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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

garlic rocks my world

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i heart garlic

A most devastating thing happened to me earlier this week.


The horror. The bland food tasteless mushy horror.

Thankfully, the situation was promptly rectified today with a quick visit to my friendly neighbourhood grocery store. It was a tense few days, but somehow, I made it through. Because garlic is important. It seems that no matter which cuisine strikes my fancy, garlic is front and centre of the dish. Want Indian? Get yer garlic. Want thai? Definitely garlic. Italian? NEEEEED garlic. I'm beginning to suspect I may have been Egyptian in a past life.....turns out ancient egyptians worshipped at the altar of the garlic bulb.

Funny enough (or maybe it's not funny?), Americans eschewed the venerable root until the mid-twentieth century. Of course in this respect, if you look at primordial north American cuisine, the utter uninspired blandness comes as no surprise. No garlic= BLAAAAAND.

And peeps. We need the real deal. I bought 5 heads of garlic tonight at a monumental cost of 59 cents. There is zero excuse for resorting to powder. As I've oft mentioned when it comes to parmesan, any food that has been reduced to powder form is definitely NOT going to be good.

Natural state means natural food. Natural food means that it will have pure, strong flavour. And that's a goooooood thing. :)

So of course now I have to backtrack and admit that a good portion of my dinner came from a can....canned clams. In my defense, however, at least food in a can was preserved at the height of freshness....and to be frank, I'd rather opt for clams from a can (that I *know* won't wreak havoc on my system) than the sad saggy looking seafood one is able to obtain mid-continent.

I really enjoyed this dinner. It met all the weeknight criteria - it was fast (20 minutes - kick ass!), it was easy (practically zero chopping!) and it tasted great (because, folks, garlic ROCKS MY WORLD). I served it with a simple salad and it made for a 400 calorie dent in my daily allowance. Not too shabby. Best of all, I have leftovers for my lunch.

Apologies in advance for some of the shite pictures.....not sure why they aren't in focus, but of course by the time that came to my attention, the dinner was residing comfortably in my tummy, so no retakes. This are the hazards of live blogging. :)

Linguine with Garlicky Clams and Peas
shamelessly stolen from the June 2007 Cooking Light, which you should all promptly buy
(I think this would also be good with shrimp or chicken)

1 package fresh linguine (or about 8-10 ounces of dried)
1-2 T olive oil
3-4 minced cloves of garlic (original recipe calls for bottled, but I shudder...)
3 6-ounce cans chopped clams, undrained
1 cup veggie broth (I actually just kept all the clam juice)
1/4 c dry white wine (I probably used half a cup....when in doubt....add more wine!)
2 T fresh lemon juice (plus grated zest, if you desire)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 c. shredded fresh basil

1. Cook pasta according to package directions (omitting salt). Drain and keep warm.
linguine nests

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan. Sauté 1 minute. Feel free to double garlic.

go garlic go
(heh - funny story, somehow, right after I snapped this picture, I managed to snap my wooden cutting board clear in two. GRRRRRR)

3. Drain clams, reserving 1/2 cup juice (I reserved all). Add clam juice, broth, lemon juice, wine and pepper to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add clams and peas to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until peas are no longer frozen.
mmmm....garlicky sauce

5. Add pasta to pan; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese and basil. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional content - 368 calories, 11.9 g fat, 19.8 g protein, 46.5 g carbs, 4.3 g fibre, 1.9 mg iron, 961 mg sodium, 166 mg calcium.

dinner....with shitty focus
(apologies for ISO was too low....GRRRRR). Trust me that it looked cute. I also think this sauce would be great if it were a little creamy - perhaps 1/2 c. of sour cream would be a nice addition (1/2 c. of whipping cream would be even better, but my butt can definitely live without that!).

I served this with baby arugula, topped with strawberry, blackberry and apricot. I dressed it with my favourite lazy new discovery - Hellman's Salad Spritzers. These are great - 15 calories for a salad that actually tastes good and ISN'T the ubiquitous light Italian that I've so come to hate.
fruits and veggies are good for you

Thanks all for the reads and the comments. :) I'm debating right now whether I should finish this bottle of wine and sob my way through this miserable excuse of a game, or if I should strap on my shoes and run away my sorrows. I'm thinking number two might be better.....


Anonymous said...

Ooh another garlic fiend! I am obsessed with garlic and i agree that it goes in pretty much every dish possible! I'm sure some people would think it's overpowering when I use it sometimes, but it MAKES a dish! Garlic is awesome! The garlic went through a phase of being really expensive and really dodgy (mushy garlic is never fun) so I used the tinned garlic, which was okay, but recently I started buying "real" garlic again and the taste is so much different! It's so much better to use the real stuff!

And the best bit about garlic? The way your hands smell like garlic for a couple days afterwards. It's delicious! :D

We'd be shockingly pathetic vampires, hehe.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya on the garlic - fresh allllllll the way. It is always stocked in my fridge. My garlic mincer was one of my favourite wedding shower gifts LOL!

As for the canned clams..... I can forgive you that one since you do live a fair distance from the ocean. A great benefit to living in the Maritimes - fresh seafood! :)

~ Ginelle (wb)

Lisa said...

I stalk your blog on a regular basis and I apologize for my lack of comments. Today, I have to. "Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm addicted to garlic." I add it to pretty much everything and I most usually double it.

Just wanted to say that your blog is truly fantastic, exceptional really and mouthwatering. I wholeheartedly thank you for it!

I do believe that I am going to make this recipe tonight for dinner. We haven't had pasta in a while and I have no plans for dinner! So, thanks for that.

aka ljprincess

Deborah said...

I, too, am addicted to garlic. I think I pick up a bulb or two every time I am shopping, regardless of how much I already have at home!! I'm just glad my husband likes garlic as well - I tend to double, triple or even quadruple the amount of garlic asked for!! There's no such thing as too much garlic in my book.

Shaun said...

Leslie - Can you believe that I hardly ever ate garlic until 1999, when my partner Eric came into my life. Now I can't live without the stuff. One of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles (I believe there is one in San Francsico, too) is called the Stinking Rose and features garlic in most recipes. I even have their cookery book...Too divine. Even your photo of a solitary garlic bulb makes me hungry.

Anonymous said...

I love garlic in just about everything too. Hubby thinks I go a bit overboard sometimes, but it's good for you too, right? Excellent for the immune system.

Now I will hang my head in shame and admit I don't use the fresh bulbs. I buy the garlic that is already chopped and jarred in oil. I find the flavour to be pretty good though, and so quick and easy to cook with.

I just rediscovered your blog and I love the recent addition of the pictures. Gets me more in the mood to do some cooking.

kellypea said...

I will use garlic in almost everything. do know what I mean, right? If the recipe calls for "large" cloves, I will select the largest cloves in the head and a few more than called for just because. And I can't tell you the last time I used garlic powder. Only and always heads of garlic -- no prepped ahead of time or any of that laziness....:) Right?

Mandy said...

I love garlic too! And life will be so miserable without it. Absolutely agree that dish without garlic = Blaaand!

eviedee said...

This recipe looks quite similar a favorite of my own, I use cilantro rather than lemon, delish! I loved my recipe and all of it's garlicky goodness SO MUCH that Hubby now refuses to eat it. Perhaps I can sneak it back on the table cloaked in lemon and peas. I think that my entire good reputation as a cook is based on the fact that I always triple the garlic.

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