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Ahh, Garlic.

Whew.  Sorry. I promise not to sigh heavily anymore in this post.

The ingredient of the week is garlic.  As seen above.  That’s a lot of garlic to be sure, but my week has a lot of garlic on the menu.   

Why?

Garlic has amazing health benefits!  I bet you weren’t aware that it has been used as treatment for everything from acne to the plague! 

Full of phytochemicals and nutrients, garlic is an antioxidant packed wonder drug.  It has natural antibiotic properties which can help fight off or prevent infections.  (One of the suspected reasons chicken soup is good for sick people.) 

According to Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch, garlic detoxifies the body, enhances immune function, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, lowers blood lipid levels, helps stabilize blood sugar and is effective in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, cancer, circulatory problems, colds and flu, digestive problems, heart disorders, insomnia, liver disease, sinusitis, ulcers, and yeast infections.  WOW! 

*Please note that garlic is a natural blood thinner as well, and should not be taken medicinally by people who also take anticoagulants. *

Yes, you can take it in a pill form, but as I have previously written, everything’s better with a little garlic.

Pungent, spicy, mellow, herb-y. . .garlic can have so many different tastes.  I think it’s as useful and multi-purpose as salt and pepper.

The week-of-garlic idea has been coming to me for some time.  I knew I had to take it on when, as I was cooking pancakes the other day, I laid one down on my cutting board by mistake and when I bit into it, it had picked up the garlic flavor from the board. 

At first I was turned off, but then, hey, that actually works. 

Don’t worry, garlic pancakes are not on the menu this week.  But if I were an Iron Chef. . .

If you plan to undertake this adventure with me, there are a few things you should know.

Garlic stinks.

Yes, friends, halitosis is not one of the conditions garlic can help.  But there are some things you can do to prevent bad breath.  First, make sure everyone else you’ll see for the rest of the day eats it too.  It can’t hurt.

Chewing on parsley–I prefer flat-leaf–can cleanse the mouth after a meal.  You can also add parsley to the dish, but it must be fresh parsley and added at the end so as not to cook it.

Some say chewing cardamom seeds also works, but I have never tried this.

I can’t say where I first heard it, but in my experience, a little chocolate after the meal works too.  That’s why certain Italian restaurants give you chocolate and mint together.  They don’t want you to go away saying, “I ate at Ahhhhhh-live Gahhhhhr-den.”  Oh, oops sorry, I promised not to breathe on you; didn’t I?

If you consume a lot of garlic on a regular basis, the smell will seep from your pores.  Your best bet there is perfume or body lotion, I guess. 

Also, if you get garlic (or onion) on your hands, rubbing a little lemon juice on them will remove the smell.

And lastly, your cutting board.  So you don’t end up with garlic pancakes, clean your cutting board by spreading it with a good dose of salt and rubbing it with a wet dishcloth or wet hands.  Then wipe the salt away and most flavors will have left your board.

Here’s a sneak peek at this weeks menu:

Garlic-Dill French Fries

Lemony Shrimp Scampi and linguine

Baked Garlic Spread for Bread

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

40 Clove Garlic Chicken (for CrockPots)

And I’ll probably come up with a few more.  There’s a lot of garlic I have to work with up there. 

I hope you enjoy our flavorful ride through all that garlic has to offer and find it useful in combating your colds this winter.

At least we won’t have to worry about vampires!

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