Thursday, May 26, 2011

Radish, Sweet Potato, and Garlic Scape Gratin

Well, I graduated, flame-thrower under my robe at the ready if necessary to take down a giant snake, but nobody tried to ascend and it was all relatively uneventful. Now we've started bar review courses (yep, more school), but on the whole, things feel very relaxed these first few weeks of summer.

A couple of weeks ago, the SO and I trekked down to Chattanooga for a friend's wedding. We hiked on Lookout Mountain while we were there and, I am pleased to report, did not get eaten by bears.* We also had a lovely dinner at 212 Market. We shared some delicious fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, and I got the duck breast for dinner, which was appropriately tender, fatty, and indulgent. My only complaint was that the fava beans that went with it were a little dry and the grits a little lumpy. But! Overall, good service and a good place to split a bottle of wine and enjoy someone's company. We also had beers at both Big River Grille (good Maibock and brown ales) and Terminal Brewhouse (we split a sampler. I liked the Maibock here, too, and the pale ale, but was meh about the oatmeal stout).

An assortment of Chattanooga pics:

Ceci n'est pas du bois.

Mer-horse on the Carousel at Coolidge Park.

The Delta Queen riverboat, site of the rehearsal dinner and, otherwise, a floating hotel.

On the cooking front, I am currently harvesting my German Extra Hardy Garlic, but they did scape about three weeks ago, so that was the first harvest. In the past, I have made garlic scape pesto, but this time I actually wanted to cook them in a dish, so I made this bi-seasonal gratin. The radishes say "Hey! Spring is here! Time to lighten up!" and the sweet potatoes say "Remember us? We're the neglected kids of winter, and we need to be saved before we go bad." The scapes gave everything a slightly grassy, garlicky taste without being overwhelming.

Sweets here are from Dodson Farms; the radishes came from Whitton Farms; I grew the scapes.

Radish, Sweet Potato, and Garlic Scape Gratin
1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin
three fat French Breakfast radishes, sliced thin
about 6 or 7 garlic scapes, washed and cut into quarter-inch pieces; reserve two longer pieces and slice lengthwise
1/4 onion, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of grated swiss cheese

Layer the sweet potato and radishes in a shallow baking dish. This made a double layer in my Pyrex that is approximately 6 X 7. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Place the longer sliced scape pieces in the milk. Bring the milk to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees at this point.

While the milk is simmering, melt the butter in a small pan over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until the onion starts to turn brown. Add the rest of the scape pieces and saute until the onions just soften (the scapes will stay pretty crunchy). Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.

Remove the longer scapes from the milk and pour the milk over the layered sweet potatoes and radishes. Top with the onion-scape mixture, then top the whole thing with a handful of cheese.

Bake at least 45 minutes or until the milk is bubbling and a knife slides easily into the sweet potatoes and radishes. I took mine out at 30 minutes and it wasn't enough - the sliced veggies were still too crunchy.

This made dinner for two alongside some quinoa and other assorted light things - cheese and salad, etc. It was perfect for spring and not eating too heavily.

*I am not 100% sure there are bears on Lookout Mountain, but it seems like a legitimate fear.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Parts I and II?

Graduation Day! I hope Ed Stanton (our commencement speaker) doesn't turn into a giant snake, attempt to ascend, and eat half the audience in the process, but I'm prepared to give chase and divert him through the law school and do whatever needs to be done, if need be.*

Fambam's here for the weekend. They got in yesterday and my mom went with me (after hours on the road) to the MFM for the pavilion expansion opening, which was amazing. It's huge and open and airy and will be great for the market. Boscos and Gus's was had later in the day. Will post pictures later.

*no shame for the reference; I know at least two of this blog's four regular readers will get it.