It is always a fascinating experience when I look at the search terms that my visitors typed into the Google or Yahoo search engine to find this blog. I hope I was able to satisfy their curiosity in some small way about the questions that they had. Here is a sampling of what I found today.
Different sets of knives
best knife for herbs Miyabi birchwood chef’s knives
does basil and dill go together
best chef knives
manners of handling food for other people
best knives for home use
learn to cook online
can brie coating be cooked
henckels miyabi knives
what knife is best to cut chicken fat
tarragon dill chicken
danger knife don’t run
culinary for beginners
I just finished reading an awesome book by Jason Sheehan called “Dirty Cooking” it is an autobiographical glimpse of his working career in “hell hole” kitchens before he had enough experience to get out and start writing about them and the art of food preparation in general. His experience in the kitchens is something that I can relate to in a intimate way, as can any chef who has been there in the trenches on a busy Friday night. So tonight I decided to take a look at these search terms in mass and go through them quickly answering them as would any chef who was approached in a working kitchen by a young apprentice who genuinely wanted an answer to his questions.
First I must tell you that in most kitchens there is very little time taken by an Executive chef to answer anything in less than a few grunts and the most brief of explanations, so if you want to find anything out you are better off learning from your more experienced co-workers and an occasional genius sous chef… if he is willing to share. You will know who to ask, the guy in the corner who is masterfully wielding his knife and creating massive piles of what ever he seems to be doing.
So Here We Go:
Different sets of knives
Every chef tends to have a different opinion of what constitutes the ideal knife. There is no main consensus about the brand of knife that is best. However, we would all agree that the best knife for the job is a sharp knife. I do not mean to be obtuse; it is not uncommon to spend several hours in a day with a knife in your hand. Whether it is one operation like making a mountain of onions for french onion soup, or a fancy 8th inch brunoise out of twisted and gnarled red peppers, the only knife for the job is the one that fits comfortably in your hand for a long period of time and stays sharp.
So buy a knife set that you are comfortable holding in your hand, that has balance and holds an edge. It could be a cobbled together set that you have assembled piece by piece as you can afford them or it could be a whole set of fine Shun’s, Henckel’s or Global’s. You only need two to start with. A good chef knife and a filet or boning knife to start with. As your skills expand add in the “Birdsbeak” and parer next go for a slicer or a “Usuba” and the rest of the fancy toys as you need them.
Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knives
A masterfully assembled set of Henckels knives built in Japan. I don’t own a set, but I would love to. If you are just starting out and want a set for a lifetime of use this would be the way to go. Be aware that something like this in a commercial kitchen might have a tendency to take a walk, so keep it under lock and key whenever you are not around.
Does basil and dill go together
Well, in my opinion, not really. But then again it is my opinion, your mileage may vary. These are both excellent flavor sources, they are both strong influences in the sauces or dressings to which they are added. They will co-exist in the same meal beautifully, maybe with one on the salad/appetizer and one in the sauce, but not in the same sauce, they will clash and tear each other apart.
I have said elsewhere that the carrot is the most versatile of garnishes, in that has a great contrasting color and the property of being able to be cut in so many different ways. It can be cut into strings, flowers, petals, ribbons, waffles and tulips. It is not only easy to learn to do with a little practice, but also easy to make a large quantity of garnish from a relatively small amount of product.
Best knives for home use
You need to ask yourself a few questions. For the professional chef/cook who spends 8 or more hours a day with a knife in his hands, comfort and sharpness are the main focus. For the home, there may be a lot more you would want to answer.
Are you willing to take the time to learn how to use a 10″ chef’s knife? For the novice that seems like a lot of knife, and most homes have very small areas in their kitchens that are devoted to preparation with even smaller cutting boards and surfaces. Perhaps a 6″ santuko would be a better answer. With exception of the thanksgiving Turkey you will rarely use a 12″ slicer; if at all. These days we are not eating beef steak for 5 meals a week so owning a block with a matching set of 6 steak knives might be overkill unless we do a lot of entertaining. Finally, unless you spend a lot of time in the kitchen learning your knife skills by trimming meats and fish or chicken you will rarely need a filet knife. My advise, go for the best set you can afford, but don’t waste your money on something you will never use.
Manners of handling food for other people.
Interesting question. It does not matter who it is for! Good sanitation is important for food preparation period. All vegetable matter should at least be rinsed if not washed thoroughly. In commercial food-service there is a solution called Quat it is used to clean any surface that is touched by the foods that are being prepared. You can do the same at home with a cap full of clorox and a healthy squirt of dish-washing soap for a gallon of water. Clean all your surfaces including the knives you use before you start cutting anything.
A few years back the health department pulled all the jalapeno peppers off the market shelves including commercially available to restaurants. Why? It seems they discovered that someone in the picking feilds had urinated without washing his hands and contaminated several cases of freshly picked peppers. Think about it, the fields are hot deserted areas and not exactly bordered by the latest in modern hot and cold running water restroom facilities.
So clean surfaces, clean hands, dipped in clorox water if nothing else. Avoid cross contamination. Do not cut up raw chicken and then start on something else with the same anything until you thoroughly clean all the surfaces. Commercially we are required to use gloves (after washing our hands) on anything that will not be cooked to 160°.
Can Brie coating be cooked?
Yes! It is just a stomach friendly mold
Learn to cook on line
You bet, my friend Chef Todd Mohr has an incredible 16 week course to teach you how. How to use a knife, how to shop efficiently, how to learn to feel your way around the spice/herb cabinet and come up with your own creations that you will love to eat and amaze your friends with your global cooking talents. You can view the video any time of day or night and when you finish you have the benefit of cordon bleu cooking classes at pennies on the dollar for what it would cost to go to Paris to learn. He is that good! You will not need a cook book ever, except for menu adventures.
What knife best to cut chicken fat
A 10″ chef’ knife!
Tarragon dill chicken
Ah, one of my childhood memories floats back up:
2 cups Seasoned Flour (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic granulated) One 16 ounce bag of potato chips, 2 tablespoons each Dried Taragon, Dried Dill Weed. 2 Cups Buttermilk.
Cut a small hole in the chips bag and to let the air out of the bag. Next take a meat hammer and beat the bag gently until the chips are crushed (NOT powdered)
Use baking dishes or bowls and put the flour in the first one, buttermilk in the second one and your crushed chips with the dill and tarragon in the third. Now bread the chicken flour–buttermilk– chips mixture fried in a half inch of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat (not all that healthy, but oh so good)
Danger Knife Don’t Run
Humm, Yes that is great advise. When you have a knife in your hand in a crowded room and need to get across the room… hold it straight down and slightly behind yourself lead with your opposite shoulder and only then should you walk through the crowd.
Thanks for reading,
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