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Easy Garlic Infused Olive Oil for #NationalGarlicDay

 I hate onions.

Not of course caramelized, delicious onions but the raw kind or when the pieces are so big you can’t help but chomp into them and hear the fibers breaking in your mouth. It’s a texture thing for me and no matter how hard I try to overcome it, I just can’t.

But, garlic? That’s another story.

Garlic and onions are the old married couple. They just go together and make food just taste better. And, I LOVE garlic. After we had been in Morocco about a month we went to the olive souk (market) and I spied a jar on a shelf and asked what was in it. Why, it was crushed garlic packed in olive oil. Genius! I happily paid the 15 dirhams (about $2) and walked home with my prize in hand. That first sniff after I opened the jar? Pure heaven. I’ve been caught multiple times with my nose in the jar. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

To celebrate National Garlic Day a group of my food blogger friends decided to create recipes centered around garlic. How could I not join in? So if you’re journeys don’t have you visiting Marrakech anytime soon you can create the garlic infused olive oil at home. Or should it be olive oil infused garlic? You decide!

How to Make Garlic Infused Olive Oil

 

I’m very lucky and the raw ingredients for this are very easily available and inexpensive. I use pure, raw olive oil. My mother in law actually has gallons of it made fresh with every year’s olive harvest. Chances are you don’t have olive trees in your backyard to harvest and press olive oil. That’s ok – just use the best quality you can afford. Then you need garlic and lots of it. I used about 10 bulbs of garlic to fill a 12oz jar. Yes, you’ll need a clean glass jar with a tight sealing lid. Recycle something you’ve got on hand – mine is an empty mayonaise container! A garlic press is helpful if you want your garlic crushed but you can also leave it whole or chop it into rough pieces.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

 

Get your workspace ready. I suggest a chair and table because this does take some time. Having a good knife on hand to scrape off the crushed garlic and cut off any blemishes will be useful.  Begin by removing all of the white outer skin from the garlic bulbs. If you have a large knife lay it horizontally across the bulb and whack the blade with the palm of your hand. This should loosen up the cloves of garlic and separate the skin. If you’re using a garlic press you won’t have to remove the inner skin directly around the garlic clove however it’s going to take a lot more time if you don’t. In the same way you removed the outer skin, use your knife to smash the cloves and remove the inner skin as well. I found just doing all of the cloves at once was faster.

 

Pressed Garlic for Garlic Olive Oil

 

Fill up your garlic press with garlic cloves and give a good squeeze into your jar. Continue doing this until you’ve filled the jar about 3/4 of the way full or you run out of garlic. This isn’t terribly messy but you may end up with some seriously garlicky fingers for a little while. After each pass with the garlic use a knife to scrape off the exterior of the press and loosen up any of the interior remnants. Once you’ve used up all your garlic, simply pour the olive oil into the jar. Fill it halfway, use a spoon to mix and distribute the garlic, and then fill nearly to the top. As you use the oil and garlic you can add more oil.

Garlic Olive Oil

 

Ready to get your garlic on? Check out some of the other fabulous garlic-loaded goodness we’ve got in store today! If having loads of garlic recipes isn’t enough we’re also giving away a garlic inspired prize pack – keep reading to enter!

Giveaway

In honor of National Garlic Day and our love of the stinking rose, we are giving away a Garlic Lovers Prize Pack (valued at over $100) that includes:

  1. The Garlic Farmers’ Cookbook
  2. One-year membership to the Garlic Seed Foundation
  3. 5 Garlic Button Covers
  4. OXO Good Grips Garlic Press
  5. The Ultimate Garlic Peeler
  6. Tumbleweed Pottery Garlic Clove Canister Keeper with Vented Lid
  7. Terra Cotta Garlic Roaster
  8. 2 Bulbs of Whole Black Garlic

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post (mandatory) answering this question: What is your favorite GARLICKY dish (or one that you’d love to try)?

After you’ve answered the question for entry into this contest, be sure to record that you did so in the rafflecopter widget below; doing so will unlock many more optional ways to earn entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to residents of the Continental USA. Entries will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, April 24, 2014. All entries will be verified. A winner will be chosen from qualifying entries via random draw, and notified via email within 48 hours of the close of this contest. The winner will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to respond with their complete name and mailing address (no P.O. Boxes). If no response is received within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Prizes provided by The Garlic Seed Foundation, Food Lust People Love and girlichef. Prizes may vary slightly from images shown and are subject to replacement with comparable items if ones pictured are no longer available at the close of this contest. Items may be shipped separately.

Organic Goat Cheese Tasting in Morocco

When we went to Fez last month there was one activity I was most looking forward to. Not that everything wasn’t amazing but we had arranged to visit an organic farm that produced goat cheeses and I could hardly stand the wait! The boys were equally excited. This might not seem like something kids would look forward to but my kids were raised on a healthy diet of cheeses, and lots of them before we moved to Morocco. Here, cheese is tough to come by – especially when you don’t live in the mountains. It’s just not very popular.

Goat Cheese Tasting Morocco
It makes sense. In order for a cheese making culture to be established there needs to be the right environmental conditions. Really hot temperatures with little shade and few refrigeration options are not ideal for making cheese. But in the mountain areas the story is much different. With the help of Plan-It Fez we visited Domaine de la Pommeraie outside of Fez in the rural community of Immouzer. Having a car has really opened up our options as we were able to drive ourselves the 45 minutes outside of Fez to the farm. (If you’re interested in doing this Plan-It Fez can arrange transport for you!)
Goats in a Field domaine de la pommeraie

It was early spring and while there’s usually snow a little further up the mountains we found everything to be green and in full bloom. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. After months of dusty reds and browns seeing fields of green, hills covered in blossoming trees, and grass as far as we could see was a very welcome sight! While we drove up to the farm our boys were so excited they couldn’t wait to jump out of the car. We were met at the road by Btissame who would be our guide (and who shared a very similar story to ours having lived in the US for many years before returned to Morocco). She spent time explaining the premise of the farm, its goals, and the products made here. As we walked we were greeted by some of the goats enjoying their lunch in the orchard.

Goats

Next we went into the barns to see the new baby goats that were being born. What great timing! When I asked my boys what their favorite part of the visit was they both readily said “the goats!” These are not your average Moroccan goats. Alpine goats from Europe are bred with Moroccan goats to create two generations of hybrid animals. By the third generation a genetically Alpine goat is born. Wherever we turned we met goats who were going about their day. They have free range over where they go and while under some supervision, they largely stay close to home. After taking lots of time to play with the goats, it was time to get down to business – cheese eating business!

Cheese Tasting in Fez

But there was more than just cheese. We sat down to a table that not only had 5 different cheeses waiting for us but rghaif, harsha, honeys, olive oil, and fresh bread. Btissame walked us through each of the cheeses;

  • Jnane Douar – a round cheese that is aged aged 1 week
  • Kandri – aged a bit longer for 1-2 weeks
  • La Bouchette – a log shaped cheese that is aged 21 days
  • La Berbere – this is a special cheese, made only in Morocco and full of superstition. It’s only made at night when there’s no moon present.
  • Mimouna – a cheese similar to Camembert

We took turns trying each one slathered on our choice of bread. Drizzling some with honey or olive oil. I was so proud of my boys who dug in without even questioning. They worked to remember the different names and took turns comparing the different cheeses and what they liked and didn’t like.

kids Tasting Cheese

We decided that La Berbere was our very favorite. It surprised me the kids chose this because while it has a very nice taste it’s not as mild as the Jnane Douar or Kandri. They also ate plenty of harsha and we’ve decided it’s made much better in northern Morocco than southern. Our least favorite was La Bouchette. It wasn’t bad but it was much stronger than the others. Honestly, I enjoyed all of them!

Domaine de la Pommeraie makes many different varieties of goat cheeses in small artisanal batches. The famous La Mimounia hotel (as well as many others) in Marrakech special orders cheeses from here to serve. We very happily took home several cheeses and honey. In talking with Btissame I discovered that the (Moroccan) owners of the farm are working with local schools to educate children more about nutrition and organic foods. Dairy is not a big part of the Moroccan diet. Milk is available and consumed and yogurt is eaten, but cheese is rarely found. If it is it’s highly processed or often stored improperly leading to spoilage. The farm also offers cooking classes – something that I hope I can return soon to take part in. (How fun would a girls cooking/relaxing trip be?!) On-site you’ll also find a swimming pool and villa that can be rented. We couldn’t imagine a more wonderful place to spend a weekend!

Domaine de la Pommeraie Collage

If you’re visiting Fez, this is a partial day trip outside the city. You’ll be surprised to see how much the landscape changes and the different side of Moroccan life you will encounter. It was a great activity for us as adults and for our kids, who still ask when we’ll be going back.

Domaine de la Pommeraie Route Imouzer Kandar, Ain Chiffa, Ain Sbaa – contact for rentals and cooking courses +212 65 38 52 488
We organized our visit with Plan-It Fez

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