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If you have a lot of garlic to peel, or if you just use garlic regularly, then you will be pleased to find that there is a way to peel garlic faster. All you need to do is put the garlic cloves in the microwave for ten to fifteen seconds (no longer—they can explode into a stinky mess). The skins will slip off with ease when you use a paring knife or your fingers.
You can peel and crush your garlic easily, too. Just lay the clove of garlic flat on your counter and press the clove hard with the flat side of large knife. (You've probably seen this done if you watch cooking shows like 30-Minute Meals with Rachel Ray—Rachel almost always uses this trick.) This splits the garlic head and makes it easy to remove the skin with your fingers.
Keep pieces of garlic from sticking to your fingers as you chop and mince by first soaking the garlic bulb in a bowl of water.
Did you know that garlic gives off its flavor better in cooking when it is crushed than when it is whole? When you want your food to have just a slight garlic flavor, cook it with whole cloves and pull the cloves out before you eat. When you want more garlic flavor, crush the cloves and leave them in to cook and serve.
If you find that your fingers reek of garlic after chopping or handling the stuff, a simple trick can help you get rid of the stench: just rub a cut lemon on your fingers. (Be careful if you have any cuts on your hands: the lemon will sting!)
If you like garlic as much as I do, you've probably faced this scenario before: you've made a perfect sauce, soup, or stew; but when you added the garlic, it overpowered all the other flavors. Don't throw it out! All you need to do is put a few parsley flakes in a tea infuser and place the infuser in the garlicky food for a few minutes. The parsley will attract and absorb the garlic, and your meal will be saved.