About Garlic

I read this from Ruhlman today which led me to this article on the garlic germ.

As Dr. Ricky’s comments mention, taste is subjective and I agree. As such, I feel that it is very  important to understand your ingredient in order to create the desired effect.

It’s helpful to know what makes garlic more or less ‘garlicky’. That way, you get to pick the right one for the right application.

In summary:

  • Processed raw garlic loses its ability to produce allicin and hence it’s ‘essence of garlic’
  • Using minced garlic 10-15 minutes later will make it smell more garlicky
  • Garlic germ does not necessarily contribute to bitterness. It could potentially produce more ‘garlicky’ and ‘off-flavors’. Depending on your palate, this could be a good or bad thing.

The One Part About Cooking – The Ingredient

Cooking is about two things; it’s an equation, very simple, regardless of what level you’re cooking at… It’s all about product and execution. If I can get a better product than the chef right next to me, then I’ll be a better chef. If I can get a better staff and a better product, I’m going to be an extraordinary chef.”

– Chef Thomas Keller

On the awesome “Dude, you going to eat that?” blog, Dr. Ricky recently wrote about matching ingredients to their appropriate application. This was in response to a comment I wrote recently that “it’s hard to deny the quality of taste of a well farmed bird.” Dr. Ricky makes a good case of evaluating the ingredients to a targeted preparation. That I fully agree with. However, he also argues that “there are preparations where a factory farmed bird is more appropriate than free range bird. And vice versa.” This is the point I find hard to swallow.

In his article, he takes the example of a Vietnamese beef stew with changes in ingredients from the traditional one. In the example, the restaurant used carrot nubs instead of ‘older, cheaper carrots’ as well as trimmed meat as opposed to fattier portions. In those examples, the cook chose to use (supposedly) pricier ingredients as opposed to rustic ones. Any cook worth his or her weight would tell you that this substitution of ingredients doesn’t quite make sense.

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Foongfest’s Salt Challenge Wrap Up – The Obsession


It’s been about a month and a half since I first got involved in this online cult known as Charcutepalooza. These folks are crazy. They believe in the god of cured meats. They tweet and blog excitedly about getting pork jowls (yeah, that’s the face/jaw of a pig), firm breasts (many claim it’s ducks’ breast), rubbing bellies (of a pig’s), “meating” up with each other, and they worship and adore of lard as though it’s the best invention since sliced bread. I’m proud to be one of them.

February marked the salt cure challenge. What the heck is this you may ask? Well, Cathy aka Mrs Wheelbarrow and Kim aka The Yummy Mummy are challenging us to cure bacon and/or pancetta or guanciale and blogging our results. Well, in the words of Barney Stinson, challenge accepted.

The main purpose of the challenges aren’t so much about charcuterie (that’s cooking devoted to prepared meat products) recipes as opposed to using what was made. But of course, with curing meat being such an integral part of the process, it’s hard to avoid writing about it.

What I didn’t know is that this unleashed some sort of strange passion within me.

Continue reading “Foongfest’s Salt Challenge Wrap Up – The Obsession”