The Daily Dish: Creamy Garlic Sauce

spinach with creamy sauce

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Creamy garlic sauce makes a perfect complement to asparagus, leeks, and spinach. This simple reduction of garlic in a pan of milk creates a sauce that is surprisingly mild but unmistakenly garlic. Spoon over your favorite steamed vegetables, chicken, or fish.

Ingredients
2 heads of garlic
Pint of milk
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Directions
Pour a pint of milk into a 2-quart sauce pan.

Add two heads of peeled garlic cloves, four bay leaves, and a pinch of salt.

Bring it all to boil.

Then cook slowly for 30 minutes gradually reducing the contents of the pot to one cup.

Then pour and scrape everything into a wire sieve. Set over a bowl.

Remove the bay leaves and press and scrape the soft garlic making sure you get every bit of the creamy puree into the bowl.

Whisk the sauce until smooth and then whisk in one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt to taste.

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lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.

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The Daily Dish: Bored with Beans?

green beans with gorgonzola and nuts

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Getting bored with your green beans? Add some creamy Gorgonzola cheese to add a gorgeous complexity.

Let’s face it, green beans are delicious, but they can get boring. So let’s give them some new life by melting a little Gorgonzola into the beans for a spicy appetizer or a side dish that goes perfectly with grilled or sauteed meats.

Ingredients
Green beans
1/4 cup olive oil
Gorgonzola cheese
Garlic
Kosher salt

Directions
First, simply rinse and dry the beans and trim off both ends.

Set a large skillet over medium heat.

Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and toss in 5-6 mashed garlic cloves.

Cook all for about 4 minutes or until the garlic is lightly colored.

Add the beans to the skillet, shake a few times, pour in a 1/4 cup of water and cover.

Lower the heat, cook for 15 minutes until the beans are tender to the bite and lightly caramelized.

When they are done, salt lightly.

Raise the heat and drop bits of crumbled Gorgonzola into the beans and cook with no cover until the cheese melts. It will take just over a minute.

When the cheese has melted and coated the beans, but before it coats the bottom of the pan, remove beans and cheese from the pan and place on a plate and serve immediately.

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lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.

Every Foodie loves a garden

Zucchini flower growing at Long Hill Farm in Beverly.

Gardening season is upon us — and as we so often realize this time of year, gardeners and food lovers are close kin. Whether you’re a fan of The Victory Garden’s What’s Growing This Weekend with Paul Epsom or Food Trip with Todd English, you know that every Foodie loves a garden.

Last night, Barbara Emerson, brought home this concept when she spoke about “Edible Landscapes” at the public library in Manchester-by-the-Sea, giving her audience a wealth of gardening inspiration. Emerson, a gardening consultant and master gardener, is founder of Have Green Thumb in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

While I’m not (yet) a gardener, what I learned from Emerson was liberating. For example:

  • Vegetables don’t have to grow in rows. You don’t even need a plot of land. Emerson has grown vegetables in every kind of container — including cloth bags. All that’s really required is a small spot of sun and decent soil.
  • Interplanting is mixing ornamental plants and vegetables. Imagine violets or nasturtiums interplanted with cucumbers or lettuce. (Your dinner salad is practically done!) Putting a lot of plants in one place leaves less open soil, which means less weeding and less work.
  • Plant according to the time you have available, and according to the vegetables you enjoy eating.
  • PMO – Pretty Much Organic – is okay. Really.
  • Roses are edible. Put the leaves in salads, use rose water in cooking, make rose hip tea. Nasturtiums – also edible – have a peppery flavor.
  • New trends in gardening: Pink blueberries (a recent phenomenon, available locally from Corliss Bros Nursery in Ipswich), cloth garden bags made from landscape fabric that let you garden without a plot of land (check them out at SmartPots.com), and self-watering containers (high-end versions available from Lechuza).
  • Make it easy and realistic for yourself. Place vegetables or herbs close to the kitchen, within easy reach. If they’re too far away when you’re cooking, you simply aren’t going to grab them.

A trend survey conducted by the Garden Writers of America indicated that the number of home vegetable gardeners was up 37% last year, and it’s expected to boom again this year. With Emerson’s advice on gardening — practical, fun, liberating, and realistic — I can envision it booming in my own backyard.

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.