Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Absolutely the BEST way to eat garlic

Why am I eating garlic in the first place? Because there's an awful cold going around our house, and I want to boost my immune system. But this recipe was invented (by yours truly) several weeks prior to the entrance of this cold into our house, so I assure you that even if your family is perfectly healthy, you'll want to try this. I like garlic, but in this recipe I love garlic.

I am going to be perfectly modest and humble and not rave about how brilliant and how spur-of-the-moment and how easy this recipe is, nor say how much I like my own cooking. All I'll say is I'm copyrighting this recipe. You're free to make it, on one condition; every time you make it you must think of me. :) :) :)


Oh yes; I should tell you what you'll be making. Its a dip of sorts. I made it as a filling to go in my homemade cheese ravioli, and saved half the bowl after making the pasta. I tried it for lunch on crackers and was sold. No more cheese-filled ravioli; this stuff doesn't make it into the noodles. I eat it all raw! ..If my sister Heather doesn't beat me to it. She likes this stuff too.

So, are you ready to try your own? Roll up your sleeves and get ready to pretend you are a scrumptious carefree cook who can throw this and that together and make it taste and look wonderful in mere seconds. When you add the herbs, be sure to flick your wrist just so, and always be sure to hum a merry tune while stirring the mixture together.

Proceed with the following steps:

#1 - Get out a package of cream cheese and let it soften until it's really soft. Like, stir-able soft. Or, if you're in a hurry, use the microwave. But don't heat the cheese so long it starts popping all over the place. It's a pain to clean microwaves. (Have I mentioned that I never have just "set the stuff out to soften," but have always used the microwave? I'm spur-of-the-moment like that. Sigh. Yes, I know the microwave isn't very healthy for you.)

#2 - Find yourself a bulb of garlic, hanging downstairs in the basement, still reeking with all the potency of last spring and summer. Proceed to decide how garlic-y you want your dip. I recommend about 8 cloves or more per package of cream cheese. Yeeeeeees this stuff is garlicy. And yummy!

#3 - Peel and rinse the cloves, then chop away. Mince, mince, mince, until it's all nice and soft and smelling strong. Use a really nice sharp knife, and the job will be loads of fun. I love to use good knives; it makes me feel like a professional cook. (Why do I keep talking about "cooking"? This whole recipe requires absolutely no stove top or oven!)

#4 - Collect your other flavorings; sweet basil, oregano, and onion powder. Break the sprig of oregano off the bunch of dried herbs that hangs on one side of the kitchen, and recall last fall. Dump the basil into the palm of your hand from the mason jar on the fridge, and enjoy the way your hands smell afterward. The onion powder....comes out of a plastic shaker, labeled "Great Value."

I can't give you exact measurements on these things...about three or four shakes of onion powder, one branch of dried oregano leaves, and a little pile of dried sweet basil leaves. Always more basil than oregano. The basil is the main flavor here (not counting garlic!), with the onion and oregano tying for second place.

#5 - Dump all the garlic and herbs into the softened cream cheese, and stir to combine.

That's it! Five easy steps. Spread this stuff on crackers, toast (the way I just had it), or anything that sounds good.

I tried to get a picture of this stuff...the first time I made it. Camera batteries died. I was gonna get a picture of it the next time I made it, and didn't. I could have taken a picture about 20 minutes ago....but I ate my toast up too fast.

It's that good.

Please, try it and let me know what you think. If you hate it, I'll write a post about how a person should never advertise their own recipes, because they'll sound incredibly biased. :)


Ruth Ann said...

it sound like it would be really good. =) I'll have to try it.

umm. I laughed about you saying that you *never* just 'set it out' to soften...that happens to me all the time, cause I forget to set something out! anyhow, we don't even have a microwave, so I don't have that problem, but I imagine if you stuck in a small pan on the stove really quick it would do the trick...and no radio-waves to you brain. =) hehe. =)

We use a lot of garlic around here too...but this sounds like it is probably super good!

Jenny P. said...

Yum. I adore garlic. You know what's even better? Roast the garlic first, then proceed as you've got it. Wow. I like to saute a little garlic in olive oil then pull the actual garlic chunks out when I'm making greens or something. That's the garlic that I blend into things. Mmmm... I think I'll be making a snack for after services tonight!

hannah said...

I think I'll try it! Garlic is yummy...and I just dried a whole counter-full of fresh oregano this morning, so that can go in, too. I like your style of cooking. ;)

Angie said...

I think onions and garlic are staple food items here in Brasil! It goes in just about every dish it seems. And, boy does it make it hard to focus on Portuguese class when you can smell it because the teacher's neighbor is cooking lunch!

I have had 3 different women show me how to make different Brazilian dishes and none of them rinsed the garlic after peeling. Is this something I SHOULD be doing?

Can you believe that I CAN buy cream cheese here! I don't think it cost TOO much, but we have never been "cream cheese eaters" unless it was in something else. I think I may give this a try in the near future.

By the way, how did your arm and shoulder get from the fall?

Amanda said...

You are hilarious!! I love to hear about (or read about, as the case may be) all your new cooking (or mixing) adventures!! :) I like garlic... but I don't know if I like it THAT much... I've never had it that concentrated, that I'm aware of! We'll just have to see - maybe sometime we can try it. BTW, we have never grown garlic before, but you just got me thinking... :)

Jessi said...

O.K. Amber, I have to admit that this post is absolutely hysterical! You really ought to write a book sometime about this type of thing. The way you incorporate the iddy-griddy details is quite humourous. This dip does sound interesting... problem is, we don't have any garlic cloves hanging in our basement. I can't wait to see you in a couple weeks! Maybe you'll have come up with another invention by then. LOL

Anna said...

wow I love garlic, and I like to eat it raw so all the good stuff doesn't get zapped, but I can't stand it too hot.
I am definitely going to try this!

Amber said...

Ruth Ann; My hat's off to you for living without a microwave. I really want to do that someday! And I do hope you get to try the dip.

Jenny; I like roasted or otherwise cooked garlic as well, but I like leaving it raw, too, for the health benifits. Did you end up making your snack after service? Was it good? :) :)

Hannah; you dried a whole counterfull of fresh oregano already? Wow - my plants aren't producing quite enough for that yet. Well...maybe...if I picked it, which I keep forgetting to do. :)

Miss Angie; Yay, you commented on my blog! :) :) When you mentioned trying to focus on language class while studying, I could totally smell the foods that you were talking about! Oh - and I don't know if rinsing is something you're "supposed" to do with garlic; it just seems more santitary to me. There's always a little garden dirt left on or, in my case, sawdust from our basement workshop. :)

Amanda, every time you or Jessi tells me I'm funny... I want to crack up. :) :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post! And I totally encourage you to try growing garlic. It's easy to grow, great for you, and it keeps unwanted bugs away from your other plants! We stick garlic plants in random places all over the garden just for bug control...and we get to eat it later! :) You know, I wish we could cook together sometime. That would be SOOOO fun! :) (I enjoyed the "cookie marathon" post on your blog the other day.:)

Jessi; You make me smile and laugh by your suggestion. Thanks for the complement. Maybe I'll write a cookbook someday! :) And I can't WAIT to see you soon!!!! Think we can squeeze a cooking session in somewhere? :) :)

Anna; this is the perfect recipe if you like to eat raw garlic, but have a hard time with the heat. The cream cheese really helps to balance it out, and save your mouth. :) If I ate this much garlic without the dairy product to "mild it out," I think I'd burn up! :)

hannah said...

Re: my oregano plant--it is a Greek oregano plant that I did not trim much last summer/fall; therefore, it went to seed and has now sprouted up everywhere along the edges of the raised beds. These sprigs are what I picked so the garden wouldn't look weedy. :) It is amazing how much it amounted to and nice to have some this early before my main plant gets going.

Jenny P. said...

Dear Amber,

I wasn't able to make it that night because I didn't have the supplies and Hubby didn't want to go to the grocery store. HOWEVER, I've got all the supplies laid out on the counter NOW and I'm making it tonight for my in-laws -- dedicated garlic lovers! Funny how things work out even better some days :)