Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash

by Amanda Paa on July 6, 2014

Grilled Summer Squash & Garlic Scapes | heartbeet kitchenI hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July and are relaxing a little bit before heading back to the grind tomorrow. I wanted to pop in with this quick post because the time to enjoy garlic scapes and young, tender summer squash does not last long!

With Smitten with Squash’s release so close, I’d been dreaming of remaking many of the recipes since turning in the manuscript. And finally, finally I spotted the tiny yellow and green gems nestled into baskets at the market last weekend.

Naturally you might think I’d had my fill of squash after eating it every imaginable for way for nearly a year, but that just isn’t the case when you’re smitten with this Cucurbita family. Even after 80 tried and tested recipes, I still find myself thinking of different ideas. Although not in the book, these Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash rock my world. grilled summer squash and garlic scapes | heartbeet kitchenThis dish isn’t really a recipe, its more about keeping things simple and natural, allowing these two beautiful vegetables to shine at their peak. Twisty, twirly garlic scapes are available for a very short time because they’re one of the stages that garlic goes through before it ends up as papery, potent cloves. The bulb and roots grow underground while a stem, leaves and scapes soak up the sunshine above. They taste like garlicky scallions – mild and perfect for grilling or whirling into a pesto.

Grilled Summer Squash & Garlic Scapes | heartbeet kitchenAnd baby summer squash and zucchini – ugghh, they’re such a treat. The ones I used here were about 5 to 6 inches in length, which makes them perfect for cutting into quarters like dill pickle spears. I even like eating them raw because they’re so fresh and crunchy, as close to a cucumber as you’ll get.

At this stage they’ve got fewer seeds and less water content than when they’re full grown, which means you can get a nice crispy char from the grill. I find that people tend to overcook vegetables on the grill, so watch them and test so they’re just tender and still retain their shape.

Dressed simply with olive oil, sea salt & pepper, this easy July splendor is one you shouldn’t wait to try.

Oh, and if you happen to be around these parts, my FIRST book signing will be at Solo Vino Wines in St. Paul on Friday, July 25th. Because why wouldn’t I combine my two favorite things?

And if you can’t make it there, I will also be at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on August 9th for a book signing & demo. It’d be wonderful to see a few of your beautiful faces!

Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini & summer squash, ideally 5-6 inches in length
2 small bunches of garlic scapes
2 tablespoons olive oil
high quality sea salt & pepper

Slice off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise, then cut them in half lengthwise again. They should look like pickle spears. Place them all in a large bowl and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put the zucchini & squash in a grill basket or grill grid. (If you don’t have either, put them in foil and lightly seal. They won’t get quite the char on them, but they will still be tasty.)

Wash and dry the scapes. Break off the harder ends (as you would like asparagus) and leave whole. Using your hands, smear about 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the scapes and sprinkle with salt.

Prepare your grill to medium to heat. Toss scapes directly on the grill and remove them when they’re soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, a lighter shade of green and golden brown in parts. At the same time, place the basket on the grill and cook vegetables on all sides until tender (but not mushy) and slightly charred.  Remove from grill, taste and add salt & pepper as needed. Serve as is or with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, crushed pine nuts or chopped olives.

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Wordless Wednesday

by Amanda Paa on July 2, 2014

Smitten with Squash

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Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons

by Amanda Paa on June 30, 2014

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsWith my new cross-city commute each day, hour long traffic jams that evoke a bit of rage are unfortunately the norm.  Not that I didn’t know that was going to happen when I accepted the job, but it stings a little when you’re in the midst of it. Hands tightly gripped to the steering wheel, I’m usually thinking about the fun I could be having in the kitchen. But alas, life changes and ironically, it spurs new inspiration, like quicker, yet just as satisfying meals like this Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons.

Although it looks quite fancified, this colorful beauty takes a mere 8 minutes to make – yes, I timed it. It would have been a 10 minute situation, but I went a little Sandra Lee “semi homemade” and drizzled it with my favorite store-bought dressing, Whole Foods Fig Balsamic.

The contrast of the indigo blueberries, peachy cantaloupe, grassy green spinach and bright white feta is pure mother nature, painting the prettiest picture for the eyes too see.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsBut what I’m really head over heels about is the granola crouton crunch. It’s such an easy and delicious solution to gluten-free croutons! In essence it’s similar to topping a salad with something fruity and nutty, like cashews and dried cherries.

It hits you when you take that perfect bite – your teeth sink into the plump berries and soft cantaloupe, the salty feta and punchy vinaigrette sneak in, then you finish with the crunchy, sweet and savory granola.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsThe team from Purely Elizabeth was kind enough to send me a few packages of their Ancient Grain Granola earlier this year and I was hooked once I swirled it into creamy greek yogurt. There are plenty of great granola options out there, but what I love about Purely Elizabeth is that it’s made from a myriad of good-for-you, natural and gluten free ingredients.

Summer Breeze Salad with Purely Elizabeth Granola CroutonsQuinoa, chia & sunflower seeds, amaranth, whole grain oats, and coconut oil – which means complete proteins, vitamins, omega 3′s fiber and antioxidants all make their way into your body. All pure, all natural, sweetened only with coconut sugar and cinnamon.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsAnd guess what? Their granolas are now available at all Target stores making it simple for you to make this easy, breezy beautiful plate of yum. To celebrate, Purely Elizabeth is giving one Heartbeet Kitchen reader packages of their Original, Cranberry Pecan and Pumpkin Fig flavors! To enter the giveaway, use the rafflecopter below – contest will end Sunday, July 8th at 11:59pm eastern and one random winner will be chosen (eligible for US residents only). Good luck and have a great week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons

serves 4
Don’t just reserve this tasty dish for lunch or dinner – it makes an excellent breakfast salad as well. Feel free to use whatever dressing you like, but I found the acidity of the balsamic vinaigrette really brought everything together.

5 ounces baby spinach
1 1/4 cups blueberries
1 1/4 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar dressing
1/2 cup granola

Arrange spinach on a large platter or individual plates. Add blueberries, cantaloupe and feta on top. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with granola. Leftovers will last two days in refrigerator.

*Purely Elizabeth graciously gave me samples of their products to develop this recipe and are sponsoring this giveaway, but opinions are 100% my own. It’s fun to show you products that I love using in my kitchen!

8 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Main Dish, Recipe Box, Salad, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Date, Pecan and Lavender Scones

by Amanda Paa on June 16, 2014

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}Although this weekend was quite a wet one, it surely didn’t rain on my parade. There’s a solitude that comes with rainy day naps and comfort baking, one that I gladly welcome. I made these Date, Pecan & Lavender Scones as the pitter-patter of the big drops replaced the music I normally cook to. The cool breeze from a cracked window carried their barely sweet, lavender and rosemary aroma and down the hallway.

lavender, pecan and date sconesScones are tricky to master, especially when you add gluten-free to the requirements. I’ve tried several times, trying to balance the qualities that make a scone a scone – flaky, not too dense, and flavorful without being too sweet. They’ve always tasted good, but a little on the crumbly side and too thick. But thanks to this technique taught by the lovely Sarah from the Vanilla Bean Blog, these scones were finally what I’ve been looking for.

If you haven’t visited Sarah’s blog, do yourself a favor and hop on over. Her writing is among the best, her photography skills are brilliant and her recipes inspiring, the kind that make you want to get up and start baking a cake as soon as you’re done reading the post. In fact, the lavender extract (p.s.- how cool is The Hatchery?!) I used in these scones landed in my hands at a recent party to celebrate Sarah winning the award for Saveur’s Best Baking Blog. I couldn’t be happier for such a humble person.

pure lavender extract | the hatchery

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}But back to the key to these beautiful scones. It comes down to the grated frozen butter and a rolling/turning of the dough, creating the most perfect texture you could ever imagine. You can even see the layers of flakiness that bakes up around the dates and pecans. I’m not sure why I haven’t put those two together before. They’re really a wonderful balance between sweet and nutty, especially with the herbal tones of rosemary and lavender floating in the background.

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}Enjoy the week ahead and if you’re subject to a rainy day, I highly recommend filling the house with the aroma of these scones. And on another note, if you can’t find lavender for photos, lilacs are a good stand in too. ♡

Gluten-Free Date, Pecan and Lavender Scones

makes 8 scones
adapted from Sarah’s recipe & technique shown here, with excellent step-by-step photos

270 grams Cup4Cup gluten-free flour, a scant two cups (or your favorite all purpose gf flour)
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar + additional for sprinkling tops
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream + 2 tablespoons for brushing tops
1 teaspoon pure lavender extract (or vanilla)
1 egg

Position a rack in the center of the oven and the preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, heavy cream, lavender and egg. Grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box cutter and add it to the flour mixture. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly coated. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with flour. Knead the dough 6 to 8 times, until it resembles a ragged ball (add more flour if it is sticking too much).

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold the dough in thirds (a business letter fold). Lift the short ends of the dough and fold into thirds again, making a 4 inch square. Transfer dough to a baking sheet or plate dusted with flour, and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Bring the chilled dough back to your well-floured surface, and roll into a 12 inch square again. Sprinkle the dates and pecans over the dough, then press them down gently into the dough. Using a bench scraper or the flat side of the knife, loosen the dough from the surface, and roll it into a cylinder (roll it like a jelly-roll log to help incorporate the dates and pecans). Roll the cylinder so it is seam side down, and then press into a 12 by 4 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a little heavy cream and sprinkle them generously with sugar. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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rhubarb rosé sauce with grilled basil pork tenderloin | heartbeet kitchenWith the abundance of rhubarb I have growing in my backyard, I vowed to use it in more savory applications this year. If you’re new to rhubarb, making a berrylicious cake or oozing crumble pie is a great introduction, but eventually you’ll begin to appreciate its tartness. I can still remember the first time I picked rhubarb from my great-grandmother’s farm, thinking it would be just as sweet as the strawberries she had growing next to it. One bite in and the pucker power hit me, my mouth salivating like I had just eaten one of those sourballs that were so popular at the time.

But that vegetable that parades around like a fruit grew on me, starting with strawberry rhubarb jam. Now I can’t get enough of it, even stockpiling it in the freezer to utilize throughout the winter.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchenThe inspiration for this Grilled Basil Pork and Rhubarb Rosé Sauce actually came from a picture I stumbled on of my mom and I a few years back at the Minnesota State Fair. Always one of my favorite events, I remembered her and I people watching on a bench as we ate hot, fresh-cut french fries and the best roasted turkey sandwich (mine w/out the bun) from the Turkey-to-Go Stand.

It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but it had this tart, savory cranberry sauce that had hints of cardamom and cinnamon that complimented the rotisserie style meat just perfectly.

Rhubarb is definitely more vegetal in flavor, however it has that same tart, yet can be tamed, profile of cranberries. So I set out to make a similar sauce by simmering the slender pink stalks with matching dry rosé wine, cardamom, cinnamon and a touch of honey. A little green onion and black pepper to balance its pucker, and the wine (if you know me, you know there’s always a bottle of rosé in the fridge) to give it the acidity that all good sauces need.

rhubarb rosé sauce with grilled basil pork tenderloin | heartbeet kitchenWhat resulted was one of my favorite sauces I’ve made to date. In fact, I think the simple basil and garlic pork tenderloin that I grilled felt like a queen getting such special treatment. The light sourness was splendid with the meat, and I love the little crunch that comes from the herbed crust.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchenSalty, sweet, tangy and pretty, this recipe is a winner. Now go fire up that grill!

Basil Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Rosé Sauce

serves 2

1 pound pork tenderloin
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
7 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon if you are using table salt)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce (can be made two days ahead of time):
8 ounces of rhubarb, about 2 cups chopped
1/3 cup dry rose wine (or a dry white wine)
3 tablespoons honey (or more depending on how sweet you would like it)
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt & pepper
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick, broke in half

To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes until rhubarb has broken down and sauce has began to thicken. Remove from heat and take out the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Carefully pour into a blender and blend on low until mostly smooth. Return to saucepan and simmer for another 15 minutes to thicken and reduce it even more until it is saucelike. Taste and add more honey if you prefer. If making ahead, let cool and store in glass jar in refrigerator.

To make the pork: Combine basil, garlic, salt and pepper to form a coarse paste. Rub pork with olive oil, then massage paste all over the meat. Let sit for 40 minutes, covered, at room temperature. After 30 minutes, preheat your grill to high, making sure it gets to about 5oo degrees for the initial sear.

When pork is done marinating, place it on the grill and turn grill down to medium-high heat. Then cook for about 8 minutes per side, until it reaches 140 degrees at its thickest part. Remove from grill and let rest for 8-10 minutes. The resting stage is very important because the residual heat in the pork will further cook it to approximately 160 degrees F, and the juices will be allowed to redistribute. Slice the pork and serve with rhubarb sauce.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchen

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