Garlic Can Do More Than Just Scare Off Vampires!

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Garlic definitely has some offensive side effects. Besides the never sought after garlic breath there is also stinky skin, upset stomach and bloating. But, as a chef I must say even with all these symptoms that could potentially keep me from making new friends I would never give it up. I don’t use garlic in every dish I make but I always have some fresh garlic on hand to use in everything from simple stocks and sauces to whole garnishes in soups. I have even on occasion tried to candy garlic but, it is sweetly deceiving.

On a positive note garlic is rich in antioxidants and is linked to scaring off heart disease, colds, high blood pressure and even cancer. If you are not interested in eating a spoonful of raw garlic everyday there are all kinds of less astringent supplement forms.

Some tips when working with garlic: when handling raw garlic without a press, wear

Gloves or have a lemon near by to scrub the garlic smell from your hands. Also, never store raw garlic in oil it can cause botulism and kill you. Depending on how strong you like your garlic will dictate on how you prepare it. Obviously in its raw form it will be strongest. The finer you chop your garlic the more oil is released and the stronger it will become. Also, in cooking roasting, boiling or frying your garlic will minimize some of its power and make it a bit more palatable.

A couple mild garlic recipes to try

Garlic Cream Sauce (great with fish or vegetables) Yield: 1cup

1 head of garlic (peeled)

4 Tablespoons of water or any stock

4 Tablespoons of EVO (extra virgin olive oil)

1 Tablespoon of cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method: boil peeled garlic in water for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove garlic from boiling water and put into a blender. Add 4 Tablespoons of water or stock and blend. While blending slowly add 4 Tablespoons of EVO. Turn blender off and stir in 1 Tablespoon of Garlic. Adjust seasoning. Hold this sauce warm. Works great with fish and I love it with braised cabbage. Sauce can carefully be reheated the next day as well.

Roasted Garlic Bruschetta Yield: 10

1 baguette (cut 1 inch thick on a bias)

30 ea cloves of garlic

2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes

1 cup of EVO

1 roasted green pepper (julienne)

1 roasted red pepper (julienne)

2 Tablespoons of capers

4 Tablespoons of chopped dark olives

1 cup of whole picked parsley leaves

1 Tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method: Simmer 30 cloves of garlic in 1 cup of oil for 15 minutes or until soft. Remove cloves from oil and reserve. Brush some of the excess garlic oil onto slices baguette season and toast to desired crispness. Mix all remaining ingredients together except the remaining garlic oil. Use a Tablespoon to put your bruschetta together and top off with a little of the remaining garlic oil.