Dancing in the Kitchen with Garlic

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Photography by Joe Coca

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Delicious, unique recipes offer the flavor and health benefits of Allium sativum.

My mother is a fabulous cook, but in my childhood home, garlic was that powdered stuff we sprinkled modestly over steaks. I’ve outgrown that aspect of my upbringing and now favor recipes that begin something like, “Take all the garlic you can find in the neighborhood. Mince…” My transition from “flavorphobe” to garlic maven was gradual—a little garlic bread here, a Caesar salad there. The process received a kick-start years ago when I was a newspaper reporter in New Mexico. A group that called itself the Placitas Garlic Growers’ Consortium invited me to visit them and hear their farm-to-market plans.

The centerpiece of their presentation was an “all-garlic meal”—right down to the pièce de résistance, Garlic Brickle Ice Cream—which might have repelled reporters fainter of stomach but certainly captured my imagination.

What followed was a savory celebration that satisfied my senses and left me saturated with the pungent scent of this healthful, scrumptious herb. In other words: I reeked for days. But it was a good stench—at least to my way of thinking.

I no longer have the menu from that first garlic-suffused meal, but the following are some of my favorite recipes from a variety of sources.

  1. Caldo Con Ajo (Garlic Soup) 
  2. Karen's Spinach Salad with Garlic Dressing 
  3. Eggplant Garlic Tapenade 
  4. Creamy Garlic Spinach Dip 
  5. Garlic Stir-Fry 
  6. Garlic Ice Cream 

K.C. Compton is editor in chief of Herbs for Health and loves experimenting with garlic in any recipe she can. Do you have a favorite use for garlic in the kitchen? Send your recipes and suggestions to “Garlic Recipes,” Herbs for Health, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or e-mail editor@HerbsForHealth.com.