Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garlic Recipes & garlic facts

According to Epicurious, "The World's Greatest Recipe Collection," garlic is a member of the lily family and is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The "head" grows beneath the ground and the bulb is made up of sections called "cloves."

The three major types of garlic available in the U.S. are American garlic, Mexican and Italian garlic and the white-skinned elephant garlic.

Depending on the variety, cloves can range from a 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

When selecting fresh garlic, you should look for firm, large-cloved bulbs with unbroken skin and no soft spots. Garlic should be stored in a fresh, dry place that allows good air circulation. Mesh bags or jars with holes in the side are good choices for storing garlic. Garlic should not be stored in plastic bags or sealed containers as it will whither and rot sooner. If properly stored, most garlic will last up to six months.

For convenient cookers, garlic can be purchased in the form of garlic powder, dehydrated flakes, pureed garlic and infused garlic oil.

Garlic is used in a variety of dishes around the world. Both raw and cooked garlic cloves are used, especially in Asia and southern Europe, as flavor in a wide variety of foods. Garlic has a very strong flavor and is mainly used in small quantities as a flavoring in salads and cooked foods.

However, fried or cooked garlic is much more common. In heating, the pungency and strong odor are decreased and the aroma becomes more subtle and less dominant.

Garlic also blends well with other spices, creating the perfect flavor for many taste buds.

Throughout centuries, garlic has been thought to cure anything from toothaches and consumption to evil demons. Garlic was thought to build strength and was even fed to Egyptian slaves while they were building pyramids.

Today, garlic is known as a nutritionally-beneficial food. Studies have shown that garlic may lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries.

Other studies indicate that eating a lot of garlic (but not garlic supplements) may protect against stomach and colorectal cancer. There is evidence in most studies that only the natural product, not pills or extracts, provide healthful benefits.

Some traditional remedial uses include rubbing garlic on areas affected by acne and warts and taking up to six fresh cloves daily in treating the flu. Check with your doctor before beginning any herbal treatment.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds (6 medium) potatoes, cut

into 1-inch chucks

1/2 cup low fat milk

3 tablespoons margarine

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

In large saucepan cook potatoes in two inches boiling water, covered, about 10 minutes until tender; drain thoroughly, then shake potatoes over low heat one to two minutes to dry thoroughly. Mash potatoes with potato masher or beat with electric hand mixer; reserve. Place milk, margarine and garlic in small saucepan; set over medium-low heat and simmer until heated through, beat into potatoes until thoroughly mixed and fluffy. Mix in additional milk, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic Bread

1 small French or Portuguese roll

1 small garlic clove

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Halve roll horizontally. Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt, then stir into butter and spread on cut sides of roll. Put halves back together and wrap in foil. Bake in oven 10 minutes, then open foil and arrange halves, cut sides up, on foil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes more.

Garlic Shrimp

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

16 uncooked jumbo shrimp, shells intact, deveined (about 1 pound)

Puree 1/2 cup oil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in blender until almost smooth. Place shrimp in small bowl. Stir in oil mixture. Let shrimp marinate one hour. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add shrimp with marinade and sauté just until shrimp are opaque in center, about four minutes. Divide shrimp and marinade from skillet among four plates and serve.

Garlic Lime Chicken Breasts

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (about 2 pounds)

In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, oil, and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Add chicken, turning to coat. Marinate chicken, covered and chilled, turning once or twice, at least two hours and up to one day. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and arrange, skin sides up, without crowding, in a shallow baking pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and roast in upper third of oven until just cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Change oven setting to broil and broil chicken about two inches from heat until skin is crisp, about two minutes.

Garlic and Onion Soup

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups chopped onions

3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (about 30)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup dry Sherry

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 small bay leaf

3 slices old-fashioned white bread, torn into pieces

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cover; cook until onions are tender but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir two minutes. Add broth, half and half, Sherry, thyme and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until garlic is very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup with bread in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm soup over medium heat; serve.

Garlic French Dressing

1 garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with the salt and in a bowl combine the garlic paste with the vinegar and the pepper. Add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified.

Garlic Rosemary Bagel Chips

4 bagels (about 1 pound), cut into thin slices with serrated knife

1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

4 large garlic cloves, minced with 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon coarse salt

Arrange the bagel slices in one layer on 2 large baking sheets. In a blender purée the rosemary and the garlic mixture with the oil until the mixture is smooth. Brush the slices with the mixture, sprinkle them with the salt, and bake them in a preheated 350 degrees. oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.

Garlic and Pepper Marinated Flank Steak

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 large garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 large flank steak (about 2 pounds)

Combine first four ingredients in shallow baking dish. Add steak and turn to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate three to six hours. Prepare barbecue (high heat) or preheat broiler. Season steak generously with additional pepper. Grill or broil steak to desired doneness, brushing occasionally with marinade, about four minutes per side for medium rare. Thinly slice steak across grain and serve.

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