I need to clarify here, it’s really not fake garlic, but a faux ‘roasted’ garlic. That didn’t come out right either. So it’s real garlic cloves, but they’re not roasted in the oven for an hour, but instead are cooked in Olive Oil on top of the stove, til they’re soft and a little bit browned. And so darn yummy. I’ve actually been making them this way for years. I was given the tip by a woman at a day old bakery outlet during a conversation about garlic bread. She told me she used to work in an Italian restaurant and they would go through a lot of garlic, but the owner would ‘boil’ the garlic cloves in oil, on top of the stove over low heat, and then use the softened, very flavourful garlic for his garlic bread, or wherever he needed garlic. And with the summer heat upon us, well, in this area at least, it makes sense to make garlic this way and not have the oven on for an hour. And really, this takes very little time on top of the stove. Another added benefit, you have some lovely garlic infused oil you can use to drizzle over spaghetti, add to some butter for garlic bread, or anyplace you want a hint or touch of garlic flavour.
I like to have a whole bulb of garlic done this way, then I just place the leftover garlic cloves into an empty glass bottle, (washed out of course), cover them with the oil and place it in the fridge to use later on. Empty spice bottles are great for this, or just a small glass jar. They will keep for about a month, if they last that long. The olive oil will solidify, but it only takes a few minutes on the countertop to liquify again, and you are good to go.
And since I’m just full of tips today, how about making some chicken stock and freezing it in ice cube trays, I know I’ve talked about this before, but really, having a cube of frozen chicken stock you can add to some packaged gravy to amp up the flavour, so much better. I was making some rice the other night and wanted to get another layer of flavour so I grabbed a cube of my home made chicken stock, (which I’d frozen in ice cube trays), and added it to the rice. So easy and quick. If you’re in the habit of buying rotisserie chickens for an occasional quick meal, then cover the bones that are left with some water, add a carrot or onion, then just let it simmer for an hour. Cool it down and strain the stock and VOILA!!!! you have some home made chicken stock. I find most commercial stock is way too salty for my taste, so I do make my own. It really doesn’t take that long. I’ve even been known to keep a chicken carcass or turkey carcass in my freezer and then cook up a big pot of stock from that. And here’s another hint, those leftover chicken bones, roast them in the oven with a couple of onions and carrots til they brown a little, then add them to pot with some water, lots more flavour that way. Oh and if you have any of the ‘roasted’ garlic in your fridge add a couple of cloves.
And last but not least, if you purchase ground beef in those large trays, and divide up the ground beef for separate meals, freeze the meat in a freezer bag, and flatten it, it will thaw much faster. Better yet, if you’re browning meat for one meal, brown enough for two meals and freeze the remainder. You can always add it to spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, make taco’s, or whatever you use ground meat for. Why not make it easier to get a meal on the table on those days when you are rushed anyway. I’ve been able to get a meal on the table within half an hour using my pre-cooked ground beef and just adding some taco seasoning and we’re good to go.