Sunday, January 6, 2013

Garlic and More Garlic

Garlic has always been one of my favorite things to cook with and eat.  I love the aroma of it as it is browning in the pan and it seems to make every dish perfect.  Although it may leave your breath smelling like you are trying to ward off vampires, the health and detoxifying benefits are incredible.

Garlic contains the compound allicin which makes it a powerful antiviral, antibiotic and antiseptic.  Although it is most powerful eaten raw, like most vegetables, I prefer to saute, roast, or use it in a tasty vinaigrette. Garlic is full of nutrients including zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamins C, A and B6 which makes it a must for a detox.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is delightful in any salad dressing, dip or simply spread on a piece of toast.  Add it to any dish (pasta, pizza, stir fry or soup) for and extra kick and boost in nutrients.

1 large garlic bulb 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small sprig of thyme (optional and could be substituted with any herb)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Slice the top off of the bulb of garlic exposing the ends of the cloves.  Rub off the excess papery skin carefully keeping the bulb whole.  Place the garlic in a small piece of foil and drizzle the olive oil over the bulb.  Place the thyme on top.  Wrap the garlic with foil and place it into a small oven safe baking dish or ramekin.  Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Unwrap the garlic and let cool before handling.  

Dandelion Greens with Warm Roasted Garlic Dressing

I couldn't believe I was going to make a salad out of the weeds that grow in most of our backyards.  However, this bitey green is full of antioxidants that support the cleansing of the digestive tract and liver.  Dandelion greens paired with the delicious roasted garlic dressing make this salad even more toxin flushing.  It is great on its own or paired with a roasted chicken, grilled salmon, or a perfectly cook pork chop.

Warm Roasted Garlic Dressing

1 large garlic bulb, roasted (see above recipe)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar (I use 18 year-old balsamic from 41 Olives)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 medium shallot, finely chopped

Squeeze the roasted garlic pulp into a small food processor discarding the skins.  Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, sea salt and pepper and blend until smooth.  Pour the dressing into a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and simmer for another 3-5 minutes until the shallots are soft.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Dandelion Greens Salad 

1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped with tough stems removed
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1-2 ounces goat cheese crumbled (substitute parmesan, cheddar or feta if preferred)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the dandelion greens into a large salad bowl.  Pour the warm roasted garlic dressing over the greens and toss until coated.  Add the toasted pine nuts and goat cheese.  Then toss to combine.  Season with pepper and serve.  

Garlic Soup

Since cold and flu season are now in full swing I thought this soup would be sure to kill any bacteria lingering around.  Although it seems a bit extreme and overwhelming with garlic it is surprisingly tasty and perfect on a cold afternoon.  This garlic soup is a wonderful detoxing meal after an over indulgent holiday season.  

2 tablespoons olive oil
20 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 2-3 bulbs)
6 sage leave
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves placed inside a cheesecloth and tied shut.
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth
6 egg yolks
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 warmed french baguette, sliced

In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden, stir constantly.  Add the sage, thyme and bay leaves.  Give it a quick stir and then add the water and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reducing the heat, simmer for 30 minutes and partially cover the pan with a lid.

Remove the herbs from the saucepan and discard.  Don't worry about the thyme leaves if they have fallen off.  I have found that they give the soup a wonderful extra flavor.  In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks and parmesan cheese together.  Add 2-3 ladles of the hot broth to the egg mixture to melt the parmesan cheese a bit.  Slowly pour the mixture into the saucepan while whisking constantly to combine all ingredients.  Using an immersion blender, process the soup until a smooth texture is reached.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot with a slice of french baguette.

Note: For an extra kick of flavor I also dashed cayenne pepper into the soup as I season it with the salt and pepper. My husband likes it spicy. Also, as I said in my last post, wine is part of my diet/detox and a buttery chardonnay was the perfect pair to this lovely garlic soup.