Showing posts with label garlic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garlic. Show all posts

24 February 2014

A Dozen Fresh Must-Have Items in My Refrigerator

Red and white cipollini onions from Immerfrost Farm.
Availability of fresh, locally-grown produce has waxed and waned over the 20 years since my husband and I moved back to our hometown. In 1994, we could not find casual restaurants that served anything but fried food. Thankfully, over the years a new generation of owners and chefs took over area restaurants and most emphasize healthier cooking with local ingredients.

12 April 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Almond-Stuffed Olives


When I looked outside Saturday morning and saw December instead of April, I was surprised but not disheartened. When it is cold and blustery outside, there are plenty of antidotes inside.

Start by lighting a scented candle. My favorites for days like this evoke the Mediterranean. In the dining room are eucalyptus and herbes de Provence, while the kitchen candle is apricot.

Next plan your menu for the day. Tomatoes and roasted peppers are what I prefer when the weather is gray. Perhaps some cheese. Voila! The basis for a roasted pepper salad.

1-12 cherry tomatoes, slightly roasted
3 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers,
2 garlic cloves
10-12 chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese
olives (mine were green and stuffed with almonds)
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
dash sel de fleur
dash pepper, freshly ground

Toss the the cherry tomatoes and toss them in one teaspoon olive oil. Roast at medium heat in a small oven until they are just soft; chill. Next, cut the red peppers into strips and chop the garlic. Toss peppers and garlic in a bowl and coat with the remainder of the olive oil. Roast at 425 for about 15-20 minutes until the peppers begin to turn black along the edges and the garlic turns brown. Place in a large bowl and set aside to chill.

Once roasted ingredients are chilled, toss with cheese and olives. Add parsley (and basil, if you have any fresh on hand; I did not). Cover and chill for two hours. Season after you taste test.

This is a sweet salad! I served it with London Broil that had been rubbed with herbes de Provence and garlic.

Just making it cheered me immensely. Preparing the countertop, chopping the garlic, and roasting the peppers gave me a purpose.

There is nothing quite like puttering about in the kitchen, is there?

23 March 2008

Poulet Provencal (Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives)

They say it is spring, although you would not know it here in Wisconsin. I may hear cardinals and mourning doves in the morning, but what I see is snow and more snow, although patches of brownish-green grass have finally begun to show through here and there.

Easter began blustery with flurries and I had no idea what we'd eat for dinner. We are both still recovering from longish bouts with the flu and worse yet, suffering from acute cases of cabin fever.

Searching for a new way to make grilled tomatoes, I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe at Epicurious. Then I noticed it was from the March Gourmet, which for some reason I have two issues of - a good thing, because I can never get enough of this fabulous variation on chicken from the South of France. The recipe calls for all my favorites: tomatoes, garlic, onion, olives, herbes de Provence and fennel seeds. Did I mention chicken?

I added some potatoes to the vegetable mix to please my husband, and I stuffed a quartered lemon inside for additional moisture. These two ideas came from the readers comments on the Epicurious site.

This was possibly the best Easter meal I have ever made. I knew I did not want ham this year, and by happy coincidence, I'd picked up the chicken yesterday.

March was a trying month for me, with several big projects and an auto accident to cope with (I'm fine and my car is fixed already). But a good meal, some scented candles and bouquet of daffodils cheer me today.

Better days lie ahead. I am planning three trips, one for work and two for pleasure. Soon I'll be able to walk outside and enjoy warmer temperatures. Maybe.

25 March 2007

Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken

When my father graduated from high school in 1941, he found work with the Reiss Steamship Co., as a deckhand on the A.M. Byers, a self-unloading freighter on the Great Lakes.

The Japanese had not yet bombed Pearl Harbor, but most people knew it was only a matter of time until the United States went to war.

So it was a time between for my father, who dreamed of other things, possibly a career in history or journalism.

The war intervened, of course, and he joined the Army and went off with the 4th Infantry’s combat engineers unit to land at Utah Beach and forge his way into France and Germany.

He got into the restaurant business after the war ended, but years later, as a young father, went off to “work on the lakes” again, this time as second cook on the Peter Reiss, another self-unloading coal freighter. That must have been a lonely time for my father. I missed him terribly, and recall the day I played my 45 of "The Poor People of Paris" over and over again because it had been a gift from him.

Working on the lakes meant being away from your family from late March until December. But the pay and the benefits were excellent. Winter homecomings were something we began looking forward to in fall, when the first of the boxes from fancy Detroit department stores began to arrive.

So when Mary aka Breadchick from The Sour Dough contacted me about reviewing “Ships of the Great Lakes Cookbook” for a Cookbook Spotlight Event, I agreed, seeing an easy fit with this blog.

The book’s publisher, Creative Characters Publishing Group, supplied the cookbook. I will be featuring several recipes from the book over the next few weeks as the 2007 shipping season gets underway.

Since my husband is a boat designer by profession, I saw a fit there, too.

The book is full of good food but many of the recipes are designed to feed a crowd; I generally cook for no more than four people at a time. This would be a good cookbook for anyone who cooks down-home food for large church or school groups or special events. It's perfect for a restaurant chef, too,someone looking to create unpretentious, but still stylish menus.

Today was the first Sunday of spring and we invited my mother for dinner. I prepared a Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken that was tasty and melted in our mouths. I have never tasted such tender chicken. I served it with roast pepper-and-zucchini medley.

Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken
  • 1 5-6 pound roasting chicken
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 medium red onions, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Remove and discard giblets and chicken neck. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry. Loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between the skin and the meat. Place chopped rosemary and crushed garlic under skin. Lift the wing tips up and over the back, tucking under the chicken.

Place chicken breast side up in broiler pan. Trim ends of onions and remove papery skins from garlic. Do not peel or separate cloves. Brush onions and garlic with oil and arrange around chicken. I tucked in some rosemary, too.

Bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for another hour and 15 minutes or until chicken reaches 180 degrees.

We loved it and will do it again soon. This particular recipe is from the M.V. Paul R. Tregurtha, a coal boat. John R. Duning is head cook.

But first, a few more recipes from the Great Lakes. What next? There's everything from Lobster Bisque to Rotini with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan.

01 March 2007

Garlicky Artichoke Dip

Garlic and Artichoke Dip

It was on one of my parents’ Italian nights that I was first introduced to garlic. I was thoroughly turned off. Of course, I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time.

My mother recalls she wasn’t too fond of it, either. It was something she and her contemporaries associated with ethnic neighborhoods in large cities. I am sure its pungent odor offended their small-town sensibilities.

In fact, my parents were born into a world where garlic was looked upon as inferior (sound familiar?). But as the world grew smaller, garlic’s benefits were discovered and extolled.

The older I get, the more I like garlic. And the more garlic I eat. I find there is very little that I do not add garlic to these days. I do not believe it has aphrodisiacal qualities. Well, maybe I do, but that’s another story.

What I do know is that when consumed in any form it is delicious. And it is a mainstay of my favorite type of food, which is Mediterranean.

A nice garlicky artichoke dip was in order, I thought, on a recent stormy night.

And so I made one. A very healthy one, too. As is my habit, I made it from items already on hand. It's too nasty out there to run to the grocery store.

Warm Artichoke Dip with Garlic and Red Peppers
  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
  • 2 small cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (can be from a jar)
Drain the artichokes and pulverize them in a blender. Set aside. Place the minced garlic in a small sauce pan and sauté until golden brown. Add artichokes, cheeses and dressing. Add the red peppers last. Transfer dip to small baking dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Don't bake too long, or the cheese will separate.


Garlic at the farm market




24 January 2007

Garlic on my Fingers and the Smell of the Kitchen

“You’ll know the answer to this question,” an unmarried male coworker said to me recently. “How do you get the smell of onion or garlic off your hands?”

The question smacked — make that smelled — of sexism, but I answered as best I could: Lemon, baking soda, salt, tomato sauce, stainless steel, alcohol-based cleanser. I gave him a variety of options.

But later that day, after peeling and chopping garlic, I sniffed my fingers. Why would I want to eliminate a fragrance that smells good. To me, anyway.

Isn’t olfactory sensation all part of the process of preparing and eating food?

I say it is. And with rare exceptions — the smell of deep frying or the smell of lobster in an unvented kitchen in winter, for example — it is welcome, at least in my kitchen.

While I have purchased my share of odor-masking and odor-eliminating candles, soaps, rubs, cleansers and potpourris, I now prefer a kitchen to smell like a kitchen.

“You can always tell a Swedish kitchen,” Grandma Annie used to say. “The coffee pot is always on and it’s always fresh.”

I thought about it and it was true. Friends and neighbors, Anna and Lillian were Swedish women married to French men. Their kitchens were redolent of freshly-perked coffee — most welcome on cold, winter afternoons.

And they almost always had fresh-from-the-oven coffee cake or rolls, too. Their kitchens were scrupulously clean and tidy, but oh, they smelled so good.

Some people’s kitchens had a certain piquant, almost sausage-y smell. I grew to like those, too.

In Annie’s kitchen, the aromas of vanilla and almond predominated, perhaps because she baked so much. When I want to evoke Annie’s kitchen today, all I do is open a bottle of almond extract. It is a powerful agent of time travel for me.

My mother’s kitchen smelled of cardamom and apples when I was a child. When I use cardamom, I am three years old again and playing in my mother’s sunny yellow kitchen.

More often than not, my own kitchen is filled with the odor of onions — and yes, some times garlic.

While I realize the smell of garlic might offend some people, I no longer worry about it on my hands after I’ve made sausage rustica or ratatouille.

There are, the way I see it, far too many other things to fuss about these days.

What does your kitchen smell like? What aromas bring you back to childhood or another time in your life?