Thank You Marcella Hazan!

Garlic Scented Tomato Salad
The cooking world lost one of its greats today when Marcella Hazan passed away at the age of 89. Hazan taught millions of Americans how to prepare the simple fresh food of Italy at a time when our idea of Italian food was a can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee’s Beef Ravioli.

Hazan had this to say about garlic in her 2004 cookbook “Marcella Says …” “The unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking. It must remain a shadowy background presence. It cannot take over the show.”

I had the extraordinary pleasure of taking cooking classes with Marcella’s son, Giuliano in Verona, Italy a few years ago. He is doing a wonderful job of carrying on his mother’s legacy. We toured food markets, learned about wine, cooked our dinner, and had an all-around great time. My condolences to the family. I made this tomato salad perfumed with garlic to honor Marcella Hazan. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the end of the season’s fantastic tomatoes and honor a great lady.

Garlic-Scented Tomato Salad
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1-2 t. salt (or more to taste)
2 T. choice quality red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
2 lbs. fresh, ripe, firm, round or plum tomatoes
1 dozen fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil

Peel the garlic cloves and mash them hard with a knife handle. Put them in a small bowl or saucer together with 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and 2 tablespoons of the red wine vinegar. Stir and let steep at least 20 minutes.

Skin the tomatoes raw, you can blanch them quickly then plunge them into ice water so they don’t cook, then slice them into thin slices and spread the slice out in a deep serving platter.

When ready to serve the salad wash the basil leaves in cold water, shake off their moisture and tear them into 2 or 3 pieces each and sprinkle them over the tomatoes.

Pour the garlic steeped vinegar through a wire strainer, distributing it over the tomatoes. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the tomatoes well, toss, taste and correct if necessary for salt and vinegar.

2 Chainz Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

Rapper 2 Chainz’ new cookbook “# MEAL TIME” includes a terrific recipe for garlic mashed potatoes with some interesting instructions. While the first instruction, “If wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook” is sound advice; I’m sure you can make and serve the dish even if you don’t have a gold salt pot, a golden colander or a golden serving bowl. Step One for 2 Chainz Garlicky Green Beans is “Call Fergie, invite her to watch a movie on Netflix. Once she accepts, start making green beans.”

While the instructions are hilarious, the recipes were developed with 2 Chainz personal chef Chef Aleem, a magna cum laude graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta. Enjoy this rapper’s delight.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
2-3 lbs. yukon gold potatoes (half peeled, half unpeeled)
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 c. heavy cream
3 T. minced garlic
3 T. sour cream
Handful of chopped parsley
Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder

If wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook

Cut potatoes into quarters add butter with the mixture; Place potatoes in a pot of salted, cold water, and bring to a boil; Let potatoes boil vigorously until they are fork-tender

While potatoes are boiling, pour heavy cream, minced garlic, salt and pepper into small gold sauce pot, add butter with the mixture, and bring mixture to a boil

Strain potatoes through golden colander, and place in a separate golden bowl; Once this is done, play “Feds Watching” and celebrate the good times you had this year

Once done with that, add sour cream and half of the chopped parsley to the potatoes; Slowly add the heated cream mixture to the potatoes while whisking, creating a creamy, smooth consistency; Adjust flavor with salt, pepper, and/or garlic powder; Serve in gold bowl and garnish with remaining parsley

A Greek Mythology Lesson

Asklepios

I just learned about this story and thought I’d share. Asklepios was the son of the god Apollo. He was taught about healing herbs by the wise centaur, Chiron. Asklepios became so skilled in healing that he was even able to raise the dead which did not sit well with the God of the underworld who complained to Zeus. Since he was tampering with the natural order of things, Zeus killed Asklepios with a thunderbolt while he was writing down the formula for immortality. Seeing that he was writing something, Zeus sent down pouring rain. The formula dissolved into the earth and when the sun came out, a plant sprang up where the formula dissolved. That plant was, of course, garlic!

Today’s a good day for this Greek dip which is wonderful with fresh vegetables from your local farmer’s market (and pita bread from your local grocery store).

Skordalia
(Greek Potato and Garlic Dip)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into small cubes, boiled until tender, and mashed
6 garlic cloves
1/2 t. coarse sea salt
1 large egg yolk
3/4 c. olive oil, plus more if needed
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3 T. white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Pound garlic and salt in a large wooden bowl and pound with a pestle until thoroughly mashed. Gradually add potatoes and pound them into the garlic. If mixture is still hot, let cool 15 minutes, then add egg yolk and beat it in with a wooden spoon. Alternating olive oil with lemon juice and vinegar, gradually add both to potato mixture. Stir in pepper and mix briskly with a fork until very smooth. Mix in more olive oil, or some water, a little at a time, if sauce is too thick to use as a dip.

Καλή όρεξη! (Bon Appetit!)

Last Call for Garlic Scapes!

Garlic Scapes

This weekend is probably your last chance to get garlic scapes at your local farmer’s market. (I’m talking to you, Rochelle.) Use them to make this tasty pesto which is like early summer on a plate (or toast or pasta or grilled fish or anything else you can think of.) You can add nuts if you want to, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Garlic Scape Pesto
(from GarlicEscapes)

1 lb. garlic scapes, cut into pieces (so they fit in food processor easily)
1 1/4 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 c. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 t. red chile flakes (optional)

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.

100 Days

100 garlicToday is the 100th day of the year … and this calls for a recipe with 100 cloves of garlic. This chicken recipe, adapted from Saveur magazine, calls for one-hundred lightly roasted garlic cloves.

Chicken with 100 Cloves of Garlic
3 T. olive oil
4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
100 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ c. dry vermouth
¾ c. chicken stock
1 T. chopped tarragon

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and saute, turning once, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to an 8″ square baking dish and set aside.

Add garlic to pot and cook until you smell garlic’s aroma, about 3 minutes. Add vermouth; scrape the bottom of the pot until vermouth is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Transfer 25 of the whole roasted garlic cloves to baking dish; mash the remaining 75 cloves into stock. Pour the garlic-infused garlic over the chicken and bake until chicken is glazed and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped tarragon.

Happy Birthday Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty!

Falafel2_lg
And thank you, Jimmy Carter. The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed on this day in 1979 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin making Egypt the first Arab country to recognize Israel. President Carter brokered the treaty. It has been in effect ever since, although there’s been some concern that the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political party, would bring it to a referendum. Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, however, has vowed to respect the treaty.

This calls for falafel, the one thing Arabs and Israelis agree on … sometimes. While there has been some dispute as to falafel’s origin, it’s widely-considered to have originated in Egypt and today, is considered the national food of Israel (and Palestine and Egypt and Lebanon). In 2008, a Lebanese industrialist accused Israel of claiming ownership of traditional Lebanese delicacies such as falafel and threatened to sue. Can’t we all just get along?

Israeli Falafel *
1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 T. flour
2 t. salt
2 t. cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom

2 c. vegetable oil for frying

Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight.
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well. Pour them into your food processor along all of the other ingredients. Pulse until they are the texture of a coarse paste. Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it out into a bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Fill a skillet with vegetable oil and heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form falafel mixture into round balls using wet hands. When oil has reached 375 degrees F, drop ping pong-sized falafel balls into the oil. Cook until dark brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with a salad and a garlicky cucumber-yogurt sauce (in a pita, or not).

Note: Egyptian falafel uses fava beans instead of, or in addition to, chickpeas, so if you’re interested in that, replace some or all of the chickpeas with fava beans (known as broad beans in Europe).

Tzatziki
3 c. Greek yogurt
1 t. lemon zest
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
salt and black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Discard them. Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out liquid. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor, puree cucumbers, garlic, lemon zest, and a few grinds of black pepper. Once mixture is well blended, stir into the yogurt. Salt if needed. Refrigerate for at least two hours so flavors come together. Serve over falafel or on its own with pita bread.

Happy Pi Day!

tomatopie2pelise350

It’s March 14th (aka 3/14 or 3.14159…) and today, we’re encouraged to celebrate pi (Π) specifically, and mathematics in general. This recipe for tomato-pesto-garlic pi (pie) is an early spring treat that only gets better when summer’s bounty thrives.

Tomato-Pesto-Garlic Pie
1 9-inch un-baked pie shell
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. basil pesto
1 T. minced fresh garlic
8 oz. provolone cheese, thinly sliced or grated
8 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced,seeded
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bake the piecrust at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until light brown.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine oil and garlic. Cook over low heat just until heated, stirring occasionally.

Arrange half of the provolone cheese over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle with half of the pesto and top with half of the tomatoes. Then, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.

Spoon garlic/olive oil mixture over pie. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Happy Birthday Lindy Boggs

lindy_boggsFormer member of the House of Representatives from Louisiana, Lindy Boggs turns ninety-seven today. Boggs was also the US Ambassador to the Vatican from 1997-2001. As cardinals hold a conclave to select a new pope, honor Rep. Boggs with her recipe for chili (with six cloves of garlic).

Lindy Boggs’ Chili
4 lb. coarse ground chuck
6 garlic cloves
3 T. paprika
2 t. oregano
6 T. hot chili powder
2 T. cumin seeds
2 t. white pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
2 t. chili pods
6 c. water
salt, to taste
masa sauce (recipe below)
2 jalapeño peppers, ground up
1 T. jalapeño juice

Simmer all ingredients except the last three for 1 1/2 hours. Add the masa sauce, jalapeño peppers, and jalapeño juice and simmer for an additional fifteen minutes. Serves 8-10.

Masa Sauce
1/2 c. masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
1 c. water

Blend flour and water with a fork. This makes a good (gluten-free) thickener for chiles, soups, and stews.

Best Fireplaces in America

Best Fireplaces in America

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Craving Garlic Shrimp

lasooni-jhingaThe only tie-in today is that it’s rainy and miserable out and I feeling like making Indian food for dinner. This dish is from Rajasthan. Lasooni means garlic-flavored; Jhinga means shrimp, and Kadai means wok. Your Indian words of the day! The recipe below (and the picture above) are both from Porte des Indes (Gateway to India) in London.

Lasooni Jhinga
(Stir-fried Garlic Shrimp)
16 large shrimp
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. chili powder
2 T. oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green chili, julienned
1 red chili, julienned
7 T. Kadai sauce (recipe below)
1 scallion, julienned
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, to taste

Rub the shrimp with salt, turmeric and chili powder and set aside for at least 30 minutes. When ready to prepare, heat the oil in the pan, add garlic. The second you smell the garlic, add the chilies and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the shrimp and sear for one minute. Then add the Kadhai sauce followed by the scallion. Stir fry over high heat for one minute. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve hot.

Kadai Sauce
1/3 c. ghee (clarified butter) or corn oil
1 T. garlic, finely chopped
1 T. coriander seeds, coarsely pounded
8 red chillies, coarsely pounded in a mortar
2 red onions, finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger root
3 green chiles
1 lb. fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 t. salt
1 t. ground garam masala
1 1/2 t. dried fenugreek leaves
1 t. sugar (optional)

To make the sauce, heat the ghee in a pan, add the garlic and let it color. Stir, then add the coriander seeds and red chilies. When they release their aromas, add the onions and cook until they start turning a light golden yelow color. Stir in the ginger, green chilies and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and cook until all the excess moisture has evaporated and the fat starts to separate out. Add the salt, garam masala, and fenugreek leaves and stir. Taste and add some sugar if needed.