Garlic Oil Recipe + Tips & Tricks: Garlic, Onions, & Co.

Garlic OilGarlic Oil

½ L. Water

1 Tbs. Salt

1 tsp. Sugar

1 ¼ dl. Vinegar

whatever you want to put into the oil (garlic, ginger, etc. – any strong Allium will taste great!)

High quality virgin olive oil

Bring the water, salt, sugar and vinegar to a boil; toss in your peeled garlic cloves, ginger slices, or whatever you want to flavour the oil with.  Boil about 5 minutes and then drain.  Dry the Allium off with paper towels, allow them to cool completely, & THEN put them in the oil.  Let the Allium blend into the oil for a week or two, and then enjoy!

It is important to boil the Allium first; if placed in the oil raw, it will ferment and produce a primary breeding ground for botulism.  The worst danger from botulism comes if raw garlic is stored in oil at room temperature – or even for too long in the refrigerator. Never store raw garlic in oil at room temperature.

 

Tips & Tricks

Chives, green onions, onions, garlic, leek and scallions are all members of the Allium genus.  Green onions are the same as scallions and spring onions – the terms are interchangeably used throughout the English-speaking world.  Your choice for a dish will depend on your preferences for colour, flavour, and texture.  Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

  • To peel & chop a clove of garlic:  Using a large knife, slice off the root end of the garlic and then lay the head on a flat surface.  Lay the knife flat atop the clove and give it a good, solid whack (I assume you’ll know how not to cut yourself in the process); the clove will slip from the case.  Proceed to chop it as small as you want.  If you sprinkle the cloves with a bit of salt before chopping, they will chop nicely, and not stick to the knife and cutting board as much.
  • If your hands smell like garlic or onion after handling, one trick always works, and you don’t need to pay money for a stainless steel “garlic soap bar”, or any such gimmick:  Simply rub your hands along the sides of your stainless steel water faucet, and then rinse; I repeat this once or twice, and it does the trick every time!   You can also use a stainless steel spoon, rubbing it between your hands under running water, or simply rub your hands on the sink if it’s stainless steel.  The characteristic odour of garlic & co. is formed when enzymes & other compounds come into contact with each other as a result of the crushing, slicing, or chopping; in other words, the more finely garlic is chopped, the more pungent it becomes.
  • When a dish calls for garlic: Just pop the peeled, whole cloves into the dish; after it’s stewed a bit, use a spoon to mash it against the side of the pot.  The softened garlic incorporates into the dish without smelly fingers & cutting boards.
  • When you only need part of an onion, slice from the top end leaving  the root end intact. The remaining onion will stay fresh longer.
  • QUICK ROASTED GARLIC:  Roasted garlic tastes great with so many foods, but it’s hardly a last minute addition.  This method produces the same results in a short amount of time: Slice off the top of the head to reveal all the cloves. Place the head in a small, deep dish, season with salt & pepper, & drizzle with 2 Tbs. of good olive oil. Spoon 2 Tbs. of water into the bottom of the dish, cover it with plastic wrap, & microwave at medium power for 7 to 7 ½ minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before unwrapping.
  • One medium–sized garlic clove equals 1/8 tsp. garlic powder.  But who uses only one clove?
  • The onion, garlic and chive flowers are amazing, yet often overlooked sources of flavour and colour!  Just wash the flower head, pinch at the base to break into individual flowerlets, and sprinkle over your salads, cooked dishes for a decoration, or cook directly into your dish.  They add a burst of onion flavour, and a conversation piece at the table.  If you have a burst of these flowers in your chive-garden patch, wash and dry the flowers and then put in a small tupperware container in the freezer.  Frozen, they will retain their colour, shape and flavour to be tossed in whenever you want them.
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Comfortable Potato Stew

Potato StewFor me, this is one of those “comfort” foods – it always reminds me of childhood, and it was one of my favourite meals growing up.  It’s simple, down-home, warm and filling.  Perfect for a chilly evening.

Comfortable Potato Stew

2–4 med.–lg. potatoes; finely diced or grated

1–2 lg. onions, diced

Fry together until brown (or microwave 10 min. in covered bowl) ADD:

Milk

Butter

Spices to taste

Add enough milk to make a stew, a bit of butter (amount to taste), and spices – salt and pepper ought to do it nicely.  As it stews together, if you need to thicken it add a bit of flour or instant potato flakes.  Cook thoroughly. Also, corn or peas can be added.  Serve it with a good cornbread or Bisquick Biscuits, or saltine crackers on the side.

Evaporated vs. Condensed Milk

Condensed Evaporated MilksOkay, I will admit it:  I have a pet peeve with recipes that tell me in no uncertain terms to use either condensed milk or evaporated milk.  Here in Switzerland, there’s only one kind.  Why?  Because there’s only one kind – they are one and the same.  How many think there’s a difference?  A difference so substantial that it has to be explicitely stressed in recipes something to the effect of, “Whatever you do, DON’T substitute X for Y!  It won’t work!”  I’m here to tell you it WILL work, and what the differences are:

Simply put, evaporated milk has gone through a process that removes up to 60% of the water found in the fresh milk.  In other words, it is evaporated… or in other words, condensed.  Condensed milk, on the other hand, has gone through a similar process, but has tons of sugar added.  That’s why it has a long shelf-life.  Tons – that’s why it’s much thicker.  62 calories per tablespoon thicker.  No matter what the USDA or the FDA says, there’s nothing healthy about that.  Period.

The only difference it makes to your recipes is how much additional sugar you’ll have to consciously add to your recipe if you use evaporated milk rather than sweetened condensed milk.  But I’d say that if you have to actually see and handle the amount of sugar you’ll have to compensate for, it will go a long way to helping you reduce calorie intake, sugar intake, and be more aware in general of what you’re feeding your body.

Use whichever you want.  Make your own (there are dozens of recipes online – because I’ve never made it myself I won’t post a recipe that’s not “tried and true”) so that you know exactly how much sugar is in there.  But just don’t get hung up about the terminology – condensed is evaporated is dehydrated.

TomAto, TomAHto.