Sep 1, 2009

What If You Hated Garlic!

Doomsday. Head scratching. No end to your worries. Rummaging through internet sites for that elusive dish that you can treat your guests to without having to sip just wine...or worse pretend that you are full from lunch :(
No way! I know how that feels. Not with garlic though. But with mango. I mean I almost feel like a criminal when I say I hate mango. Its impossible in India. Or so I have been told. You know, over time I have realized its not that bad. And it is possible to like a milk shake with mango but without its all encompassing mangoey flavor. Garlic is a bit more trickier. I feel as though I am being unfair about writing about all these food ventures with so much of garlic going on. Its unfair. It would be like me going through a food blog which had recipes of mango dominating aspects. I would never go through that blog. 
So here are little things which might help if you are trying to maneuver all those otherwise yummy looking garlicy treats. I will also try to post some absolutely without it. But for now here are some tips.
1. If a recipe reads 6-7 cloves of garlic and you are going OMG. Stop. You can always tone down the garliciness (is that even a word?:)). Use lesser numbers. Maybe a couple.
2. The finer you make the garlic the stronger the flavor it will emit. So if something says..' heat oil and once hot enough, put in the crushed garlic..', try fine chopping, coarse chopping as per your degree of  dislike. It will smell less strongly of garlic.
3. Mashing helps. For a mild version you can always mash the garlic cloves. Much much more subtle. 
4. You can also  put whole cloves in the hot oil or as the oil is heating up. The former will  have stronger flavor than the latter. Also you can scoop out the cloves after sometime. Will leave a very mild background flavor. Works actually great for many recipes and its a favorite technique with me :)-- a garlic lover.
5. If everything is failing and a recipe demands GARLIC, you can use garlic oil (found in regular grocery stores. I use the one from Whole Foods). You can even make some at home. Very simple. Heat on very very low, a cup of olive oil or vegetable oil or corn oil (whatever the oil is that you want to get flavored). Add one or at most two cloves of garlic in it and let sit for 15-20 minutes on that low heat. Remove from heat and scoop out the cloves. You have a cup of garlic oil! perfectly ready to use or store or both. 
Pssst: would be such a terrible waste to through those browned up cloves. You can use it in any dishes which use garlic. Will add another layer of caramelized flavor to it. In fact you can use this technique (okay this is for garlic lovers..oh come on how can I help it ) to make strongly flavored garlic oil and caramelized garlic cloves. Idea!
btw garlic is great for your heart and the body as a whole (except the breath part :)).
So if you want to steer clear of garlic--but not quite the recipe..hope these help.
Enjoy!

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