2. Enhanced visual appeal. Again, its the art part of the culinary arts. Of course, no ones going to take out a ruler and measure your knife cuts — unless youre in culinary school. But sloppy knife work makes for a sloppy-looking dish. Skilled knife work indicates a cook who takes pride in their work and doesnt take shortcuts. Its a way of paying a compliment to whoever youre serving the dish to — saying to them, in effect, "Youre worth the trouble."See the individual summaries below for more information on each of the different knife cuts:Mayonnaise RecipeThis basic mayonnaise makes a great sandwich spread, and it can also form the base for salad dressings such as Blue Cheese,Thousand Island and Ranch.For more detailed instructions, see this illustratedtutorial on how to make mayonnaise.Also, heres a tutorial on how to separate eggs.A light, neutral-flavored oil like safflower, canola or soybean oil will give the best results, but any blended oil labeled "vegetableoil" or "salad oil" will do the trick.Finally, it cant be said too often: For safety reasons, use pasteurized eggs for this and any other preparation that contains raweggs.Prep Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 20 minutesIngredients:• 3 egg yolks (for safety reasons, use pasteurized eggs)• 1 pint vegetable oil• 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp white wine vinegar• 2-3 tsp lemon juice• 1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste• Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)Preparation: 1. Let all your ingredients come to room temperature before you begin. 2. Using an electric hand mixer, stand mixer or a wire whisk, whip the egg yolks for a minute or two, until theyre thoroughly beaten. 3. Add the 2 tsp vinegar and whisk for about half a minute. Then add the salt, and the cayenne if youre using it, and beat for another 30 seconds or so. 4. Now, with the mixer going full speed (or with your arm whisking as hard as it can) add the oil very slowly, as little as a drop at a time.
Mayonnaise in a blenderIngredients • 2 whole eggs • 10 fl oz (285 ml) of vegetable or olive oil • 1 tsp of white wine vinegar • 1 tsp of dry English mustard powder • 1 crushed clove of garlic • salt and pepperMethod 1. Place the eggs into the blender or food processor, along with the mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and blend together. 2. Pour all of the oil into the blender in a steady stream whilst the machine is operating, so that it is immediately whisked into the egg yolk mixture. 3. Switch off the machine and taste the mayonnaise. Add the vinegar and any extra seasoning to taste and whisk together one last time.Garlic Mayonnaise (aioli)Use the recipe above for homemade mayonnaise adding 3 - 6 crushed cloves of garlic to thebeaten egg yolks and salt. Proceed as above.Blue Cheese MayonnaiseUsing the above recipe for homemade mayonnaise, add 8 oz (225 g) of crumbled bluecheese into the mayonnaise at the end and mix well.Spicy MayonnaiseUsing the top recipe for homemade mayonnaise, instead of 1 - 2 tsp of mustard, increasethis to 1 tbsp and then add 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce and a few drops of Tabasco.How to Dice an OnionBy keeping the root end intact, this method ensures that you can quickly dice an entire onion withoutcreating a mess. Keep in mind that the more narrow your incisions, the finer the dice.
Step 1: Slice off the top of the onion, about ½ an inch into the surface.Step 2: Rest the onion vertically, slice in half through the root end, and peel back the outer layer.
Step 3: Make vertical incisions down to the root end.Step 4: Make horizontal incisions down to the root end.
Step 5: Dice the onion accordingly and repeat with the remaining half.How to Mince GarlicThis method will allow you to quickly peel and mince garlic. By smashing the entire clove, you alsorelease the flavorful juices. Adding kosher salt and making a paste comes in handy when addinggarlic to a salad dressing or marinade. Step 1: Smash the entire clove, skin on, with the sharp end of the blade pointed away from your body.
Step 2: Peel away skin, and run the knife through the garlic until it is finely and evenly chopped. Step 3: Add a few pinches of kosher salt to work as an abrasive.
Step 4: Use pressure and the flat side of your knife to work the ingredients back and forth on the board, until the mixture resembles the consistency of a paste.How to Chop Fine HerbsThis process is actually defined as a “chiffonade.” For herbs which bruise easily (basil, sage, etc),this method allows you to cleanly and delicately slice herbs without damaging their texture. Step 1: Stack 6-8 leaves on top of one another.
Step 2: Carefully roll up the leaves starting from the root end up to the tip. Step 3: Use a knife to finely chop the herbs, resulting in long, thin strips.Of course, these are just the fundamentals. Master everything here, and we’ll move on to butcheringwild game in the near future.Keep those knives sharp!MMharpening Up on Knife Skillsby Jessica McGovernAbout a month ago Tufts University Slow Foods Student Organization approached me to host askillshare at my apartment to discuss knives, I gladly obliged. The evening began with some basics thatincluded an overview of knives and knife skills and ended by using all of those meticulously cut
vegetables in a tasty vegetable and herb soup. Here are some of the topics that we discussed:Overview of KnivesYou dont have to be a trained chef to produce a great meal. Knife skills are one of the fundamentalcomponents to becoming an exceptional cook. Knives come in many shapes and sizes, each having itsown specific purpose. Many people become discouraged by all of the different options that areavailable, but it really is not necessary to have more than the four basic types of knives.* Chefs Knife- The most versatile of all knives, with a wide blade that is 8" to 10" long. It is best tochoose a knife that feels good and balanced in your hand. The knife should have a full tang (this meansthat the blade should go all the way through the handle for the best wear and stability).* Paring Knife- Paring knives are generally 2-1/2-4" in length. It is ideal for peeling and coring fruits andvegetables, cutting small objects, slicing, and other hand tasks.* Boning Knife- This type of knife has a more flexible blade to curve around meat and bone. Generally4-5" long.* Bread Knife- Bread knives are usually serrated (having teeth like a saw). Most experts recommend aserrated knife that has pointed serrations instead of wavy serrations for better control and longer knifelife. You must use a sawing motion when using a serrated knife.Knife CutsThe main point I stressed when discussing knife cuts was uniformity. If all of the pieces are about thesame size the vegetables will cook evenly. One of the best ways to learn, besides doing, is by seeing.Check out this video by Bobby Flay to see how to cut red peppers and garlic (his favorite).Knife Safety Tips1. Chop slowly and carefully.
2. Always cut away from your body.3. Make sure your hands are dry.4. Make sure that you curl your fingers under on the hand holding the food. This takes a while to getused to, but will become second nature with practice. If your fingers are curled under, the chances aregood you will never cut yourself.5. Watch what youre doing at all times.6. Using your dominant hand, hold the knife firmly and using a rocking motion, cut through the food.The knife should not leave the surface youre working on. Move your hand (with the curled underfingers) along as the knife cuts the food.7. Always make sure that your cutting board is secured and will not move while you are cutting. Tryplacing a wet paper towel or dishrag underneath your board.Sharpening and TruingA chef once told me "a sharp knife is a happy knife." Its a little sentimental for my taste. I prefer thesaying "a sharp knife is a safe and efficient knife." Having a sharp knife ensures that you have evencuts. Dull knives can become dangerous when you apply extra pressure while pressing down on theknife, the extra pressure leads to less control. There are several ways to sharpen your knife such asusing a wet stone, a handheld sharpener and an electric sharpener. Personally, I prefer the handheldsharpener because it is cheap, effective, light and safe to use.
Another tool used to keep your knife sharp, but itdoes not actually sharpen your knife, is called a truing steel. This long, round object keeps knivessharper by straightening out the edge. To use a steel hold the knife in your dominant hand and thesteel in the other, with the steel point pressed into a solid waist-high surface. Hold the knife base atthe top of the steel at a 20 degree angle. Slowly draw the knife down the length of the steel, pullingthe knife back so the entire blade, from base to tip, moves against the steel, as if you were slicing offpieces of the steel. Repeat on the other side. Do this five or six times.Simple Vegetable Soup RecipeIngredients:5 medium red potatoes- cut into medium cubes2 red onions- cut into a large dice4 carrots- peeled and cut into a large dice1 cup mushrooms- cleaned and roughly choppedSlow Foods members cutting up vegetables.1 large yellow squash- cut into a large dice1 head of garlic- peeled and finely chopped2 tablespoons olive oil8 cups vegetable stock5 sprigs fresh thyme3 fresh sage leaves4 sprigs fresh rosemaryDirections:1. In a large saute pan heat the olive oil and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms and yellow squash.2. Cook the vegetables on medium-high heat for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for
an additional minute.3. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large sauce pan. Add the potatoes and cover with the vegetablestock.4. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.5. Add the thyme, rosemary and sage and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables aretender.6. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and serve hot.