You guys, I was super sick this week. Like barely-functional-sick. But I’m back with (what I hope is) a great post for you. Through Foodbuzz, I’m super excited to have the opportunity to enter to win a trip to Greece, sponsored by FAGE. This is my second entry—click here to see the first. I’m writing this post about the Greek tradition of “good living,” and what it means in my life. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more details and find out how you can also enter to win a Greek getaway!
Since I first heard about this contest, I’ve been thinking about what “good living” means. Another aspect of good living, to me, is the beauty of simple pleasures—especially when those simple pleasures are food. As you can see by reading my blog, I don’t tend to make a lot of über-complicated recipes that require a separate trip to the grocery store, tools or appliances that you have to special order, or ingredients that you have to find online. I’m a 22-year-old that lives in a small city apartment and works 40 to 60 hours a week, so I don’t have time for multi-course, extravagant meals.
When I can make a simple, healthy, satisfying meal in 10 minutes from four or five ingredients, that always beats slaving away over the stove for several hours trying to make something that looks a little more impressive. Don’t get me wrong—when I have the time and resources, I love pushing myself in the kitchen. But when it comes to everyday food, the simpler, the better. And the less time you spend stressing on using fancy ingredients and techniques, the more time you have to actually enjoy your food and company.
That doesn’t mean that your food has to be dull. Roasted garlic is a perfect example. Two ingredients left in the oven to their own devices, and you end up with sweet, roasted perfection. Garlic is one of my favorite ingredients in almost anything, but when roasted, it takes on a completely new complexity and is endlessly adaptable and useful. Roasted garlic is a simple pleasure to me because it’s so easy and inexpensive, but it can elevate the simplest dishes to a new level and make them more special.
All you need to make roasted garlic is a head of garlic, a teaspoon of olive oil, and some aluminum foil.
Start with a head of garlic.
Peel off the outermost skin so that the cloves are uncovered, but the head is still intact.
With a sharp knife, slice off the very tops of the cloves so that the flesh is exposed.
Place on a sheet of aluminum foil and spread about a teaspoon of olive oil over the top, so all the exposed cloves are covered.
Lightly close the foil around the garlic to form a loose tent. Place in a preheated, 350º oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until garlic is golden and soft. Your kitchen will smell amazing during this process.
Roasty deliciousness. At this point, you can literally just squeeze the cloves out of their skins. They’re soft and spreadable, like room temperature butter.
You might be perfectly content to just spread a clove on a slice of crusty bread and dig in. Simple and satisfying. I could eat this as a meal. Roasted garlic doesn’t have the bite that raw garlic does. It becomes subtle, sweet, and rich. You can eat it by the spoonful—even on a first date when you don’t have any breath mints! It’s a thing of beauty.
Roasted garlic and crusty bread is just about the simplest thing you could make to serve to company and still be impressive. There are lots of other foods that roasted garlic will elevate to the next level:
- Garlic bread: Spread on Italian bread with melted butter and/or some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then broil until toasty.
- Sauces: Stir into white or red sauces to add depth of flavor.
- Soups: Roasted garlic in homemade tomato soup? Crazy delicious, and adds complexity and cuts through the acidity of the tomato.
- Pastas: I mean, come on. If there was ever a match made in heaven…
- Compound butters: Combine with softened butter and herbs, then serve alongside warm rolls at the dinner table. Simply amazing.
Or, you could make hummus.
Roasted garlic hummus is possibly one of the best things…ever. And it only requires a handful of common ingredients. You can even leave out the tahini completely if you don’t have it (it’s a little pricy). It’s so easy to make—it only takes a couple minutes in the food processor and it’s great to have on hand for snacks and as a sandwich spread.
First, you’ll need a can of garbanzo beans (no salt added, preferably). Pulse a few times until mealy.
Throw in four to six cloves of roasted garlic and a tablespoon of tahini (like I said, you could leave this out). Also, throw in about a half teaspoon of sea salt.
Then, start processing. As it’s going, pour about 1/4 cup olive oil in through the food chute, along with the juice of half a lemon. Continue processing until smooth and creamy.
Top with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of parsley and serve. Dip veggies (or crudités, as fancy people like to say), pita chips, or any bread you didn’t eat with garlic spread on it.
There are few things more perfect. Simple ingredients made extraordinary with just one easy extra step. Good eating is good living.
Roasted Garlic Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans (no salt added), rinsed and drained
4 to 6 cloves roasted garlic*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In food processor, pulse garbanzo beans several seconds until mealy. Add garlic, salt, and tahini. While processing, drizzle oil and lemon juice in through the food chute and process until smooth and creamy.
*To make roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 350º. Peel off the outer skin of a head of garlic, leaving the head in tact. Slice off the tops of the cloves, exposing the flesh. Cover the exposed garlic with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Place the garlic on a sheet of tin foil and loosely close it to create a loose tent. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until garlic is golden and soft.
As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway