I’m a sensible person, I really am. I wear coats when it’s cold, I eat plenty of vegetables, and I don’t buy every new iPhone that comes out. But when it comes to cooking, sometimes my brain glitches and all common sense flies out the window. Such was the case as I flipped through my October edition of Bon Appetit. The glossy pages were strewn with garlicky recipes, from fried rice, to garlic pasta with olives, to roast chicken, and I couldn’t decide which one to make first, because garlic is my jam! So I asked le roommate which one she’d prefer for dinner, but alas, she was to be gone that evening and the decision was left up to me.
Now let me back up a little: the Day Of All The Cooking I had also signed up to give blood. I’d never given blood before, but didn’t figure it could be too bad, and aside from almost fainting while carrying a 50 pound box to my car that afternoon (I promise, I am sensible sometimes!), it really wasn’t. Unlike my friend who went back to building barns right after donating (ahem, you know who you are), I was going to take it mostly easy that evening.
But the lure of the garlic was strong, and unable to make up my mind, I rashly decided to make all four of the recipes tempting me. What could possibly go wrong?! And since Lyn wouldn’t be home, I invited a few people to come help me eat it. Just, you know, a monstrous amount of cooking as well as hosting company, with no prior preparation. No big deal. I went picked up the groceries after work and then sped home to whip up All The Things and clean my atrocious kitchen floor a little. And then, using SIX HEADS of garlic, I cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked for about three hours until night had come and my kitchen floor was back at its original state and I crashed in exhaustion with a large plateful of garlic-laden dishes. Because I’m sensible.
I have a feeling my grandmothers would have turned in their graves at the amounts of garlic I used, and I bet my next door neighbor could smell my breath from his own house, but it was kind of fun anyhow, all things considered.
Here’s what I made:
And here’s what I learned:
- Next time I donate blood, I’m going home and eating cereal and watching a movie.
- Making maybe two new recipes at a time ensures that I can do them right instead of dashing from thing to thing.
- Peeling garlic is very sticky work. So sticky that I’m surprised garlic glue isn’t a thing yet.
- Cooking for three hours after work means you can only take terrible, unlit pictures of your food when it’s done, because it’s now basically the middle of the night or so.
The chicken was a hands-down success, tasting warm and comfortable and falling off the bones in its bed of four garlic heads and lemon slices. The rice was a maybe; I think I burned the garlic a little and it was just too strong for my tastes, The pasta was frankly a little bland, although I should probably blame my improvising the recipe slightly rather than Bon Appetit for that. But my favorite was the toasts, which filled me with warm fuzzies and made me want to drizzle hot honey on everything I eat for the next week. You can click on the link above to find the precise version of the recipe, or I’ll include a simplified version below.
Diagonal baguette slices
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling, baby
1 head of broccoli, chopped small
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, not peeled
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1½ cups fresh ricotta
Freshly ground black pepper
Put the broccoli and garlic on a pan, separated, and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Season the broccoli with salt, and roast it all at 400 about 25-30 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, put the bread slices on another pan, drizzle with oil, and bake them also at 400 till crisp, about 10-12 minutes.
When the garlic and broccoli is done, remove from the oven, and slip the little garlics from their skins, then mash them with a fork.
Mix the mashed garlic, ricotta, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes.
Spread the ricotta mixture on the toasted baguette slices. Top with broccoli, and drizzle the hot honey over it all.
Try not to eat them all yourself.
Just writing this all out for you makes me want to peruse that magazine again and make four more recipes in one night. Maybe I don’t have a shred of common sense after all, or maybe I’m just hungry. But all else aside, do make the broccoli toasts. You won’t be sorry.