Energy Utilizing Garlic

I mentioned it in my last post, but one of the many energy saving techniques I try to use in the kitchen is to pack my oven each time I turn it on. Delicious roasted garlic is the perfect energy saver and most wonderful ingredient on hand. Just remember to pop it in when the door is already open – ovens drop 25F each time you open them!

When I make roasted garlic, I usually make several heads worth and store them in the freezer in a (not over packed) glass jar. Why the freezer? Freezers are more energy efficient when they are full as long as the things that you are adding to them are not sizzling hot.

Not only is this garlic good as is smeared on bread or eaten straight out of the foil (for the daring), but it is also a fabulous ingredient. Soups, stews, salads, baked potatoes, and life all benefit from a hefty spoonful of roasted garlic.

Right now is the best time to stock up on garlic – garlic is traditionally planted on the winter solstice and harvested on the summer solstice. Since garlic needs time to cure and dry, this year’s supply of garlic is hitting the markets now.

Here’s what you will need

1-10 heads of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil per head of garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Tools:
Aluminum foil (preferably recycled)
Parchment paper (preferably unbleached and recycled)
Oven, with other things cooking in it, set between 300-425F

Process
1. Peel garlic cloves. Whole cloves are the best for presentation, but if it is easier for you to smash, smash away. Be sure to compost those peels – they are a great carbon source for your pile!
2. Cut a piece of foil and parchment large enough to accommodate the cloves. The foil should be on the outside and the garlic should be directly on the parchment.
3. Drizzle with oil and add seasonings.
4. Fold up into a packet, ideally flatter than it is wide for better heat penetration.
5. Pop in the oven. Depending on the temperature needed for the other things you are making, baking will take between 30 min to 1 hour. The best cloves will be cooked until soft and will have a suggestion of caramelization on many cloves.
6. This method also works well on barbecues, but I suggest placing the packet on the grill, not in the coals.
7. Serve immediately for a roasted veggie smorgasbord, or let cool to room temperature, place in a glass container (oil on plastic is bad news bears) and freeze.
But wait there’s more –
Here’s the best thing since garlic was roasted.

You will get many dates with this bread dip.

Here’s what you will need
¼ – ½ cup roasted garlic
1-2 avocados, soft at the top, near the stem
Squeeze of lemon juice (do me a favor and use the real stuff)
Sliced baguette, dinner rolls, crackers, really any dip-able.

Tools:
Bowl
Knife
Spoon

1. Put the roasted garlic the bowl.
2. Here’s my favorite method for slicing avocado:
a. Cut around the pit through the stem to half (instead of through the side and creating a weird half)
b. Twist to separate the halves
c. Use the blade of the knife to remove the pit by lodging in the pit and pulling back
d. Slice the avocado, but not the skin, in a crosshatch way.
e. Use the spoon to scoop out the flesh and put into the bowl
3. Add the lemon juice
4. Mash the garlic and avocado together, leaving rough chunks.
5. Serve with bread and dippers.
6. Share with loved ones.

Insurmountable thanks to Rachel Silverstein for the gorgeous artwork.

Posted in Green Grub.