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And here’s a close-up for you…

Welcome back, my friends! Hope you enjoyed the last post about National Garlic Day.

As promised, here’s my follow-up, where I’ll reveal my connection with the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and also share my new aioli recipe.

Waaaay back in 1982, I heard that there not only was a big celebration of garlic about to happen, but that a garlic-themed recipe contest was a featured event.


Well, it didn’t take me long to write up a few of my favorites and send them in – but then I pretty much forgot about the whole thing.


Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital” and Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital” are only 30 miles apart.

So, I couldn’t believe it when I got the call that one of my recipes, “Artichokes alla Rosina,” had made it into the Top 10!

All I’d have to do was show up in Gilroy, with my ingredients and equipment, and cook my dish for the Festival judges.

I’d be sharing the outdoor kitchen with the other nine finalists, plus the judges and the press.


My recipe involved cooking whole heads of garlic (with the outer “papery” husk trimmed away and the roots cut off), in the same kettle as the artichokes, with olive oil and lemon juice added to the salted water.


My setup for making aioli (mayo from scratch, plus garlic). I brought my food processor with me to Gilroy.

And instead of plain ol’ mayo, I made a basil aioli for dipping the artichoke leaves – and the tender, extra-flavorful cooked cloves of garlic.

I was sure I’d be disqualified when, in the noonday July heat, my basil aioli (homemade mayo plus garlic and fresh herb leaves) separated in the food processor into stringy white “curds” and electric-green oil.

Luckily for me, though, one of the volunteers was kind enough to stir it back together just before spooning some onto each judge’s plate, alongside the garlic and artichokes.


A well-made aioli has a glossy sheen and a thick, creamy texture.

After the judges had tasted all ten recipes and finished their deliberations, they announced (drumroll, please!) that my “Artichokes alla Rosina” recipe had won the Grand Prize (!!!)

I guess the “Best Use of Garlic” judging criterion had made all the difference.

I had used garlic both cooked (along with the artichokes) and raw (in the aioli)lots of it – and my dish was outrageously garlicky!



Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to share the original “Artichokes alla Rosina” recipe from the contest, because it became the property of the Gilroy Garlic Festival when I submitted it. Buuuut…

My (very garlicky!) recipes appear in all 3 of these books; you’ll also find Gilroy Garlic Festival winning recipes and Top Ten contenders from other seasons in the two books at the front.

Since I love improvising, I’ve tweaked the recipe a lot through the years. My newest version (see below) uses rosemary instead of basil, plus sautéed garlic as well as raw, and a touch of orange juice….

You’ll find my original aioli recipe (along with other Grand Prize winners) in The Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook Volume II and The Complete Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook. (Amazon has them; used copies are very cheap!)

Here’s my new aioli recipe – it’s rich, delicious, distinctive, and quite addictive….




2 large egg yolks

2 Tbl lemon juice

1 Tbl orange juice

1/2 Tbl finely grated orange zest

1 Tbl Dijon(-style) mustard

For raw garlic – 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped – or more, to taste

1 to 2 Tbl fresh rosemary “needles,” chopped

1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

About 2 cups olive oil (mild-flavored olive oils work best), divided

For cooked garlic – 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped – or more, to taste

Optional garnishes – Extra orange zest, rosemary, sautéed chopped garlic



Add first 8 ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend on the lowest setting until the mixture becomes smooth and lemon-colored.

In about 1/4 cup of the olive oil, sauté the second batch (“for cooked garlic”) of garlic until it is translucent and slightly golden, about 5-7 minutes. Let it cool slightly.

With the blender running, add the cooked garlic, a spoonful at a time, through the opening in the cover.

Then begin adding the remaining olive oil through the opening in the cover, very slowly, in a very thin stream.

Taste your aioli a few times along the way, and add salt (and/or more garlic!) if necessary.

When your aioli is a pudding-like consistency (a bit thicker than standard mayonnaise), transfer it to a serving bowl and top with garnishes (optional).

If you want to punch up the rosemary flavor in your aioli, try adding some extra while the garlic is cooking.

Enjoy your aioli anywhere you’d use mayo, and beyond. I especially like it on burgers, fries, sandwiches, steaks and chops, veggies (from asparagus and artichokes to zucchini), and in tuna/ egg/ chicken salads.

As always, feel free to play with the recipe to suit your personal taste – and let us know about your best successes!

Until next time,
Cheers and happy tastings,


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