Category Archives: GARLIC

Happy Birthday Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty!

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).

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!


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.

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.

Henry IV (and Recipes for the Sick)

HenriIVHenry IV, who was crowned King of France on this date in 1594, was baptized with garlic (and his lips were moistened with Jurançon wine) to protect him from disease, as well as from evil spirits. This precipitated a lifelong love affair with garlic and the king, nicknamed Le Roi d’Ail, supposedly ate so many cloves every day that he exuded garlic from every pore and his breath could “fell an ox at twenty paces.” Given his amorous proclivities (he had two wives and dozens of mistresses), one can only hope that the ladies of the court appreciated garlic’s alleged aphrodisiacal properties more than they deprecated its smell. Henriette d’Entragues, one of the king’s many female conquests, was said to spray him with perfume to keep the “smell of carrion” at bay.

It’s a miserable, blustery day; so toast France’s first Bourbon king with this garlic soup from his home region, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. You could try a glass of semi-sweet Jurançon wine from Tablas Creek Vineyard, the first California winery to try it. Or go straight for a glass of bourbon — celebrate Maker’s Mark decision not to dilute their whiskey to meet demand. If you have a cold, look below for a recipe for Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups (aka a Hot Toddy). Muriel, this is for you!

Pyrenees Garlic Soup
2 T. olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6 c. vegetable or light chicken stock
1½ t. ground Espelette pepper*
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
6 eggs
12 slices stale baguette, toasted in olive oil

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and saute quickly until the garlic is golden. Do not allow to burn.
Add the stock, Espelette pepper, herbs and seasoning, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer, covered, for around 20 minutes. Remove the herbs.

Towards the end of the cooking time, poach the eggs in a separate pan and lightly brown the slices of bread in a little oil.

Place the bread in individual soup bowls, with a poached egg on top pour the soup over them.

* Espelette is a traditional mild Basque pepper; hot paprika is a good substitute

Bourbon Cough Syrup (for Grownups)
2 oz. bourbon whisky
1 t.lemon juice
4 ounces hot water
1 T. honey

Mix the bourbon, lemon juice, and water in a mug and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Take out and add the honey. Whisk to combine, then microwave for another 45 seconds. Sleep well!

We miss you Mitch Hedberg!

mitch-hedbergMitch Hedberg, one of the funniest comedians ever, would have been 45 today had he not died in 2005 of a drug overdose. Here are a few of his food and recipe related quips followed by his recipe for Thai BBQ Chicken (it calls for over 1/2 cup of garlic.) The recipe is on his website: It can also be used on tempeh if you’re not a chicken eater.

“They say the recipe for Sprite is lemon and lime. But I tried to make it at home; there’s more to it than that. ‘Want some more homemade Sprite?’ ‘Not ’til you figure out what the f*ck else is in it!'”

“I went to a pizzeria, I ordered a slice of pizza, the f*cker gave me the smallest slice possible. If the pizza was a pie chart for what people would do if they found a million dollars, the f*cker gave me the ‘donate it to charity’ slice. I would like to exchange this for the ‘keep it!'”

“I saw this wino, he was eating grapes. I was like, ‘Dude, you have to wait.'”


1 1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. chopped garlic
1/4 c. chopped ginger
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. Thai fish sauce
2 T. curry powder
1 T. black pepper
1 t. turmeric
1 t. honey

1/2 c. water
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. honey
2 t. plum sauce
1 t. Thai fish sauce
1 t. lime or lemon juice
2 t. tomato paste
1 t. crushed garlic
1 tsp. Serrano chili, chopped
Dash of paprika
1/2 t. salt
1 t. crushed red chili


Massage Chicken. Pierce w/fork.

Marinate chicken. Bake at 350° for about 45 min.

[While chicken is baking, blend sauce ingredients in sauce pan and simmer until its reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.]

Then, move to grill and grill chicken quickly [circa 15 minutes].

Serve w/grilled pineapple [or rice] and dipping sauce.

Happy Decimal Day!

UK Dday
On this day in 1971, the UK decimalized its currency. Until Decimal Day, the British pound was made up of 240 pence. After Decimal Day, the pound was made up of 100 pence.

Having just returned from both London and Russia, I feel obliged to mention that Russia was the first country to decimalize its currency (in 1704 when it made the ruble equal to 100 kopeks). Today, the only currencies which are not decimalized are Madagascar’s ariary and the Mauritanian ouguiya.

We’re expecting snow here, so how about some comfort food like Nigella Lawson’s roasted potatoes with one head (10 cloves) of garlic? As Nigella would say (see below) smulch away!

Garlic Roast Potatoes
3 lb. potatoes
1/3 c. olive oil
1 head of garlic
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and dry the potatoes, but don’t bother to peel them, and cut them into about 3/4-inch dice.

Toss in a large oven tray and pour over the oil, smulching around with your hands to mix well.

Separate the head of garlic into cloves adding them to the tray, and roast for about 1 hour, turning once or twice during that time, until crispy and golden but still soft on the inside.

When they’re done, remove to a large plate and sprinkle with salt.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

Franco&HitlerIf you were alive in 1975 and watched the first season of Saturday Night Live, you will remember Chevy Chase’s frequent catch phrase. It was used to mock the media’s weeks-long obsession with Franco’s precarious health.

Franco was born in the Spanish province of Galicia in 1892. He died (really) on November 20, 1975. This is just a flimsy excuse to introduce the famous Galician sauce ajada — a pungent condiment made of olive oil garlic, paprika, and vinegar that can by used over steamed or grilled fish or in a stew as in the recipe below. Ajada translates as “thing made with garlic.”

Galician fish stew (Caldeirada)

1 1/2 lb. fresh white fish fillets (cod, halibut, or hake work well)
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 qt. water
1 onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. sweet pimentón (paprika)
2 T. wine vinegar

Cut the fish fillets into chunks and place the fish in a bowl. Sprinkle one-half teaspoon salt and toss with the fish, then set the fish aside for 30 minutes before adding to the soup.

Put the potatoes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot with the water, onion, bay leaves and 1½ t. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chunks of fish and continue to simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the oil over high heat and sauté the chopped garlic until golden, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pimentón and vinegar. This is the ajada sauce.

When the potatoes are tender and the fish just flakes, remove the fish and potatoes to a large serving bowl or tureen. Add the ajada sauce to the remaining broth. Bring quickly to a boil, stirring, then pour it over the fish and potatoes. Discard bay leaf.

Serves 4

Playing with Fire

I had one the greatest meals of my life on Saturday afternoon.  Argentina’s most celebrated chef, Francis Mallman, prepared a feast on a Soho rooftop to celebrate Mallmann’s appointment as Executive Chef of the new restaurant at Vines of Mendoza.

Vines of Mendoza offers private vineyard estates where wine lovers can live and help craft their own wines at the base of the Andes mountains.  In addition to Mallmann, Vines of Mendoza founders Michael Evans and his business partner Pablo Gimenez Riili have also enlisted acclaimed winemaker Santiago Achával as their consulting winemaker.

I tasted the Vines’ own Recuerdo wines (crafted in partnership with the co-founders of Blackbird Vineyards in Napa Valley). The wines included a Malbec and a Torrontés both of which were awarded scores of 90 from Robert Parker (and who am I to argue?)

Mallman and his two sous chefs cooked salmon and fingerling potatoes in a salt crust on his specially-crafted infiernillo (“little hell”) which cooks the fish between two fires, above and below.  The melt-in-your-mouth fish and potatoes were topped with a dollop of this creamy, garlicky aioli.

If I ever win the lottery, my first act of frivolity would be to fly Mallmann to the Hudson Valley to cook a meal for me and my friends.  (And if that isn’t an incentive for my friends to start buying me lottery tickets, I don’t know what is.)

(from Francis Mallman’s Seven Fires)

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 garlic cloves
Coarse salt
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl.  Grate the garlic over the egg yolks with a Microplane (or smash and mince the garlic and add it to the egg yolks).  Season with a pinch of salt.  Add 1/4 c. of the olive oil, a few drops at a time, whisking constantly until the oil and eggs thicken and emulsify.  Whisk in the remaining olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until the aioli is smooth and thick.  The aioli can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Black Pepper Tofu and Shrimp


In preparation for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, I tried to cook up everything in my freezer.  While my town was blissfully spared any damage, I now have a lot of this Black Pepper Tofu. Fortunately, it’s insanely good.  I adapted this recipe very loosely from Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi.  (And by very loosely, I mean replace 11 tablespoons of butter with one and a splash of olive oil; cut number of scallions from twelve to one, and cut five tablespoons of black pepper to three.)  I like spicy food and this was plenty spicy for me.  If you want the original recipe, you can find on The Guardian and Epicurious.

Black Pepper Tofu
(Adaped from Yotam Ottolenghi)

1 lb. firm tofu, cut into 1×1 inch cubes
Vegetable oil for frying
Cornstarch to dust the tofu
1 T. butter
3 T. olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 t. chile flakes
3 garlic cloves, grated
3 T. chopped fresh ginger
3 T. Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis, recipe below)
3 T.  dark soy sauce
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 T. coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder)
1 scallion, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments

Serves 4

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Toss them in some cornstarch and shake off the excess, then add to the hot oil.  Fry, turning them over, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. Once they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.  (You can do this several hours ahead and refrigerate until ready to use).

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put in butter and olive and heat. Add the shallot, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are soft.

Add the soy sauces and shrimp.  When shrimp are pink, add the crushed black pepper and tofu and heat until tofu is warm, about one minute.  Stir in the scallions.  Serve hot over steamed rice.

Kecap Manis
(Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce

Combine brown sugar and soy sauce in a small pan.  Boil the sauce over low to medium flame until thickens resembling maple syrup.  If the mixture starts to boil vigorously and looks like it is going to boil over, remove the pot from the flame until the boiling has calm down and continue to boil over low heat.  As the mixture cools down, it will further thicken.

The photo above is from Lottie + Doof