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Basic Kitchen Skills - The Stinking Rose (aka garlic)

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First to let you know about the wonderful little clove that makes vampires and boyfriends run away!


I love garlic, I use it in almost every savory recipe that I prepare.  I had noticed that several of my "apprentice home chefs" really don't have a good idea about garlic.  They shun if for the breath it causes, and many of them avoid it all together.  I believe that the more you know about the garlic, the more apt you are to use this wonderfully edible bulb!

So hope you learn something about garlic in this "ible" and that you join me in consuming what is truly a medicinal food! 

Things you might want to know.....

*Garlic is available year around. but is freshest in in spring and summer. 

*Commercially available garlic comes in almost every possible form: whole cloves with the skin on (my preferred variety), whole whole peeled cloves, minced or diced in a jar, powder, granular and even a pill!

*Fresh garlic has the most medicinal qualities of all the varieties.  It also taste different than the dried forms.  You might actually want to use a powdered form in certain recipes just for the taste.

*Garlic has been heralded for its multitude of healing properties for over 5,000 years.  It has been used as a diaphoretic (make you sweat), diuretic (make you pee), choloagogue (liver cleanser), expectorant (clear mucous form the respiratory tract), stimulant (increasing bile motility), antibacterial (germ fighter), anti-fungal (works against fungi, such as athletes foot and others). alterative (restoring good health), anti-spasmodic (calming the stomach and intestines), vulnerary (such as garlic paste on wounds) vermifuge (to clear out intestinal worms) and even a type of penicillin!
Modern medicine mainly looks at garlics benefits to the heart and blood vessels.  It helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and increases blood flow through the body.
This is only the tip of a very large iceberg, and I include it because I truly believe that basic kitchen skills should include basic knowledge of ingredients.
 


 
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Aerospaced2 years ago
Here I thought only people from Garlic (er..uh...Gilroy ) called it the stinking rose. I enjoy taking a bulb and drizzling a bit of olive oil and wrapping in foil. then roast on an open fire and enjoy.
sadhbh2 years ago
If you want to get rid of the smell of garlic (or onions or fish) off your hands, rinse them under cold water and then rub your wet hands on your stainless steel tap (faucet?) and rinse again...don't know why it works but it does, and is certainly cheaper and more environmentally friendly than those stainless steel 'soap bars'
barefootbohemian (author)  sadhbh2 years ago
I had heard this in the past, don't know why I never tried it. Definitely will try it now. I never heard of a stainless steel soap bar either though. Maybe I just needed someone to remind me what the tap is made of lol. Thanks for a great tip!
fzumrk2 years ago
Good tips. I will second that using the flat of a chef's knife is the way to go. Garlic presses end up taking longer when you factor in the clean up time. Also, I have heard you do not want to use the flat side of the knife technique if you have a fancy ceramic kitchen knife. It will break.

I haven't tried the salt grinding thing yet though.
barefootbohemian (author)  fzumrk2 years ago
I didn't even think of what would happen using a ceramic knife. That would just not be good.... oops!
daresquid2 years ago
You don't need to use the flat of the knife. Just using your palm with your fingertips on the counter, you can "crush" down on the clove in a controlled manner, causing the skin to burst.
barefootbohemian (author)  daresquid2 years ago
I misread that at first in the cyndie_iphone@yahoo.com notification, though it said the person's skin skin would blister and burst - DOH!! I really need reading glasses, especially 1st thing in the morning. Sorry for my "dinginess". Thanks for commenting. Might try that but wouldn't want more galic on my skin than necessary. Smells great in the pan but kinda stinks on the hand.
As I said, a controlled manner with your fingertips anchored. That way you crush just enough to burst the skin and the clove remains mostly intact. You distort and squeeze the clove; you don't try to mash it flat. YMMV, not all cloves cooperate. Really old cloves or dried out ones will not work well. Store bought should be okay, but bulbs from the garden should age a month to stabilize the moisture content a few percentage points less than fresh. There is a sweet spot (also applies to your knife technique) which they cooperate the best, not too fresh, not too old. Oh, and once you have copious amounts of garden garlic, you don't obsessively spend time mincing to tiny bits. It just becomes another vegetable. You dice it some, but you don't need to atomize it due to the quantity you can use.
barefootbohemian (author)  daresquid2 years ago
I will have to try it that way. Essentially, if I am understanding you correctly, is you are just squeezing it out of the skin, like you would some encased meat like chorizo? Not the best example, but all i could think of.
And I agree with that it does become like another vegetable and I do end up just giving it a rough chop most of the time, but when I am cooking for others (even some in my family) I have to be careful that large pieces aren't seen in the food. My father would have not been happy at all with me if he even knew I used garlic in my cooking, he always said it was one thing he just could not stand having. Funny how he never noticed it was there when I did essentially "atomize" the cloves.
No you are not squeezing it out the end like the interior of a sausage. It is like the knife method in which you are distending the shape, but you stop when you hear the skin crack. The skin cracks because you are distending the inner clove and the skin doesn't want to follow the shape. With the knife method, most people go WHACKK! and juice comes out, though I admit the flattened clove is easier to dice. What I am saying is you can achieve the same result, give or take, by the measured pressure of your palm. It's just more subtle and doesn't need the knife. It is handy if you want make less noise or just want to get the garlic nude ahead of time but not diced up, because the knife will not be in your hand. Some cloves will not give no matter what and be just about as crushed as the knife method. It is also a good method if you want to roast whole cloves while they are still more or less intact, just without the skin. Maybe garnish a roast before putting in oven?
Very nice! I do the salt trick too, very handy!