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Friday, March 23, 2012

Garlic Wafers - 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #40 Elena Arzak

the "Gourmet" prompt...
40. Elena Arzak- Elena is almost as lauded as her very famous New Basque chef dad, Juan Mari Arzak. She’s the top of Spain’s tree.

Elena was born into Spain's "premier food family" in San Sebastián, Spain.  She was raised in the kitchen doing the thing most all chef's start out with - "the dirty work".  Arzak was built as a house in 1897 by Elena's great grandparents.  They turned it into a wine inn and tavern.  Her grandparents turned it into a restaurant when they took over.  Her father, Chef Juan Mari then Arzak (a founder of Basque nouvelle cuisine) grabbed the reigns next.  At the age of 17, Elena couldn't think of anything better to do with her life than become a chef.  So with the support of her father, she went abroard to study for a number of years and took time to study the roots of Basque cuisine.  She now runs the Arzak kitchen with her father.  She is known for being exciting and innovative.  Like her father, she likes to fuse modern with traditional.  And she is highly successful in that endeavor.

There are not many recipes floating around from Elena.  At least not "here" that I was able to find.  I chose a simple recipe.  Okay, it's a garnish, really.  Originally it was paired with a fish dish that also used serrano ham powder (which I WILL also be making one day soon).  But me and my intense love for garlic couldn't get paste this.  I needed to make a sheet of dehydrated garlic. Needed to.  And I'm happy to have it in my repertoire now.  To add more garlicky goodness to future dishes.
garlic paste

Garlic Wafers

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Keywords: bake simmer condiment vegan garlic

Ingredients (8 large wafers)
  • 16 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the garlic cloves over low heat until they become very tender, ~25 minutes. Drain the cloves and pat dry. In a small bowl, mash the garlic to a smooth paste. Season with salt and nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a metal spatula, spread the garlic paste on the paper in two 6" x 4" sheets. Bake until crisp, ~1 hour. Let cool.

Slowly and carefully peel the garlic wafers off the parchment paper or silpat. Quarter each to make 8 large wafers or break into shards for a bunch of smaller wafers.

The garlic wafers can be stored overnight in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature or recrisp for a few minutes in a 325° oven. Serve as a garnish to any recipe that uses garlic in it.

garlic wafers
In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
*sources: Wikipedia, Food & Wine: The Reign in Spain