One of my favorite summertime activities is visiting our local farmer's market. Its a Saturday morning ritual for me and my girls while my tech-nerdy hubby (Love you, Sweetie!) peruses the farm and country store next door in which we like to pretend like we belong. (I am quite sure that the employees are staring at us, knowing we are city kids despite living in this small town for nearly 4 years and I am never sure I am appopriately dressed... like maybe I should be in overalls or something. But I digress.)
Of course, there are the usual things I pick up like tomatoes, onions, potatoes and so on and so forth. However, there is usually at least one curious item that I know nothing about and I am always eager to try new things. I'll try almost anything once... almost. If I can't find anything new, I love striking up a conversation with the growers to find out their favorite recipes or ways to use their favorite produce.
So my farmer's market find for the week (and new best friend!)...
In case you need a visual, here's a photo:
I bought some fresh garlic from this vendor and couldn't help but notice these green gangly things nearby. I just had to ask. Apparently garlic scapes are the tops of the garlic plant that will go to seed, but when cut off like this... they are a delectable addition for LOTS of things! They can be used much like a green onions or chives. The scapes are highly aromatic and have a slightly milder flavor than garlic. I googled garlic scapes and legions of recipes leaped onto my screen (yes, they were that awesome... leaped!). I am especially interested in sauteeing these babies up in butter and adding some mushrooms... yet to happen, maybe tonight!
I decided to add some chopped garlic scapes to one of my favorite recipes, Veggie Lasagna, and the results were supertastic (yes, results this amazing deserve a made-up word)! So here's the recipe (which thanks to my good friend, Teena, has pretty much been a staple at our house for years!):
1 28 oz. spaghetti sauce (any flavor) (I like mushroom sauce, of course!)
6 lasagna noodles (cooked or the oven-ready kind)
1 15 oz. container fat-free cottage or ricotta cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
½ - 1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
2 chopped garlic scapes (optional, but amazingly amazing!)
1. Mix cottage cheese with spinach and carrots. Set aside. Grease 13 x 9 inch pan.
2. In pan, spread 1 c. spaghetti sauce. Then place 3 lasagna noodles. Next, spread cottage cheese mixture, then, veggies, then spaghetti sauce, then 1 c. mozzarella cheese. Repeat, except wait to add the top layer of mozzarella cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking time.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
(Great recipe to freeze for later!!!)