Renae here with an other weather-inappropriate recipe. Actually, that’s not true. Although a nice hot bowl of soup is probably not the most tempting-sounding dish when it’s 100-freaking-degrees out, based on its ingredients – garlic scapes, fresh garlic, new potatoes – this soup is kind of late-spring-to-the-max. One year it’s impossible to find garlic scapes anywhere but the Korean grocery store (where they go by the name “garlic stems”), the next, all the farmers have them at the market, for week after week!
Garlic Scape Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bunch garlic scapes, chopped
1 lb new potatoes, chopped
6 cups vegan broth or water + bouillon
1 Tbsp soy sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional toppings: drizzle of a flavored oil you like, thinly sliced scallions, vegan cheese shreds, vegan bacon bits, croutons, fried onions or scallions, fresh herbs
My farmers market had fresh garlic – normal cloves of garlic that hadn’t yet been dried – which is what I used. It doesn’t keep as long as your standard dried head of garlic, but it’s an interesting change of pace. I can’t decide if it tastes more or less pungent than the freshest dried garlic, although it’s definitely more flavorful than garlic that has been around too long. It really just seems to taste “fresher” (some help I am, right?). The big difference is just that instead of peeling off thin, dry, papery layers to get to each clove, you peel off thicker, wetter layers until you get to the point you can squeeze each bulb out. You can use whatever kind of garlic strikes your fancy, however.
Heat some oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, then add the minced or pressed garlic and the garlic scapes and cook for another minute or two. If necessary and desired, you can deglaze the pot with a bit of white wine. Then add the potatoes, broth, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Puree with an immersion blender. (Or let it cool a bit and puree in small batches in a regular blender. I, however, don’t trust hot liquids in blenders.) Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If desired, top with some stuff. Pictured are Daiya cheddar “cheese” shreds, scallions, and vegan bacon bits.
Most of you probably can’t tell because I’ve never put nearly the amount of effort I should be into taking my food pictures, but today’s food pictures are even lower quality than usual. That’s because I took them at work with my phone. I devoured the soup too quickly when I made it for dinner Tuesday night to take a picture, so I took a picture of the leftovers when I had them for lunch at work today. The sad thing is I had my real camera with me – it generally goes wherever I go – but when I went to take the picture, I realized I’d left the battery in the charger at home. AND I’d left all the spare batteries in my other camera bag.
I’ll use this as an opportunity to proselytize about taking time out for lunch at work, though. I know you aren’t supposed to eat at your desk because it’s good to get up, get out, and enjoy a change of scenery somewhere you can’t be tempted to do work while you eat, but we’re a fairly small business without a cafeteria or other appropriate eating place. I could have gone outside, but did I mention it’s 100 degrees outside? Lugging a bowl of hot soup down 8 flights of stairs to eat it under the blazing sun just didn’t seem practical. There is a small table in the kitchen, but eating there just invites everyone who uses the kitchen to talk to you and I don’t like talking to people during my lunch. I like eating my lunch during my lunch. And reading books. So I do eat at my desk, but I log out of the computer, stick my nose in a book, and glare at anyone that happens to drop by to ask me something until they back off and agree to come back later. And I’m a huge fan of making my lunches as nice as I can as a little treat for myself. I usually eat leftovers, so sometimes my lunch is just not that pretty, but I try to dress them up when I can. Today right after lunch I had to do a demo for an application I wrote and I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE public speaking. However, having a pleasant lunch with a nicely-topped bowl of soup (and, importantly, reading a book instead of freaking out) right before the demo chilled me out and guess what? I didn’t even have one of my usual public-speaking dry-throat choking spells!
In photography news, the other week I went to Red Rock Wilderness Overlook for the first time. I knew it was a small park but I was thinking maybe because it isn’t very popular, I’d run into more wildlife. I also thought it would have nice views of the Potomac. Unfortunately, I’ve been spoiled by the Potomac view at Great Falls so my expectations were set way too high. It was an easy fraction of a mile to the overlook, but all it overlooked was a very still, very brown, rather boring Potomac, partially obscured by a tall fence with lots of “NO ENTRY BEYOND THIS POINT” signs. No rushing falls, no rapids, no interesting rocks, no hawks flying overhead. No crowds of people, sure (mine was the only car in the parking lot), but also no signs of wildlife other than a squirrel or two.
It was kind of boring. What there were, however, were a few agreeable damselflies, who make much better photography sitters than dragonflies. The full size versions of these are much better so I’ve made these two pictures clickable if you are interested.
A slightly different variety. Their face are like robots! They’re fascinating. In real life, this damselfly was about an inch and a half from end to end. They are very tiny; these macro shots exaggerate their size. I think that’s why their little robot faces are so amazing to me – they are little bigger than the head of a pin.
Other than friendly damselflies, the one interesting thing about Red Rock is the ruins that surround the parking lot. They were part of the farm that used to be there 150 years ago. What I assume is the original farmhouse is also still there but it’s not in ruins and in fact is inhabited and private property. So you sort of have to walk through these people’s back yard to get to the trails.
This, I think, was the well house.
One room of the two-room granary:
Outside of the two-room granary:
The ice house is located away from the other ruins and is instead behind the farmhouse.
There was a man working in his garden behind the farmhouse while I was there, which made me feel a little tresspass-y, even though I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel so weird I was unable to grab a picture of his house because I love old houses.