Food & Drink

March 30, 2011

Garlic goodness

Little cloves pack intense flavor and bring along some health benefits to boot.

I was just a couple of steps late in answering the knock on the kitchen door. Swinging it wide open, Shari said “I knew you were home, I smelled garlic.”

So I’ve been found out.

In addition to other (possible) character flaws, I am a garlic fiend.

Garlic butter, garlic toast, garlic and herb dips, garlic added to hot sauce when I bake wings, garlic chives from the garden chopped into green salads, you get the idea.

I even found a cookbook titled “The Unabashed Garlic & Onion Lovers International Cookbook” on my bookshelf. It’s been there for a while. Can’t remember who gave it to me.

I reason that garlic is good for you: It helps reduce blood pressure and plaque buildup in the veins and arteries, it can help in the prevention of certain types of cancer and, of course, it keeps vampires away.

Actually, it’s supposed to keep mosquitoes at bay but, hey, a blood sucker is a blood sucker.

Anyway, when Shari was at the house, I think I had been sautéing a couple of chopped cloves of garlic in a couple of tablespoons of butter and olive oil with red pepper flakes for a super-quick sauce to pour over pasta. It’s a lunch or dinner that I can take with me to work when I’m between paychecks. If I’m flush, I usually add five or six large fresh shrimp to the mix and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Simple, quick and delicious.

The recipe I’ve included for bagna cauda can be used as a sauce over pasta as well. I like to dip fresh veggies in the sauce... I figure it’s healthier than a bag of potato chips and store-bought dip.

And, I’m not the only one in the family that loves garlic.

Shari went through a phase where she ate quite a lot of garlic dill pickles when she was younger. Imagine sharing a bedroom with that!

I guess it just comes naturally.

Shari called me before I sat down to write this to share her latest garlic-inspired recipe: Take a two-pound pork loin and 16 cloves of chopped garlic, a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Split open the loin and place half of the chopped garlic inside. Rub the outside of the loin with the remaining garlic, ginger, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. In the morning, lightly sear the loin on all sides then either bake at 325 for two hours or place in a crock pot over slow heat for eight hours.

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