A Healthy Appetite For Garlic

Jo McGarry
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Friday - July 09, 2005
| Del.icio.us | podcast Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been told by their doctors to lose weight, lower your cholesterol and change your diet, then I may have some good news for you. No, not the latest in a “quick fix” remedy, but rather a humble herb.

Smelly it may be, offensive in its raw state to many, and foul if noted on the breath of an otherwise kissable mate, garlic is one of the world’s power foods.

Love it or hate it, the medicinal properties of this aromatic herb have been touted for centuries — there’s evidence to suggest that more than 3,000 years ago garlic was being used to treat a variety of symptoms.

Today, well-documented evidence exists — the effects are described in more than 1,000 medical studies — that garlic has more to offer than just a powerful smell.

Sulfur-containing compounds give the distinctive and pungent aroma and are responsible for reducing blood pressure, helping lower cholesterol and also work as a powerful antioxidant.

For those who believe in its power but can’t stand its pungency, there are pill alternatives. But for those who love the aroma, garlic is king in the kitchen.

This month you can give yourself a garlic boost by traveling to Auntie Pasto’s on Beretania, where a mini garlic festival is taking place. From July 15 until the end of the month, diners can choose from a garlic menu complete with appetizers that include roasted garlic soup with goat cheese croutons, pork tenderloin scallopine rolled in garlic and olive oil, and fried mozzarella with anchovies, capers, and garlic sauce. (I happen to love these strong flavors, but I can imagine people all over town groaning “anchovies, capers and garlic?”). OK, so it’s not for everyone.

House specialties will appeal to a broader based audience and feature roasted garlic, tomato and spinach pizza, garlic shrimp, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic and red wine pot roast and garlic spareribs. For those who love garlic with their garlic, there’s the saffron roasted garlic cavatelli (a mini sausage-shaped dumpling pasta). And, of course, no restaurant or festival worth its salt can boast a garlic menu without the addition of garlic ice cream.

And if you can’t get enough of garlic in July, then count the days until Oct. 1. That’s when the annual garlic festival — hosted by LAK Enterprises — changes location to accommodate the thousands of people who turn up each year to throw caution to the wind and eat as much garlic as possible.

“We’re moving the festival to the great lawn at KCC this year,” says LAK president Lisa Kim, who expects about 5,000 people to attend the event at its new location under the stars.

KCC’s culinary program will benefit from the event, and dozens of restaurants, food booths and garlic-themed vendors will be in attendance. Watch this space for more information as the fall date approaches. Plenty of time to stock up on Altoids.

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