Category Archives: GARLIC

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Grinch Who Hash copy

The great Dr. Seuss was born on this date in 1904. In my favorite Dr. Seuss story, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” he wrote, “You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch, Your heart’s an empty hole, Your brain is full of spiders, You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch.” Celebrate with this garlicky rendition of “Who Hash” aka Garlic Hashed Potatoes. It’s great as an accompaniment to eggs or as a savory side dish.

Garlic “Who Hash”
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Rinse the shredded potatoes and pat them dry.

Spread the shredded potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the potatoes with the minced garlic, then spread them back on the mat. Return them to the oven and bake 5 more minutes.

Garlic: An Edible Biography (8 days and counting!)

Yogi Berra

According to a 1956 ad for Kraft’s then-new Italian Dressing, Yogi Berra said it “sure makes swell salads” thanks to “rare herbs, fresh spices and just the right touch of garlic.” Although Berra (ne Lawrence Peter) admitted that he was dubbed Yogi by a teammate who saw him sitting serenely with his arms and legs crossed and said he sat like a yogi, he once told reporters that he had no idea why he’d been dubbed Yogi and said “I had a brother they called ‘Garlic’ and his name was Mike.”

Berra also said, “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Since I recently shared a salad dressing recipe, here’s a recipe for Pizza Escarole, a Neapolitan dish is most commonly served on Christmas Eve as it’s meatless.

Pizza Escarole

Makes 6 servings

1 lb pizza dough*
2 lb escarole (2 heads), separated into leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
10 black olives, pitted and sliced
One 2-ounce can flat anchovies, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained (See note below)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the escarole, stir to submerge completely, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. When the escarole is cool enough to handle, squeeze it well to remove excess water and then chop coarsely.

3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, olives, anchovies, and pine nuts and sauté, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the escarole and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until very hot and flavorful and most of the liquid is cooked away, about 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and capers. Season with pepper. Let the filling cool to room temperature while preparing the dough.

4. Divide the dough into two pieces; one piece should be about two-thirds of the dough and the other about one-third. Roll the larger piece out into a 16-inch round and transfer it to a 12-inch round baking dish or pan to line the bottom and sides. Fill the dough with the escarole mixture. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round for the top crust. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal the top and bottom together.

Note: Capers preserved in salted have a more delicate, flowery flavor than those preserved in brine but those can be substituted if necessary. (The best salted capers come from the Sicilian island of Pantelleria.)

Garlic: An Edible Biography “T minus 11”

Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal (photo above), the chef of The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, UK, is known for his molecular gastronomy. He also pioneered flavor pairing of complimentary but unique ingredients. One of his pairings is garlic and coffee. This roasted garlic ice cream with a coffee-garlic swirl was inspired by that pairing.

Roasted Garlic and Coffee Ice Cream
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
2 heads garlic, roasted and pureed
1/4 cup dark roast coffee beans
2 tbsp honey
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped Garlic-Coffee Brittle (see Below)

1. Combine the cream, milk, garlic, coffee, and honey in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour. Strain into a clean saucepan and return to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Mix egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in bowl. Whisk a ladleful of the garlic-cream mixture into the yolks until smooth. Return this to the saucepan and simmer until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes. Strain through a wire mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate in a covered container for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

3. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the garlic-coffee brittle. Pack into freezer containers and let the ice cream ripen in the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving. If the ice cream has been frozen longer than 6 hours, transfer it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

Garlic-Coffee Brittle
The trick with a brittle is to have everything ready and at the right temperature before you start cooking the brittle. Cooked sugar is always extremely hot, so be sure to protect your hands and arms and always pour away from yourself.

Makes about 12 ounces

½ cup garlic cloves, blanched and peeled
1 cup sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup coarsely cracked dark roast or espresso coffee beans.

1. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silpat, parchment, or wax paper.

2. Chop the garlic coarsely and set aside.

3. Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage) on a candy thermometer and is a rich golden brown.

4. Immediately remove from the heat and add butter, vanilla and salt, stirring until the butter melts and is completely emulsified into the sugar. Add the garlic and coffee beans and stir to coat completely.

5. Working quickly and carefully, scrape the hot mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Tilt the pan so it flows into an even layer and after it has cooled for a minute or two, use a metal or silicon spatula to spread it into an even layer. Let the brittle cool completely, at least 1 hour, and then break into chunks.

Garlic: An Edible Biography “T minus 12”

Garlic Card

The above picture is from a greeting card I picked up in London. (The card can be personalized which is why it says “Name,” but you get the gist.)

As George Orwell once wrote of his countrymen: ”England and the English as a rule, they will refuse even to sample a foreign dish, they regard such things as garlic and olive oil with disgust, life is unlivable to them unless they have tea and puddings.” British vacationers who visited Spain in the 1950s and 1960s would take over the kitchens of their hotels in order to make traditional British foods like Shepherd’s Pie because they were so appalled with the local food in which everything was, horror of horrors, swimming in garlic.

Today, tapas restaurants are popular in London and this simple shrimp recipe, from the book, is one of my favorites. Serve it with crusty bread to soap up the “swimming in garlic” juices.

Gambas al Ajillo

Makes 4 appetizer serving or 2 main course servings

4 oz olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup cognac
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Increase the heat to high and immediately add the shrimp, cognac, lemon juice, and paprika. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink and the edges curl, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Serve the shrimp on heated appetizer plates topped with the pan juices spooned over the shrimp and sprinkled with parsley.

Garlic: An Edible Biography: “T minus 13”

Garlic 13

Garlic: An Edible Biography will be released in 13 days (on November. 11). The book has over 100 recipes and in honor of its release, I’m going to publish a recipe (and a story or quote) a day.

Since I’m in England, I’ll quote Elizabeth David who’s credited with introducing Mediterranean food to the British. The prickly David once said, The grotesque prudishness and archness with which garlic is treated in this country has led to the superstition that rubbing the bowl with it before putting the salad in gives sufficient flavour. It rather depends whether you’re going to eat the bowl or the salad.”

I think David would approve of this creamy garlic salad dressing.

Creamy Garlic Dressing

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 large egg yolk
1/3 c. white balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk the egg yolk, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl or a mini-food processor. While whisking or with the machine running, gradually add the olive oil and blend until the vinaigrette is combined and thickened. Taste and adjust with additional salt and pepper to taste.

The dressing is ready to use now. It can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Shake or whisk well to recombine before serving. If you’re concerned about using a raw yolk, substitute 1 tablespoon mayonnaise.

Photo Credit: Food Under Foot

PS. I’m a day late so expect another post to follow shortly.

Happy Batman Day!

Batman vs. Dracula

WHAM! THWACK! POW! It’s been 75 years since The Caped Crusader started saving Gotham City from the Joker, the Penguin, and … Dracula? In the 2005 straight-to-video animated movie, The Batman vs. Dracula, Bruce Wayne invites Dr. Alucard to a party. He shows him one of Wayne Industries’ latest advances, the SL-5 which collects and stores solar energy as true sunlight. Alucard grimaces as garlic shrimp hors d’oeuvres are served but scarfs down steak tartare.

When Wayne and Alucard meet as their alter-egos, Batman and Dracula, Batman saves Vicky Vale from being turned into a vampire with garlic bombs and just as Dracula realizes that Batman is Bruce Wayne, Batman turns on the SL-5 filling the bat cave with sunlight. He quips, “and you are dust” as the sunlight causes Dracula to disintegrate.

Here’s a recipe for garlic shrimp from my upcoming book, Garlic: An Edible Biography. (The awesome recipe was developed by Mary Deir Donovan.)

If you want a Garlic Bomb, got to Jake’s Sandwich Board in Philadelphia where they serve a Philly Steak Sandwich topped with garlic spread, sautéed garlic, provolone cheese, and crunchy, deep-friend garlic cloves. (If you want to try your own, I also included Mary’s recipe for Beer-Battered Deep-Fried Garlic Cloves which can be served on their own as an appetizer accompanied with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping, or as a garnish in salads, soups, or stews.

Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Makes 4 appetizer serving or 2 main course servings

4 oz olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup cognac
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Increase the heat to high and immediately add the shrimp, cognac, lemon juice, and paprika. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink and the edges curl, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Serve the shrimp on heated appetizer plates topped with the pan juices spooned over the shrimp and sprinkled with parsley.

Beer-Battered Deep-Fried Garlic Cloves
Serve these crispy, nutty garlic cloves on their own as an appetizer accompanied with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping, or use them as a garnish in salads, soups, or stews.

Makes 1 pound

1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beer, room temperature
1 lb garlic cloves, peeled

1. To make the batter: Whisk the flour, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Add the beer and whisk until smooth. The batter can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance. Place in a container, cover tightly, and keep in the refrigerator. Stir to recombine before using the batter to coat the garlic.

2. Preheat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees or heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep, heavy-gauge pot over medium heat. Use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature; another temperature check is to add a 1 inch cube of bread to the oil. It should brown within 30 seconds when the oil is at 350°F.

3. Add about one-fourth of the garlic cloves to the batter and stir to coat them evenly. Lift the garlic out of the batter with a spider or a fork, allowing the excess batter to drain back into the bowl. Lower into the hot oil. Cook until the batter is puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lift the fried garlic out of the oil and drain briefly on paper towel. Keep warm while frying the remaining garlic.

4. Serve the garlic at once.

Happy Birthday Kevin Bacon!

Kevin Bacon
Thank you for the great movies and the great parlor game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. (By the way, today is also Anjelica Huston’s birthday. In Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Huston has a Bacon number of 2. She was in Addams Family Values with Chris Ellis who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.)

I’ve been enjoying grilled Caesar Salad this summer — split heads of romaine are grilled outside and drizzled with dressing. Here the grilled lettuce is topped with a rich mustardy Roasted Garlic-Bacon Vinaigrette.

Grilled Romaine with Roasted Garlic-Bacon Vinaigrette
1 head roasted garlic, chopped
4 bacon slices, chopped
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
2 T. minced shallots
1 T. dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 tsp. dried
1/4 c. olive oil
6 heads of Romaine

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut off the top 1/4” of the garlic head. Set the garlic, cut side up, in the center of a piece of foil large enough to wrap around the garlic head. Drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil. Pull the corners of the foil in to the center, make a pouch around the garlic, and twist the top to secure the pouch closed. Place the foil pouch in a small baking dish or pan. Roast the garlic until the cloves are soft and any juices are brown, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to touch, chop garlic and transfer to medium bowl.

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour drippings into medium bowl. Roughly chop bacon. Add vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, molasses and tarragon. Whisk to blend. Add roasted garlic, bacon and olive oil and whisk to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut head of romaine in half. Remove loose outer leaves. Drizzle cut side with olive oil. Grill cut side down over medium heat until lightly wilted, about two minutes. Serve lettuce on a platter drizzled with roasted garlic-bacon vinaigrette.