Earlier this week, my lovely friend Karen posted a picture of herself on Facebook.
Many pictures we all see on social media are predictable at best; sweet young thing, perfect hair, duck lips, flashing some indecipherable hand symbol. Usually a selfie. You know the kind.
Not only was Karen's picture not a selfie, it was taken by someone else, from behind. Golden blond hair neatly caught up in a band at the nape of her neck, but nonetheless askew and slightly disheveled, her strong hands showed no bizarre signal, but were instead wrapped around a huge bundle of garlic, damp soil still clinging to their roots.
Karen, her husband Aaron, and their family run Bouchard Farm; raising organic pork, turkey, beef, and seasonal produce, which they sell at regional farmer's markets and fairs. Just down the road from our own farm, Bouchard's is, however, famous for their garlic.
When most folks think garlic, they think of the papery white, two-to-a-box, plastic wrapped, Gilroy Garlic Festival bulbs so commonly found in commercial grocery stores. But like so many plants, there are dozens of varieties of garlic suitable for culinary - and medicinal- use. Without getting too technical, garlic falls under several categories: softneck, hardneck, asiatic, and elephant. Each has its strengths, weaknesses, and flavor profiles. Regardless of the type chosen, it's important to source fresh, local, seasonal garlic. Although mainstream grocery garlic will certainly work, it tends to be less juicy and piquant, which is an unnecessarily unfortunate position to find oneself in.
Most municipalities have a Farmer's Market bureau, or community map to area farms where endless assortments of produce can be found- including garlic.
I've already scheduled a time to drop by Bouchard Farms for my garlic. When you depend on local, seasonal food, your life is immeasurably better in a host of ways. But you gotta get while the getting's good!
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #28- James Beard's Chicken Bernaise
3 ribs celery
2 small clusters parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried)
2/3 c. olive oil or peanut oil
6 chicken legs or thighs
40 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried taragon
1/2 c. white wine vinegar (or dry vermouth)
Preheat oven to 375. Cut celery in long strips 1/4 inch wide and lay them in a 6 qt. casserole to form bed; add parsley. Pour oil into deep bowl and dip 3 pieces chicken in oil so both sides are covered. Place chicken on top of celery, sprinkle half garlic garlic cloves over chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken. Sprinkle herbs over top- add remaining oil- pour wine over all. Seal casserole with aluminum foil over top, plus casserole top over aluminum foil. Leave untouched in oven for 1 1/2 hours. 6 servings.