Garlic Harvest

We are moving at the end of the month so we have been digging up any & everything to transfer to our new yard. Last weekend I figured I would dig our garlic up & see what it was looking like. I was surprised to how much it had grown. A few stalks were even as tall as Laura. We even had a few monstrous full heads as well as a nice cache of young garlic, all this despite the fact that we had no idea what we were doing.

We got the 'seeds' (I am sure that is not the proper term but I am not sure what the are really called) from Laura's Grandmother's sister about three years ago when we moved into our ,then, new house. She has since passed away, but her garlic still grew.

I love plants like this that have a history & are passed from person to person & generation to generation. While unearthing the garlic I collected the 'seeds' & had enough to give to our friends & neighbors The Squirrel Squad, my Mom in Florida & enough to plant at our new house. I am sure Laura's Great-Aunt would be proud to know her crop of garlic is going to be perpetuating for sometime now & in two states.

If you have never had fresh, young garlic you should hunt some down pronto. I have seen quite a bit at the Memphis Farmers Market. Young garlic has such a different flavor than the dried cloves you get at the super market. It is mild with no bite & full of flavor. It is so mild, you could even eat it raw. Since we have so much we are trying our hand at drying a few heads. We will let you know how they turn out when ready. But until then, if you like garlic (what foodie doesn't?!) you owe it to yourself to get your hands on some fresh young garlic.


What the World Eats

During my morning blog round-up I stumbled across this super interesting photo-essay from Time magazine, on Green L.A. Girl's blog. The subject of the essay is 16 families from around the world, what they eat weekly, and how much is costs them. The photos are from the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio (which I now have to get my hands on). The book basically chronicles what the world eats and explores global forces that are affecting diets around the world, or something along those lines. It also gives a detailed breakdown of the food that each family eats so that you don't have to spend all morning scrutinizing the pictures, like I have (Do those Sicilians eat a lot of persimmons, or are those just really persimmon colored tomatoes?) Prepare for a full review once I get my hands on it.

Anyway, I absolutely love pictures, especially pictures that capture culture. Since food, and foodways are fundamental elements of culture, a whole pictorial essay of how people eat is bound to get me a little excited (an inner-anthropological-dork glow if you will.)

So here is the essay.......right here. I am most intrigued by the disparity between the African family living in a refugee camp who spend approximately $1.23 a week on food and the German family that spend over $500 dollars a week on food (mmmmm, beer). And please don't get me started on the lack of vegetables in the U.K. family's and the U.S. family's weekly stash. And Jesus H, some cultures really like their frickin' Coke. And can I just, for a second, point out the STRONG correlation between a higher processed foods and boxed meals content and larger grocery bills (juice and Hamburger Helper ain't cheap, eat your grains). But I digress. Check the essay out. It's interesting, especially if you are like me and thoroughly enjoy grocery day because you get to visually pick apart baskets in the check out line, just to see how other people eat.


New Orleans Wine and Food Experience: The Seminars

We had the fortune of being able to catch the whole five day extravaganza this time around for NOWFE. I was excited because the meant that I would get to go to as many seminars as I could handle. And we did.

In true New Orleans fashion, our first seminar, sparkling rose's started at 9.30 in the morning. And what a lovely way to start off the day. Six different sparkling rose's presented by Ziggy the Wine Gal, some farm fresh Vitner's cheese and rose petal jelly from Sheana Davis at the Epicurean Connection that is to die for. (I've got the recipe somewhere). My favorite was the Taittinger Prestige Cuvee'. I think Collin liked the Moet Chandon Rose' Imperial.

After swooning over the cheese at the Rose' seminar, I had to learn more about the Epicurean Connection so we headed over the the seminar on Sonoma Wines and Food. My favorite cheese lady, Sheana Davis was back with cheese and compotes to match with some killer wines from Sonoma county. I love these seminars because I love to hear the wine makers talk about their wines, and I like hearing people talk about things that they are really passionate about, especially if it is something I enjoy too.

The last seminar we hit up on Friday before the Grand Tasting was the Malbec seminar. Eight different Argentinian malbecs for us to try. I thoroughly enjoyed this seminar. The wine makers brought some fantastic (and pricey) wines to show off. But the reason I love malbec so is that you can buy a 8 dollar bottle and be in wine heaven. Frankly, for the price, I was a little put off by some of the wines showcased.

Saturday we were not so aggressive in our seminar-ing escapades. We attended the rabbit seminar first thing. This was hands down, my favorite seminar. Chef's from local restaurants prepared signature rabbit dishes from their menus and then talked about their favorite ways to prepare rabbit. I don't even remember where the wines came from. If you haven't had the chance to try rabbit, DO IT. It was lovely, white meat that is lower in fat than chicken, turkey, pork and duck. We had it stewed (in a chicken and dumplings type dish that was amazing), rabbit terrine, rabbit salad and gumbo. Tablas Creek wines were poured & the whole line up they brought all complimented the dishes in their own way. Ah, rabbit and wine for breakfast, can't beat it.

The final seminar we attended was the Blind Tasting Tactics seminar. I was crazy about this seminar too. I love tasting wine but don't have the vocabulary to describe what I am tasting. (This is why most of my tasting notes read something along the lines of "tastes like rubber, you know that rubber taste that you get from sucking out of the garden hose, that taste. Kicks you in the back of the throat, it's that big. That is one sassy wine", and on and on). This seminar was helpful because it really helped me identify some of the things I was tasting in a wine and the origin of those tastes (ie. what acidity really is and where the tannins come into play.) There was also useful information about characteristics in wine in regards to the geography of the vineyard. At the end of the seminar, our host tasted a wine blind for us to see if she could use her skill to tell what the wine was, and where it was from. After years of training her palate, she couldn't guess the type of wine or the origin. It made me feel a little better about my rookie wine tasting abilities.

And there you have it. Seminars in a nutshell. There were many more to choose from but we couldn't possibly attended all the seminars and the grand tastings. I think If we go next year, we will try for more seminars and then take it easy during the grand tastings. the seminars are full of fabulous information, great wines (the don't generally show up at the grand tastings, and fantastic people who are really passionate about food and wine.
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