Finding unexpected uses for garlic

While some ingredients rotate in and out of my pantry and refrigerator, other items maintain permanent residence. Garlic is one such ingredient, and it finds its way into a large portion of my mealtime plans. However, I have never used it in the sweet side of the menu, although apparently some chefs do. That's one takeaway from a recent article of unexpected ways to use the king of alliums

ice cream

Jim Tate IV, executive chef of Messhall Kitchen in Los Angeles says that he likes to exploit the umami qualities of garlic in sweet items, adding garlic juice to a chocolate and olive oil cake. He says no one ever guesses the flavor enhancing agent but they love the cake. In a similar vein, Chef Michael Spiwak of The Heritage in Forest Park, Illinois makes a fermented garlic honey that he uses in marinades and salad dressings. The longer the honey sits, the more mellow and sweet it becomes, he says. If you browse the EYB Library, you'll find several dessert recipes that incorporate garlic, including the Black garlic chocolate chunk ice cream from indexed blog All Roads Lead to the Kitchen pictured above.

Other chefs use garlic in unique ways in more traditional savory applications, and a few even tout its purported health benefits. Bernhard Mairinger, chef/owner  of Mairinger Bernhard Culinary, makes a garlic tea, claiming it helps ward of cold and flu viruses. I'm not sure I'm ready for garlic in my dessert or even as a 'healthy' tea, although I did appreciate the tip for using the Microplane to quickly grate small quantities of it. What's the most unusual way you have used garlic?

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