Looking for a really good garlic roaster? Look no further. Check out the pottery creations by Rudy and Andi Bauer at Bauer Haus Pottery. These folks are my neighbors, and we share a mutual fondness for gourmet garlic and beautiful pottery, which on occasion, we trade. Can’t go wrong there!
I have to tell you about Andi and Rudy. Andi likes texture in her pieces and is fond of finding unusual things with which to imprint patterns into her work. She adds a bit of whimsy to her creations. She also has a serious knack for photography.
Rudy is part scientist, part potter. Talk with Rudy and you get a real education in what goes into making pottery – where he digs the clay from steep mountainsides in remote areas, where he comes across rare minerals for the glazes, how he achieves an unusual metallic luster to his pieces, the chemistry behind the transformation that occurs when you heat something to 2300 degrees F or more….
Rudy “claims” to have reached an understanding with his passion for clay over the last 15 or so years, but he still continues this never-ending quest to stretch the limits of what is possible with this most basic of elements from our earth and the minerals that transform a plain pot into a mesmerizing vessel that melds form, function, and inescapable beauty. His pieces make you want to hold them firmly in both hands and then to run your fingers lightly across and around its contours. Very sensuous. Very tactile.
And the result? Truly phenomenal!
What is it with pottery that somehow touches us so deeply? It brings to mind ancient cultures that cross into modern times. It blurs the line between an object with an obvious purpose: filling, holding, carrying, emptying – and the abstract realm of emotion and spirituality. It has the ability to intertwine utility with the essence of who we are, a duality that fools us with its simplicity.
Here is a picture of my personal favorite garlic roaster (center piece), which sits in my kitchen on the window sill and reflects the changing moods of the day outside. Beside it are some other Bauer Haus creations: a French butter dish to the left (the little robin is a memory from my mother), a funky little bird (made by Andi) to the right, a couple of small bowls, and some of my favorite rocks.
So – yes, to roast garlic, you can use aluminum foil – that convenient disposable product that finds its way to landfills – and it will bake up just fine. Cut a small piece off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the tips of the cloves and pour a little oil on top. Wrap the foil around the bulb and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Roasted garlic is always good.
BUT – bake your garlic in pottery – and the garlic is transformed from a mere accessory to the meal to an elegant centerpiece at your table. (I highly recommend a Georgia Fire, Chesnok Red, or a plump Bogatyr variety – or perhaps a Brown Tempest or a Persian Star – so hard to choose!)
In a tradition that dates perhaps thousands of years before Christ – simply drizzle the bulb with the oil of the olive tree, and bake it slowly until it is creamy soft and the sugars are caramelized. The vessel captures the aroma and ensures all of the juices are secure. Roasted garlic done this way elevates a simple dinner to a feast.
Bring the vessel to the table. Slowly open the lid. Deeply inhale the fragrance.
Thank you, Andi and Rudy! I am thankful for friends like you!
And to all my friends in cyberspace, have an abundant Thanksgiving, and of course, remember to buy local!