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!