Spring Into The Taste Of Garlic With MediLodge Of Monroe

By Chris Burchell, Executive Chef of MediLodge of Monroe

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  Now if we could only find ourselves in warmer temperatures, then things will be so much better.  I personally cannot wait until Spring arrives.  April happens to be National Garlic month.  With the exception of maybe the onion, I don’t know of any food product that is so widely used around the world.  It has a history that archaeologists have dated back to 3750 B.C. in Egypt, and has documented uses back to 2000 B.C. in China.  Its history is founded not only in culinary uses but also medicinally.  Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America.  The flavor varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods.  It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger.

Medicinally garlic use dates back to the great Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder in his “Historia Naturalis”, where he prescribes garlic for a great number of ailments.  The French chemist Louis Pasteur recorded garlic’s antibacterial activity in 1858.  During both World War I and World War II, garlic was bandaged onto wounds to control infections. Recent medical studies confirm the health benefits of garlic known for millennia.  In 1924, it was found to be an effective way to prevent scurvy, because of its high vitamin C content.  Animal studies, and some early research studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic.  A Czech study found garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals.  I am including two recipes for preparing garlic that can be kept around for a while. I hope you like them!

Roasted GarlicMonroe garlic

6 Heads of garlic, firm to the touch

Olive Oil | Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. Drizzle enough oil into a pie pan to coat the bottom surface.

2. Cut just enough of the top of the head of garlic to expose every clove.

3. Place cloves cut side up in pie pan (if cloves do not sit flat in pan, cut just enough of the bottom to stay flat)

4. Coat top of heads with olive oil.

5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Cover with foil and bake in a 325 F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

7. After garlic cools squeeze cloves out onto plastic wrap, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

8. Make small parcels of roasted garlic wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Pull out a parcel the day before you want to cook with it.

Korean Pickled Garlic

Garlic cloves, peeled and washed

Sugar | Rice wine vinegar | Soy sauce

Directions:

1. Place garlic in a glass jar.

2. Fill jar with water until water reaches covers about 2/3 of the garlic cloves.

3. Pour out water and measure it. That’s the amount of soy sauce you need.

4. Use 3 parts soy sauce to 1 part vinegar and 1 part sugar. (So if you need 1 cup of soy sauce, then you need 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of sugar).

5. Bring soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar mixture to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

6. When the sauce has cooled, pour over garlic in glass jar. Make sure garlic cloves are completely covered, using a small stone or bowl to weigh them down if necessary.

7. Store at room temperature for at least 3 weeks.

8. After opening, store in refrigerator.

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