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  1. Thursday, October 24, 2013

    2 Totally Awesome Garlic Press Tricks

    About a billion years ago, I mentioned on the blog how I love using a garlic press. My friend Lindsay commented saying she doesn’t like using a garlic press because she feels like she loses so much of the garlic in the process. I responded that I just “re-moosh” it a lot and don’t care that much about the waste. (I know. I’m a total garlic waster. Quelle horreur.) Then someone else named Misty commented saying that she loves her garlic press, too, and that she puts the whole clove in, paper and all. And then Lindsay was like, “That is genius!” and I didn’t say anything because I didn’t really get what Misty was talking about, which was dumb because when I went back to find the comments this week I realized Misty totally linked to a post about her trick and I could have learned this a billion years ago. (Did you follow all that? I think multiple episodes of The Vampire Diaries last night may be having an impact on my ability to communicate like an adult.)

    how to effectively use a garlic press | from @janemaynard at

    I finally figured out Misty’s trick this week and I LOVE IT. It also inspired another trick that I want to share, which isn’t quite as cool but still handy.

    Misty’s Garlic Press Trick: When you use a garlic press put the WHOLE CLOVE, paper and all, into the press and then push it through like normal. Remember all that waste that Lindsay was so worried about? The paper becomes the waste that gets stuck in the press and almost every last bit of garlic gets pushed through. It’s like magic. Vampire Diaries-worthy magic. The other really cool part of this trick is that the garlic press is easier to clean when you use it this way. The paper doesn’t get all stuck in the bumps and grooves like straight-up garlic does. It’s so much easier to clean up!

    how to effectively use a garlic press | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comPut the whole clove in, with paper.

    how to effectively use a garlic press | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comPush it all the way through.

    how to effectively use a garlic press | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comVoila! Only the paper is left behind.

    My Related Garlic Press Trick That’s Not Quite as Magical: Okay, so, you can also use your garlic press to get the paper off of your clove easily. Once again place the whole clove, paper and all, into the press. Then push, but not too far. Just enough to crack things up a bit. Remove the clove from the press and you should be able to easily peel the paper off the clove. Alternatively you can just smash the clove under the flat-side of a knife to get the same effect, which is what I normally do, but the press works great, too!

    how to effectively use a garlic press | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comPut the whole clove in, with paper.

    using a garlic press to get paper off of garlic cloves | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comPress about half way, remove the garlic clove, then pop off the paper!

    Happy mincing and de-papering of garlic!

    Please note: Garlic was harmed in the making of this blog post. In fact, I wasted one entire clove just for a picture. I didn’t use it for anything. I am a true garlic waster. I’m surprised I even care about this cool garlic trick at all.

  2. Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Roasted Garlic Bulbs

    When I went to college in Boston a while ago, there was an Italian restaurant called Vinny Testa’s (I frequented the locations on Boylston Street and in Lexington). Vinny Testa’s was similar in style to Buca di Bepo, except not a national chain, so automatically more awesome. I think maybe the best thing they served was roasted garlic bulbs with bread. The first time I saw those bulbs I thought, “What the?!?” But I tried it. And it was seriously amazing. For some reason you think the garlic will be overpowering and strong, but it’s surprisingly not and is in fact divine.

    Side note: I think Vinny Testa’s might be closed. Can you Bostonians fill me in? I have a sneaking suspicion their roasted garlic bulbs will now forever be a memory.

    This weekend we went to Monterey for a day trip and, on the drive home, we stopped in Gilroy to buy cherries. And of course I had to buy some garlic, it is the garlic capitol after all. With four garlic cloves on my hands this week I decided it was the perfect time to try out roasting some bulbs on my own! And the result was fantastic…Cate was seriously sitting at the dinner table last night after all the bread was gone salivating and chanting in a low, obsessed voice, “Garlic, garlic, garlic.”

    It is SUPER easy to make and such a great side to serve with dinner. Your house (and your breath) will probably smell pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty garlicky (any Larry David fans in the house?), but it will be worth it! Spread this garlic on your bread and you will be eating hands-down the best garlic bread ever.

    I tried roasting the garlic two ways – wrapped in foil and not wrapped in foil.

    As you can see, the bulb that was not wrapped in foil went kind of nutso…beyond caramelized, the bulbs popping out of the bulb. It also cooked much faster this way.

    I personally liked the bulb cooked in foil better. The taste wasn’t different, but I felt like the cooking was more controlled, albeit a little slower. You still get a bit of caramelization on top, but all the bulbs behave themselves. Here’s a side-by-side, cooked with no foil on the left (after I cut the crazy tops off) and cooked in foil on the right.


    Roasted Garlic Bulbs
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    • Garlic bulbs (as many as you think you’ll eat”¦probably two small or one large is enough for several people at a meal)
    • Olive oil
    1. Peel off the papery outside of the garlic bulb, leaving the cloves in tact and their individual skins attached.
    2. Cut off the top of the bulb so the cloves are exposed, probably about ½”³ or so. Sometimes you get a few bulbs around the outside that are too low to make the cut, so I just cut their tops off individually.
    3. If you are going to cook the garlic in foil, place the bulb in a piece of foil, then slowly drizzle olive oil all over the bulb, letting it seep down into the cloves. Wrap the foil around the garlic and place on a baking pan or dish.
    4. If you are not going to use foil, place bulb on a baking dish and drizzle slowly with oil as described above.
    5. Bake garlic in a 400-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes in foil or 20 minutes if not in foil. You basically cook the garlic until the cloves are nice and soft.
    6. Let cool a bit then serve with a knife. Dig the cloves out of the bulb with the knife then spread on your bread.
    7. You could also use the roasted garlic for cooking (think sauces, vegetables, the possibilities are endless!).



  3. Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

    Today I made a quick homemade tomato sauce. Thought I’d share my “recipe” with you. This isn’t necessarily cheaper or faster than jarred tomato sauce from the store, but it is very yummy and fresh tasting. I especially love using this sauce with homemade pizza. Tonight I’m going to add a bit of cream to the sauce and serve it over tortellini.

    homemade tomato sauce web

    The beauty of this sauce recipe is that you can change it up however you like. If you have canned tomatoes, use them. If you have a bunch of fresh tomatoes, use those instead! If you like onion, use more of it. If you like Italian spice seasoning, throw some of that in, too! There are no rules…just play around with the recipe and make it your own!

    Here is what I did today. Other days it might be a little different, but I always follow this basic plan.

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce
    Simple and delicious!
    Recipe type: Sauce
    Cuisine: Italian
    • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (or canola oil if you’re out of olive)
    • 1 shallot OR ~1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced or use your garlic press
    • 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes (I like the petite diced a lot, but you could use regular diced. also, if you have lots and lots of fresh tomatoes, dice those up and use them instead! I would guess you need 4-6 cups)
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 7-10 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped (probably 1-2 Tbsp or so”¦if you like basil, add more!)
    • If you don’t have fresh basil, feel free to use dried spices – but I would add them in before the simmering step instead of after. Oregano, Parsley and Basil are all great dried spices to add.
    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots/onions. Cook until soft, a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to the point where the sauce still simmers. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. (While it’s simmering, you can smash the sauce up a bit with a ricer or pastry blender, to break up some of the tomatoes”¦although I do like my sauce chunky, so I just do this a little bit. Again, just figure out how you like it best and go with it!) Add fresh basil and mangia!

    garlic press web

    A note on garlic: I love my garlic press. I’ve heard from a few chef-types that they don’t like garlic presses because it damages the oils or something. I don’t notice a difference and the press is just so quick, so I pretend I’ve never heard anything negative about the technique. 😉 Also, I don’t put the garlic in with the onions at the beginning of cooking because it can overcook the garlic…I’ve ended up with deep fried garlic before, not exactly the flavor I’m going for in sauce.