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Friday, May 24, 2013

Nuking Garlic, and Drowning Poppies

We wait each spring for the first
brilliant red poppies to pop into bloom
in front of the stone wall behind That Old House.

I got quite damp taking these pictures, and had to keep my camera facing down so as not to get the lens wet!

 The first few bloomed on Thursday morning.  And got rained on.
Lots.  Lots of rain on fragile poppies is not A Good Thing.
This morning: more poppies.
More rain.  More wind.
Watching them getting drenched and buffeted made me think
of my favorite scene in Mel Brooks' brilliant 1968 movie, The Producers.  

Yes, my poppies are wet; they're wet and they're hysterical.
Poppies have a short bloom life; these may only last a day or two with this weather.

Every blooming thing is lagging behind schedule this season.
I guess we really did have a long cold winter.

Finally, one iris is in bloom.  It, too, is wet and hysterical.
One of its petals is all shriveled and weird.  Icky.

There are dozens more iris blossoms still in bud.  Hiding.
They may be 3 weeks late, but they will bloom.

Do you hear that, Crown Imperial, who did not bother
to do more than make a token show of ugly leaves this year?

The clump of chives is in bloom.  I know; it's best to pinch
out the flowers, but I do love the look of them.  Even wet.

Maybe we'll use chives in eggs this weekend.

Which brings me to the garlic
mentioned in the post title.
Because chives and garlic go to the same family reunions, as they are kissin' cousins,
but no one wants to sit next to them.  You know . . . the smell.

Anyway.  Garlic.
The older I get, the lazier more efficient a cook I become.
After thwacking countless heads (bulbs?) of papery garlic
over the decades, I have discovered the joys of pre-peeled raw garlic cloves.

Ain't they darlin'?

They are available (and usually overpriced) at supermarkets, but warehouse stores
are a better buy -- although the bags are ginormous and you better love garlic.
We usually get ours at a local Korean greengrocer.  

While the pre-peeled cloves are undoubtedly real, normal,
true-blue American garlic, they don't cook up in exactly
the same way as garlic fresh from its papery shrouds.

Look Ma!  I have a tiny potato for a hat!

Sometimes, they stay hard.  As in, almost-raw-hard.
Even after getting all sizzling hot and bothered in a saute pan
with their BFFs from the Onion Family.

Anne, who does a lot of the cooking at That Old House,
and I decided to find a quick and easy way
of getting this garlic to cooperate in a saute pan.  

We found it.
You put the cloves in a micro-safe bowl and massage them
with a tiny bit of olive oil, or other oil if you must.
I used less than 1/2 teaspoon for this batch.

Into the microwave, covered or not, and set it on HIGH for a minute.
Open ... watch out for all the steam! ... jiggle the bits around again,
go for another minute.  And you are done.

Your garlic will be soft and squooshable, quite like roasted garlic.
And mellow, too.  Ditto.
I do this when there's no time to oven-roast garlic; it's a great alternative.

Okay, that's it for Garlic 101.
Did you notice that wee tiny potato in the garlic picture?
Anne roasted them last night to serve with
marinated pork tenderloin and sauteed zucchini.
These little spuds are the cutest things.

I almost feel as if we've robbed the cradle using such teeny taters.
But, oh my . . . they are so good.  Those 3 in that picture?
Yeah.  They've already given their all for my lunch.

This is getting to be a long and goofy post.

But before we say our Goodbyes, Dylan and Gilda would like to point out
that the post title could be read as ". . . and Drowning Puppies" with a quick glance.

"Yes, I know there is a Dylan behind me, waiting to pounce!"

My dogs are such nags.

I hope your Memorial Day plans come off swimmingly.
That is not a rain joke.  -- Cass

Join all sorts of other Food Fans at the Foodie Friday blog party
at Rattlebridge Farm blog, hosted by Michael Lee West.


  1. Oh gosh... that poor poor iris. How sad it looks....

  2. The iris does look sad. I think we have fared a bit better than you. At least according to my latest post!
    But yes, almost 80 degrees yesterday, and right now....53 degrees! Sheesh.

  3. Cass, Disregard LOLOL. Somehow I was magically logged in as someone else and didn't figure it out til I finished commenting on quite a few blogs! Duh.

  4. It rained this morning, and it's been blowing a terrible gale all day. The roses are being tossed this way and that ... and I felt like something from Wizard of Oz when I went out earlier.

    I am SO going to be nuking my garlic! What a great idea.

    Have a great holiday weekend.

  5. Interesting! however I do love the smell of garlic roasting! def will try when time is short, love that you devised a short cut!

  6. I've never seen garlic offered that way in our stores - what a great idea.
    Our poppies are still tightly inside their buds - safe from the rain we seem to have every day.

  7. Cass...we've had a lot of rain here in Chicago, too, I haven't planted pots yet and that's a shame, unlike your poppies and irises, they would have loved the rain.

    Great idea with the garlic. I can't keep track of the countless times I've grabbed the dreaded powdered stuff because I'm lazy. Every once once in awhile I go to town on a couple of heads and store them in a little olive oil in the fridge. Big time saver.

    Have a dry, happy holiday!


  8. Hope the rain stops soon.

    Great garlic idea.

    M :)

  9. Cass, I have officially and forevermore given up poppies. Every. Single. Year. I would wait for them to bloom only to be disappointed by them lasting only a day or two at the most. I just finally had to give up and move onto to peonies. I'll have to enjoy the poppies on your blog instead.


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