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Embrace the Breath

Fresh garlic in a bouquet

Fresh garlic is big on the NS farmer’s market scene right now.

I bought some last week and popped it into my basket. I already had a head or two of dried garlic at home, but wanted the fresh stuff, mainly for their stalks. I pictured them in a bouquet, along with some twisty garlic scapes and whatever other flowers I could find. It would be a little Transylvania-esque, but why not?

As I paid, the farmer added some wise words:

“Store fresh garlic in the fridge,” she said. “Unless you want to dry it, which would require a dehumidifier, or you could dry it in a dark, dry place for a week. The fresh stuff will grow mouldy on the counter.”

Once dried, those papery skins will protect the bulb as it sits in a bowl at room temperature. I try to store it in a wicker basket, so a little air can circulate.

If your garlic is fresh, we now know to keep it chilled to maintain ‘freshness’. Or, pop it into a vase filled with flowers and water. That’ll keep it fresh and happy.

But my arrangement didn’t last long. I had some dips, sauces and salad dressings to make. Lately I’ve been trying to fill my plate with 80% vegetables. Dips, sauces and salad dressings, needless to say, are essential.

Fresh garlic bulbs have the texture of a water chestnut. Skin wraps around the bulb, but it’s thick, like an onion layer. The flavour of the bulb is milder, almost like a green onion.

It’s a delicious ingredient in my friend Dave’s caesar salad dressing. You still get that garlicky tang, but fresh garlic is slightly kinder on the breath. Slightly.

The recipe is egg and parmesan-free, perfect for special diets, or when the fridge is bare.

That said, let’s call it:

Dave ‘saves the day’ Caesar Dressing

Makes 1 Cup

2/3 cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon fish sauce

2 medium garlic cloves – fresh or not, peeled

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 coarse black pepper

Place everything in a blender and blend until whipped and creamy. Store refrigerated in a jar, and shake it to combine before serving.

PS I’m working on episode 20 of The Food Podcast featuring Julia Turshen. We spoke in late spring, and I have to say, it’s been a joy transcribing the interview, reliving the conversation and thinking about how it’s all going to weave together in the episode. We talked about her latest book, Small Victories, and let me tell you, it felt like a Huge Victory having the opportunity to chat with her. To be continued!

PSS My mother-in-law made this bouquet. I added the garlicky bits. She hasn’t said anything yet…