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The goods on garlic.


Touring members of the Lovers of the Stinking Rose society have been known to cry out for chesnok in Moscow, holler for knofloock in Holland, and jostle for niniku in Japan.

Back home in the U.S.A., these die-hard fans just hit the local market with a one-word request--garlic!

Frequently passed over as the foul-smelling bad boy of the spice rack, garlic is reappearing as a headliner in syndicated food columns and best-selling cookbooks. How the bountiful bulb ever became a bane is a chapter in the

continuing saga of mankind's quest for power--well, maybe a footnote.

Carlic has played a vital role in the diet, pharmacy, and beliefs of mankind since the Mesopotamian civilization, more than 4,500 years ago. It became so revered among the common people of various civilizations that the ruling classes began to disdain the "vulgar,' potent bulb. Over the centuries chefs continued to turn up their noses at the heady aroma of fresh garlic; it simply was not de rigueur in haute cuisine. In Victorian England, garlic got a stiff, cold shoulder, possibly one reason it didn't become part of our cuisine until the beginning of this century.

Beliefs about the therapeutic value of garlic have been passed down for thousands of years. Physicians, herbalists, and wise men have prescribed garlic as a cure for everything from the common cold to scorpion stings. Whether it eradicates the common cold is unresolved, but modern researchers say that garlic may help lower blood pressure, combat diabetes and cancer, and stimulate the body's immune system to fight off infections.

The bad news about garlic? The reek is still incurable. You can minimize the lingering aroma by rinsing your fingertips and countertops after preparing garlic for your recipes. As for the inevitable aftermath (or aftermouth) of consumption, lovers of the stinking rose are quick to parry that garlic breath, au contraire, is good breath. Those who wish to curb the heady clout of the clove can eat some fresh parsley: the chlorophyll in parsley acts as a natural breath freshener.

Don't make the enjoyment of garlic a social liability. Forget about apologizing for your garlic obsession by fixing a garlicky feast for friends and family to enjoy. If all partake of the heady herb, no one will notice its weighty presence in conversation.

The flavor you get from garlic depends on how you use and prepare it. Heat and handling both affect its potency. The longer garlic cooks, the more delicate the flavor becomes. It's at its most robust raw, minced, or pressed from the clove. Being cooked with other foods provides a milder flavor, especially if the cloves are left whole or cut in large pieces. The flavor, of course, will be even milder if the garlic pieces are removed after cooking and before the dish is served. Baking garlic will result in a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor; cloves so baked, then squeezed to obtain the content, can furnish the basis for truly delectable sauces.

To peel a clove, either hit it with the flat of a cleaver or large knife blade or drop it first in boiling water for a few minutes, then in cold. In either case, you can then cut across the root end and peel the skin upward toward the other end.

Probably the most famous garlic sauce of all is Aioli, from the region of Provence, France. So celebrated is this French sauce that certain days are set aside in villages for feasts that last from noon until after sundown. Platters of vegetables, fish, and bread are carried in for dipping in the smooth, garlicky delight. But Aioli is more than a dip. It tops soups and mixes deliciously into salads. Dip the Dilled Salmon steak in the savory Aioli: tartar sauce will never be the same.

Break out the mortar and pestle to make Pesto. Garlic and fresh basil meld to yield a delicious pasta dressing complemented by pine nuts and pulverized, dry Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Another Italian legacy is Bagna Cauda. This hot, lemony dip is ideal for dipping slim Italian bread sticks and assorted fresh vegetables.

Bagna Cauda (Makes 2 cups)

1/2 cup crushed sesame seeds (taheeni)

1 can (16 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt, if desired

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Combine sesame seeds, beans, garlic, lemon juice, and salt, if desired, in food processor. Blend until smooth. Microwave at High (100%) 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with parsley. Serve as dip for vegetables and bread sticks.

Vegetable Dippers

1 cup carrot slices

2 tablespoons water

2 cups cauliflower pieces

2 cups broccoli pieces

1 cup fresh mushrooms

1 cup cucumber slices

Combine carrot slices and water in 1 1/2-quart casserole; cover. Microwave at High (100%) 3-4 minutes or until almost tender. Add cauliflower and broccoli; cover. Microwave at High 2-3 minutes or until just tender; stir once. Add mushrooms and cucumber slices. Microwave at High about 2 minutes.

Dilled Salmon (Makes 3 servings)

1 pound fresh salmon steaks

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Place salmon in 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with dill; cover. Microwave at High (100%) 4-5 minutes or until salmon flakes easily. Spoon Aioli (see recipe below) over each serving.

Aioli (Makes about 1 cup)

4 cloves garlic

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine garlic, egg yolks, dry mustard, salt, and pepper in blender. Blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly pour in olive oil in steady stream. Add lemon juice. Microwave at High (100%) 45-60 seconds until mixture thickens; stir every 15 seconds. Serve immediately over Dilled Salmon.

To prepare sauce with hand or electric mixer: Use narrow, deep bowl (a one-quart glass measure or a small bowl supplied with large electric mixer makes a good container). Beat in oil very slowly, especially at the beginning, being sure oil is completely blended before adding more. When thick, crush garlic cloves over sauce and mix well. Chill.


4 large cloves garlic

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Combine garlic, basil, pine nuts, and salt in blender. Blend at low until ingredients form paste. Gradually blend in oil alternately with cheese; blend until well-mixed. Use as sauce for Homemade Egg Noodles (see recipe below).

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 1/4 cups flour

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt, if desired

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl to make stiff dough. On well-floured surface, knead dough until smooth and not sticky, about 20 times. Cover dough and let rest 30 minutes. Roll half of dough on floured surface until 1/16 thick. Fold dough in half and then in half again. Cut folded dough crosswise into 1/2 strips. Unfold strips; place in single layer on pasta drying rack. Dry noodles at least 1 hour before cooking.

In 4-quart dish, microwave 2 quarts water at High (100%) 18-20 minutes or until boiling. Stir in 1/2 pound egg noodles. Microwave at High 4-5 minutes or until noodles are tender; drain.

Wild Rice and Shrimp (Makes 6 servings)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons margarine

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth

1 cup uncooked wild rice

1/2 cup water

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup sliced green onions

8 ounces uncooked shrimp

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Combine garlic, onion, and margarine in 2-quart casserole. Microwave at High (100%) 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken broth, rice, water, and soup; cover. Microwave at High 5-6 minutes, then microwave at Low (30%) 60 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir in green onions and shrimp the last 10 minutes of cooking. Top Wild Rice and Shrimp with sliced almonds.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Nyenhuis, Jacquelyn
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 1988
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