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OTTAWA | Black Garlic- Best Kept Secret

Updated: Apr 12

Black garlic!

Do you know it? Do you love it? Where do you find it?

I have been keeping this secret for a very long time. I discovered black garlic over ten years ago and fell in love with it. I have used it as my secret ingredient to many recipes. It has a particular taste. It tastes kind of like hoisin or black bean sauce, but better tasting and better for you, I assume. Doesn't really taste like garlic, even though it is garlic that was aged through the “Maillard” reaction. I haven't met anyone who didn't like it. Also, it never gave me an unhappy tummy even if I've pushed the “best before" dates.

Now, my problem with black garlic is that it's been hard to find. I used to get it at a local grocery store. It was well priced. I'd buy one. Then I would go back and could see that it wasn't selling, so I formed a little "black garlic" secret society. I introduced my sister and mother to it. They both fell in love with it. So, all three of us would buy it all in the hopes that they would keep it in stock. It worked for a while, but it stopped because they couldn't get it for the same price anymore. Now, I buy it online, but it does hide in some random marketplaces here and there in Ottawa. I've read how you can make it at home, but it takes three to four weeks. I'll keep you posted on that. It's a project I definitely want to tackle.

I use it in my Chili, BBQ sauce, creamy pasta sauce, salad dressings, and more. I'm finally sharing my secret because I wish it was more available.

I will share a few of my secret recipes once in a while. I must admit that I’m a “what's in the pantry" and a “wing it" kind of cook. It's good and bad. It's practical, but it doesn’t always turn out the same. The male specimen of this household makes me take notes of my successful recipes because he wants exact replicas of those tasty treats.

Gibroni Pasta

This was invented by yours truly. I used a bunch of left-overs, and cooked a bunch of stuff that I love together. This is not for the spice, meat or dairy intolerant. It has strong layers of flavors. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients: 1 cup chicken broth 3 cloves black garlic ½ cup cream cheese 1tsp ground chipotle pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you are) 1 454g package of pasta, save some of that pasta water 1 cup cooked sliced bacon, save some of that fat 1 Tbsp. bacon fat 1 yellow onion, diced or sliced 1 cup cooked diced chicken 1 cup of frozen peas 1 tsp Italian herbs

Instructions: - Blend together chicken broth, black garlic, cream cheese, and chipotle. Set aside. - Cook a package of pasta of your choice and set aside. Save a bit of pasta water. - Sauté yellow onion in a large frying pan at on medium high in 1 Tbsp. bacon fat until it just starts to brown. - Bring the heat down to medium low - Add the bacon, the chicken and the peas - Add the sauce and herbs - Mix until it's a nice creamy blend, add a bit of the pasta water if it seams too thick - Pop in the cooked pasta and give a good stir

Serve 6 to 10 depending on how hungry you are or how many other things you will be eating. I hope you find the black garlic and enjoy this recipe. You could try and switch a few of the ingredients, and turn it into something else you might like. You could do the recipe without the black garlic, but it really makes the dish special. If I run out of ground chipotle, I use regular red pepper and add a few dashes of liquid smoke. Instead of bacon fat, you can use whatever fat you like, but avocado oil would be a decent choice. I really prefer frozen peas. They keep their color and pop nicely between your teeth. If you don’t like that texture, try shmooshing them. They add a nice soft flavor to tie together the sharp flavors of the Gibroni Pasta.

Stay tuned! Next time, we'll talk about cool things other people cook for me in Ottawa! Woohoo! Have a delicious day!

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