The Bulb Of The Night

The Kitchen

GUEST: Mr. Vladimir

  V: Good evening.
AB: Oh. Mr. Vladimir. Right on time. Oh, please. Come on in. Come on. That's a very dashing cape you have there.

Mr. Vladimir

  V: Thank you. And please call me Vlad.
AB: Okay, Vlad. Have a seat. I have to tell you I don't take many food phobia cases, okay? But I've looked over your chart and I have to say I am intrigued.
  V: I never cook garlic.
AB: And how long have you had this problem?
  V: Centuries, it seems.
AB: Why seek help now?
  V: Modern vimen all vant chefs. I tried to cook but today's recipes call for heaping piles of that cursed Italian veed.
AB: Vlad, garlic is not cursed. It's not a weed and it's not even Italian. In fact, it's from your neck of the woods, Budapest? No, no. The Carpathians, right?
  V: In the neighborhood.
AB: And yet you don't eat garlic. Fascinating. Um, it says here that you're only available nights?
  V: Is this a problem?

AB: Oh, I shouldn't think so. We'll see how it goes. I want you to meet me at this address, okay? Tomorrow. Uh, let's say around 5 o'clock?

Windward Pkwy

  V: Six vood be better.
AB: Six? Six would be fine. Vlad, trust me. Garlic is a healthful, delicious, unique food. And you're gonna love it, okay? I just want you to keep saying to yourself, "Garlic is good eats."  Say it with me now, okay?
AB & V: Garlic is good eats. Garlic is good eats.


AB: Hey, Vlad. There you are. Hey, Vlad. Come on, big guy. Garlics are over this way. In ancient Rome, there were the priestesses of Cybele, whoever Cybele is, and they would not allow anyone smelling of garlic into any of their temples.

Give Blood
American Red Cross

  V: I always did like those girls.
AB: Then let's see. There's king Alfonso of Spain. He forbade his knights to ever consume garlic. And if a member of his court did eat garlic, the old guy wouldn't talk to them for like 4 weeks.
  V: Zis is my kind of guy.
AB: Well, on the other hand there's guys like Aristotle, though. By 35 B.C. he'd written an entire book about the medicinal qualities of garlic. And did you know that Marco Polo during his travels wrote of seeing the Tartars safely consume all kinds of nasty, raw meat as long as it was eaten with chopped up, raw garlic?
  V: I always enjoyed the Tartars.
AB: You mean steak tartar?
  V: Vatever.
AB: Well, what's important is that the garlic probably kept them from getting sick. Hey, did you know that in 1875 Doctor Albert Schweitzer successfully fought an outbreak of dysentery in Africa using only garlic.
  V: Are you a nutritional anthropologist?
AB: No. I'm not a nutritional anthropologist. Now, come on. The bulb's awaitin'.
  V: [swiftly moves to the garlic]
AB: Now really the only thing that's going to help if you get it ... [notices Vlad now in front of him instead of behind] ... different, different mind set about garlic. What I want you to do is to think of this [garlic] as the exact same thing as this [carton of eggs].
  V: You pull Vlad's leg.
AB: No, I don't pull Vlad's leg. Look. They're both just containers, see. This one [egg carton] holds individual eggs. This one [garlic bulb] holds individual eggs. Look. Just open it up. There. See? Individual egg. And there's even more similarity. Look. This [egg] has got a tough outer shell, right? And inside there's a yolk and a biological fuel tank. This [garlic clove] has got a hard shell. Inside there's a sprout surrounded by a botanical fuel tank. Okay?
  V: So are they all the same, these garlics?
AB: Oof. No. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of different garlics grown around the world. But most of what you're going to find in the great American mega-mart is going to be white, American garlic, probably grown in California. It's got a good garlic flavor and a little bit of, a little bit heat, a little bit of hotness. Now if you run into garlic that's got kind of purple stripes on the outside and you crack it open and the clove is actually covered with a kind of a mauve paper, that's Mexican garlic. And it's great tasting but it's a little, little milder than American garlic. I usually use two cloves of that [Mexican garlic] for one clove of this [American garlic]. Of course, that depends on the size of the clove. You see, the smaller the clove the stronger the flavor.
  V: So that [huge] garlic is less potent than that [smaller one].
AB: Yes. Yes. This, this is actually milder. But you see this is elephant garlic and elephant garlic really isn't garlic. It's a leek. So it doesn't count.
  V: Hmm. Vich do I choose now?
AB: Well, first thing you do is you've got to look at the market. Look around. Is the garlic kept in a refrigerated unit? No. We're good there. Are there any of those annoying mister things around? No. We seem good there. So the next thing you've got to do is pick up a bulb.
  V: No!
AB: Yeah. You gotta pick up a bulb sometime, Vlad. Come on. This one right here. This one's calling to you. It's not going to bite you. Pick me up. Pick me up. Good. Now look at the paper. Is the paper intact? Is it nice and taut all the way around?
  V: Yes.
AB: Looks pretty good. Kind of weigh it in your hand. Does it seem heavy for its size?
  V: Yes.
AB: Yeah. Good. So far so good. Now give it a squeeze. Give it a squeeze! Come on. Firm?
  V: Yes it is.
AB: Good. You're in possession of a great head of garlic. Oh. One other thing to look for. Do you see any black powder? You don't want to see black powder anywhere on there because that means mold. You know what mold means?
  V: Hmm. Death.
AB: Death? Yeah, I never heard it put quite that way, but ... There's one other way to check on freshness although I have to admit that most produce managers really don't want to see you do this. Just take a knife and cut a clove in half horizontally. There. What do you see in the middle?
  V: Vlad sees nothing.
AB: That's right. That's because the sprout in the middle is still immature, okay? If you'd looked down there and seen green, that means that the sprout is getting ready to pop and that means that it would be bitter. [smells it] God, I love that fragrance.
  V: Ehh, get back.
AB: Oh, yeah. I forgot. You ... sorry.

The word "garlic" derives from the two Anglo
Saxon words gar (spear) and leac (leek).


GUEST: W, Socially Inept Equipment Specialist

  V: Hmm. Vat an interesting place.
AB: Hey, Vlad. What's the matter? You've never been in a place like this before? Come on. Come on. Yeah, the thing about garlic gadgets is you have to be careful about is that half of the ones on the market either don't work or they just bring out garlic's, well, darker powers if you know what I mean. Now, I do know somebody that can help us but, uh—well, that is if she's in the mood—I just don't see her right now. So you stay put, okay? Just hang here for a minute or two and I'm going to go find her, okay?
  V: [notices a spaghetti server] Hmm. Vat is dis?
 W: May I help you?
  V: Good evening.
 W: [obviously smitten] Ho, well. Good evening. Uh, can I help you find something?
  V: Hmm. Perhaps I just found it.
 W: Ooh. I was thinking about a kitchen tool, you know, a spatula perhaps?
AB: Hi, W.
 W: Go away.
AB: Um, this is Mr. Vlad. He's very busy.
 W: Oh. Vlad. Very nice to meet you.
  V: [kisses W's hand]
 W: Ooh.
  V: The pleasure is all mine.
AB: Oh, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't do this. Don't feed the animals, Vlad. Never feed the animals. Uh listen, W. Vlad is just learning how to cook with garlic ...
 W: Oh, garlic.
AB: ... and, I thought maybe you could help me, maybe, find some tools.
 W: Oh. Did you know that garlic is a, heh, powerful aphrodisiac?
AB: Actually, you know very well that sulphuret of allyl is a mild stimulant at best and it does not have any localized effects. Now, maybe you could show Vlad some peelers?

W: Peeling? Oh, right this way. This is a professional garlic peeler.

EZGarlicPeeler.gif (10716 bytes)

AB: Okay, okay, okay. Why would you want to spend seven dollars on a plastic tube, okay? When you could get, what, 5 of these little guys for two dollars, okay? And these are good for a lot of other things. You could use them to crack open stubborn jars, they'll keep work bowls from sliding around, you could even keep your cutting board from sliding around. And what's best of all, you could just drop a clove of garlic right there in the middle, fold it over, give it a rub and "pop" right out of the skin it goes.
  V: Hmm.
AB: It's got about 5 tools in one bag here.
  V: Very handy, AB.

 W: But you'll need a garlic press then. All you have to do is put in a clove of garlic and squeeze. You do know how to squeeze, don't you?

[OXO Garlic Press]

  V: Hmm.
AB: Vlad. Don't go there. You don't want that. That thing is a one trick pony, okay? You going to hang with me you're going to have to learn to appreciate multi-taskers. I mean instead of that thing, use one of these [meat tenderizer hammers.
  V: A hammer?
AB: Well, yes. For pounding steaks.
  V: [reels in horror] Stakes?
AB: Yeah, steaks. What's the problem?
  V: [backs into W]
 W: Ooh.
  V: Pardon me, please.
 W: Oh, that's alright.
AB: Look, if you don't want to use a meat tenderizer I don't care. You can use a brick. Just as long as you don't pulverize the garlic which is what that thing will do. You want to lightly crush it.
  V: Oh, okay.
 W: Vlad, you'll need something to get the smell off your hands.
AB: Smell?
  V: Hmm, dees smell I don't like.
 W: Just come this way. Now if you'll just give me your hand.
  V: Um, certainly.
 W: Thank you. If you'll just rub this special metal bar over your hands under running water, the molecular bonds that hold the garlic to your hands will be gone.
AB: [mockingly] Special metal bar. Vlad, it's a chunk of stainless steel she's working on you with. You could get the same results from a stainless steel ladle, a pair of tongs, heck, this board scraper will do the same job and might I add it will do a lot more. That thing's just a paper weight.
  V: Hmm, is this true, Miss W?
 W: Aww, who cares?
AB: Okay. All right. Thanks a lot smitten kitten. Go back to work. Vlad, we're done. Come on. We've got everything here. Just don't look back, okay. Don't, don't look back. Come on. Come on. Just go.
  V: [looking back] Hmm, very nice.
AB: Hey.

The Kitchen

AB: Vlad, it is time you learned the three laws of garlic.
  V: Vat are deese laws?

AB: I'm going to tell ya. Number 1: the smaller the pieces of garlic, the stronger the flavor will be. Big pieces, mild flavor. Number 2: the longer you cook it, the milder the taste. Sweeter, too. Number 3, and this is important: you burn it, it's toast as in all over, kaput. You cannot repair it.

1) small = STRONG / BIG = Mild
2) » COOK / Milder
3) Burn =

  V: Perhaps we start mild.
AB: Sure, mild. Mild's exactly what I had in mind. Uh, but before we get going, I got you an apron. You know, something to protect your tuxedo.
  V: Thank you.
AB: You look good in black. So what we'll do is we'll start with basic, simple, garlicky greens, okay? And for that you're going to need your biggest pan. I like to use this high-sided sauté pan. Put that over high heat. Let it get good and hot. You're also going to need some tongs. You probably have some of these, don't you? You should.
    And we're going to need a board scraper. Anything that's hard and flat. And we're going to use that to crack open these cloves of garlic, okay? This is going to be your job. I'll break them open for you but then I want you to peel them. Now you just lay the board scraper on there and give it a pop. And that will just loosen up the skin. And it's also going to break just enough of the garlic cells to get some flavor going, okay. So I want you to peel those, all right? Go to it. You can do it. I know you can do it.
    Meanwhile, I'm going to gather up the rest of the ingredients. You're going to need some olive oil, salt, pepper and, of course, the greens. Mustard greens are going to be all right?
  V: Yes.
AB: I like them. They look good this year. I've got about three handfuls here which is going to be just enough for one pot. Vlad, we don't have all night here. Come on. Just rub them together like that, okay? And then they will pop, bingo, right out of the shell. Now since they are smashed up just ... good, good, just drop that right in there ... since they are smashed up a little bit we're going to get some flavor out of them. But, bigger is milder, remember, so leave it intact.

AB: Soon as the pan is good and hot, we're going to go ahead and add some olive oil, all right? It doesn't take a lot. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Olive Oil
(Not Extra Virgin)
To Coat

AB: Now what we're basically going to do here, Vlad, is we're going to make garlic oil. The French call this blessing the garlic. We're barely, barely going to pick up some subtle flavors from the garlic ... and give it a little last crush before it goes in.

5-6 Garlic Cloves
Lightly Crushed

AB: Okay, we're just going to move that around in the pan for a couple of minutes just until the garlic starts to get a little bit brown, all right? And then—and this is where the mild part comes in—we're actually going to remove the garlic and use it for something else. This is just flavoring, okay?

In 1999 Americans consumed a record
breaking 2.1 pounds of garlic per person.

The Kitchen

AB: All right, you can see that these are nice and gold now ... uh, Vlad how are you going to learn any of this stuff over there? These are ready now, nice and gold. If we take them any further we're going to break rule number three and they're going to be burned. So it's time to get them out of the pan. Don't, don't get rid of them, though. You can chop them up and work them into some butter, sour cream, heck you can do anything with them. They're nice and soft. There.
  V: Can more garlic be added?

AB: Yeah, yeah. We could do that. Sure. Uh, for instance if we had one clove of garlic sliced up nice ... you're going to have to come over here to see this ... we add that right to the pan. But then turn the heat off, okay? Because there's already a lot of heat in there.

1 Garlic Clove
Sliced Thin

AB: Now if you're going to leave garlic in a dish, you got to be really, really careful about how you cook it. You just barely, barely want it to brown on the edges. So with the heat off we just keep the pan moving, and these are small pieces so this is going to happen quick. I'm going to hit them with a little bit of salt. Are you willing to help me out here?

Kosher Salt To Season

  V: Yes.

AB: Okay, good. Be on those greens. Because as soon as we see a little bit of color here, we're going to want to cool down the pan and those greens are the best ... that's not a handful, Vlad. Vlad, that's like a pinch ... yes. All right. You see that gold? You see it? Do you see it?

Mustard Greens

  V: Yes.
AB: Hit it. Go. Bring another. See how much heat is still in there? Come on. Come on. Bring it. Another. Another. Come on. Be a man, Vlad. Go again. All right, one more time. That's not a full pan of greens. Right in there. Nice, nice. Well, kind of nice. You don't cook a lot, do ya? Now there's a good bit of heat in the pan. We're just going to toss that around. Give it a little more salt.
  V: Hmm. Can you make more garlicky?
AB: Yeah. Of course we could do that. I, I didn't know you we're going to be up for this kind of thing, Vlad. All right. Come on. Sure. Um, I tell you what. If we're going to add it right at the end it's going to have to be really, really small. But we don't have time to mince because, you know, you didn't bring this up. So do me a favor. Just give that a whack. Just right there. Just smack it. That's not bad. That's not bad. All right. We want it to be really small. So I'm just going to chop this up real fast. Okay. Almost ... oh, shoot!  Umm, um, I'm sorry. I just barely nicked my fingernail there. Don't worry, I'll get the blood off that blade. You don't have to worry about it. Not a big deal.
  V: [picks blade up] Hmm. O positive. [sets it back down, clean]
AB: Boy, it sure does smart though. Oh, I sure, could've sworn I got some ... oh well. It doesn't matter. Here we go. The greens are almost done so we're just going to add it straight in. Now the whole point is to get that, that bite, that fresh garlic flavor that we're going to get right out of the end. Okay? Now before we serve it, got to give it a taste, see if it's got enough salt. Yeah, that's good. Let's plate. Can you hand me that bowl? We've got some nice deep flavor, that musky cooked garlic thing. Ah, okay. There we go. There. Now that's going to be great on pasta or you could serve it as a side dish, steak, whatever you want.
  V: Vhy is little pieces stronger?
AB: Why? Why is smaller stronger? You know, to tell you the truth, Vlad, it all comes down to chemistry. Come on.

The Driveway

    [ed: I've added color and underlines to the garlic components to facilitate understanding]

AB: I think I've got something out here that'll help. Yeah. Okay, Vlad. Garlic contains cells, right? And some of these cells contain an enzyme called allinase. Now we're going to pretend just, just for a minute that this flame is allinase, okay, and its only job, its only reason for existence is to find and digest a sulfur-rich amino acid called alliin which are in other cells. Okay, here. We'll say that this road flare is alliin, okay. You hold on to that. All right.
    Now, as long as there are cell walls keeping these two apart [places a fire proof sheet between the flame and the road flare], there's no damage done, you see. The allinase can't get to the alliin. But if we breach these walls in any way by either slicing, chopping or smashing the garlic clove, this is what happens. [removes the sheet and lights the flare] The allinase gets to the alliin and creates an all new substance called allicin. Okay, and this is the stuff that actually creates that strong garlic odor and taste that you don't seem to like very much.
    And here's the thing, the more walls we breach the smaller the pieces we get, the more allicin is produced. Luckily, though, it downgrades very, very quickly. In just a few hours, this stuff is actually going to become a bunch of other compounds, some of which are 50 times sweeter than sugar.
    Now put that thing out and let's go cook.

The Kitchen

  V: Hmm, Vlad has made finished with dee peeling. Are you sure you don't vant 50 cloves?
AB: No, no, no, no, no. Forty is, forty is good. We don't, we don't need fifty. In fact, the dish that we're going to do is a traditional one called Chicken and Forty Cloves, okay? So that's perfect. Uh, do me a favor, though. Make sure that the oven is on 350, okay?
  V: 350.
AB: Now this dish is usually cooked with garlic that's still in the paper, you know. And when it's done you just kind of squish it out like toothpaste. But this, this going to be good. This is going to be better but we're not quite there yet.

AB: All right, you're going to start with a broiler-fryer chicken cut into pieces. You know, legs, thighs, wings, breast, that sort of thing. You're going to season them with salt and pepper, both sides, and then sear them in a really, really hot pan with just a little bit of oil, as much ...

1 Broiler/Fryer
Cut Into 8 Pieces

Season with Salt & Pepper

  V: Are you ready for deese [cloves]?
AB: Sure. Go ahead. When you've got them good and brown the garlic goes in. Just dump that right in there. Good. Great.

40 Cloves Of Garlic, Whole

AB: Next a little salt right on top, a little black pepper. Garlic loves black pepper. And some fresh thyme. You don't want to chop it up. Just sprigs, okay? Right on top. They've got this in your neighborhood, right?

Another Pinch of Salt

Ground Black Pepper

Thyme, 4-5 Sprigs

  V: Yes.

AB: Okay. There you go. Completely covered. Last but not least, olive oil, about half a cup.

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

  V: Vhy so much?

AB: Be patient. There we go. Okay. Lid 'er up. And slide that bad boy right into the oven, Vlad.  There you go. You're the man. Look at Vlad cooking garlic. Good. Good. Now, all we've got to do is kill an hour and a half.

350° Oven For 1 1/2 Hours

  V: Hmm. Kill?
AB: That's a figure of speech.
  V: Drats.

Garlic eaters suffer fewer incidents of stomach
 cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

The Kitchen

AB: [snoring with head on counter]
  V: Vats zhat sweet and musky smell?
AB: Mmm. That's nice, huh?
  V: Yes.
AB: It's the garlic. That's what garlic smells like. Check this out. They are soft as butter but twice as sweet. And of course, the chicken's completely infused with the garlic flavor now. Of course the herbs helped out. But here's the best part of all. See that oil you were asking about? That is now garlic oil. Take this. Just brush that oil on this bread, okay? Put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes until it's brown and then flip it over, brush it, repeat, and you will have made garlic toast.
  V: Why I thought toast vas bad?
AB: No, this is a different kind of toast. This is good toast. Just let me know when breakfast is on. [snores]
  V: Hmm. I am not as scared of garlic as I once vas. When I return home I will enjoy inflicting my found courage on the local villagers.
AB: That's good. That's good, Vlad. Uh, now check this out. Okay. Garlic toast, right? Just take a single clove and spread it on and it will go on just like butter. Yeah. That's the real McCoy. A little parsley and hey, you know what we need? We need parmesan cheese. Um, give us a recap, would ya?
  V: Vell, of course. You must choose your victim ...
AB: I'm sorry?
  V: ... I mean garlic ...
AB: Oh, okay.
  V: ... carefully. You must store it as in a crypt.
AB: Meaning in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, right?
  V: But of course. The smaller you cut the clove, the stronger the flavor vill be.
AB: Um, hm.
  V: But the more you cook it ...
AB: Without burning it.
  V: ... I grow tired of your interruptions.
AB: Hey, okay. Cool off. Go ahead.
  V: The longer you cook the garlic being very careful not to burn it ...
AB: Um, hm.
  V: ... the sweeter and milder the garlic vill be.
AB: You know, Vlad, I think you've got it. Now ... hey, you sure you don't want some of the garlic bread? Try the chicken. You've got to have some of the chicken.
  V: I never eat chicken.
AB: Well, I'm going to dig in, okay? Holy, moly. Would you look at the time. We've been cooking all night? It must be morning out. [opens door to sunshine]
  V: Aaah! [ring falls to the table]

    [picks up ring and blows it off] Silly Vlad. Everybody knows that garlic is the bane of blood-suckers, witches, evil spirits and zombies everywhere. Of course for us nice, living people garlic is nothing but good eats. [takes a bite] Mmm.

Proof Reading help from Jon Loonin & Sue Libretti

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010