Monday, July 13, 2009

Challenge Ingredient: Garlic

Have you ever been to Gilroy, CA? It is the garlic capital of the world. When you drive through, if you crack your car windows slightly, you will notice that the whole town smells like garlic. If you live or stay there, you will smell it in the dew in the morning. Could there be anything more delicious? Every Summer the town of Gilroy (population 41, 464) holds a huge three-day Garlic Festival. Last year, 107,553 people attended. There are all sorts of garlicky foods you can sample at the festival, including garlic wine and garlic ice cream. With so many options (and the festival coming up in two weeks), what could be a more perfect challenge ingredient than garlic?

Here are some fast facts on garlic:

  • It's part of the onion family.
  • It can be used both in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes.
  • Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in milder climates.
  • Garlic can thin blood, similar to an aspirin.
  • Garlic might be toxic to cats and dogs.

(Source: Wikipedia: Garlic)

If you're a beginner or just not very familiar with whole garlic (as opposed to minced garlic that comes in jars), here's a basic intro.

This is a bulb of garlic:

A bulb is made up of a bunch of cloves of garlic that separate off, like this:

A clove of garlic (once you peel off the papery outside) is approximately equivalent to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. If you don't have a garlic press, you can chop it up into tiny tiny pieces, but be prepared to smell garlic under your fingernails for a couple of days.


Okay everyone, we've had low participation lately (myself included), but I think this is a great ingredient to get a fresh start with. It's so versatile there's almost no excuse for not participating. Please post your recipes by Sunday night.

I also want to add a few items of business in here. If you would like to guest post a challenge ingredient, please leave a comment on this post, or email us at whatsinyouroven(at)yahoo(dot)com. If you have any ideas on how to make things more exciting around here, please also leave a comment or send us an email.


stewbert said...

Guilty for the low participation as well. My apologies. I do love the short articles detailing the week's challenge ingredient, and am excited about this one. Nothing like fresh garlic through the garlic press ... soooooooo good. even though I do use garlic powder regularly, the fresh is mucho better.

Scott and Jillian said...

I didn't know about the Garlic Festival or whatever when I chose this ingredient, so yay for serendipity!

Janelle said...

I only know about the garlic festival because Gilroy was in my mission. I didn't even know about the dates of it -- that part was definitely serendipitous.