About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Green Quinoa Pilaf

This recipe is inspired by a dish that I used to make years ago. It's based on a rice dish that is somewhat like risotto which I converted to a baked rice recipe. I'm not eating much rice anymore, especially the white rice that this recipe calls for. But Dave has fondly recalled Green Rice many times and fairly recently, so when I had the convergence of a big bag of quinoa, yet another harvest of spinach, loads of spring onions that needed to be thinned out of the onion patch, and a big bunch of bolting cilantro this dish popped into my head.  I weighed the greens as I went and rounded to the closest whole amount for the recipe, the volume measurement is what the recipe called for but I just eyeballed it. Really, the precise amount is not important, use more or less depending on what you have or what you like.

Quinoa is one of the few vegetable sources of complete protein, it has all nine essential amino acids. It's a pseudograin, meaning it's a seed that is used like a grain but technically true grains come from grasses (monocots) and quinoa comes from a broadleaf plant (dicot). But healthy eating aside, quinoa is delicious and I think it outdoes its refined polished cousin rice in this dish.

To convert it to a rice dish just substitute a like amount of white rice but increase the baking time, it may take about 45 minutes. The original recipe called for parsley instead of cilantro, substitute a like amount of parsley for the cilantro.

2 tablespoons olive oil  (about 30 ml.)
4 tablespoons butter  (about 55 g.)
4 oz./115 g. minced scallions (about 1 cup)
2 oz./55g. minced cilantro  (about 1 cup)
8 oz./225 g. finely chopped spinach  (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 ½ cups quinoa  (9 oz./255 g.)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ cups hot chicken stock  (.35 liter)
Crescenza cheese (aka Stracchino), or Parmigiano

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 1 ½ to 2 quart size casserole. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside. Heat the olive oil and the other 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Saute the scallions until they soften, stir in the cilantro and then the spinach, stir until the spinach wilts. Add the quinoa, salt, and black pepper to taste, stir to incorporate into the greens. Turn the quinoa and greens mixture into the casserole, add the hot stock, drizzle with the melted butter. Cover the casserole and place it in the hot oven. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed the stock and is tender.

Serve hot with thin slices of the cheese placed on top, it should get melty from the heat of the hot pilaf, if not, run it under the broiler briefly. Serve immediately.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Note: Crescenza is an oozy soft ripened cow's milk cheese that doesn’t have a rind. A generous dusting of Parmigiano would be good instead, that's what is called for in the rice version.

Spiced Parsnip Soup

I wanted something like a curry powder for the seasoning for the soup but didn't want a lot of turmeric and didn't want it to be hot so I made up this spice blend. Just use a tablespoon of curry powder if you prefer.

For the spice mixture:
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon dried green coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 black cardamom pod
1/2 stick (about 1 1/2 inches) canela cinnamon (Mexican cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

For the soup:
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
Rice bran oil
1 large white onion, diced
Salt to taste
30 oz. parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
about 1/2 cup, more or less, water

Grind the whole spices in a spice mill to a fine powder. Add the ground ginger and turmeric and mix well. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mixture for the soup.

Pour the oil into a small saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat the oil to about 350ºF. Fry the shallots until dark brown and crisp. Carefully pour the shallots and oil through a heat proof sieve, reserving the oil. Spread the shallots out on paper toweling to cool.

Heat a few tablespoons of the reserved shallot oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and allow it to sizzle for a minute or so until it is fragrant - don't let it burn. Add the diced onion and a large pinch of salt to the pan, stir, cover the pot and turn the heat down. Allow the onions to sweat, stirring a few times, until they are translucent. Add the parsnips and stock to the pot, cover and cook gently until the parsnips are tender. Use a wand blender to puree the soup or transfer it in batches to a blender and blend until smooth. Blend in the creme fraiche and add water if the soup seems to thick. Taste for salt.

Serve, garnished with some of the fried shallots.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Parsnip & Mushroom Flans

I've adapted this recipe from Georgeanne Brennan's in her book The Vegetarian Table: France. I baked the flan in individual dishes rather than one large one and added cheese and changed the ratio of milk and cream, and changed the oven temperature and baking time. That's enough changes that I can call this recipe my own, but thanks Georgeanne for the inspiration.

4 tablespoons butter, plus additional for buttering the dishes
½ cup minced yellow onion
½ cup minced fresh mushrooms
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1½ cups peeled and grated parsnips
4 ounces grated truffle Gouda or other cheese

Option 1: substitute ham for the mushrooms

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Thoroughly grease 4 individual souffle dishes with butter, my dishes have interior dimensions of about 4 inches by 1.25 inches. In a small skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the onion and mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, creme fraiche, and salt until well blended. In another bowl, mix together the onion-mushroom mixture, the parsley, and the grated parsnips. Portion the parsnip mixture into the prepared souffle dishes and top each one with 1 ounce of cheese. Divide the custard mixture amongst the dishes. Place the filled dishes on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until the tops are puffed and golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately or let cool slightly. They can be kept in the refrigerator in the dishes and reheated in the oven or microwave.

Green Chile Pudding Soufflés

I used a recipe for sweet corn pudding soufflés as a template for this preparation. This was a great way to use up a package of the frozen roasted Sonora Anaheim chile peppers from my garden. One thing that is really convenient about pudding souffles as opposed to regular poofy souffles is that most of the preparation can be done in advance. The pudding soufflés are baked twice, the first baking can be done hours in advance of serving them. For the final bake the puddings are removed from the ramekins that they were baked in, placed on a baking sheet or oven proof serving dish, then baked with some cream until they are warm and puffy. These make a great first course or a vegetarian main dish. We enjoyed them as a main dish accompanied by a green salad.

About 14 oz. roasted peeled seeded green Anaheim peppers, chopped
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons Oaxacan Green cornmeal, or use 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Oregano Indio, or dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
2 1/2 ounces Mount Toro Tomme, finely grated, an aged dry Jack would be a good substitute
1/2 cup heavy cream or Crème fraiche
Smoked paprika

Blend half of the peppers with half of the milk in a blender or with a wand blender to make a smooth puree. Blend in the rest of the milk.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan, add the cornmeal and stir to mix, Allow to cook gently for a few minutes until the cornmeal becomes fragrant. Whisk in the pepper mixture until blended and smooth. Bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to cook gently, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes, until thickened. Season with the oregano, cumin, and salt.

Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Stir in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Stir in the remaining chopped peppers. Transfer to a large bowl and allow the soufflé base to cool a bit.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter 7 or 8 ramekins, be sure to get the rims, and place them in a baking dish.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently fold them into the soufflé base. Ladle the mixture into the ramekins, filling them to the rims. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the dish with the ramekins in the oven. The little soufflés should take about 30 minutes to cook, but check after 20 minutes in case there are hotspots in your oven. When done, the soufflés should be puffed up and brown on top. Immediately remove them from the oven, take them out of the water bath, and allow them to cool. The soufflés will fall. They can be made up to this point several hours in advance of serving.

Ten minutes before the soufflés are to be served, turn them out of the ramekins and place them, right side up, in individual gratin dishes that have been smeared with a spoonful of crème fraiche or use one large baking dish. Top each soufflé with another spoonful of crème fraiche. Put the baking dishes in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling slightly and the soufflés have swelled up. Remove the soufflés from the oven. If they've been baked on one large dish place each one on a warm serving plate and pour the cream from the baking dish over the soufflés. Shake some smoked paprika over all and serve immediately. 

Note: The soufflés were looking close to finished at 20 minutes but were still quite jiggly. They continued to puff up over the next 10 minutes. At 30 minutes they were still somewhat jiggly but quite brown on top. Perhaps I'll cover them with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes the next time I try the recipe, either that or reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF. They seemed to be baked enough though and once cooled they came out of the ramekins fairly easily, I scooped out the little bit of souffle that stuck to the bottom and placed in the gratin dish and plopped the souffle on top.  It came out great.

20 minutes
25 minutes
30 minutes

The corn soufflé recipe called for 6 ramekins of an unspecified size. I guess my ramekins were too small, I had to enlist a 7th one of a different shape and still had a spoonful of mixture left. My ramekins hold 7 ounces when filled to the rim, that other one holds a bit more and it has a rim with an outward curving lip which made for a different shaped top. I like the effect with the straight rim. Next time I'll probably make eight slightly smaller souffles with the straight sided ramekins.

Faux Merkén

Dave and I were in Chile earlier this year hiking in Torres del Paine National Park. Every evening, whether we were dining in the dining room at the EcoCamp or dining in one of the refugios along The Circuit, there was a bowl of Merkén (or Merquén) to be found on the table. Merkén is a chile pepper blend made by the indigenous Maupche tribe for ages but which has recently become a popular seasoning enjoyed throughout Chile. I found myself requesting it every morning to spice up the bland scrambled eggs that we were served to fuel us for the day's hike. Scrambled eggs are not one of my favorite things, but with a dash of Merkén and a slice of cheese on top of the usually blah toast, breakfast became something more than just fuel for the trail.

Unfortunately we spent all of our time in Chile in the park so there wasn't an opportunity to shop and stock up on a stash of Merkén to take home. When I got home I did a bit of research, which started with trying to figure out what the name of the spice blend is. That took a bit of rooting around on the web but I finally found what I was looking for. Merkén is made in two basic formulations, natural - which is just ground chiles and salt, or especial - which is ground chiles with salt and coriander seeds and sometimes cumin and oregano, and sometimes other ingredients like bay and garlic.

What really makes Merkén unique is the chile peppers and how they are prepared. Aji Cacho de Cabra (Goat Horn Peppers) are the peppers grown by the Mapuche. The peppers are harvested green, allowed to ripen, then sundried, and then finally smoked over a wood fire. I wanted to make my own version of Merkén, it would certainly not be authentic, but I craved that same lovely flavor of sweet spicy salty peppers and sweet and earthy spices. The Wikipedia article on Merkén says that the typical ratios for the especial mix are 70% peppers, 20% salt, and 10% coriander seed. And then I recently found a couple of Merkén recipes in Maricel Presilla's book Gran Cocina Latina, where she recommends using dried New Mexico chiles. I have loads of dried New Mexico chiles that I dried from my grand chile growing experiment last year. Maricel recommends using hot Spanish pimentón to lend spice and smoke to the blend, but I decided to us smoked sea salt instead. And to get the spice into the mix I used a mix of dried mild New Mexico chiles and dried Aleppo peppers (also from my garden). The result is fabulous.

I used very small quantities for my experimental batch, but I'm actually thinking that small is the way to go because the mix will lose it aroma quite quickly if it sits around - fresh is best. I also used my digitial scale which allows metric measurements, grams are so much more precise when working with small quantities.

Faux Merkén

17 g. dried seeded Zia Pueblo peppers (or any mild New Mexico type pepper)
4 g. dried seedless Aleppo peppers (or dried cayenne peppers)
6 g. smoked sea salt (Salish is good)
3 g. dried green coriander seeds

If the peppers are leathery they need to be crisped to grind properly, I placed mine on a baking sheet and put them in a 350º degree oven and then turned the heat off and let the peppers sit in the oven a few minutes, then removed them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet. They can also be toasted in a skillet or on a flat griddle, press the peppers onto the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are dry and slightly charred. I find it easy to burn the peppers with the griddle method so I dry mine in the oven.

Grind the salt and coriander seed together in a spice mill (coffee grinder) until fairly finely textured. Crumble the peppers into the mill and grind the mixture to whatever consistency you desire. I like it to be between fine and coarse, with pepper flakes and pieces of coriander still visible.

The mix is great on eggs, or used as a spice rub, sprinkled on vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, tossed with roasted nuts, or sprinkled on cheese. Hmm, it might even be good on a nice cold slice of melon. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and Merkén. A dash of Merkén on hummus. Merkén and chocolate? What might it not be good on?

Tomatoes Preserved in Olive Oil

Inspired by a recipe in La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy.

Preserved Jaune Flamme Tomatoes
Start with small fresh tomatoes, Jaune Flamme produces tomatoes that are generally 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Slice them in half and dry them in a dehydrator until dry and soft, they should be more moist than they would be for keeping as dried tomatoes.

For about 3 1/2 to 4 ounces tomatoes dried as described above:

1 cup good red wine vinegar, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Chopped fresh mint or dried oregano to taste
Olive oil as needed

Soak the tomatoes in the warm vinegar for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and toss with the salt, garlic, and olive oil as needed to dress them generously. Pack them in a clean jar and add olive oil to cover. These keep well at room temperature.

Serve these with a dollop of fresh goat or sheep milk cheese as an appetizer. They're tasty added to sandwiches or eaten straight from the jar.

Crema di Green Garlic

When my garden gave me a bounty of green garlic instead of mature garlic I needed to find a way to preserve some of it and this is the result. It's a variation on my preparation of Garlic Confit. I had intended to try a Green Garlic Confit but found that green garlic doesn't soften sufficiently. So I pureed the garlic with the oil and butter that it had cooked in and ended up with an utterly delicious creamy spread.

Crema di Green Garlic

8 oz. green garlic, including the tender parts of the stalks
4 oz. dry white wine or prosecco
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 oz. (4 tbsp.) butter
4 oz. rice bran oil (I like Tophé brand) or olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and additional salt to taste

Slice the garlic into thin crosswise rings. Place in a small deep saucepan and add the wine, salt, butter, and oil. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, use a flame tamer if necessary. Simmer uncovered very slowly for about 1 1/2 hours. Most of the wine should simmer away, don't allow the garlic to fry in the oil, add more wine or water if necessary. Allow the mixture to cool a bit. Puree the contents of the saucepan until smooth. Taste for seasonings.

This made more than 1 1/2 cups of puree. I filled three 1/2-cup jars with the puree and first refrigerated and then froze them.

What to do with it? The first thing I tried (other than just eating it with a spoon) was spreading it on grilled bread and then adding various toppings such as ricotta and preserved sweet peppers, or ricotta and chopped sauteed broccoli. I also slathered it on asparagus and then roasted the asparagus. It was tasty dolloped on top of some pan roasted wild salmon. I'm sure it would be great tossed with grilled or steamed vegetables. And I don't see why it can't substitute for fresh garlic in my favorite Caesar salad dressing. It's probably good for just about any use that fresh garlic would be good for.

Garlic Cream Marinade
The garlic cream was good as the base of a marinade for some lamb loin chops. I mixed a dollop of the cream with some minced fresh rosemary, white wine, and a splash of fish sauce (soy sauce would probably be a good substitute), tossed the chops in the mixture and let them marinate for about an hour at room temperature before cooking them on the grill.

Onion Variation:

Use the same proportions and method to slow cook the stems of young onions. I used the tender portions of the stalks from the onions shown above. None of the green leaves were used, but some of the inner parts of the stalks were green which was ok. Here's the proportions that I used

22 oz. sliced onion stalks
11 oz. white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 oz. butter
11 oz. rice bran oil

Follow the method for the garlic cream.

Stuffed Tronchuda Beira Cabbage

Tronchuda Beira cabbage

The big harvest of Tronchuda Beira leaves that I gleaned from the bolting plants last week has prompted me to explore the possibilites of using this cabbage. My favorite way to use it is in soup, as in the traditional Portuguese Caldo Verde, or perhaps with beans and sausage or in Georgeann Brennan's Mountain Cabbage Soup. But there's just so much soup that you can eat in a week or 10 days. Some of the leaves that I harvested were quite big so I thought they might be good for stuffing and indeed they are. The thick stems of Tronchuda Beira are usually tender, but before using them you should slice off a piece and taste it to make sure that it hasn't become fibrous.

This preparation was based on what I had on hand, so the meat is a mild Italian sausage and I used some Halloumi cheese. I think that any mild fresh sausage would be good or any mild cheese that melts well. Notice that I didn't add any salt to this preparation, the sausage is already seasoned and Halloumi is a salty cheese, and the tomato sauce is already seasoned. Lacking sausage I would use plain ground meat, probably pork but turkey or lamb would also be to my taste. In that case I would use more seasonings - salt and pepper and perhaps more herbs or some spices, perhaps some smoked paprika.

3 very large Tronchuda Beira leaves, about 14 inches wide, stems and thick central mid ribs removed and reserved, you should have 6 large half leaves
1/4 cup rice (arborio)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 large onion, diced
olive oil
fennel seeds, about a teaspoon
dried oregano, about a teaspoon
1 pound mild Italian sausage
fresh parsley (next time!)
6 slices cheese (Halloumi this time, any melting cheese should work)
2 cups tomato sauce (Marcella Hazan's with onion and butter, there's always some in my freezer)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage leaves for 1 minute and refresh in cold water. Drain and pat dry.

In the meantime, pour the boiling water over the rice and set it aside to soak.

Dice the cabbage stems and mid ribs. Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, sizzle the fennel seeds a few seconds, add the diced onion and cabbage stems and the dried oregano, saute until tender and starting to turn translucent. Set aside to cool.

Mix the cooled vegetables, Italian sausage, and drained rice together with your hands to fully incorporate but don't overmix. Divide into 6 equal portions and loosely form each portion into a small loaf. (Note, I was going to add fresh chopped parsley at this point but forgot).

Lay the cabbage leaf halves out lengthwise and place one slice of cheese in the center of each leaf, place a loaf of the sausage mixture on top of the cheese, fold the bottom portion of the cabbage leaf over the sausage mixture and roll over once, fold the short edges in and roll over again to form a package. Don't worry about making it too neat, just tuck any stray edges in under the package. Stuff the rest of the leaf halves and then place them in a baking dish that holds them comfortably without crowding, you want some space between each roll. Pour the tomato sauce over and around the rolls. Bake for about an hour. Serve hot with some of the tomato sauce spooned over the rolls.

Makes 6 small portions or 3 generous ones. (Dave had two portions, I was happy with one.)

Braised Baby Turnips and Carrots

Mikado baby turnips

Wow, this really exceeded my expectations. Sometimes the most simple preparations are the best, and of course it doesn't hurt to use vegetables plucked fresh from the garden. The baby turnips are very mild and almost sweet, and of course the carrots are sweet, but big surprise, the turnip tops were sweet also, I had expected them to have some bite or heat but there was just a bare hint of that. This is based on the recipe of the same name from Chez Panisse Vegetables, with just a few alterations on my part.

I used about 10 ounces of Mikado baby turnips, harvested when they were about 1 1/4-inches in diameter, give or take 1/4 inch (about a dozen turnips with their tops). Trim off the thin tap root and remove the leaves leaving about 1/2-inch of the stems attached. Reserve all but the yellowing or battered leaves, trim off the larger stems if desired. Scrub the roots lightly but don't peel them.

Use a like amount of baby carrots, I had a mix of purple, white, and orange carrots, tops removed with a bit of the stems left, lightly scrubbed. The carrots were large enough that I cut most of them in half lengthwise.

Put a few tablespoons of butter in a medium sized skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the turnips and carrots and a couple of tablespoons of water, toss everything together. Cover the pan and bring the contents to a boil, toss the vegetables again, place the turnip leaves on top of the vegetables, cover the skillet and let everything steam for a moment or so. Toss the vegetables again, recover the pan and let everything steam a moment, do that a few times more until the veggies are tender but not soft. Season with salt (truffle salt!) and pepper and serve. And don't trim off the green stems, the stems on the baby vegetables are tender and sweet also.

This made enough to serve the two of us.

Next time I have to try to take a photo, it was a very pretty dish.

Garlic Confit

There are innumerable recipes for confited garlic to be found online. They are all pretty much the  same, slow cook garlic in oil, generally olive oil, until the garlic is tender. Some recipes call for whole peeled cloves of garlic, others just require that you slice whole heads in half, or simply cut the tops of the heads off to expose the tops of the cloves. My method is slightly different with the inclusion of a liquid. I like to add a bit of wine or broth, most of which cooks off, but it adds another dimension of flavor and helps to keep the garlic from browning.

This isn't a method of preserving garlic for an extended period of time, there's the issue of keeping a non-acidic food immersed in an anerobic environment which can allow the growth of pathogenic bacteria - you know, that botulism thing. But it will keep safely in the fridge for a few weeks. So make up a small batch and use it up quickly, which won't be a problem because it's so delicious.

How to use it? Any way that you would use fresh garlic and then some. I like to mash a few cloves into salad dressings. When I feel indulgent I brush some of the garlic oil over a slice of rustic bread, smear on a few cloves of confited garlic, sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and bake until crispy. Do the same thing with bread cubes and you have the best croutons. Make a small batch of confit, but when it's done immediately add some softened butter, mash it all up and serve it with big steamed artichokes. Or drizzle the garlic confit butter (or without butter) mashup over broccoli, asparagus, or whatever veggie strikes your fancy. I used the confited garlic and some of the oil in a batch of blue cheese dressing recently - heavenly. And it was fabulous in my latest rendition of Kale Salad (with apple and pomegranate).

Garlic Confit

1 large or 2 small heads of garlic
About 2 tablespoons of white wine, stock, or water (I'm going to try an agrodolce vinegar)
Salt, if desired
Herbs, if desired
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Separate the cloves of garlic and peel them, cutting off the tough root ends.

The easiest way to peel a large quantity of garlic is to first let it sit in water to soften the skins. Some varieties are easier to peel than others so try peeling a clove after about 20 minutes. Artichoke types have very thin skins that adhere tightly to the cloves and seem to be the most difficult to peel, I usually let them soak for about an hour or more.

Place the peeled cloves of garlic in a small saucepan and add the wine or other liquid. Season with salt. Add a bay leaf or a sprig of thyme or rosemary if desired. Pour in extra virgin olive oil to generously cover the garlic.

Simmer the garlic over the lowest heat, use a flame tamer if necessary, for about an hour or until the garlic is soft. It should mash easily, although I have cooked it until tender but not mashable and simply chopped it, it's still delicious.

Let it cool in the oil and then pack it into a clean jar and refrigerate.