If you like your bass, trout, branzino, or other fish with super crispy skin, you need to dry it out a little before you get cooking.
According to Chef Donald Link at Bon Appétit, fish with wet skin will steam and stick to your pan. If it doesn’t end up ripping apart while you cook it, the skin will still be pretty soggy regardless. To avoid that, Link suggests you pull out your fish fillets one hour before cooking, stick them on a plate skin side up (no seasoning yet), and let them sit uncovered in the fridge. This will give the excess moisture time to evaporate from the skin so it ends up perfectly crispy when it’s cooked. You might want to steer clear of non-stick skillets too.
If you’re going to serve fish with the skin, you want it to be crisp, not unappetizing and soggy. Your first instinct may be to reach for a non-stick skillet, but that won’t get you the best result.
Serious Eats tested non-stick, cast iron, and stainless steel against each other. Here are the results:
In the photo above are three pieces of snapper, which I cooked in three different skillets over the exact same heat setting on an induction range. As you can see, the cast iron and stainless steel (at left and middle in the photo) produced very similar results; I’d say they’re just about equal. The nonstick (at right) was close, but the skin wasn’t quite as crisp as it was with the other two.
Furthermore, non-stick pans can lose their coating over time if you use them for high heat cooking (like pan frying fish skin).
Using the right skillet is just one part of the larger process to getting the crispiest fish skin, so check out Serious Eats’ complete guide at the link below.
How to Make the Crispiest Pan-Seared Fish Skin | Serious Eats
You may have probably heard about the many benefits of buying a rice cooker for your home but you are not sure about what kind of rice cooker you should buy. Even though there are many free resource available on the internet, people still find it hard to decide on what kind of rice cooker they should buy or the best features that they need to check out for.
With that in mind, if you are in the process of wanting to buy a rice cooker, there are some general things that you need to check out for and that can greatly help you end up with the best rice cooker without any doubt.
The first important thing that you need to think about is the steaming options. Generally, there are many rice cookers available in the market and the kind of rice that you can be able to prepare will differ from one machine to another since the steaming options are different. In fact, you should go for a rice cooker that allows you to prepare a wide range of foods and that is not limited to preparing rice alone.
When you go to the store, make sure that you demand for a rice cooker that can handle any kind of steaming that you love hence you will get something worth the money that you spend.
Do love baking cakes? Do you have an oven or you want to prepare a quick cake within no time? If yes, there is nothing as good s been able to find a good rice cooker that has baking capabilities.
It is important to note however, that you cannot use a rice cooker to bake a very big cake and it is only good when you are able to bake a small cake that is convenient.
When you go shopping for a rice cooker, think about the baking possibilities that it will come around with. If they are okay with you, then you will have a good deal. (More: Many new features in the best rice cooker)
There are many things that also matter a lot when it comes to preparing rice and any meals with the rice cooker. As such, it important to note the multiple cooking stages that you will use in preparing any kind of food.
There are times when you may want to prepare some good meal but you are not sure of what you are exactly looking for. If the foods requires multiple cooking stages, then think about it on whether the rice cooker will be able to offer you such an opportunity. Click to source.
Today, espresso is one of the most enjoyed coffees around the world. The easiest way to avail this is to buy from a coffee shop. However, this will never always do especially when you just want to chill on your bed with the one you love or lay alone as you listen to the rain. Having your own espresso machine at your home would really be lovely. You can brew any kind of coffee of your choice, at any time of the day.
There are lots of existing brands that promotes espresso machines in the market. The dilemma is the quality and the price of the instrument that will process your aromatic espresso. The texture and thickness of your coffee may be at stake if you take for granted the right choice of the espresso machine. The taste does not only depend on the characteristic of the coffee but as well as the type of it processing unit.
There are several types of espresso machines that are present today in the market. There are manual machines that can be operated through pushing of the water into the machine. The pressure dictates the resulting taste, the more pressurized, the tastier. If you are a traditional person, this may best fit your personality. Automated espresso machines have the highest demand in the market. This processes your coffee with just few pushes on the buttons. Less effort, yet best results. Those who are always in a hurry better invest in this kind. Now, let us give you some of the best picks for espresso machines that would fit to your budget and need. It is highly recommended that you pay attention to your choice because you might regret it, just like how you regretted the first time you tasted wasabi.
This is highly recommended for beginners. There are circular LED screen where you can see the pressure your coffee receive. The knobs control the water flow. An indicator is also provider to notify the user when to empty the espresso machine.
This espresso machine is very affordable and fits anyone’s budget. The quality of the espresso it produces is not compromised of the price of the machine. Saeco Aroma has this design that may fit to any motif of your kitchen.
Quick Mill’s Alexia
This best fits costumers who want espresso machines that are manually operated. The pressure depends on you push on its knobs and the temperature should be monitored. However, this machine is quite noisy. your neighbors may know when you are making your espresso. Tsk.
Pasquina Livia 90
This is best for coffee parties for it can brew coffee continuously because of its state of the art design and parts. This is one of the best espresso machines in the market and also one of the most expensive.
If using a knife to scrape things off a chopping board then use the non-cutting edge only to prevent blunting the blade.
Use a wooden or polycarbonate chopping board to avoid blunting your knives
Hand wash knives with a soft cloth and then dry them immediately after use, especially if the knife has been in contact with acidic foods like citrus fruits. Water and acid will corrode the blade. Avoid leaving dirty knives sitting in the sink. Never soak a knife as water can seep into gaps and corrode the steel and if the knife has a wooden handle it can swell or warp.
Keep your knife out of the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive and may cause blunting.
Store knives in a knife block or magnetic strip. Knives are prone to damage or blunting when they are stored loose in a drawer.
Keep your knives sharp. Sharp knives cut more easily and are less likely to slip and cause injury. You also need to use less force with a sharp knife which makes it less likely that it will get bent or warped while cutting. You can use a knife sharpener to sharpen your knives.
If your knives get stained or tarnished there are a number of ways to remove it but most are a little abrasive so proceed with caution. The least abrasive is to use a chemical metal or silver cleaner but wash the knife thoroughly afterwards. If you want to avoid chemicals you can gently scrub the flat side of the knife with a plastic or microfibre scrubber. This will leave small scratches on the knife and be very careful to avoid the cutting edge. Another chemical-free cleaning method is to cover the bottom of your clean sink with a sheet of aluminium foil, place the knife/knives on the foil then sprinkle with baking soda and salt. Pour hot water over the knives to cover them completely and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes. Wash and dry thoroughly afterwards (this also cleans tarnish off stainless steel cutlery).
Are you looking for the best semi-automatic espresso machine you can get, so you can brew your own delicious espresso drinks at home?
Do you want the best quality tasting espresso that has your signature stamp on each cup? If so, then this free guide will help. By the time you’re done reading this page, you’ll know exactly what you need to become a home espresso connoisseur.
When owning a semi-automatic espresso machine you have to grind your own coffee beans.
Crafting a perfectly balanced cup of espresso is a real science and it all starts with the beans.
In fact, as soon as you grind coffee beans, they lose 40% of their flavors within just a few minutes. That’s why it’s very important that you brew your coffee drinks right after grinding you beans. Not doing so will rob you of intense espresso flavor. (More: http://davidandmax.com)
These are cheapest option because they use a stainless steel blade that spins around to chop up to beans. Grind size is inconsistent and impacts the final espresso flavor.
If you’re on a budget, this is a good choice to get you into the world of making espressos using a semi-automatic machine. Once you can afford it, then you can move on to getting a burr grinder.
These are the most ideal for making espresso because they actually grind the coffee beans. Grind size is consistent and ensures rich, full flavor espresso with every cup.
The only downside to burr grinders is that they are more expensive than blade grinders. In fact, some models are priced up to the $400 range. However, just because a grinder has a higher price tag doesn’t mean it will extract much more flavor. Our suggestion is that you go for a medium price burr grinder ($100-200), and save the extra money on buying a more advanced semi-automatic espresso machine.
If you want to get the best home espresso machine under 200, you can choose one of the following recommended options. The first option that you can choose is DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump espresso Maker. This espresso maker is made in the United States of America. It is designed with patented filter holder that has dual functions. It is also featured with SempreCrema and easy serving espresso filters. Besides, it is completed with patented cappuccino frothing system. For the capacity, it has 44 ounces of water tank that is removable. In addition, it also offers anti-drip for the great design. Lastly, the on/off stitch button has indicator light that makes it more attractive.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine also becomes a great option. There are many interesting features of this espresso machine. Produced in USA, it has programmable buttons that function to brew espresso or lungo. The drip tray is foldable so that it can be used for the larger cups. This best home espresso machine under $ 200 can brew espresso in 25 seconds only. With the ideal size, it has 24 ounces of the water tank capacity. Other interesting features are convenient power storage, capsule container, automatic power off, water level detector, and backlight indicators.
Then, KRUPS XP601050 Manual Pump Espresso Machine can also be a good choice to buy. It is an espresso machine that is made of stainless steel for the whole housing and boiler. So, it is easy to clean and very durable. It also offers great capacity with up to 50 ounces of the water tank that is removable. It is also very interesting because this espresso machine is featured with double sides of the coffee tamper and scoop. With affordable price, it is reasonable to be considered as the best home espresso machine under 200. – http://www.darwinismafterdarwin.com/7-best-home-espresso-machine-under-200
Ryan Anderson didn’t think much about food until he landed a position with Natural Direct, an Aurora based company specializing in local natural food distribution. He became familiar with dairy products straight from Kilgus Farm in Fairbury. He began to appreciate the fresh eggs from the Amish farmers and the meat from pasture-raised cattle.
“I began to understand that it is more about what is not in the food that should be important,” said the Oswego resident, referring to the lack of antibiotics, pesticides and chemicals missing from naturally raised meats, vegetables and dairy. “I also found out about humane treatment of animals and how important it is to support local farms.”
This new knowledge led him to start cooking in a true farm-to-table style. “I enjoy cooking so much that I thought about going to school to learn more but I like what I am doing now,” the 29-year-old said. He currently serves as the company’s operations manager, but in the past, he traveled to the farms to pick up produce.
“I have spent time at a lot of the farms, and it seems like a simpler way of life. I remember going to an Amish Farm to pick up eggs one summer. When I got there, about six little kids ran up to the dock where we pick up the eggs. I noticed that they were all barefoot. I asked the farmer why they didn’t have shoes on and he told me ‘they haven’t earned shoes.’ The kids don’t start wearing shoes until they start helping on the farm. All of the kids wanted to help load the eggs. It was interesting.”
Anderson recalls that his father did a lot of cooking. “My mom was a nurse, so she worked long hours, so he took over some of the cooking.” History has repeated itself because about one year ago, Anderson married Hayley, who is a nurse at Loyola Hospital.
“I like to cook for her. Breakfast is my favorite meal to make. We both love big breakfasts,” he said. Their favorite breakfast is a hearty serving of fried potatoes with sausage and an egg-filled breakfast burrito.
One of the secrets to his fried potatoes is using a Caribbean Jerk spice mix — a blend of crushed red pepper, thyme and allspice. Anderson said that other spice blends can also be used. He also dices the potatoes so that they cook more quickly (click here for tips for the right knives). His wife likes to have her potatoes served on a bed of baby lettuce. Sometimes, Anderson changes the potatoes from a side dish into a main dish by simply, “putting a nice runny poached egg on top.”
The breakfast burrito, which he has named Babe’s Burrito in honor of his wife, who loves the dish, uses seitan, an all-natural meat substitute derived from wheat. The product is found in some larger grocery stores as well as natural food stores. “It tastes a lot like meat but is really low in carbs and fat,” Anderson said. Chorizo or pork sausage can be used in place of the seitan if desired.
Babe’s Burrito is made with goat cheese crumbles, one of Hayley’s favorite cheeses. However, Anderson prefers using a mix of smoked cheddar and Mexican cheeses for his burrito. “You can really pick your own favorite cheese,” he said.
To give the burrito an interesting texture, Anderson lightly fries the filled burrito in coconut oil. The flour tortilla becomes crispy, which provides a delightful crunch to the breakfast specialty. “I like to top it with Sriracha sauce, but that can be skipped,” he said referring to the hot chili sauce sold in grocery stores.
Anderson shares his recipes for others to try for a hearty and memorable breakfast.
With so many options of cookware available a good first step on your way to buying your dream cookware is to understand the best pots and pans for different needs so that you can filter the options. Here are a few things to consider
The types of food you intend to cook should be well thought through so you have a better understanding of your needs. To help you do this think about which pans you currently use and the limitations of your current set? Understanding this at the beginning will help you choose from the various size pans and stop you from wasting money an extra pans you might not need.
Dishwashers can cause serious damage to all types of cookware. Even expensive cookware can be damaged from dishwashers. If you do use a dishwasher then make sure to check that you are buying the best dishwasher safe pots and pans.
Budget is a huge decision factor. Before you start looking at sets of cookware have a think about how much you would be willing to pay. Cookware can vary massively in cost so understanding your price range can help you find the best affordable pots and pans.
Type of cooktop will be the first thing to consider when buying new cookware. The best pots and pans for gas stoves won’t necessarily be the best pans for an induction electric hob.
Stainless Steel cookware can be found in the majority of households. The main benefits of stainless steel cookware is that the pans are usually relatively affordable, they are durable and above all easy to maintain.
High quality stainless steel cookware usually has more nickel and chromium than the cheaper alternatives. Nickel and chromium are added to prevent the cookware rusting and tarnishing. You should be able to find the percentage of these substances within the descriptions when comparing the best rated stainless steel cookware.
When cooking with stainless steel cookware you might find that it takes some time for the pan to heat up. This is because stainless steel is not the best conductor of heat. Some stainless steel pans therefore have an adapted base that bonds either copper or aluminium. A normal household shouldn’t really have any problems with a standard stainless base but its worth knowing when comparing different pan sets.
Non Stick cookware is quite a basic concept that has grown in development over the last 20 years due to its growth in popularity. Non-stick refers to the non-stick coating that is applied to the inside of the pan. This non stick coating is especially useful for cooking with frying pans or cooking food that has a tendency to stick to the pan.
The major limitation with non-stick pans is the wear and tear and how easily they can scratch. The best non stick cookware brands are now trying to overcome this by adding multiple layers which is a huge step forward.
Non-stick cookware is more commonly found in households rather than in commercial kitchens. The constant use and high demands of a restaurant kitchen will usually mean that pans need changing regularly.
One of the major reasons non stick cookware has seen a boost in popularity is mainly due to the weight loss advantages. This boils down (mind the pun) to the fact that you don’t need to use oil or cooking sprays when using a non-stick pan to cook your food. This can significantly reduce the number of calories in your meals.
If you thought that choosing a non-stick pan was going to be easy then think again as you do have plenty of choice. The main choice you will have to make is whether you will be better with a teflon non stick pan or a ceramic non stick pan.
A few months ago, I went on a search for the best espresso machine under $200. My previous home espresso maker had finally kicked the bucket, and it was time to locate a new one to provide me with fresh coffee every morning. But although I was picky about the espresso I drank, I was also on a budget. Hence why I was looking for the best espresso machine under $200 – I simply couldn’t afford any more than that. (Go to source)
So I went online and looked up which espresso machines under $200 were on the market. As I suspected there were many to choose from in this price range. But most of them were not adequate to produce a decent cup of espresso.
In particular, I wanted to avoid steam-driven espresso machines as they did not generate enough pressure to brew a proper tasting espresso shot.
I also wanted to avoid a plastic machine as much as possible, because they usually did not last long and frequently gave your espresso a plastic smell/taste.
In the end, I narrowed my search down to three home espresso makers: the DeLonghi BAR 32, the Cuisinart EM-100, and the DeLonghi EC 702. All of the machines were pump-driven and the Cuisinart EM-100 and the DeLonghi EC 702 were stainless stainless (the DeLonghi BAR 32 was plastic).
I eventually selected the Cuisinart EM-100 because to me it offered the perfect balance between price and quality and stood out as the best espresso machine under 200 dollars. Although the DeLonghi Bar 32 was cheaper, it was also made out of plastic, which from past experience can be problematic. The DeLonghi EC 702 looked like a great machine from the espresso maker reviews, but it was more expensive, and I couldn’t see a measurable difference between it and the Cuisinart EM-100 to justify the extra money. Sure it had a cool dual thermostat feature, but this was not really necessary to produce a great shot of espresso. These are the reasons why I chose the Cuisinart EM-100 over the other two machines.
A quick perusal of the reviews on Amazon.com revealed overwhelming praise for this machine for its price ($140). It looked easy to use and offered a three-year warranty. The warranty was huge for me, because it offered some reassurance that if anything did go wrong, I knew that Cuisinart would repair/exchange it. A three year warranty is rare on a cheaper machine. Most warranties for machines in this price range are one year at most.
As I was eager to start making my cappuccinos again (and sick of shelling out $4 at Starbucks), I purchased it that day from Amazon. I was thrilled not only to see that Amazon offered the cheapest price for this machine, but that you also got it shipped to your door for free.
When it arrived on my doorstep a week later, I hastily installed it in my kitchen next to the microwave. After running water through a few times, I brewed my first shot of espresso.
And it was excellent! The espresso was full-bodied and with a thick layer of crema on the top. This was truly fantastic for the best espresso maker in this price range. Although I paid more money for my old Breville machine, and it produced good espresso for a number of years, it simply doesn’t compare to the Cuisinart EM-100. For a budget priced machine, the Cuisinart gets the job done!
Frothing was also easy, although I noticed that there wasn’t too much space between the steam wand and the bottom of the table, making frothing a little bit awkward. But this was really a minor detail, because the milk that I frothed was perfect. I was able to generate a microfoam with a nice creamy consistency, which was perfect for my morning cappuccino.
Now a few months later, I am still thrilled about my Cuisinart EM-100. It still produces great espresso, and I would recommend it to any one looking for the best espresso machines.
If you’ve ever been into a professional kitchen, and tried to borrow one of the chef’s knives, you’ll know what I mean when I say that to a professional cook, their knife is like an extension of their hands. On my very first day as a chef I was asked to chop something, grabbed the nearest knife and was drowned in a torrent of abuse and threats, before realising I had in fact picked up the sous’ best knife. The knife his father had bought him. The knife he’d had with him since his apprenticeship. The knife he’d carefully honed every day. He was something of a drama queen.
Or was he? Admittedly, there was no need to threaten fiery retribution, but he did have a point. Because anyone who is in the least bit inclined to cook should have a good, sharp knife, and should be able to do a vague rolling chop. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people reading this will never have learned how to use a proper chef’s knife, and if you choose to (and I really recommend you do), you’ll discover that what used to be a chore has suddenly become a pleasure.
You know who you are, you who stand for hours in the kitchen, painfully trying to chop a turnip with a 2” paring knife. It doesn’t have to be that way! And I promise it’s relatively simple to learn how to chop properly. There are a few rules – some part of the blade should always be on the chopping board while you’re moving – think of the motion of a rocking chair. Grip the handle with your last three fingers, and straddle your thumb and forefinger firmly over the join of the handle and the blade so those two fingers are tucked into the end of the blade – it will make your grip more steady than just holding the handle. And practice. Practice unfortunately does make perfect, as my father was always telling me about the piano.
So now I’ve converted you, which knife to buy…
Well, if you’re feeling flash, and you want to look like Michel Roux Jr. I would suggest a Global. Their blades are second to none, they stay sharp for AGES, and you can chop everything from a ripe tomato to a swede with perfect ease. But they’re very pricey, and I’m not a huge fan of the handles – I find them too hard for my delicate petal-like skin. Plus the corner of the blade is a razor sharp point that looks very smart, but I guarantee you will stab your hand with it within 10 minutes. But men love them and if you have a budding Jamie in the kitchen they make fantastic gifts.
For something more restrained but still a serious chef’s knife, try a Wusthof. They also have lovely blades, not as effortless as the Globals, but their handles are comfier and they’re not quite as pricey (around £80 for an 8” chef’s knife, as opposed to Global’s £115)
And if you really don’t want to break the bank (and I honestly wouldn’t bother until you’ve mastered the chopping), try Salter. They’ve got very comfortable, rubber grip handles and slice with ease – we use them a lot in the test kitchen and I’ve never had a problem with them. And at £20 for an 8” chef’s knife they’re a fraction of the cost of a designer one, so they’re great to get you started.
For a more middle of the road option I really like the new Lakeland Select knives. Again with an ergonomic soft-grip handle, their blades are made from ice-hardened Japanese steel – a process which strengthens the blade and keeps it sharper for longer. I’d happily have paid more for this knife – but the lack of designer name means a lower price. Fine by me.
The size is up to you, but I like an 8” blade. They’re big enough for bulky food but not so big you feel dwarfed.
Once you’ve bought your knife, you need something to keep it sharp. I hate those motorised sharpeners, they gradually wear the blades into serrations. Stay away. Much better, if you’re not confident with a knife steel is this little contraption that I bought after hearing great reports from various chefs. It’s called an Ozitech, and it works just by dragging the blade across its ‘diamond fingers’. It hones them evenly, and doesn’t leave you with ridges in your knife.
And so on to a few final points. If you are using a steel, drag the knife across it at the angle you chop at – it will sharpen the blade evenly for your particular chopping style. Always do an even number of strokes or you’ll end up with a ridge on one side. Try not to let anyone else use your favourite knife – different chopping styles result in an uneven blade that won’t sharpen properly. Don’t scrape food off chopping boards with the sharp end of the blade – turn the knife over so you don’t blunt it. Never, ever put knives in the dishwasher – the heat and the salt ruins the blade. And remember – you’re much more likely to cut yourself with a blunt blade sliding off food than with a sharp one. Check out more good tips for sharpening your kitchen knife.
So get down to your kitchen shop sharpish.
The All-Clad 401488R, Stainless Steel, Cookware Set (10-Piece, Silver) delivers all essential pieces for day-to-day cooking. It’s dimensions are 22.8-inch x 13-inch x 19-inch, weighing a handy 12 pounds. Its parts feature smooth, industrial fashion and a well polished, stainless steel exterior. The stainless steel has been designed to surround an aluminium core, hence making the cooking’ surface area heat up quicker and evenly.
You may use the saute pan or fry pan for browning, as well as searing an array of foods. The saucepans have a compact area and notable straight sides, which are certainly perfect for generating sauces, reheating or boiling. Also, the stockpot features generous dimensions and a wider base floor for massive foods.
The prolonged, riveted handles remain amazingly still on the cooktop, with the straight-forward grip loop handles being incorporated on the lids and other parts. This in turn, delivers the needed steadiness. The 3-ply building is conveniently long lasting, while the aluminium main assures of rapid, even heating.
The All-Clad stainless steel cookware set is specially designed with prompt, even distribution of heat in mind. It’s design allows heat to distribute promptly, whilst avoiding warm spots and ensuring not to stick. It’d be preferable that you pre-heat your cooktop on lower-to-reasonable warmth. You can use superior warmth only if boiling. (Article source)
The 18/ten, adhere-resistant, stainless steel inside will supply a simple, clear cooking floor which is notably non-reactive to meals. Each pan’s base is characterized by some engraved ability marking.
The handles are made of stable steel. That implies you’ll unquestionably need a pot holder to pour. The stainless steel exteriors are in excess of the aluminium cores, and hence the pots are able to evenly distribute warmth.
Nonetheless, its cooking surfaces don’t react. Yes, they don’t have non-stick coatings. However, should you use exactly as directed (pre-heat oil inside the pans before incorporating the food you intend to fry), food will barely stick to your pans. Also, you’ll find cleaning this cookware set’s surfaces to be surprisingly easy.
All pieces feature an appealing, stainless steel finish. This allows for easy cleaning, while giving it a modern appeal which is definite to enhance most kitchens. The All Clad 401488R cookware set comes with a treatment and use handbook for guidance, and a lifespan warranty package.
Pros of the All-Clad 401488R, Stainless Steel, Cookware Set
It’s a top quality cookware set, which serves as the foundation for even higher quality cookware.
This cookware set is favorably dishwasher-safe, while some of its pieces are available in non-stick.
It’s very easy to maintain, as you’ll find cleaning the steel surfaces to be much effortless.
It’s a great investment deal for your money.
The cookware set boasts enhanced durability. It’s a perfectly sturdy set for prolonged, lasting use.
Cons of the All-Clad 401488R, Stainless Steel, Cookware Set
– It can’t be used on the flat cook tops.
– The lids’ handles are made of steel. You’ll thus need a pot holder to avoid burning your hands.
– Some users assert that this cookware set is relatively expensive.
Knives are by far the most important tools in your kitchen, and handling them properly is essential. These basic knife skills will teach you how to break down some of the most-used food items in the kitchen. When it comes to knife skills, practice makes perfect. Start slowly and soon you’ll be increasing your speed and improving your results.
Chef’s knife: We use this knife for everything from chopping an onion to mincing herbs. With its pointed tip and slightly curved blade, this knife will handle 90 percent of your kitchen cutting work.
Paring knife: The small blade of a paring knife allows you more dexterity and precision than a chef’s knife can provide. Reach for a paring knife for jobs that require a bit more accuracy and exactitude. Its small, pointed tip is also great for testing the tenderness of meat or vegetables.
Cutting board: The ideal cutting surface is soft enough to keep your knives in a good shape but sturdy enough to absorb significant abuse. Choose a board that is 5 pounds less. We like cutting boards made of wood best, but plastic works well, too. Wooden boards must be washed by hand.
Three Key Takeaways
Three words: planks, sticks, cubes. If you can remember those words, in that order, you will be in great shape to cut almost any item down to whatever size a recipe calls for.
STEP ONE: CUT INTO PLANKS
If working with a round item like a carrot, cut crosswise into two or three pieces that will be easier to work with. Then remove a thin sliver from one side to create a stable edge. Place the food cut side down and cut the item lengthwise into even planks.
STEP TWO: CUT INTO STICKS
Depending on the item, stack as many planks as you feel comfortable working with, whether it’s two or as many as five. Then cut the planks lengthwise into even sticks.
STEP THREE: CUT INTO CUBES
Next, create the diced shape by gathering the sticks together, and cutting them crosswise. Keep the spacing even. Hold the sticks with your non-knife hand; curl the tips of your fingers under and extend your knuckles so they can guide your knife and keep your fingers out of danger.
Dicing an Onion
Dicing an onion follows this same procedure of “planks, sticks, cubes.” But in this case, all the planks and sticks are still attached to the root end.
Step 1: Make several parallel cuts to create planks Peel the onion, then make several horizontal cuts from one end of the onion half to the other, stopping just shy of the root end. The number of cuts—and planks—will depend on the size of the onion and the desired size of the chop or dice. For minced onion (smaller pieces), make cuts that are close together; for chopped onion (larger pieces), space the cuts further apart.
Step 2: Cut from pole to pole Cutting from pole to pole turns the onion planks into sticks. Make several vertical cuts, being careful not to cut all the way through the root end with the tip of your knife.
Step 3: Slice across the cuts Now it’s time to turn the sticks into cubes. Using your knuckles as a guide for the knife while holding the onion with your fingertips, slice across the sticks. For more control, pull your fingertips in towards your palm, extending the knuckles outward when cutting.
The process for chopping herbs differs from the planks, sticks, cubes method above. Instead of more refined cuts, chopping herbs uses a rocking, pivoting motion.
Step 1: Remove thick stems After the herb has been washed and dried, pinch the leaves to separate them from the stems. To remove many leaves from the stems, hold several stems upside down, and run a chef’s knife down stems. The leaves should come off easily. Don’t worry if thin stems come off, too. On tender herbs like parsley and cilantro, these thin stems near the leaves have a lot of flavor. Unless you need whole leaves for garnish, include the stems when you chop. Always discard the thicker, woodier bottom portions.
Step 2: Use both hands and a rocking motion: Pile the leaves and thin stems up on a cutting board and use a rocking motion to chop them with a chef’s knife. Rest the fingers of your non-knife hand lightly on the spine of the knife to help maintain the up-and-down rocking motion needed for quick chopping or mincing. To make sure the herb is evenly minced, pivot the knife as you chop.