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Vegetable of the Month: Garlic

Preparation

To remove individual garlic cloves, peel outer layers from the bulb and snap out each clove from the base. Cloves can than be peeled very easily. For a more mild flavor, whole cloves can be added (unpeeled for an even more subtle taste) to food while it cooks or marinates and than discarded before serving the meal. Another trick for imparting a mild garlic flavor in your dish is to spear a garlic clove with a fork and stir your dish with it - discarding the garlic when stirring is complete.

For a stronger flavor, used chopped, crushed, pressed or pureed garlic in dishes. The more finely garlic is chopped, the stronger its flavor will be. To chop garlic, cut in half lengthwise (remove the green core if there is one - it is bitter). Make several lengthwise cuts and than cut crosswise. A garlic press can be used also though these can be a bit tricky to clean.

To remove garlic odor from hands, use salt or lemon juice and than wash your hands with soap.

Cooking Garlic

Cooking garlic decreases the strength of its flavor making it much milder. The longer it is cooked, the more mild it tastes. Be careful not to sauté garlic too long at too high a temperature, it will brown very quickly and can become bitter.

To bake garlic, place whole, unpeeled bulbs rounded side down in a shallow baking dish, drizzle with oil, cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325ºF.

Add garlic to spice up your 5 to 9 A Day Plan!

  • Flavor soups and stews.
  • Roast with meats or poultry.
  • Chop finely for salad dressings.
  • Bake whole heads until softened; pop out soft flesh from cloves and spread on bread.
  • Put minced garlic on a loaf of bread to make an authentic tasting garlic bread!

Recipes

Sesame Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
Makes 4 servings
Each serving equals one 5 A Day servings
Source: Wegmans

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced across the grain in 1/4-inch strips
3 Tbsp water
1½ Tbsp cornstarch
1 pkg (16 oz) stir-fry vegetables
1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced
½ Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
8 Tbsp sesame garlic sauce
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Place chicken in small bowl. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, working in with hands until water is absorbed into chicken. Sprinkle cornstarch over chicken and work in with hands to coat all pieces.

Blanch vegetables in boiling water until crisp-tender, 2-3 min; drain and set aside. Heat nonstick wok or large nonstick skillet on high 2 minutes. Add vegetable oil; swirl to coat pan (oil should smoke slightly).

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