013: Garlic

Everyone’s favorite flavor-boost, garlic! Very rarely used as an ingredient in its own right, which is sort of odd considering how much people love it. It can’t just be the garlic breath effect, can it? Garlic is pretty much a go-to for me. I put it in almost anything, as you’ve probably noticed if you read the blog. I used three types of garlic in this menu: white, red and black. White and red are just different varietals, but black garlic is something special. It’s originally an Asian thing, and has just recently become an In Thing in the US. It is super cool! I’m pretty surprised it wasn’t popularized earlier. It kind of seems like something a king would get as a gift? And we all know how much Americans love pretending to be king. It’s sweet and tangy and super soft and you can just eat it like candy. Checkitout!

Menu (Serves 4)
44-Clove Garlic Soup
Beet and Garlic Salad
Roast Garlic, Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Chicken Pizza
Black Garlic Hamantaschen and Poached Pear

Beet and Garlic Salad (I used a recipe from NYT, but they have some weird expiring link thing, so no link.)
-2 beets
-2 golden beets
-1/4 cup walnuts
-12 cloves garlic
-olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375. Skin your beets, wrap them in foil and pour some olive oil in. Put them in the oven, on a baking sheet, in case juices leak out. Roast them for an hour or so.
Put the garlic in a cold pan with olive oil. Set the burner to medium. What you’re doing here is toasting the garlic, basically. Leave the cloves whole. When they start to turn golden brown, Add the walnuts and toast them with the garlic until the cloves have a good color and before the walnuts really burn. Pour the contents of the pan, including the oil, into a food processor and puree. Add raw garlic, one clove at a time, to adjust the sauce to be spicy and garlicky. Season with salt.
When the beets are tender, pull them out of the oven and unwrap them carefully, reserving the juices inside the foil. Cut the beets into 1-inch cubes. Put them in a bowl, pour in the juices and garlic sauce, and stir it together. Put the bowl in the fridge to chill until dinner.

Roasting Garlic
The “red”, purple-lined garlic is best for roasting; it turns out sweeter and creamier than the white variety. I had 7 or 8 heads of red garlic, and four of white. Heat the oven to 400. Cut the tops of the garlic heads off, and the tops of any cloves not on the same plane. I used all of the red garlic, and 2 of the white. Put the garlic heads into a muffin pan, and pour olive oil over each. Put the pan in the oven for half an hour or so. Some of it will definitely be ready, some may not. The softest garlic will be used on the pizza. Since the soup is pureed, use the less-done garlic for that. The cloves will come out easily — you’ll be able to just squish them out for the most part.

44-Clove Garlic Soup
-4 heads roasted garlic
-2T butter
-1 large onion
-1.5 Teaspoons fresh thyme
-1 head raw garlic
-1 qt chicken stock
-1/2c heavy cream

Chop up the onion. Melt the butter in a heavy pot, and saute the onion. Throw the thyme and garlic in, and cook for a few minutes, then add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender, and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream, and simmer. Season. Before you serve it, stir in some more thyme leaves. Serve with a sprig of thyme, and some nice bread.

Roast Garlic, Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Chicken Pizza
-The rest of the roasted garlic
-1 large heirloom tomato, in a nice color
-1/2 lb chicken breast
-1/2c tomato sauce
-1 chard leaf
-1lb mozzarella
-1T tomato paste
-1t sriracha
-2c whole wheat flour
-1.5c white flour
-1.5c warm water
-1T olive oil
-1T yeast
-1t salt
-1t sugar

Put the warm water in a large bowl. Dissolve the sugar in it, and pour the yeast over it. Let the yeast sit for a few minutes until it gets all foamy. Stir in the olive oil and salt, then add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the white flour. Stir it together into a dough. Pour it out onto a surface floured with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, and knead it for a few minutes. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and put it in a warm place. After about an hour, it’ll have risen a bit. The recipe says it’ll be doubled, but that usually doesn’t happen for me.
Pull the dough out and divide it into two balls. Leave them out to rise more. So, if you followed the recipe, you’ll have twice as much pizza dough as you need. That’s okay, just make another later! After 45 minutes, wrap up one of the dough balls.
Oil a baking sheet, and roll out the other dough ball. I made mine rectangular, but whatever. Heat a grill or just a pan, and cook the chicken breast.

Preheat the oven to 500. Mix the tomato sauce, paste, and sriracha in a bowl. Spread the sauce on the pizza. Slice the mozzarella into disks, cut the tomato into half-circles, squeeze out all the garlic, cut the chicken up, slice the chard. Distribute the garlic over the pizza. Layer cheese and tomato slices, spread the chicken over it, and then the chard. Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Pizza is pretty easy; just take it out when the cheese is melted and the crust looks good.

Black Garlic Hamantaschen and Poached Pear
-2 bosc pears
-1.5c sugar
-1 qt water
-2 heads (1 package) black garlic
-3 eggs
-1c sugar
-1/2c oil
-zest of 1 lemon
-4c flour
-2t baking powder
-powdered sugar

Whisk together the eggs, oil, zest and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix these together to form a sticky, unmanageable dough. Put the dough in the fridge for an hour to make it a little easier to work with.
Skin the pears and cut them in half. Pour the water and sugar into a pot the pears can fit into, submerged. I poured the water over the pears without the sugar, just to make sure it would fit correctly. Heat the water to dissolve the sugar in it and bring it to a low, low boil. You can add spices to the water, if you want to flavor the pears a bit. I used a couple whole peppercorns, which didn’t do anything, really. Put the pears into the water, and cover them with a round of parchment paper. This is to keep the pears from doing anything crazy and make them stay under water. It didn’t seem to do much for me, but it’s probably worth doing, if you’ve got the paper.
Peel all the black garlic. Put the cloves into a bowl.
Preheat oven to 350. Lay down a sheet of plastic wrap, and cover it in powdered sugar as if you were flouring it. Squeeze off balls of dough and roll them in sugar, then squash them down, rolling your hands to flatten them into disks. Place 1-2 cloves in the center of each disk. Don’t try to really stuff them – a large clove is enough. Fold the cookie shut — this is the easiest way to make sure they keep their form.
Put the cookies on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Cut each pear half into thick slices and serve with 2 cookies and some whipped cream.


Sort of mixed. I didn’t spend nearly as much time planning this as I should have. The biggest failure was the beet salad. They came out not quite tender enough, and I thought the crunchy texture would add to the dish, which would have been true, I think, but the dressing didn’t work. I put waaay too much raw garlic in it. I wrote to add the garlic slowly, for this reason. Raw garlic is an important part of the salad — it adds spice. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this, but yeah, it came out borderline inedible, on account of the overly sharp bite. It was really odd, actually. It tasted good, and I enjoyed it, but it it was a literal pain to eat.

The pizza dough came out too bready for my liking. I used the other half of the dough two nights later, and cooked it at 500, instead of the recommended 425, and it came out much better; crispy and thin. I don’t know if temperature had to do with it, but pizza is supposed to be baked hot, anyway. The chard was gross. It added a very earthy flavor that I didn’t want on this. The cheese was too thick, which caused it to get a little rubbery and pull off the pizza in an unnatural way. I should have grated it instead of cutting. In addition, the garlic wasn’t very noticeable in my opinion. You would definitely notice it, as it had the roasted garlic texture and everything, but the flavor wasn’t strong. Overall, the main course was disappointing.

The soup and dessert, on the other hand, were great.
Flavor-wise, the soup was exactly what I wanted. It was comforting, warming, creamy, and rich. Super garlicky, totally delicious. The only thing I would change is to add a potato or some other starchy thing. I would have liked it to be thicker. I don’t have much to say about it. It was simple, but it worked impeccably.
The hamantaschen! The cookie was great. I got majorly frustrated with the dough, to the point of throwing out two cookies’ worth of dough because I didn’t want to bother unsticking it and getting it in the right shape and stuff. I could have just baked them like normal cookies, and I probably should have, because the dough came out SO GOOD. It was crispy, with a light, tangy flavor that was the pinnacle of  “just sweet enough.” The black garlic was a great filling. Unusual, yet sweet and a good pairing with the cookie. I used the pear to balance the garlic; it worked sort of like a palate cleanser so each bite of garlic was as strong as the last.

As a menu, this was a disappointment. I feel like only the hamantaschen was actually creative. The soup was unusual in that you don’t often hear about garlic soup, but I did get the recipe from Smittenkitchen. With the beet salad, the garlic was essentially a condiment, which is why I was compelled to go heavy on it, to really emphasize its flavor. I wanted the beets to be paired with the garlic, not enhanced by it. I had thought the pizza would be, at worst, totally awesome and not really a good dish for the menu, but it turned out to be not awesome and not really a good dish for the menu. I didn’t get an impression of garlic at all from the pizza, probably in part because of my overuse of roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is honestly somewhat of a novelty for me, generally isolated to fancy garlic breads, and I don’t think I really knew how to use it. So, while I got to do some new stuff, ie poaching pears and roasting garlic, I didn’t use the techniques I’d already learned and knew worked. I was too eager to do Something Different with garlic.

Next Week: Carrots

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. Julie

     /  August 28, 2012

    I ate the leftover garlic soup and it was great. Potato would be a good addition. And the hamentaschen were fantastic! Lemony, crisp, perfect. Any kind of fruit filling would be wonderful – peach, anyone?

  2. Micah

     /  September 11, 2012

    I”m definitely going to try that soup. And I want to try black garlic–I will try to find it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: