Grazing with Gary

Grazing the garlic in Gilroy

By: Gary Gilligan
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Well here goes another month, schools start in two weeks and the heat has us all cranky.

Well, this weekend I am encouraging you to venture out to Gilroy. This city is playing host to the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, my friends at the festival put on a fantastic event. This year they have garlic beer, garlic ice cream, garlic wine, garlic fries and all kinds of cooking demonstrations.  

So this week I have pulled out a few Garlic Festival recipes.  It is also the last weekend of the California State Fair, If you have not visited the Farm to see how food grows or the California Kitchen when cooking demos take place, you have missed out on the best part of the fair.

Stay cool and enjoy the last weekend of July.


Garlic Nachos


  • 2 large heads of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • tortilla chips, large bag
  • 1⁄4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
  • 1⁄3 cup sliced pimento stuffed olive (optional)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded and jalapeno flavored
  • Chopped cilantro (to taste)
  • Chopped green onion top (to taste)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat garlic cloves with oil and bake for 30 minutes or until soft and golden.
  3. Cover a 9-inch-by-13-inch, foil-covered metal pan with tortilla chips.
  4. Mash and distribute garlic, onion, chiles and olives evenly over the chips.
  5. Cover with shredded cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
  6. Top with cilantro and green onions.


Garlic Festival Steak Sandwiches


  • 8 bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 top sirloin steak, grilled and sliced thin (about 3/4 pound)
  • 6 french rolls, halved, and basted with garlic butter
  • garlic butter (recipe below )


  1. Garlic Butter: Cream 1/2 cup butter. Add 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed, and beat until fluffy.
  2. In a skillet, sauté peppers, onion, garlic and salt and pepper in olive oil until tender. Brush rolls with garlic butter and heat in oven, or toast lightly under the broiler or over the barbecue. Slice steak thin and place on the bottom half of a roll. Top with pepper-garlic mixture and the other half of the roll.


Calamari in Red Garlic Sauce


  • 1 pound whole peeled tomato (canned or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds fresh calamari, cleaned and cut (squid)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (real sherry, not grocery store kind)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and save rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano


  1. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, add the chopped pepper, garlic, celery, and onion and saute until the onion is transparent.
  3. Add mashed tomatoes and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. (If you are planning to serve the sauce alone, you may wish to add some basil and oregano and red pepper flakes as well).
  6. How to make the calamari: In a very large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat — but be careful not to overheat it — you do not want boiling or smoking, just heating up; otherwise your garlic will burn.
  7. Carefully add wine, sherry and crushed garlic, sauteeing the garlic; Be very careful when adding the alcohol to the hot pan — you may wish to do this away from the heat for safety reasons to avoid flare ups.
  8. Add lemon juice and also drop the rind into the pan.
  9. In a bowl, mix calamari pieces with the herbs and red pepper flakes, then add to the pan.
  10. Saute about 4 minutes over high heat or until cooked — but be careful not to overcook or it will toughen; if your fish seems ready sooner, it most likely is done — the time will vary depending on the thickness of the cut and type used.
  11. Pour hot sauce over cooked calamari and serve over hot, cooked pasta.
  12. You may also use shrimp instead of the calamari, although shrimp may cook even faster.