Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Make Garlic Infused Olive Oil

The following instructions for garlic infused olive oil were written by Jamie Sward. I think it is really important to have it here on Garlicster, since I've been asked a few times how to prepare the garlic olive oil.

With the weather getting colder, and guests on the way, I wanted to make some delicious garlic dipping sauce for some homemade bread sticks. I'm a big fan of dipping bread in olive oil, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. So tasty! I thought this would also be the perfect time to use some brand new stainless steel kitchenware that I purchased last weekend. While I was researching recipes, I learned something very important about the process of making garlic-infused olive oil. One might think it's as simple as dropping a few cloves of garlic into a bottle of oil. WRONG! Do it this way and you risk botulism poisoning which can be deadly!

Clostridium Botulinum is a bacterium found in most soil and since garlic, being a root vegetable, is ripped from the ground, traces of this deadly bacteria are still left clinging to it. Since Botulism is an anaerobic bacteria (meaning that it thrives in an environment lacking oxygen), it dies in the presence of oxygen. Olive oil essentially seals out oxygen and when you mix food in with the oil, you have an ideal breeding ground for these potentially deadly bacteria. It is absolutely essential that you sterilize any food you plan on mixing with oil, including garlic. It's recommended that you heat the oil to around 200F, sauté your garlic in the oil. The creator of Emerilware kitchenware and cookware, Emeril Lagasse actually recommends sautéing the garlic over medium heat for between 3 and 5 minutes. Do not...I repeat do not soak your garlic in the oil prior to cooking it. While there's something to be said for planning ahead, when it comes to safely making garlic-infused olive oil, it pays to wait till the last minute.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

End of summer pesto

Ann sent me this recipe:
I have been diligently awaiting this moment all summer long. While I have been up to my elbows in pears, and shortly apples, there it was. Chastely waving in the breeze, tempting my senses. So today I rewarded my summer of hard efforts with PESTO!
Is there anything more heady than that aroma of warm basil, freshly picked, filling the whole house with that lovely green scent? I have been fiercely guarding this patch against marauding snails~~~ who wanted it as much as I did. The leaves were as big as my fist. Pesto turns even humble macaroni into something extra ordinary! If you don't remember pesto, you should reacquaint yourself with the emerald delight. If you haven't tried it yet, here's the recipe:
Pesto Sauce
2 Cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not that powdered junk!)
3/4 Cup good olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
4 cloves garlic
Put all ingredients into the blender, and blend on medium speed, stopping blender occasionally to scrape the sides, until sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Serve over your favorite hot cooked pasta.

Now I would probably remove the parmesan cheese, but for sure I want to make this deliciously herby garlicky pesto.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Los Tules Chicken Sandwich

Don sent me this recipe of the chicken sandwich they had in Puerto Vallarta. It looks super delicious, the combination of sweet pineapple and cheesy mozzarella, mmh mmh (damn milk allergies). OK, for everyone's enjoyment here it is.


Two chicken breasts (boneless)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-8-oz. can of crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup slivered almonds
6 sandwich rolls or hamburger buns
Tomato slices
Tabasco, hot pepper or buffalo sauce of your choice

Bake two boneless chicken breasts wrapped in foil to keep moist. Approx. 30 minutes at 350 degrees (F) until tender. Shred the breasts into a layer in a twelve inch frying pan.

Mix in the slivered almonds and set the heat to medium. Pour the crushed pineapple and juice into a bowl and blend in the hot sauce to taste. Note: you will probably add more sauce the next time. Pour the mixture into the chicken and stir together.

When the mixture is warm add one cup of mozzarella cheese and fold together until mixed and the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly so the cheese holds the mixture together.

Butter the buns and season with garlic salt and place in the oven to toast. Serve with a slice of tomato and a little Miracle Whip or mayo. Makes six servings. Leftover chicken is excellent in a tossed salad.