Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Garlic Harvest

Nine years or so ago, Rick brought the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival to my attention as a possible venue for us to perform at. I jumped on the idea immediately because I love garlic. We've performed there every year since (it's the last weekend in September) and I still enjoy going as much now as I did the first year. It's the Woodstock of garlic festivals. The idea of playing there excited me because there's just something about garlic. I love cooking with it. I eat it raw when I'm sick. I read books about it, both culinary and medicinal. I can make any food taste good with the addition of a little garlic. (I have to admit, though, that I have not had my garlic shot at the festival. I'm not exactly sure what that is, but there's a booth where you can have your shot of garlic and then you get a sticker to show you were tough enough to survive the experience. I also haven't had the garlic ice cream yet. But, okay, I love garlic every other way.) 

And, there's just something so comforting about harvesting your own garlic. Braids of garlic, ristras (strings of hot peppers), and drying herbs—a pretty picture, and a kind of Little House on the Prairie sense of stocking up to make it through the winter. Security. Okay, wait . . .  another thing I have to admit to is that Rick does all the work in the garden. And I mean all the work. I wander out and pick stuff when I have to, but more often than not I just give Rick my dinner list and ask him to get me something. "Rick, can you pick me some basil? Rick, can you get me some lettuce? Rick, do we have cilantro outside?" Rick enjoys the garden. I enjoy cooking. Match made in heaven. 

So, yesterday, Rick harvested the garlic. He was a little worried about it because of the overly warm winter and because some of the garlic was dying due to some sort of root rot. And if he's worried, I'm worried. I need my garlic! After he had pulled it he lined all the garlic up and took a photo. I looked at that photo and whined a little, asking—pleading really—if the photo was for me, but alas he was putting it up on his blog. All that garlic looked so darn appealing. Artistic, awesome, all lined up on the wooden bench out under the trees. But he took pity on me and took another photo today for my use. I just had to put a photo up on my blog, too. We obviously already harvested the garlic scapes a few weeks back, and had peas and radishes come and go, but this garlic really marks the beginning of this year's garden harvest for me. Soon our dehydrator will get put back into use as we stock up on all the summer's goodness for winter use.

Meanwhile, the garlic is curing in the kitchen for a few weeks, after which it will be stored in mesh bags in our basement.

It's a little too hot for soup (it's been in the 90s and is supposed to hit 100 on Saturday!), but Annalee's all time favorite soup is garlic soup. It's her comfort food. She asks for it all year 'round, even in this heat. It's fast and easy to make, is absolutely yummy, but without air conditioning in our house I probably won't make it for her until it cools down a bit. It cooks fast, so it won't heat the house, and I suppose a version might be able to be done in the solar oven if you brown the breadcrumbs inside, but eating hot soup in this sticky humid weather doesn't appeal to me and I haven't quite bought into the idea that hot foods in hot weather induce sweating, which cools you down. About the only thing I want is ice cream, which I'm trying to avoid. But here's the recipe anyway.

Some of Rick's 2012 garlic harvest.
photo by Rick

Garlic Soup
¾ cups unflavored breadcrumbs
½ cup minced onion
8–10 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 eggs

• Heat olive oil in a pan.
• Add minced onion and garlic, sauté until soft.
• Add breadcrumbs and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown, stirring often.
• Add chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
• In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
• Bring soup to a boil and slowly pour the eggs in, stirring the soup as you pour. (The eggs should separate like egg drop soup.)
• Add the chopped parsley.
• Simmer for 3 minutes and serve.

This is my take on a recipe I originally found in a Mexican cookbook. It’s a quick & easy soup to make, and also wonderful to eat when you aren’t feeling well.

Variation: Slice 1 fresh tomato very thinly, sauté with onion and garlic. If you add the tomato it might be better to brown the breadcrumbs first, set aside, then sauté the vegetables, adding the browned breadcrumbs back in before adding the chicken broth. (The tomatoes might make it too wet for the breadcrumbs to brown.) You can add more garlic also. My family generally likes 8–10 garlic cloves, but the more the merrier.

Serves 4 

No comments:

Post a Comment