Side Dish

Blue Cheese and Honey Nectarines

  The colder weather is starting to creep in and before we know it, it will be time to put the grill away.  Before that happens, lets get a few more meals cooked over the coals.  Today’s recipe is a side to go along with your ribs and steaks.
3 nectarines, halved and pitted
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Fresh thyme for garnish
  When preparing your grill, spread your heated coals over one half of the grill, leaving the other half of the grate empty.  Cook your meat over the charcoal and use the empty area for your nectarines.
  Cut your nectarines in half, remove the pit and fill the cavity with blue cheese.  Drizzle with honey and season with pepper.  Place them on the cooler side of the grill and allow the cheese to melt and the exterior to become slightly charred.  Remove from the grill and garnish with thyme leaves.
  There is little in this world that says “summer” to me more than grilled food, and fruit just gets such a fabulous flavor over the coals.  Adding cheese?  Well you know I’m on board there.
  G didn’t want to try his.  G doesn’t want to try anything lately, so that’s not a surprise.  I didn’t really mind, it meant more for me!  Definitely squeeze this in to these last few days before the cold rolls in.  There will be plenty of time for hearty stews and pumpkin soon, savor these last few days of warmth!

Sweet Potato with Goat Cheese and Roasted Grapes

  Today’s recipe is a little hard to categorize.  It really isn’t quite a main dish…but it’s good enough that you could eat just this for dinner.  Your call if you serve it with other food or just gorge.  Either way, I’m not judging.
4 sweet potatoes
2 c red, seedless grapes
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz goat cheese
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Stab your sweet potatoes with a fork and then wrap them in tin foil.  Bake them for around an hour, until they’re nice and soft and then remove them from the tinfoil.  Carefully (look out for steam burns!) cut a slit down the center of the potato and then let them cool until you can handle them.
  While they’re cooling, turn your oven up to 450 degrees.  Toss your grapes with your oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and then place them on a lined baking sheet.  Roast them for around 20 minutes.  They’ll start to explode.  Take them out of the oven and set aside.
  When your potatoes are no longer molten hot, scoop the bulk of the flesh out of the skin (doing your best to not rip through the skin) and mash it in a large bowl with 3 oz of the goat cheese, your cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and honey.  Once everything is combined, place it back into the skins and top with the remaining goat cheese and your roasted grapes.  Drizzle with additional honey if you’d like.
  So heads up parents, 3 year olds think roasted grapes look gross.  They’re incredibly wrong, roasted grapes are delicious, but if your kid is anything like mine, you’re going to have to employ severe levels of bribery to ever get one of those suckers past their lips.  In general, this was not an easy sell to G.  Darn.  Meant I got all his refused leftovers.  The Mr. and I both really liked this.  I felt a little guilty calling it a meal…it’s really pretty sweet and doesn’t exactly have any green leafies or anything, but, eh, I suppose it’s still better than heading out for fast food, right?

Sauteed Garlic Scapes

  I’ve been growing garlic for several years now.  We use a ton of garlic in our cooking and aside from generally preferring to know exactly where our food comes from and what’s been put on it…it’s just nice having one less thing we’ve got to spend money on.  It’s crazy easy to grow, and now that we’re freezing a good portion of it, our haul lasts us almost year round.
  Every year at this time, I do the only thing you need to do between planting and harvesting and cut the scapes off my garlic.  Every year it seems like we’re inordinately busy and instead of trying cooking with them, I plunk them in a vase of water and leave them be, and every year I have one friend who looks at those vases with despair in her eyes and says “you know you can cook them, right?”.
  I finally understand.
  I have quite the haul of scapes, so there are a few recipes I want to try with them (which I’ll share of course), but the first is the quickest, easiest and is to die for delicious.
  I’m not going to bother with measurements…all you need is garlic scapes and butter.
  Honestly, I ought to have cut mine a little earlier.  The earlier you get them, the more tender they are, but, life interferes sometimes, so I just pulled the most tender ones I could find out of the basket.  Snip the long ends off of the end that would flower (they burn really easily otherwise) and toss them into a pan with some melted butter over medium heat.  Be warned, if you just cut them, they’re probably going to spit at you while they cook, but saute them for a good 5-7 minutes anyhow.
  The flavor is incredible.  It’s like garlic toast…without the unnecessary toast carrier.  The texture is somewhere between green beans and celery (with the larger scapes being more stringy like celery or asparagus).  …I kind of want to cry that I let the scapes go to waste these last few years!
  Because this was the first time I was cooking them and I was kind of in a hurry, I didn’t cook as many as I ought to have.  Every single one of them got devoured, and I’ll admit, G had to rather staunchly defend his plate to keep me from stealing some of his.  The garlic bulbs are why we’re growing the plant, but wow…I think these scapes would justify the garden space even if we didn’t get the bulbs later in the season.