Fourteen-year-old Tom visited Ballantrae Garlic Farm to learn about the seasons of garlic farming. He helped farmer Paula Willinsky lift drying garlic down from the barn rafters. It inspired him to cook with garlic!
Now, Tom is creating his own “house” vinaigrette with garlic for salads, side dishes and marinades. Links to this recipe and other family-friendly fresh food systems are found below. How do you enjoy the true character of garlic? Finding a local garlic source helps. Tom is working with Ballantrae’s heritage garlic. After a smell and taste test, Ballantrae garlic not surprisingly won over bottled garlic!
Tasting and testing your food as you create with it is a time-saver. Tasting allows for corrections in flavour as you go, instead of when it is just too late.
Here Tom demonstrates a fast, safe, chopping technique that is much quicker (with a little experience) than the use of a garlic press for your garlic-infused recipes.
Learning safe chef knife technique that includes safe cutting board practice is a time-saver.
Tom is being supervised and he has a large, sharp chef knife (not a dull one, which can be more dangerous). He has set up a large, sturdy, cutting board, held firmly in place with a wet cloth or grip underneath. See below for links to more safe knife techniques. Tom is first crushing the buds with a technique using the bulk of the knife blade against the bud and the cutting board, which results in later chopping ease. He is guiding the side of the knife safely with the base of his hand. This technique of crushing helped him remove the sticky garlic skins too.
Notice that when he transitions to chopping, he uses his dominant hand to hold the knife handle and he gets his other hand safely out of the way and places it on top of the knife (away from tip) for balance. He slowly, carefully sweeps the sweet, sticking garlic with his fingers from the side of the knife, never touching the sharp edge.
How finely you want your garlic is up to you. Medium-fine is great for most recipes! Tom transitions to full chopping mode here by rocking the blade on the board over the garlic, gently, as there is no need to push down on the knife. Other hand is safely out of the way. Eyes are on the board!
Ignoring the directions in most recipes that call for fine chopping is a time-saver. Don’t waste time chopping perfectly! Chop as large or as fine as you want! Fresh, colourful, delicious foods can be seen and tasted close to their natural form for maximum-all-senses-enjoyment.
Vinaigrette is essentially a mixture of an oil and a sour, with lively seasonings and blending ingredients. Easy! It is fast and fun for adults and kids alike to play with flavours, asserting their food artistry. Tom pre-tasted ingredients he thought he might use in his creation. Today he chose olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon and a bit of Dijon mustard to mix ingredients together, fresh herbs and fresh garlic! He tasted again and he’s happy. Creation done!
Homemade vinaigrette is a quick, bright-tasting, five-minute flavour fix for meals. Make extra and reduce future dinner prep time, as it lasts for weeks in the fridge.
We rubbed fresh garlic buds on our bread for a quick, no-fuss crouton.
Dinner! Stay tuned at treehousekitchen.ca for the future release of our triple-tested, farm vegetable and garlic crème fraîche pie!
You can grow your own garlic easily, in a pot or in soil in your backyard.
You need soil, a standard-sized pot (terra cotta works well) and a garlic bud or two. Farmer Paula Willinksy walks Chef Nancy and Tom through the steps in a voice recording here. “Garlic is a tough plant and it will grow in just about anything and it adapts itself to conditions as it grows,” Paula explained to us. For more visuals of this planting technique, and Paula’s inspiring gardening philosophies see the video of Tom’s visit to Paula’s farm here (with burgers, dips and drizzles recipes).
Here are her planting tips:
Type the word “garlic” into the search bar of any Tree House Kitchen web page to get recipes and tips featuring farm-fresh ingredients or have a look here to download several family friendly recipes for flexible farm/market/backyard ingredient recipe systems. Full meal salad and marinade systems here. Sizzling salsa systems here.