Oct
15
    
Posted (Lori) in News

GARLIC

Probably half the recipes that I use regularly begin with “sauté garlic until soft and golden . . . Garlic is an indispensible ingredient, that seems to pull the best flavor out of everything it touches. There is also evidence that it has strong health benefits, and guards against cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and the common cold (as well as vampires). I thought these benefits had been accepted by the scientific community, but I just checked and found out that research is still ongoing; but it is chockful of antioxidants which promote health and deter aging.

STORING GARLIC: I find that garlic bulbs last about six months if I keep them in a well-ventilated, cool, dry place (like a mesh basket) and turn them every few weeks. Don’t leave them in plastic bags or in the refrigerator—they will turn moldy &/or start to sprout. I often find that the last bulb of garlic turns to dust a month or two before garlicscape from the next season turns up in our shares.

I don’t peel it before I store it. I’ve wondered how long the peeled cloves that you see in supermarkets last.s

USING GARLIC: The smaller you chop it, the garlic cloves, the more flavor they release. After peeling, they can be minced with a knife or crushed with the back of a heavy knife. Or—use a garlic press, a small device that turns garlic into mush.

ROASTING GARLIC: Roasting garlic improves it in many ways—it adds another layer of flavor, and lets you avoid chopping. It also makes your whole apartment smell heavenly (if you think there is garlic in heaven and if your apartment is very small).

To do, cut off the top of each clove about ¼” down—you can do it one slice, dribble a few drops of olive oil on the cut edge, and wrap loosely in foil. Put the cloves, standing up, on a cookie sheet and roast for about 45-60 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Check after 40 minutes to see if the garlic is soft; take it out when it’s very soft and squishy. To use, squeeze it out like toothpaste. It makes a great spread, as is, with nothing added.

RECIPES

Garlic appears in many, many recipes, but in most it’s just a flavoring and not the star. Here are a few recipes in which garlic plays a greater role.

BAGNA CAUDA

The name means “hot bath” and the only challenging part of this incredibly flavorful recipe is keeping it warm. I sometimes serve it right off the stovetop; it’s a great snack for the cooks or for guests who hang around the kitchen. For later in the meal, I put a small oven-safe bowl on a tiny hotplate that’s used to keep coffee cups warm.

1 tbs butter

1/4 cup olive oil

4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed

2-3 anchovy filets, mashed or more to tate

splash of cream (optional)

vegetables and/or bread for dipping

Put the butter and oil in a very small saucepan over low heat. When the butter is melted add the garlic and let it cook, stirring occasionally and watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.It should simmer, but not come to a full boil It will be very fragrant and in about 5 minutes the garlic will be soft. Add the anchovies and keep stirring until they all but disappear. If you wish, add a bit a cream and stir again to combine. Serve hot, with crudités such as asparagus, celery sticks, carrots, turnips, and cauliflower, or bread (usually, people ignore the vegetables and go for the bread).

AIOLI

2 to 4 large garlic cloves (more to taste; authentic aioli has more like 4 to 6), peeled, cut in half, and green shoot removed

Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

2 free-range organic egg yolks, or 1 egg and 1 egg white (the yolks are traditional, but the whole egg and white works fine)

½ cup grapeseed oil

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

Whether or not you are using a mortar and pestle for the mayonnaise, begin by mashing the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle. Mash to a smooth paste. (If you don’t have a mortal and pestle, mash with a fork.)

1                  Using the mortar and pestle (for egg yolks only; this is the traditional method, and will result in a very silky, creamy aioli if you do it correctly): Add the egg yolks to the mortar and beat with the pestle until smooth. Measure the grapeseed oil into a measuring cup with a spout, and drip by drip, work the oil into the egg yolks, gently but constantly stirring in one direction with the pestle. As the mayonnaise begins to emulsify, you can start adding the oil in a steady stream, but the stream must be a thin one, and you must stir constantly but not too fast. Once you have a good emulsion, you can scrape the mixture into a bowl and continue with a whisk if it’s easier for you. It helps to rest the bowl on a damp towel shaped into a ring. Use up the grapeseed oil first, since it makes a better emulsion than olive oil, then continue with the olive oil. I find that once the egg yolks and oil are emulsified, it’s easiest to drizzle in yolks and oil are emulsified, it’s easiest to drizzle in a tablespoonful of oil while beating, stop drizzling and really beat hard to work it in, then continue with another tablespoonful. When all of the oil has been added and the mayonnaise is thick, taste and adjust salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Using a food processor: Place the egg yolks or egg and egg white in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Turn it on, and begin drizzling in the grapeseed oil, then the olive oil, in a thin stream. Some food processors have little holes in the plungers meant for controlling the flow of oil into the mayonnaise. When all of the oil has been added, stop the processor and scrape in the garlic paste. Process for a few seconds, until the paste is well blended into the mixture. Taste and adjust salt. Refrigerate until ready to use. The mayonnaise will be thinner than the mortar and pestle version.

MUSHROOMS WITH GARLIC AND CREAMCHEESE

3 tablespoons butter

5 cloves of garlic, minced

8 ounces mushrooms (any variety) chopped to any size you like

4 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the garlic and sauté until soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft. Reduce the heat to low, add the cream cheese and stir until melted and evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on bread, or create turnovers with puff pastry or phyllo dough.

SOPA de AJO

1 pound tomatoes, chopped

1 hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Pinch of cumin

4 cloves

10 cloves garlic, chopped, plus 10 whole cloves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

3 cups chicken broth

¼ cup chopped mint, parsley, celery (optional)

Place the tomatos, jalapeno, cumin, cloves and 4 of the chopped garlic cloves in a 2-quart stockpot over medium high heat. Brin to a boil and boil for 10 minuts; set aside.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and the rest of the chopped garlic. Pour in the tomato mix and the chicken broth and stir well to combine

In a small pot, bring 1 quart of water to boil. Add the 10 whole cloves of garlic and boil for 4 minutes. Stir into the chicken broth mixture until combine. If using herbs, stir in and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with bread.

By Senora Soledad Diaz Altamirono, El Topil, Oaxaca, Mexico; from The Great Garlic Book, Chester Aaron



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