The Cutting Edge
How To Get The Most From Your Efforts In the Kitchen
- Making Your Food Look Pretty
- Garnishes For Plates and Platters
- Herbs and How To Use Them
- Reviews of Chef Knifes
- Cooking Techniques
- A Look At Fun Kitchen Gadgets
- Video Demonstrations and Techniques
- Healthy Eating Tips
- Recipes and much much more
Hi, thanks for visiting the Cutting Edge Blog on GreatCookingToday.com. Here you will find articles which will help you to make a better looking plate or platter. There are also articles on knives, fine cutlery, kitchen gadgets, and useful appliances which make for a well appointed kitchen. Please feel free to comment on any article you find useful.
This blog explores the tools and tips of the cooking from a technique side. There are a myriad of great websites out there that catalog recipes. Some great ones are Epicurios* and the Food Network*, you probably have your favorites, mine are “Cooking for Engineers” and its’ blog “What I Ate”
The first area to explore is the whole range of cooking instruments called knives. The basic tool in a chef’s inventory is the “Chef Knife” It is also known as a “French Knife”. This knife is used for slicing, mincing and dicing.
Ranging from a minimum of 6 to 12 inches in blade length, this knife is the mainstay of the western kitchen. This knife can do all the heavy operations you may have. Used for cutting up vegetables and salads, most cooks will use this knife for 75% of what they cut in a kitchen. A good Chef’s knife will have a very sharp blade that keeps its’ edge. It will also have enough depth of blade to give good clearance for your knuckles as you move up and down while cutting.
Trimming meat, you would use a different knife such as a “boning knife” or “filet knife” covers probably another 20% of what you do in a kitchen. So if you have these two knives you have all you need for a decent start. With the French knife for slicing operations you use a rocking motion; keeping the tip on the cutting board, you lift the heel up move over slightly and slice through the onion… carrot or whatever you are slicing.
With dicing you are simply adding a step and turing the sliced items 90 degrees and slicing them again. It is important to keep the tip of the knife on the board at all times. Can you chop slices? Yes you can, but you better learn how to get your holding hand out of the way quickly. That move takes some time to acquire. I have had to have several conversations with my right hand to convince it to stop abusing my left.
The recent introduction of Japanese knives into this country has brought on a variation to the chef’s knife with the “Santoku” style (basically a French knife with the tip cut off or rounded down). There are times when you need to be able to reach under your holding hand to get a slice or piece of something, like an apple. When you want to quickly core and get the usable part, you need to hold on from the top of the apple and reach under your palm. With the Santoku this is much simpler than with the French knife. The chances of stabbing yourself are greatly reduced. For pure slicing purposes however the longer blade of a French style blade gives better rocking motion and is easier to manipulate.
Which knife you use depends on the type of thing you need to cut up. A small slicing knife* is perfect for slicing fruit. A cantaloupe or honeydew melon is easily skinned with this knife because the blade is strong and narrow with lots of flexibility. It is flexible enough to follow the contour of the fruit and take off just the right amount of the skin without making the fruit look like a cinder block. A kiwi-fruit is as easily peeled. Of course when you are cutting fruit you may want to go the extra step of making some fancy cuts to make it more decorative.
This is where the paring and zester and channel knife come into use. Not to be left out is a simple dough knife which is great for picking things up and cleaning up the board. The art of food garnishing is fascinating and is widely explored in some of the garnishing articles. Let’s all have fun! Your comments are appreciated.
About the format of this blog. This is a stationary front page which means that new posts will appear in the recent posts area to the right side. You may also want to look at the Table of Contents tab at the top of the page for a complete listing of articles by category.
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