Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Peel garlic like a superhero + Kale Killer [RECIPE]

I should have a cape for this.

You know, I have only so much patience for people not recognizing my skills.

Like when, after many years of subscribing to Cook's Illustrated (thanks MiL!), I *finally* had a Quick Tip and was all excited to submit it to them and then what?


Moooooooooooooooooooooths later (2) and no mention of my fabulous mind-bending, life-changing Quick Tip in their big fancy we-know-everything-about-cooking magazine that I worship.


As though they have jillions of backlogged Quick Tips that they're trying to fit into the 10 spaces in the monthly issues or something? Ridiculous! They only need mine!


I have a Quick Tip and if CI isn't going to share it with you then I will. Because it must be known! It is so QUICK and such a great TIP even if I do say so myself, which I do. Often.

And if they decide to share it years from now in their 10 bazillionth awesome issue then so be it. We won't be there to remember that it was mine, but the future generations will know and that will be enough. I suppose.

ANYWAY AGAIN - my Quick Tip, for your enjoyment.

Peel Garlic Like a Superhero

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...I'll stop now.

First, I should say that I don't know what about this method makes it "like a superhero", except that I always feel fast and stealthy when I do it, and so, I call it "like a superhero", so just go with me. Pretend you're Superman in blue tights or something. Good fun.

Basically, the goal is to make peeling garlic so fast, easy and not requiring of extra tools (assuming that you're about to use a garlic press) that you'll have to wash, that when you're faced with a recipe (to follow - patience!) that calls for multiple cloves of garlic, you won't get all UGH but peeling garlic is so annoying and tedious that you just close the cookbook and take out the blue box of mac and cheese instead.

Don't do it! Try this instead and save mac and cheese for White Trash Cook Off Night.

1. Put your sheathed clove of garlic in the press.
That's right - with the peel still on it. SCARY.

2. Crunch down firmly, but not completely - until you hear a nice 'CRACK'. That's the peel going bye-bye.

3. Plop the garlic clove, now bouncing freely inside its peel,
onto the cutting board or whatever and pop off the whole peel all at once.

4. Throw the peel into the compost sack on the counter that you've been meaning to take out (sorry no photo here - take it from me, not pretty) and smush that nekkid clove right back through the press.

And then do it as many more times as the recipe calls for because HOLY SHIT that barely took a second. And those peels are long gone, gooping it up in the composter, where you barely had to interact with them at all.

No picking around at that last transparent skin stuck all to the garlic like glue. No digging chunks of garlic from under your fingernail from when you went at it a little too hard. No mincing mangled cloves that got a little too smushed under the knife using this method.

No, you're a superhero garlic peeler now and you don't have time for all that nonsense. Put on your blue tights (I love this outfit and now I need blue tights.) and lets make something that calls for a lot of garlic!

And you won't even have to make a vegetable for dinner.
Because it's right in there. Nice.

Kale Killer w/ Pasta
Adapted from Pasta with Kale and Beans from Serving Up the Harvest, Andrea Chesman
My changes in bold

3 T extra virgins
4 large garlic cloves DENUDED and minced
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 lbs Russian kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 c chicken broth
1 c shredded fresh Parmesan
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cups orecchiette pasta (shaped like "little ears", you know)

To make
Start a sea-salty pot of water to boil.

Heat your oil in a large saucepan THAT HAS A LID over med-high heat. Saute the garlic and red pepper in there until you can smell the garlic but it's not burning.

Your kitchen will smell like spicy heaven.

Stir in your beans, kale and broth. Cover it up and turn the temp to low, letting it simmer for about 8-10 mins. I simmer longer because undercooked kale tastes like hair and no one likes that.

Our farm share has a crush on kale. This is 1/2 a week's worth.

When it goes in, it's big and scary.

When it's done - it's small and not hairy tasting at all.
Cook the pasta al dente once the water boils and drain it. I wouldn't worry about saving any of the water, I've never needed it.

Stir the pasta in with the kale and beans, grind some fresh pepper on there and add some salt - to your taste. Remember, you're adding Parmesan, too, so it could get salty. Which, for me is awesome, I like salt, but you might have an aversion or something. Just be mindful is all.

Be sure to use the wood spoon you got for $1 a Target 10 years ago. Good girl.

Stir in the potentially salty Parmesan and mix it up until its well blended, but try not to smash all the beans. They are very fragile at this point and don't take well to man-handling.

Yes. Your eyes do not lie. That's a cup of Parmesan. Swoony!

Serve it up with some toasted No Knead Bread and a gin cocktail. Or don't - it's your place.

Yeah, this is the same photo. What of it?

I hope you've enjoyed this installment of Finny is a Nutbag and I invite you to please, come again.

You should know that this is also my contribution to March's Grow Your Own challenge on Andrea's Recipes. If you grow, forage, etc your own food and then make things from it that are edible, you can join up! Don't post gross things though, I don't appreciate that.


  1. I always thought the best way was to just crush the clove, skin and all, in the garlic press and separate the skin when you throw the crushed clove in the pot rather than the separate smashbefore crushing... but that's just me!

  2. How lucky for us that you're a loveable loopy person as you delight us with the most interesting tidbits. I do appreciate the garlic tutorial as I never quite get it right and spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming up new bad words to say. Now I can take care of the garlic in as calm a manner as possible. Oh, and thank you for the recipe, too.

  3. I don't mean to be a wienie cuz your peeler/press is way cool, but if you ever should lose said press, all you have to do is put a chef's knife on top of a clove, side of knife down and the WACK IT with the heel of your hand and those peels pop right the fuck off.

    Low-tech but cool.

  4. I have GOT to stop visiting your blog when I'm hungry. Here is it, past midnight, and suddenly I want yummy garlicky pasta. Bitch,

  5. Fan-freaking-tastic! I love this tip. As I was reading it, I was all 'Hello. I know how to put garlic in a garlic press.' But then, oh wait, you threw that curve ball of genius. I fully expect to see it in the next issue of CI.

    Joey, however, will be sad because she actually likes to pull the skin out of the garlic press. (She's a very tweezer oriented girl. If you give her anything small to pick at, she's a happy kid.)

  6. Great tip. I tried it last night and it was awesome!!!
    For me, the most obnoxious part of peeling garlic with a knife/my fingers was always how my fingers smelled really garlicy even after a whole night and several washings...No garlic smell today!
    You are my non garlicy smelling fingers hero Finny!

  7. Forget the's a Kale recipe!!! {Don't tell...I'm deprived..I don't have, a garlic press. I have to use that goofy smoosh method.) That dish looks yummy -- I've taken note!

  8. Alice - I have no idea - I've never tried it! But you know I will.

    Junie - Yeah, it's not the most earth shattering of tips, but to me, it kinda was.

    This method, for me, removes all of the aggravation so that I can save my energy for figuring out what to do with all that kale.


    jen - Right, but then you've sullied a knife AND a cutting board. And potentially mangled the clove.

    That's my problem anyway. ;)

    Decca - Should I not tell you that we had the leftovers tonight and that I fried up some bacon and mixed it with the pasta and that it made it extra good?

    No, I shouldn't. Because I know you have bacon in the house.

    Good thing I kept that to myself.

    Wendy - What IF that's all I was saying? "Hey - here's how you use a garlic press!" That'd be awesome. People would think me retardo.

    Sounds like your kid is a Pick-o-Matic. That's what Bubba calls me. For my grody picking issues. I like things to be smooth! What's my problem?

    Also, this shit better be in CI. This is the best cooking tip I have!

    Jemima - See! There is a good reason for this to be a tip - no stinky garlic fingers or cutting boards! Thank you for validating me. I feel better now.

    Thimble - Do you really like kale that much? Good for you. I never touched the stuff until it was forced upon me by the farm share. Now I like it, but I don't have your, ahem, passion for it, I guess.

  9. You know M bought me one of those for Christmas a couple year ago (well not just that...) and I never use, but I still end up peeling garlic, so obviously I need to give it another go. I love garlic with greens, will have to try adding pasta the next time I make something like this. Yum!

  10. yep, I enjoyed the installment. Looks amazing! I am new to kale, but currently eating it in elephant-sized portions. Yum.

  11. I had pretty much given up on kale entirely. I tried it a few different ways and just decided I didn't like kale. Then my hubby and I walked into a health food store deli and the girl working there talked us into trying some of their kale-avo salad. A whole new world opened up. Now we actually plant in on purpose and look forward when the next batch is ready. Check out this post with a link to the recipe. Make sure you watch the's all about the smooshing.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.