Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 9 - Garlic

Week 9 of the 52 week challenge had a great theme - garlic! We love garlic. The only "problem" was that the week before, during the TV show inspired challenge, we made Hawaiian garlic shrimp which used three heads of garlic. I didn't want to make another dish that used a lot of garlic and would have such a similar flavor profile so soon after that glorious garlic dish. After giving it a little bit of thought, I found the perfect solution - I would try cooking with black garlic!

I first saw black garlic at Trader Joe's several months ago. I had been intrigued by it since then but I had no idea what to do with it so I didn't buy any until the week of this challenge. This was perfect for branching out and trying something new, the spirit behind how and why I'm doing the 52 week challenge. I looked online to see how other people used black garlic and was inspired by two recipes (here and here) to make my own black garlic and mushroom pasta.


- 8 oz whole wheat pasta ($1)
- 8 cloves of black garlic ($2)
- 10 oz of white button mushrooms ($1.79)
- 1 large shallot ($0.33)
- 5 green onions ($0.55)
- 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.10)
- 1 tsp sesame oil ($0.10)
- salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)
- handful of chives ($0.45)

The whole dish cost about $6.37, which isn't bad for dinner for two. The most expensive part of the meal was the black garlic. I don't know if the Trader Joe's price is on par with other black garlic vendors since I haven't really seen it elsewhere.

Spotlight: Black Garlic

The entire package of black garlic at Trader Joe's cost $2.99 for a little under 2 oz of garlic. The garlic is black because it's fermented, which gives it a much sweeter and milder flavor than regular garlic. Some people say that the flavor reminds them of balsamic vinegar, but the earthy umami flavor reminded us more of the fermented black beans we use in Chinese cooking (like in the black bean chicken dish we love).

One thing that surprised me was how soft the garlic was. I figured fermented garlic would be softer than regular garlic (since the same is true of the black beans), but I didn't expect it to be this soft. Some of the sites I read said to make sure you cut black garlic with a sharp knife. It's good advice as many of the cloves were so soft that they could have easily turned to paste on the cutting board.

We used 8 cloves of garlic in this recipe, which was about 2/3 of the package we got from Trader Joe's. It gave the recipe a good amount of flavor.


We cooked the spaghetti in its own pot and then got to work sauteing everything else. First the black garlic until fragrant and a little fried, then the mushrooms until they softened, and then the scallions and shallots until they were also a little softened.

Once everything was softened and the flavors were combining, we added the spaghetti, mixed it all together, then added the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Once everything was sufficiently mixed and heated up, and the flavors had time to combine, we turned off the heat and added the chives as a garnish. It was really easy and the prep was not that time consuming either, which was a plus.


The pasta with black garlic and mushrooms had a really nice flavor, most of which came from the mushrooms and black garlic. Mushrooms seem like a good match for the black garlic flavor. Although I thought the black garlic was good, I wonder if we could just use fermented black beans and regular garlic for a similar (or better) flavor result. I was glad we experimented with black garlic for the first time. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of it!

No comments:

Post a Comment