Garlic. One word; so many connotations. Garlic is an ancient food item mentioned in Chinese Sanskrit writings dating back to 3000 BC. Egyptians worshipped garlic and used it for embalming. During World War I, garlic juice was applied to soldiers’ wounds to fight infection. And there are myths galore including how it can ward off witches and vampires.
Worldwide, there are over 600 garlic species ranging in size, color and strength. Although garlic is sometimes referred to as “the stinking rose,” its reputation for enhancing food is undisputed and recognition of its healing properties is on the rise.
It’s a fairly common item in most kitchens, albeit most people use it conservatively. For a walk on the wild side, try cooking a chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Friends introduced me to this dish over 20 years ago. Check the recipe at the end of this column.
Some people cringe at the thought of eating anything that has been graced with garlic for fear of putting people off with bad breath, but a quick antidote is to chew on fresh parsley.
And here’s a tip for getting rid of the smell of garlic on your fingers: wash your hands then rub them on your faucet. I have no idea how this works, but it does—and it’s cheaper than buying fancy sculpted metal items sold in kitchen shops that do the same thing. If you have any other suggestions, do let me know!
A friend of mine, Réya Doucette, makes a variety of Indian pickles both to sell as and as gifts. She likes to share the recipes and keep them alive. She tucks in, “When I cook the pickles I remember the composers of the recipes and my heart is gladdened to honor their memories through a hobby that gives me great joy.”
Don’t forget to send me your favourite garlic recipe!
Réya’s Lime Chutney
6 limes, cut into 16 pieces each.
2 heads of garlic (16 to 24 cloves) finely sliced
4 inch piece ginger skinned and finely sliced
8 Jalapeno peppers finely sliced
1 tsp. dry chili peppers
12 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
½ cup vinegar
Mix together all the ingredients except the vinegar. Cook over a low heat until mixture is thick and lime skins softened a little (5-10 minutes) Add the vinegar and simmer for 5 more minutes. Cool and bottle. Eat after 3-4 weeks. It’s so hard to wait to eat this yummy concoction that I now make a double batch—one to eat now, and one to eat after the proper “curing” time!
Forty-clove Baked Chicken
1 chicken cut up in hunks (or 5 pounds of chicken thighs/drumsticks)
40 cloves of fresh garlic (5-7 heads)
2 stalks of celery, sliced (optional)
2 big carrots, sliced (optional)
2 tsp. oregano OR basil
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
juice of one lemon
Mix all ingredients together. Put in a covered baking dish. Make a thick paste of flour, water, and a little oil and use it to seal around the cover. Bake at 375 for and hour and a half. The smell of this dish cooking will drive you to distraction. Do not open the lid until the time is up. Serve with crusty French bread or baguette and use the garlic cloves for a delicious spread. Enjoy.
“Garlic” Modomatic @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
“Reya Doucette prepares a batch of Lime Chutney” © Sandra Phinney
“Ingredients for Reya’s Lime Chutney” © Sandra Phinney
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