6:21pm

Wed November 23, 2011
Food

A Time-Saving Trick For Thanksgiving Cooks

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

So if you're listening to this program while doing some Thanksgiving prep in the kitchen, you might want to turn it up because I am about to introduce you to a potentially life-altering trick. This is called the garlic trick. Now, if, like me, you cook with lots of garlic, then you know it can sometimes be a pain. You'd smash the clove, but you still have to peel off the skin. And it's time-consuming, and it gets your fingers really stinky. Well, your garlic nightmare is about to end.

Our savior or, rather, saveur is Todd Coleman, who is actually the executive food editor at Saveur magazine. And, Todd, you recently posted a video on the magazine's website of this garlic trick, which, you say, changed your life.

TODD COLEMAN: Yes. It did change my life. It was something that I learned nearly 10 years ago. I work in the food industry pretty much all my working life. If you learn this trick early on and you're working in professional kitchens, I think you'd go on at the end of your life to add up to saving a year of your life as crazy as it sounds.

RAZ: Do you think a lot of chefs know about this technique?

COLEMAN: No. They don't.

RAZ: They don't.

COLEMAN: They don't, no.

RAZ: Do you think people listening want us to tell them what the technique is?

COLEMAN: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RAZ: All right. You are - tell me what you have in the studio right now.

COLEMAN: Yes. I have two large metal bowls that are roughly the same size.

RAZ: OK.

COLEMAN: And I have some heads of garlic.

RAZ: Intact.

COLEMAN: Full, intact heads of garlic.

RAZ: OK. And you will be able to peel those garlic cloves within seconds from now, right?

COLEMAN: Seconds.

RAZ: Seconds.

COLEMAN: Like, you know, a head of garlic, you know, this takes basically 10 seconds or less.

RAZ: All right. So go ahead, do it.

COLEMAN: OK. So you take a head of garlic, and you lay it down on your cutting board or any surface, any hard surface. And you raise the heel of your hand back, think - try to channel Bruce Lee and then forcefully come down on the garlic to separate the cloves from the head.

(SOUNDBITE OF THUMPING)

COLEMAN: So there you go. All of the cloves have been separated from the head. I am going to put them in - quite a few of them went all over the studio.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COLEMAN: Put them in the bowl. I'm going to invert the second bowl over the top, grip down and then rattle the dickens out of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF RATTLING)

COLEMAN: And then I open the bowl, and all of the garlic cloves have popped out of their papery skins, ready to go.

RAZ: Instantaneously peeled, which is incredible.

COLEMAN: Absolutely.

RAZ: Now, I am in Washington, D.C. You are in New York. We should be perfectly transparent here. So I did not actually see you do this. I have seen you do this in a video. But in order to test it, I'm going to do it here, and I want to see if it works as well for me. Will you indulge me for a moment?

COLEMAN: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RAZ: OK. So I have a...

COLEMAN: Good luck.

RAZ: I have a full head of garlic here. I have two metal bowls.

(SOUNDBITE OF RATTLING)

RAZ: And I'm going to try this as well. So I take the heel of my hand, and I do a Bruce Lee karate - not a karate chop, just smashing right into it, right?

COLEMAN: Yes.

RAZ: OK. Here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF THUMPING)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RAZ: All right. So I got all the cloves in this large metal bowl. I'm going to put another metal bowl right on top of it, and I'm going to shake this thing for about five seconds, really vigorously, right?

COLEMAN: Yeah. Just really hard, up and down.

RAZ: OK.

COLEMAN: Rattle them around inside.

RAZ: OK. Here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF RATTLING)

RAZ: OK. Let's see.

(SOUNDBITE OF RATTLING)

RAZ: Oh, my God. Every single one is peeled. Every single clove is naked.

COLEMAN: Wow. I know this trick, and I'm excited.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RAZ: This is absolutely amazing. All of the skin, that papery annoying skin is in the bowl. I can just dump this right into the trash can or my - or a composter if you're being very responsible.

COLEMAN: Yes.

RAZ: That's Todd Coleman. He's the executive food editor at Saveur magazine. Todd, thank you so much.

COLEMAN: Thank you, Guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN' GOIN' ON")

JERRY LEE LEWIS: (Singing) Come over, baby, whole lot of shaking going on.

RAZ: And Todd left us with one other great time-saving tip. An amazing method for managing a lot of tomatoes at once, we'll bring you that tomorrow on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN' GOIN' ON")

LEWIS: (Singing) ...going on. Well, I said come over, baby. We got chicken in the barn. Oooh, huh. Come over, baby. Babe, we got the bull by the horn-a. We ain't faking. Whole lot of shaking going on. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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