So, yeah, it's Thanksgiving and something like a million people are coming over and you have all these garlic cloves to peel and, dude, it's not even noon and you, like, ran out of coffee two days ago and what were you thinking inviting all those people?
I can help.
I have not one, not two, not even three, but four, four gloriously easy ways to peel garlic cloves. (Plus a fifth, bonus, way which is a bit of a cop out, but it's the best. Totally!)
Taming the garlic monster, or, four ways to peel a mountain of garlic cloves
1. If the papery skins are pretty dry, then put the cloves between your hands and rub, back and forth, until most, if not all, of the skin has crumbled way. Remove any stubborn bits, if need be. And make sure your date for the evening likes the smell of raw garlic.
2. Dump the cloves into a bowl filled with hot tap water. Stir vigorously. Rinse with cold water so you don't burn your little fingers, then remove the cloves from the bowl and slip them out of the now loosened skins.
3. This one is good to do if you have some pent-up frustrations; horrible to do if you have a hangover; and only good to do if you need the cloves minced, not whole. Dump the cloves on a single layer onto your cutting board. Lay your chef's knife on top of the cloves (so the broad side is against the board). Using the side of your fist (the side of your hand, by your little finger), and being very, very careful, smack the knife with a bit of force. This, in turn, will smash the cloves, making them easy to remove from their skins.
4. Buy jars of minced garlic cloves and have done with the whole thing!
5. Get some foolishly helpful (Oh! Can I help?) relative to do it. Thank them profusely, then pop out to "just pick up one, last thing," than spend the next half hour enjoying whatever caffeine-laden delight your friendly neighborhood barista can whip up for you. Giggle quietly.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!