If pressed, fans of garlic will crush with abandon


Q: Many recipes call for garlic to be diced, which I find to be a tedious process. Why can't I just crush it?

A: Food purists may tell you that crushing garlic or using a garlic press will give a bitter garlic flavor due to the extreme breakdown of the cell walls. However, if you find the flavor to be acceptable, by all means, use a garlic press. The time saved is well worth it.

Q: I have never been able to figure out how to make soft bread crumbs. What's the secret?

A: The best trick to making soft bread crumbs (or bread crumbs from fresh bread) is to thinly slice the bread and then place it in the freezer until almost frozen. The bread can then be cut into coarse chunks and chopped in a food processor or by hand. Fresh or soft bread crumbs store very well in the freezer when placed in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Q: Please tell me how to cook enoki mushrooms. They are so strange looking, like little jellyfish. Does one cut them up or serve them whole with all those little threads dangling?

A: Those unusual enoki mushrooms with the tiny button head and long threadlike stems are not really at their best if cooked. Think of them instead as a beautiful, tasty garnish that will certainly add visual interest. Only the very end of the root needs to be trimmed if it contains any dirt; otherwise leave them whole. They can be added at the very last minute of cooking, such as the final stage of a stir-fry or just before serving a soup.

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