even brown rice.  The grains are larger and chewier than rice, but they make a very good substitute.  I actually like barley better than rice because the chewiness gives the dish more body.

1Apr/130

Easter

Happy Easter, everybody!  I am actually doing a holiday post in a timely manner, who woulda thunk it?  Last Easter I focused on eggs, this time I wanted to go on the theme of ham and peas.

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Ham and peas, it is!  Unlike at Christmas, when I accidentally made a pork roast instead of a ham, I got it right this time and did a Dr Pepper glazed ham.  Yes, I said a Dr Pepper glazed ham - awesome.

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Take a fully cooked smoked ham (I went with an 8 lb, spiral sliced, partial bone) and place it cut side down on the rack of a roasting pan (or on a cookie rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet).  Pour 2 cups of Dr Pepper (not diet) and 2 cups of water into the bottom of the pan.  Cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees - 2 hours, in my case.

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About half an hour before the cooking time is up, start to make your glaze.  Boil some pitted prunes in Dr Pepper until they are plump.  Set the prunes aside and whisk in mustard, brown sugar, and cider vinegar.  Remove the ham from the oven and raise the oven temp to 425 degrees.  Remove the foil, and drizzle the glaze over the ham, then return it to the oven for about half an hour to cook the glaze.

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It will be so gorgeous when it comes out!  Let it rest, loosely covered on a cutting board (this photo is before I turned it on its side for slicing).  Meanwhile, pour all the pan drippings into the saucepan you cooked the glaze in.  Bring to a boil, skimming off the fat, and add in the prunes and a cornstarch slurry to thicken.  Serve the prune sauce with the ham.