February 25, 2010

The Vampire Slayer

While I am not a Twilight junkie, I’ll admit that I am quite intrigued by the current living dead cultural phenomenon.  If I knew pale skin and stringy hair was “hot,” I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to soak up sun and groom myself.  I also would have bought those Ray-Bans from the ’90s.  But it isn’t just the Vampire look that excites me, it is the social embrace of an aromatic that I dearly love.  Garlic, welcome home.

I rely heavily on garlic to infuse my low sodium foods with a deeper flavor.  A few cloves will bring a richness to a simple stir fry, stock, or sauteed vegetables.  This little powerhouse packs a lot of punch.  And what I really love most about garlic is its chameleon-like properties. The strength of its taste can completely change depending on how it is cooked and even the size of its cut.  If you want it spicy and tart, leave it raw and finely diced.  If you want it sweeter and more delicate, roast it or saute until soft and cut into larger slivers or chunks.

To celebrate garlic’s many facets, I decided to make a slow roasted, rustic garlic and white bean soup last week and then kindly subjected my poor friend Katrina (a non-Vampire genius) to this potent stew right before her dentist appointment.  That must have made for an interesting check up. While I would not suggest serving this soup as a main course, its mild taste and silky texture is a perfect way to start any meal.  It pairs very well with a heavier main dish, like pasta or pizza, and lingering whispers of garlic will arise with every bite.

So instead of learning kung fu or some other form of martial arts, stave off pesky night walkers with a few bulbs of garlic and a can of beans. And to make sure you don’t scare off those you love, have some mints readily available too.  Chow on…soup, not people.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (0 mg of sodium)
  • 2 cans of no salt added cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed (40 mg of sodium per serving)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • tablespoon fresh thyme


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut bulbs of garlic in half and set in a baking pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the open top of the cloves and cover the pan with foil.  Let the garlic roast in the oven for 40 minutes to an hour.  When it is done, you should easily be able to remove the cloves by squeezing from the top of the bulb.  Use a fork tong to help loosen the garlic.  All of this can be done the day before you make the soup.

3. Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add butter until brown.  Since we are using very few spices in this recipe, the brown butter will act as a flavoring agent and will add a smoky, nutty taste to the soup.

4.  Add the garlic, beans, thyme, and water and bring the mixture to a boil, about ten minutes.

5.  Take soup off of heat and blend with your immersion blender until smooth.  Return to a medium flame and allow to simmer and thicken for another 20-30 minutes.

6. Once the soup has reduce by a third, add cream and pepper.

7. Keep warm, covered, and over very low heat until you serve.

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