Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garlic Planting at Restoration Farm and a Roasted Garlic Spread

No sooner have I pronounced “twilight” at Restoration Farm when I am reminded by Head Grower Caroline Fanning that there is plenty of activity still to come at the CSA. “With the exception of December and January, when we’re mostly hibernating, there is always something happening at the farm,” says Caroline.

Indeed, for everything there is a season. While the harvest has concluded, planting has quickly begun again, which means that on a crisp and clear autumn morning, some thirty members stream onto the farm to prepare the soil and sow the infamous “stinking rose.”

A few culinary and historical notes about garlic – the bulbous plant is known for its restorative powers, and has been cultivated since ancient times. Garlic likely originated in central Asia, but its fame spread to Europe during the Crusades. It was thought to be so powerful that it could ward off the plague and evil spirits. Raw garlic has a pungent aroma that becomes sweeter when cooked.

The garlic field is tucked between the red Dutch farmhouse and an apple orchard at the northern end of Old Bethpage Village restoration. A table is covered with flats of garlic bulbs, and we sit in a large circle wrapped in coats and wearing wool caps, and learn to divide the bulbs into individual cloves and discard the center. There are children, seniors and singles all pitching in to help, but not a single vampire in sight.

Dan and Caroline are working with a group in the field to rake the soil and they roll a cylindrical device over the soil that creates perfect rows of dimples.

Groups of people follow behind with baskets full of pearly-white cloves. Each clove is tucked into a dimple, about as deep as the knuckle on your hand. The root of the clove goes in first, and the tip of the clove points towards the sky. With so many pitching in, eight beds of garlic are planted in three hours.

Multiple cloves will cluster around that single clove when the bulb matures. Each row is neatly labeled for harvest sometime during the 2010 season.

Somehow, all that garlic leaves one craving more. I roast two Restoration garlic bulbs in the oven for a simple golden roasted garlic spread of rich and buttery consistency.

Roasted Garlic

1. Place two bulbs of garlic in a small crock.
2. Add about ¼ inch of vegetable stock.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Cover tightly and roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes
5. Uncover, drizzle with additional oil and roast about 7 minutes more.
6. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the bulb and spread on toasted bread rounds.

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love roasted garlic and I learned something with your recipe. I add good olive oil to the garlic heads, but I've never included vegetable stock so I'm going to try it that way next time. Sounds terrific.

Hope your weather improves as the day goes by so you will have a nice Sunday. Heard it's been raining cats and dogs up there, so stay dry.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

A few years ago, a woman in one of my cooking groups brought some seed garlic to a cooking session, and we all went into my herb garden and planted it. It was such fun the following summer when those bulbs began to form and send up green garlic shoots.

Julia said...

I just planted garlic for the first time this year, and your post has me more excited than ever for the spring harvest!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Ah, yes. Garlic. How I love thee. Roasted is best. Great tips!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This looks like such a fun activity! The roasted garlic looks wonderful, and what a cute little pot!

~~louise~~ said...

How fun a Garlic Bee!!! I just planted garlic this week when I finally got up here. All the more reason to patiently wait for spring:)

Love roasted garlic, T.W. Thanks for sharing...

janelle said...

Roasted garlic is easily one of my favorite foods. I would eat it every day (most likely with bread and room temp cambazola), but it makes me wreak for days! I love it, and it loves me more;))).

Velva said...

I have a few garlic bulbs in the ground, right now. I loved this post and feel even more inspired. Thanks.

veron said...

Gaaaaaarliiiiiic! If there is one ingredient that I couldn't live without, this is it. Always wondered about planting my own.

nihaty said...

Many of the necessary vitamins are found in garlic as a natural antibiotic and food should be consumed in more than gives great flavor