Archive for the ‘garlic’ Category


photo credit: Taunton Press

I am going to a picnic this afternoon for the staff where I work. It is billed as the “first annual picnic”. I have worked there for 10 years and don’t remember a picnic before this one. I hope it continues. It’s always nice to be with one’s workmates in a more casual atmosphere. We work with the public and are always “on call” when someone needs assistance. This will be a chance to finish a conversation with a coworker without having to run off the help someone – not that we mind that. The public is our raison d’etre, so to speak.

We have been having extremely hot weather as has much of the country for the past few weeks. Yesterday and today are much more temperate, thank goodness, but I had to prepare food to share at the picnic that could withstand heat. I decided to fix bruschetta.

We have been blessed with generous neighbors and a bounteous farmers’ market, both of which have provided more than ample supply of tomatoes. My basil is still plentiful, and with garlic and olive oil on hand, all I needed from the store was a baguette.

I could have used my no-knead bread, but it tends to have those large holes in each slice and the tomato mixture would fall right through. The baguette’s texture is better for that reason, although the taste of grocery store baguettes leaves something to be desired. No matter; the heady garlic in the pomodoro sauce will give more than enough taste. I started by dropping a few cloves of garlic in the food processor to chop it up. Then I cored and quartered as many tomatoes as I thought I would need.  I used a variety of tomatoes, some large, some small (almost cherry tomato size) and some plum tomatoes. I probably used 10 to 12 altogether. I let the tomatoes drain for a while in a colander to remove some of the juice, but not all. Then I processed them in two batches by pulsing the machine a few times until they reached the consistency I wanted, still chunky but small enough to spoon out onto the slices of bread easily. I combined the two batches and added a few tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon and a half of kosher salt and several good grinds of black pepper. I tasted it and then added a little more salt and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. 

I sliced the bread about 3/4 inch thick and at a slight angle to give it a bit more surface area. I broiled the slices for a few minutes until they started to turn golden brown. I turned them and broiled the other side. Then I rubbed both sides with the cut side of a garlic clove and brushed one side with olive oil, lightly. I will place them on a platter in a circle with the bowl of tomatoes in the center. Delicioso! I hope everyone likes it. I didn’t use as much garlic as I would have for my family. (Our motto is “There is no such thing as too much garlic.”) I doubt if everyone at work feels the same.I hope you have the opportunity in the waning days of summer to attend more picnics with family and friends. Too soon we will be wishing for a little warmth on the chilly evenings of autumn.Until then, happy dining!


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I’m left with garlic to discuss today as the “G” vegetable because I can’t find any other vegetable that starts with a “G” except globe artichokes and ginger. I know nothing about globe artichokes and may feature ginger if I blog about herbs and spices.

I don’t mean to imply that garlic isn’t a worthy topic. In fact, just the opposite is true. I love using garlic and can’t imagine cooking without it. Like many cooks, I started my love affair with garlic knowing only about garlic powder or garlic salt. I don’t suppose I ever saw a head or clove of garlic until I was 25. I now know that the taste of the powders and salts are nowhere near the same as that of the real McCoy, and I make sure that I have at least 2 heads of garlic in my pantry at any time.

Although used primarily as a seasoning or condiment, it is also the basis of some recipes. The city of Gilroy, California, (“Garlic Capital of the World”) observes a Garlic Festival every summer and culinary specialties featuring the “Stinking Rose” infuse the air with the scent of garlic. Two tons of fresh garlic appear in food dishes prepared by the 4,000 volunteers. These dishes run the gamut from soups to desserts as entrants from across the US and Canada submit their favorite garlic recipes to be judged each year.

Last year’s winning recipe was Proscuitto Wrapped, Roasted Garlic, Fest & Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms. It sure looks like it should be a winner! I’ll try it sometime.

I use garlic to flavor mashed potatoes as do many people. I found it not necessary to chop or mince the peeled cloves before cooking. I just throw them in the pot of water with the potatoes and they tenderize and get mashed when the potatoes do.

Here is a recipe for garlic soup from Gourmet magazine, MAY, 1994.


2 cups water
1 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup chopped peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
Whipping cream (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Puree in batches in blender. Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm over medium heat. Drizzle with cream, if desired.

I have made garlic soup before, but I don’t know it the above recipe is the one I used. If I were to use this recipe, I might be tempted to use chicken broth in place of some of the water. I’ll try it someday. In the meantime, tonight’s chicken breasts will be flavored with garlic, parsley and lemon. That should keep me safe from vampires for the night.


Garlic image from Science News
Bela Lugosi image from http://www.astro.lsa.umich.edu/~kayhan/

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