Monday, September 23, 2013


Broke in my garlic-smoosher this weekend! This is a simple little device I got at the Ithaca Farmer's Market (a really neat place) when I went to help out with the Tompkins County Hospice Women Swimmin' fundraising event (I'll link to a nice article about that at the end). I saw these and I was interested, except that they were a little bit expensive, but the woodworker who was selling them had a second that he sold me for half-price - I finally found the tiny crack he'd pointed to while I was using it today, he'd pointed it out but I hadn't actually seen it before. I used to use the handle of a fairly stout knife but I was always a little afraid of breaking it. Don't have to worry about that any more this worked great - I got lots of use out of it this weekend and aside from the concern about breaking a favorite knife (and oh yeah, the possibility of needing stitches after such a break), I think it's easier to use. See, all smooshed, and then the skins flick right off.   

First garlic-centric dish of the weekend was chicken adobo. This is a delicious Filipino dish, chicken marinated in then stewed in a sauce of shoyu, water, vinegar, a little brown sugar, peppercorns (I didn't have so I threw in some chipotle pepper instead, always have some of those in the cupboard), a couple of bay leaves (I forgot those) and then six to eight cloves of garlic. I went for nine (a couple were small).

I love chicken adobo but I've never made it before, there's a great Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood and usually when I have an adobo craving, I go let the chef there make it for me. But my latest Internet distraction is a Facebook page called "You Know You From Hawaii When..", it's this wonderful hangout, mostly homesick people on the Mainland like me but a few Hawaii residents too, making the rest of us jealous -- plenny good fun! Anyways, the other day, "Brah Booze", one of the regulars, posted this cartoon: 
 And I got into the conversation talking about how my favorite thing about church potlucks at Aiea United Methodist (my childhood church) was trying all the different kinds of chicken people would bring - you would have five or six different kinds of teriyaki and then a couple of adobos, all homemade and all "onolicious"!

That conversation was still going on yesterday morning. I'd been thinking about going paddling but I'd had a very long week, I wasn't feeling very ambitious, and I was having dinner with TQ at 6 (a little bit of a tight deadline to have to keep in mind while paddling - if we'd been meeting at 7 or 8 that would've been fine but he starts work very early so really needs to be turning in by 9:30 or so). In the middle of my hemming and hawing, I checked in on the potluck thread and it suddenly hit me that we were having a potluck at Sebago the next day. Great idea - instead of going paddling and feeling rushed, I could stay home and have a nice relaxing afternoon cooking one of my old island favorites - plenty of times I've turned up with cheese or fruit 'cause I just didn't have time but this time I did have time - nice! You see, Sebago potlucks don't quite fit into the Mainland pigeonhole above - we have some very good cooks at the club and a potluck usually involves a spectacular spread - nobody ever turns their nose up at nice cheese but it's still not as nice as making something. I was psyched I'd remembered the potluck when I still had enough time to shop and cook (even enough to marinate)!

I'd made teriyaki chicken for club potlucks before but this time I got a whim to try adobo. I googled "chicken adobo" and one of the first recipes that popped up was called "My Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo" on a blog called The Ivory Hut (Ivory What? Ivory Hut!). Sounded like just what I was looking for, and I loved her story about how she was frustrated for a long time because her younger brother made better adobo than she did, and then finally I was reassured by her promise that the best thing to do to make a good chicken adobo is just leave it alone!

So I ran to the store for chicken and I came back and I mixed up my shoyu-water-vinegar-brown-sugar and then I smooshed nine garlic cloves and threw in the aforementioned chipotle (but forgot the bay leaves, darn, next time!) and then I let it marinate for an hour and then I started cooking. 

Here it is cooking in the pot, starting to look yummy:

Here it was this morning in the aluminum pan I switched it to to take it to the club. The drumsticks were really big so I pulled some meat off of each one to make the dish more shareable. If I'd wanted to really do this right I would have made rice for people to spoon the sauce over - that was just too complicated, so I just drained the excess sauce and reserved it for use over my own rice, starting with some for breakfast this morning (YUM). 

And here was the verdict. I think they liked it.
And then tonight I continued with my garlic-smooshing mania. Fall officially started at 4:44 - we were in the middle of revisions to the club constitution but here is my first photo of the fall - see the gold sneaking into those leaves?
We had some very fall-ish weather in the final days of Summer, and the garden is beginning to wind down, so I'd decided that after the annual meeting I was going to pick most of my basil - time for Pestopalooza! Every year around this time I pick pretty much all of the basil that's left and make one giant batch of pesto to freeze for the winter. I didn't quite raze it this time, we've also been having some summery days so I thought I would leave some growing, but I took the bulk of it. I had a nice crop this year! 

The garden actually surprised me with a few more goodies too, even though I'd pretty much completely neglected it for the entire month of September. I knew I had beets, but there were more than I'd realized; I'd been starting to think about what to do with the green tomatoes but a lot of them solved that problem (if you call having to figure out what to do with green tomatoes a problem) by turning into red tomatoes - and then as the cucumber leaves are shrivelling up, all the sudden I'm spotting all the cukes I'd missed. 

Main focus of the evening though...big bag o' basil --

which became a brimming bowl of basil -

I didn't count how many cloves went under the crusher tonight but it was pretty much a head and a half - 
then I ran things through the mini-chopper for a while, then I realized that I didn't have any pine nuts, but one nice thing about living in Brooklyn is that no pine nuts at 8:30 at night is a fixable problem - the store I'd hoped would have them in Newkirk Plaza was out but the Flatbush Food Coop stays open pretty late and they always have that stuff -- that's an expensive way to do it but I really wanted to wrap up the project tonight as it's going to be another very long week at work. 

Hey presto, it's pesto!

And since I decided to go to the coop anyways, I also splurged on some fancy organic ravioli - they have a butternut squash variety that I really like and I figured that I should try some of my pesto while it was still ultra-fresh. Not bad at all!
And if there were any vampires around at the beginning of the weekend, they should be very, very gone now.

Happy Fall! 

And as promised above, here's that Women Swimmin' article in - that was a fun day. I'm still sorry I lost my camera - the camera was replaceable but I wish wish wish I could have gotten the pictures out of it!


Baydog said...

You can never have enough basil and garlic. Bonnie, I use the bottom of the palm of my hand to smoosh the garlic cloves.

bonnie said...

Whoa. OK, I'm a wimp (now I'll have to try it to see if I even can)!

Baydog said...

Outside corner, under the pinky. It's stronger than you think.

Genie said...

Bonnie, you can also use walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts and it's a lot more economical. If you grow rustic arugula you can substitute that for some of the basil, also.

bonnie said...

I actually supplemented this year's pine nuts with some almonds that I wanted to use up - but I love the taste of pignoli, they're worth the annual splurge. I toast them first and an awful lot of them don't make it into the pesto!