If I had to pick a handful of foods I could not live without, garlic would definitely be one of them. And it's not because I'm scared of vampires (though watching The Lost Boys when I was a kid did make me wonder about its efficacy). Garlic lends loads of flavor to any savory dish-whether I'm making a panful of sauteed kale or a batch of Caesar salad dressing.
And it seems that I'm protecting my health while I tickle my taste buds: studies show garlic may lower breast, colon, stomach, throat and skin cancer risks. It's heart-healthy, too, as it's been shown to prevent clotting.
The secret to all these health benefits? Sulfides. Those beneficial sulfides aren't released, however, unless the garlic is crushed or chopped and left to sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before eating or cooking. Garlic purchased already chopped offers the same benefits. Whole roasted garlic, while delicious, may not yield such perks.
Garlic is harvested in the fall, so look for it now at your local farmers' market. Here are some garlicky recipes to try. (I can vouch for their tastiness but cannot vouch for their vampire-deterrent factor!)
Garlic Lover's Rub-In this wet rub, we let the aromatic champion take center stage-a sure winner for the garlic lover in all of us. This rub is so versatile, we think it's great with virtually any meat or vegetable. Combine 8 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest in a small bowl. Using your hands, spread the rub evenly onto 1 1/2 pounds (6 servings) of your chosen protein source (meat, poultry, tofu) just before grilling. Makes about 1/4 cup. Per 2 teaspoons: 28 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 2 g mono); 302 mg sodium.
Garlic Creamed Chard-Chard is in season now (it prefers cooler temperatures). Tossed with a garlicky cream sauce, it's the perfect side dish for a grilled steak, roast chicken or anything in between.
Garlic-Roasted Pork-Lean, healthy cuts of meat like pork loin are delicious with the intense garlic rub in this recipe. Leftover slices make a good sandwich.
Lemon-Garlic Marinated Shrimp-Here we marinate precooked shrimp in loads of lemon and garlic for a super quick and easy appetizer.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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