Well, I didn’t end up in Richmond this weekend, so no yummy Ethiopian outings or fancy beer runs happened, but I did manage to fill up my weekend quite completely with Roanoke’s Festival in the Park (no, no country music listening occurred on my part), hiking up Mill Mountain (my favorite “urban” hike here), cheering on my friends in Mountains of Misery, drinking delicious margaritas in the rain on the patio of Cabo’s in Blacksburg, and watching The Brothers Bloom (new favorite movie–as my friend said, “It’s terminally cute”) at a friend’s cook-out/movie night on Monday. Whew.

At the beginning of the weekend, though, was my weekly farmers market run and while I didn’t go too crazy buying up new ingredients, my finds of the week were a quart of fresh, local strawberries (totally worth the $6), a pint of shitake mushrooms, and a small bunch of these wild, twisty, giant chive looking things called “garlic scapes.” Now the strawberries and mushrooms I could take care of, but garlic scapes top the list of “nope never had ’em, have no idea what to do with them.”

The internet, thankfully, exists and informed me that garlic scapes are merely the plant part that grows out of the garlic, the leaves, if you will. Pretty benign, no? But what to do with them? Again, the internet conquers all and informed me that Dorie posted a recipe last summer for garlic scape pesto–delicious!

So I made my own vegan version with what I had on hand and let me tell you, dear readers, garlic scape pesto is to die for. I mean, don’t make it on a first or fifth date, unless both of you are eating copious amounts because wow, it’s potently garlic, but scapes give the pesto a spicy bite with the garlic and an earthy undertone. Without any basil it does seem like a wannabe pesto, but if this is what wannabes are, I wanna eat it. Toss it with pasta and veggies (I simply sauteed onions, sliced carrots, shitakes, and kale and tossed them with the pesto with whole wheat spaghetti), serve it as a spread on fresh baguette–do whatever with it you would normally do with pesto. It’s a great early summer substitute for the basil harvest we’ll be getting soon!

Garlic Scape Pesto

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
1/3 c cashews
approx. 1/2 c olive oil
Sea salt

Put the scapes, capers, cashews, and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if needed to thin the texture. Season with salt.

Makes approx. 1 cup.