Garlic, The Sweet Breath of Life!

What says I love you more than a gift of garlic. After all, research has shown that garlic may be beneficial to our health in a multitude of ways including lowering blood lipid levels, anti-blood coagulation, anti-hypertension, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-microbial effects as well as stimulating the liver and preventing the common cold. So all of this is pretty darn convincing as to why we should consuming garlic in our diet. The deal is, I eat garlic with little consideration of its health benefits and every consideration to its flavor benefits.

 

For many years, garlic was a rather generic ingredient. The small, white, papery bulbs that came in a mesh bag from far, far away were totally run of the mill. And unless we grew our own, most of us didn’t know any better because this was what we knew as garlic. Well luckily, somewhere along the line, some energetic, open minded Albertans began to embrace the fact that our climate grows amazing garlic. This garlic is plump and flavorful giving it a good amount of giddy up and go! It hardly even holds a resemblance to the imported variety. The passionate garlic farmers of Alberta allow us the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labour through farmers markets, restaurants and some grocery stores during fall and winter. And, although slightly limited by seasonal availability, it stores very well in a dark cool place for many months. At the restaurant, we adapted to this seasonal availability by ordering an extra-large quantity and storing it in the basement throughout the winter. This allowed us to prolong our despair of running short on garlic. Many years we would run out only a month or two before the new crop was ready. With the menu, we fully embraced the local garlic season by putting it front and center in many dishes. Sweet roasted cloves with such delicate flavor would show up on a plate as part of our vegetable medley and in fluffy mashed potatoes or in a more bold way as part of a powerful garlicky dill pickle which we made in our kitchen. If you sit and ponder for a moment how versatile and relevant garlic is in our foods, you begin to realize we may not be able to live without it. The use of garlic for prescribed medical healing and consumption dates back to ancient Egyptian times and has been used in almost every culture around the world for thousands of years. So no, it’s not the latest craze in trendy ingredients but, due to its localized production, is seeing a rebirth of popularity. This totally makes sense with its health benefits, unequalled flavour and potential to ward off evil spirits and vampires. Why wouldn’t you eat garlic?

Of all the yummy foods that garlic inspires, there are all the obvious things like a classic garlicky, “in your face” Caesar salad dressing or the old standby, good on everything, garlic butter. Imagine what some foods would be without our beloved ingredient. A zippy spaghetti Bolognese or a basil pesto would be lost. Lemon garlic shrimp, summer time bruschetta, guacamole or garlic mashed potatoes…don’t even bother!!! It becomes painfully obvious that in order to enjoy some of our favorite foods we must first secure some quality garlic. Check your local grocery store or farmers market to find your own versatile supply of local garlic.

Do you know where your garlic is from?

A common ways for us to get our garlic fix around our house is in these two simple appetizers.

Caper Anchovy Aioli

1 cup of good quality full fat mayo

1 anchovy fillet – finely minced

2 – 3 cloves of Alberta garlic – finely minced

2 Tablespoon drained capers – minced

1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

If you are thinking that this seems reminiscent of a Caesar salad dressing you would be correct. Serve this as a dip for veggies or crackers, as a dip for pizza, on a sandwich or with just about anything your heart desires.

Sweet Roasted Garlic Bulb

I know I already stressed that these are simple ways to enjoy garlic but seriously… this is easy!!!

Cut the top off two bulbs of Alberta garlic. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven or on the bbq for 30 – 40 minutes at 375 F or until tender and sweet. Squeeze each lovely clove onto a slice of baguette as an appetizer or mix into mashed potatoes or homemade soups.

 

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *