Christopher Ranch

  (Gilroy, California)
Gilroy's finest. Family owned since 1956
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Thanks, garlic!

Much has been written and many movies made about the first Thanksgiving but in my somewhat sparse research on the day, I can find no mention of GARLIC!  I searched several websites for a correlation between garlic and Thanksgiving #1 but, sadly, the food at Plymouth Plantation circa 1621 was, most likely, devoid of any real flavor – at least garlic-wise.

Most sources say the first Thanksgiving was a harvest festival also celebrating the pilgrims’ survival of their first brutal winter in a new land. The celebration lasted three days with enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans, and their feast consisted mainly of fowl (wild turkeys were plentiful), venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash. There was no garlic and, also, no butter as the pilgrims brought no livestock on the ship over – bad news for the dairy lovers in the group.

I can only sigh when thinking about turkey, lobster, clams, etc. with no garlic butter, and I’m wondering how long it took for garlic to find its way onto the tables of Massachusetts residents. Perhaps the Native Americans had already cultivated an allium relative but weren’t ready to give away all their cooking secrets right at the get go.

Evidently, it would be at least another century before garlic went mainstream in some areas of the new world and now, 250 years later, I would like to give thanks to whoever graced that very first dish with garlic. Whether it was a stroke of luck or sheer genius, it must have been a most memorable meal…

Happy Thanksgiving!


Garlic and the Flavorful Foursome

Oh, yes, without a doubt my favorite headline of the week was: “Martha Stewart Liquors Up Turkey Before The Slaughter!” Have to admire Martha’s somewhat humane way of making the Thanksgiving experience less painful for the birds, but if she really wants them to feel (and taste) better, she’ll massage them with lots of fresh, chopped Christopher Ranch California garlic before they head for their place at the table.

While Martha’s at it, I hope she nestles some peeled Christopher Ranch garlic cloves, shallots and pearl onions around them to make them comfy and savoricious – that’s savory and delicious – I know it’s not a real word but it so aptly describes the flavor of this trio of alliums when tossed in a bit of olive oil and baked around poultry or pot roast. Make it a foursome with Christopher Ranch cipolline onions, too. Any turkey would be proud to go out in style with this much flavor and richness.

If you opt for a little more variety than just olive oil, try this blend of alliums, herbs and root vegetables with your Thanksgiving turkey or as a robust side dish.


1            lb. carrots – peeled and sliced in 1” slices

1            lb. potatoes – scrubbed and cut into chunks

10         or more cloves Christopher Ranch Peeled California Garlic

8           Christopher Ranch Peeled Shallots

8           Christopher Ranch Peeled Pearl Onions

8           Christopher Ranch Peeled Cipolline Onions

2            tbls. extra virgin olive oil

1            tbls. butter – melted

1            tbls. fresh rosemary – finely minced

2            tsp. fresh sage – finely minced

2            tsp. dried oregano – crushed

1            tbls. fresh basil – finely minced

Preheat oven to 450º.  Blend oil, butter and herbs. Place all vegetables and alliums in a large baking pan, drizzle with oil mixture and toss until all are well covered. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and carmelized. Use a spatula to remove mixture so you can get all the crispy, carmelized parts out of the pan. Great vegetarian meal or side dish. Vegetables and alliums can also be baked around meat or poultry in the same pan.

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