Last Saturday we had a high end party serving fancy cocktail sandwiches and salads for a fund raiser that cost $$$ to attend. Several hours were spent by many people in the kitchen as we assembled all of the ingredients for the buffet. I personally spent time making crabcake mix to build 500 cakes 3″ in diameter, (30 cans of fancy Maryland crab claws) and numerous other projects.
On the day of the event my task was to assemble 40 pounds of jicama, carrot, poblano and napa cabbage slaw. The carrots and jicama went fairly smoothly through my Mandoline and I had 20 pounds of that fairly quick. The next step was to add 5 pounds of match-stick cut Poblano Pepper.
That is when the 10 inch chef knife comes out of the tool box. This knife is and old Forschner chef knife that I have had for over 20 years. I sharpen it once or twice a year but I steel it two or three times a day. It is trusty, sharp well balanced and works easily on my knife callous. (You can tell a working chef by the massive callous on his index finger) Poblanos are smaller than bell pepper and it takes more of them to get the desired number of ounces. Typical of peppers they are a lot of work for very little in terms of volume.
The other thing about peppers is that they don’t grow in nice uniformly round proportions. Instead they come in convoluted shapes and must be seeded, squared off and carefully cut to make sure that you achieve a fairly uniform match stick. (julienne for you “french” purists) As a result they take a bit longer to deal with than other kinds of vegetables. I like the 10 inch chef’s knife because I can easily keep the tip on the cutting board and still raise it high enough to slide the cantankerous pepper underneath the heel end of the knife and slice all the way through the skin. For all you budding new chef’s out there a word here is in order. Anything with a skin on it should be cut from the inside out! This means the skin side of the (Pepper, Tomato, Apple you get the picture) should be touching the board.
Why you ask?
Because the skin side up will bounce your knife back up and over onto your other hand resulting in a few serious gashes in your non knife hand. You have to use too much pressure to cut this way. Another important point is to be aware of any random seeds that may have escaped as you clean the peppers. You will be looking at the pepper as you cut and suddenly up by the tip of your knife a seed gets in the way of the blade. This can also throw the motion off and make you slice into your knuckle as well. The 10 inch chef’s knife provides just the right amount of length to keep the tip on the board and the heel where you need it for cutting. The 8 is too small and must be raised too high and the 12 leaves too much tip out there to find an errant object on the board to get you in trouble.
The final part was to go to the slicer and finish off with 15 pounds of napa cabbage and a head of purple cabbage for good color. The slaw was dressed with an chipoltle orange cilantro dressing and I thought it was outstanding, but of course I made it so go figure.
I want to introduce you to a friend of mine: Chef Todd Mohr, who is a revolutionary cooking instructor.
Why so revolutionary, you ask?
Well, his philosophy on cooking without recipes is totally unique. It has truly changed the way I view cooking and I know it will have the same impact on you.
You see, Chef Todd believes that most of us, don’t really know how to cook! Sure we can follow a recipe – sometimes, especially if we’ve made it before and figured out its “quirks.” But we don’t really know the techniques we used and, worse yet – we don’t understand the cooking methods that recipes call upon.
Why is this important?
Well…it’s EVERYTHING in Cooking!
Understanding how things work and why things happen will change the way you cook forever. Among other things, it will enable you to:
* Create awesome meals at home with whatever you’ve got on hand
* Cook quickly and easily, with confidence
* “Fix” recipes that don’t come out to your liking
* Apply quick fixes to dishes WHILE you are cooking, so there are no “mess-ups”,”do-overs” or wasted food.
* Make up YOUR OWN recipes
Chef Todd has even developed an entire cooking system based on this philosophy
and this system has thought thousands of people around the world to cook!
If you want to know more about Chef Todd, check out his free video
where he reveals his #1 Chef Secret for Creating Amazing Meals at Home.