Garlic is Great

Harvesting garlic, from Tacuinum Sanitatis, ca...
Image via Wikipedia

I seem to be committed to doing this solo A-Z Food Challenge

…something I set myself during the A-Z Blogging Challenge back in April. Today’s letter is G, so let’s have some garlic.

I love garlic. Sliced, chopped, or pressed and added to just about anything.  It contributes a wonderful base flavor to soups, beans, legumes, tofu, breads…

When sauteing, it always goes in first, along with the onion, if there is any.

Garlic is best softened by the sauteing process, though if you get distracted while cooking and it ends up brown and crispy, you may want to leave it be and use it as is, depending on the other ingredients in the dish you’re preparing.   Those crispy bits of garlic can add a certain flavor to soups and some sauces, and possibly a stir-fry. Mushrooms, aubergine, and tofu can handle it with a little new, un-browned garlic added; though starting all over again is probably a good idea if it’s broccoli, tender green beans, baby corn or a creamy white or cheese sauce.

This is one full head of garlic beside another...
Image via Wikipedia

Garlic is Great raw in salads of almost any kind.

A small clove of garlic thinly sliced and added to a sliced tomato and onion salad with a little olive oil adds a nice kick.

Garlic is Great with Pasta

A couple of cloves of raw garlic, sliced, chopped, mashed or pressed, added to olive oil, with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper makes a wonderfully simple and healthy coating for pasta.  If you think the pasta’s a bit naked, add a few diced tomatoes – fresh or sun-dried, some sprigs of basil, sage, spinach, rocket (known as arugula in some places) and top with your favorite cheese.  Mmm-mmmm.  Simply delicious and deliciously simple.

Garlic is a Great Natural Antibiotic

Raw garlic is also a natural antibiotic. If you feel a cold coming on, mash-up a large clove of garlic, eat it raw, chase with a glass of freshly extracted juice – preferably orange – and go to bed. A singer friend in Barcelona swears by that same recipe for bronchitis. Though she leaves out the ‘going to bed’ part, and uses garlic twice daily until the bronchitis is banished.

Roasted Garlic
Image by bgreenlee via Flickr

Garlic is Great Roasted with Sweet Potatoes

My absolute favorite way to eat garlic is roasted whole, and eaten with baked, or roasted sweet potatoes. Roast one bulb of garlic for every serving of sweet potato.* Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper and serve each with a whole bulb of garlic.  The garlic cloves are easily removed from the bulb with a knife and fork, and the smooth, creamy garlic pressed onto the potato right on the back of your fork. This is the most delicious way to eat both roasted garlic and sweet potatoes.

Garlic is Great Sliced, Diced or Smashed

As far as sliced, diced, smashed or pressed goes – try garlic sliced for salads, stir fries, and soups and diced or smashed for sauces and garlic butter.  Either way works well with pasta.  I like it sliced, mostly for the sheer simplicity.  If it really needs to be smashed, I’ll use the side of a knife or the back of a spoon.   Long gone are the days of cleaning a garlic press!  That tedious task is enough to make you not want to bother.

* To roast garlic, just pop it in the oven on a suitable baking tray at about 180 C. It takes 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the bulb. Muffin tins offer individual cups for each bulb. I usually just put the bulbs in a Pyrex dish along with the potatoes.

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