garlic

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marinated garlic with herbs and olive oil

Marinated Garlic 1 We have had the pleasure of enjoying garlic’s alluring aroma and delectable taste for six whole millenniums, and today there are approximately 300 strains of the fragrant bulb available worldwide. In addition to being a culinary treasure, the little onion has been a trusted protector against evil, continuously deterring demons, werewolves and vampires all through history. Even 5000 year old Sanskrit writings from ancient India credit garlic as a “slayer of monsters”. Loaded with medicinal magic powers believed to cure practically any health condition, garlic’s antibacterial properties may have been the root of those rumors, as they could prevent infections consequently leading to symptoms of mental illness.

The Italian philosopher Pliny the Elder, 23-79 CE, recommends garlic as a remedy for 61 health conditions in his encyclopedia “Historia Naturalis”, and suggests a powerful aphrodisiac brew made from garlic, fresh coriander and wine. For sexual endurance, the Romans are said to have surrounded themselves with garlic during their scandalous orgies, and Roman priests believed it would “make women fall in love and men powerful”.

The Talmud, a Hebrew text of Jewish instructions from 500 CE also list the small head as an aphrodisiac, saying it can raise body heat, give your face a sexy glow, and increase male love juices. To guarantee a steamy wedding night, Palestinian tradition has the groom decorate his buttonhole with a clove of the lily family member.

This famous superfood contains calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and almost 200 beneficial chemical compounds. The most active compound is allicin, produced only after the garlic has been bruised, chopped or crushed. The fresher and more crushed it is, the more potent it becomes, shown to attack parasites and viruses, 23 kinds of bacteria, including staphylococcus and salmonella and 60 types of fungi and yeasts. Garlic is known to rejuvenate and detoxify while enhancing the immune system. It is said to boost testosterone levels and like Viagra, increase blood flow.

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marinated garlic with herbs and olive oil

When garlic is boiled it softens and loses most of 
its sharp flavor. In this state it more easily absorbs the flavors of 
the herbs and takes on an almost artichoke-like taste and 
texture. Marinated garlic can be served as a snack, perhaps accompanied by 
bread, crackers and antipasti, or as a condiment served with steak or fish.

ingredients

4 large heads of garlic, peeled

1 tsp summer savory

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp lavender flowers

1 tsp rosemary

¼ cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

½ cup virgin olive oil

½ cup water

directions

Bring all ingredients except garlic to a boil.

Add peeled garlic cloves and boil for 8 minutes.

Transfer garlic and liquid to a jar and let cool.

Marinated Garlic 2

Photography by Philip Blankenship.

honey glazed semla with raw hazelnut date marzipan

Semla 1Some refer to this day as Shrove Tuesday, some Fat Tuesday, and some Mardi Gras – French for Fat Tuesday. It’s the day directly preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of lent) and it’s celebrated in different ways all over the world. The celebratory food choices vary but many include high carb options such as pancakes or varieties of sweet buns. In Sweden it’s celebrated with a semla. A semi sweet bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. These sweet wonders are so tasty and popular they can now be found in bakeries throughout the year. However, most frequently during the first quarter preceding Fat Tuesday.

Traditionally, a semla is made from yeast dough, but this Gluten Free option is Yeast Free and altogether sweetened with honey and dates.

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sweet cardamom buns

This is a small bun creating a small, not quite but almost, bite size semla. Enjoyable filled or plain. For a sweet fruity treat, replace marzipan with jam or fresh fruit or berries.

ingredients

2 cups almond flour (finely ground almonds)

½ cup tapioca or potato starch

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cardamom

¼ cup milk

4 TBL butter

4 TBL honey

2 large eggs

directions

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

Over low heat, stir milk, butter and honey until melted and incorporated.

Pour hot liquids over dry ingredients and blend quickly.

Stir in the lightly beaten eggs.

Spritz or spoon into a mini muffin pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake at 400F/200C for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 15 mini muffin buns.

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raw hazelnut date marzipan

ingredients

½ cup tightly packed dates

1 ½ cup hazelnut flour (finely ground hazelnuts)

1 cup almond flour (finely ground almonds)

2 drops almond oil (optional)

directions

In a food processor, process all ingredients until it forms a ball.

Shape ball into a roll and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes one 9 oz roll.

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whipped honey glaze

Whipped Honey

Whipped honey glaze is an excellent alternative to glaze made from processed confectioners sugar. Not only will it keep its shape and stay glossy, it tastes delicious and includes honey’s many health benefits. The honey will stay white and fluffy in a jar.

ingredients

honey

directions

Beat honey with an electric mixer until white and fluffy.

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assembly

Cut the top of the sweet buns.

Apply a generous amount of raw hazelnut date marzipan.

Cover with whipped heavy cream.

Put the tops back on and glaze with whipped honey.

Keep refrigerated.

Semla 2

Photography by Philip Blankenship.

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chocolate butterscotch mousse cake with coconut thins

Butterscotch Chocolate Coconut Cake 1

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

There is always a reason to celebrate, and I come up with new reasons almost daily. But there is something significant about universally dedicating a special day to celebrate LOVE. Taking the commercialism out of it, why not spend the day thinking of, loving, and appreciating all the people, animals and plants, that are surrounding and lovingly affecting our lives? And let’s not forget the greatest love of all; give yourself a little bit of extra love and attention today.

Fit for any special occasion, this delectable gluten free cake can be made for two or five or ten… For this special Valentines Day, I decided to make mini cakes, each cake just big enough for two to share. The recipe makes one 7 inch 4-layer cake or five 3 inch 4-layer cakes.

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coconut thins

The coconut thins will start out crispy but will soften when assembled, creating a cake with crispy edges and a soft, cuttable center.

ingredients

4 TBL butter

6 TBL palm sugar

¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 large egg

1 TBL potato starch

1 tsp baking powder

directions

Put butter and palm sugar in a small pot and let melt together while stirring.

Transfer mixture into a bowl and stir in coconut flakes.

Beat in the egg with a fork and add potato starch mixed with baking powder.

Set aside to swell for 10 minutes.

Use a plate or a glass to mark rounds on baking paper (four 7 inch rounds for one cake, or 20 3 inch rounds for five small cakes). Turn the paper upside down and divide the batter equally into the center of each round. With a small spatula, spread the batter evenly almost all the way to the edge, leaving only about ¼ inch for spreading during baking.

 7 inch rounds bake at 275F/135C for 8-12 minutes.

3 inch rounds bake at 300F/150C for 6-9 minutes.

Keep close watch at the end as they are done when lightly bronzed but burn easily.

Set aside to cool.

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chocolate mousse

ingredients

8 oz dark chocolate

1 cup heavy whipping cream

directions

Chop the chocolate.

Heat whipping cream until almost boiling.

Turn the heat off and add the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Refrigerate until cold but still soft.

Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. It usually takes 5-10 minutes.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

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butterscotch mousse and caramel topping

ingredients

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 cup palm sugar

4 TBL + 1 cup heavy whipping cream

directions

Melt butter, palm sugar and 3 TBL cream in a small pot. Bring to a boil and keep boiling at low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Set aside ¼ cup of the caramel sauce for topping in a separate cup and leave both to cool.

When the bigger bowl of caramel sauce is cold it should be thick but still soft enough to easily stir. If it is overly thick, dilute it with some cream or milk.

Whip remaining cream until it forms soft peaks. It’s important not to over whip at this point as the cream will continue to thicken while the caramel is added.

Carefully mix in ⅓ of the whipped cream with the chilled caramel.

Gently fold in the caramel cream with the remaining whipped cream.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

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assembly

Put the first layer of coconut thin on a cake plate and pipe or spread half of the chocolate mousse on top. Continue with another layer of coconut thin topped with butterscotch mousse. Repeat twice, ending with butterscotch mousse on top.

The remaining caramel sauce you set aside earlier should be thick but pourable. If it is too thick, dilute it with some cream or milk. Swirl caramel sauce over the cake and let some of it drip down the sides.

Finish off with some chocolate shavings.

Keep refrigerated.

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Butterscotch Chocolate Coconut Cake 2

Photography by Philip Blankenship.

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