Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Firing Up the Oven and the Oven Hitchhiker, or (Non-)Recipe: Roasted Garlic

2015-08-02 11.49.12

There are things we hold to be true, because your foodie friend who recently remodeled the kitchen told you so, or because the instructions have been passed down far up the ancestry tree. One of these is boiling pasta in a big pot of boiling water (it turns out you don’t have to). I know this because I lived in Hawaii and it seemed like I didn’t need to have the water boiling and adding more humidity to already humid air, just to boil some pasta (and electricity rates being highest in the nation). I would start with a small pot of salted cold water, and it came out fine (I would also turn off the heat before it was fully cooked, and let the residual heat carry over).

I enjoy cooking in the oven, but it would heat up the whole apartment as well, so it becomes a moral and environmental decision. I would justify the use of the oven by baking more than one dish at a time. If you can’t think of another dish that has a similar baking time and temperature, you can fall back on roasted garlic.

Any time I have room in the oven and I need to fire it up for any length of time, I can throw in a head (or two) of garlic with outer skin peeled off but the cloves still intact with one layer of skin. It comes out great every time. It combines my love of “non-recipes” and my personal value to reduce electricity consumption, while not compromising on taste. It’s my go-to “oven-hitchhiker” of a (non) recipe. Yes, I am coining the term oven-hitchhiker, and alongside the other cooking memes: non-recipes and dissolving various pastes into yogurt for marinating meats for grilling (ok, that technique needs a name, too).

Roasted Garlic

  1. Get one head (or more) of garlic. Peel the outer layers of skin so you have just one layer of skin covering all the cloves and they are still intact as a head. Rinse.
  2. Place it in foil large enough to wrap it, or place it in any small oven-proof container. Drizzle some olive oil (or canola oil will do, too, if you don’t like the smell of olive oil). Add a couple Tbsp of water in the container. Cover with foil.
  3. Stick it in the oven before you start preheating at whatever temperature you need for the dish you are using the oven for.
  4. If it’s less than 30 min., then after the main dish comes out, just turn off the oven and let it sit there until you eat dinner, etc. If it’s more than that, you can probably take it out then, let it cool.
  5. Take it out of the oven, and then put it in a container with a tight lid and store it in the refrigerator, or peel/squeeze out the cloves and put it in the freezer (you can divide them into little balls of plastic wrap).
  6. Use in everything…. to add depth to soups, cream sauces and dips (it’s great in hummus); toss with pasta; put it in your stir fry; mix into your burger patties; make salad dressing… the possibilities are endless. Next time something calls for roasted garlic, you would already have some.

Note: if you are concerned that you don’t want your cake to smell like garlic, it won’t. I have made brownies in the same oven. Nothing happened. I have made tres leches cake… nothing happened. Perhaps there are recipes too sensitive for the hitchhiker, but I haven’t encountered one yet.

When roasted, you don’t end up with bad breadth, so you can eat more garlic more often. It’s a win-win-win (and a win, if you count keeping the vampires away).

Photo: The oven-hitchhiker…roasted garlic

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This entry was posted on August 7, 2015 by in Food, Recipes and tagged , , , .
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