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Vegansaurus, for those who aren’t in the know, is a popular lifestyle blog that I love for blending the adorable with great info and plenty of snark.  Mosey on over to check out the cool stuff they’ve got going on.  Their pink dinosaur mascot challenged its readers to try new foods this month and it sounded like a swell idea to me.

First up: Longan Fruit.

Once shelled, they look and taste very much like lychees.  The internet tells me they are from South Asia and that longan literally translates into “dragon’s eye” because it resembles an eyeball when the black pit is exposed.  They were sweet but I wasn’t a big fan of the texture.  Now I know what a dragon eyeball tastes like.  My family found it tedious to shell them, which goes to show how spoiled we are that we’ll pay for fruit to fly all the way the from South Asia (sorry about the carbon footprint) and then our patience is too low to spend 30 seconds shelling them without feeling annoyed by the time we pop the fruit in our mouths.  So we have to meditate appreciatively on how cool it is that we have the privilege to be able to find exotic foods year round in our Canadian grocery store (…where they are mislabeled logan berries).

Satsuma.  No surprise it’s a citrus fruit in the orange family like mandarins and tangerines.  We bought satsumas of the Miho Wase variety, from South Africa.  I also ate this food raw just as it is.  The sweet taste is very similar to an orange, plus seedless and easy to peel.  Delicious!  Wish I could grow these treats in my back yard.

Now to find something local I haven’t tried before:
Garlic Scapes.  These came from an organic Mennonite farm just minutes from my home.  Garlic scapes are the edible curly leaves of a garlic bulb that sprout before the bulb is ready to harvest.  They taste very much like the garlic bulb itself, so it’s a pretty strong flavour.

What to make with these little shoestrings? I found a recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto in the awesome cookbook Ripe From Around Here by jae steele, who also lives in Southern Ontario.  She has posted the recipe on her website here.

The pesto keeps for a week in the fridge, so a few days later I used it for pasta sauce.   With veggies and some vegan sausages, it made a great, hearty meal.

Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta
One recipe of Garlic Scape Pesto
340 g dried pasta (I used one package of Tinkyada rice pasta)
olive oil
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 large pieces of kale, stems removed, thinly sliced
2 vegan sausages (optional; I used two Tofurky kielbasa sausages)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

While the pasta is cooking, sautée the mushrooms and kale in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat.  Drain the pasta and return the empty pasta pot to the stove.  Add the pasta to the pot and spread around to warm, then add back the cooked pasta, then veggies and sausages.  Let stand in the hot pot a few minutes to warm through.  Serve sprinkled with nutritional yeast and a few cracks of black pepper.  Serves four.  This dish is gluten-free with rice pasta.

When was the last time you tried a new food?