Tag Archives: garlic

40 Cloves of Garlic…and Chicken!

I have seen this recipe floating around the interwebs for ages now. I have seen it posted on food blogs all around the web and have been interested in trying it since I first started getting into “food porn”. I love garlic and chicken is definitely my favorite animal protein. I finally decided to try Mark Bitman’s version of it from How To Cook Everything.

I’ve got to be honest here. I found the chicken a little dry in this recipe. Maybe I let it cook too long, though I did stop cooking it before the time was up. I would add more braising liquid next time. The skin on the chicken turned out super delicious and crispy. The garlic was sweet and creamy. It was a pain in the butt to clean up the cast iron skillet, but I definitely think it was worth it.

I served it with SooFoo, which is a mixture of different grains and pulses  including brown rice, lentils, wheat berries, and rye. I tried it in Whole Foods the other day at a sample table and they totally won me over. Delicious and a ton of non-animal protein and fiber.

Cast iron is such a great surface to cook on even if it is a terrible, annoying surface to clean. I really love the way that it colors food and the nice, even heating surface that you get. I also love photographing food in cast iron. It creates such a nice, clean contrasted backdrop for the food.

40 Cloves of Garlic and Chicken

Adapted from Mark Bitman’s How To Cook Everything

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 skin-on chicken breast
  • 1 bone in, skin-on chicken leg
  • 2 heads of garlic, at least (I used three small ones)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

1. Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary; the process will take ten to fifteen minutes.

2. Add the garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pour the liquid over all. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.

3. Cover and cook, undisturbed, for about an hour, until the chicken and garlic are very tender.

Polenta Gratin

The past two weeks have been weeks of continuous nervous breakdowns, meltdowns, temper tantrums, and angry rages from me. Work and school together have completely overwhelmed me. Working full-time with special education students and going to school full-time is a lot for anyone, but especially a lot for someone who has severe anxiety like I do. I always get through it and I always manage to make it through, but I think it will cost me some day.

There have been a few good points in the past couple weeks. Such as the Giants are in the World Series against the Rangers. They are playing right now and kicking the Rangers’ butts. I never thought I would be a baseball fan, but it’s really fun to root for a local team.

I’ve also progressed in my rock climbing. This week I made it 3/4 up a 5.9. On Friday there will be a headlamp only climb at the gym and my rock climbing boys and I are so going to do it.

I went on a crazy road trip to Joshua Tree Park which ended up with having to spend a night with a bunch of drunk and stoned metal heads in the desert who wouldn’t stop talking about Kung-Fu. Then coming back we hit a pot hole and destroyed my tire coming down the Grapevine. Oh and then one of my headlights went out.

This has been life the past couple weeks and it’s only bound to get crazier/busier.

I have been cooking but I haven’t been photographing. I dropped my digital camera a couple weeks ago and haven’t been able to buy a new one yet. I get paid on Monday and I am definitely going to purchase  a new digital camera before I leave for Scotland.

That’s right I’m going to Scotland. And no I don’t think I’ll be eating any haggis.

Last week  I made a Grits Gratin with Garlic Arugula. This week I am making the same dish but I going about it a different way. Last week we were a little low on the arugula and there was too much polenta. It was still delicious and Andrew devoured almost the entire pan, but we both agreed that we needed more arugula in it.

So this week instead of pre-cooking the polenta and molding it in on a cutting board in the fridge, I cooked the polenta and mixed it with the garlic and arugula. I tried to make it layered like a lasagna but that didn’t quite work and everything ended up mixing together.

It turned out tasty and quite attractive. I garnished mine with some freshly grated parmesan.


Grits Gratin with Garlic Arugula

Recipe Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

  • One Recipe Polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups arugula leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a shallow baking pan.

2. Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft, plump, and starting to color. This takes about ten minutes. Add the arugula, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir gently.

3. Spread half the polenta on the bottom of the greased baking pan. Then add half the arugula mixture. Then spread 1/4  of the polenta. Don’t worry about it mixing. This will happen. Then spread out the rest of the arugula and then the rest of the polenta.

4. Cook for twenty minutes in the oven until the top is browned and a little crunchy.

I garnished mine with Parmesan and a little ground salt.



Penne “Risotto” with Garlic and Green Beans

Yesterday I worked until six and had to drive back home over Highway 17. It was around seven when I got home in Santa Clara and I was exhausted, sweaty, and hungry. I did not want to cook. However, Andrew was waiting for me to make dinner and I had planned what I was going to make already. I made a penne pasta dish with green beans in a garlic lemon sauce.

I used the same technique that I used for the Israeli couscous risotto that I made the other day. This time around I used the multi-grain, gluten free pasta that Andrew had in the cupboard. The rest of our pasta is whole wheat and I can’t stand whole wheat pasta. I find the texture of whole wheat pasta to be tough and gritty. The result of the dish was a creamy, tender pasta with a well balanced sauce and crisp green beans (crisp=undercooked in this case :)). Andrew was impressed with how quick it was to make and how easy. I could tell he was a little lukewarm on how the sauce came out creamy.

Penne Risotto with Garlic and Green Beans

  • multi-grain, gluten free penne pasta
  • two tablespoons minced garlic
  • large handful of green beans
  • salt, pepper, and onion powder
  • vegetable broth
  • lemon juice

1. Prep your green beans by washing them, trimming the vine end off, and chopping them into small, equal sizes.

2. Heat a skillet with olive oil on medium high. Add garlic and pasta. Toast the pasta and brown the garlic. Looking back I would also add the green beans at this point. Add a small amount of vegetable broth and stir until liquid thickens, bubbles, and reduces. Then add more liquid and continue this process until the pasta is cooked.

Israeli Couscous “Risotto”

I was reading through cookbooks last weekend and came across something that I had never heard of before: cooking pasta like risotto. Now, reading this terrified and excited me. I could foresee pasta burning and sticking to the pan, coming up undercooked and gummy at the same time. I was also excited by the possibility of saving water and the time it takes to boil the water. This has been in the back of my mind the past couple days.

I was driving home from class today over hwy 17 and got really hungry. I’ve been getting very hungry all of a sudden lately. I was daydreaming of burritos, chinese food, and all sorts of take-out. Then I thought of my bank account, the feta cheese, roasted garlic, dried cranberries, salad greens, and array of carboyhydrate options I keep in my cupboard. I knew I could come up with something delicious, easy, satisfying, and quick.

I figured that Israeli couscous would be the perfect sized pasta to try out risotto style. I like making risotto and have never found it to be a challenge. I’ve always found cooking a pot of rice to be more of a challenge. I also like Israeli couscous. I like it much better than those tiny wimpy regular couscous.

Out came the Israeli Couscous “Risotto”. Creamy, tangy, savory, sweet. Nutty, hearty, and simple. A great lunch for when you have time to cook. Or it could be a great dinner. A wonderful way to use leftovers and experiment.

Israeli Couscous “Risotto” with Dried Cranberries, Feta, and Roasted Garlic

  • 1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup water (you could also use stock or a combination of stock and water)
  • salt, pepper, and chili pepper flakes (my holy trinity of spices)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • a handful of dried cranberries
  • a couple cloves of roasted garlic
  • a handful of herb and garlic feta
  • a handful of salad greens

1. To toast your couscous add the olive oil and couscous to the pan and heat to medium. I use a heavy bottomed aluminum pan because I have some sort of disease that prevents me from ever wanting to use non-stick. Add salt, pepper, and chili pepper flakes.  Heat for about five minutes until they little balls turn a golden color and they smell nutty (or in my case almost burning).

2. Gradually add your water and stir. You want to add the water in small increments. The way I gauged it was add a little water, stir, stir, stir, and then when the little balls started to stick I added more water before they could adhere themselves permanently to the pan. This process took about fifteen minutes.

3. Add roasted garlic cloves and smash them up into the couscous. Let them heat through for about a minute or so. Then remove the pan from the heat. Add cranberries and feta.

4. In a bowl mix together couscous mixture and salad greens. Enjoy.

Pizza Two Ways

Andrew and I made pizza today. We cheated on the crust and bought Boboli pre0-made 8″ mini crusts. My pizza featured herb and garlic feta cheese, whole cloves of roasted garlic, dried sweetened cranberries, and tomato sauce. Andrew’s pizza had Italian spicy sausage, pineapple, and tomato sauce.

Feta Cheese Pizza

  • one pre-made crust
  • garlic and herb feta cheese
  • canned tomato sauce
  • dried sweetened cranberries
  • roasted garlic cloves

1. To roast garlic cloves, chop the top off a head of garlic. Pour a little olive oil on top and then wrap in tin foil. Roast for thirty minutes at 375º. Let the foil pouch cool and then take the garlic out. Squeeze cloves to remove garlic.

2. Heat oven to 450º F. Add toppings to pizza crust. Put pizza in oven and bake for 8 minutes or until crust is crispy and cheese is a little melted.

I think that this would have been even better with some pesto or pine nuts added to it. I’m a little burnt out on pesto or I would have used it instead of tomato sauce.

Cheeseless Sausage and Pineapple Pizza

I think Andrew is insane for having no cheese on his pizza. For me pizza isn’t pizza without cheese. Plus, I’m not a sausage fan.

  • one spicy Italian sausage sliced
  • pineapple chunks
  • tomato sauce
  • pre-made crust

1. Slice sausage into small slices. You do not have to pre-cook your sausage. It will cook on the pizza. Add the toppings to the pizza and cook for ten minutes at 450º F or until sausage is cooked.

Tri-Grain Salad

Today I showed up for babysitting and my clients were not home. They had not called me or texted me or emailed me. I thought that I was supposed to come today, but the driveway gate was closed and no one answered the door when I rang. So, I had the evening off to cook. I went straight away to Staff of Life Market in the mid-town area of Santa Cruz. For the vegans and veggies out there, Staff of Life is amazing. They have vegan hot food bar choices, baked goods, and tons of supplements, flours, and starches. Amazing.

I decided I wanted to make a multi-grain, multi-pulse salad. What came out was delicious, though a little soggy. My landlord thought it even looked, smelled, and tasted great. She usually looks at my food with a big “Huh” on her face and says “oh, that looks interesting”. It was salty, sweet, tangy with a variety of textures.


  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup soft wheat berries
  • 5 medjool dates (you could use dried apricots instead)
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries (you could use raisins if you prefer)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 pkg. steamed yellow corn
  • 1/4 cup millet
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pineapple salad vinegar (use whatever vinegar you have on hand)
  • sunflower oil
  • agave nectar

1. Boil a large pot of water. While water is boiling, chop carrots, dates, and avocados. Put wheat berries and rice into pot. Let boil for five minutes. Add red lentils to the pot. Boil another five minutes. Add carrots to the pot and boil. After five minutes, add millet and boil all grains until done. Then add an egg and stir. The egg is definitely optional if you want a vegan dish.

2. While the grains are cooking, microwave steam in the bag corn. You could definitely use fresh corn and I recommend doing that, but I had the frozen corn handy. Do not use canned corn. Do not use canned corn ever. If you use canned corn I will stop speaking to you because it is revolting.

3. Add dates, corn, cranberries, avocado, and chickpeas to a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper to this mix. Add minced garlic to this mix.

4. When the grains are done cooking, drain them over the sink very very well. Like through a flour sifter. I did not do this and my salad came out a little wet. Then add them to the dried fruit and chickpea mix. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add salad vinegar (I think this would be bomb with balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar) and sunflower oil. Mix until combined. I let mine cool a bit. I think it would be even better refrigerated. Then I added pesto on top of this and mixed.

Crispy Lentil Balls

Okay almost everything deep fried is delicious. There are a few exceptions to this rule: snickers, oreos, twinkies, cheesecake. But most things deep fried are delicious and this includes vegan food. There are many negatives to deep frying: it can take a long time, its awful for your body, and its messy. I hardly ever deep fry anything because of this. Things that are typically deep fried I prefer to pan fry or bake in the oven. I think its okay to have every once in a while to have as a treat.

Crispy Lentil Balls

Adapted from the Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 slices pepper jack rice cheese
  • 1 cup mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup polenta

1. Place the lentils in a medium pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for ten minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and rinse well under cold water.

2. Combine half the lentils in a food processor with garlic and mixed baby greens. Process for ten seconds or until the mixture is pulpy. Transfer for a large bowl and add the remaining lentils, cumin, breadcrumbs, and cheese.

3. Using your hands, roll level tabslepooons mof mixture into balls and toss lightly in polenta.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Gently lower small batches of the balls into moderately hot oil. Cook for one minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Carefully remove from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and rain on paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining balls.

They turned out crispy and delicious, but I couldn’t too many of them. I loved the mixture of the pureed of lentils with whole lentils.