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Please Help...garlic Question!!!!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Whats the easiest way to prepare garlic if you don't have a press or a food processor? HELP
post #2 of 14
By prepare do you mean mince? If I need to make a paste I usually use my mortar & pestle. Or do what Alton Brown does on Good Eats. Slam a block of marble on it.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 14
a good whack with the side of your chef's knife to flatten a bit and mince away!

Nan
post #4 of 14
In order to avoid the volatile oils that are released when you're crushed or pressed the garlics, you're advised to mince it without destroying the pungent pulps as you can.

Furthermore, it is better to add more oil to the garlic. This method will break down even more garlic membranes, which make its extra soft and sweet!
post #5 of 14
I was going to say jsut use your knife.

But i ususally use roasted garlic.

Take the whoel cloves cover with some oil and salt and roast them on like 350 or what ever until golden brown. give the garlic a whole new personality.

plus its softer and you cna make the pastejsut by pressing it with the side of the knife. (it stores well too)
post #6 of 14
I usually smash them with the flat of the chef's knife, then chop a little, then smear the chopped, smashed garlic with the blunt edge of the knife, (angle it so just the blunt edge is flat to the board, the knife blade slightly raised, and push (or pull) in the direction of the blade edge - like you would smear with a spatula to frost a cake, with the blade flat but angled (wish i could draw a picture).
then i scrape it up with the blade and transfer to the oil in the pan or into the mixture of whatever i'm cooking. Beats getting the mortar and pestle out- you always have a cutting board and chef's knife handy while you cook anyway.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 14
Ditto what Siduri said, but we add Malden salt. It helps to break down the garlic to a paste. Adjust seasoning to account for this
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #8 of 14
It depends on what you want the garlic to look like after you've prepped it.

Assuming you're not going to roast:

1. Pull the clove from the head.

2. Remove the loose "paper," but don't waste time trying to do too good a job.

3. Sometimes one end or the other or both will be very dry and tough. If so, trim them with your chef's knife or santoku. Note: The bigger and wider the knife the better.

4. Lay the flat of your knife on the clove, with the edge facing away from you. Holding the handle with your knife hand, rotate the knife slightly so the edge is on the board, and tap the flat gently with the heel of the palm of your off hand. (By off hand, I mean the hand you DON'T use to hold the handle of the knife. You're doing this to make sure the clove won't fly out from under the knife.)

5. Assuming the clove didn't fly away, make sure the knife's edge is on the board, and give the flat of the knife a smart smack with the heel of the palm of your off hand. This will loosen the tight peel around the clove. Do this with all the cloves you'll need before going further. As you gain experience, you'll learn how hard to smack the knife so as to crush the clove or not.

6. Peel the cloves.

7. For most people, the easiest way to "mince" garlic is to smash each clove again again then put them in a pile and "walk the knife" through over and over. To "walk" a knife, rest the palm of your off hand near the tip and use it to steady the knife and keep the point on the board and as you lift the handle up and down in a chopping motion.

8. For most people, the easiest way to make garlic paste, is either to use a mortar and pestle with a little salt; or smash each clove again, mince, put a little salt on the table and rub the garlic into the board with the flat of the knife and pressure from your off hand. Remember, always angle the edge toward the board and away from your off hand so you don't cut yourself.

9. For people with basic knife skills, the easiest way to make slices and slivers is with "claw" technique. More about this later.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #9 of 14
As a side note to BDL's "walking" the knife technique, a number of years ago my wife took an Alaskan cruise with her family. The relevant part of that is that one of the gifts she brought home for me was an ulu knife. I don't have a picture handy, a web search should turn one up. Anyway, it is a sort of a rounded cleaver type thing with a handle. Think of a capital D with a wooden handle on the straight part, a sharp steel edge on the round part. My first reaction was something like "That's nice, Dear"

I am surprised at how often I use it now, it makes mincing garlic, onions , cilantro and such pretty easy. Basically you just rock it over the cutting board with a sort of rotating see-saw motion until your veggies are sized as you wish. A useful toy.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #10 of 14
I've seen those alaskan knives, in principle they're somewhat like the italian two-handled rocking knives, whose name escapes me now. I tried it and it works, but if you have ANY skill with a knife, you can chop ten times faster with a plain chef's knife, in my opinion. It's a question of the shape of the movement, or whatever, i don;t know how to explain it, but the up, down, up, down of the knife "hinged" neatr the point with your other hand is just pure speed.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #11 of 14
Some of the best ulus are made by Knives of Alaska. Google the name. They're a very useful knife. Basically made from a ~60 deg section of a circle. The name of the Italian style chopper is a mezzluna for its crescent name. These are available from a number of manufacturers both in single and double blade configuration.

The mezzaluna is a specialty blade, useful for mincing and not much else. The ulu is another story. While it's an intuitive mincer, it's also a real generalist. A chef's knife or a "Chinese Chopper" from another culture. However, like either of these it takes learned skills to use it for most tasks. And like both, it is especially suited for preparing the cuisine it evolved with. Some people have mobility or hand problems which make these knives very worthwhile, for instance you can do a pretty good job of fine chopping while sitting at a table, or even with a board across the arms of a wheel chair.

For most of us though, neither is much better than "walking" the knife through," aka "two hand rock chop." I recommend either knife if you can afford the time and space for yet another specialty knife. Me, I just reach for the chef's when I start cooking. If you don't know the technique (which is not mine but pretty much universal), I'll be happy to explain. It's easy. Try it once or twice and you'll own it.

The technique Siduri describes is probably a form of rock-chopping. I've also heard rock-chopping described as "point down," if that helps. Rock chopping depends on the arc of the chef's knife blade near the point. The cook lifts the back of the blade, while the tip stays down on the board. The lift of the blade is controlled by the arc of the tip. Then the cook reverses the motion and the blade arcs down. The mechanics involve three fulcra ("virtual hinges" if you prefer) One, at the point of the knife, one at the cook's wrist, and the third at the cook's elbow. Actually, done right with a 'pinch grip," there's a fourth "virtual hinge" at the grip point. It sounds complicated, but isn't really that bad. It's a lot like pumping an old fashioned hand pump, or an old-fashioned car jack. It takes a home cook a couple of months of thinking about it before it finally becomes intuitive. Worth it.

The actual cutting action adds some shearing action to push-cut. The more rounded the belly of the blade, the more shearing. With a little practice, a cook can be very fast. Done one handed it won't mince as fast or as powerfully as done two handed -- because the second hand steadies the knife on its fulcrum. However for chopping tasks where consistent sizes and angles are important it's one of the two best ways to roll.

Perhaps Siduri meant a slightly different chopping technique used mostly with flatter blades uses fewer virtual hinges which mimics a "crack the whip" wrist motion. One essentially slaps the board with the knife. This is always done one handed, and is especially suited to the pinch grip. It's not as powerful as a rock chop but is very accurate, especially when the off hand holding the food is used in a "claw" position.

"Pinch" and "claw" are the foundations of good knife technique.

BDL
post #12 of 14
As usual, boar-d-laze, you stun us with your exhaustiveness. I don't know what it's called, but what i do i learned from julia child in the old tv shows, where she holds the point of the knife down with 2 fingers, and with a very loose wrist, chops really fast with the handle. (or actually, with 2 fingers on the blade near the handle.) I got really fast really quick with that. The smearing is something i figured out to do, don;t know if it's a "technique" or not, just my way of extracting lots of juice from the garlic, esp when i don;t want to bite into pieces of it, esp when raw, or when i donl;t have too much time and want to do a very quick soffritto.

Yes, of course, the mezzaluna, which is the name also of one of the cheftalk people. I find it awkward and unbearably slow. I've seen many italian housewives use it but i can chop a pile of onions much faster than they can, using a chef's knife. If i remember, the alaskan thing was with one handle (right?) and it seemed to be slow too (the turning through the half circle takes time) but maybe i didn;t get the knack.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 14
Yes, that's what people mean when they say, "run (or walk) your blade through the parsley."

Maybe you discovered the method independently, or perhaps you saw it on TV. No matter where it came from it sure works.

I feel the same way, pretty much. They're really only useful for certain foods or for mincing.

Yes, that's the one. I never got it either, but I've seen people who can use one well.

BDL
post #14 of 14
I like to keep chopped garlic handy.

I get one or 2 bulbs. I roll each clove firmly between thumb and finger for a couple of seconds and it peels easily. I chop it into about 6 pieces, discard the ends, and put it into a small clear glass pyrex container. After I've chopped it all up I shake the container a bit to get the garlic to settle, and I add just enough olive oil to cover.

Then I put that in the microwave until it's bubbling pretty well. That takes about maybe a minute, not long at all. I keep an eye on it as it's heating so it doesn't boil over. After it cools I put a cover on it and keep it in the fridge.

That's not the only way I prepare garlic, but it's nice to have on hand for lots of uses. For example, my favorite fried eggs are over easy, cooked in the oil. The pieces also mash easily to add to dips.
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