kosher kitchen

Enjoying garlic (flavor, aroma!) in all its glory


If you don’t love the smell, the taste, and even the texture of garlic, then I’m afraid this column is not for you. But if you can’t get enough of this delectable herb, once thought to vanquish everything from the common cold to vampires, then you’re in for a treat.

Welcome to Garlic Central, the column for garlic connoisseurs who live for the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival and can’t wait to taste everything from garlic jam to garlic ribs to garlic ice cream. I can’t say that garlic ice cream appeals to me, but I would love to taste everything else!

The Gilroy Garlic Festival took place this past weekend in Gilroy, California, with upwards of 100,000 people celebrating the “stinking rose,” as garlic is called. Celebrity chefs judge garlic cooking contests and hundreds of vendors sell all things garlic and not garlic related. A “Chopped”-type cooking contest with a $5,000 prize caps the event.

What I have noticed the past few years is that more and more vendors are offering vegetarian options. Ten years ago, all you could find was meat-based barbecue vendors. Now there are lots of veggie options, and lots of kosher-marked bottled and jarred foods. Arts-and-crafts dot the acres of festival estate, and not everything is garlic-related. Quilts, toys, handmade ceramics, candy, T-shirts, locally sourced honey and hundreds of other items are sold day and evening.

Garlic has delicious and healthful qualities that make it a great choice of flavorings for so many foods.

Simple Roasted Garlic (Pareve)

This simple recipe can be used in everything. I make several heads of garlic at once so I can have it on hand. It will stay in the refrigerator about one to two weeks.
8 to 10 garlic heads
6 to 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using a short sharp paring knife, cut the pointed tips off each garlic clove. If the cloves are too tightly packed, cut the off the top half inch of the whole head. Arrange them, cut side up and closely together, in a foil-lined baking dish. Brush or drizzle half the oil over the open ends of the heads and cover with a piece of foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. Drizzle or brush the rest of the oil over the heads and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the garlic is soft and golden brown.
USES: As a bread spread over bruschetta, in mashed potatoes, in salad dressings, as a garnish with steaks or chicken, in tomato sauce, on homemade pizza.

Garlic Paste for Seasoning Everything (Pareve)

I make this many times throughout the year and use it for everything. I add it to salad dressings, use it to baste roasting chicken, brush on grilled bread and even as a condiment for burgers.
about 24 cloves of garlic (I buy bulk, pre-peeled)
3 to 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar, to taste
NOTE: You can also use a red jam for the sweetener. I have used raspberry and strawberry, and they were delicious.
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a glass container (plastic will pick up the odor of garlic forever) and cover tightly. I use a small Mason jar for this. Will store in refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Garlic Chile Confit for Everything (Pareve)
40 to 50 cloves of garlic
1 small dried red chili
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
OPTIONAL: 1 tsp. of any herb such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.
Place the ingredients in a heavy, small saucepan. Set the heat to low and simmer for one hour.
When done, remove from heat and let cool. When cool, pour into a Mason-like jar and refrigerate.
Use for mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, veggies, chicken, fish, anything.
Spread the soft cloves on toast. Stays for about 3 weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

Garlic Infused Vinegar (Pareve)

These are beautiful, tasty condiments that make lovely hostess gifts and also make beautiful kitchen and counter decorations.
Pretty long-necked bottles with any kind of top
One head of garlic per 16-ounce bottle
Red wine, white wine, sherry or plain vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Other herbs such as rosemary sprigs, if you like
Separate the garlic cloves and peel them gently and completely. Trim off the brown ends. Make a small cut in one end of each garlic clove. Place the garlic cloves in the bottle and fill the bottle with vinegar. Cover tightly and place in a cool dark place. Shake gently once or twice a week. Vinegar is flavored in about 5 to 10 days. Label and wrap in pretty paper as a gift.
Homemade Caesar Dressing (Pareve)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head roasted garlic or 12 to 14 cloves roasted garlic (see recipe above)
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
OPTIONAL: 1 to 2 anchovies
OPTIONAL: 2 to 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, if making dairy
Place the olive oil, roasted garlic, lemon juice and mustard and anchovies, if using, in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Whisk in the Worcestershire Sauce to taste and then season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 cup.
Roasted Green Beans with Garlic
and Brown Sugar (Pareve)
I have printed this before, but it is still one of my most shared recipes. Kids love these.
1 pound green beans trimmed, washed and patted dry
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Place the beans in a plastic bag. Add the oil and shake well. Add the garlic and the brown sugar, close the bag and shake to coat. Pour the beans onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and spread them out in an even, single layer. Make sure to squeeze out all the garlic pieces. Roast at 400 degrees until the beans begin to brown and shrivel a bit. Serves 4 to 8.