This was the best thing I think I've made all year. Chef Michael Psilakis hit the jack pot with this recipe.
Put the garlic cloves in a heavy, covered braising pan or Dutch oven. Add the bay leaf and thyme, a scant tablespoon kosher salt, and 15 or 20 black peppercorns. Barely cover with the oil.
Cover the pan and braise in a 300°F oven until the cloves are pale golden and very tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool it to room temperature.
Transfer the garlic and all of the oil to a sterilized jar. Press a square of plastic wrap down directly onto the surface of the oil. Place another square of plastic over the rim of the jar and twist on the lid or secure with a rubber band. With every use, replace the square of plastic that touches the oil and use a perfectly clean fork or tongs each time to prevent cross-contamination from other surfaces in your kitchen. As long as the cloves and Garlic Purée,are covered with oil, they will last for at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator.