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Garlic – full of flavour and healthy too

By SEETA PERSAD Wednesday, April 24 2013

My friend Areefa Khan brought some garlic bread and tomato salad for me as a healthy alternative to roti and tomato choker. Being women over fifty, we keep looking for healthy foods to keep the fat intake lower or at bay.

The garlic bread was delicious and it digested easily, and I felt as if I had eaten a lot of food so I did not have cravings after.

I have know the taste and scent of garlic for as long as I could remember as this was a “must” in my mother’s kitchen. While garlic really helps to bring out the flavour in many dishes, there are recipes that make this bulb the main ingredient.

Indeed, garlic is one of the most valuable and versatile foods and is known as one of the oldest medicinal plants. It is a widely recognised health enhancing supplement. Garlic is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking because of its aroma and the enticing flavour it adds to food, but it has some impressive health benefits too.

Garlic promotes the overall well-being of the heart and immune systems and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound called allicin. Allicin is powerful as an antibiotic and an effective agent that helps the body to inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce.

The presence of allyl sulfur found in garlic can slow down the progress of cancerous cell growth. Garlic supplements are said to lower the blood cholesterol levels and prevent the formation of blood clots in the body. It protects the blood vessels and heart from the harmful effects of free oxygen radicals. Garlic increases the overall antioxidant levels of the body. It decrease serum glucose and blood pressure while increasing antioxidants. Garlic has been used effectively against a whole host of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It detoxifies and cleanses the body effectively. Studies have shown that garlic can also reduce the incidence of flu. Because of its antiseptic, anti-fungal and nutritive properties, garlic boosts the immune system. It is a natural antioxidant protecting against bacterial and viral infections.

Here are easy garlic recipes with simple ingredients.



Roasted Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

3 bulbs garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 loaf bread, Italian is better

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)



Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice the tops off of the garlic bulbs so that the tip of each clove is exposed. Place the bulbs on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until garlic is soft. Set the oven to broil. Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally, and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Squeeze the cloves of garlic from their skins into a medium bowl. Stir in the butter, parsley, and Parmesan cheese until well blended. Spread onto the cut sides of the bread. Broil for about 5 minutes, until toasted.

(allrecipes.com)



Creamy Garlic Pasta

Ingredients:

1 (1 lb) box penne or penne rigate, cooked as directed, drained and kept hot

2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup vegetable, chicken or beef broth

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese



Method

Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium for 1 minute. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens. Add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

(www.food.com)

Garlic Tea

Ingredients

3 cups water

3 garlic cloves, cut in half

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice



Method

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and the 3 cloves of garlic to a boil.

Turn off the heat when the water boils, and add 1/2 cup of the honey and 1/2 cup of the fresh lemon juice. Strain.

Sip 1/2 cup, warm, three times a day. Refrigerate extra to use the next day.



Oven Roasted Garlic Potatoes

Ingredients

3/4 lb red potatoes

6 garlic cloves (unpeeled), flattened

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut potatoes into 1 1/4 inch wide wedges. Combine potatoes, garlic, oil and rosemary in 8 inch square baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until potatoes are tender and crusty, stirring occasionally. Bake 45 minutes. Discard garlic, serve potatoes hot.



Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

1 head of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

2 pounds potatoes

Salt to taste

1/3 cup cream

3 Tbsp butter



Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the outer layer of papery skin of the whole garlic head, leaving the head itself intact. Using a paring knife, slice off the tops (1/4-inch to 1/2-inch) of the garlic cloves so they are all exposed. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic heads, salt lightly, and wrap lightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft to the touch and are beginning to brown. While the garlic is roasting, peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer your potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.

Warm the cream and melt the butter together, either in a small pan on the stove top or in a bowl in the microwave. Drain the pot with the potatoes and put it back on the stove top over low heat. Put the drained potatoes back in the pot. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the potatoes and begin mashing with a potato masher or a large fork. Add the cream and butter and mash until the potatoes are the consistency you want. Do not over-beat them, or they potatoes will become gummy. Taste for salt and add some if needed.

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