Roasted Garlic

The kids got off the bus today right in the middle of a rainstorm and I was late getting home from work.  They had to trudge up the driveway all by themselves. (Guilt makes me say trudge, but I’m sure they more ran or skipped…  What little kid doesn’t like rainstorms?)  Still, I felt bad coming home to wet hair, tennis shoes, and bookbags and also to the news that I had forgotten weekend homework and that the little one had to “clip down” and “miss recess”.  I got snacks, facilitated homework and—what the heck—threw a few heads of garlic into the oven to roast.  Roasted Garlic is the new staple at our house.

I learned how to roast garlic last month, over a wood fired pizza oven with a glass of wine in hand.  Now, it is something I keep at-the-ready at all times—Roasted Garlic mixed with a little olive oil in a mason jar in the fridge, to be spread on any number of things: sweet, smoky, and rich in its simplicity.

We needed Roasted Garlic today because the kids deserved their favorite meal—(child named) white spaghetti and baguette.  This is spaghetti mixed with roasted garlic and Parmesan cheese, and baguette split and spread with roasted garlic, sprinkled with mozzarella and Parmesan and broiled.  Add a little milk, and they get a vegetable-free, carb-heavy, absolutely colorless meal.  This is their favorite.  And while I don’t necessarily recommend the white spaghetti and baguette for an adult palate, the Roasted Garlic can’t be ignored.  All you need to do is this:

Preheat your oven to 400.

Start with as many bulbs of garlic as you wish to roast.  I did 5 today and ended up with half a pint jar full of spread.  Pull off as much of the outer papery skin as you can but do not separate the cloves.

Using a sharp knife cut maybe ½ inch off of the top of the bulb.  (This is not the end where the root is.)  The meat of each clove should be exposed.  There are some cloves around the edge of the bulb that won’t be showing; take your knife and trim the tops of those as well.

Place each bulb in the center of a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Pull the foil up around each bulb and twist, making a nice little garlic packet.

Put all of your packets on a cookie sheet and throw in the oven for 40 minutes.  (After awhile, if my kids are at your house, they will sniff the air and proclaim, “I smell white spaghetti!”)

Remove the garlic from the oven and open each packet to let the garlic cool.  It will be brown and soft, but it will also be hot.  Take your kids for a walk outside, if the sun has come out.

Once the garlic has cooled, squeeze each head over a bowl so the garlic extrudes from the head.  Actually, the kids can totally do this.  It’s better than play dough.  If you have issues with messy fingers or garlicky kids, you can use a little fork, but it’s not nearly as fun.

Drizzle some olive oil over your garlic, mash with a fork, and use as you see fit.  If you have no white spaghetti or baguette, it makes an AMAZING pizza topper.  The Roasted Garlic will keep, covered, in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and you will find yourself mixing it into all sorts of things.

(By the way, I’ve picked this particular story to tell because the third annual Cleveland Garlic Festival is upon us.  North Union Farmer’s Market is hosting this event at Shaker Square, in keeping with their mission of championing local foods.  As many of you know, we are regulars at their weekly markets.   All proceeds from the Cleveland Garlic Festival will further work to supply the community with the freshest, most nutritious food available.  We will not have a booth, but we will be enjoying the event with our families.  If you are in the area, consider stopping by!)

See You… At The Market or at The Cleveland  Garlic Festival.