The Wonderful World of Garlic
History shows that garlic dates back to 4000 BC and is native to Central Asia. The word garlic comes from Old English garleac, meaning "spear leek"and is part of the lily family. This pungent bulbous herb has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region and used generously as a seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Egyptians worshipped garlic and placed clay models of garlic bulbs in the tomb of King Tut. Garlic was so highly regarded that it was even used as currency. Last but not least, garlic is also known for its aphrodisiacal properties, which have been extolled through the ages in literature, cooking recipes, and medical journals.
Garlic has not always enjoyed the popularity and widespread acceptance found today. It was socially frowned upon in the United States until the first quarter of the twentieth century. Up until that time, garlic was found almost exclusively in ethnic dishes in working-class neighborhoods. Quaint diner slang of the 1920's referred to garlic as Bronx vanilla, halitosis, and Italian perfume. But, by 1940, America had finally recognized its value and embraced garlic. Americans consume more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually.
Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to add aroma, taste, and added nutrition to your dishes. It can be used raw, dehydrated, cooked or baked. Below is an easy recipe for Roasted Garlic.
Roasted Garlic: Trim garlic bulbs so they will sit flat in a small clay/glass/ceramic baking dish. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Remove tops (cut straight across, exposing just the uppermost top portion of the cloves). Place 2-3 garlic bulbs in the baking dish. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over each bulb, using fingers to rub oil over all exposed areas. Add ¼ c vegetable stock (homemade or if store bought, use unsalted) and a splash of white wine (optional). Cover with lid or foil. Bake at 400º for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, garlic cloves will fell soft. Let cool. Use a small knife to cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
Eat as is, or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.
This article was submitted by Candice Berthold, CHC, AADP and owner of The Olive and The Grape. Candice is truly passionate about everything she does -and that is quite a bit. She will be regularly contributing to this publication, and I will be looking forward to each submission, as I am sure you all will be too!