Monday, September 3, 2012

Get your Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookie here!!

In spite of a horrendous start with just about everything that could go wrong doing so – temporarily losing the back poles of our main tent (later found in the barn, and I swear to you I checked in that EXACT PLACE three times before Gary found them); the second, ahem, BRAND NEW tent self-destructing amid gale force winds during Friday afternoon setup; scorching heat on day 1 of the festival and threats of rain on the second day – we did alright. [The Poconos Record thought so, too.]

Our garple elixir sold better than expected, largely due to our friend Bobby’s comedic (and at times evangelical) antics. He sure knew how to draw a crowd! We actually sold out of the inventory that we’d brought along. Speaking of selling out…

The garlic chocolate chip cookie was quite a success at the Poconos Garlic Festival this weekend. Some folks from last year came to Mountaindale Farms’ stand specifically after tasting our garlicky chocolate wares last year. We even had a customer say that our concoction was pure genius. (Thank you, thank you.) Once again, we had chocolate-covered roasted garlic on offer, too. Both sold out hours before the festival closed on Sunday. This after much complaining about Farmer Gary’s order to make 1,000 each of the delectable chocolate-dipped morsels and cookies. They’re hard work!

Since we made a ridiculous number of cookies this round, you might imagine that there were a few casualties. The broken cookies made their way back home and we salvaged them via some gigantic garlic-infused ice cream sandwiches like this one…

Want to make your own? Well, you’ll need to find us at one of the upcoming garlic festivals this fall to get your garlic chocolate chip cookies. The next one is the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY (Sept 29 & 30). If you miss that, come find us at the Easton Garlic Festival (Oct 6 & 7). You’ll need to provide your own ice cream, though.

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th of July garlic salad (featuring potatoes)

When one hangs out with garlic growers, one must not be surprised to eat lots of garlic.

Take Gary's contribution to the 4th of July barbecue at Poppy's house: ostensibly a potato salad, but really, the key ingredient was homegrown, organic garlic. And lots of it. Two full heads! Talk about potent! Good thing we all ate it though aside from the watermelon, everything else we ate -- Joanie's baked beans and spinach pie, roasted Spot (pork ribs), and a free-range chicken I brought along from one of my favorite local farmers outside of DC -- was infused with garlic as well.

Boy, oh, boy was that potato salad good. I've been eating it for breakfast the last two mornings. Though Farmer Gary tried to get out of giving me the recipe, as he insisted it was always changing, based on available ingredients, I would not relent. Here, more or less, is the recipe for his 4th of July version.

Garlic Salad (Featuring Potatoes)

  • 3 pounds freshly dug organic potatoes, unpeeled
  • 2 heads of organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • a handful of lemon thyme
  • 4 small onions (white or red or a mixture), @ silver-dollar sized
  • 3/4 cup garple elixir (you can pick up a bottle at the Pocono Garlic Festival this fall!)
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Run cooked potatoes under cold water until cool enough to chop into chunks. Toss potato chunks in a large bowl with remaining ingredients, then chill garlic salad... I mean potato salad... in the fridge until it's time to eat.

If you're a busy farmer, you might use Gary's quick chill method of popping the warm potato salad into the freezer for 20 minutes to cool. Me, I would eat that salad however I can get it: hot, cold, lukewarm, with green eggs and ham....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The secret ingredient in homemade BBQ sauce...

Turns out it's garple elixir. I know. I wouldn't have guessed it either, before my first ever barbecue sauce making adventure yesterday, but it's true. Equally delicious on spent-grain veggie burgers as pastured pork sausages or as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, this sauce is sure to be a winner. It's an original recipe, based on the Kansas-style of barbecue (or so I've been told that's what it tastes like):

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup organic ketchup
1 small can (8 oz) tomato paste
1/3 cup garple elixir
2 TBSP molasses
1 large shallot (or about 1/4 cup Mountaindale Farms french shallots), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced (what, there wasn't quite enough in the garple for my taste)
1 TBSP freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp habanero sauce

Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove. Stir until uniform in texture, then simmer for at least 20 minutes. (I left mine on low for about an hour while I was doing some editing work and boy, oh, boy did it perfume my apartment.)

It made about 1 1/2 cups of sauce, all told, and has been making its way onto just about everything.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Its Garlic Braiding Time............

Finally! The garlic is out of the ground. Well, it has been over two weeks now. And what a relief, that stress is finally gone. We harvested later than normal since the weather just wasn't cooperating. At last, the bulbs from our various varieties have been clipped and snipped and are now drying in the barn waiting for final cleaning before we sort and start packaging them.

My most recent garlic project was making our Garlic Braids, (Isn't this one a beauty?) This year we harvested some beautiful large softneck bulbs. In the past 5 seasons of growing garlic with Gary this is the first year I saw our braiding garlic so large, needless to say we're very pleased.

We are looking forward to the upcoming Garlic Festivals. We're at the Pocono Garlic Festival on September 3 and 4, Garlic, Cheese & Folk Festival on September 11, The Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival on September 17 and 18, Hudson Valley Garlic Festival on September 24 and 25, and finally the Easton Garlic Festival on October 1. Come and get yourself a beautiful garlic braid, stock up on heirloom garlic and Garple Elixir to last you through the winter.

It's going to be busy soon (not that we have much free time now). Aside for the festivals we're attending, next year's garlic will be going in the ground too. Our multitasking skills will be at their finest at the end of September and into October,, I'm already worn out thinking about this and most likely will so be looking forward to hibernation season soon thereafter.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Purely a vehicle for olive oil and garple...

So it's summer, and hot as heck outside. (I know I tell people I'm a warm-weather girl, but this is ridiculous! I almost melted outside watering the plants... it was already near 90 degrees at 8am! It's like a New Orleans summer here, but without the live lindy-hop.)

Luckily, it's nice and cool in my apartment back in DC -- where I live when I'm not helping out at Mountaindale Farms -- and as I scampered back indoors this morning I found myself with a hankering for some fresh bread. Really, though, my motivation was to find something that I could dunk in garple. I am officially addicted to that stuff. I think cousin Sonia is, too. (Maybe it's genetic.) By 8:15am I'd broken out the sourdough starter and a copy of my favorite 2-loaf recipe of late. Six hours later, I was dunking a thick slab of freshly baked bread into a generous bowl of olive oil and garple. Ohohoho, it's so good. (Oh, don't gasp at the 6-hour time lapse. Aside from about 20 minutes of kneading, most of that time was letting the dough rise.)

If you need some garple elixir for your own bread dunking, or for making the perfect salad dressing, or for taking a shot of each morning to remain hale and hardy, get yourself down to the Mountaindale Farm stand (or one of the festivals coming up this fall... if you can wait that long) and pick up a bottle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Roasted, chocolate-covered garlic

Did that headline get your attention? Good. Because aside from garple and pesto, chocolate-covered garlic may be my favorite way to eat the stinky cloves. It's not difficult to make and it's pretty delicious. It's not particularly expensive to concoct and it's unusual enough that dinner guests will be impressed with your exotic addition to the meal. Yep, it just may be the perfect dessert. Folks seemed to think so when we had some at the end of our 4th of July dinner.

The key is getting good ingredients. I can't vouch for this recipe if you use crummy chocolate or old grocery store garlic. (I like Green & Black's 70% dark chocolate; Caroline is partial to Girardelli. Really, any good stuff will do.) So get yourself some chocolate and a few heads of Mountaindale Farms garlic and try this one out:

Roasted, chocolate-covered garlic

  1. Peel 2-3 heads' worth of garlic cloves.
  2. Toss the peeled cloves in a splash of olive oil and spread on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven/toaster oven at 350 until cloves are soft but still maintaining structural integrity (about 30 minutes). Spear each garlic clove with a toothpick, placing them on a plate with wax paper and cool.
  3. Melt a bar of good chocolate in a small saucepan on the stove. When it's melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and hold each clove by the toothpick to spoon melted chocolate over it.
  4. Place each chocolate-covered clove on the wax paper-covered plate and keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days) for the chocolate to set before serving.
2 days? As if it would last that long....

(It was much less harsh than the chocolate-covered raw garlic Mike and I tested out last fall. I still mean to try out chocolate garlic truffles....)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's a weedy field, but look at the size of that garlic!

Welcome to Mountaindale Farms. Check out our garlic. Pretty, eh? (There I am in the background. I swear I just stopped for a moment, I'm not usually taking calls in the field. No, really.)

Doesn't it look nice and sunny and pleasant in this picture? Yes. This was YESTERDAY. Today was day 2 of our attempt to harvest garlic and Mother Nature just wasn't cooperating. Rain. All day. Not just mist. RAIN.

This past fall, we planted seeds for over 12,000 heads of garlic. Our very popular "Music" (a porcelain variety), "Spanish Roja" (a Rocambole), spicy "Siberian" (in the purple stripey family), a wonderful braiding variety called "Mediterranean" (softneck), "German White" (another porcelain variety), and this year we've added "Russian Red" (another flavorful Rocambole).

This particular patch -- pictured above -- we mulched with hay in an attempt to keep the weeds at bay. This particular experiment did not work as well as we had hoped. Our next attempt to mulch the field will involve a LOT more hay. Live and learn. Meanwhile: rain.

It's wet, it's muddy, but we here at Mountaindale Farms are determined to bring you delicious, earth-friendly, sustainably-grown garlic. (I mean we were out there in our raincoats and boots and silly hats trying to pull out bulbs earlier today, but that didn't work out so well.) Stay tuned for a listing of upcoming garlic festivals... where you can pick one or more of these tasty garlic varieties for your culinary delight. Or you can visit us at the farm on Saturdays and Sundays.