Christopher Ranch’s California Garlic Blog

It’s no mystery that fresh garlic is one of the most popular, versatile ingredients ever. What remains relatively unknown, however, are the distinct flavor, quality and health differences associated with varying garlic varieties. Christopher Ranch, a family farm in Gilroy, Calif., grows a California heirloom garlic that is a leader in each category. All Garlic Is Not Created Equal. We’ll show you why.

Archive for garlic recipes

AWARD WINNING FREE LUNCH IS RICH WITH GILROY GARLIC

I love a free lunch – and a free lunch that knocks my socks off is, well, priceless!  Lucky me, I was in the right place at the right time when I walked into the lunchroom and three of my co-workers, whom I’ve dubbed the “Healthy Lunch Bunch”, were enjoying a wonderfully aromatic meal that I couldn’t help but drool over, I mean admire…

The “Bunch” recently united in the interest of dropping a few elbees by eating healthily (is that a word?), cutting the carbs and trading off cooking duties to prepare a nutritious lunch every day. Collectively, they’ve lost 23 pounds in two weeks without sacrificing flavor – Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic has a little something to do with that – and I can tell you, if I had the Lunch Bunch as my personal chefs, I’d be on the road to wellville instead of swellville (if you get my drift….)

Imagine my surprise when I showed up for lunch without a lunch (it’s sitting on my kitchen counter…) and the chef-of-the day, Richard, generously offered me a plate of Chicken Marsala, fresh zucchini and salad! I don’t think it had anything to do with the way I was gushing over their repast, but no matter. I thanked my lucky stars, graciously accepted and savored every amazing bite. What a feast – all gloriously garlicky, all good for me, all delicious – and a testament to the power of garlic to make healthy eating taste like cheating!

The food was so delicious, I begged for recipes, gave it a Kodak moment and wrote this blog. If you’re looking for a luscious meal that’s low in cals and carbs, but loaded with zip and flavor, be good to yourself and garlic up to the Healthy Lunch Bunch Lunch (great for dinner, too.) Thanks for sharing, dear “Bunch” and, Richard, I hereby present you with Garlicia’s Alli-Yum Award – given to those whose food creates a garlic festival in your mouth.

RICHARD’S GARLICKY CHICKEN MARSALA

1 ½        to 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
2             cups Marsala wine
1             cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
6             cloves Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic – chopped or minced
1             white onion – cut in rings
16           oz. mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
3             tbls. extra virgin olive oil
               Morton & Bassett Italian Seasoning
               Cayenne pepper
               Fresh ground pepper
               Salt

Add 1 tbls. olive oil to sauce pan on medium/high heat. Add wine and simmer until it reduces a bit. Add the chicken broth, then Italian seasoning, salt, pepper to taste. Lower heat and allow to simmer. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbls. olive oil on high heat. Add the onions and garlic, sauté until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, blend and then add mixture to wine sauce.  

Place 1 tbls. olive oil in frying pan on medium/high heat. Place chicken in pan, add salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper and brown for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Pour the wine sauce over the chicken, cover and simmer for 5 minutes on low. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley, sage, basil or other greens from your herb garden!!!  Enjoy!  Serves about 4.

THE LUNCH BUNCH GARLIC ZUCCHINI 

2          yellow squash
2          zucchini
8         cloves Christopher Ranch California Garlic
            Extra virgin olive oil
            Balsamic vinegar
            Organic sea salt
            Freshly ground black pepper

Cut squash into spears, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of Balsamic vinegar. Using a garlic press, crush garlic over squash. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend, cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. To cook: Grilling the spears directly on the grill is highly recommended! TASTY! Stovetop works too! Sauté on high heat for 5 minutes or to desired doneness, stirring occasionally.

GILROY RICHARD’S SPICY DRESSING

1          cup fat-free Greek Yogurt
            Morton & Bassett Italian Seasoning
            Cayenne pepper
1 to 2  cloves Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic – finely chopped
            Onion powder
            Smoked paprika
            Fresh ground pepper
            Salt

Mix the Greek yogurt until it’s creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients to taste. I add a bit more cayenne pepper & onion powder to give it a great kick! (Garlicia suggests using at least 2 CR garlic cloves to kick it up another notch!) Use as a salad dressing or to “disguise” (or enhance) your veggies!!!

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ADD MORE GARLIC AND LAISSEZ LE BON TEMPS ROULER

On the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we would like to acknowledge the people of New Orleans and surrounding areas for their courage, strength and tenacity in getting their communities and lives back on the road to recovery. Much work is still needed, but their spirit shines through in their rebuilding efforts and their drive to preserve their society, culture and, most definitely, their food.

Although I hate to admit it, a lot of my experience with New Orleans style food has been limited to the use of Tony Chachere’s seasoning, and if you haven’t tried it, cher, do, but if you’re also looking for some classic Cajun or Creole dishes, check out one of my favorite websites, www.NolaCuisine.com There are recipes for Shrimp Creole and Etouffé, Red Beans and Rice, and other traditional fare, but what got my mind and mouth going was the Chicken Fricassee. Even though it’s a Louisiana staple, I still think of it as the dish immortalized by pregnant Marge Gunderson in Fargo (the movie) who devoured a plateful of it at every roadside buffet. Never did a dish look so warm and satisfying…

Even the word fricassee makes your mouth water, and this recipe from Nola will have you channeling your inner Marge. I am shamelessly copying it here with much deference to the author. The only suggestions I have (no disrespect intended) are to increase the garlic by at least one tablespoon, and to add ½ cup of chopped Christopher Ranch Green Garlic* as the final garnish. Ah C’est Bon!

NOLA CUISINE CHICKEN FRICASSEE RECIPE

5  – 6  lbs. chicken legs and thigh quarters

For browning the chicken:

1  cup flour seasoned

2  tbsp. kosher salt

Few turns of black pepper

Healthy pinch of cayenne

For the Fricassee:

1  cup lard (home rendered), bacon drippings, duck fat or vegetable oil (if you must)

¾   cup flour

2  cups onion, chopped

1  cup celery, chopped

½   cup green bell pepper, chopped

½   cup mushrooms, sliced

2  tbsp garlic*, finely chopped

½   cup dry white wine

1  quart chicken stock, preferably homemade

1  bay leaf

1  bundle of fresh thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine

Kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste

2  tbsp. fresh thyme, taken off of the stem and chopped

1  tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1  tbsp. hot sauce

½   cup green onions, thinly sliced

1 recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Heat the lard, or whichever fat you chose to use, over medium high heat until a small sprinkle of flour quickly sizzles when tossed in. While the fat is heating mix together the flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne, dredge the leg & thigh quarters in the mixture and shake off any excess, set aside on a plate. When the fat is hot, brown the chicken until golden on both sides, do not cook all the way through, set aside. Mix together the onions, celery, and bell pepper (holy trinity) in a small bowl.

When the chicken is browned and set aside, pour off 1/2 cup of the fat, leaving about 1/2 cup of it in the pan. Over medium heat gradually whisk in the 3/4 cup of flour until incorporated and slightly thick, stir constantly until a roux the color of peanut butter is achieved, then stir in 3/4 of the holy trinity, mushrooms, and a pinch of Kosher salt, turn the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes more, stirring slowly but constantly.

Add the white wine and increase the heat to medium, cook 5 minutes more. Whisk in the chicken stock very gradually to avoid lumps. When it is all incorporated bring the mixture to a full boil to bring the flour to it’s full thickening power, then reduce the sauce to medium low. Stir in the remaining trinity, garlic, bay leaf, bundled thyme, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Submerge the chicken in the sauce cover and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until falling off of the bone tender. Remove the bundled thyme and bay leaf and stir in the chopped thyme. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Serve the chicken with Creole Boiled Rice, and a generous portion of the sauce topped with green onions*. If you like, the sauce or gravy for this dish could be finished with heavy cream, sour cream, or creme fraiche. This would also go great with dumplings to replace the rice.

Note: It is important to have the sauce for this dish almost fully seasoned before adding the chicken, because you want the chicken to take on all the flavor of the sauce. Nola suggests slightly under-seasoning with the salt as the sauce will reduce a bit. Serves 4.