Monday, August 8, 2016

The Book of Cookrye guide to Divoon Garlic Bread

Sometimes you really can buy your way out of conflicts. We at A Book of Cookrye, in our staunch belief in garlic, have made the house perpetually smell like that most blessed of foods. Things got even worse as we realized that we have no impending dates, hob-nobbing social engagements, or any other reason why having sauerkraut-garlic surprise on the breath would hinder any otherwise open possibility of fulfillment in life. In the name of domestic tranquillity, we hit Craigslist and invested in what may be the best thing since gas lighting (why have electricity when you can have FLAMES ON TAP COMING OUT OF THE WALL!): an outdoor garlic oven.

Yes indeed, we got a toaster oven that is not allowed inside the house. It is glorious because our belief in garlic has become ever stronger in the face of an oncoming diet. No more will we thoroughly fumigate the house against vampires and romantic prospects in the name of becoming slimme and trimme!
You see, it turns out the reason people put gobs of cheese and butter on their dinners is that without these, many a dinner would taste hopelessly bland. We have seized upon garlic as the answer to our (failing to) slim-down prayers: for a paltry concession of calories, whatever we put garlic in will taste like garlic! Heck, we could put a whole bulb's worth of garlic cloves into one portion of baked vegetables and not have to worry about whether our clothes will fit if we keep the habit up! (This is an exaggeration; we usually only use a third of a bulb per serving.) With that in mind, we will christen our wonderful garlic oven and banish the cigarette smells that were baked into it with (what else?) garlic bread!
And so, we present the Book of Cookrye Guide to Amazing and Divoon Garlic Bread!  In the name of portion control, we will be illustrating this while making garlic bread for one. Obviously, this can be easily scaled up.
Garlic bread has but three components: garlic, butter, and salt. While dried garlic is delicious in many places, it will not do for garlic bread as we will make it today. Nor will that minced garlic sold in jars. No, for today, we will be using fresh garlic (which is cheap even at the snooty grocery stores). Nothing else will be quite as divoon. And we will be using a lot of garlic.

As you can see, by volume this mixture will be over half garlic. You may be looking at this and thinking this is insane. Don't worry about it, just pulverize the garlic however you like. You can mince it, but if you're like us at A Book of Cookrye, you regularly check the discount bin at your grocery store and one day saw they had 40¢ garlic presses. And truly, a garlic press is miraculous at any price.

As you can see, there is so much garlic, the butter (or margarine, it makes no real difference) is barely gluing it together. I would say that at this point you can add salt to taste, but if you were to taste it now, you likely wouldn't be able to tell if the salt was right. You would probably be thinking that the only person who would eat this is someone who eats raw garlic cloves like bonbons. Rest assured, all will make sense very soon. But for purposes of salting, just use about half a teaspoon for every half cup or so of garlic-butter paste. Now spread it very thickly on the bread.

You may be thinking that is a lot of butter to use on bread. However, we at A Book of Cookrye warn you to never try to put straight garlic onto bread without it. We once put pulverized garlic onto bread with nothing else but a little salt, and this happened in the oven.
It tastes fine, but looks worrisome.

Thinking it was a weird fluke, we once again attempted to make garlic bread by simply putting straight pulverized garlic on top of bread. The result was once again a stunning shade of turquoise.
Yes, this is a different piece of bread than the one before.

So, do not omit the butter. And when making the butter-garlic paste, you want enough to really lay it on thick. Garlic bread is not going to be good for you, so you may as well make it into a deliriously buttery, garlicky carbohydrate heaven. You may see the bread with so much garlic it sets your mouth on fire if you try to bite into it and think you've ruined the bread and wasted the butter, but I swear on a plate of spaghetti it will all make sense very soon.
Most people bake garlic bread at a high temperature for a short time- just long enough to melt the butter and toast the bread. This is not what we want to do here. We're going to bake this garlic bread at the low temperature of 300°F.

It will have to bake for a long time- upwards of 40 minutes. You may think that absurdly long for garlic bread, but what's happening in the oven will more than justify the wait. You see, since the bread spends so long in the oven, all that fiery, burn-your-tongue-off garlic paste turns to sweet, almost mellow ROASTED GARLIC which imbues the melting butter with its magic. This marvelous garlic-butter ooze penetrates deep into the bread, which has by now become fantastically crusty on the outside.
However, as a recipe note, if you make this with something as thin as sandwich bread, you will find you didn't make garlic bread so much as garlic croutons.
Your salad won't be as good for you, but at least it will taste bearable.

Let's repeat this wondrous magical process with thicker bread better suited to this divinely ordained purpose. In the name of portion control, we will not use an entire baguette.

Amazing. Divoon. All is right in my world.

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