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 roasted garlic

GARLIC LOVIN’ LUMBERJACK MAC AND CHEESE

It’s Friday, it’s my birthday and I’m having trouble concentrating. My mind is going in several different directions with too many projects, too many distractions and not enough time to address them all today. I’m also cold… Summer officially started three days ago and yet it’s still overcast like March sending my thoughts to cozy, comfort food to calm me down and warm me up.

Normally, on a warm June day I’d be working on a big summer salad, roasted Christopher Ranch Garlic (good any month) or grilled goodies, but, ummm, macaroni and cheese just popped into my head. Maybe it’s because mac ‘n cheese seems to be everywhere these days – there are new recipes on the web, it’s being served in food wagons and it’s showing up on restaurant menus and cooking shows. I just saw Rachel Ray prepare her version loaded with bacon and chicken. Holy cholesteroly, boys and girls… It’s not your grandma’s (or Kraft’s) mac and cheese anymore. Velveeta has been replaced by Bechamel sauce and – hallelujah-it’s-about-time – garlic has been added!

Looking for a culinary flashback, I pulled out one of my cookbooks, Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, copyright 1950, for some retro recipes. The first ten recipes in the Supper section just happened to be for Macaroni and Cheese, but the stand-out was called Lumberjack Macaroni, an ax swinger of a dish made bold by the addition of Worcestershire and chili sauces. Although it might fit in with today’s new wave of mac & cheese recipes, there was not a single clove of garlic in it. Easily remedied and not for the faint of stomach, here it is in all it’s cheesy glory made even bolder with the addition of Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic! 

LUMBERJACK MACARONI  (aka GARLICIA’S RETRO GARLIC LOVIN’ LUMBERJACK MACARONI)  

Spread out on hot large platter . . . 

Boiled macaroni (8 oz. uncooked)

Sprinkle with . . .

2 cups grated American cheese (1/2 lb.)

2 to 4 tbls. Worcestershire sauce or more *(“Do not be sparing!” says Mr. Bell.)

¼ cup chili sauce

5 to 10 peeled cloves Christopher Ranch California Garlic or more (“Do not be sparing!” says Garlicia.) Boil and drain these with the pasta, and serve with the pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour over all . . .

¾ cup piping hot melted butter

Mix with 2 forks until sauce is creamy. Serve at once on hot plates

Amount: 6 servings.

*Trivia Bite: My Betty Crocker cookbook states that the original recipe was the favorite of Mr. James Ford Bell, the founder of General Mills. I copied it verbatim with the exception of adding the exceptional Christopher Ranch California Heirloom Garlic.

THE NEXT LIFE OF THE HALLOWEEN PARTY: GARLIC RECIPES

In my last blog, I shared the history of Christopher Ranch’s first Halloween promotion, “How To Have a Halloween Garlic Party” which included the fun recipes below. If you’re throwing your own bash, these Halloween inspired goodies will help you get your booya on. After all, a party without garlic is, well… dead!  Add some good friends and good vibrations and you’ll have the (skeleton) key to a wickedly good time!

WITCH’S BREW GARLIC ARTICHOKE DIP

1        cup finely chopped marinated artichoke hearts

1         cup parmesan cheese

1         cup mayonnaise

1         small can chopped green chile peppers

4         cloves Christopher Ranch California Garlic – finely chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, spoon into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350º. Serve with crackers or crusty French bread.

DEVILED VAMPIRE EYES

12       hard boiled eggs

1/4     cup chopped black olives

1/4      cup mayonnaise

2          tsp. mustard

4          cloves Christopher Ranch California Garlic – crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle of paprika

12         green olives stuffed with pimento

Peel eggs and slice in half. Remove yolks and mix with black olives, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Stuff egg whites with mixture and top with paprika. Slice green olive in half and place in middle of yellow mixture like an eye.

DRACULA’S WORST NIGHTMARE: ROASTED GARLIC

Gently remove outer layers of skin from several whole Christopher Ranch California Garlic bulbs, leaving bulbs intact. Cut 1/2” off top of each bulb. Place in baking pan and drizzle bulbs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, favorite herbs or seasonings. Fill a baking pan with just enough water to cover the bottom, about 1/8”. Seal pan with aluminum foil and bake at 450º for 1 hour or until garlic cloves are soft.  To serve: break clove off bulb and squeeze pulp out onto slice of French bread or cracker.  Top with a dab of Rosemary Feta Dip.

ROSEMARY FETA DI

1         cup plain yogurt

1         cup feta cheese – crumbled

Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary-coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Add a bit of milk if mixture is too thick.

HAVE A SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN!

 

THE WWF AND FOOD TOUR

For me, a great vacation is a fusion of my favorite things: adventure and relaxation, fun and enlightenment, shopping and sightseeing and, of course, fabulous food. Amazingly, this blend came together on my recent WWF Tour (no professional wrestlers, but water, wine and friends!) After an easy 2 1/2 hour drive south from the Garlic Capital, we landed in a little oasis of beach bliss near Morro Bay, and in six glorious days, my friends and I explored, enjoyed and ate our way through town. I have managed, in the course of my travels, to find the most wonderful eateries in the most out of the way places, and my luck was running true to form when we picked Hoppe’s Garden Bistro for dinner.

Most of the locals had been recommending the place (the best way to find good eats when you’re on the road) so we brushed off the sand, put on our nicest resort duds and walked our appetites downtown to Hoppe’s. The general manager seated us at the best table with ocean view (thank you, Marcus) and our super-server, Denise, brought us a generous menu filled with intriguing dishes. I was very pleased to see garlic richly represented in many forms: roasted and carmelized, in butter, salads, and in the au jus and rouille*. I asked about the origin of the garlic and, although I’m disappointed to report that it wasn’t Christopher Ranch, I was assured that it was from the area.

We ordered an array of dishes: smoked pheasant raviolis with wild mushrooms, grilled pork tenderloin with with brown garlic butter and rosemary, roasted Colorado lamb chops (almost as thick as a brick!) and seared wild salmon with sake-miso beurre blanc (yes!), all accompanied by luscious sides of buttery roasted garlic, perfectly prepared vegetables, and creamy au gratin potatoes. From the very first forkful, we were cooing at our culinary good fortune and making yummy sounds at a noticeable level. And, no surprise here, we enhanced each course with some fabulous wines. The meal was so exceptional we added another F to our WWF Tour – in honor of the food.

The walk (a necessity after such indulgence) back to our lodgings was spent gushing over dinner and wishing Hoppe’s was closer to home. My only regret was not getting the chance to meet Chef Wilhelm Hoppe in person – to applaud his expertise – and to get in a plug for Christopher Ranch Garlic. After all, it’s the most flavorful garlic on the market, and the perfect complement to every chef’s cuisine.

*What is Rouille? I admit I had to look this up… Rouille is a thick sauce, of French origin, that is often used as a garnish with fish or fish based soups, like bouillabaisse. There are two different methods of creating this red sauce, both using a combination of olive oil, peppers and garlic. We don’t have Chef Hoppe’s recipe (one can only hope that he has a cookbook in the works) but there are a plethora of rouille recipes on the web.