Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Some farmers suggest removing the scape to produce a larger garlic clove. The energy otherwise wasted on the flower will go to an increased size of the more valuable vegetable below. Others, believe it has no effect on the garlic at all. I love to eat them, so I removed most of them. A few were left behind to experiment and see the difference myself. The most effective way to harvest them is to bend them over and slide your hand down the shoot until it snaps off, usually right next to the leaves.
Fresh scapes are a wonderful way to taste the unripe garlic that is still growing below the ground. Simply sauteed and mixed with some mashed potatoes is a delicious counterpart to a slow roasted chicken. Additionally, the leftover meat makes a great chicken salad with some of the scapes sauteed, then cooled. Many cooks prefer to make pesto with these difficult to cut veggies. Either way, they are indeed delicious!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Ruby and I went to the pond in the field behind our house the other day to picnic and do a little fly fishing. I caught a personal record: 16 fish! Most were small brook trout averaging 5-6 inches, but two were worth keeping. I used a bead-head prince nymph and dry black fly to catch them all, yet the way they were striking, I'm sure almost anything would have worked well. The fish were actually jumping out of the water to catch small mayflies and damsel flies on the hatch. I am pretty sure the fish in this pond are stocked seasonally because it is part of the Veterans Home of Wyoming public use land.
Soaking the wood chips in water keeps the wood from burning up too quickly. However, large chunks of dry wood can be used to bring the temperature of the smoker up to above 275°F. I started a fire with real oak charcoal on one side of the barbeque, then added my chunked cedar once the coals were smoldering. The fish was seasoned with oil, salt and pepper and placed on a sizzle platter on the other side of the grill. Keeping the fish away from the fire provides a slow-cooking, indirect heat. Next, a foil lid was placed on top of the smoker with one side opened (the side with the fish) to draw the smoke over the product and allow it to escape to prevent stifling. Unfortunately, my barbeque does not have a lid or I would just use that with the vent placed above the product. The fish smoked for about 30 minutes on each side. I needed to add more wood half-way through the smoking process to keep the temperature up. The fish had plenty of smokiness but still needed about 20 minutes in the oven to cook through entirely.
Smoked trout is delicious hot, but I decided to serve it as a salad. To cut the smoke with a spicy textural contrast, I added some sliced French breakfast radishes from our garden, baby arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Some crunchy rye toast completed the dish thanks to Ruby's fabulous bread baking abilities. Fried capers would have been nice, but I did not have any on hand and sometimes it's hard to wait for delicious.