Saturday, May 10, 2008

Garlic, and the roasting thereof.


In case you didn't guess, I kinda like garlic. Hell, I can eat a whole clove raw. Chomp down on it, chew it up and swallow. However, I don't recommend that for beginners.

In case you haven't guessed, there are no vampyres in this household, but I do have to keep my horns filed down and the leathery wings tucked under cus you do know I can see in the dark.

There will be a recipe here, but bear with me while I talk a bit about garlic.

Firstly, it's EASY to grow your own. Just push a single clove into good, moist soil about an inch (pointy end up). And magically, just like ANY other bulb, it'll sprout soon. Water regularly, fertilise if you feel the need to. Plant multiple cloves 8-10 cm apart (3-4 inches). It'll grow year round down here in South Oz, but up in that other hemisphere I'd imagine you'd want to plant in early spring.

When it's grown (you'll know, duh), dig DON'T PULL the bulbs out. Don't forget to use the greens, they make a nice addition to many many thing and can be eaten raw or steamed or whatever. I actually harvest the greens for use as the plant grows. Chop em up and use as you would chives. There's also lots of other good uses for them: be creative!

Garlic Cloves

You don't need a garlic press, nor any type of garlic peeler. To quickly peel garlic, put a clove between your palms and rub your hands quickly back and forth. You'll soon figure out the pressure to get the outer 'paper' off without mashing the clove.

To mash the clove without a press, just place the clove on a wooden cutting board, then put the flat of your kitchen knife on the clove, then lightly and quickly tap the flat of the knife with your fist (NO, you won't cut yourself, sheesh). Then just mince it up and use it, simple. You also get a lot of good garlic juice. Just scrape it off the board with your knife to add to whatever.

You can blanch garlic, boil it, or (my favorite --favourite) roast it.

Roasting garlic softens it to a buttery, squishy consistency and mellows the taste out so much you wouldn't even guess it's garlic. The taste is so smoothed out you can spread it directly on bread.

Good things about garlic: It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and a powerful anti-oxidant. It's GREAT stuff. If used properly you'll never even know it's there. My bro-in-law says he hates garlic and can't stand anything with garlic. Hmmmm, he eats a helluva lot of it! Ahhh, Mike, if your reading this: I'm sorry.

Ok, here's how you roast garlic:

What you need:

4 or 5 whole heads of garlic
Little bit of olive oil
some kind a oven roasting pan

What you do:

Slice the tops off each garlic head (that means take a half cm (quarter inch) off the pointy end). Place them bottom side down (that's the side with the roots) in your roasting dish. Drizzle the top of each head with olive oil. Cover roasting pan and chuck it in a hot oven for a while. You can also sprinkle some grated parmesan over the top of each head before drizzling the olive oil on top.

How hot? around 190 C (375 F) works.
How long? 45 mins or so (every oven is different). You'll know they are done when the cloves look like they are trying to squeeze themselves out the top of the head (as soon as you see this once you'll know what I mean), and they are very soft.

Remove from oven and let em cool. Once cool, just grab a garlic head and squeeze the garlic cream out.

Uses: Way too many to mention! You'll figure some out on your own, I'm sure.

Oh, roasting dish: you don't need a pricey ceramic garlic roaster, sheesh! A glass dish, an enameled one, or even a cookie tray with an aluminium (aluminum) foil tent over the garlic. ANYTHING.


Suzer said...

gotta love me some roasted garlic---tried it for the 1st time while in NZ...making it that is.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

It is sooooo good. I use it like butter on fresh bread: scrumptious!