Garlic is a must in my kitchen.  I love to crush my garlic; it is the easiest and quickest way to prepare it.  Crushed garlic releases a mild flavor over a long period of time.  However, if you prefer a stronger flavor, you can certainly slice it or mince it.  

When buying garlic, look for a tight, compact head of cloves.  The garlic should not be soft, and the cloves should not be too brown or look like they are breaking apart.  Garlic will stay good for up to two months, but you should store it in a dark, cool place.  Once you break the clove from the head when cooking, the garlic cloves will last 1-2 weeks.