DEVOUR & CONQUER

Exploring, eating and writing about good food on Canada's west coast

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An abundance of home-grown garlic...

February 7, 2013

I always gratefully accept when someone offers me fruits or vegetables they have grown themselves and have a surplus of, and some of my most interesting recipes have come from suddenly having an unexpected large quantity of something. It was a friend letting me pick all her extra backyard apples which led to me make Apple Butter for the first time last fall, which has been enjoyed on hot oatmeal on many a cold winter morning since. 


My latest surprise acquisition: a big paper bag full of home-grown garlic, gifted to me by the caretaker of Elkhaven Camp on Denman Island, where I spent last weekend as the volunteer cook for our local Brownie troop on their first winter camp. Jackie stopped by the kitchen to say hello to me and when she saw me cooking up a storm, kindly asked "Would you like to have some of my garlic?"

I was delighted to discover when she returned that she actually used to be one of the main sellers of Denman Island garlic, which is quite popular for its flavour and longevity. The garlic she brought me was a beautiful assortment of the Hard Neck Russian variety, and she was happy to share some it will me and the other Brownie leaders. And the Brownies got to enjoy a bunch as well, cooked inside spaghetti sauces, meatballs, and fresh-baked, local garlic-butter pull-apart buns. Mmmmm, those were good buns. I also baked Jackie a big loaf of fresh bread stuffed with her own garlic that I had roasted with sea salt and olive oil as a thank you for sharing her wonderful crop.

Since returning home, my family and I have been in garlic heaven. Garlic-crusted pork roasts, garlic-roasted potatoes, garlic-infused salad dressings, roasted garlic pizza, and adding flavour to my Rainy Day Salmon Chowder recipe yesterday.

I've started dividing the remaining garlic up into different categories - huge bulbs to oven roast, smaller cloves for salads and sauces, and a pile that is going straight into my garden this weekend. I'm so thankful to Jackie for sharing this bounty of local food, and am looking forward to honouring her skills as a West Coast garlic grower by planting a huge bed of Denman Island garlic right here in my own kitchen garden.

I'm taking suggestions if you've got a garlic recipe I should try, please post ideas, comments and links below, as I've never been more prepared or well-stocked!

 

 

 

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You write as well as you cook. I look forward to more blogs as well as more of your delicious food.



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