Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Garlic has gotten a bad rap. Vampires and people on first dates have uniformly tried to stay away from garlic for centuries because of its harsh, pungent flavor (or death inducing side effect). Garlic has even been linked in Islamic myths as the fruit left behind from the left footprint of Satan after he left the Garden of Eden (the onion was the fruit of his right). I have hopes of persuading some of you to look upon this root vegetable a little different, I want to showcase garlic in a new light. Like most vegetables, when roasted, garlic takes on a completely different flavor becoming more sweet and mellow and becomes a perfect compliment to foods.

This is one of the easiest appetizers you can make for guests or for yourself on a cold winter day, in addition to the insane health benefits that have been found from the consumption of garlic including prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer.


  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1. When picking a head of garlic, you want to make sure that the white paper is tight and in tact. Squeeze the garlic gently; it should be firm and not yield easily. It should be heavy for it’s weight and should not have any black powder (usually found near the root). This is mold yet most grocery chains will put it out anyway. And stay away from “elephant garlic” as this isn’t garlic at all, but a cousin of the leek/onion family.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the garlic about a quarter of the way from the top making sure you cut through each clove held within.

3. Place the cut garlic on a piece of aluminum foil big enough to enclose the head completely. Pour the olive oil over the cloves. Season with salt and pepper.


4. Wrap the garlic up tightly and place on a sheet pan or other baking dish. Place the pan in the oven for 55 minutes.

5. Let the garlic head cool for five minutes on the stovetop before trying to unwrap. The individual cloves will easily pop out of their skin when given a gentle squeeze. Serve warm mashed over bread, in salad dressings, or anyway you desire.


Why are you posting a summer inspired grilled chicken, when fall is here?

That is an excellent question. But I’m from New England, and unless the grill is buried beneath 4 feet of snow, we snow blow a path to it and continue to grill for 365 days a year. In this regard, I wanted to inspire some of you to refuse to put away your patio furniture, top off the ol’ propane tank, and continue to utilize the great outdoors instead of your kitchens.

Besides, some food is just meant to be cooked over an open flame and chicken legs are certainly high on my list.. This recipe is perfect to invite some friends over that have good taste in both food and humor as it is incredibly cost efficient and utilizes simple ingredients that you are sure to have access to year round.


  • 8 chicken legs
  • 1 lemon (juiced and zested)
  • 1/4c orange juice
  • 1/8c dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 1/2 tbsp basil oil)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce

1. Gather the ingredients for a marinade and add them to a large zip lock bag. I like to keep the bag stable by placing it inside a mixing bowl. This way the bag never tips over and you can just add the ingredients in as you measure them out.


Note: I had some extra scallions hanging around so I added them in. I don’t think it’s entirely necessary and added little to the end product.

2. Add about a 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the marinade and mix to combine. Add the chicken to the bag and remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Leave in the refrigerator for at least two hours (8 to 24 hours would be much better).

3. Heat the grill over medium high heat. When the grill has come up to temperature, place the chicken legs on the grate, reserving the marinade. Cook the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, and basting with the marinade periodically until a nice crust forms.


4. Serve the chicken fresh off the grill hot with just about any side dish you desire.

Technically, what I have for you here is not bruschetta. Technically, this is just tomato salad and the bruschetta part only comes into play when you toast some bread and place this on top.  But what-ever. You know exactly what I’m going to show you how to make today and if you reached this through an internet search, you probably typed in “bruschetta” hoping to find exactly this. Far be it for me to deny my readers what they want.

Ingredients (makes about 3 cups)

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut each tomato in half and scoop out the pulp. Dice the tomato halves. There is no rush, so take your time and keep the skin side up when dicing the tomato to make the cuts easier. Place the diced tomatoes into a large mixing bowl.


Note: Apparently when you place a yellow tomato on a green cutting board, it comes out orange in pictures. Who knew?

2. Mince the garlic, cut the basil into thin ribbons, and zest the entire lemon. Add these ingredients to the bowl with the tomatoes along with 1 tbsp lemon juice.

       3. Add the olive oil and combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve chilled over fish, chicken, or with bread.

Lamb is a prominent fixture in many Mediterranean cuisines like Greece, North Africa, and the Middle East, however, mutton (an older, female sheep) is a staple of United Kingdom cuisine including Scotland, Wales, and the northern Uplands.

Leg of lamb (unlike many pork and beef cuts) is exactly what it sounds like and is often sold on the bone and meant to be cooked on a spit. Here instead, I’ve ordered a boneless leg of lamb from the butcher. These can also be found deboned in your local grocery store.


  •  2-3 lb boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4c canola oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

1. If your leg did not come already tied, you will want to start with this. I am spoiled and I have my butcher tie mine ahead of time. If you don’t have a butcher, or would like to know how to do properly tie a roast, here is an excellent (if not overly thorough) video on how to tie a boneless leg of lamb.

Note: I do not endorse the cheesy music.

2. Chop the rosemary and garlic lightly and place into a mini chopper or food processor. Pulse until the rosemary and garlic have become well integrated. Add the salt and continuing pulsing. The salt will act as a abrasive and bring out the oils in the garlic and rosemary more.

3. Drizzle the olive oil over the lamb and rub in with your hands. Spread rosemary/garlic mixture over the entire surface of the lamb. Place on the rack of a roasting pan and leave on the counter for one hour. This will allow the flavors to permeate the lamb.

4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Move the oven rack to the bottom third of your oven. When the oven has come up to temperature, place the roasting pan in the oven. Roast lamb for about 35 minutes per pound.

Note: The lamb is cooked medium rare when a meat thermometer reads 120 degrees inserted in the middle (about 1 hour). If you would like it cooked medium well, cook for an additional 20 minutes. If the middle is 120 degrees, the ends will most likely be cooked medium (around 140 degrees).

5. After you pull the lamb out of the oven, set on a cutting board and rest. Resting will allow the juices to redistribute. If you cut in the lamb too early, it will bleed and be dry.

6. As the lamb is resting, heat canola oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, place potato slices in oil 4 or 5 at a time. You don’t want to crowd the pan. The potatoes should instantly sizzle. If little happens, the oil is not hot enough.

7. Flip the potato slices after 2 minutes and continue cooking for another 1 minute. Drain slices on a paper towel and season with salt. Cook second batch of slices.

8. Place potato slices on plate. Top with lamb. Garnish with mint sauce or jelly if you wish.









I discovered carnitas much too late in life. My best friend in college was jonesing for a late night, high quality mexican snack. Unfortunately, it was 11 pm and most restaurants were closed. The high quality would have to be sacrificed. I refused to eat fast food so we wound up at a dive near the Las Vegas strip. The kitchen was closing, and I didn’t want to hold up the staff – I remember working as a cook and there is nothing worse than someone coming in 10 minutes before closing and ordering something complicated – so I told the waiter to give me anything that was easy to put together. He came out with a giant mound of shredded pork, a tin foil packet of corn tortillas, and the traditional mexican condiments. At first I thought this was a make your own taco plate, but quickly discovered it was much more. While some people have tacos as their go-to mexican meal, carnitas will forever be mine.

I adapted this recipe from Stephanie O’Dea. She used her slow cooker everyday for an entire year and published two cookbooks on the topic. Her blog is a wonderful resource if you are looking for ways to use your slow cooker.


  • 2 – 3 lb pork roast
  • 2 tsp chile powder (store bought cannot compare in taste and heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4c orange juice
  • 1/2c chicken broth
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled

1. Start by making the dry rub. Mix the chile powder, salt, and cumin in a bowl.

2. Spread the rub on your pork roast making sure to cover every part.

3. Smash the garlic cloves with your hand and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the pork on top. Add the orange juice and chicken broth. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours.

4. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and using two forks, shred. Mix the shredded pork with 1/4c of the braising liquid. Serve with warmed tortilla’s, salsa, sour cream, or any other condiment.

Note: the night I made this, I didn’t have any tortillas to serve alongside. So I offer a picture of the final product instead.


You can also use this recipe to make a pulled pork sandwich. While not authentic southern barbeque, mix the shredded pork with 1/4c of the braising liquid, serve on a potato roll, and cover with the kind of barbeque sauce that makes you happy just thinking about it. Serve alongside fresh coleslaw and crunchy pickles.