Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How To Slice a Carrot

Finally, I'm writing about the knife skills class!

Woody and I have been talking about taking one of these classes for a while, so he registered us for a class at Brooklyn Kitchen. In reality though, Woody doesn't really like the way I use a knife most of the time, and since he wants to keep his beautiful Wusthof knifes in great shape for years to come, so he wanted me to learn the right way to slice. Hey, I get things done but, maybe I could get them done a little quicker!

It was a bit of a trek out to Brooklyn Kitchen, but not too bad. Brendan Mcdermott, the instructor, is a chef who has worked at restaurants like Mesa Grill and Olives. His classes sell out weeks in advance, so you know he's good!

He started by teaching us the basics, like what the different types of knives are (a chef's knife is essential for all kitchens), that wood cutting boards are better than plastic, by putting a wet paper towel under the cutting board it won't slip around, how to hold a knife properly and that a honing steel should be used on a knife after every use to keep the teeth straight. I had no idea that knives have teeth!

We learned five types of vegetable cuts:
  • Dice (common small cubes)
  • Brunoise (very small cubes)
  • Batonnet ("little stick")
  • Allumette (planks)
  • Julienne (thin matchsticks)
After we took turn on celery, carrots and onions, Brendan showed us a few tricks for quickly cutting peppers and tomatoes. Then, the surprise of the evening, which I had not even imagined, he showed us how to butcher a chicken. Thankfully, this was not part of the hands on section of the class.

A few pictures from the evening:

Overall, we both learned a good deal and have put the lessons to use in the week past. I definitely think these are important skills for all home cooks to have because it makes cooking much more efficient, fun, and you can learn techniques that will make simple dishes look, and taste, great! By learning these techniques, you can make sure that all the food your cutting, say, for a roast or soup, will be close to the same size and therefore, cook in the same amount of time. Who hasn't had that experience when you took a big spoonful of the dinner you've spent hours working on only to find the potatoes aren't cooked through but the carrots are mushy? By taking a knife skills class, you won't have to worry about that again!

Because I love to share the fun, check out this YouTube video of Brendan showing how to slice & dice an onion.

  • How are your knife skills?
  • What would you most like to learn how to do in the kitchen (cooking)?
Don't forget, today is NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!! Spread the joy of running!
Today's workout -
35min elliptical
100 crunches
1x35sec plank
2x18 lateral arm raise
2x15 bicep curl
foam roller
the air conditioner at the gym hasn't worked yet this year. Let's just say it's nicer outside than in! thankfully we aren't there at the peak times!

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