Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sights and Scents at the Bennington Garlic Festival

My mom and I had a great little jaunt over in Bennington, Vermont at the Garlic and Herb Festival. The weather was great, there was good people watching and the blues band was foot-tappingly good. Mom was on the hunt for garden ornaments and edibles and I was looking for more garlic varieties to plant in October since this year's exploratory garlic harvest was so successful.

We saw lots of garlic vendors and chatted them up about different varieties, while sampling many a spicy clove. There were garlic pickle slivers to eat, pickled garlic and lots of vinegars, pestos, sauces and garlic-spiked barbecue seasonings to sample. We had a completely enjoyable day.

There were a couple of fellow Saratoga residents vending their wares at the Garlic Festival, including the very cute young couple that own Rutkowski Farms in Ballston Spa. I bought some Ukrainian Red Garlic from them, some of which we'll munch now and some of which we will plant. The Rutkowskis note that Ukrainian Red is a mild garlic that is especially nice minced into a bread dipping oil and you can see other cooking advice, recipes, and information about different garlic varieties on their lovely, clean website.

The good folks at Saratoga Garlic were also on hand to offer tastes of their luscious aiolis. My favorite was the Saffron Aioli, as documented in this Crispy Cook Action photo.

Mom bought a bottle of Sapling Maple Liqueur for us to toast with later that evening and it was a smooth and tasty product. It is 70 proof, so since I was the designated driver, I had only a dropperful for my snoot at the Fair, but later that night we all enjoyed a proper shot. It would be even more appropriate to sip before a fire in the woodstove, so I will be looking forward to buying my own bottle when I am back in Vermont.

We were full of garlicky ideas after the Festival and so Mom decided to prepare us some Creamy Mushroom Soup, spiked with a lot of garlic and some fresh herbs from her kitchen garden. It was really rich and full of flavor and full of maternal goodness.

Here's my Mom's recipe for:

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Garlic and Fresh Herbs

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (8 oz.) pkg. baby Portabella mushrooms, washed and sliced
Salt and Pepper

4 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (Mom used lemon balm, thyme, oregano, basil, and sage)

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and olive oil in small frying pan. Add garlic, and cook on low heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Mom warns: "Don't let the garlic burn!"

Add slice mushrooms to pan and saute another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Take off heat and add chopped herbs. Mom says: "Let the mushrooms have a little rest".

In a small soup pot melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add cornstarch and stir. Take off heat and whisk in warm milk. If lumps remain after whisking, press sauce through a colander. Heat soup through and then add heavy cream. Just heat until cream is hot and serve immediately.

Makes four small servings. Lovely as a first course for dinner or paired with salad and bread for a light lunch.

I haven't had a soup recipe to send over to my Cook the Books buddy Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her weekly Souper Sunday event, but this Creamy Mushroom soup will be shipped over there post haste. Look for Deb's roundup on Sunday, September 13.


Arlene Delloro said...

What a great day out for you and your mom! We have a garlic festival in Saugerties in the fall. Wish ours combined a few other herbs as it gets rather fragrant with all that garlic. Loved mom's new pet. Peace symbols sure are back in this summer.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry I missed this! Sean and I only have half a bulb of your garlic left (sad face). send more please! -Mandy

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. Reminds me of the times my mom and I would go on food adventures together. That maple liquer sounds like just the thing for a cold February evening by the fire.

Alicia Foodycat said...

That looks like such a fun event! Love the sound of the liqueur.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Sounds like a fun day and the soup looks incredible. Thanks for sending it along to Souper Sundays!

Kim said...

Just coming over from Souper Sundays and I love your blog! I'm jealous of the garlic and herb festival, what a fun event. I bet you and your mom just had a wonderful time. I'm interested in the maple liquor, which sounds very good to me! The soup looks great and anything that mom makes it always good : )

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