Friday, November 26, 2010

Gangsta's Delight

Rapper Coolio, whose Gangsta's Paradise is one of my favorite songs of all time, has taken an unusual career turn. He started a online cooking show that features recipes that anyone can afford.

In honor of the start of the Christmas Shopping season, the day when many of us are tempted to spend money we don't have, here's Coolio's recipe for Ghettalian Garlic Bread! (The recipe is designed to accompany his tender Fork Steak.)

Demos are available on This concludes my use of profanity -- any adult content in the recipes below has been edited out with the judicious use of asterisks.

Coolio's Ghettalian Garlic Bread

French bread
18 oz. mayonnaise
Grated cheese - cheddar and jack
1 stick of butter
1/2 c. crushed garlic
hot sauce

1. Cut your French bread down the center. Be careful, cause your broke-*ss probably ain't got any insurance.
2. Lay them flat on their backs on a baking sheet.
3. Slosh your Mayonnaise into a medium size bowl.
4. Drop some cheese into the mix. Don't be scared, toss it in. Toss it!
5. Take a melted stick of butter and pour into your spread. Shaka!
6. Toss a half a cup of garlic in that motha'. Zulu!
7. Pour yourself some hot sauce up in that b*tch. That's for color.
8. Spread that creamy goodness across your bread. Come on, now. Put that shit on! Don't be know butter, mayonnaise, and cheese don't cost nothing.
9. Put that into your oven along with your Fork Steak. They can co-habitate until the cheese on your bread is golden brown.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Lebanese Independence Day!

In 2008, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists threatened to sue the country of Israel for appropriating traditional Lebanese foods including falafel, tabbouleh and hummus as their own on the world market. (They cited as precedent, the European Union’s ruling that gave Greece the sole right to use the name feta cheese.) They were unsuccessful.

Herewith, a recipe for traditional (Lebanese) hummus from Najmieh Batmanglij’s Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey.

Baalbeck Chickpea & Sesame Spread

1 c. dried chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 t. salt
5 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. tahini (sesame paste)
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cayenne
1 t. sugar
1 T. olive oil
1 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or basil

Soak chickpeas for two hours and drain. Place in a medium-sized heavy bottom saucepan, cover with 6 cups of water, 1/2 t. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 1/2 hours of until the chickpeas are tender. Drain and reserve 1/4 c. of the liquid.

Place the chickpeas, garlic, 1/2 t. salt, lime juice, tahini, drained chickpea liquid and mix in the food processor until you have a thick puree.

Adjust seasoning to taste and transfer to a serving dish. Spring with chopped parsley and serve with toasted pita, lavash bread or crostini.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Jodie Foster!

Jodie Foster shared her recipe for Penne with Broccoli Rabe with Time-Life for its book, In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy. Enjoy!

Penne with Broccoli Rabe

1 pound penne

1 pound broccoli rabe, halved crosswise

2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe and put in a large serving bowl. Add the garlic mixture, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Legend of William Tell

Today, in 1307, William Tell shot an apple off his son's head making way for his son to go on living and Rossini to write the William Tell Overture (probably best known as The Lone Ranger's theme song).

The legend of William Tell is that Hermann Gessler, a tyrant who was ruling over Switzerland, ordered that a tall pole with his hat on it be placed in the center of town. All who passed were ordered to bow to it. Tell refused and was arrested. Knowing of Tell's skill with a crossbow, Gessler thought it would be cruel to order Tell to shoot an apple off the head of his son, knowing it might kill him. Fortunately, Tell's ability did not fail him and his son's life was spared. Gessler was not so lucky as shortly after this, Tell trained his crossbow on him, killing him and setting Switzerland free for future watch and chocolate makers.

This roasted garlic apple soup from Soupsong is a wonderful way to commemorate Tell's legend and warm up on a brisk day. It's a perfect blend of sweet and savory. I've also included a recipe for Garlic Cheese Fondue from Bon Appetit if you'd prefer to honor Switzerland's hero that way.

Roasted Garlic Apple Soup

4 whole heads of garlic, rubbed in olive oil
4 small apples
4 small potatoes, diced finely
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
fresh sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: toasted walnuts and green onion, finely minced

Cut off the tops of the garlic bulbs, about 1/4-inch deep, then rub the bulbs lightly with olive oil. Seal the garlic bulbs and whole apples in tin foil--then seal them in another layer as well. Put on a cooking sheet and bake in a 375 F. degree oven for 45 minutes, until they are soft.

While the garlic and apples are roasting, bring the stock to a boil and toss in a bouquet garni of thyme, peppercorns, and bay (if you don't have modern technologies, just seal these ingredients in tin foil and poke little holes in the foil before tossing in). Reduce heat and simmer.

When the garlic and apples are done, unseal and let cool for a few minutes. Squeeze the garlic out of their clove packages and discard the skin. Mince the paste finely, in all directions, then add to the simmering broth. Do the same with the apples, discarding the core and skin. Toss in the finely diced potatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the soup well flavored. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5 minutes. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the mixture of minced green onions and toasted walnuts.

Here's a recipe for an uncharacteristically garlicky cheese fondue. (When I lived in Switzerland, I was warned never to eat fondue with cold water as you'll get sick. Alas, white wine (or warm tea) are the recommended beverages of choice. Oh well.

Garlic Swiss Fondue

1 pound Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 Gruyère cheese, grated
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/4 cups (about) dry white wine
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1-pound crusty French bread or sourdough bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch  cubes

Combine both cheeses, flour, nutmeg, and white pepper in large bowl; toss to coat. Bring 1 cup wine and garlic to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add cheese mixture by handfuls, whisking until melted and smooth after each addition. Mix in more wine by tablespoonfuls to reach desired consistency. Transfer to fondue pot.
Set fondue over candle or canned heat. Serve fondue with bread.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Garlic has played a supporting role in several Hollywood films. In a most memorable scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, an imprisoned Paul Sorvino slices garlic paper-thin with a razor blade so it would liquify in the pan with just a little olive oil. Scorsese’s mother, Catherine, cooked the food seen in the film and also appeared in a cameo as Joe Pesci’s mother. This is the recipe for Mama Scorsese’s meat sauce recipe — the one prepared in the prison scene:

Mama Scorsese's Meat Sauce

For meat sauce:
1/2 pound piece shank of veal, whole
1/2 pound pork sausage
olive oil
One medium onion, finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves or more, whole
6 ounces tomato paste
2 (28 ounces) cans Italian-style tomatoes (preferably Redpak brand)

For meatballs:
1 lb. ground mixture of veal, beef, & pork
1 egg
grated Locatelli & sardo cheeses
fresh parsley
garlic salt (optional)
salt & finely ground red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
bread crumbs if needed for consistency

Sauté sausage & veal in a large pot in olive oil until a little brown. Put aside. Sauté onion & garlic cloves in the same pot until golden. Add tomato paste & 3 paste cans of water to pot. Put tomatoes through a sieve to get rid of seeds & add to pot. Cook on low flame.

When sauce starts to bubble, add salt & red pepper to taste & simmer for a while, stirring every now & then from the bottom up. Don't put in any oregano; it keeps repeating on you.

Add the large pieces of veal & pork. Cook uncovered until meat comes apart with a fork.

Mix meatball ingredients together & roll into egg-size balls. Put raw meatballs in the sauce — do not fry them. When meatballs float to the top of the sauce (don't stir until they do), they should be done. Simmer & stir a few more minutes.

Remove pieces of veal & pork, slice, & serve as a side dish with meatballs. Serve sauce over spaghetti or whatever pasta you want.

(Serves two very hearty eaters, with 1 pound of pasta)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UNESCO Founded 65 Years Ago

The medieval gem of Krakow, Poland was one of the first twelve sites listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. (Others included Lalibela, Ethiopia, Goree, Senegal, and Yellowstone and Mesa Verde National Parks in the US.)

I've been on a real trout kick lately and love this super easy recipe for Polish baked trout drizzled with garlic butter (swiezy pstrag w maslem czonsnkowym for all you Polish readers.) I posted a picture of Krakow because its prettier than baked trout.

Baked Trout with Garlic Butter

2 crushed garlic cloves
2 ounces softened butter
4 whole trout, heads and tails on
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a large, shallow baking pan with cooking spray. The pan should be large enough so fish can lie flat without resting on each other. Melt butter and mix in minced garlic and butter; set aside. 

Pour lemon juice inside and outside of fish and then season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle half of the garlic butter over fish. Put fish in lightly greased pan and cover loosely with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when the tip of a knife is inserted.

Drizzle remaining garlic butter over fish. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Wendy's!

Dave Thomas opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio on this date in 1969. The pioneering chain was the first fast food outlet to offer a salad bar and in 2002, Wendy’s introduced freshly-prepared premium salads called Garden Sensations. The popular Chicken Caesar Salad came with a warm garlic breadstick in foil. Alas, the bread sticks are gone (and the Garden Sensations line was shaken up last year to poor reviews.)

Nonetheless, let’s honor the memory and legacy of Dave Thomas, who was adopted as an infant and went on to found the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to find adoptive families for children in foster care.

1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 c. flour
garlic butter and course sea salt, to taste

Mix ingredients well. Divide dough in half. Make large roll, 12" long, 3" wide. Cut into 12 pieces. Roll to 6" to 9" long. Place on greased cookie sheet. Do same with half of dough. Bake 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Baste with garlic butter and sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Boutros Boutros Ghali!

The Egyptian-born, former UN General Secretary turns 87 today. And Prince Charles turns 61 but would you rather have an Egyptian recipe or an English one? (No offense, Howard!)

Garlic has a long history in Egypt. Four dried, preserved cloves were found in King Tut's four thousand year-old tomb. Garlic gave strength to the builders of the Great Pyramids of Giza and was also at the root of the world’s first recorded labor strike. Slaves refused to work when their masters first reduced and then eliminated their daily garlic ration. Once garlic was reinstated, construction on the pyramids resumed.

Garlic remains popular in Egyptian cuisine and its national dish, Ful Medames, is a garlicky fava bean paste that’s usually eaten for breakfast. Ful Medames, once considered peasant food, is very filling and thus popular as a pre-fast meal during Ramadan. The dish is also popular in Syria and Lebanon. The Syrians make it the same way the Egyptians do; the Lebanese add their beloved chickpeas. The following recipe comes from Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Ful Medames

2 cups small Egyptian fava beans (soaked overnight and left unpeeled)
1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 lemons, quartered
Salt and pepper
4—6 cloves garlic, crushed
Chili-pepper flakes

As the cooking time varies depending on the quality and age of the beans, it is good to cook them in advance and to reheat them when you are ready to serve. Cook the drained beans in a fresh portion of unsalted water in a large saucepan with the lid on until tender, adding water to keep them covered, and salt when the beans have softened. They take 2-2 1/2 hours of gentle simmering. When the beans are soft, let the liquid reduce. It is usual to take out a ladle or two of the beans and to mash them with some of the cooking liquid, then stir this back into the beans. This is to thicken the sauce.

Serve the beans in soup bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley and accompanied by Arab bread.

Pass round the dressing ingredients for everyone to help themselves: a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, the quartered lemons, salt and pepper, a little saucer with the crushed garlic, one with chili-pepper flakes, and one with ground cumin.

The beans are eaten gently crushed with the fork, so that they absorb the dressing.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Georgia on my Mind

Ninety years ago today, Lenin sent the following telegram to Stalin.

To Stalin: How is the struggle against the bands progressing? Is it true that they have over 20,000 rifles and sabres? Are the reinforcements designated for the Caucasus front sufficient? Do you consider a peaceful settlement of relations with Georgia and Armenia possible, and on what basis? Then, is the work on the fortification of the approaches to Baku being conducted in real earnest? I also ask for information on Turkey and Persia, briefly by telegram, and in detail by letter. Lenin

I'm planning a trip to Georgia (the republic, not the state) next spring. The Georgian Embassy in Washington provides the following reassurance for travelers to the country: Georgian is pronounced just as it is written. ამერიკის შეერთებული შტატები ღრმად შეშფოთებულია ინფორმაციით ზედა კოდორის ხეობაში თავდასხმების შესახებ და გმობს ძალადობის ყოველგვარ მსგავ აქტს. ჩვენთვის ცნობილი გახდა, რომ –მა ზედა კოდორის ხეობაში გააგზავნა ფაქტების შემსწავლელი ჯგუფი, რომელიც.

The following recipe for native Georgian son, Stalin’s beloved Turkey Satsivi, (turkey in a creamy garlic walnut sauce) is from The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein. Georgian Thanksgiving anyone?

Turkey Satsivi

1 young 6-7 lb. turkey
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs parsley
6 c. water

4 T. butter
3 onions, peeled and chopped
6 chopped garlic cloves
2 heaping cups of shelled walnuts
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 t. ground coriander seed
1 1/2 t. ground marigold
1 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne
3/4 t. salt
1/4 c. red wine vinegar

Place the turkey in a stockpot and add the bay leaves, parsley, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the turkey to the roasting pan, reserving the stock. Roast for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until golden. Cut into small pieces and place them in a serving dish.

While the turkey is roasting, measure the reserved stock. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat to reduce to 4 cups. Set aside. Next, prepare the sauce. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter and add the chopped onions. Saute until transparent. Grind the walnuts together with the garlic, then add to the onions, stirring well. Return this mixture to the food processor or meat grinder and grind again to make a paste. Place the paste in the skillet and stir in the remaining ingredients except for the vinegar. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring, for a few minutes. Gradually pour in the 4 cups reserved stock. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, then stir in the wine vinegar. (The sauce will not be very thick.)

Pour the sauce over the turkey and allow the satsivi to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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The Jersey Joys

The Holland Tunnel was opened on this day in 1927, bringing the term “bridge and tunnel people,” a disparaging term for outer-borough (non-Manhattan) residents to life.

In honor of the opening of the tunnel (and the great people of The Garden State), here’s a recipe for New Jersey-Style "Clean'em before you Cook'em" Olive Oil & Garlic Crabs (courtesy of Captain Williecrab of Millville, New Jersey -- Exit 3). Williecrab wastes no time disparaging the residents of Maryland. Can’t we all just get along?
Unlike Maryland style steamed crabs, where the whole (live) crabs are seasoned, steamed, then cleaned, New Jersey style crabs are cleaned first. To quote the captain, "Only barbaric heathens do not clean a crab first, they cook a whole crab alive and cook his guts in the meat instead of wonderful spices and things like garlic." Here’s the captain’s own recipe.

New Jersey-Style "Clean'em before you Cook'em" Olive Oil & Garlic Crabs

olive oil
coarse ground garlic powder with parsley
Parmesan cheese, grated
Romano cheese, grated
Italian bread crumbs
red pepper flakes
Season-all salt
salt & pepper
whole garlic cloves, minced

Create the crab mash, customize to your liking: Take your large pot, put about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Add about a cup of olive oil. Add about 4 heaping teaspoons of freshly minced garlic. Add about 6 good shakes of season-all salt, 6 shakes of ground red pepper, 8 shakes of crushed red pepper, and 4 or 5 shakes of salt and pepper. Mix well, then warm.

Take the cleaned crabs and dip them in the mash and set aside. Sprinkle crabs with coarse garlic with parsley, also add some ground red pepper and any other ingredients you like. (Williecrab recommends adding some Italian bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and grated Romano cheese to the water and sprinkled directly on the crabs before cooking them. The cheeses melt on the bodies and the spicy bread crumbs puff up and splatter on the crabs in the steam.)

Cover pot and bring the mash to a hard boil. With the mash boiling, lift the lid and dump in about 15 to 20 cleaned crabs (depending on the size of your pot). Put the lid on and oil-steam them for 12 minutes. Make sure there is plenty of room in the pot for the steam to circulate little drops of olive oil on the seasoned bodies of the crabs.

After 12 minutes the claws and legs should turn bright orange. Remove crabs and test a claw. If the meat slides out and is juicy, you got it! If the meat is stuck in the claw, you are cooking them a little too long. If you do not like the crabs getting mushy on the bottom, put a platform at the bottom to keep the crabs out of the mash.

If you really like garlic, put some freshly minced garlic right in the bodies before you steam. If you've got time, try pre-cracking the claws before steaming. If you do it right, you won't need a wooden hammer to break open the claws. The trick is to cook the crabs so that the spices "melt" into the meat and the bodies of the crabs have an olive oil sheen on them. When the crabs come out of the pot, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheese, with just a tad of butter, which melts into the meat making an incredible treat!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Jewish Homeland?

On this day in 1938, Hermann Göring proposed making Madagascar “the Jewish homeland” and forcibly relocating the Jewish population of Europe to the island off the coast of Africa. Oddly enough, the idea had originally been proposed by Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, who in contemplating “alternative homelands” considered a number of far-flung locations such as Madagascar, Kenya, and British Guyana.

This recipe called Akoho misy Sakamalao (chicken with ginger and garlic) is a Malagasy specialty. Somewhat ironically, its often served on Christmas.

Akolo misy Sakamalao
(Chicken with Ginger and Garlic)

One chicken cut into pieces (remove the skin if you prefer)
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons oil

Rub the ginger and garlic into the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt.
Place the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook chicken on low heat until done, . Test to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with cooked rice, a Madagascar staple.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 5-0 Stanley Tucci!

Actor Stanley Tucci co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in Big Night, unarguably the best food movie of all time. In his honor, try his family’s beloved Topolini (veal rolls filled with two cheeses and garlic and finished with wine and celery leaves). Topolini is Italian for “mice” which the rolls resemble (okay, not that much).

This dish can also be made with chicken cutlets if they are pounded thin enough. When rolled up, these veal or chicken topolini should measure 2 1/2 to 3 inches in length and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The dish tastes best if prepared ahead and warmed slowly before serving.

Topolini (Veal Rolls with Two Cheeses)

6 cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds) veal scallopine, pounded thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely diced provolone cheese (optional)
4 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
4 tablespoons chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup celery leaves
16 ounces (2 cups) chicken broth

Lay each scallop of veal out flat and place in the center a little less than a demitasse spoon each of garlic, provolone and pecorino cheeses (if using both) and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Then roll each veal scallop up and tie in a bundle with white kitchen string (or close each veal roll with a toothpick).

Place the olive oil in a large saute pan. When the oil is hot, brown the veal rolls evenly on all sides. Remove the veal and set aside. Add the wine to the saute pan. Scrape the pan to get all the browned bits off the pan surface. Add the celery leaves. Add the chicken broth, place the veal rolls back in the pan and simmer, covered, for about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with pasta and/or a salad.

Timpano, a massive drum-sized casserole of pasta, mini-meatballs, salami, hard-boiled eggs, a variety of cheeses and tomato sauce, also co-starred in Big Night. Tucci's mother shares the family recipe for Timpano in her cookbook Cucina & Famiglia written with Gianni Scappin and Mimi S. Taft.

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Happy Independence Day Angola

On November 11, 1975, the south African state of Angola gained its independence from Portugal after almost 400 years of colonial rule. Celebrate Angolan Independence with Muamba de Galinha, a spicy Angolan chicken dish.

Spicy Chicken with Garlic and Vegetables

2 lb. chicken, cut up and roasted

4 tablespoons olive oil *

1 c. chicken broth

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 onions, sliced

2 cayenne peppers, seeded and sliced

1 Delicata squash, roasted whole then cut into bite-size pieces

3 tomatoes, quartered

1/4 teaspoon grains of paradise
1 bay leaf

salt and pepper, to taste

Pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a Dutch Oven or large pot and heat over moderate heat. Add the minced garlic and sliced onions. Cook until translucent. Add the roasted chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, peppers, roasted squash, bay leaf, grains of paradise, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve over rice.

* While red palm oil is used in Angola, it has a very strong taste and western palates are likely to prefer olive oil.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kimchi Nation

In the late 1990s, the Japanese took an unlikely liking to kimchi and the formerly garlic-averse nation was once responsible for 70-80% of Korea’s kimchi exports. The Japanese started producing their own, less expensive, version of kimchi and even had the audacity to ask that Japanese kimchi, (kimuchi in Japanese) be declared an official food at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

The Koreans, insulted and outraged, charged that Japanese kimchi is imitation kimchi as it's soured with chemicals and not fermented. In 2001, the Codex Alimentarius, which sets international food standards recognized by the World Trade Organization, adopted a global standard for making kimchi that matches Korean methods. In honor of the G20 Summit opening today in Seoul, here’s a recipe for traditional Baeuchu Kimchi is from Eating Korean by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. I'm going to Seoul next week so look for upcoming pictures from the Kimchi Field Museum.


1 c plus 1 T coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger root
1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp
1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup Korean chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Sesame oil (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours.

Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced.

In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.)

Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff radish mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

Let sit for 2 to 3 days in a cool place before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with a little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sympathy for the Vampire

According to Keith Richards’ former bodyguard and drug dealer, Richards’ longtime paramour Anita Pallenberg was “obsessed with black magic and began to carry a string of garlic with her everywhere — even to bed — to ward off vampires.” That further nixes the vampire rumor that Richards started when he said he had his blood drained and replaced (a comment he tossed out to shut up the paparazzi).

In his brilliant autobiography, Life, Richard devotes two pages to preparing the perfect bangers (sausages) which is essentially, “Throw them on low heat and let the f*ckers rock gently.”

Although he’s been cooking bangers all his life, a lady on TV taught him that the pan should be cold when the bangers are added. “Preheating agitates them, that’s why they’re called bangers,” the Rolling Chef explains “Very slowly, start them off cold. And then just be prepared to have a drink and wait. And it works. It doesn’t shrivel them up; they’re plump. It’s just a matter of patience.”

Richards is less specific on mash -- “mash yer spuds and whatever.” So in honor of Keef (and Pallenberg), I’ve included my go-to recipe for garlic mash which comes from from Alton Brown.

3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 oz. grated Parmesan

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

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The Garlic House in Berlin

The Berlin Wall came down twenty-one years ago. If your travels take you to Berlin, don’t miss The Knoblauchhaus (Garlic House), an original town house at the Nikolaiviertel. It’s one of the few houses of the Old Berlin that was left unharmed by war. Commissioned by Johann Christian Knoblauch -- the building was completed in 1761. In 1989, the same year the wall came down, the family donated it to the state as a museum. Inside, you can see how the wealthy Berliners lived in the 19th century.

Nearby, the cozy Wurstaus zum Nussbaum (Walnut Inn) serves traditional (ultra-hearty) Berlin cuisine from “mother’s original recipes.” See if knoblauch wurst (garlic sausage) is on the special’s menu. Guten appetit und prost!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Bram Stoker & Gordon Ramsay

Stoker was the first to popularize vampires’ aversion to garlic in Dracula. After Lucy Westenra succumbs to Count Dracula’s charms and dies from loss of blood, she comes back as a vampire, preying on young children. To destroy her, Professor Van Helsing declares “I shall cut off her head and fill her mouth with garlic, and I shall drive a stake through her body.”

To make sure that doesn't happen to you (and for a perfect snack during Monday Night football) try these Anti-Vampire Garlic Bites. Or, if you're more a Hell's Kitchen fan, page down a bit for Gordon Ramsay's Tiger Prawns with Garlic, Chilies and Lemongrass from Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy.

Anti-Vampire Garlic Bites

Frozen phyllo dough, 1/2 package, thawed
3/4 cup melted butter
Several peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Unroll the phyllo dough and place it on a piece of waxed paper. Use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo dough across into 2-inch strips. Put a piece of waxed paper over the top of the phyllo strips, and then cover them with a damp kitchen towel to keep them moist while you work. Lay one strip at a time on a separate piece of waxed paper and brush it with melted butter.

Sprinkle a bit of finely chopped almonds on the phyllo strip and put a garlic clove at one end. Roll up the strip of dough, sealing the edges as you go. Brush with a bit of extra butter and roll it in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining phyllo strips. Place the anti-vampie bites on a rack and put the rack in a roasting pan and bake them until they're golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve straight from the oven. Go Bengals!

TIger Prawns with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemongrass

12 large raw tiger prawns peeled and deveined - tail shell on
3 peeled garlic cloves
2 deseeded red chillies
2 stalks lemongrass
2.5 cm (roughly 1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled
5 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Put the tiger prawns in a shallow dish. Pound the garlic, chillies, lemongrass and ginger together using a pestle and mortar, gradually adding the olive oil until you have a rough paste (or whiz briefly in the blender). Season with salt and pepper. Baste the prawns with the spice paste and leave to marinate in a cool place for 2-3 hours.

Cook the marinated prawns on the hot barbecue for 4-6 minutes, turning, until they turn pink and feel slightly firm to the touch – don’t overcook. Serve at once. (Ramsay suggests serving with a flavoured vinaigrette, sour cream or tomato salsa, but I'd go for rice, myself.)

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

In honor of Albert Camus who was born in Algeria on this date in 1913, here’s a recipe for Algerian Meatballs in Garlic Sauce. It was adapted from From the Land of Figs and Olives by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters.

For the Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb. beef, cubed
1 head of garlic, minced
Salt And pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

For the Meatballs:
1 lb. of ground beef
1/4 c. cooked rice
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
4 T. tomato paste
15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained

In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until they begin to brown. Add the cubed meat, half the garlic, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the cayenne. Saute for 5 minutes. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, mix ground beef, rice, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Form into meatballs, then place into the simmering pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and chickpeas. Simmer until the chickpeas are warmed through and serve.

Serves 8

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Got flu? Get soup.

Rebecca “Maud” Newton is a brilliant Brooklyn writer who started her blog,, as an excuse to procrastinate. (As a new blogger, I can relate completely.) Newton shares my interest in recipes from writers although in my case, said recipes from writers need to include lotsof garlic.

When Newton was sick, she offered this adaptation of “Spicy Tomato Soup” from the legendary Moosewood Cookbook. Any recipe that calls for between six and sixteen cloves of garlic and tons of black pepper works for me. Flu season starts to peak in November. Get a flu shot and/or make this soup.

Olive oil

1 large white onion, minced

6 – 16 cloves garlic (depends on your fortitude), crushed

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons salt

1 large bunch fresh dill (minus stems), chopped
Tons of black pepper

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

3 oz. (or 1/2 of a small can) tomato paste
1 1/2 – 2 c. water

1 tablespoon honey

2-3 medium fresh tomatoes, diced

3-4 oz. goat cheese (or 2-3 tbsp. sour cream or yoghurt)

First you’re going to sauté the onion, garlic, and dill, with salt and a little pepper, so warm up whatever amount of olive oil you’re comfortable with — I use a lot — over medium heat, and then throw in those ingredients. Stir everything around for 5 to 8 minutes until onions are translucent, then lower heat and cook a bit more, adding oil if necessary, until onions are soft. (You can do this in the same large pot you’ll be using for the soup.)

Next add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and honey, with as much pepper as you can stand. If you’re grinding it, turn the top of the grinder at least 20 times. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Taste. If you’re like me, you’ll maniacally add more pepper at this stage. Heat another 20-30 minutes, adding water as necessary — personally, I like this soup very thick — and possibly a little salt. Throw in fresh tomatoes. Simmer another five minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Turn off heat and stir in goat cheese (or sour cream, or yogurt) until dissolved. Taste again, add pepper or more cheese if necessary, then serve with stoned wheat crackers, water table crackers, or whatever you like.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Big George's Garlic Wine Marinade

On this date in 1994, George Foreman, at the age of 45, became boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion when he defeated 26-year-old Michael Moorer in front of more than stunned 12,000 spectators at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Foreman dedicated his upset (Moorer entered the ring undefeated) to “all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail.”

In honor of Big George, mix up his Garlic Wine marinade, pull out your George Foreman Grill and grill something. The marinade is great on chicken and beef.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a shallow glass bowl. Add meat and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Julia Child, James Beard and Lots of Garlic

Okay, the past two posts were a bit intense with the plague and King Alphonso's garlic-hating, so I think something exuberant is in order. Enter Lady Julia and Sir James. In the 1950s and 60s, it’s no exaggeration to say that James Beard and Julia Child revolutionized American cooking. Child, of course, focused on French cuisine in her classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, written with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Beard loved to astound his students with the classic Provençal classic, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. As Betty Fussell wrote in Masters of American Cookery, in the 1950s, calling for forty cloves of garlic in a single recipe was tantamount to joining the Communist Party. Bon Appetit Comrade!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

30 cloves of garlic
4 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c boiling milk
1/4 t. salt
Pinch of white pepper

Drop garlic into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and peel. Melt butter in small heavy-bottom saucepan and cook garlic slowly in butter, covered, for about 20 minutes until soft but not browned. Add flour and stir over low heat for 2 minute. Off heat stir in milk, salt, and pepper. Return to heat and simmer for 1 minute, stirring. Press through a sieve or puree in a food processor. Set aside.

2-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 T. softened butter
White pepper
2-4 T. whipping cream
4 T. minced parsley

Boil or microwave potatoes until soft then drain and put through a potato ricer or food mill. Return to pan and stir over low heat for a few minutes to evaporate some of the excess moisture. As soon as the puree begins to form a film on the bottom of the pan remove from heat and beat in the butter 1 T. at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Beat in the garlic sauce and enough cream to reach the desired consistency. Beat in the minced parsley and serve.

Upping the ante, Beard’s following chicken recipe calls for not thirty, but forty cloves of garlic. He used to teach this Provençal recipe for years in his classes and said “it never failed to astonish the students because the garlic becomes so mild and buttery when it's cooked through!" This recipe is a popular Passover dish and Jewish cooks say the forty cloves represent the Israelites’ forty years of wandering.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

2/3 c. olive oil
8 chicken drumstick and thighs (or 16 of either)
4 ribs celery, cut in long strips
2 medium onions, chopped
6 sprigs parsley
1 T. chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 t. dried
1/2 c. dry vermouth
2 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
40 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Put the oil in a shallow dish, add the chicken pieces, and turn them to coat all sides evenly with the oil.

Cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole with a mixture of the celery and onions, add the parsley and tarragon, and lay the chicken pieces on top. Pour the vermouth over them, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add a dash or two of nutmeg, and tuck the garlic cloves around and between the chicken pieces. Cover the top of the casserole tight with aluminum foil and then the lid (this creates an air-tight seal so the steam won't escape).
Bake in a 375°oven for 1 1/2 hours, without removing the cover.

Serve the chicken, pan juices, and whole garlic cloves with thin slices of heated French bread or toast. The garlic should be squeezed from the root end of its papery husk onto the bread or toast, spread like butter, and eaten with the chicken.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Four Thieves' Vinegar

Continuing with poor King Alphonso XI ... he died of the bubonic plague on the island of Gibralter in 1350. Perhaps some garlic could have saved him. Garlic was a major ingredient in Four Thieves’ Vinegar, a protection against the plague, so named because during an outbreak in Marseilles in 1726, four thieves who were arrested for robbing corpses credited their immunity to wearing masks soaked in vinegar, garlic and other herbs.

The image above is the costume worn by Plague Doctors who visited victims of the plague to verify if they had been afflicted. The "beak" was filled with herbs to purify the air that the doctors breathed. (The stick was to push away patients who got too close.) Nostradamus was a noted Plague Doctor.

As flu season approaches, here's a recipe for Four Thieves Vinegar -- you can also purchase Thieves Oil at health food stores.

Take lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint, of each a large handful; put them in a pot of earthen ware, pour on them four quarts of very strong vinegar, cover the pot closely, and put a board on the top; keep it in the hottest sun two weeks, then strain and bottle it, putting in each bottle a clove of garlic. When it has settled in the bottle and become clear, pour it off gently; do this until you get it all free from sediment.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Castilian Garlic Soup

King Alphonso XI of Castile hated garlic so much that, in 1330, he made it a statute of knighthood that if a knight were to eat it, he would not be allowed to appear before him for at least a month. The late king would be horrified to learn that one of Spain’s most beloved garlic dishes, Sopa de Ajo Castellana, is named for his province. This recipe for Castilian Garlic Soup is from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

5 or 6 whole heads of garlic, the cloves separated and peeled (about 1 cup or 1/2 pound of peeled garlic cloves)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried red pepper

6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup Spanish amontillado or oloroso sherry

A pinch of ground cumin

A pinch of saffron threads

Sea salt to taste


4 half-inch-thick slices of crusty bread
1 garlic clove

4 poached eggs (optional)

Freshly grated Manchego cheese (optional)

In a heavy soup kettle or a 2-quart saucepan , gently cook the garlic in the olive oil over low heat until the cloves are thoroughly softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let the cloves get brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Stir the red chili pepper into the hot oil in the pan, then add the stock and sherry. Bring to a simmer while you stir in the cumin and saffron. Use a fork to crush the tender garlic cloves to a paste into the soup. Taste and add salt if necessary. Cover the soup and leave to simmer very gently for about 15 minutes.

While the soup cooks, toast the bread slices. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub over the toasted slices. If you want to add an egg to each serving, poach the eggs gently in simmering acidulated water (water to which a couple of spoonfuls of white vinegar have been added), remove with a slotted spoon when done to taste, and drain on paper towels.

Serve the soup as is, hot from the pot, floating a slice of garlicky toast on each serving. If you wish, add a poached egg and sprinkle of grated cheese. When you eat the soup, break the egg and stir it and the cheese into the hot soup.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fettunta (aka best garlic bread ever)

I just read two posts on Fettunta, literally "greased bread" that's prepared in Italy to celebrate the first olive oil of the season. It's almost dinner time, so I decided to make some myself. It's amazing how four simple ingredients can come together to create a masterpiece.

Great bread, sliced one inch thick (I used multi-grain)
Garlic cloves, cut in half
Your Best Olive Oil
Sea Salt (not too finely ground, flakes are good -- I'm a Maldon girl myself)

1) Toast the bread or grill it under the broiler.
2) Rub cut garlic cloves on toasted bread.
3) Drizzle with olive oil.
4) Sprinkle with sea salt.

That's all there is to it, unless like me, you find it impossible to be a purist. I sprinkled on a little Zaa'tar, a Lebanese blend of wild thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac for a Levantine take on fettunta.

Thanks to Aki and Alex at Ideas in Food ( -- who I met at a PR event in NYC several years ago -- the one in the apartment with the real stuffed animals in the basement) and Elaine, who writes the sensational blog, The Italian Dish (

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Garlic Varieties Explained


As promised, here are the descriptions of the different garlic varieties I planted. Descriptions of different types of garlic is below.

Moldovan Purple: I was over the moon when Colin Boswell, who runs The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight gave me two heads of his prized Moldovan Purple garlic. My father’s family fled Moldova at the turn of the 20th century and it’s been an obsession of mine for as long as I can remember. Shortly before my first, long-awaited visit to my ancestral homeland last month, I was chagrined to learn that Moldovan Purple is actually native to Kazakhstan. In The Garlic Farm cookbook, Moldovan Purple is defined as “a warm garlic with real persistence and amazing aroma that makes the best garlic bread.”

Solent Wight: Named after the Solent, the estuary that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland. This is another treat from The Garlic Farm that I smuggled from the UK to the US. “Large, hard, dense white bulbs with an elegant bouquet.”

Persian Star: This hard neck purple stripe was obtained by amateur garlic aficionado (and professional lawyer) John Swenson. Swenson was invited to join the 1989 garlic collection mission across the former Soviet Union by virtue of his passion and knowledge. Although Swenson picked up this variety in Uzbekistan, garlic grower Horace Shaw thought it sounded “Persian” and gave it its name. My bulbs came from PD Farm in Elgin, Oregon.

Ukrainian Red: This spicy garlic has “an initial bite that dissipates quickly leaving a nice buttery finish” making it sound like a cross between an angry dog and a California chardonnay. Purchased from Rutkowski Farm in Ballston Spa, New York at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.

Georgian Fire: This white hot porcelain garlic from the Republic of Georgia, was one of many rescued from obscurity from the Gatersleben Gene Bank, located in the former East Germany. My personal favorite, this year's batch came from Maplewood Gardens in Elderon, Wisconsin. CORRECTION: Maplewood Gardens couldn't send out garlic because of adverse weather conditions. My Georgian Fire came from A One of a Kind Farm in Selma, Oregon.

Hungarian Purple Stripe: I purchased this Rocambole from Witchcat Farm in Bakersfield, Vermont at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival. In addition to growing awesome garlic in the “Northern Kingdom,” Witchcat Farm supplies garlic to the Bread & Puppet Theater which serves bread with aioli (garlic mayonnaise) after most of its performances.

Bavarian Purple: A porcelain garlic with a mellow, mild flavor from Bob Anderson’s Gourmet Garlic Gardens (henceforth GGG).

Amish: A Rocambole garlic with very rich garlic flavor that’s very hot when raw. Also from GGG.

Music: This porcelain garlic is named for Canadian garlic grower Al Music, is one of the most popular among home growers. Large, easy-to-grow bulbs (or so I’m told). Also from GGG.

Purple Italian Rocambole: Another rich flavored bulb that’s hot when raw from GGG. Along with Reisig, the plumpest bulbs I planted.

Korean Red: A hardneck with great hot flavor from Ireland Farm in Fulton NY (purchased at the HV festival.)

Russian Red: A Rocambole with strong flavor with a sweet aftertaste that was brought into the American Northwest by Russian Doukhobor immigrants in the early 1900s. Purchased from The Garlic Guy at the HV festival.

Spanish Roja: An heirloom Rocambole introduced to Portland Oregon over a hundred years ago. Also from The Garlic Guy at the HV festival.

Turkish Red: “Our strongest garlic” was all the folks at Piedmonte Garlic Farm had to say and I was in. (I also bought a large bag of Piedmonte’s Russian Renegade -- “their second strongest garlic,” but for some reason, the bulbs went bad before I could plant the “ugly but hot” cloves.

Riesig: This hot, large garlic (that’s all I know about it) hails from Cedarville Farm and tied with Italian Purple for fattest cloves.

I think it was a rough growing season all around and I didn’t get some of my favorites: Red Toch, Pskem, Metechi, and Bogatyr. Although that could also be because I begged Bob Anderson for Rose de Lautrec (a delicate pink garlic from the south of France) and Cuban Purple (a Creole from Spain that was originally called Castro Purple until, I assume, the marketing folks figured out that naming something after a dictator wasn’t suited to these politically-charged times.) Both are probably too delicate to survive the northeast winter so I’m thinking of trying to grow them in containers.

Garlic comes in hard neck and soft neck varieties. Ron Engeland, author of Growing Great Garlic, has broken garlics into seven main types. (The following descriptions are from Filaree Farms though any mistakes in transition are mine.) Hard necks are traditionally more full-bodied than soft necks. Hard neck varieties are Rocambole (the most widely grown -- popular because they produce large, flavorful easy-to-peel cloves), Purple Stripe (very flavorful and pretty), Porcelain (more flavorful than Rocamboles but harder to find; they also produce lower yields), Asiatic/Turban (an Artichoke variety that morphed from soft neck to hard), and Creole (the most delicate of the hard necks and best grown in southern climates). Sort necks, the braidable variety, includes Artichoke (large, vigorous bulbs) and Silverskins, the most popular for supermarkets because of their large storage life).

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