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On my balcony the leek scapes are soaring high into the sky with their bulbous tops graciously resembling the architectural spires of Russian Orthodox Cathedrals. Everything on my balcony (leeks, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and flowers) have been growing by leaps and bounds this week as it has been sunny and warm all week. Before they become too tough to eat, though, and take too much energy away from the root of the plant I decided to cut the scapes off and am going to make something tasty with them. Leek scapes have a mild leek aroma and tender juicy stems, which closely resemble garlic scapes. They have an onion-like taste and their texture is very similar to asparagus. They are very tasty in soups, stir fries, pesto and pasta dishes but can also be eaten raw and in salads. Last year I made a delicious bean dip with our leek scapes after gently sauteing them in some olive oil. This weekend I am looking forward to adding them to a quiche and have already eaten some chopped up and steamed as a simple side dish. Make sure to use only the bulbs and tender stalks as the tough ones even after cooking can be tough and inedible.

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Leek (or Garlic) Scape Quiche

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10-12 Scapes cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 large Eggs
5 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
6-8 Tablespoons of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream
1 cup of finely diced cooked Ham or thick Bacon (optional)
2 cups of grated cheese (Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda or combination of these etc.)
Single Pie Crust dough (recipe halved and sugar omitted)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a frying pan heat the olive oil on med-high heat and saute the scapes until tender. In a large bowl add the eggs, creme fraiche and salt and pepper to taste. Beat together until well combined. Stir in the grated cheese. Prepare a nine inch pie plate with the single layer of pie dough and flute the edges. Spread the bottom of the crust with cream cheese until it is completely covered, being careful not to rip the crust (it helps if the cream cheese is soft when you do this). Spread out the scapes over the cream cheese (minus any extra oil from the pan) and add the ham or bacon if using. Pour the egg and cheese mixture on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and is firm in the middle.

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