A couple who cooks together…..

A couple who cooks together…..

Last week, I saw a great new way to peel garlic cloves on The Kitchn. I “like” this superb cooking blog on Facebook and always find great recipes and clever ideas on my newsfeed. Remember when I made one ingredient ice cream? That was also from The Kitchn.

Anyway…back to garlic peeling. I peel LOTS of garlic. I use several cloves each week to make my ‘house’ vinaigrette and I need it when I make hummus, spaghetti sauce, soups, stews and pretty much all of my main course dishes. So when I saw this video on The Kitchn, I had to try it.

Peeling garlic the old fashioned way is tedious and sometimes painful. Have you ever had the hard skin of the clove stab you under your fingernail while peeling? I have. And let me just say, “ouch”!

Watch the video linked above (I couldn’t embed, sorry) to see a pro do it best. But if you’d like see two amateurs try it, here you go!

Take one nice fresh head of garlic….

and smack it. Don’t beat the daylights out of it, just give it a whack with the palm of your hand, breaking up the cloves.

Find two large bowls that are the same size. ‘Large’ because you need to give those cloves a good thrashing and ‘same size’ because it simply won’t work if they aren’t.

Throw the cloves in one of the two bowls and cover that bowl with the other one, like so:

Pick the bowls up, holding them together and shake, shake, shake. I had my favorite sous chef take care of the shaking. It took a little longer than 10 seconds….more like 30.

Once you’ve given the cloves a solid agitating, remove the top bowl and voilà!

If you have un-peeled garlic after you’ve shaken the bowls, try gently pressing on
them until you break the skin, then try again. Sometimes they need a little
help coming out of their shell. 

Peeled garlic!

Since we had lots of beautifully peeled garlic cloves and a couple of big bushy basil plants in our little herb garden that aren’t going to last too much longer, we decided to make pesto. Bill loves pesto; really loves it.

Bill did the hard work and minced all the garlic and grated all the cheese while I toasted walnuts (I used walnuts because I forgot to get pine nuts – still tastes great and they’re much cheaper) and worked the food processor.

After about two hours total, we had made eight separate batches of pesto.

We had one container for dinner with cheese tortellini and the rest went into the freezer to have later this fall and winter. I realized too late that I should have left the parmesan out if I wanted to freeze it. Next time I will. I think our pesto will still be okay….I hope.

After all that pesto making, we were done with cooking. We decided to ditch other items on our cooking agenda – chocolate chip cookies, tuna pasta salad and chili  – and went to Glen Ellen for their annual street fair instead.

We stopped by one of the local restaurants to see Tori at her new job as a table busser.

Once she was finished, we met up to nosh a little Mexican food and people watch.

We didn’t stay very long as Tori had homework and it was getting late in the afternoon anyway. But it was fun to get out of the kitchen and into the warm autumn sunshine.

Bill and I work well as a team in the kitchen. It probably helps that he’s willing to do most of the grunt work and leaves the ‘creating’ part to me. I can’t say that I would want to cook in tandem all the time, but once in a while is fun.

 Do you like cooking with your spouse or significant other?
Would you try this garlic peeling trick? 



  1. October 10, 2011 / 4:48 am

    I like to cook, but only when I have a few hours of time to devote to it, a rarity these days. Le monsieur makes chocolate chip cookies a couple of times per year, and they are some of the best you’ll ever taste.

    Glad to see you’re up and about and looking fully recuperated!

  2. October 10, 2011 / 5:04 am

    You look fabulous, sweetie!

    I’m salivating at all that pesto . . . I really need to make a huge batch soon. Sometimes I use cilantro leaves instead of basil, which creates a taste I might love even better–and parsley is a great change, too.

    MP and I enjoy cooking together, and that time is something I treasure. Being partners in the kitchen means fun, fun, fun.

  3. October 10, 2011 / 5:14 am

    Our kitchen is so tiny there isn’t enough room for both of us to work in peace. Besides, my husband has this weird thing he does…if I am doing something he will start doing it too, thinking he is helping. Meanwhile the thing I need him to do isnt getting done! I usually kick him out of the kitchen lol

  4. October 10, 2011 / 5:23 am

    @déjà pseu Bill likes to make chocolate chip cookies, too. Maybe our husbands should have a bake-off. Wait….that sounds dangerously fattening 🙂

  5. October 10, 2011 / 5:26 am

    @Aesthetic Alterations I’ve never thought about using cilantro. Would you pair it with pasta or use it in a Latin or Indian dish?

    I know you and MP like to cook, much more than Bill and I do. Cooking together, under the right circumstances, can even be romantic, don’t you think?

  6. October 10, 2011 / 5:29 am

    @Suburban Princess Oh my gosh…that is so funny! That would drive me crazy too. Not a very productive way of getting things done, is it? Unless you are both working on something big like peeling loads of potatoes.
    My pet peeve with Bill used to be that he would clean up behind me. I would wipe down a section of countertop, for example, and he would be right behind me doing it again. He doesn’t do that anymore, at least not that I am aware.

  7. October 10, 2011 / 5:34 am

    I will have to try this way of “peeling” garlic… I tend to just put it into the garlic press with the peel on, a good squeeze, the garlic comes out finely pressed and I can just take out the peel and throw it out.

    That pesto looks great, there’s something really nice about simple dishes like pasta with pesto and a salad with it.

    I love cooking and am lucky enough that Monsieur doesn’t mind helping out and even experimenting in the kitchen whilst we listen to music and enjoy a glass of wine. Wishing you a good week xo

  8. October 10, 2011 / 5:46 am

    Yes I like cooking with him, it makes it easier!

  9. October 10, 2011 / 6:00 am

    The pesto looks delicious! Glad you are feeling better. Alex and I cook together every now and then – our fave time is cooking for everyone on Thanksgiving. xxoo

  10. October 10, 2011 / 7:29 am

    @Mademoiselle Poirot I use a garlic press too if I want it mashed, but sometimes I want my cloves minced or sliced. I think this method is only worth it of you want lots of garlic peeled at once. Otherwise, it’s hardly worth dirtying two bowls.

    We are pesto fanatics around here. Last October we went to Italy and spent a few days in the Cinque Terre where pesto originated…We liked it before going to Italy, but now we’re crazy about it.

    I like to have music going sometimes too. And little wine doesn’t hurt. I hope you also have a great week. xo

  11. October 10, 2011 / 7:30 am

    @Michelle P I find it easier too – sometimes. We both have to be in the mood. He is always eager to grate stuff and chop things which is wonderful.

  12. October 10, 2011 / 7:30 am

    You two are great together and clearly make a dynamic kitchen in and out of the kitchen..am impressed by all that pesto, one of my favorites!! I saw that trick a while back I think possibly on Rachel Ray and do it also…its great and time saving.
    Your daughter is adorable…thanks for taking us along on your fun day.

  13. October 10, 2011 / 7:31 am

    @Cathi I am feeling much better and am going back to work later today.
    Cooking for crowds is lots of work. You almost have to have help – and who better to help you than your honey? xo

  14. October 10, 2011 / 7:42 am

    Cooking together is such a great bonding time. We usually end up dancing around the kitchen. And since I hate peeling garlic I think I will be giving this a whirl!

  15. October 10, 2011 / 7:48 am

    The garlic trick looks like fun, we’ll definitely try it, and yes, we enjoy cooking together in the kitchen.

    I should think freezing the pesto with Parmesan would be fine, has it not tasted good in the past?

    It’s always fun on the weekend to ditch the task list and go out and do something fun. On Saturday we did just that, leaving the housework behind and taking a beautiful drive in the Santa Cruz mountains.

  16. October 10, 2011 / 7:50 am

    @The enchanted home We do alright in the kitchen – most of the time. But sometimes it’s just better if I go it alone. He doesn’t really enjoy cooking unless we are working on a project like stock piling pesto, his favorite.
    Tori is very cute in her little busser’s get up. I think it’s so good for her to work in a restaurant.
    Hope you are well! xo, A

  17. October 10, 2011 / 7:52 am

    @Kate I see you and G cook together often…and I saw your fun FB pictures of you two being silly the other day. Very cute.

    Go easy on the shaking in your condition…better have G do that part. 🙂

  18. October 10, 2011 / 7:55 am

    @Susan Tiner I don’t think the cheese thing will compromise the pesto that much…it’s just that parmesan doesn’t freeze well. I don’t what that will translate to because I haven’t tried a frozen batch yet. I am sure we will still eat and enjoy it even if it’s not as wonderful as fresh.

    It is so hard not to go out and about in this gorgeous weather. The weekend was incredible…and now it’s raining, which I love too.

  19. October 10, 2011 / 7:59 am

    EXCELLENT way to get at the garlic! I’ll definitely be trying that trick… Always a source of frustration around my kitchen. I’m not too into cooking with my spouse, though he really is the one to thank for getting me excited about cooking in the first place. Go figure.

    Glad to hear your recovery is going well and you’re getting out for some relaxing weekend fun!!

  20. October 10, 2011 / 8:03 am

    @Michelle Roebuck Hi Michelle! Yes it is a great way to get those pesky skins off the clove without totally destroying it.

    Is your husband the cook in the house or do you do most of the meal preparation? I think you told me once, but I can’t remember.

    I am at the halfway point for a full recovery….am heading back to work for a couple of hours today. Hope you are well! xo, A

  21. October 10, 2011 / 8:24 am

    I know how tedious garlic can be so I’l try this trick.
    You are looking lovely as ever Adrienne, happy to see that you are out and about.
    My husband does not usually help in the kitchen, although he carves roasts, chickens and turkeys.
    He makes a great spaghetti and pasta el sugo.
    When he cooks for me I feel so special.

    Oh I almost forget he is the BBQ king, I do not even turn it on!
    So I guess he is more help than I originally thought!!!

  22. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 / 8:32 am

    Hi, Adrienne. I’ll give your garlic tip a try. DH does not help in the kitchen, but he does the dishes. Put a little saran wrap over the top of your pesto. Just tap it down – no freezer burn, and the color won’t turn on you, either.

  23. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 / 8:32 am

    Great photo of you! You look AAAAH-mazing….: ) : ) : ). I will definitely try the clove peeling technique as outlined…looks like fun! I am a one woman kitchen cooker person whatever. I don’t like others in there while I am working. Master Bliss is the breakfast chef and I handle dinners. It is a good arrangement for Bliss House. xxBliss

  24. October 10, 2011 / 8:35 am

    Wow! that garlic trick is amazing. Never seen that before. I will certainly try it as we use a lot of garlic too. Your pesto looks absolutely divine.
    I love cooking and Hubs is more of an “experimenter”, which means we can’t usually recreate his successes, as it was usually all very random!
    p.s you are looking fab in the pics xx

  25. October 10, 2011 / 8:56 am

    Hi Adrienne,

    I learned about smacking the garlic with the side of a chef’s knife but I didn’t know about the bowl trick. What a great idea and it keeps the annoying papery parts in one place.

    I love pesto and should freeze some next time I make it. You are a smart cookie.

    Well, I think I mentioned before how my husband doesn’t help cook but he does wash dishes and yesterday he cleaned the kitchen and bathroom floor for me. So I guess I can’t complain. 🙂

    Looks like you had a fun weekend!


  26. October 10, 2011 / 9:29 am

    @hostess of the humble bungalow Bill is the barbecue king around here too. I haven’t touched the grill in years. Back when we ate low carb, he was out there grilling meats and veggies and fish nearly every night! He also makes a great lasagna. I feel special when Bill cooks too – it’s such a great gift.

  27. October 10, 2011 / 9:31 am

    @Anonymous Cynthia, I hope you come back to read this because I want to know if I should still put the saran wrap on even though I’ve already frozen the pesto. If so, should I defrost it a little to get the saran wrap to adhere properly?
    Thanks for the tip!

  28. October 10, 2011 / 9:32 am

    @Anonymous Thank you, Bliss! I feel amazing…truly 🙂
    That is a smart way of doing things – splitting the meals up. Bill takes breakfast on the go, so I don’t think it would work around here. Maybe when he retires in a few years.

  29. October 10, 2011 / 9:36 am

    @Vanessa@Luxuria I like to peel a whole big lot of garlic and keep it in the fridge to grab when I need it.

    Neither Bill nor I are experimenters. I haven’t had much in the way of success when I go it on my own. It must be exciting to eat what he creates though, right? But a bit sad when you know it’s a one time thing.
    Thank you….I feel fab. Really fab. xo

  30. October 10, 2011 / 9:39 am

    @LRS4AMANDA I use the knife technique too, but it destroys the garlic, which sometimes is the intended purpose.
    It does keep all the skins together, unless your bowls don’t fit so well as I found out the first time I tried it. Chasing those thin wispy skins around the kitchen is a pain!

    Your husband did lots yesterday! Any time anyone besides me does cleaning in the bathroom, I am thrilled. That was very sweet of him.

    We did have a fun weekend – went by too fast though. I hope you had a good one too! xo

  31. October 10, 2011 / 12:06 pm

    It’s so weird to me that this is your first time peeling garlic this way. It’s the only way i know how to peel garlic as that’s how my Maman and grandma do it

    I’m so jealous that you and Bill cook together once in a while. I ALWAYS cook alone :(. Maybe that will change in the near future

    xo Stephanie

  32. October 10, 2011 / 4:18 pm

    How fantastic! Hubby made some his healing garlic and white bean soup for me tonight (I’ve been sick all weekend) I will show him this tip for next time.

    Regarding cooking with Hubby…….not unless he’s at the grill and I’m cooking sides. We are both way too territorial about our style of cooking.

    I must share your excellent technique!


  33. October 10, 2011 / 5:25 pm

    Hi Adrienne,

    I watched the video and then realized you had a step by step right here on your blog. Brilliant…i watch the Food Network a lot so i really thought I had seen all the tricks of peeling garlic…but no…this is brilliant! We will absolutely use this method! Yes, i do cook with my husband all the time, we are actually very well matched in the kitchen. I prefer to shop alone though…what about you? Oh, and I can’t believe all that pesto…yum!


  34. October 10, 2011 / 5:31 pm

    So glad you are out and about. I love pesto. My husband and I no longer cook together, but he does cook some.

  35. October 10, 2011 / 5:44 pm

    I love that you and Bill cook together. I am still working on my husband to just clean up the kitchen once in awhile. Don’t even get me started. I love garlic so thanks for this tip on how to peel it in batches.

  36. October 10, 2011 / 8:16 pm

    What a great tip for the garlic. I use loads of garlic (seriously, loads) so I’m definitely going to give it a try, because I’ve said “ouch” more than once while peeling

  37. October 10, 2011 / 8:28 pm

    I’m bad with buying the pre minced jars or garlic, unless I am roasting it. We can buy a good Australian garlic paste at Coles here in oz. I can’t stand my husband in the kitchen, he is far too messy for me. The barbecue is his cooking apparatus and I have to tell him to clean it all the time. I hate dirty BBQs and burnt on stuff getting on my food.

  38. October 10, 2011 / 8:49 pm

    @Stephanie You are one lucky young lady to have such a smart mother and grandmother. And here I thought this was a “new” trick!

    I know you won’t always cook alone. Once all your hard work and studying is behind you, you’ll find someone to cook with 🙂 xo

  39. October 10, 2011 / 9:02 pm

    @Karen at French Skinny So sorry to hear that you are under the weather but at least you had a special and delicious sounding soup made just for you.

    I think if Bill really embraced cooking, we would also be territorial, but he’s hasn’t. He just does what I ask – he’s very helpful. Helped again with dinner tonight, in fact 🙂 xo

  40. October 10, 2011 / 9:09 pm

    @annie I hope you find this trick as helpful as I do. It really is a huge time saver.

    I don’t usually shop with Bill – only if we have to pop in for a few things. But recently, we went together for a big shopping outing to the market since I wasn’t able to lift things (recovering from surgery) and we did just fine – no impatient huffing or puffing and not too many questions about why we need this or that. It was kind of fun!

  41. October 10, 2011 / 9:11 pm

    @Hines-Sight I am sure it’s hard to cook together when you have little ones. It sounds like you two take turns handling the meals, yes?

  42. October 10, 2011 / 9:12 pm

    @jill815 I married someone who is much neater and cleaner than I am…not that I am some slob. It’s just hard to compete with a man who has been fire department trained to clean since he was 16. So I don’t! I let him “win” the neat and clean competition 🙂

  43. October 10, 2011 / 9:14 pm

    @Sara Louise So you know what I mean about those garlic skins stabbing under the fingernails. I can’t stand that! It hurts for days sometimes. I am sure where you live, garlic is a staple in most of your cooking….us too. I go through it like crazy.

  44. October 10, 2011 / 9:17 pm

    @mummaduckaSometimes I think about just buying the jarred minced garlic – it really would be so much easier, but I don’t. Now I can at least save myself the time and annoyance of peeling loads of cloves.

    Dirty barbecues are yucky. Bill keep his grill very clean, thankfully. Too bad about your husband being messy in the kitchen…at least he does do some grilling.

  45. October 10, 2011 / 9:18 pm

    Well,it is fun to cook with my hubby, but then he ends up being the alpha bossing me into a beta :-(. And my preschooler does help in stuff like decorating cakes, making sandwiches and stuff. Kids are better than men, I’ve realized 🙂

  46. October 10, 2011 / 9:24 pm

    @beingFab That’s funny 🙂

    Bill doesn’t boss me in the kitchen, I boss him if anything. But he does boss me with cleaning and yard work and such. He sometimes forgets that he’s not at work and I don’t need to be managed – okay, I ‘usually’ don’t need to be managed.

    Kids are great with helping in the kitchen…so eager! Tori still does cook now and then when she has the time. I convinced her to make a salad tonight to have with dinner – such a big help.
    xo, A

  47. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 / 11:04 pm

    Hi Adrienne,

    I remember freezing a huge batch of pesto that ended up with freezer burn. 🙁 After that, the saran wrap patted down on top seemed to take care of that. As for thawing it out a little, I would give it a try. Otherwise, you’ll have freezer burn. If it’s too late this time around, remember it for the next time.

    And yes, cilantro pesto is fantastic, too. I often do that with leftover cilantro, even it it’s just freezing into an ice cube tray.

    Good luck!

  48. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 / 11:06 pm

    P.S. Cilantro pesto and salmon or another fish…..mwah!


  49. October 11, 2011 / 8:10 am

    That pesto looks great, and I will definitely tell Wilzie about that garlic peeling method (since I am the sous chef in our kitchen).
    You look fantastic, and the street fair looked fun.
    Off topic – does it mean I am watching too much Breaking Bad when I see “cook” and I automatically think “meth”?

  50. October 11, 2011 / 8:31 am


    I’m the primary dinner cook of the household, though my husband (as a work-at-home daddy) does plenty of meal preparation, including packing school lunches for our eldest son each morning. Funny part is, we tend to do separate grocery shopping – he goes for the things he uses for breakfasts and lunches; I go for the dinners and extras. I guess it just developed organically from our circumstances but at least we rarely ever buy too much of anything, though we do tend to have several dozen eggs on hand at any given moment. 😀

  51. October 13, 2011 / 8:38 pm

    The garlic peeling trip is FABULOUS and I can’t wait to try it. Your husband makes a very willing and handsome helper. What a guy.

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