Tuesday, November 25, 2008

quick tip: garlic

As you might know, this blog is designed to provide recipes that require 10 minutes or less of hands-on time, but do not use any processed convenience foods. We have significant reactions to food chemicals in our family, so while I often want to make quick meals, I can't sacrifice food quality to do so.

Sometimes this means I spend more money to buy "organic" convenience items. For example, every now & then, I'll pickup a box of organic chicken broth to have on hand or an organic cream of whatever soup to use in casseroles and such. Usually, though, it means I prep some things ahead of time just to have on hand for quick dinners. Garlic is one of those items.

I've never found a garlic powder that doesn't cause a reaction, so we use only fresh garlic around here. But fresh garlic can often be a pain. There are times you want to flavor something raw, and raw garlic has too much heat. Or, there are times you want to fry on high heat, which results in little burnt garlic nuggets throughout the food. My solution?

I pre-roast my garlic.

It's so simple & useful that I wanted to share this tip.

Take your whole garlic clove, skin-on. Don't bother separating each little clove, just stick the whole thing in the oven or toaster oven. Bake it on anything between 200 and 425. Leave it in there until the garlic is soft. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

I often stick the roasted cloves in my garlic press to flavor different dishes at the last minute. This way, if they are raw, the garlic adds flavor without heat. And I don't have to deal with little burnt garlic nuggets anymore.

Next time you bake something, try it! Just throw in a whole garlic clove right alongside your dish & see what you end up using it for.

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