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Posts tagged ‘garlic’

Dandelion Greens with Warm Garlic Dressing

Just Google “dandelion greens” and you are faced with a seemingly endless list of health benefits from aiding in digestion to treating diabetes to fighting cancer. This super food has it all, although it comes with a bitter flavor profile. To enjoy dandelion greens you can certainly boil them and then saute as you would spinach, however the more you cook them down, the fewer benefits you receive. Here we’ve dressed the raw greens up with garlic and a few sweet notes which help balance the bitterness. Add some goat cheese and you’ve just made a delicious, nutrient-packed lunch right out of your back yard. Not bad for a weed.

DANDELION GREENS WITH WARM GARLIC DRESSING

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon champagne or sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon agave or honey

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

dandelion greens, tender leaves removed from any tough stems (about 2 cups, loosely packed)

goat cheese

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil and cook the garlic until it just begins to take on color. Add the raisins and stir for 1 minute until the garlic is lightly golden and the raisins are plump.

Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, agave, salt and pepper.

Distribute the dandelion greens onto serving plates, top with goat cheese and pour the warm dressing over the top.

Serves 2

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Greens

Spaghetti squash is a fantastic for those trying to move away from too many grains in their diet. The thin strands cook up perfectly in the oven and can be topped with a myriad of different sauces. At the cooking demo I went to the other day, the chef served it with a fresh Puttanesca sauce. Butter and curry also play nicely with this giant gourd. Here a simple preparation of earthy greens and bright lemon combine for a lovely lunch. You’ll never miss the pasta!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH LEMON AND GREENS

1 large spaghetti squash (about 5-6 pounds)

1+1/2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

a bit of stock or water

2 cups fresh greens, chopped (I used spinach here, but chard, kale or collards could all be used.)

the zest and juice of 1 lemon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

a fist full of Italian parsley , chopped

parmesan cheese (optional)

red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves, cut side down, in a large, rimmed baking sheet or dish. (You may need to utilize two pans depending on the dimensions of your squash). Add approximately 1/2 inch of  water to the (or to each) pan and bake for about 45 minutes. The squash is cooked when the skin of the squash can be easily pierced with the tip of your knife. Remove the squash from the pan and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for only about a minute before adding the chopped greens. It is key that he garlic not burn here so add a tablespoon or so of stock or water, if needed. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and allow the greens to wilt. Add in the lemon zest and juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

Using a table fork over a large bowl, take each half of the squash and strip out the flesh of the squash. It will separate on the fork to form thin strands. Once all the squash is in the bowl, add the lemon-greens mixture and toss well. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Turn it all out onto a platter and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and/or red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.

VARIATION: When sweet cherry tomatoes are in season, slice a bunch in half and cook in the garlic oil for a minute or two before adding your greens.

Serves 4.

Sopa de Ajo (Spanish Garlic Soup) by Theresa Caruso

As a bona fide garlic addict, I was delighted when I happened upon this recipe for “Sopa de Ajo”  (Garlic Soup).  A Spanish classic, its origins trace back to the days of “la cocina pobre” (poor man’s cusine) when shepherds, tending their flocks in the remote countryside, would cook meals for themselves in primitive huts using whatever simple ingredients they had around. The basic recipe calls for water, garlic and stale bread. Over time, variations evolved to include pimentón (the smokey Spanish paprika), poached egg, cumin, saffron and even dry sherry and chicken stock. Being true to the humble origins of the soup, I prefer using just water – it doesn’t muddle the garlic flavor. Once the water is infused with the garlic and spices, the soup is ladled into a crock, an egg is cracked into it and a crostino of bread fried in garlic oil is floated on top. The crock is then baked in the oven until the egg is poached.

The beauty of this soup is that you can put your own spin on it using whatever ingredients you have on hand. I can’t resist putting some greens in it like blanched escarole, kale or spinach. And who can resist topping the crostino with some cheese so it melts all nice and bubbly in the oven? With all the “medicinal” properties of garlic, it’s very comforting and great for whatever ails you on a cold winter’s day. Caveat: This soup is not for the garlic faint of heart – you will definitely exude garlic for a day or so after eating it!!!

SOPA DE AJO

olive oil

13+ garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

4 slices stale country-style bread

1 tablespoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 quart water

Pinch of saffron (optional)

4 eggs

salt and pepper

Coat the base of a heavy-bottomed pot with olive oil. Lightly brown whole cloves of garlic. Remove garlic with slotted spoon and reserve. Brown the slices of stale bread on both sides in the garlic-infused oil.  Remove from pot.  Add your spices – pimentón and cumin – and toast quickly in the warm pot. Then add the water, a pinch of saffron and the reserved sautéed garlic. Let simmer for 30 minutes. You can then either pass the soup through a sieve or food mill, or blend it to break up the garlic and allow it to permeate the broth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ladle broth into 4 individual crocks. Crack one egg into each crock. Top with a slice of the toasted garlic bread and bake in the oven just until egg is gently poached.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

¡Buen provecho!

Variations:

When ladling soup into bowl, you can add blanched greens such as escarole, spinach, arugula, dandelion, swiss chard or kale.

After topping the soup with the toasted bread, generously cover the top with cheese. I like to use asiago but you can use any semi-soft cheese such as provolone, manchego, cacio di Roma, etc. You can also choose to sprinkle parmigiano or pecorino romano over the top.

Roasted Squash with Garlic Cloves and Za’atar

It is believed that za’atar makes the mind alert and lends the body great strength (oh, yeah!). This Middle Eastern herb blend (spelled numerous ways including “zatar”, “zahtar”… ) is generally a mix from the thyme and oregano families combined with sesame seed, sea salt and sumac. Its most common use is as a topping on baked pita; sprinkled on hummus or incorporated into meat dishes. Today, I had acorn squashes that were crying out to be eaten. We were in the mood for roasted garlic. I had just had an inspiring conversation about za’atar with a friend. Sometimes the planets just align themselves to produce dinner!

ROASTED SQUASH WITH GARLIC CLOVES AND ZA’ATAR

2 medium acorn aqush, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

10 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

1/4 cup olive oil

1+1/2 tablespoons za’atar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a medium roasting pan and toss well to combine.

Roast for about 30 minutes until veggies are soft and golden.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Serves 4 as a side.

Steamed Mussels with Fennel, Garlic and Orange

My mother has always told me one should really only eat mussels during months whose names end in “…er,” so here’s to enjoying these delicious (and inexpensive) bivalves as many times as we can!

Steamed Mussels with Fennel, Garlic and Orange

1 medium navel orange

3 tablespoons vegetable oil* (canola, grapeseed)

4 large garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or very finely minced

1/3 cup finely minced shallots

1/2 cup finely chopped fennel bulb (reserve a few fronds for garnish)

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 pound mussels, scrubbed and beards removed (be sure not to use any that don’t close themselves as they are rinsed under cold water)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh, Italian parsley

Zest the orange – you should end up with about 1 tablespoon. Slice the ends off the orange and carefully carve the remaining peel and pith from the orange. Cut the sections out from between the membranes and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, shallots and fennel bulb. Saute until the mixture has softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and the zest and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent sticking. After a minute, add the stock and return to a boil. Add the mussels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam the mussels for about 3 minutes total, stirring every so often, until they have all opened. (If any do not open, discard.)

Divide the mussels between two serving bowls and turn off the flame. Mix the chopped oranges and parsley into the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the broth over the mussels, garnish with fennel fronds and serve with a great loaf of bread.

* Butter can certainly be substituted for the vegetable oil here. It will create a richer sauce, but it’s obviously not the heart-healthy option.

Serves 2

Vampire Cold Remedy

Last winter I experienced what was my first (and probably not last) major sinus infection. I took a round of antibiotics and yet the infection lingered. Desperate, I took to Google-ing homeopathic remedies for what ailed me. When I shared the amazing success I had ingesting the following witch’s brew, I got slack from some friends. Others hailed it. I found it to be more powerful than anything I had tried yet. Colds WILL go running, but vampires? Perhaps. Personally, I’ll take my chances and dine with Dracula.

To your health! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

VAMPIRE COLD REMEDY

6-8 ounces low-sodium V8 juice

2 garlic cloves, crushed or diced

dash of your preferred hot sauce, or as much as you can tolerate!

1 great big squeeze fresh lemon juice

Heat V-8 juice until hot, either in a microwave or in a double-boiler. Pour into a mug or bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

Find somewhere dark to sit and enhale the vapors deeply, while sipping slowly. Be sure to take notice of how it effects the different parts of your head and face. Be sure to eat the raw garlic. That’s one of the hardest, but most essential, parts of the experience. The tomato and lemon juices provide a surge of Vitamin C, among other nutrients; the garlic is a natural antibacterial agent; while the hot sauce helps it all gain access to the most ghoulish parts of your head.

Repeat as necessary — (shhh…it’s good for you)!

More than one friend has mentioned that this sounds like a hot Bloody Mary. Consider adding a shot of vodka to the mix when you next contemplate taking any other sleeping aid or nighttime cold remedy.

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