Here are a few tips for using garlic and several great recipes that showcase garlic. Try them with different varieties to see how the flavor changes. When we make a raw garlic dish like pesto or hummus, we always give a thought to the eaters before choosing a variety: Are they the type who like their garlic as hot as possible, or do they prefer subtle warmth? Music and Bogatyr are the hottest we grow, with intense bite and full flavor. Transylvanian is the mildest, while Persian Star offers great flavor with just enough kick to satisfy without lingering on the breath.

Maximize health benefits of raw garlic by allowing chopped, mashed or sliced garlic to sit for several minutes to release the allicin.

Peel garlic more easily by placing clove flat side down on the counter and pressing down on it with your palm until you hear a pop. Then peel beginning from the root end. You can also try microwaving for several seconds, or tossing into boiling water for a minute or two.

Roast peeled garlic cloves in the cavities of halved squash, cut side down; wrapped in tinfoil; in a pan with root vegetables; or as a whole bulb with the top cut off and olive oil drizzled on top. Mash the buttery roasted cloves into veggies, meat, onto crusty bread, or devour all by themselves!

Marinate meat for several hours or overnight in a mixture of chopped garlic, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil.

Season salad bowls by rubbing them with a cut clove of garlic before tossing in the greens.

Garlic Vinaigrette:
This is a classic recipe for a garlic salad dressing. 

.: 1/4 cup pure apple cider vinegar
.: 1/2 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil 
.: 1/2 teaspoon salt
.: 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
.: one or more cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped or sliced

Shake the first four ingredients together and taste. There should be a nice balance with no one ingredient dominating. Adjust if necessary, and then add the garlic.

Choose a garlic that you like the taste of raw. Persian Star is a good one that will not dominate, but if you want the garlic to really stand out, Music or Bogatyr are great choices. It’s best to use a garlic press and high quality olive oil.

Garlic Spinach Squares:
These are great with crackers or crusty bread and makes a great pizza topping.

.: 2 10-oz packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
.: 4 eggs
.: 1 can cream of mushroom soup
.: 1 large onion, finely chopped
.: 1/2 C canned mushrooms, stems and pieces, drained
.: 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
.: 1/4 C Italian breadcrumbs
.: 10-20 cloves Prairie Coteau Gourmet Garlic, minced
.: 1/4 tsp each ground oregano and dried basil
.: 1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and spinach and mix well. Turn into a greased 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 -inch glass baking dish and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes, or until set to the touch. Serve slightly warm or cold, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Basil Garlic Pesto:
.: 3 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
.: 3-4 Cloves Prairie Coteau Gourmet Garlic
.: 1/2 Cup Walnuts
.: 3/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
.: 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
.: 1/2-3/4 Cup Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Toss with hot pasta or eat with crackers, pita or crusty bread.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil:
This is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes imaginable and a wonderful way to experience the pure flavor of a new garlic variety. If you are comparing several varieties of garlic, cook each variety separately and toss with a portion of the pasta.

Slice garlic into thin, even slices - about three large cloves per person. Add enough good olive oil to almost cover the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until they begin to colour. Pour over freshly cooked spaghetti or noodles, toss and serve.

Variations to try once you have made your initial assessment of the garlic can include adding dried chilies or sundried tomatoes to the oil along with the garlic, and/or adding a handful of fresh chopped herbs to the pasta and garlic as you toss it. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese makes a tasty topping. 

Pasta Shells with Broccoli and Capers:
Make this excellent dish in less 30 min!

.: 2 cloves Prairie Coteau Gourmet Garlic
.: Salt and freshly ground pepper
.: 1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
.: 1/2 Teaspon red pepper flakes
.: 1/4 Cup capers, rinsed
.: 1.5 lbs broccoli
.: 1 lb pasta shells or bow ties
.: Freshly grated Parmesan

Mash the garlic with ˝ teaspoon salt until smooth, then put in a large bowl with the oil, pepper flakes and capers. Thickly peel the broccoli stems. Cut both the crowns and stems into small bite-sized pieces. Bring water to boil for the pasta. When it boils, add salt, add the broccoli and cook, uncovered until tender, 4-5 minutes (or steam separately if you prefer). Scoop it out, shake off water, add it to the bowl and toss with the oil. Cover. Cook pasta until al dente, then drain and add to the broccoli. Toss well, season with plenty of pepper and toss with the cheese. Delicious!

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