Whether you plan meals for the week or you are thinking about what to make in the next 10 minutes, we often centre our meals around a protein. Yes, we want protein in our meal, but why do we feel we have to make it the centre? If a super healthy plate is 75% vegetables and whole food starches, why is the concept of what to eat decided on around the meat, chicken, seafood, lentils, tofu or even eggs? There isn't anything wrong with this approach, however if we branched out from that more often, we would feel we had more choice. The forgotten boring side dish could become a creative centrepiece that might pull you out of the meal preparation dull drums. Let's try.
When a designer works on decorating a room, they start with an inspirational piece. This is not usually something big like a couch but is often something like a cushion, rug or even a vase or piece of art.
What if you decided to have roasted garlic for dinner? Stay with us here. If roasted garlic was your theme and you had to build around it, what are some of your options?
Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Garlic spread on toast with Brie, Jam and a Salad
Roasted Garlic with a grilled Portobello Mushroom or BBQ Chicken or Beef
Warm Roasted Garlic Hummus with Pitas or Flatbread and a Salad
Any kind of Toasted Sandwich with Roasted Garlic smeared on the bread
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato Sheppards Pie
There are lots of things that can be your kitchen inspirations. From the thing in your fridge that needs to be used creatively today to asking yourself what to do with spaghetti squash, sun dried tomatoes, your favourite nut or even a spice or herb.
Garlic is one of the few foods used in all 3 of the major ancient healing systems: Indian Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional European medicine. It is a great source of calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese however the sulphur compounds in garlic may be what elevate it to such a nutritional powerhouse. Cooked and raw garlic may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon, pancreas, stomach, esophagus and breast. Garlic has also shown to improve how iron is used in the body and also has quite amazing anti bacterial, anti viral and anti inflammatory effects. Studies with garlic and cardiovascular health show that garlic helps reduce cholesterol, reduce plaque formation in arteries, lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessel walls (this can also help with migraine headaches) and reduce blood clotting. Amazing.
Note that there are 2 groups that shouldn't engage in garlic eating including anyone with Lupus and dogs. What is good for one is not so much good for another...
The sulphur compounds in garlic become more active once they are mixed together. That means that the best preparation of garlic starts with chopping or crushing the cloves and then letting them sit for 5-10 minutes while the compounds combine to make new partnerships that are good for us (we will not chop, but we will crush!). Then we don't want to heat the garlic too high to keep these compounds ready to work hard in our bodies. We have made a few changes to the common garlic roasting protocol to combine the maximum health benefits with maximum flavour.
Whole heads of garlic (however many you choose) Olive oil Salt (try a pink Himalayan) Tin foil or a garlic roasting dish
Preheat the oven (or toaster oven if only doing a few) to 300F.
To mix the sulphur compounds a bit, hold the head tightly and roll it along the counter, slightly crushing the outside cloves. Cut the top of the head off with a sharp knife to expose the garlic cloves inside. Bruise the top of the head a bit with the counter or your knife being careful to keep the cloves all attached. The other option is to bang the bottom of the head a few times and actually separate the cloves but keep them wrapped in their skin except for just a trim at the top of each. Give them a little crush with the side of your knife. Enjoy being an alchemist and let the garlic sit for 5-10 minutes for compound combining.
Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil right in the top where you have cut and wrap tightly in a bit of tin foil or place in a garlic roasting dish or a make shift one if you choose to get crafty. If you don't want to cook in tin foil you could line the tin foil with parchment paper so the foil doesn't touch the garlic as directly. If you have separated your cloves, just drizzle with a bit of oil and salt and wrap them all up in a bundle.
Place in the preheated oven or toaster oven and set your timer for 45 minutes (35 minutes if your cloves are all separated). When the time is up, give one of the heads a bit of a squeeze, it should give like a really ripe peach. Give it another 5 minutes if needed.
Use the heads now or once cooled, save in the fridge for about 3 days. Enjoy!
Concerned about garlic breath?
Eating apples, spinach, parsley, whole milk or green tea right before eating the garlic or served with or immediately afterward may help with the breath side effects. These foods are all rich in polyphenols which help to break down the sulphur compounds that make garlic a less 'breath friendly' food. What about making a roasted garlic, spinach, apple and whole milk cheese panini? Mmmm.
Posted by Amy Buckman, Community Ambassador, Calgary Amaranth Stores