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Everything you need to know about those curly stalks that show up at your local farmers market—or in your CSA haul. By Nelson Billington
'Tis the season for scapes. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

On a recent morning at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market, garlic scapes filled a wooden crate from Twin Springs Fruit Farm. Don’t know them? They’re the long, flowerless stalks that twist and curl from a bulb of garlic. Farmers often remove the scapes early on in the growing cycle, since leaving them intact stints the plant's growth. But scapes have an appeal all their own, with a garlicky bite that’s toned down by a sweet aftertaste. Here's what you need to know:

Growing season: June.

Where to find them:

The Farm at Our House - Crystal City (Tuesday) and Silver Spring (Saturday).

Twin Springs Fruit Farm - Dupont Circle (Sunday), Bethesda (Sunday), and Mosaic (Sunday).

Three Springs Fruit Farm - Silver Spring (Saturday) and Columbia Heights (Wednesday and Saturday).

Full Cellar Farm - CityCenterDC (Tuesday) and H St. NE (Saturday).

Waterpenny Farm - Takoma Park (Sunday) and Arlington (Saturday).

Garner's Produce - Penn Quarter (Thursday).

Bigg Rigg's Farm - White House (Thursday) and Crystal City (Tuesday).

What to do with scapes:

Roast them!

Equinox chef/owner Todd Gray suggests placing the scapes in a hot pan with olive oil and pan-roasting them for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Add ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, ½ cup of peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, then finish with ½ teaspoon of fresh oregano. Serve with grilled country bread.

Sautée them!

Chef Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern loves the texture of the scapes. He advises blanching them and shocking them before sautéeing in a mixture of grapeseed and olive oils. They work nicely as a side to softshell crabs.

Pickle them!

At Mediterranean restaurant Iron Gate, chef Anthony Chittum pickles scapes with plenty of dill. In a large pot, combine the following ingredients and bring them to a boil: 3 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns, 1½ teaspoons pickling salt, ¾ cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup champagne vinegar, 1 cup water, and ¼ cup sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, pour the mixture into a large bowl or container and place it in an ice bath. Slice 1 pound of scapes into 4-inch sticks and steam them for 2 minutes so they are still very sturdy, but slightly cooked. Arrange them as tightly as possible into sterilized mason jars. Mix ¼ cup of roughly chopped dill with the cooled pickling liquid and pour over the scapes so they are completely submerged. Put the lids on the jars and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 days before using.

Posted at 02:01 PM/ET, 06/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Retailing this weekend? Here’s where to get a frozen margarita flavored with sangria. By Jessica Voelker
Fajitas from Mi Cocina, a new chain restaurant now open in Chevy Chase. Photograph courtesy of Mi Cocina via Facebook.

Most of us head to Friendship Heights for high-end and discount retail adventures, but the area, home to Sushiko, Indique Heights, and Lia’s, has recently attracted a few more good dining options. Bryan Voltaggio’s Range jumps to mind—he’ll open a second location of Lunchbox there soon, too. And on May 10, Chevy Chasers can start ordering margaritas and tamales at Mi Cocina, a Dallas export specializing in Tex-Mex cuisine.

The new restaurant at the Collection (5471 Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest) has a modern, fairly sparse design with potted cacti, massive, modern chandeliers, and some large canvas paintings of desert flowers by artist Luis Sottil. There’s a stone patio off to the side and a pretty glass-walled private dining area that seats 25 people.

This is the 22nd restaurant for the Dallas-based chain, which debuted in 1991. The menu doesn’t reinvent any wheels—you’ll find enchiladas, nachos, tacos, and tamales, and nearly everything is under $20. There’s no happy hour, but drink prices are relatively low for Washington—signature cocktails include a frozen margarita-sangria mashup called the Mambo Taxi. The Mambo Limousine adds Chambord to the slushie and costs $10. Mi Cocina also caters.

Mi Cocina. 5471 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite F-1; 301-652-1195 Open Sunday through Thursday 11 to 10 and Friday and Saturday 11 to 11.

Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 05/10/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
A locavore’s shopping paradise debuts in Dupont. By Anna Spiegel
Glen’s Garden Market, opening in Dupont, stocks products from Chesapeake Bay Watershed states. Photographs by Andrew Propp.

Many grocery stores mark their debut with a corporate ribbon-cutting, but when Glen’s Garden Market unlocks its doors this Sunday it will celebrate by popping a few Port City beers. Owner Danielle Vogel has created a 10,000-square-foot emporium devoted to all things tasty from the six states within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York—as well as the District. Vogel hand-picked each item on offer, with an emphasis on environmentally sustainable producers. You’ll find everything from dry foodstuffs to fresh produce and pastas, house-made charcuterie, and a variety of takeaway items from chef Sean Sullivan (formerly of the Hamilton). Here are six things to look for at the independent grocery store.

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Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 04/19/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The season for spending sunny afternoons perusing local produce has returned. Here’s the schedule for farmers markets all around Washington.
By Anna Spiegel
Seasonal farmers markets have begun to open all over Washington. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user PhilaSilva

With the weather warming and ramps replacing root vegetables on seasonal menus, our thoughts have turned to foraging for all the delicious produce at local farmers markets. Many are still on the brink of opening, so mark the dates in advance to plan a spring's worth of market-fresh meals.

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Posted at 09:45 AM/ET, 04/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()