It is officially cold season! And party season. Alas, one must stay healthy and strong to be able to rock on. With the overflowing abundance of garlic left over from playing defence against the Halloween vampires, I decided to make hostess gifts that will keep my gracious hosts’ immune systems robust and breath pungent. Garlic is also associated with helping to reduce hypertension, which is convenient in those moments when guests are making rings on the coffee table with their glasses and grinding crumbs into the sofa.
Roasted garlic paste is super easy to make, and a very convenient item to have stocked in the fridge for those times when you reach for the bottom of the garlic bowl and only find some shrivelled pieces of papery shrapnel. Spooned into a pretty jar and tied with a bow, they can be presented to friends with a beatific smile and the approval of your naturopath!
Roasted Garlic Paste
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Arrange the garlic in one layer in a baking dish. You can make as much as you like; I think you might as well make more, because roasting one head of garlic will stink up the house as much as a dozen. I managed to squeeze in fourteen heads of garlic in my dish, which made about 2 cups of paste. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over top, and pop it all into the oven for 30-40 minutes.
The garlic is done roasting when you give it a gentle poke with your finger and it feels soft. Let the garlic cool at room temperature. Meanwhile, sterilize a couple of Mason jars by pouring boiling water into them and letting them sit for 5-10 minutes. You can put the lids into a bowl and pour boiling water over them as well. This is NOT a fail safe way to sterilize anything, but it does help reduce the microbial count a little so the garlic paste will keep longer in the fridge. After letting the water sit in the jars, pour the water out and just let air dry to avoid recontamination.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, pop the cloves of garlic out of its paper into a bowl or right into your blender. Add a generous splash of olive oil, and blendblendblend into a paste. Spoon the paste into your sterilized jars, and add some more oil on top to cover the paste. This layer of oil will also help control microbial growth by acting as a barrier to air. Label and date, then refrigerate!