Now, where was I? Gosh, it's been almost a month, and I promised myself that I would not let the time get away from me... but, here I am and it has happened. I could write an entire blogpost about committing yourself to a project, about sticking to it no matter what, about distractions and as my husband always says; "You need to practice mindfulness"... that's when i laugh hysterically andget back to work.
I brought my little bags of 4 different varieties of garlic home to decide how to approach this assignment. I had Meadowlarks special variety, I had German White garlic, a cold climate Siberian garlic and also a variety called Georgian Fire.
Flowers are always an inspiration to me, and this weeks bouquet from Meadowlark Farms blew my mind and put me in such a summery good mood, I wanted to share my garlic bounty with my friends. So, I settled on a Garlic Tasting Party with good friends and lots of wine and vodka.
See what i mean?
Now back to the garlic.
The first thing that I did when looking at the garlic, was to put them side by side and compare them. I compared the size of the bulb, the size of the cloves, the paper thinness of the exterior.
Meadowlark's beautiful white bulb of hardneck garlic ( all of these varieties were classified as "hardneck" ). Softneck garlic is the kind of garlic you most often find in a grocery store. The necks are soft and they can be braided easily. The flavor is mild and the cloves tend to be close knit and small in size. Hardnecks are much closer to the wild garlic, and have complex flavors. These are the garlics that experienced farmers prefer. Some aficionados compare them to wines with sublime subtle differences that reflect the regions soil and weather; a garlic terroir, if you will.
Meadowlark's cultiver has been developed for over 20 years and started with some cloves from an Idaho farm that had grown garlic for over 100 years. The Meadowlarks have saved cloves from each harvest and replant this variety each year. The bulb is large and perfectly shaped and certainly produced the largest bulbs on average of the 4 varieties that we chose. The skin was papery and the cloved peeled nicely. Of all of the garlic, this was the most porcelain in color; white and creamy.
The Siberian Garlic has a reputation of living up to its name when it is grown in cold weather. It is a good producer in cold weather, andthis is why Jenny and John picked this variety to test. The bulb itself was smaller in size on average from the other garlic. The skin peeled away nicely, and the cloves were well formed.
This garlic really lives up to its name when it comes to thriving in cold weather. A top-notch producer in cold climates, Siberian deserves consideration from all northern gardeners. The cloves are protected by an attractive light pink skin that becomes even redder when grown in high-iron soils. This clean, medium-to-strong flavored garlic will warm your soul on the coldest winter evening. Best of all, it is purported to have high allicin content, possibly the highest of any garlic. Allicin is the major biological active ingredient of garlic. It supports normal cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system, and enhances circulation. Garlic has long been used as a medicinal plant and this is the main component.
The German White garlic looked to have just 4 cloves in the bulb and were smaller, with lots of long root hair. The Georgian fire garlic was rosy red on the outside, and nice thin papery skin that peeled easily. This too, is a large porcelain garlic that resists most diseases and was developed in the Republic of Georgia.
The Meadowlark garlic was so beautiful and evenly shaped with the cloves resting near the Hardneck stalk of the garlic. yum. Comparing the recently picked garlic bulbs, I would want more of the Meadowlark garlic. It was nicely shaped, large, had a faint sweet and earthy scent. The splotches of red were faint and rosy. The white was porcelain and creamy. I just couldn't wait to roast the garlic and compare the flavors.
I served the garlic with a wonderful baguette from Pleasanton Bakery and I made some carrot top pesto with carrot tops, basil, walnuts, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt. It was heavenly too, and complimented the garlic beautifully.
The cocktails liberated our thinking about describing the flavors of garlic. Sylvia, a poet, helped us along nicely. She's exactly the kind of thinker that you need in these situations. She described the Meadowlark garlic as a "buttery brie" and the Gergian Fire as "horseradish meets salt". The German White was described by someone else as on the sweet side, while the Siberian garlic had a strong aftertaste and a mild zing!
It was all great fun. To talk, make comparisons and describe the nuances of this lovely heady bulb.
We toasted our good fortune for the time that we spend nurturing our friendships with good food and plenty of drinks... Bon Appetit! And thank you Susan, for hosting this bountiful meal.