Monday, November 9, 2009

Curing a Cold and Other Winter Beasties - Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic Cream

It's cold and flu season again in the northern states. Ah heck, I guess with H1N1 on the loose, it's really cold and/or flu season everywhere in the U.S. In response to these little invasive beasties, it's time to boost your immune system. One of the best ways I know of to boost the immune response is to consume massive quantities of that vegetable of all vegetables... Garlic.

(Please ignore the shallot)

Now I realize that most people don't really view garlic as a veggie, but lemme tell ya somethin' 'bout dat. I am a sufferer of strep throat. When I catch it, knock on wood, The infection moves into my jaw muscles and they lock almost completely shut. (Makes it kind of hard to talk and to eat, but it IS an effective weight loss regime) ;) What did the doctor give me? Augmenten. Which is a horse pill, literally, that is SO stinkin' large I couldn't even get it between my teeth, let alone swallow it.

I battled Strep Throat every 2-3 months over and over and over, did I mention over? for about 5 years straight while trying to swallow horse pills that worked for the current infection but didn't seem to kill it off completely, and it would come back again and again and again... (I think they were creating a super strain, but that is just me) Be that as it may, I have not had a soirée with Streptococcal Pharyngitis since November of 2002 when my temperature hit 105.7 and a friend had to drive me to the emergency room. (knock on wood again)

Funny, this is about the time I branched out of baking and started cooking on a more serious level. As a result, I started buying more of the basic staples such as Carrots, Celery, Onions and of course, Garlic... Lots and lots of garlic as a matter of fact. What's the significance of all this fresh garlic... Well, garlic contains 2 main components that I contribute to my lack of Strep. Diallyl Sulphides and Allicin.

Diallyl Sulphides or simply 'sulfides' (not to be confused with sulfites) in general have a tendency to boost the immune system and strengthen the blood while improving circulation. Some studies have even shown that they may even lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Pretty awesome, but it doesn't stop there. Allicin, though volatile, is an antibacterial/antifungal agent. Now granted it is a broad spectrum antibiotic, but every little bit helps, right? The best part is that your body does not build up a tolerance to it like synthetic man-made antibiotics. Mother nature at it's best.

Now I have to admit that while the Diallyl Sulphide is stable during cooking, Allicin is not and degrades quickly with both with heat and time. Raw garlic should be consumed to get a decent dosage of Allicin. So the following recipe is not really a wonder cure for the common cold, Swine Flu or Athlete's foot. But, I have noticed that since my garlic consumption increased, I haven't contracted Strep Throat, or anything else for that matter. OK, aside from the "Sinus infection from Hell", but that is another post that has nothing to do with cooking.

Whether or not the Garlic truly is responsible, I always say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", so I continue noshing on garlic bulbs as I would any other vegetable, just in case. Raw, sautéed or roasted, it's all kinds of good. I mean, you never know when a hungry vampire might be lurking in the shadows... LOL

Gnocchi in Roasted Garlic Cream

1 batch of Potato Gnocchi
2 heads of Roasted Garlic
3 TB Butter
1 Shallot, minced
Zest of 1 Lemon or 1/4 tsp Lemon oil (not extract)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Vegetable Stock
Pinch of Kosher salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp freshly ground green peppercorns
1 oz Grated Pecorino Romano

While you are baking the potatoes for the gnocchi, cut the top off of the garlic head.
Drizzle them with olive oil and wrap in Aluminum foil (Garlic Roaster, Schmarlic Roaster) ;)

Place in the oven next to the potatoes and roast for about 30 minutes.

Let the bulbs cool while you are making the gnocchi, then squeeze out all the roasted goodness for the sauce.

In a small saucepan melt butter over low flame.

Once foam subsides, add shallots with a pinch of salt and a little green pepper stirring until shallots soften.

Add roasted Garlic, Lemon Zest (or oil), Heavy Cream, and Vegetable Stock.

Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
Add the Pecorino Romano and stir until smooth.

During all of this bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the gnocchi.
Once they begin to float, remove them to a bowl with a skimmer.
Pour Roasted Garlic Cream over the gnocchi and toss.

Serve with more grated Pecorino Romano.



Joanna said...

That looks amazing, Shane; I love roasted garlic! And I hear ya on the strep front. I had it two or three times a year for four years, when my doctor told me if I got it again, he'd take my tonsils. I haven't had strep since. I think I like my tonsils where there are, thank you very much!

Danielle said...

great information!!! sooo, how much of this needs to be consumed on a daily basis? I mean I rarely cook without garlic. but is it enough I wonder.

And..where the heck have you been? you need to pop into BS and gives us all an update on things. We miss you :)

ranchmama said...

Shane - How great is your blog! I am completely entranced and laughed more than once. So happy I found you and your food. Love the Picasa link and format in general. You inspire me to get back to writing my blog. Since I can't have cows milk will fool with this recipe (which is great) and see what I can come up with.

Culinary Alchemist said...

Joanna - Thank you. Yeah, I got the same speech... And I agree, I like my tonsils right where they are... LOL

Danielle - I believe you need to eat about 2 cloves a day. They have pills, but they don't contain the sulphides (that's where the 'garlic smell' comes from) I posted on BakeSpace... It's just been a little crazy here... LOL

RanchMama - Welcome, I am glad you found me.. :) I have the same issues with milk, though I can drink goat milk but most cow products bother me. Although I can usually sneak in the Heavy cream, half and half can be a little dicey. If your not allergic to nuts, this would be really good with Hazelnut or Almond milk instead... You may have to simmer it 5 minutes longer though.

Patti T. said...

If you only knew how badly I want to reach through this screen and grab onto that bowl!!! I love gnocchi and I love garlic cream, together, perfection I tell you.

Katy ~ said...

This looks insanely good!

I am really enjoying your blog. Well done!