Monday, September 20, 2010

The Garlic Edition

This weekend I went to the Stratford Garlic Festival. This has become a tradition for me -- as long as I am not working I attend and stuff myself with garlicky samples of all kinds and wander around looking at all the wonderful artisans and food people who are participating. I always end up taking things home - not all garlic - and enjoying the day. I look forward each year to bringing home a saskatoon berry pie; it makes me feel less homesick for Saskatchewan!

This year I tried out some pickled garlic scapes, garlic jelly, garlic peanut brittle, garlic fudge, and had an amazingly good vegetarian samosa as well. Once again, some of my fave vendors were there, including Distinctly Tea, who was featuring his famous Vampire Tea (a blend of garlic flakes, vanilla and either black tea or rooibos. It is surprisingly good.) Also, Nudge Nudge Fudge was there. And now Nudge Nudge Fudge is in my kitchen.... I couldn't resist some of their new flavours made for the Festival! I tried the garlic, of course, but purchased some other new and strange flavours for myself: lavender, chocolate chili, green tea (my fave!), pumpkin, apple cinnamon, and hoppin' jalapeno (and boy is that HOT). It is a laid back and entertaining day, and there is even a kids' tent, if you have kids to entertain -- our library's outreach program, PLOW, was there doing storytime in the morning.

In any case, being as this is Meatless Monday and I'm all about garlic this weekend I thought I'd share a favourite and very garlicky recipe. This recipe is dear to my heart both because it was featured in the Atwater Library Cookbook -- one of those fundraiser type cookbooks put together by the library my husband and I worked in at the time, and designed by my husband on an ancient Mac -- and its source was a local celebrity who was supporting the library. It was also the first meal my then-boyfriend, now husband, made for me on an early date. We've adapted it and don't know where the original cookbook is now, but we call it "Joe Fiorito Sauce" in honour of the person who contributed the original. Hope you will enjoy.

"Joe Fiorito Sauce"

5-6 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes with Italian herbs
Heaping teaspoon Italian Herbs
pinch sugar
Some fresh pasta

Sauté the garlic over medium-low heat in a generous drizzle of olive oil. You want there to be a lot of garlic -- when it starts getting fragrant, not brown, pour in a few tablespoons of tomato juice from the can and let it all sauté together until it becomes a paste of sorts. Don't rush this part, as the saute-ing is what really flavours the garlic. Drain the tomatoes (save the juice for something else) and break up the tomatoes into the pan. Stir it and simmer it all for a bit, then sprinkle in a pinch of sugar -- it takes down the acidity. Add in the Italian spices and stir. Let it simmer over low heat while you make pasta. This is best with some fresh pasta, spaghetti, linguini, or my favourite, tortellini. Also have some baguette to soak up the leftover sauce, you won't want to waste any! This makes 2 servings, as I like to have lots of this sauce on my pasta.


  1. Garlic fudge and peanut brittle? some of those flavor combos just sound too strange for me. I can't imagine eating something made of garlic and chocolate! I grow my own garlic, but have never done anything so fancy with it.

  2. I had no idea Stratford had a garlic festival - the only one I've ever heard of was in California (somewhere in the Bay area).

    Just discovered fresh saskatoon berries this year - oh, the joy - they're like genius blueberries - sweeter and courteous enough to grow at a reasonable height. Will they not grow in Ontario? They seem to thrive in southern AB, where we get frost as early as late August sometimes.

  3. jeane - the weirder the better! At least for taste testing...I only bought regular flavoured jams etc...

    Ruth - Stratford's festival is nowhere near as big or established as Gilroy's but it is still pretty fun ;)

    Saskatoons will grow here - there are a couple of suppliers, but they are not as everpresent as they are at home in Saskatchewan, or Alberta for that matter. And of course, being called 'saskatoons' they do remind me more of Western Canada! I believe at this end of the country they are often called service berries.

  4. Wow, who knew you could make so many things with garlic? Sounds like an intriguing festival, and as an added bonus you should be able to fight off the common cold for quite a while! And vampires I guess...

  5. I'm crazy about Joe Fiorito... I read 'Comfort Me with Apples' once a year (in fact, due to read it soon... it's a Fall thing).

    Always lovely to know there's a whole world of garlic afficionados out there! (What smell??That's 'bouquet', that is!)

  6. I bet the garlic fudge was pretty tasty. When I eat something really garlicky I like to have a cup of chocolate soymilk with it or, barring that, a square of chocolate afterwards. Have not tried the two actually mixed together though.

  7. prairiejournals - yes, I don't think vampires would enjoy the day very much ;)

    carin - isn't he wonderful? He was always a big supporter of the library and very nice, too.

    Stefanie - actually, the garlic-vanilla fudge was great! But anything, even garlic, with chocolate is still my favourite thing :)


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