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how to roast garlic

If you know anything about me, you know that I’m all about being lazy. I love cooking things that require next to no effort and are still incredibly delicious. That is why roasting garlic is one of my favorite things to do–you can add those buttery little cloves to almost anything and they’ll lend a rich, complex flavor. Your dinner guests will think you slaved all day over a hot stove and swoon and cry and kiss your feet.

Unless you’re having Edward Cullen over for dinner. In which case he would take a bite of his meal, burst into flame, scream something about Bella, keel over, die, and leave you to fend off a mob of 10 million screaming teenage girls who will surely cut off your toes.

Alright. So maybe roasting garlic is a trickier business than I thought.

Okay, not really. Its so easy that I can’t believe I’m telling you how to do it.

It starts with a head of garlic. Or 6. Or 55. However many you want to roast.

Peel off the outer skin. Not all of it—just enough to expose the individual cloves.

Next, lop off the tips of the cloves…

…and grab a piece of tinfoil and some olive oil.

Drizzle a little bit of oil over the top and give it a rub to coat the whole head.

Wrap that sucker up in the foil and stick it in a 400° oven (root side down) for 30 minutes. It may take a few minutes longer depending on your oven—the cloves should be soft when pressed.

If you want to roast a bunch of heads of garlic at once, you could stick them on a baking sheet or in a muffin tin and cover the whole thing with foil so you don’t have to wrap each one individually.

Time’s up! The cloves are now tender and more intense in flavor with an almost buttery, nutty taste. Simply squeeze from the bottom to pop them out.

I just love roasted garlic. It boggles my mind that it comes from regular ol’ raw garlic because the flavor is so incredibly different.

There are about a billion ways you could use it, too. Try it…

  • Spread on a piece of crusty French bread
  • In a sauce (pasta, pizza, pesto,
  • As a pizza topping
  • In soup
  • In salad dressing
  • In gravy
  • In risotto
  • In mashed potatoes
  • Mixed with butter to use as a spread on vegetables or bread (Love garlic bread? Try roasted garlic bread. Mmmmm.)
  • In a quiche
  • In dips (sour cream, yogurt veggie dip, spinach dip, artichoke sip, guacamole, salsa, etc.)

Just don’t try all of those dishes in one day, or else no one will ever kiss you again. Especially Edward Cullen. That is, if you didn’t kill him already.

Happy garlic breath!

-RDG

how to make chipotle anything, and a tasty sour cream trick

Once in a while I need to kick things up a notch.

Is that an Emeril line? Oh boy. I’m sorry.

Jalepenos don’t cut it for me. Cayenne peppers? Nah. Chipotle peppers? They’ll kill you in large quantities. But they’re the kind of kick that’s worth it.

Here’s the rub: they actually are jalepenos. Just smoked. And somehow, more spicy. And, in this case, marinated in a lovely sauce. Even this pint-sized (well, not really–7 ounces is far less than a pint) container can pack a major whallop if not handled carefully. But done right, chipotle peppers can give any dish a smoky, intensely spicy flavor. It’s not the acute, burn-your-mouth type of spice you get from chipotle’s mom, but a rather delightfully subtle spice that gives your tongue a tingle.

So how to use these suckers? First, locate them on the Hispanic food aisle. They’re usually next to the enchilada sauce. Next, dump them into a small food processor or blender. A large Cuisinart type of food processor won’t work simply because there isn’t enough volume coming out of that little can to reach the blade.

Blend for a long time. At least 3-4 minutes, pausing once in a while to scrape the sides and get every little bit incorporated. We don’t want any chunks or seeds left whole–they’ll kill you.

Oh, and a word of warning: don’t inhale directly over the food processor. Wash your hands a lot if you’ve touched the stuff. And when it comes time to wash out the blender/food processor, use lukewarm–not hot–water. Hot water will create a chipotle steam that will kill you and you will die.

Next, pick what you want to spice up. Today I’m using sour cream to create a dipping sauce for some lovely little apps.

Add a tiny, tiny bit at a time. For this 24 ounce container of sour cream, I started with one tablespoon. Adapt accordingly for whatever quantity of sauce you’re making.

Mix well. Give it a taste. Too subtle? Add a 1/2 teaspoon more at a time, mixing well after each addition. Too strong? Well, you won’t die all at once. It will be a slow, spicy, painfully long death.

Once you’ve got the right amount of kick you’re all done! Easy, wasn’t it? The beauty of chipotle is that it’s super simple to add to anything: barbecue sauce, enchilada sauce, meat marinade, mayo, salsa, guac, beans…the possibilities are endless. Get creative with it. Do a chipotle dance. No one is watching.

And, on another note, here is my favorite sour cream trick (apparently today I needed a lot of sour cream in my life–go figure): taco seasoning. Yes. Taco. Seasoning. Sounds totally weird and yet totally intuitive at the same time, right? Add one packet of taco seasoning to your container of sour cream and you’ve got a tangy dip that goes great over tacos, nachos, enchiladas–you name it.

I learned this trick from my dear friend Shannon who used it to top her Grandmother Joby’s seven-layer dip. She would make it when we were out at her family’s beach cabin in the summer as teenagers. We inhaled pans of the stuff. Never mind that we were drunk on stolen Miller High Life’s. It was, inebriation aside, a kick butt recipe, topped with this delicious sour cream.

Well, I’m off to tackle a pile of laundry the size of Greenlake. Have a wonderful Wednesday and stay tuned later on today for a mouth-watering prime rib recipe. Make chipotle-something this week. Just don’t die.

-RDG