"There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic". ~Louis Diat
I am a mother, gardener, and nutritionist (in that order.) I profess to be a "non-diet" dietitian believing instead, it is more important to promote and adopt a healthy lifestyle. I do not label foods as good or bad. For healthier living, I try to balance eating right, exercise, and having just the right kind of fun. It is also my belief that to be truly well, we simply must find what makes us feel right in our heart and within our soul.
I find that balance in my garden. Not only am I an avid gardener, I am a foodie, and I love flowers. My favorites are my herbs, heirloom veggies, and the dozens of dahlias I grow.
Garlic, my absolute favorite, takes center stage this time of year. "She", is known in gardening tales as the "stinking rose" (and she is the most fragrant flower I grow)!
Garlic was not a part of my life as a child. The most adventurous my mother ever got in the kitchen was a sprinkle of salt and pepper. My father, who would literally eat ANYTHING, still makes it clear to this day when he comes over for dinner, it better be sans (without) garlic. Out of four siblings, I happen to be the most out-spoken of the bunch and did not always see eye-to-eye with my parents on many things. Garlic, was one of those things. I have tempered with age, but I still respectfully disagree with my fathers opinion of garlic.
I do so love garlic. Minced and sautéed to flavor veggies, crushed and mixed with butter in a scampi, and of course, is any marinade complete without garlic? Garlic to me is as much a feeling as it is a flavor. Have you ever "felt" like eating "Italian"? Or bruschetta? Even a good piece of garlic bread? I think some of the pleasure of cooking and eating can be lost without garlic.
I have become such a fan of garlic, I now grow it. You can, too. It really is easy. For me, what has worked out best is to plant my garlic in the fall, sometime after the fall equinox and daylight savings time. I often miss my target date, so here is my reminder to all who are or want to be garlic gardeners: Plant your garlic now, you have until Halloween. It's not too late! (You will thank me next summer! )
As a nutritionist, I should mention that there are possible health benefits of garlic, but experts agree that more studies are needed. One benefit of garlic (and other spices) is the flavor and aroma it adds to your food just may reduce or eliminate your inclination to add unhealthy fats or salt.
In spite of how I was raised, I am a proud garlic fan and I celebrate it. There are even times I feel like garlic. One of my favorite ways to really "feel" garlic is to roast it. It is delightfully simple and a treat for any garlic lover. Roasting caramelizes the garlic, softens it, and makes it spreadable. No need for butter! Slather it over crusty, warm French bread or mix it with sour cream to top a potato.
I need no excuse to roast some of my homegrown garlic. When I do, I can be sure of two things: My father won't be coming to dinner and, no vampires will be bothering me any time soon!
Roasted Garlic Roses
6-8 Whole Garlic Heads (1 per person)
Olive Oil (1 teaspoon per garlic head)
Salt, good coarse salt
1. Remove the papery outer layers of the whole garlic head, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Cut ~1/4 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
2. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, Rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.
3. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until the cloves start to feel soft when pressed.
4. Remove foil and cook about 10 minutes longer.
5. Once slightly cooled, you can use your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins, right onto a piece of crusty bread.
In Good Health, BB