Roasting Garlic Bittman Style

Almost ready for roasting - just needs oil.

I’ve started to really like the method of roasting garlic that Mark Bittman writes about in Food Matters. Instead of slicing the end off of a whole head of garlic, (or a few whole heads of garlic), drizzling the head(s) with olive oil, and roasting, he suggests separating the garlic into cloves and roasting those in the pan. I can’t remember if he recommends peeling the cloves too, but I peeled them. By adding too much oil, (Mark’s idea, not mine), the peeled cloves of garlic don’t get all crusty and you have roast garlic flavoured oil to play with afterwards, but the big benefit of this system is that itn’s no longer necessary to extract the roast garlic from the layers and layers of crusty, oily, garlic skins!


So, what am I going to do with all of this lovely roast garlic? I used some in my Roast Garlic & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette. The rest is in a jar in the fridge right now and will probably become humous.

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Lobster Supper

Lobster Dinner, about to be eaten.

They’re selling live lobster for $4.88 a pound right now so last night we ate some. Lobster, grocery-store sushi, and guacamole – maybe not the most traditional menu but really good.

Here they are before they made it into the pot.

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Starting the Harvest

When I planted my garden at the beginning of April I wasn’t completely sure that there wouldn’t be some winter weather that would kill it off. There have been a couple of small snowfalls but nothing with the kind of cold that kills off cold weather vegetables, and this week we ate our first salad, (mostly), from the garden. I have spinach, two kinds of lettuce, and radishes in abundance, and with the addition of a tomato, a cucumber, some avocado from the store, and some home made croutons, (a new batch – made with various different leftover bread), and some Roast Garlic & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette we ate quite well the other day, (the bison burgers with the salad helped too).

Since I now have a camera here are some photos.

The garden in May.

This is what was left after I took everything I needed for a salad!

The biggest radishes, ready for salad, (well, some went into the fridge for later).

The bowl of lettuce & spinach.

Fresh Salad with Fresh Vinaigrette

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Roast Garlic & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

I put together a vinaigrette the other day and thought I would share an approximation of the recipe.

Roast Garlic & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

(All quantities are approximate)

  • 1/3 cupWhite wine vinegar
  • 1/6 cupCanola Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Normal mustard that you would put on a hot dog
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh chives
  • 3 sprigs Thyme leaves, (take the leaves off the branches – you probably don’t want those tough branches in your vinaigrette)
  • 1 leaf Sage, ripped into as tiny pieces as you can rip.
  • 3-4 cloves roasted garlic

Mix everything together really well. You might need a fork or whisk to break up the garlic initially, but once it is broken up it’ll mix in really well.

Some Notes:
  • I used a vinegar to oil ratio of about 2:1. Usually I use more oil, but usually my vinaigrettes aren’t very zesty at all.
  • I used white wine vinegar & canola oil because that’s what I had, and didn’t want the flavour of olive oil. You can, and should, use whatever you think will taste good.
  • Play around with the herbs – I just used what I had in the garden.
  • Don’t use much mustard, I just wanted to give a little colour and more zest to the vinaigrette.

Now, how does it look on a salad? Like this:

Fresh Salad with Fresh Vinaigrette

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Week Nineteen Roundup

I seem to be getting worse and worse about getting my roundups posted on time, but here’s the roundup for last week, (ending this past Sunday).

The waist size, (measured Tuesday morning, not the customary Monday morning), was 40 3/4 inches. This is an increase of 1/4 of an inch. On the budgetary front we spent an obscene $268.84 on food during week nineteen.

In other news I picked up a digital camera on Ebay, so I no longer have to rely on the built-in webcam in my laptop and screen captures from videos.

That is all for now.

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Yeast-Leavened Rye Bread

Rye bread ready for some jam.

We’ve been wanting to reduce the amount of wheat in our diet. Actually, we would like to eliminate it for a while and see how that goes, but we also like bread. Enter Rye Flour.

I’ve been having pretty decent results making bread so far, but before I embarked on my rye loaf I did some research. I remember my Grade 8 Home Economics teacher telling us that the gluten in the wheat is really important when making a dough, and I was worried because I had only ever heard of gluten being in wheat. In my research I found that there is gluten in rye, but it’s different and doesn’t develop the same way, and tends to break down because of something else in the flour. The way to get around this is to make sourdough rye, which rises at a lower PH value, (is more acidic), and the thing that breaks down the gluten doesn’t like the acidity so it doesn’t work. However, I wanted bread right away and didn’t have any sourdough starter on hand. I had seen several mentions of using commercial yeast but adding some vinegar or lemon juice, and eventually found a recipe for a bread that did just that, so that’s what I based my rye loaf on.

Basically, I made the same no-knead bread as I usually do but used rye flour instead of whole wheat, and added a tablespoon of cider vinegar, (why cider? the recipe I had found was for a cider bread), and let it rise longer in the pan. I don’t know if the vinegar did anything, but the bread came out just fine and as you can see from the picture is almost all gone.

A couple of other things I learned: You can’t knead rye bread even if you want to. The gluten just doesn’t develop the same way as with wheat. Rye dough is just a big sticky mass. Also, it seems that rye bread, perhaps because of its density, is better cold than fresh out of the oven. Fresh out of the oven the center of the loaf was a sticky, gooey, mass, but when the loaf cooled it had a uniform texture.

So, what now? The bread is almost gone, I might make another loaf. In the meantime, I have started making some 100% rye sourdough starter to try out.

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Week Seventeen and Eighteen Roundup

I haven’t had a chance to write about what’s been happening but it hasn’t been that exciting on the food front. I have been keeping track of the vital stats though. After 17 weeks I had a waist size of 41 1/2 inches, and we spent $256.21 on food in the 17th week, and after 18 weeks, (today!), my waist size was 40 1/2 inches, and we spent $137.51 on food last week. Pretty decent numbers if you ask me.

I’m branching out my breadmaking activities, (with help from what I’ve been reading on The Fresh Loaf), so stay tuned for the results of some experiments.

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Lazy Leftover Morning Burritos

That's about to get eaten.

We have some leftovers, and I turned some leftovers, plus an egg into a morning burrito. We still have a ton of the filling from my Chipotle Sloppy Joes the other day, (now simply referred to as “fire” because it’s gaining heat as it ages), and some chopped cilantro, some tortillas, (“whole wheat” – according to the package…), and we had, until a few minutes ago, some chopped tomato. With a scrambled egg added to that I filled the hole in my stomach and am ready to get some work done.

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Almost No Meat Chipotle Sloppy Joes

The finished product. Note the can of chipotle peppers in the background.

Our fridge has been filling up with leftovers from other meals, a bit of tomato sauce, some rice cooked with chicken drippings, sliced tomato, chopped shallots, and chicken breast trimmings. Since we had chicken burgers the other day, we had some of what the grocery store calls “whole wheat” hamburger buns. With all of this, and a little from the pantry, I started making sloppy joes.

I started by frying the bits of chicken breast, shallots, and celery with some black pepper and coriander, then added canned chipotle peppers hoping for a sweet, spicy, and smoky flavour. It smelled amazing, so I added a can of what seem to be mini kidney beans, (the can said “small red beans”). It still smelled amazing, so I tasted what I had so far and my mouth just about caught on fire. I’m not super into spicy food, and 1/2 can of chipotles in maybe 3 cups of food was way too much.

Time to dilute the heat. I added another couple of cans of beans, (this time Romano beans and black beans), chicken stock, tomato paste, and cooked for a bit, then tasted again. While quite hot there was no fire on my tongue so I was happy. I added my rice, more stock, more tomato paste, and the juice of a lime, and some liquid smoke, and pronounced my creation ready.

We toasted the buns and added some BBQ sauce, (you can see the bottle lying sideways in the photo), and the slop, then topped everything off with some caramelized shallots. It tasted good, and cleared the sinuses.

Now for the aftermath. Since I needed to dilute the heat so much I ended up with a huge amount of this stuff, probably two or three litres of it, so I have quite some leftovers, and apparently the rest of the household thinks that it’s too spicy to eat. However, we have a plan: First, we’ll make burritos with it tonight. That way those who aren’t allergic to milk products can add cheese & sour cream to take the edge off. After the burritos we think there will still be leftovers so we’ll use that to start a big pot of chili, and that should taste really good.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with that other 1/2 can of chipotles.

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Week Sixteen Roundup

Here we are at the end of week sixteen. Starting with the numbers, my waist is down to 40 3/4 inches this week, that’s down 3/4 of an inch from last week, which is pretty awesome. It’s looking like I might break into the 30s soon, (in more ways that one…).

On the budgetary side we spent $114.63 on food this week. This is one of the lowest weeks we’ve had in quite some time, and there is some beer & wine included in that number, although part of me thinks there’s a Costco receipt missing, and that would put our numbers closer to $200. Other than the possibly missing Costco receipt, one of the reasons that I think we’ve spent less this week is because Joanie has bee super busy so we haven’t been spending as much time in grocery stores, (we kind of like to haunt them under normal circumstances). Less time in stores = less money spent at stores, (not really rocket science, I know).

Last night I tried making a pasta using a different method that I dug up in an older, (well, from December), New York Times – cooking Pasta by constantly stirring and adding stock, instead of the traditional way of dunking it in a bunch of boiling water. I made a 3-mushroom & chicken pasta using stock that was in the fridge and based on this recipe. It was not a resounding success. When the pasta was about ready I had just around a cup and a half of stock left and figured that I could put it in without hurting anything, thus saving the space in my fridge. Big mistake. We ended up eating more of a three-mushroom and chicken blob, which tasted really good, but did not have the best texture in the world. All of the flavour of the stock, though, is great, and I’m going to try this again sometime but with self-control.

Also yesterday I got a new, (to me), bike. My old bike’s chain slipped and the bike was kind of small, so I’m not the proud owner of a Peugeot Super Sport road bike, aged I’m not sure how many years, but several. It rides much better than the old bike and I am excited to use the metro less and less. Last summer I didn’t go into the metro for a couple of months. Hopefully I can pull off the same thing this summer. The bike will get its first major road trial today.

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  • What is Choices That Matter?

    I'm a guy named John, and I do most of the writing around here. I went from a really active lifestyle to a really inactive lifestyle very quickly and my body is noticing. On top of that I'm worried about what's happening to our planet, so, I'm trying to do something about it.

    For Christmas I received the book Food Matters, which I found very interesting and inspired me to start changing. Check out my first post for the beginning of the story.