I appreciate rainy days just as much as sunny ones. I love the way the rain makes the Earth smell sweet, and the soft beats it leaves on my back porch. The way it relaxes my mind and body and heart. I’m even starting to embrace the vicious thunder and lightning storms here in Missouri. Really, they are wicked. The days when it pours endlessly, those are my favorite. They give me a reason to stay inside and work all day and all night if I want to without feeling guilty about it. And they lend permission to Bravo-marathoning-it in my pajamas, and baking cupcakes and eating them for dinner.
But too much rain, too much of anything is not good. And the rain in St. Louis has been relentless. Today was the first day in I think seven or eight days that it didn’t rain, at all. And it felt pretty wonderful. I wandered out to the garden after the sun rose. Early mornings here in the Midwest are my favorite – before the sun gets too hot and the humidity is still thin. Mostly all of my plants have loved all this rain, thriving because of it. There were six casualties though. The bean plants did not make it, and I think I’ll probably plant some more and see what happens.
This garden has taught me a lot, mostly that gardening is an acquired skill and I have a lot to learn. And also it’s brought this person out inside of me that I never knew existed. It’s actually quite an amazing thing that’s happened. I used to be a catch-and-release kind of girl. Like trap bugs and spiders in mason jars and release them back outside, couldn’t stand to kill the smallest pest. Now I’m hissing at squirrels, cursing at rabbits and squashing green caterpillars beneath my feet. I don’t know who I am anymore, but I’ll pretty much do anything to protect my garden babies.
I talk a lot about my experience living in the city. Some days I love it here and some days I hate it here. But most days I’m perfectly content – in my humble 800 square feet abode, 5 floors up with no outdoor space at all except a platform on a fire escape, which I’m fairly certain I shouldn’t even be standing casually on. But we’re talking about garlic scapes you guys.
My dad gave me a little camping apparatus from like 1987 that he found when he was cleaning out his basement last summer. It’s weird, but we use it. About three times a summer Chris sets this bad boy up for me. For obvious reasons it’s a little complicated, a tight squeeze in the hot sun many feet up in the air. The set-up, the clean-up, the holy shit don’t look down you probably are about to fall – it’s all worth it. And we do it all for the sake of the grilled garlic scape.
As Chris prepped the grill for me, I sat comfortably in my air-conditioned apartment, giddy like the little vegetable obsessor I am – reading Kimberley Hasselbrink’s new book, Vibrant Food. Everything I love about eating, about cooking, about living, she sums up perfectly in this book of beautiful brilliance.
After a nice little sit down with Vibrant Food my thoughts were certainly confirmed. Garlic scapes have no business being in pesto. I know, I get it, that stuff is super tasty, but you can achieve a garlicky taste by just using garlic. I mean, right? Since garlic scape season is incredibly short, shouldn’t we revel in their wonder? The stalks alone are perfection, and we should honor.
I got these scapes in my CSA box and this weekend I’m hoping to stock up on more at my farmers’ market. This time of year I cannot get enough. And there’s so much more to garlic scapes than pesto, hummus or compound butter. There’s something so magical about them simply grilled and seasoned with a high quality sea salt, you will stun your dinner guests, I promise.