Garlic Festival! (and three recipes)

This weekend I took in my first Garlic Festival here on the island. It was at a small farmer’s market in the suburbs and took me approximately an hour fifty to get there and a good hour and a half to get back by public transit! Oh my. But was it worth it? I think it was! It wasn’t very big and I missed the early morning events because of travel time (and I just could get myself up at 6am on a Saturday!) But I made it see the cooking with garlic demo (recipes and photos below!) and to check out the wares.

I also found out there are a bunch of different varieties of garlic! I’m not surprised, but in the grocery stores here you only ever really see the one. Here’s some useful info about identifying different types of garlic:

Porcelain Garlic:

Rocambale Garlic:

Artichoke Garlic:

Marbled Purple Garlic:

Silverskin Garlic:

I ended up buying a “taster pack” so I got 7 different varieties of garlic to try out. I’m hoping I can keep a few cloves of my favourite ones and plant them in October – just need to do some research on growing garlic in containers. Just look at all of ’em! Aren’t they wonderful 🙂 I got: Silverskin, Asiatic, Artichoke, Rocambole, Marbled Purple Stripe, Purple Stripe, and Porcelain.

I did mention that I got to check out the cooking demo right! It was great! It was all about cooking with roasted garlic and led by Patti Murphy. She used the Porcelain garlic to roast  – at 350/375 for approximately 45 minutes. Make sure you cut the stem and tops off (so the cloves are exposed). You can also check out this wikihow for step by step instructions.

First recipe was Roasted Garlic Salsa:

  • 1-2 heads of roasted garlic (not cloves!)
  • A sprinkling of coarse sea salt
  • Roasted vegetables (3-4 plum tomatoes, 1 Spanish or Vidalia onion , 1-2 jalapeno peppers)

To roast the vegetables: prepare the tomato (leave whole, but cut top off), quarter the onion, leave the peppers whole (she used red jalapenos). In a pan roast for approximately 30 minutes at 375. No need to use oil or salt. Afterwards you can just peel the skin right off the tomatoes and peppers (be careful with the peppers! The seeds are the hot spot – wash your hands and don’t touch your eyes!!)

Once everything is roasted and cooled you can combine them. Either in a food processor, or with a masher in a big bowl start mashing the garlic first, then add the onion and pepper, then add the tomatoes one at a time. Mash it to the desired consistency/chunkiness. Add a bit of water to it if it’s too think. Add salt at the end to taste. You can also add some cilantro to taste at the end if you like.  And voila! Yums.

Tip: You can freeze cooked salsas (like this one since the veg are all roasted) but not the fresh salsas. Though you might have to simmer it when you thaw it out. So plan ahead if you’re going to serve it cold.

***

Second recipe was Guacomole: (obviously everyone loved it! I got to it near the end…!)

  •  3 avocados
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (Porcelain)
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • half a jalapeno pepper, no seeds, finely diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime

In a large bowl (or molcajete  – a large mortar and pestle) add all the ingredients one by one and start mashing until you get to the desired consistency.

Guacamole is one of my favourite dips ever! And I can’t believe that I was 22 years old when I tried my first avocado. So many years lost without avocados in my life.  Here’s a weight watchers hint about avocados – be sure to weigh them! I find that the ones we get up here in Canada are much smaller than the ones in the food companion and often 1/2 an avocado weighs 2 ounces not 4. Just a hint 😉

Tips:

  • To quicken the ripening time for your avocados place them in a paper bag on top of your fridge (a warm space) and they should be ripe in a couple of days (if you started with hard avocados).
  • To keep your guacamole from browning after you put it in your serving bowl put a drizzle of lime juice over the top to seal it.

***

The third recipe was a quick and easy Yoghurt Dip:

  • yoghurt approx. 1 cup
  • bunch of fresh herbs (parsley or whatever you want – you can mix up 2, 3 or even more varieties)
  • 1 head roasted garlic (Porcelain)
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Mix everything up in a bowl. That’s it!  She used goat yoghurt and it was delicious. I would imagine this would be nice and thick with some Greek yoghurt. I suggest using the fat percentage that you feel comfortable with. I would probably use 0% Greek yoghurt. My personal favourite is the Dannon Oikos brand. I imagine fresh dill would be wonderful in this. It was served with rice crackers for tasting.

***

And of course when I got home I had to try the garlic. So I sliced up a clove of the Rocambole on a fresh goat cheese sandwich. It was very tasty and not at all too over-powering. Some freshly cracked pepper on top made it perfect. (You can also see my homemade iced green tea in the upper left hand corner)

If you follow me on twitter (@pound_per_pound) then you’ve seen the photo, but if not here it is again. It was a lovely light lunch, and the pepper and cucumber I picked up from a neighbourhood market from a great organization here called Santropol Roulant that has urban gardens all over the city!

And that was my Saturday! Have you been out to visit your local farmer’s market this summer yet?

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