Little did I know what fate and destiny would conspire to cook up for me when my car found its way to a strange, lone house on a barren hilltop – the address my editor gave me to cover a Halloween masquerade food party.
“Get the scoop,” he told me.
As I walked up the long, dark, winding path, a strange, eerie noise penetrated the dead silence of the fog-enshrouded, starless night.
My instincts, as well as my intuition, told me to go back but my curiosity forced me to continue. Had my GPS been correct? Yes, so accurate it was scary. I had my cell phone in hand, fully charged. Step by step, I got closer and closer to the door. I decided to peek into the window.
Just as I suspected! There they sat – the demonic denizens of the dark side of ill health – cholesterol, bacteria, indigestion, cancer and influenza. Dracula was there, too. Was my editor crazy? Why didn’t I bring the garlic? Where were my ruby slippers when I needed them? I tried to turn and run, but fear held me in its grip. What was I to do? Open my eyes, of course. Boy, can’t dreams scare you to death! Not really, thank goodness.
Although this story is fabricated, besides warding off vampires, there is evidence suggesting that garlic can help lower high cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, destroy harmful bacteria, and aid circulation and digestion. It may also be a cancer fighter. Garlic helps you absorb your vitamin B-6 and has other beneficial immune-boosting characteristics.
Throughout history, garlic was believed to fortify and give strength. The Egyptian slaves and servants who built the pyramids were fed garlic and were even paid in garlic. (Although I do like garlic, I hope the NE Times doesn’t decide to adopt this practice.) Well-preserved garlic cloves were found in the tomb of King Tut. (Who said you can’t take it with you?) What may have been the first labor strike occurred when a Pharaoh cut garlic rations to save pyramid costs. Roman soldiers ate garlic before battle for strength and bravery.
With Halloween right around the corner, it may be wise to eat some garlic before venturing out among the creepies, crawlies and things that go bump in the night. Here are a few delicious ways to fend off any vampires who may come your way.
AGLIO E OLIO (GARLIC AND OIL)
1 lb. spaghetti
1 Tbsp. salt
1 cup reserved pasta water (use later)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup fresh parsley (or ¼ cup dried), chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
Salt/Pepper to taste
-Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and spaghetti and cook until pasta is al dente (firm-tender not mushy).
-Drain spaghetti (reserve 1 cup pasta water) and keep spaghetti warm in large serving bowl.
-While pasta is cooking, heat oil in pan over medium heat, add garlic, sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring until garlic is soft and slightly golden.
-Add the pepper flakes and parsley. Stir mixture, then add reserved pasta water.
-Stir and bring to a boil. Off heat and mix in the parmesan. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional parmesan.
-Pour over spaghetti and mix.
If plain, cooked spaghetti is hanging out in your refrigerator, dress it up with the following quickie version of the above.
One Minute (plus 10 seconds) Microwave Aglio E Olio
2 cups cooked spaghetti
½ tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2—3 shakes red pepper flakes
¼ cup parmesan cheese
-Arrange spaghetti on dinner plate. Sprinkle with garlic salt, parsley, olive oil and flakes.
-Microwave 1 minute.
-Stir spaghetti, add parmesan cheese and microwave 10 seconds.
-Stir and serve with additional parmesan cheese.
These good, garlic greens go well as a side with this pasta.
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup water
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
-Wash rabe, trim ends and cut into 2-inch chunks and pieces (kitchen scissors work well).
-In large skillet heat oil and add garlic followed by the rabe, water and pepper flakes.
-Cook and turn rabe over for a few minutes until it begins to shrink down and reduce itself. (What appears to be a large amount will cook down, like spinach).
-Lower heat and cook about 5 minutes until done, stirring occasionally.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053)