Both garlic and onions, which are referred to as herbs, are Allium vegetables which belong to the lily family. Also part of this family are shallots, leeks, scallions and chives. Garlic and onions have basically the same “healthy chemicals” in their makeup, but the chemicals in garlic are far more potent, usually four times the amount than onions. It’s believed that the stronger the smell of an onion the healthier it is.


Both garlic and onions, which are referred to as herbs, are Allium vegetables which belong to the lily family. Also part of this family are shallots, leeks, scallions and chives. Garlic and onions have basically the same “healthy chemicals” in their makeup, but the chemicals in garlic are far more potent, usually four times the amount than onions. It’s believed that the stronger the smell of an onion the healthier it is.



To get the most benefits from garlic it should be crushed, then lightly heat or cook it. Overcooking garlic can destroy the healthy chemicals, and microwaving garlic completely destroys these chemicals. It is better to bake, sauté or boil the garlic to reap the chemical benefits. The less cooking the better the benefits, the same goes for onions.



The benefits of eating garlic on a regular basis also help to protect against a variety of cancers and make for a healthier heart. Both are commonly used for health with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They are also beneficial against colon and stomach cancers. They are known to increase circulation and are great immunity boosters, and can help to ward off illness from a virus or bacteria. They even help with glucose tolerance and lowering insulin levels in diabetes.



Garlic Tips:



·         Store in a cool dry place, not the refrigerator



·         Chop or cut garlic just before you’re ready to use it, let it sit for about 10 minutes before using for the best benefits



·         To peel a clove or two press firmly with the flat side of a knife to loosen skin



·         Add some salt to the garlic before chopping to prevent it from sticking to the knife



·         When cutting a garlic clove, if there is a green center, remove that to prevent unfavorable tastes



·         When sautéing garlic just cook until a light golden color for best flavor



·         Leftover roasted garlic is perfect for garlic toast, meat gravy, and/or soups



 



Roasted Garlic-Onion and Barley Soup



1        large head of garlic



1        teaspoon EVOO, olive oil



4        cups vegetable broth or stock



2        stalks celery finely chopped



2        large sweet onion, chopped



2        teaspoons dried sweet basil



4        bay leaves



½ (one half) cup cooking barley



½ (one half) cup dry white wine



2        teaspoons Worcestershire sauce



Cut off the top ½ (one half) inch of garlic head and place cut side up in a small baking dish. Drizzle top with olive oil. In a 400 degree oven bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cloves feel soft when pressed. Cool slightly then press garlic pulp from the individual cloves, mash pulp with a fork.



In a large saucepan stir together garlic pulp, vegetable broth, onions, celery, bay leaves, and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 8-10 minutes until onions and celery are tender. Stir in barley and return to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-12 minutes more until barley is tender. Add wine and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. Warm soup up if necessary and serve hot.



Garlic Potatoes



1        whole bulb of garlic



1        tablespoon EVOO, olive oil



2-3     cups chicken broth



5        large white potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 7 cups



4        tablespoons butter



¼ (one fourth) cup sour cream



Seasoned salt, to taste



Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish



        



Cut off the top one half inch of the garlic bulb. Drizzle with about 1- tablespoon olive oil. Wrap the bulb in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for almost 1-hour or until it’s softened.



Place the broth, enough to cover, and potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the broth.



Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add 1-cup of the broth, 4-5 cloves of roasted garlic, seasoned salt, to taste, sour cream, and butter, mix together until well blended. Add additional broth, if needed, until desired consistency is reached. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.



 



Garlic Bread Rolls



1        pound of pizza dough or 1-loaf frozen white bread dough



¼ (one fourth) cup Parmesan cheese, shredded



1        tablespoon EVOO, olive oil



2        small cloves garlic, finely chopped



        



Vegetable spray a cookie sheet. Spray outside of a 6-ounce custard cup with cooking spray; place upside down on center of cookie sheet.



Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese over a flat surface. Roll bread dough in cheese into a 24-inch rope. Place rope on cookie sheet and form into circle around custard cup; pinch ends to seal.



With a sharp steak knife make cuts in dough at about 1 ½ (one and one half) inch intervals from the outer edge of the circle, cutting two-thirds of the way through, using kitchen scissors. Lift and turn every other section of dough toward center of the circle. Cover and let rise in warm place 2 to 3 hours or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a measuring cup mix oil and garlic; with a pastry brush, brush over dough. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove custard cup.



 



Garlic and Peach Chutney



1        cup brown sugar, packed



1        cup cider vinegar



1        small sweet or Vidalia onion, chopped



1        teaspoon chili powder



Pinch of salt



3      cloves garlic, minced



3        fresh peaches or 1-can sliced peaches, chopped



½ (one half) cup light raisins



2        tablespoons Peach Schnapps, if desired



In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, onion, chili powder, salt, and garlic. Stir in the peaches and raisins. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; boil gently, uncovered, about 2 hours or until deep golden brown and thick, stirring more frequently at the end to prevent sticking. There will be some liquid remaining but the mixture will thicken further as it cools.



         Pour mixture into a medium bowl, stir in Peach Schnapps, if desired. Loosely cover and chill for several hours or until completely cool. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2-1/4 (two and one fourth) cups.



 



Onion Spread



3        large sweet onions or Vidalia onions



4        teaspoons EVOO, olive oil



5        cloves garlic, peeled



3        teaspoons honey



Peel and quarter onions. In a large bowl stir together oil and honey. Add onions and garli, stirring well to coat. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.



Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until onions turn golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; let cool.



Pour mixture into a blender or food processor container. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Serve on toast points or crusty bread rounds. Refrigerate any remaining spread, tightly covered, for up to one week. Makes about 1-cup.



 



Chicken Thighs with Garlic



4        pounds chicken thighs



6                    cloves garlic, finely minced



1                    tablespoon lemon juice



1                    teaspoon lemon zest



         Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste



4                    tablespoons butter



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine minced garlic in a small bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir 3- tablespoons of the melted butter into the garlic-lemon mixture; set the remaining melted butter aside.



Gently slide your fingers between the skin and flesh of the chicken thighs. Using your fingers, stuff the garlic-butter mixture under the skin, spreading it evenly. Rub the reserved melted butter all over the outside of the chicken; season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, skin side up, in a roasting pan and roast until the skin is golden-brown and crisp, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees, about 45 minutes. If the skin starts to brown too quickly, cover the chicken loosely with foil. Let the chicken rest for 10- 15 minutes before serving. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.



 



Garlic and Shrimp



1        pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined



2        tablespoons EVOO, olive oil



4        cloves garlic, minced



2        tablespoons dry white wine



1        tablespoon lemon juice



2        tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped



 Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the shrimp, wine, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque.  Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve over rice or pasta.



 



Garlicky Clams



3        tablespoons EVOO, olive oil



4-6     garlic cloves, thinly sliced



¼ (one fourth) pound ground pork



½ (one half) cup dry white wine



40      littleneck clams, scrubbed



4        scallions, thinly sliced



Cooked rice, for serving



In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until golden brown, about 2- minutes. With a slotted spoon , transfer the garlic to a plate.



Add the ground pork to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a spoon until no pink remains, about 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine, scallions, and the clams, cover and cook until the clams open, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the clams to bowls and serve with rice.



 



Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.