Of all the ways to cook garlic, roasting the heads whole is the easiest, sweetest and most succulent method. Any harsh flavors are caramelized away, leaving creamy toasted cloves behind. Of course, this method is only improved by olive oil, which bathes the cloves in richness, intensifies and extends their flavors, and helps prevent any drying out. If you haven’t tried roasted garlic, cook up a few heads today!
Preheat your oven to 400°F (205° C): A toaster oven works great for this.
Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb. Leave intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic
Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of the cloves. This exposes the individual cloves of garlic.
Put garlic in a baking pan or muffin tin: Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. (A muffin pan works great for this, as it keeps the garlic bulbs from rolling around.)
Drizzle with True Fields olive oil: Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.
Cover the bulb with aluminum foil.
Bake: Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed.
Cool and remove roasted garlic cloves from their skins: Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use it for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.
The “Mediterranean Diet” is a foodway created by those who live around that warm inland sea and now followed by people around the world. Its main components are whole grains, fish, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and olive oil. It includes a moderate amount of dairy, mostly cultured, and low amounts of land animal meat. As well as the ingredients, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes family, connection, and a modicum of physical activity.
Olive Oil Foundations
Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, used in everything from deep frying to desserts, lamplighting to massage. Olive trees grow abundantly all around the Mediterranean, and their fruits produce a wonderful oil in all qualities from flavor to healthiness. Olive oil is monounsaturated, the best kind of saturation level for cardiovascular health and lowered ‘bad’ cholesterol. It’s also rich in antioxidants and nutrients. What a lovely base to build a foodway on!
Above we mention that olive oil is ‘monounsaturated’. But what does that mean, and why does it matter? Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the chemistry of olive oil, but here’s a brief summary. Fats are composed of long chains of carbon atoms bound to a glycerin molecule. When all the carbons are bound to 2 hydrogens the fat is ‘saturated’ with hydrogen, A fat that has one missing hydrocarbon per chain (which results in a single double bond between carbons) is monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats have, you guessed it, multiple missing hydrocarbons and single or double links between carbons.
One interesting feature of fats is that the higher the proportion of saturated fats, the higher the melting point and temperature before catching fire. Olive oil, very rich in monounsaturated oleic acid, pours at room temperature but as a thick golden liquid. Also, monounsaturated fats are the best for cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that they drive down the concentration of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Drizzle of Deliciousness
Olive oil achieves the amazing feat of being both delicious and good for us. It is one of those foods which expresses <i>terroir</i>, the character of the place where it’s produced. Therefore, olive oils vary widely in flavor, from grassy to buttery, peppery to rich, but every one is delicious and every one enhances the food prepared with it. In many Mediterranean cuisines there’s a custom of finishing off a dish with a drizzle of olive oil to add that last bit of mouthwatering shine. What could be more beautiful or more tasty?
The Mediterranean diet is excellent for novice and experienced cooks alike. Many of the cuisines under its banner are quite ancient, and their recipes are tried and true for new cooks. Meanwhile those who love to experiment in their cooking have a wide field of ingredients and techniques to work with, all tied together by the delicious olive oil.
Here at the home of the Cinder Grill we have some Mediterranean-themed recipes, including but not limited to:
And we’re always working on creating more, because we’re so inspired by the Mediterranean Diet. This foodway is not only delicious, not only healthy, but also joyful. It includes a wide range of ingredients and recipes that are beautiful and appealing, none more so than olive oil. It also includes many health benefits, ranging from the cardiovascular health we discussed earlier to overall increased longevity. Enjoy all these luscious possibilities with the Cinder Grill!
While nothing’s quite as lovely as late summer tomatoes, bursting with juice and sunlight, this all-season bruschetta comes pretty close. Here we use the Cinder Grill to firm up quality canned tomatoes until they reach a pleasant meaty texture, and bolster their flavor with some diced sun-dried tomatoes and of course good olive oil. Enjoy sunshine in winter with the Cinder Grill!
1 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, drained, trimmed of any hard bits or remaining skin, halved and seeded.
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
15 large basil leaves, thinly sliced into a chiffonade
2 tbps chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Red wine vinegar, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 large baguette or loaf of Italian bread, sliced 1 inch thick on the bias
Halved garlic cloves, for rubbing the toasted slices (optional)
Set Cinder to 325 F. Line the bottom plate with a large sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on the parchment, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, and arrange tomatoes on the plate. Try to keep them from touching if possible, and make sure they are in a single layer. Once the Cinder comes to temperature, cook, with the lid up, for one hour. This dehydrates and firms the tomatoes.
After an hour, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and chop into rough half inch pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, sundried tomatoes, and basil. Add a little vinegar, a few pinches of salt and a pinch of sugar, mix, and taste. Season further if necessary.
Wipe down the Cinder if necessary and set it to sear. Working in batches, toast the bread slices on both sides on the Cinder Grill (30-45 seconds a side), and rub them with halved garlic cloves. Spoon tomatoes on top and serve.
Fat is one of the pillars of the Keto Diet, and olive oil should be a major source of that fat. The whole point of the Keto diet is to reset one’s metabolism so that the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This causes the body to ‘unpack’ those stores of fat we see externally as padding, and use them as well as ingested fat, resulting in a lighter body and many health benefits. For these purposes, among others, olive oil is one of the best fats available, being both delicious and healthy, benefiting certain body systems which might otherwise suffer from a high fat diet. Let’s explore these truths a little more.
Olive Oil and The Heart
As noted above, the keto diet relies on switching the body over to burning fat for fuel, which requires a considerable fat intake. However, one potential drawback to using fat as fuel is that many animal and even plant fats are saturated. Consuming saturated fats raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other issues. But Olive oil is here to help, with monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidant polyphenols, and other plentiful nutrients. Olive oil has been scientifically shown to improve cardiovascular and metabolic health. How does it do it?
The Marvels of Monounsaturated Fats
What is a monounsaturated fat, anyway? Simply put, it’s a fat molecule with one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. This causes a carbon double bond. In turn this double bond puts a ‘bend’ in the chain of carbon atoms, which means that monounsaturated fats flow at room temperature and body temperature. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and contribute to the buildup of cholesterol in the body, while polyunsaturated fats go rancid more quickly than monounsaturated fats. For these and other reasons, monounsaturated fats are best for the body, and no edible oil has a higher level of monounsaturated fat than Olive oil.
Incorporating Olive Oil
Including olive oil in the keto diet can be as simple as drizzling it over food before serving. Extra Virgin Olive oils especially are natural sauces in and of themselves. Try trimming red meat of its fat deposits, then replacing that richness with a good drizzle of olive oil. Also olive oil is better at frying than its reputation suggests, and it can be blended into any dressing or soup which needs more richness. Mashed cauliflower with olive oil is so luscious you won’t miss the potatoes or the cream. Indeed, adding olive oil to any vegetable helps carry fat-soluble vitamins, and also makes the dish more satisfying.
The Keto Diet is all about health, and Olive oil is one of the healthiest and most delicious oils available in the kitchen. So enjoy your Keto cooking, rich with Olive Oil, from your Cinder Grill!