There it was, towering among a pile of bleached garlic braids and heads at the sampling table at work. An industrial-sized bin. Five pounds of peeled garlic.
All my coworkers were, understandably, intimidated.
They took a head or two. They grabbed a braid for their kitchens. Awash in greed and drunk on self-confidence, I snatched the industrial-sized bin and sped back to my desk to adore my bounty.
And then, of course, the inevitable question. What the heck does one do with five pounds of peeled garlic?
Mmmm... delicious, savory vampire bane.
Garlic heads keep longer. Garlic braids can be dried and hung as decoration. Preserved garlic will sit in your fridge for months.
For someone who's been trained rigorously in the art of kitchen economy, five pounds of peeled garlic looms like a ticking bomb.
I had to meet a friend for a burger and beer dinner at her favorite dive bar, so the jug o' garlic came along for the ride.
Seeing it propped up there on the bar, I finally fully realized the burden of bounty.
Five pounds of garlic.
Nobody at the bar would take any of it off my hands (chickens) and I realized that casual use would only send me through slightly less than a head's worth every week.
Moreover, upgrading my regular garlic intake wasn't going to help my social life. My five-pound friend was threatening to go horribly bad before April, so I knew drastic measures were required.
I scrolled through a mental list of garlic-heavy recipes... 40-Clove Garlic Chicken might seem like a lot of garlic when you're doing the peeling prep work, but 40 cloves only actually amounts to about a half-pound.
That'd be 10 batches of 40-Clove Garlic Chicken and probable death threats from my roomie. Not acceptable.
There's always garlic jelly and pickling, truly time-honored preservation methods, but I had my mind set on something fast and simple. Something I could do on a Saturday whilst painting the kitchen.
The shining answer to my windfall woes? A roasted garlic spread, of course!
It's hardly worth a recipe, so I'll simply describe...
Generously bathe peeled garlic in vegetable oil (I like olive or canola), spread on a cookie sheet and roast until browned and soft in a 375°F oven. Remove from the heat and puree with a bit of salt and pepper. Pack the fragrantly sweet results into a pint or quart container.
Two and a half pounds' worth of silky white cloves turned gloriously golden and were ready to freeze, slather on flatbread or blend into recipes. This one delicious recipe got me half-way through the jug and bought me some serious fridge space.
So, 2.5 pounds down. I'll let you know in Part II of this post what happens to the other 2.5.