Green Garlic and Kale

Last week at the farmers market, I found some green garlic. I’ve had green garlic before that looks more like spring onions, but as you can see from the picture here, this bunch of green garlic was a little more mature. I’d never worked with it this way before but the nice guy who sold it to me assured me that practically the whole thing is edible. So I was sold!

In order to use green garlic in this state, it is necessary to remove the hard central stalk. To do this, I cut the bulb end off and then cut that in half. I removed the roots and the inner stalk. Then I peeled off the outer two or three layers, which are thin, kind of like spring onion. Inside the bulb, the cloves had only just started to show signs of differentiating. For the stalk, I used the tip of a knife to score its length, and pulled out the hard stalk from the center. Then I washed the leaves the same way that you would wash leeks, and trimmed the ends. I sliced the stalk into ribbons, and chopped the bulb.

The flavor of green garlic is extremely mild when eaten raw, and won’t leave you with bad breath. So I decided to use it in a raw kale salad. If you don’t have access to green garlic, this recipe goes great with anything that has a mild onion or garlic flavor. I’ve done it with green garlic, spring onions, and shallots each quite successfully. To further amp up the garlic flavor even further, use garlic oil.

This recipe makes a lot, but the salad keeps well in the fridge for days and makes a great snack.

Green Garlic and Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of kale, leaves removed from the stem
  • 1 chopped green garlic bulb or two finely diced shallots
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or garlic oil

Method

Roughly chop or slice the kale and place in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to emulsify. Pour over the kale and use tongs (or your hands) to toss. Make sure the kale is evenly coated. Set aside to let the kale wilt slightly at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer (an hour would be great). Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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Peas and Carrots with Mint

English peas are one of my favorite spring time veggies. And I know it’s kind of old-fashioned of me, but when I get my hands on some, I just cannot resist making peas and carrots. I have memories of eating peas and carrots when I was a kid but I can’t remember if they were made from fresh or from a can. Whichever it was, I’m just glad that I can recreate that taste memory as an adult, with my own twist.

At my farmers market, there are usually two options for english peas. You can buy them whole in the pod, or you can buy them already shelled. The shelled ones cost a premium, and I don’t mind the time it takes to shell the whole ones so that’s usually what I go for. Shelling peas is also a great job for a kid or a partner who wants to help.

As far as modifications go, the sky’s the limit on this one. You could certainly substitute frozen peas for this dish (but I make no guarantees as to its success). You can also play around a lot with the ratio of peas to carrots, depending on what you like. Pretty much any fresh herb will play well with this dish, I’ve done it with parsley, basil, and dill, but mint is my favorite.

I also don’t cook the carrots very much because I don’t like mushy carrots, but if you like them softer, just give them a few more minutes in the pan before you add the peas.

This recipe makes a lot, so halve it if you aren’t sure how much you want. It reheats well, and I have certainly been known to eat cold peas and carrots for breakfast…

Peas and Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts whole english peas, shelled OR 3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 or 5 medium carrots, cut into pea-sized dice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic oil, or earth balance
  • 2 tsp salt
  • A few dashes fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Method

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook 1-2 minutes. Add peas and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until all the veggies are done to your liking. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs.

Serves 4

Strawberry Lime Marmalade

Hello world! I’ve been super busy these past few months, but I’m really thrilled that it’s finally farmers’ market  season here in the mid-atlantic. I will be flexing my canning and preserving muscles in the coming months in oreder to try to hang onto some of this wonderful summer flavor well into the winter. Strawberries are still coming into the markets right now, so I’ve been making jam and preserves. I thought I’d try something a little different with one of the batches I was working on so I modified a recipe out of the Ball Blue Book and created a gorgeous strawberry lime marmalade.

Now, I was a little hesitant to call this a marmalade because–for me at least–the word “marmalade” conjures up memories of a bitter orange jam. But the step of boiling the peel before you make the jam draws out all the bitter flavors and you are left with just a pleasant lime taste. Technically, anything with citrus peel in it is considered marmalade. So I went with it.

There are a couple of ways to get the peel you need. The easiest way is to use a vegetable peeler to peel thin slices of the rind and then chop that. But I was very concerned about bitter flavors and wanted to make sure I just got the zest, so I used a zester instead. (There is a picture with my Lime Icebox Cookies post of the tool I used if you are not sure what I’m talking about.) I needed to zest about 3 limes to get the amount that I needed.

If you are new to canning, I highly recommend the book Putting Food By as an excellent primer on all methods of food preservation.

Strawberry Lime Marmalade

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced lime peel
  • Two generous quarts strawberries, washed and hulled, any bad spots trimmed
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 cups sugar

Special Equipment

  • 7-8 half-pint jars with lids and rings, sterilized
  • Jar lifter
  • Jar funnel
  • Lid lifter
  • Boiling water canner

Method

Cover lime peel with water and boil 5 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid (trust me, it is too bitter to use for anything).

Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a very large pot (I use an 8 quart pot) and crush with a potato masher until there are no whole pieces and lots of juice has come out; it should measure about 4 cups. Add the drained lime peel, lime juice, and powdered pectin and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim the foam. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Leave on the counter untouched for 24 hours before checking seals. Remove rings and label the jam. Store in a cool place. Any jars that did not seal can be stored in the refrigerator.