On scapes and goats
A trip to the farmers market in Orono last weekend netted us broccoli, lettuce, mint, goat cheese from Olde Oak Farm in Orono (made by a friendly goat named Sensational), a wonderful three-seed bread from Bread Box Bakery in East Orland, and garlic scapes from Double Bit Farm in Unity. Garlic scapes show up each summer at farmers markets all over the state, and, until now, I’ve never tried them. The texture is somewhere in between scallion and asparagus, and the taste is like a chive mixed with basil — though since it’s the plant that grows out of a garlic bulb, it’s naturally somewhat garlicky as well. Some stealth Googling netted a recipe for garlic scape pesto, courtesy of a blog site called amateurgourmet.com. Throw 2½ cups chopped garlic scapes into a food processor with a ¼-cup almonds and a heavy dash of sea salt and black pepper. Process, and then slowly add in ¾-cup olive oil. Add a ½-cup of good parmesan cheese and process another minute. Voila: 2 cups of garlic scape pesto. It’s a uniquely yummy taste, to be used in the way you’d use any pesto.
Secret of the scones
This month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine features Maine’s own Blueberry Oat Scones created by Standard Baking Co. of Portland, the Commercial Street bakery that has earned a delicious reputation across the region. The secret of the scones? Chilled butter and chilled half-and-half to give the pastries a flaky consistency, like a thicker, sweeter biscuit. Standard Baking Co. also makes a “chocolate knot” — a deceptively small pastry that’s dense, rich and intensely chocolaty. It resembles a chocolate popover, but the texture and taste is somewhere in between a brownie and a croissant. It’s unbelievable.
Despite the less-than-ideal weather of recent weeks, it has still been warm and wicked muggy. And, rain or no rain, you’ve still got lawns to mow, weeds to whack and gardens to tend to. If you’re of a certain age and persuasion, nothing cools off a sweaty, hard-working summer day better than a cold beer. What’s the most refreshing Maine-made summer beer out there? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll print your impressions in a later edition of this column.