Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Garlic Groove Goin' On

My doorbell rings multiple times during the day, and usually immediately afterward, I hear the familiar thud of boxes being dropped at my door. If the doorbell rings twice, that's my cue that I need to stop what I'm doing and sign for said packages. Packages that aren't to me. For you see, my hubbyman receives almost daily deliveries to our home, and it's an inside joke between myself, the mailman, UPS man, DHL man, and FedEx guy that once again no one has sent ME anything in the mail.

Of course, I do occasionally receive something via Amazon, but certainly not on a daily basis. So yesterday, as I was teaching my brilliant son the thrills of mastering the distributive property in math, I stopped what I was doing to go sign for yet more packages. (Um, I'm not being sarcastic regarding the math ... I do find algebraic formulas enjoyable. My son, though, would most likely perform an exaggerated eye roll right about now. Anyway ... back to the package delivery ...) It wasn't the usual delivery guy, so there was no jovial banter. I signed, juggled the packages inside, and with an eye roll of my own, placed them in the "stuff for hubbyman spot". After brushing off my arms, I returned to my teacher chair and continued on without any more thought regarding packages that are never to me!

Fast forward to last evening, hubbyman was cheerfully going through his packages, when he comes into the other room where I was and tosses a package on the counter stating, "This one isn't for me." Wha??? Is it something for the kids? Nope. Is it, could it be, perhaps, do I dare hope ... Is is something for moi???

Oh happy day! It is something for me, something that I ordered weeks ago, and although I knew it would be arriving soon, it's pending delivery had slipped my overtaxed brain. It was ... are you ready ... a package full of garlic that I ordered.

I hope you don't feel let down! I was thrilled! The garlic in the stores this summer have been woefully awful. I grew some garlic in my garden, but it's been long gone. Even the farmers market this year has not had its usual plethora of garlic, plus the lone garlic vendor hasn't had a booth for a couple years now.

Do you like garlic? I fear I'm a garlic snob. It's just that garlic is a well-loved part of my cuisine, and I appreciate good garlic much like I appreciate good quality cheese. Good garlic can make a dish; whereas bad garlic can make waste of your culinary efforts. In my quest to find at least decent garlic, I contacted local farmers and vendors who could supply me with my favorite bulb. I heard the same thing over and over as I hopefully begged, "Please kind sir or madam, (*sniffle*) won't you sell an Italian girl some of your delicious garden grown garlic?" But alas, all my inquiries were met with, "Sorry, we're sold out already." "Sorry, we don't grow it anymore." "Sorry it's been a bad year for garlic." UGH! SOB! I turned to the internet and found more local sources, but alas I heard "We're completely sold out." over and over. DOUBLE UGH! By now I've dug my heels in and have quite stubbornly decided that I'm going to get my garlic if I have to drive all the way to Gilroy, California to get it! (Insert deep heaving breaths and envision me emphasizing that last statement with waving arms!)

There is an end to this long saga. I found some sources in Arizona and Texas who although they didn't have any in stock at the time of my order, they could commit to mailing me some at their next harvest and not charge me an arm and a leg. The harvest occurred last week, and I rec'd my garlic yesterday.

Just look at my beauties! I ordered a variety pack consisting of mild through very spicy. Here's a synopsis:

Mild: Georgia Crystal: a lovely, mellow garlic that would be great in salsa.

Medium: Chesnok Red: This guy often wins "best of taste" garlic competitions. It's considered a rich flavored mild to medium heat garlic.

Hot: German White: This guy can pack a punch. It has loads of flavor, and is considered rather hot when raw. (I don't eat it raw; it's awesome cooked.)

Very Hot: Villarney Red. These cloves are very strong and spicy flavored, and is very hot raw. (I don't eat this raw either. It's terrific cooked.)

What better way to test my new lovelies than to make a quick pasta dish with a garlic butter sauce for lunch? Check this out:

Paula's Got Her Garlic Groove Goin' On Pasta

Angel Hair Pasta - enough for two servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small zucchini sliced in half rounds (you know I love my half-rounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the German White)
1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced thin (or other hot pepper - my jalapenos are sadly VERY MILD. Great flavor, but no zip in the heat department this year.)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground salt
Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
Fresh basil, chiffonade sliced.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, in a small nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. As soon as it is very hot, add the zucchini and "grill" until nicely seared yet still crunchy. Remove from pan, leaving as much olive oil as possible. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. As soon as it melts and starts to sizzle, remove from heat and stir in the garlic and jalapeno. They should sizzle nicely off the heat. Let the mixture sit and sizzle off heat for about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, and immediately add the zucchini and olive oil/butter/garlic/pepper mixture. Toss. Season liberally with red chili flakes, black pepper, and salt. Top with fresh basil and pecorino romano. Serve. Sigh. Smile.

This was soooo good. The garlic flavor held up to the pasta, but didn't overpower it. Surprisingly, it was not too spicy. The pasta really mutes heat, and pairs beautifully with all the flavors. I was tempted to add some capers or sliced olives to the mixture, but my goal was to taste/test the garlic, so I left it out.

I'm looking forward to testing out the other garlic bulbs. I'm sitting here with a dreamy smile just thinking about it. Guess the ghouls and vampires will have to look elsewhere for their fix now that I've got my garlic groove goin' on!

PS: Favor to ask: Please send me an email if you have any problems accessing this post. Just click on my profile; it will take you to my email. Of course, that assumes that you can access my profile. Thanks!


Bridgett said...

What fun to receive garlic in the mail! I love getting packages left on my doorstep but I can't claim to have got one full of garlic yet! Sounds like fun though. This pasta looks and sounds fantastic, Paula.


i love garlic, but admittdly, i dont need to have it sent to me!

nottryingforaboy said...

Oh wow. Now that's my kind of package. I only wish Lushman liked garlic as much.

Peter M said...

Garlic is essential in my kitchen...everybody eat & let's stink like garlic!

I now predict world peace.

Pam said...

I, too am a garlic lover. I use it in pretty much everything I cook. I am so jealous of you right now...I would absolutely love getting a package of garlic in the mail!

Esi said...

I looooooove garlic! I always put way more than called for in my recipes, but I can't get enough. What a great package to receive!

noble pig said...

Wow, I have been educated! I never knew there were so many varieities, now I want to try them all. Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I didn't realize there were that many varieties of garlic either. I love the addition of fresh garlic to most dishes. This looks like a great pasta.

Jan said...

I know what you mean about garlic being scarce this year, my store has either been out of it, or what they had was past its best. But just look at those little bursters.

Great job with the pasta too.

Lisa said...

All I can say is wow, what great garlic! Your pasta looks delish.

Linda said...

Just what I ordered, a pasta recipe! I love garlic but would never think to have it sent in by mail:)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Wow, You are a serious garlic lover Paula! You go girl! I love your passion!!

Marjie said...

We love garlic, but with my dearly beloved's newfound habit of breaking out in hives when I cook with it, or use even more than a dusting of garlic powder, it's banned from our kitchen *sob*!

Bellini Valli said...

Now that's a "stinken" post. I wonder though how you will keep your garlic fresh. I usually buy a package of 3 and they are sprouting before I get the chance to use them all.Any suggestions:D

Grace said...

a garlic groove, eh? i'm out of mine. i pretty much abused the stuff for a couple years, adding it to everything and in copious amounts, and now i'm soured on it. i'm not worried--the love will return someday. :)

Jeena said...

I could eat this all day long it looks fabulous and I can just imagine the flavour!

Cheryl said...

What an excellent idea, ordering garlic, those look better than anything I have seen around here. The pasta looks yummy too!

Jan said...

Paula - WOW! I'm loving the look of your pasta dish and I love garlic!
I must say I didn't know about all those varieties....I am now on a mission to find out more about garlic!

Deborah said...

I'm a garlic lover, but had no idea there was such thing as "bad" garlic! That was one of my requirements in a husband - he had to love garlic and onions - everything else didn't matter as much!! I guess I need to start ordering so I can become a garlic snob too - nothing wrong with that!!

Gloria (Canela) said...

You didn't know Paula but I really LOVE GARLIC, and with pasta is a dream, I love receive too mail! Now I received some issues and Im so happy!!! I wait for them all month!!! Dear I want to plants garlic this year, some gardines said me is easy and is nice I will try!!! Nice pasta mmmmmmm!!!!!!!yummy!!!!Gloria

Pam said...

I would have never thought of ordering garlic. But now, I can't get the thought out of my mind. I want some mail ordered garlic!

Dee said...

Gourmet garlic, wow! We have garlic. And smoked garlic. I wish I could try them all out.

I love packages, I just hate getting the bill later. I did receive 3 new cookbooks from Amazon a couple of weeks back and boy, was I walking on air for several hours after.

Paula said...

Hi Everyone,
It's so nice to hear from you all :-)

Bridgett: It really was fun to get this package. Too bad the regular mailman wasn't there to witness history!

Mediterranean Kiwi: The garlic around here this year is just terrible. I can't tell you how many bulbs that I bought, which looked fine on the outside, were awful, musty and old on the inside. Blech!

Not Trying For A Boy: I just smile every time I see your blog name! This garlic is good eats.

Peter: I think you are on to something there! I propose a toast ... garlic toast that is :-) ...to world peace! Let the world unite via food.

Pam: I used some more today and my kitchen smelled sooooo good. I'm so glad I took the chance and ordered this stuff. I'm really pleased with the flavor and quality.

Esi: Garlic is just soooo good, it's hard not to sneak in more of the good stuff!

Noble Pig: Ah, this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are many more varieties ... I can hear them calling me!

PGL: I love using fresh garlic. It's actually more mellow than powder ... I won't even consider the stuff in the jar. Hey, have you ever let garlic plants grow and flower?

Jan: That's a bummer that the garlic in your area isn't great either. Come on over and I'll share some of my bounty!

Lisa: Thanks! The garlic was just wonderful in this pasta dish.

Linda: Ah, desperate times call for desperate measures. I literally couldn't find garlic. I'd have to buy multiple heads hoping to find a few good cloves. Finally, I realized that ordering them was cheaper!

Proud Italian: Yep, I love good garlic. Not STRONG make you sweat garlic for days on end garlic, but good flavorful cloves to enhance everything. What can I say ... we are a passionate people!

Marjie: Oh No! Garlic, too? I was thinking it was onions. Poor fella. Well, good thing he has you to feed him so well despite the restrictions.

Bellini Valli: I live in Oregon, and our weather here is damp, so I always keep my garlic on the counter where air can circulate. I've had good luck (except for all the gross bulbs I had this year). My grandma and mom always kept theirs in the cellar/basement where it was dark and cool. Anybody else have any ideas? I can ask Nita from Throwback at Trapper Creek. She's a goddess when it comes to all things from the garden.

Grace: Your note reminded me of a dinner party we went to YEARS ago where my husband ate some nasty garlic bread. The hostess just spooned raw garlic into butter and served it over warm sliced bread. He just about gagged ... and then smelled of garlic for a week.

Jeena: Thanks! I really tasted great. No one flavor overpowered the other. It was a satisfying meal!

Cheryl: It was sooo good, and ordering it, although not the quickest method, ended up be a great thing!

Jan: Thanks! There are tons more varieties. I want to learn more, too! I want to grow more of my own as well!.

Deborah: Great criteria! The garlic around here really was off kilter this year hence the ordering. What I ordered is so much better than anything I've had, with the exception of my late grandma's home grown varieties.

Hola Gloria: Yeah, a fellow garlic lover! I wish you success if you grow it. It's a little tricky to grow it around here because of all the dampness for most of the year, but it can be done with a little care.

Pam: Did your CSA folks supply you with good garlic this year? I remember drooling over all those glorious veggies you enjoyed this summer.

Dee: This garlic is just terrific. I cooked with it again today and was just so pleased with the terrific flavor! YUM!

Begoña said...

I love garlic really, it's essential in my kitchen and essential for Spanish Food !!!
I've just discovered your blog and I like it.
Saludos, Begoña

bricogirl said...

Garlic on your doorstep. That's great please you must be having fun enjoying the different tastes. Here's an Aioli Recipe if you're interested in putting that garlic in a little mayonnaise. Goes great with fish and just about anything.

Meg said...

Wow...so much Garlic! How fun!

Your recipe looks so awesome!

OhioMom said...

Another garlic lover here, I use it in all my pasta dishes. I have some hoarded from my local farmers market, will be planting it towards the end of this month or in October.

Lo said...

Can you see me over here, swooning?

I love, love, love garlic. And I'm so excited that you ordered all of those fantastic varieties. LOVE the Chesnok!

And I love this simple, but delicious, pasta! *drool* So glad you finally got a package in the mail!!

Lisa said...

Wow, this is a revelation! Who knew there were so many kinds of garlic? I do look for clean, firm bulbs but beyond that I just buy what I find. Thanks for the information. And your recipe sounds great too!

Tara said...

You know, I never quite knew there were all those different types of garlic! I LOVE garlic and use it in almost everything I cook. Your pasta looks fantastic!

ARLENE said...

I just roasted some garlic this afternoon. Oh, my, how I wish I'd had a head like yours. Yummy!

Kristen said...

Holy moly garlic heaven! Wow - what a delivery and what a thing to do with it :)

Divya said...

OOoh Love garlic, in anything! Love the recipe and great click

Suma Rajesh said...

i just lov garlic.loved ur recipe..its yum

Mrs. L said...

I had no idea there was "gourmet garlic" you could get on the internet.
Do remember I am a hop skip and a jump from Gilroy and would be happy to help next time you are "without the blub" :)

RecipeGirl said...

Well I have to say that I've never once thought of ordering gourmet garlic in the mail, but it does look interesting to use up all those different varieties! Have fun with it :)

Jan said...

Hi Paula, I'm just stopping by again to let you know I've given you an award. Come by the blog some time and collect it.

The Blonde Duck said...

Garlic makes everything better!