GARLIC SOUP – Sopa de Ajo

from Cooking the Cuban Way by Alison Behnke and Victor Manuel Valens

serves 4 – This recipe takes about 20 minutes to make.

Here is a good way to use that tidal wave of garlic that’s arrived in your box

2 tbs. olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 slices of stale bread, cubed
4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth if you prefer If you choose to use vegetable broth, do not add the egg. This is a lower fat dish.
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. salt
1 egg

In a sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add crushed garlic and bread cubes. Saute 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is golden but do nut burn it.
Remove the bread and garlic to a small bowl. Using a fork or a wooden spoon, mash garlic and bread together. Return to the sauce pan and add the broth, bay leaf, and salt. Stir well. Turn heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, beat egg well. Stir into soup and serve immediately, piping hot.

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup (or less) freshly grated Parmesan or other sharp Italian cheese
1 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, to taste
1/4 pound roughly chopped scapes
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Puree scapes, olive oil, and juice in a blender or food processor until nearly smooth. (You can make a smooth paste, but most people like a little textture in the pesto.) Stir in or gently pulse the cheese and then adjust juice and salt to taste.

Serve the garlic scape pesto on crackers, on sliced mushrooms as an hors d’oeuvre, in celery sticks, mixed in with mashed potatoes, as a vegetable dip, smeared on a sandwich as a condiment, under the cheese on a pizza, between layers of lasagne, mixed in with breadcrumbs or rice and sausage for stuffing a pepper or tomato or big portobello mushroom, as a garnish dolloped onto a bowl of soup, scrambled with the morning eggs…in short, nearly any way you can imagine. Apart from dessert.
Scape pesto freezes well, and it holds its appealing green color even better than the traditional basil pesto.

Variations: Include walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, cashews or other nuts and/or basil or parsley to the scapes in the blending step. Adjusting the ratio of scapes to cheese, nuts, juice, and salt changes the balance of garlicky flavor and heat. Use the balance that pleases the palates of your family members or guests, or that suits your mood of the moment. Try different cheeses for different flavors: Parmesan, pecorino romano, asiago, for example; be sure to sample before salting, as some cheeses have more salt than others.

Garlic Scape and Almond Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle). Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil. Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.

Any-Herb Pesto

Ingredients: Salt
2 1/2 loosely packed cups fresh basil, parsley, mint, chives, dill, cilantro, or any combination
(Note: If you want to use stronger herbs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, or oregano, limit yourself to a tablespoon per batch and make up the bulk with parsley, basil, dill, or another less-intense herb.)
1 small garlic clove, or to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts or roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the herbs with a pinch of salt, the garlic, nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually. At this point, the pesto can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to several months. Wait to add the cheese until after you have defrosted the pesto, or add it to the food processor or blender to taste.

And to quick ways to fix cabbage (besides your 4th of July coleslaw)

Roast Garlic

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel off some of the papery wrapper until you can see the individual cloves–no need to take the head apart. Cut off the top of the garlic so that you can see the exposed cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes, until the garlic is soft. The cloves will pop right out when they’re done; they go great spread on bread with olive oil or salt or added to other roasted veggies.

Or, for a slightly faster method–Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Break the heads apart into cloves but don’t peel them. Spread them out on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake, shaking the pan occaisionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.