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Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Garlic Photo

Photo by Ian Britton at FreeFoto

12 cloves.  Yesterday, I risked twelve whole cloves of garlic, burying them in the neglected strip of marginal soil at the foot of our staircase.  Oh, I’m sure there are several legitimate protests running through your mind right now.

“But I’m wearing a winter coat!”

“Doesn’t she live in Chicago?”

“Can garlic grow through three feet of snow?”

“I’m too hungry/bored/sleepy/stabby to plant anything right now!”

All legitimate concerns, misfits.  But it’s possible.

As I was up late the other night scanning the Internet for dwarf apple tree porn, I came across a quick article about how planting garlic on the shortest day of the year is good luck.  Horticulturalists pretty much recommend going with shortly after your first frost.  I made neither, seeing as how I’m pretty sure my little scrap of earth will be under a considerable amount of snow by December 21st, and I was too late to plant it right after the first frost.

Meh–gardening is about managing chaos, not controlling nature, and rules were meant to be broken, right?

So you just plop the cloves, right side up, in their new little holes, four inches apart, 1 inch deep, cover ’em up, and be all, “See ya’ in the Spring, misfits!”  They hibernate all winter long and fly their teeny, tiny, little green freak flags after the ground thaws.

Freak flags: does your garlic have them?

A few months ago, I don’t know that I would’ve risked even one, shriveled, half-dead clove of garlic on our earth.  The Boy and I moved here at a tenuous time, not entirely sure how things would pan out for us in our new situation, not willing to put down any roots–literal or figurative–that we couldn’t take with us.

But you know what?  Nothing’s ever fixed, guaranteed, safe secure.  And life just isn’t the same without risk.  Because with risk comes hope.

The BMG can risk a little bit of now in hopes for a little more later.

What the BMG cannot do, is be fucking patient for once.

After I got home from a fall walk today I opened our gate and paused before my new garlic patch, looking for signs that something transformational had happened there.  The dirt still looked barren.  Perhaps a little darker from having been recently worked?  The leaves I’d piled there in a childish attempt to hide my expectations still lay on top, mostly undisturbed.  I thought about the generous bulbs I might pull from that spot a few seasons from now.  I thought about the twelve dried up cloves I might find if that earth fails to produce anything at all.  But in either case, that spot is going to be a gentle reminder that sometimes trust is rewarded with what we wanted, and sometimes it’s rewarded with a lesson.  But trust is always rewarded somehow, isn’t it?

At least, I think it makes us better to believe that it is.

Before I turned to go inside, I squinted my hardest at my little garlic plot, trying one more time to see the change.  And this time, I did.  It didn’t look fruitful.  It didn’t look productive, or green, or rich, or bountiful, or any of that.

But you know?  It did look kinda hopeful.

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A word on “prom food”…you know what I’m talking about.  The generic meal that they used to serve you at high school dances, a meal which has only grown up only imperceptibly, if at all.  Now, in your adulthood, prom food masquerades as a “crowd-pleasing” meal at corporate events and even weddings.

Allow your Bad Mama Genny to narrow this food phenomenon down to its key components for you:

  • Chicken cutlet, breaded to preserve moisture through multiple reheatings, in a thick, greasy sauce–this sauce may be vaguely lemon-y; do not be fooled, it is still prom food.
  • Tough green beans-they may be referred to as “al dente” on the menu, an Italian term literally meaning, “to the tooth.”  The Italians meant it to refer to food that has not been overcooked, which retains some of its bite.  Prom food cooks mean it to refer to food that has not been cooked at all, and which retains so much of its bite that you look like a cow when you have to masticate it for 3 minutes before swallowing.  The beans may be vaguely lemon-y, do not be fooled, they, too, are still prom food.
  • Mashed potatoes, whipped to the consistency of glue, with ample paprika on top to disguise a color which is remarkably like Benjamin Moore’s formula 2129-60, Mt. Rainier Gray.
  • Salad greens, probably bastardized by a few hefty handfuls of shredded day-glow orange cheese, accompanied by a thick, monstrously sweet dressing which is supposed to remind you of vinaigrette, though it really just reminds you of, well, since the Benjamin Moore people are being so helpful here, formula 2103-30, Peatmoss.
  • And, probably the least offensive item on the list, a white roll, also very “al dente,” served with decorative pats of butter.  I say it’s “probably” the least offensive item on the list because there’s still a very good chance that prom roll will be the very thing that chips your tooth, clogs your trachea, or gives you lockjaw.  Prom roll is rock hard and almost undoubtedly recycled.  I would tell you to check for bite marks, but actually, prom roll is impenetrable by the teeth of mere mortals.

We shan’t crucify the prom/corporate/wedding caterer people here, for they likely do the best they can under the circumstances.  Nevertheless, as I sat in the meeting that evening after having consumed this, this, this…FUCKALL STUFF, I thought about the kind of food that had been conspicuously absent from my life, the kind of food I wanted to make for myself upon my return.

So how about some Miso Honey Salmon?

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Miso Honey Salmon
Makes 4 servings:

Go Get:
1 lb. salmon fillet
1/3 cup mellow white miso (Miso-Master is the best from what I can tell)
1/4 cup raw honey (regular old honey is fine, too)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper

Go Do:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Lay the salmon on the baking sheet, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine the miso, honey, and garlic until well-combined. Spread the mixture on the top and sides of the salmon in a more or less even distribution. Add a dash of fresh-ground pepper to the top, and put it into the oven. Bake it until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the glaze has developed a nice, dark-caramel-y look, about 25 minutes.

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