things i like {july 2011}

It often feels like I blink and the weekends are gone. Distant memories before the sun has risen on Monday morning. As we settle in for the week ahead, I thought I'd share some things that haven been on my radar.

For starters, there's that garlic scape pesto you see above. I first fell hard for them last year, and adapted Dorie Greenspan's recipe, the big change being I swapped in pistachios for the walnuts. Pistachios have a lovely sweetness that helps temper the bracing bite of the young garlic. This year I decided to further discipline them with a quick turn on the grill. Wow!

I implore you all to give this a try too, and to keep things really easy, I just tossed it with some hot pasta for a simple, satisfying summer meal. In case you're wondering, it was an even split with the kids—Isabella in the nay camp, and Virginia asking for seconds.


Here's the base recipe. Just grill the garlic scapes until they're slightly charred before making the pesto.

Now onto some more Monday required reading.

  • It's no secret how I feel about factory farming, and we all need to be concerned about why Big Ag wants to keep their secrets under lock and key. Thankfully, the ag-gag law didn't pass last week, but that doesn't mean they won't try again.
  • No more boiling? This review of the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook on The Kitchn from last year caught my attention for the secret tip about using a 250ºF oven to seal jars of jam, instead of the traditional method using pots of boiling water. I don't have the book, and would love to hear thoughts from anyone who has tried this method.
  • I've been on a crumble making craze, and rhubarb is a favortite of mine to pair with berries. If I can tear myself away for a moment, these rhurbarb-based drinks from Cheryl Arkison in the Calgary Herald sound lovely.

Be back in a few days with my recipe for quick homemade mayonnaise.  I suspect it will come in handy with all the barbecues and picnics this time of year.


  • Robin (Hippo Flambe)

    I have never sealed my jars in the oven because it is risky. This is just a variation on ladling jam into the jars and putting on the lid, sometimes followed with turning the jars upside down. The jars will seal because of the heat of the jam, BUT the air will not be forced out and the product and jars will not be sterilized.
    The risk you run is losing the contents to mold. As jam is high in acid botulism should not be a problem. After spending all that time cooking my jam, I don’t want to risk having to throw it out because of mold. (If the jam molds there is a risk of botulism as the mold will change the ph of the jam).

  • merry jennifer

    I’m intrigued by the Blue Chair Jam oven tip. I don’t have a full canning set up, so I can only do about 6 jars at a time. This would be so much easier. I read the comment above from Robin, but I think I’d like more info on the subject.

  • Mia

    I would never seal my jars in the oven simply because of the risk you run. Although I am curious as to the recipes since I am always on the look out for new recipes.
    Those rhubarb drink recipes are nice to see. I just pickled some rhubarb and I canned the extra syrup and was wondering what to make out of it. Now I have some ideas.

  • Cheryl Arkison

    Thanks Jennie!
    Our first CSA pick-up is this week. New farmer this year and he is a garlic master. I’m hoping we get scapes and I will be making this pesto!

  • Aggie

    I still am craving this scape pesto you speak of. And I too am loving Amy’s all year vacation mindset idea. 🙂