Week 19: Ward Off the Vampires
Do you recall when the Moutoux crew was planting all of the fall greens, what seems like a short while ago? They are now in full abundance on the CSA table ready for us to eat! What a wonderful fall season thus far – leafy greens are back on our plates, temperatures are cooling off, and the farmers are happily slowing down with shorter days. In other farm news, 5 of the calves got weened and moved over to the “big kid” side of the farm. The 4 youngest are hanging back on the CSA side of the farm growing big and strong. And Fern and Bear are 16 weeks old! Although they aren’t fully trained yet, they are already having a positive impact scaring away predators.
This week we are diving into one of the world’s most key ingredients - GARLIC. There are about 600 varieties that range in color from white to purple, and fall into one of three categories: hardneck, softneck and elephant. Hardneck varieties grow one ring of cloves around a stem and do well in cold climates. They also produce the curly green garlic scapes in late spring. Moutoux Orchard grows a hard neck variety called Melody, which is a medium hot garlic with nice flavor and plump cloves. Softneck varieties, which are typically found in grocery stores, grow several layers of cloves around a stem and are best adapted to where winters are mild. Elephant garlic is very large and only has about four cloves to a bulb. This type of garlic is more closely related to leeks than to other varieties of garlic.
While we don’t always think of garlic as a seasonal item, which it is, bulbs are typically planted in the fall for harvest in summer. They then get cured for two to four weeks and are ready for us to enjoy in late-summer and early fall. Storing garlic long-term is tricky because they like 40ᵒ F and humid. Experiment with various corners of your house or basement to find an ideal spot. Garlic is also a top contender for preservation via dehydrating, roasting, fermenting, and freezing. To freeze, separate and peel the cloves, toss them in olive oil, put them in freezer-safe container/bag and freeze. Voila!
When used raw, garlic is pungent and spicy. When cooked, the flavor mellows and becomes sweeter. Garlic also pairs ever so perfectly with the abundance of greens at the CSA right now! And with Halloween festivities being much different this year, we can also use our pungent, farm-fresh garlic to Ward Off the Vampires!
GARLIC SAUTEED GREENS
2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or chopped
1 bunch of farm greens, spines removed and chopped (tatsoi, kale, mustard greens, stir-fry mix, beet greens, etc.)
Olive oil or butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Cook the garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a small amount of olive oil or butter over low to medium heat until the garlic starts to turn light brown. The garlic and red pepper infuses the oil with flavor.
Add the greens, toss well and sauté until wilted and cooked to your liking.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
3 or 4 heads of garlic (all similar in size)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375ᵒ F. Tear off any loose skins and cut off the top third of the garlic heads, so you lob off just the very top of the cloves.
Place the heads cut side up in a small baking dish, or in a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle the garlic with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Cover or wrap it tightly in the foil and place garlic in the oven on the middle rack.
Cook for about 1 hour, or until the cloves start to soften up and brown a bit. They will also begin to pop out of shell.
Remove from oven and cool.
Once cooled to touch, open the foil and remove peel away the shells from the cloves or squeeze the lower part of the head of garlic in a small bowl. At this point the cloves/paste can be used or stored in the fridge or freezer.
Notes: Nothing is easier than making roasted garlic. Make 3-4 heads at once so you have some on hand to squeeze onto slice of baguette, stir into mashed potatoes, or spread on a pizza or sandwich.
ROASTED GARLIC BREAD
4 heads roasted garlic (recipe above)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 Tbsp thyme, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf of good, crusty bread, cut into slices
Mash the extracted roasted garlic cloves to form a paste.
Add butter and chopped thyme to the bowl, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toast both sides of the bread, using a hot grill, grill pan, or broiler. Spread the roasted garlic butter paste onto the toasted bread. Serve immediately.
GARLIC POWDER, GARLIC SALT, GARLIC PEPPER
Minimum of 6 heads of garlic
Separate the cloves of garlic from the head. Peel off the papery skins, and slice the cloves thin.
To dry garlic using a dehydrator: Spread out the sliced garlic in a single layer on the dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 125˚F (52˚C) until the garlic is crispy and snaps when you break it, up to 12 hours. Rotate your screens several times to dry evenly.
To dry garlic in an oven: Spread the sliced garlic on a parchment lined baking sheet and dry in a preheated, 150-200˚F (67-93˚C) oven for 1-2 hours until the garlic snaps when you break it.
Let the dehydrated garlic cool, then grind into a powder using a high quality blender, spice grinder, or coffee grinder. Sift the powder to separate large pieces, and store the garlic powder in an airtight container in a dark, cool, and dry location. The larger garlic flakes are wonderful in soups, stews and recipes where they can rehydrate.
Garlic salt: Mix 1 part garlic powder and 3 parts salt in a bowl. Use immediately or store in a sealable, air tight container.
Garlic pepper: Mix 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp black pepper, 1 tsp brown sugar, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp dried parsley in a bowl. Use immediately or store in a sealable, air tight container.
Notes: 6 large heads of garlic will make about ½ cup of garlic power. Substitute 1/8 tsp of garlic powder for each clove called for in recipes.
FERMENTED MOROCCAN GARLIC PASTE
6 to 8 heads garlic (heads, not cloves!)
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
½ onion (optional)
Special equipment: wide mouth jar with lid, Kraut Source Jar Top Fermentation Kit or wide-mouth fermentation stone
Separate the cloves and peel the papery skin from each clove. Note: Be prepared to spend a good hour peeling cloves to make this paste, but the results are worth the effort.
Process the garlic cloves and spices to a thick paste in a food processor. The texture will be gooey, thick and sticky.
Remove the paste from the food processor and place in a mixing bowl.
Add the lemon juice, pepper, and cumin if using.
Add the salt and mix thoroughly.
Press the garlic paste down into a pint jar, and secure with a fermentation airlock. The Kraut-Source is particularly useful for this ferment because the garlic doesn’t make much brine, and the spring press keeps the garlic pressed firmly down, minimizing air contact. A fermentation stone also works as long as the size matches up with the pint diameter.
If your jar isn’t quite full, peel and half an onion and place it on top of the garlic paste to take up the remaining space in the jar.
Set the jar out of direct sunlight, and allow to ferment at room temperature for 14 to 21 days. Monitor the paste to ensure that the airlock is functioning; this recipe doesn’t make a lot of brine, so keeping air out is particularly important.
You can start to test the ferment on day 14. It’s ready when the garlic heat has mellowed somewhat, and the flavor has a bit more acidity from the fermentation process. It becomes sweeter as it continues to ferment.
When the paste has reached a flavor to your liking, replace the fermentation airlock with a storage lid, and keep the paste in the refrigerator. It will keep in cold storage for 1 year.
Notes: Makes about 1 pint. This garlic paste is a great time-saver when you are putting dinner on the table and want a little bit of garlic flavor without peeling and mincing cloves of garlic. It’s an instant burst of rich garlic flavor, perfect for a finishing garnish, a rub for meat or vegetables, an ingredient in dressings, or even spread on toast. The fermentation mellows the sharpness of raw garlic, but it is still spicy and rich and salty a most satisfying condiment. Try mixing it with fresh minced parsley and olive oil, and tossing it with roasted potatoes, or brush it onto a savory tart dough before baking. Possibilities abound!
KALE CAESAR SALAD
CREAMY GARLIC, PARSLEY, AND FETA DRESSING
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp chopped garlic (3 medium garlic cloves)
2/3 cup yogurt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
3 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled (1 ounce)
1 tsp coarse salt
Puree parsley, water, and garlic in a blender until smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until just combined. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 week.
Notes: We suggest pairing this garlicky dressing with lettuce greens, or drizzling it over grilled chicken. If you prefer a milder dressing, cut back the garlic to two teaspoons.