Back to the Kitchen: The Power of Garlic

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We have a few culinary sayings around our house. First,  when in doubt add more cheese. Second,  you can never use too much garlic. While many lovers are afraid to use a lot of garlic, it is known for its aphrodisiac powers.

Folklore holds that garlic repels vampires, protects against the Evil Eye, and wards off jealous nymphs said to terrorize pregnant women and engaged maidens. Clay molds and real cloves of garlic were placed in the tomb of King Tut. It also believed to heal many aliments.

I admit I truly don’t know about any of this. I just know that when I want a quick pasta, I sauté’ garlic in olive oil add whatever fresh vegetables I have, sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. Green beans sautéed in garlic and ginger are one of my most popular dishes. Roasted garlic is a great appetizer. Serve with warm French bread. Make a cocktail party with cheese, bruschetta and olive tampanade, also heavy on garlic. I giggle with my girlfriends about my marriage proposal from my baked Brie.  Shrimp Scampi is a no brainier lush with garlic, butter and lemon. I have done many versions of garlic-mashed potatoes, but these are tasty and are great for our non-dairy friends. So whether it heals your heart or nourishes your soul share some garlic with the ones you love!


Garlic is good for eating and for all the ails you.

Roasted Garlic

6 whole heads of garlic
12 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head; using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Wrap with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

Noni’s Olive Tapenade

6 Large garlic cloves
2 cups pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured olives
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons drained capers
1teaspoon each fresh chopped rosemary, thyme
3 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the olives in cold water. (This makes the tapenade less salty) Finely chop garlic cloves in food processor. Add 1/2 the olives, anchovies, capers, thyme and rosemary. Process until almost smooth. Add the lemon juice. With machine running gradually add olive oil. Blend mixture until smooth. Then coarsely chop the remaining cup of olives and mix in. Season tapenade to taste with pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
Serve with toasted French bread.


6 seeded ripe plum tomatoes, diced
(When in season I love to use the Heirloom)
1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2-cup olive oil
Gently combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Let stand at room temp for 1 hour before serving

Baked Brie with Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic

4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, sliced
1-tablespoon thyme, minced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups button or crimini, sliced
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce
French Brie
French bread baguettes, sliced

Melt butter in heavy very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add minced thyme and mushrooms and stir until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie, reserving bottom of wooden box. Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return Brie to box, rind side down. Place box on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with onion mixture. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer Brie in box in platter. Surround with baguette slices.

French Garlic Soup

24 cloves of garlic
8 fresh sage leaves

5 cups water with 2 teaspoons salt added

Pinch of saffron

4 slices day old or toasted bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Gruyere cheese

Place 22 of the garlic cloves and the sage leaves in a large saucepan with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove garlic and sage. Discard the sage and mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle or a fork. Return garlic to the cooking liquid, along with the saffron. Keep the soup at a gentle simmer, with the lid on, until ready to serve.

Preheat broiler to high. Cut the remaining garlic cloves in half and rub each slice of bread with it. Then, sprinkle each slice with olive oil and some grated cheese, reserving some. Broil bread until cheese topping bubbles.

To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of each serving bowl. Pour over hot liquid and sprinkle on remaining cheese.


Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds large prawns
8 tablespoons butter
1/2-cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/4 cup oregano, finely chopped
Juice from 3 lemons
Zest from 1 lemon
Splash Triple Sec
Salt and Pepper to taste

Shell and devein prawns; rinse and drain. In a medium skillet melt butter. Add olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano and lemon juice and zest. Sautee for one minute. Add prawns and cook until pink. Add salt and pepper and triple second cook on high untilluquid is reduced to 3/4.Serve over pasta.

Grilled Garlic Tuna Steaks 

6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 scallions with tops, minced
1/3-cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dry vermouth
(Or white wine)
1-teaspoon soy sauce
3 splashes Green Tabasco (or to taste)
4 tuna Steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.
Prepare the grill to medium heat. Mix the garlic, scallions, parsley, vermouth, soy sauce and Tabasco. Add the tuna steaks and marinade in the refrigerator for one hour. Grill the tuna steaks 5 inches over the heat for about 8 minutes per side until they are firm to the touch. Remove from grill and serve immediately.


Yukon Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1/4-cup olive oil
6-garlic clove, minced
5 Yukon Gold Potatoes

Pour the oil in a medium skillet and heat. Add the garlic and sauté until soft about 3 minutes, set a side. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch chunks. Place chunks into a medium saucepan filled with cold water. Add 2 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until tender. Drain over a bowl reserving liquid. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl. Using a whisk mash potatoes adding reserved cooking liquid until smooth. Add the sautéed garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out he r websites and Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON 


About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.