So I made Alton Brown's 40 Cloves And a Chicken to just feel better about missing the episode. Well, that and to use the chicken parts I had in the fridge. It turned out really great, though I only cooked it for an hour instead of an hour and a half and used about a quarter the olive oil and chicken stock instead of some of it to just moisten things up here at Dry Everything Out altitude. The meat was tender and the garlic permeated right through. The cloves themselves were buttery, nutty, mild and soft enough to spread like butter on toasted bagels. Really yummy.
I also went wild at Border's today and bought the Iron Chef compodium, Shirley's CookWise, and Cooks Illustrated's The Best Recipe which is an interesting collection of recipes that were all extensively tested, messed with, and then refined. They do crazy things like making 256 creme brules and testing all the combinations of cream, eggs, and sugar and amounts to see what works best and tastes the best. It's kinda the opposite end of the spectrum from Shirley's cooking chemistry, where she explains the chemistry behind the recipe and why it should work and what should get it to work, chemically, and then gives you the recipe that works. The CI folks just test everything without any idea of the chemistry of physics behind it (okay, other than the time McGee wrote about roasting the perfect chicken), and after trying all the combinations they pick what they liked and refine it a little. They're really wild books to have side by side.