“A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat!”
I think this old Yiddish saying is right on the money. I love the taste of garlic but, it tends to love me back — for days.
The odor of garlic has staying power and can linger in a person’s body long after it is ingested or the cut pieces are touched. Minced or pressed garlic smells much stronger than whole uncrushed cloves. In fact, it is only when garlic cloves are cut or crushed, and the cellular walls broken, that an odor-causing reaction takes place.
The garlic smell is produced when enzymes and a volatile sulfur-containing compound found in garlic mix together. These strong chemicals make their way undigested through our blood stream. They linger in our lung tissue, which in turn results in garlic breath.
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The odor also has a way of coming out of our pores as we sweat (maybe garlic would be a good natural mosquito repellent). I read that even if you rubbed cut garlic on your foot, the odor would still end up in your breath. I have heard that eating a sprig of fresh parsley will help fight off the garlic odor, but from my experience, it offers only temporary relief. Time is the only true cure.
Cooking mellows and sweetens garlic’s characteristic strong, spicy flavor, transforming it into something savory and earthy. Once cooked, garlic infuses deep flavor into soups and sauces and pairs wonderfully with tomatoes, parsley, onions and ginger.
The natural sugars in garlic cause it to brown nicely. But do not let it burn because it will have a bitter flavor.
Baking mellows the garlic and brings out a nutty flavor. It is great to spread on bread and meats.
My husband’s family has a recipe for a pasta dish they call “Olli Gollie.” This easy-to-prepare sauce is made with a whole bulb of peeled, sliced garlic, which is then cooked in olive oil until golden brown. We add a quart of home-canned tomatoes to the garlic/oil mixture along with a sprinkle of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. A large can of your favorite chopped whole tomatoes with the juice can be substituted for the canned tomatoes. As the pasta cooks, I remove a big scoop of pasta water, add it to the simmering tomato/garlic mixture and let it simmer a little longer. The final sauce is light, tasty and full of flavor.
There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; Mexican and Italian garlics, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the gigantic white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three.
Garlic is available year round, but is freshest between June through December. Look for firm dry heads when purchasing. Fresh, whole and unbroken garlic will keep for about two months when it is stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
When preparing garlic for cooking, remove any green sprouts from the center of the garlic clove, as the sprouts can add an unpleasant bitterness. Neither freezing nor drying garlic gives satisfactory results, but pickling or storing peeled cloves in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator will preserve the garlic for up to four months.
I do not recommend storing your garlic in oil, even under refrigeration, because botulism may result. Commercial preparations of garlic in oil have been specially treated to prevent this possibility.
Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using, unless it is added to a liquid-based dish, such as a soup or stew. When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic powder has a different taste than fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves.
Garlic is a great addition to a healthy diet and has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. I read that garlic sales have increased over the last decade ever since researchers said that garlic was associated with the prevention of medical conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, infection and cancer.
Whole garlic bulbs
Dried thyme or oregano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the loose, papery skins off the exterior of the garlic bulbs.
Slice the top of each head so that the flesh is exposed.
Place each bulb in a baking dish, garlic baker or a muffin pan works well for this purpose. Drizzle each head with a couple teaspoons of olive oil; use your fingers to make sure each bulb is well coated. Sprinkle with herbs.
Cover the dish with foil or baker lid and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and golden.
Cool before serving.
Squeeze the soft garlic out of skins and spread over meat, French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic 8 assorted pieces of chicken
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
40 peeled cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Brown the chicken on both sides in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.
Bake the chicken in the same skillet (if it is oven-proof) or transfer the chicken to a baking dish.
Add the thyme, garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of olive oil to the chicken.
Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.
Alton Brown recipe, Food Netowork
1 head or bulb of garlic = about 10 to 15 cloves
1 small garlic clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/4 teaspoon garlic juice = 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium garlic clove = 1 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large garlic clove = 2 teaspoons minced garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 extra large garlic clove = 1 tablespoon minced garlic