Posts tagged: garlic

Roasted Garlic – The Garlic Lovers Treat

roasted garlicRoasted garlic is one of the easiest things to make and is not only great when included into other recipes, but it is magnificent on its own, squeezed out onto a crust of bread. Garlic is a lucky little bulb; like all nubs in the Allium family, it has a high concentration of both flavor and sugar. When roasted, the Maillard reaction changes those sugars into a garlic caramel, which coincidentally are two of my favorite flavors.

Roasted garlic bulbs make for a simple snack to have around, and while it may take some time to roast, it’s pretty much fire and forget as you pop them into the oven for a while, wait, and they are ready to eat. Roast, let them cool a bit, snip off the top and squeeze onto a toasted baguette and you have license to ignore the kids.

One tip, though. Most recipes you find suggest you cut off the top of the bulbs with the head intact and then roast. That’s fine if your goal is to peel the bulbs, but I find it much easier to pull the bulbs apart without cutting them, roast, and squeeze the garlic out. Peeling roasted garlic is a hassle I’ll leave to the celebrity chefs who dump that work on their assistants.

Ingredients:
1 head of garlic

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Pull the garlic bulbs apart from the head and place in a sheet of aluminum foil.

3. Fold up the foil to create a pouch, leaving some air space.

4. Place foil pouch in the oven for 45 minutes.

5. Let the garlic cool a bit before attacking it. Just snip the top off a bulb and squeeze out the sweet, garlicky goodness.

Kale and Purple Potatoes (with sage and garlic)

Kale and Purple Potato

Kale and Purple Potato

I love earthy greens, and kale has a hearty chew that makes me feel as though I’m really eating something substantial.  The kale was subject to a rigorous yet thick chiffonading (if that’s a word, if not, it is now) as that is not only my favorite cut, but it shows off the nook ‘n cranny-y (another new word) nature of this great leafy vegetable. Kale looks particularly nice as a chiffonade. This is a really textureful (I did it again) dish, and sage and potatoes go together like tall glasses and water, so this simple combination of vegetables makes a great meal or side dish.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 lb purple potatoes (or any waxy potato), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried, if fresh is not available)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Potato, Kale and Sage

Potato, Kale and Sage

Directions:
1. Wash, dry, and cut the kale into any size pieces that you prefer.

2. Heat a pan, add the oil and garlic and when the oil is hot, add the potatoes.

3. Add the potato and cook until soft, 10-2 minutes.

4. Add the kale and saute until soft. The kale will become softer the longer it is cooked. I prefer a little chewiness so I cook it about 8-10 minutes, but if you prefer a softer result, cook as long as you want.

5. Add the sage and mix into the kale and potato thoroughly and cook about 1 minute.

6. Plate and eat!

Cuban Mojo Sauce

Mojo

Mojo

This simple Cuban sauce goes well with just about everything, and I put it in sandwiches, on meats, vegetables, and it appears often in my dreams.

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup sour orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

N.B. if you cannot find sour orange juice, combine equal parts lemon, lime, and regular orange juice.

Directions
1. Add the olive oil to a pan and set to a medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, but not brown (30 seconds or so).

2. Add the juice, salt, pepper, and cumin if you desire it and raise the heat to high, allowing the mixture to boil for a few minutes.

Cool before serving. It is best served immediately, but should keep for a few days if refrigerated.

Some recipes call for cilantro to be added, which is good if you are someone who likes cilantro (not everyone does) but cilantro is not a classic Cuban addition to a mojo sauce. When cilantro is used the sauce is referred to as “Mojo Verde” and appears less often in my dreams.

Garlic Lime Skirt Steak

Garlic lime skirt steak

Garlic lime skirt steak

Inspired by my love of Cuban foods, I make this steak often, and its robust flavor is like a predator with your tongue as its prey. I don’t mean to imply that it is overpowering, but the strong lime flavor blends with the beefiness of the skirt steak, and the combination announces itself clearly upon arrival. Skirt steak is a particularly fatty and flavorful cut, so it holds up well to the lime, and remains juicy even after an assault on the grill and then the pan (if you choose to finish the steak the way I do). This is perhaps the best way to serve this cut of meat and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably a vegetarian.

Ingredients
1 lb skirt steak
3 limes
3 garlic cloves, pressed or grated

N.B. Limes can be difficult to juice so one thing I have been known to do is buy bottled lime juice and use 6 tablespoons of that instead. With the garlic and meatiness of the steak, no one will notice the difference.

Directions
1. Cut the skirt steak into pieces small enough to easily fit in a bowl or plastic bag.

2. Combine all ingredients in a covered bowl or plastic bag and allow the steak to marinate for at least 2 hours (I marinate as long as 8 hours with no problems), moving the pieces around occasionally to ensure that the lime juice gets to all the sides of the steak.

3. Remove the pieces of steak, however there is no need to scrape any of the garlic pieces that stick to them, they are very flavorful when cooked. The meat is then preferably cooked on a grill for maximum flavor, however I just as easily broil the meat in the oven. For those who are not interested in adding to the work load, the cooked meat can be served. However I like to take one additional step.

4. (Optional) Cut the steak into strips and quickly fry them in a pan with a little bit of oil to make them nice and crispy on the edges and then serve.

Serves 2 and goes really well with yuca, garlic mashed potatoes, or plantains (sweet or savory).

This dish goes so well with a Cuban Mojo sauce that it’s just mean not to try it. It’s so good, I sometimes pretend we’re related.