Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodbye Summer: Garlic Scapes & Grilled Lobsters

Sauteed Garlic Scapes & Mushrooms with Garlic

It hit exactly on September 1st: That first gust of dryish, coldish air that tells you unequivocally that Summer has breathed its last warm breath upon your face and that Autumn is ushering itself in with no qualms at all.  Matt is certain it always happens on Labor Day Weekend in New England.  I can't say one way or the other about the past, but it definitely did this year.  And now some of the trees are turning!  I can't think of one good reason to mow the lawn one last time (maybe the glares from the neighbors should matter more...but they don't :)), and I've started pulling out the pants and sweaters again.  *sigh*

This summer has been filled with so many hectic but beautiful moments.  So much travel around Maine that has already left us nostalgic for what will forever be remembered as "that first summer in Maine," that time when everything was new and exciting and wonderfully beautiful.  Don't you just hate that and yet love it all at the same time?  

Matt felt cruel doing this; I find it infinitely better than the boiling water.
Beaches, lighthouses, moments on the Eastern Promenade, and on our screened-in porch, smoking the sheesha, eating dinner or laughing over a bottle of good wine.  Life is so comfortable here!  I feel so lucky to be back in the US again and to be so happy with my husband and son here in our new home.  Portland.  The land of Ports.  Where people, and moments, and memories come and go.  And come and go.

* * *

Garlic Scape-ing :)
One of my favorite places in Portland, ME is Deering Oaks Park.  Back in 1689 it was the site of a battle between the British, French and Native Americans (who else, right?), but today it's a beautiful wooded park with an amazing splash area, formidable playground, and idyllic pond. Each Saturday morning the Portland Farmer's Market takes place there and in the handful of times I've been, I've always left with an interesting new culinary find and a heart full of hope for America, the family, and warm fuzziness all around.

The last time I went, several months ago back in July - I am ashamed to say -, my mom was visiting and we picked up  an ingredient I'd been hearing about for years but never actually found at a supermarket before: Garlic Scapes.** 
I didn't use them until after she left a day or two later when Matt and I picked up some fresh soft-shell Lobsters from the funny, seasonal little privately-run Lobster shop in a shut-down  gas station on Forest Ave.  
We grilled the lobsters and then I proceeded to cook the scapes two ways: 1) grilled with olive oil and sald and 2) chopped, steamed, then sauteed like green beans with garlic, mushrooms and crushed red pepper.  The latter was definitely the way to go and paired nicely with the grilled lobster.
If you've never had Garlic Scapes, they have the texture of a slightly stringier green bean when chopped.  They are the curly green stem / flower at the top of a garlic bulb.  They have a faintly garlicky flavor and are a wonderful way to use the "whole plant" when growing your own garlic.  Look out for them next summer!  Hopefully it won't take me until next Autumn to post about them again :)

The Lobster Sitter

Making a "Lobster Claw"

**We also tried sunflower sprouts, a microgreen which is essentially a baby sunflower.  It has the crunch of baby watercress but tastes just like a sunflower seed!  What a great addition to a salad those would be :)
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