KYFF, Caramelized

Dill may be the 'a Herb of the Year', but for me, garlic wins every year. I know you must all agree, from the great responses I have received over the years, cooking with this magical herb on my shows. It’s truly a culinary staple with multiple uses. Slather it on bread, toss into pastas, whisk into dressings, marinades... So you see why I and my followers will grill or roast up a half dozen or more heads at a time.  

Once caramelized, they are at the ready, stored in mother nature's natural garlic skin packaging. Just place in the fridge. When ready to use, squeeze, but like toothpaste - from the bottom please.

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Caramelized Garlic Recipe

Makes 6 heads

chefgeorgehirsch.com | From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch cookbook, Hearst ©1994, 

6 heads fresh garlic

2 Tablespoon olive oil

one 12‑inch square aluminum foil

Lay each garlic head on its side and cut off 1/4 inch from the bottom or root end, exposing the garlic cloves. Brush with olive oil.  

Place the heads, exposed end down, in a single layer in an ovenproof dish or directly on the grill. Roast in a 325 degree oven or on a very low temperature grill, uncovered, until light brown. Cover with aluminum foil and roast 8-10 minutes longer, or until creamy.

Allow garlic to cool and remove cloves from head as needed.  Garlic may be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.  

To puree, crush garlic cloves with the flat of a knife. 

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Queen of Dressing

A tribute to a mix of green herbs, specifically parsley and chives. Prior to the popularity of ranch dressing, Green Goddess was the queen of dressings, gracing salads worldwide.

Let me get this out of the way first; Seven Seas did not create the original Green Goddess Dressing. It’s earliest roots stem from a classical French cooking cold sauce (dressing) called Sauce Au Vert; created for Louis XIII of France circa 1640. That's just around the time of the legendary Chef Vatel (more on him next week). This cold sauce gained popularity in the 1920’s with help of a theater production by the same name, The Green Goddess, which ran in San Francisco.  

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Basically - all cold sauces are created equal, with just a few adjustments in the ingredients. For example, if you think Thousand island Dressing with a reduction of a few condiments and an addition of a larger quantity of fresh washed herbs; such as chives, tarragon, chervil or parsley - you’ve got Green Goddess!

The herbs should be chopped fine and squeezed dry in a cheese cloth or clean kitchen towel; while reserving the juice exiting from the herbs to color and more importantly flavor the cold sauce. The herbs are then added to the base sauce. Viola!

Green Goddess aka. Sauce Au Vert

Mix, 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup sour cream, 3 pureed anchovy fillets, 4 cloves Caramelized Garlic, juice of half a lemon, dash of hot sauce and fresh ground black pepper. Add 1/4 cup each finely chopped chives and parsley, with squeezed juice into dressing.

A Botanical Superhero

As national herb week wraps up today, I hope you have drawn inspirition to plant and cook with more fresh herbs in your daily diet. Last year dill held the title spot and this year horseradish is herb of the year. It happens to be one of those ingredients that I have integrated in many of my cookbooks + TV show recipes over the years to add a little kick in flavor and dress up even the most ordinary dishes to be more memorable, like smashed potatoes. Caution, fresh horseradish is one of those flavor profiles that sneaks up on your palate, and is usually followed by a teary eyed "wow that's got bite!" response.

Fresh horseradish root has a shelf life of a few weeks in the refrigerator. It's also always good to have prepared horseradish in long lasting jarred condiment form on hand, like Golds, for those impromptu entertaining moments to quickly fix up dips, sauces or dressings.

Horseradish is also considered a botanical superhero, recorded since ancient times with great medicinal properties; ideal for healing sinus conditions and boosting circulation. It's easy to grow in your garden, but been known to be a bit invasive, aka a root bully.

As per many hollywood movies, the bloody mary has the reputation for being a hangover helper, but today's inspiration is all about horseradish and making this refreshing cocktail for a late spring evening cocktail which can be enjoyed with or without liquor.

The Bloody Mary

It's one of those cocktails that doesn't have an exact recipe, per say. Everyone seems to have their own rendition of this recipe. I prefer mine with a bit of spicy kick; horseradish and a little hot sauce. 

To Make Bloody Mary Mix | from George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series
Fill a two quart glass pitcher with: 
46 ounces tomato juice
2-4 Tablespoons horseradish
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed celery seed
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Juice of two limes 
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
 
For a Virgin Mary, serve Bloody Mary Mix over crushed ice and garnish.

For a Bloody Mary Cocktail; add 1 oz vodka to a highball glass filled with ice, then fill glass with pre-made bloody mix. Stir, garnish and serve. 

Garnish should include a celery stalk and lime wedge. Optional additions may include olives, pickles, pickled asparagus spears, carrots, cured meat, smoked fish and semi-hard cheeses. 

Agretti

Agretti, meaning little sour one, is a salty-like heirloom herb with a succulent texture and a pleasantly acidic bite. I predict agretti soon to be a very popular green in the US. Originating in the mediterranean, it is now being harvested in California and available at Italian specialty markets. You may also see it identified at roscana aka in Italy.

It has a short harvest season in early spring. You'll find them packed in bunches that resemble the grass like look of spring chives. Agretti is best eaten when young and enjoyed fresh or cooked. 

Simply served chopped and tossed fresh in mixed salads for a slightly salty crunch. To cook, chop and sauté with olive oil, garlic and pepperchino as great by itself or mixed, better yet served with a little fresh pappardelle

Agretti's botanical name is Salsola soda, a relative to the tumbleweed, Salsola tragus. Ukrainian immigrants settling in the Great Plains are thought to have brought these plants to establish their fragile roots into U.S. soil.

A bit more:  Agretti should not to be confused with Russian Thistle - the plant commonly known as Tumbleweed. You wouldn’t want to eat it, the thorns on Tumbleweed would be a little rough on the digestion, even though in times of drought ranchers of yesteryear fed it to cattle during excessive droughts.

Cinco de Mayo

As one of the most popular herbs today because of its big, bold flavor - cilantro makes a statement with its leaves for Mexican cuisine, and coriander seeds in Middle Eastern cooking. Cilantro’s appearance may sometimes be mistaken for Italian Flat Parsley, but one whiff of its fragrance, will set you straight. 

 

Cilantro or Coriandrum sativum (for you Latin lovers) has medicinal properties that rivals its role as a spice. Cilantro has been used since before BC. as a digestive aid to relief indigestion, and recent studies show that cilantro also has anti-inflammatory properties as well. I hope by now you are understanding the connection between how good fresh herbs are for you - even beyond the kitchen. But you wouldn’t know that by seeing all those TV commercials pushing OTC meds.

This week Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated worldwide honoring Mexican heritage; marking the defeat of the French Army after invading the Americas. But believe it or not, this commemorative holiday is celebrated by more people in California than Mexico. And, many festive ways are used to mark the occasion beyond cervesa and tequila. Dances and music mark the occasion to preserve & educate the public of its historical significance and culture.

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But as with any celebration, food does take center stage. So with honor to the Mexican people - May 5th, I give a nod to the big bold flavor of the cilantro leaf, also known as Chinese parsley.

If you are looking for dishes with bold flavor; I created this for my visit on Live with Regis & Kelly. You will certainly want to try my Mexican Calzones. Yes, they are as good as it sounds! Enjoy the calzone with my 60 second guacamole, salsa and tomatillo dipping sauce