I have recently come to the conclusion that I am the quintessential Copy-Cat and I’m OK with that. The ho-humdrums of “What’s for dinner?” are no long a part of my daily existence, my family is experiencing new flavors while being well-fed and I look forward to making dinner instead of seeing it as the last task of my already busy day – aaaah, bliss.
So, having said that, last Friday I went grocery shopping with a handful of recipes that I wanted to try over the weekend. Marie, Proud Italian Cook, posted Vegetali alla Marie last week & if she posts it, then I try it – simple. This was the easiest side dish to prepare! All of the veggies are frozen (when you buy them, not when you eat them)! All that is really required of you is to fry up some lean bacon, then toss with Garlic Oil (see below) & veggies. Alfredo described the veggies as “rustic perfection,” meaning down-home, country good.
As for the main course, I prepared Merluzzo ai Porri which I found on Lorraine’s Italian Foodies blog. This was a straightforward fried cod with sauteed leeks, however the flavor was rich & satisfying (even more so because it was E-Z!!!). True confession: I had to ask the grocer to point out the leeks for me because I had no clue what they were.
We thoroughly enjoyed everything! And, as a cook, I learned a few things along the way….. You see, it pays to be a Copy Cat.
GARLIC OIL – Marie’s recipe calls for garlic oil which I did not have at the time. However, Lady Luck was on my side. I was at Costco last week & saw the HUGEST container of garlic cloves. Since I use garlic all the time, it seemed like a good idea to buy in bulk. Not one of my better ideas to be honest – it’s A LOT of garlic. Anywho, I have a little less of it now.
To make the Garlic Oil – grab a handful of cloves, dribble with extra virgin olive oil, wrap tightly in foil & bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Then, combine garlic & a lot of extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan and bring it to almost a simmer. Set aside. Once cooled you can use it as you like. Keeping the garlic & oil combined will richen the flavor, but you can also remove the cloves after a day or two. For immediate use, keep the cloves in the oil & perhaps toss some into the veggie salad.
Oh! If anyone has any ideas for the rest of my garlic container, then please let me know. Thank you!