Posts Tagged ‘Garlic

26
Feb
13

Roasted Garlic Bread

...garlicky...

…garlicky…

When I was young, I thought that everything I learned about food – the techniques, the ingredients, the flavors, and the rules of eating – was tied to Asian culture, in particular the Taiwanese culture. I feel like it’s a common issue facing young second generation children growing up in the US. Well, I’m at least going to believe that to make me feel less awkward about my lack of awareness as a kid.

I recall one lunch specifically in the third grade: I spied a couple of my non-Taiwanese friends placing napkins over their laps. I was quick to let them know of their error in doing something that I had, up until that point in time, assumed was exclusively a Taiwanese custom. They looked at me confused, but I persisted to try to educate them. As a seven-year-old, I felt that it was my duty to be a cultural soldier of all traditions sacred to Taiwan, in order to ensure that customs like placing napkins on laps, eating chicken feet, and drinking hot tea during a meal were kept in all of their authenticity. I later realized (albeit way too late in my development) how wrong I actually was.

Garlic powder was also one of those things that I believed to be deeply rooted in Taiwanese culinary history – I imagined a Taiwanese grandmother, rich with culinary stories and secrets tucked within the wrinkles of her face, experimenting with garlic in her kitchen and accidentally stumbling upon a new creation. Alas, I could only wish that garlic powder had such a romantic history.

My parents often used garlic powder in their cooking: My dad’s turkey recipe called for a healthy slathering and my mom always used it in a marinade with soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil for her stir fries. It’s no wonder why I thought garlic powder was an Asian ingredient. Especially because I thought that the ingredients that filled our refrigerator, pantry, and spice closets only contained items that were native to my parents. It took me until I was a young teenager to come to find out otherwise.

It was when my mom used garlic powder for cooking non-Taiwanese cuisine that my mind was blown! She used it to make garlic bread that was unlike the bread that I had at Olive Garden, which in my mind I thought was authentic as it gets. So, by that standard, my Mom had just created an Italian dish with Asian influences. I thought my mom was a genius, a trailblazer in fusion cooking, and a creative culinary matchmaker. It was all happening in front of me and I was honored to be present as history was taking place. Or, so I thought.

Eventually, my knowledge of ingredients and their origins grew as I began to do my own research through recipes, blogs, and online resources. I do miss my mom’s garlic bread, though. She would take a loaf of French bread and, without cutting all the way though, slice it into half inch sections. Next, a paste of garlic powder and salted margarine was spread onto each slit, then wrapped and baked. Eventually, what you get is a deliciously garlicky, butter-soaked slice of bread. What isn’t there to like?

In terms of the history of garlic powder. It’s shrouded in mystery, but until someone tells me the history (and if you know it, please share in the comments below), I’m going to believe that the Taiwanese grandmother discovered it. Enjoy.

Note on the recipe: I updated the recipe to add roasted garlic to give a subtle sweetness to the spread. I also added parsley to give it the green color that you see in garlic powder with dried parsley. This is mainly an homage to the recipe that my Mom used to do. You don’t need to put it in if you don’t like the flavor profile. I like it because it looks like the garlic powder my parents have at home.

~stuff

1 head of garlic

1 tsp olive oil

1 loaf crusty bread, Italian or French, halved lengthwise

1 stick of butter, about ½ cup softened

1 tbs. parsley, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp salt

 

~steps

preheat oven to 400°f

slice head of garlic in half exposing cloves and place on roasting pan

drizzle olive oil over garlic and roast for 25 to 30 min, until garlic is soft.

Remove roasted cloves from the garlic paper once the garlic is cool enough to touch and set aside

mix in another bowl the butter, parsley, minced garlic, and salt

blend garlic into butter mixture until well mixed

spread mixture onto cut side of the bread

wrap bread, cut side together, in foil and set aside for at least an hour

bake bread in 325°f oven for 10 minutes in foil and then remove from foil and brown the cut side for the last 2 minutes. Or until mixture has melted well into the bread and the top is toasted. Keep in foil if you want softer bread.

-serves 8-

29
Mar
12

Easy Pork and Garlic Chive Stir Fry

...pork and chive stir fry...

It feels like spring came extremely early this year, which, as you know, means two things for me.  I will relentlessly talk about my love for the farmers market and you will be forced to listen with no escape like a slideshow of my family vacation.  And, I will tear down all the weeds (with itchy eyes and a runny nose) to pretend to make way for a patch of dirt with green sprouts and try to call it a garden.  Yay, spring!

 

Last year, I neglected my duties of weeding and let some of the weeds (which I thought where just plants) turn into small trees.  Yes.  This year, we had giant tree weeds.  I never knew that these things existed, but I have the 6-foot carcass in my backyard as proof.  In order to protect my integrity as a green thumb (*ahem*), I went to Target and bought a giant tree/bush scissor thingy (clearly a green thumb) and hacked away at all the weeds at my house.  It was a brutal image, with sticks, roots, and dirt flying in every direction.  In the end, it was a war zone but it was beautiful.  I was weed free and, as a bonus, there was faint aroma of garlic in the air.  It was amazing.  At first, I wasn’t sure what the smell was.  It was a familiar aroma and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I finally realized it was the smell of Chinese chives.

 

It immediately brought me back to memories of my childhood.  My mom would cook it for dumplings and stir-fries and it would have an amazing gentle garlic flavor to it.  I started to get nostalgic and looked around for the sprouts of dark green leaves.  Turns out my neighbors had planted some of these chives a while back and they have began to grow into our part of the fence.  I ended up planting them in some pots that I had, and harvesting the leaves.  The best thing about these chives is that they are hearty.  So you can cut off the tops and in a few weeks, you’ll have some more leaves to enjoy.  And they’re easy to care for, so I can continue to pretend to be amazing with the green thumb.

 

For this recipe, I only needed 1/2 a pound of pork.  What my Mom and I do now is just buy a bunch of it, then slice it once we get home and then freeze them in individual sandwich bags.  This way they are proportioned out for when you need it.  Plus, the marinade for the pork was my Mom’s standard marinade that she used for all her sliced meats that she used for stir-fry.  It’s tasty and is a quick marinade.  You can use it with any sliced meat for any stir-fry.  I like the pork and chive combo here.  Use tofu as a substitute if you are a vegetarian or NOT on the primal diet.

 

Enjoy.

 

~stuff

½ lb pork (I used tenderloin), julienne

1 tbs soy sauce

½ tbs cooking rice wine

2 tsp rice flour or cornstarch

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 bunches of Chinese garlic chives (about ½ lb), 1 inch slices

vegetable oil (if needed)

~steps

mix first seven items together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes

heat a pan or wok on high until screaming hot and stir-fry the pork until cooked through (add oil if necessary)

add garlic chives and stir until cooked, a few minutes

-serves 4-

 

 

 

 

 




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