Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book Reviews

Vegan Cook's Bible
As you know, this book has just won GOLD in the first, annual Living Now Book Awards. Here are a couple of reviews for this book, now available at Amazon and independent book sellers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's SCAPE Time!

The Scapes are Ready
Most professional garlic growers have taken off those long, goose-necked green seedheads by now, or they will do so very soon. Scapes are generally removed on or close to the longest day of the year (summer solstice), in order to let the plant concentrate on the business of growing fabulous garlic bulbs all summer.
All this labor-intensive activity means that chefs and home cooks are overwhelmed in their kitchens with the bounty of these fresh and tender vegetables because there are literally tons of them coming off the garlic being grown for market here in Ontario.
Like asparagus, fiddleheads and fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, scapes are around for such a brief window of time that I tend to use them in everything and I like to develop at least one new recipe every year. I always freeze scapes because they are so easy to keep that way: no blanching required. Simply cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces, or chop fine, measure into 1- or 2-cup amounts and pop into freezer bags, seal, label and freeze for use later in soups, casseroles and stews.
This year, I developed a Garlic Scape Pesto using some of the organic scapes so graciously given to me by Simon deBoer.

Garlic Scape Pesto
Wash scapes in cool water, drain and pat dry. Snip off the seedhead and tougher tips. You can eat the seedhead if it is very small and still tender. Cut the long stems into shorter lengths to fit the bowl of the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until coarsely chopped. See photo above.
Add 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts to the bowl of the food processor. [Any milder nut such as blanched almonds or pecans can be used in this mild-flavored pesto. I like to use sunflower seeds in my pestos because they are grown locally and do not go rancid as quickly as pine nuts.]
Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Parmesan or Romano cheese to the bowl of the food processor.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp freshly grated sea salt over, less or none if the sunflower seeds are salted
Measure out 1 cup of the best quality hemp or hazelnut or olive oil. Cover the bowl with the lid and turn the food processor on. Slowly drizzle the oil through the opening in the lid while the motor is running and keep adding oil until the pesto is the consistency you like.
Depending on how I will use the pesto, I add more or less oil. For example, for the Garlic Scape Potatoes above, I wanted a slightly thinner sauce and so I added more oil. For a dip or spread for bruschetta, I would want a thicker consistency and so would add less oil. Play around with the right balance for you.
Wait! What's MISSING?
Garlic, of course. The green garlic scapes have a deliciously mild garlic flavor combined with a slightly nutty, almost asparagus taste. I don't add cloves of garlic to this pesto, but you might want to. Taste first and then decide. In the same way, you can add other green herbs like basil, sage, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. I would recommend adding a handful of any single or combination of herbs to the pesto, chop with the scapes, add the other ingredients and then taste to see if you need more.

Green Garlic Pesto Potatoes
1 lb small or fingerling potatoes
1/4 to 1/2 cup Green Garlic Pesto

On a rimmed baking sheet, combine potatoes and Green Garlic Pesto. Roast in 375° F oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tender.

Friday, June 26, 2009

YAY! Thanks to all who entered the 'Name that Herb' contest. It was a riddle in a riddle. The last post was, of course, parsley. And CONGRATS to all who knew that pitcher of green was parsley. But the combination of 4 of the past herbs was "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme..." and congrats to Elle- who WINS the Deen Family Cookbook!

The garden is growing, so stay tuned to more chances to WIN as you Name THAT Herb!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Vegetarian Cook's Bible wins Gold
The first annual Living Now Book Awards has awarded my Vegetarian Cook's Bible the GOLD MEDAL in the Cooking/Natural (Organic, Vegetarian, etc) category:

4. Cooking/Natural (Organic, Vegetarian, etc.)
The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible, by Pat Crocker (Robert Rose)
Silver: Ten Talents: Natural Foods - A Diet from the Garden of Eden, by Rosalie Hurd, BS & Frank J. Hurd, DC, MD (Hurd Pictorial Edition)
Bronze (tie): A Good Catch: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from Canada’s Top Chefs, by Jill Lambert (Greystone) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw, by Mark Reinfeld, Bo Rinaldi, and Jennifer Murray (Alpha Books/Penguin Group)

Thanks go to the whole team at Robert Rose publishing. Their health and healthy cookbooks are outstanding.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The Gertrude B. Foster Award
It was with profound joy that I met new and longtime friends in Grand Rapids last week for the annual Herb Society of America Conference.
..And where I received the Gertrude B. Foster Award for Excellence in Herbal Literature. Thank you to my Herbal Friends-


The Gertrude Bates Foster Award is intended to encourage the dissemination of accurate herbal information and to recognize outstanding researchers, educators, and authors who exhibit exceptional scholarship in a published non-fiction book, which serves to inspire the “use and delight” of herbs. This award, established and funded in 1998 by the Connecticut Unit, honors Bunny (as she was known) and herpioneering role in the renaissance of herbal interest. She was known and respected in this country and abroad for her extensive contributions to the knowledge and interest in herbs and horticulture and for her generosity in sharing plant material, research, lecturing, and editorial leadership.

Selection of this recipient is done with the botany and horticulture chair, the communications chair, and the curator of The National Herb Garden serving in an advisory role.  


All photographs and recipes are original and copyrighted to Pat Crocker. Pat invites you to use her recipes and share with family and friends. Please contact Pat Crocker for express permission for commercial, internet, or other use of her photographs and recipes.