Posts Tagged ‘garlic’
Ok, so, it turns out that I’m not quite done banging on about garlic. Having just insisted that everyone use fresh garlic, I now have a nice tip for you all: the adorable little ceramic ginger grater languishing in the back of your gadget drawer actually does an even better job of reducing garlic to a smooth paste than it does ginger.
The tiny porcelain teeth make short work of garlic and ginger, but aren’t so sharp as to damage your fingers, so you can really get into it. Yes, your hand will get some garlic on it, but so will anything else you do now that you’re using real garlic. And you need to wash your hands more anyway. Objection overruled.
Furthermore, most other methods (mortar and pestle, flat of the chef’s knife) get multiple things dirty and rely on the addition of salt, whose hard crystals help break the garlic down further. But then your garlic is all salty. Grating the garlic using the ginger grater is quick and easy, and results in a very fine mush that can be stirred as-is into just about anything.
This is particularly nice for uncooked dishes–unexpected chunks of raw garlic can be rawther unpleasant, particularly in summery preparations like bruschetta or gazpacho. And, if you’re doing nearly any kind of Asian cookery, you’ll likely need both garlic and ginger. Do your garlic first, then the ginger, whose fibers will help get all the garlic where it needs to go, and you’ll be sitting pretty.
Yes, hello. It’s been rawther a while since I’ve vented my culinary spleen, so do forgive me as I dust off my soapbox and hold forth for a bit. Today’s topic: garlic. Specifically, the ”garlic” that comes chopped up and stuffed into a shelf-stable jar at the supermarket. Ech, ech, ech, ech. This stuff is an abomination, and I am launching a crusade/jihad against it, much like my campaign against “baby” carrots. Don’t EVEN get me started on the carrots…
Ahem, anyway, garlic. Whole heads of garlic last quite a long time, peeling and chopping garlic is NOT that big a deal–for lord’s sake–and its taste is so, so superior to the jarred kind that it beggars belief. Why anyone with functioning taste buds would use the latter at all is totally beyond me. Really, with all the gadgetry out there devoted to the dismemberment of all things allium (garlic rollers, onion goggles, veggie choppers), I would imagine that the even most sensitive and delicate of cooks would be able to chop their own garlic. And, honestly, if it’s still so bad armed with the latest in kitchen tech, prehaps one should just order take-out and be done with it.
Of course, it’s also important to understand WHY jarred garlic is anathema, and it boils down to the preservatives that are used to keep it… well, “edible”, I suppose. Note please that this is not a takedown of preservatives writ large, just these particular ones in this particular use. Why? Because these additives rob the garlic of nuance and deliciousness, leaving behind only a stank, musty heat and blistering acidity. That acidity doesn’t come from the garlic either. Oh, no.
If you’ve splashed out on the fancy expensive jar o’ garlic mush, it’ll likely be preserved with citric acid. And, while one CAN isolate citric acid from adorable little tangerines and such, most of it is made chemical plants… in China. Plants in China make many wonderful things, but none that I’d really want to put IN my body. If you’ve gone the cheap route, then your garlic has in all likelihood been embalmed with phosphoric acid, a substance also made in a lab, one that’s been linked to diminished bone density and kidney disease. So, like, hooray for THAT.
In any event, why bother preserving something if in the process you kill the aspects (the taste) you’re trying to save? In short, jarred garlic is vile. Buy it fresh and chop it yourself–I’ll even permit, with only minor eye-rolling, the pre-peeled but still fresh garlic cloves one can now find for sale. And that’s the word.
“Knowing that Lacinato kale is one of Joe’s very favorite green things ever–having heard him bang on about it incessantly…” Hmmm. Yes, Luke: “…bang on about it incessantly…”
“Hey, kids! There’s Joe. ‘Running That Mouth’ about… KALE!’”
You make me sound oh-so interesting.
Yet, it’s all true. I do love kale, particularly Lacinato kale (Tuscan kale, Dinosaur kale, etc.) It does have a “Serve at the Flinstone’s Table” appearance and I find it’s one of the sturdiest types of kale out there. It withstands a fair amount of aggressive cooking (Check out Luke’s ribollita) and it is nice uncooked (it doesn’t require a heavy, repeated chew as most other kales do). Read the rest of this entry »
Crazy Saturday night with friends. We continued drinking at my place well beyond our 3 1/2 hour stint at The Gibson, deep into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Stomachs were grumbling so Mr. Fresh sprang into action. Spaghetti aglio olio (garlic and oil), a great dish that anyone can make with pantry ingredients we all have on hand (or should have on hand): garlic, olive oil, spaghetti, chili flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano.
It’s an uber-easy, deeply-satisfying pasta. My pasta rules stand firm: Always cook the noodle two minutes less than the package instructs and toss it with the condiment. Reserve a cup of pasta water to loosen the combined ingredients if they appear too tight. Pre-heat your pasta bowls! Also, right before bringing the nearly-finished product to the table, always give it a spritz of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.
We all greedily consumed this pasta within minutes. Then again, we were drunk and dawn was nigh.