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.