A few years ago, I took a Tastebud Tutorial class at The Chopping Block, which is a recreational cooking school here in Chicago. The instructor discussed different flavors and how to combine them. I still follow recipes most of the time, but this class, plus a hefty dose of Top Chef, helped give me confidence to begin cooking without recipes.
This week, I endeavored to re-create the spring peas and burrata salad I had at the Publican. I cooked the peas with some olive oil and shallots and then stirred in some orange segments and the juice from the orange, basil, mint, and parsley. The dish was tasty, but I didn’t get it exactly right. I think next time, I’d blanch the peas and then mix them with the citrus, herbs and raw onions so the flavors would be a little stronger.
In addition to the English peas, this week the box contained golden beets, Tuscan kale, garlic scapes, fresh shallots, spinach, assorted lettuce, broccoli, and Yukon Gold potatoes.
Garlic scapes are the flower stems produced by garlic plants and are removed so the plants can focus on producing a fat garlic bulb. I did not impress my husband the last time I made them. I sautéed them, and he characterized the result as “garlic sticks.” This time around, I made a pesto to drizzle over spinach and ricotta gnudi, made with the fresh spinach. It was garlicky, but we love garlic, so it was a hit with both of us. I had enough garlic scapes to make a double batch, so I hope to find myriad uses for it in the upcoming weeks.
I made some sesame kale to accompany grilled sambal chicken skewers, which were spicy and sweet. Honestly, it was one of the best grilled chicken recipes I have ever made. Chicago only has a limited amount of nice summer days, so the grill is a major part of my summer menus. I also grilled the broccoli and swirled the green garlic pesto into creamy mashed potatoes, both of which were sides for grilled steak.
There were a couple of containers of strawberries in the box, and they inspired me to make cream cheese pie. I love cream cheese pie. It’s easier to make than cheesecake, and it’s tastier—usually because it has more fruit topping. This one, with a thick layer of strawberries on top and a Nilla wafer crust, was extra delicious.
There’s a lot to be excited about in upcoming shares, according to the farmers at Nichols Farm. They informed the shareholders this week that sweet corn is beginning to tassel, which means we’ll be getting corn in the next few weeks!