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Knife Skills & Cutting Techniques

Updated on July 22, 2012
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No!

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Lesson 4 - Cooking School For Real Housewives

I did not go to culinary school but I did learn how to properly chop, mince, dice and julienne vegetables by watching videos and cooking shows. I noticed that I spent a lot of time chopping and prepping. I would see the chef's on television whip through a pile of onions in minutes and I was fumbling for 10 minutes with one onion.

I did learn to tuck my fingertips under while chopping for safety and naturally everyone gets better and faster as they practice. It does save a lot of time and aggravation if you know a few basic knife skills and cutting techniques. Some recipes instruct you to mince, or julienne cut a vegetable.

p.s. Real Housewives, when they use the term "matchsticks" they do not mean real matchsticks!

Yes!

Types of Knives

Paring Knife

Paring (also may be called Bird's Beak or Sheeps Foot knife) knives are most commonly use to peel or core vegetables or fruits. The blade is very short so that it is easy to handle and it's a terrific utility knife.

Bread Knife

A bread knife is a big knife. The edges are serrated or jagged. If you try to slice bread with anything other than a good serrated blade it will tear it and it will be very difficult to spread anything on it if it doesn't fall apart.

Chef's Knife

A chef's knife (also a French Knife) is a larger knife used for chopping, mincing or disjointing meat. I prefer the 8" (inch) blade. If you watch the short video, the chef shows you how to properly hold the knife. These should be very sharp and thus you should be very careful to hold it correctly.

These are the three knives that I most commonly use. I have a lot of fun kitchen tools that I love to use such as a lemon zester, melon baller, garlic crusher and a mandolin. Using the correct knife or utensils always make the job so much faster and more efficient. While I always want to serve beautiful food that tastes good, I don't always want to spend all day in the kitchen.

A RealHousewife Cuts with a Knife!

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Source
Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil | Source

Extra Virgin! (You're allowed to use it - even if you are a whore!)

French Bread is one of my favorite choices of bread. I can use it so many ways it never goes to waste. One of my favorite quick tricks to make a meal special is to slice a loaf of french bread into 1/2 round slices and toast it. It is perfect for a beautiful and delicious appetizer. Again, this is one of those things that looks as if it was prepared by a chef and it's a snap.

After I slice the pieces, I spray one side with olive oil. I toss it in the broiler for just a couple of minutes until it is golden brown. I take the pan out - flip the bread over and toast the other side for a minute or two. It doesn't taste right if you only toast one side so don't skip that step.

You can spread just about anything on the bread and serve it for an appetizer.

My husband always tries to go straight to his home office and finish his work before dinner. If it is a special night or I am trying to manipulate him because I want some new thing, I make a beautiful little plate and even take it to him! (Don't forget if you really want something pretty and shiny - smell good and smile when you do this step!)

If you are having guests for dinner - it's great to have something that looks so sophisticated to offer while you finish preparing the meal. I switch what I serve to go with the bread depending on the main entree that I am serving. No matter what you make or how bad it tastes, this appetizer will be sure to leave your guests still smiling and somewhat pacified.

A plate of simple olive oil with fresh minced herbs from your garden is very tasty. I use finely chopped rosemary, sweet basil, parsley, lemon thyme, garlic, pepper (fresh ground) or similar herbs. If I do not have access to fresh herbs, dried herbs will work fine but a rule of thumb is that "freshest is always the best."

Balsamic vinegar and olive oil is also a heavenly appetizer. Just break the bread into small pieces and dip it in the oil.

These dishes are terrific palate cleansers and will give your hungry guests something light to nibble on before the main meal is served.

NOTE: Housewives, this is a great way to practice your chopping skills this week. Next week I will be showing you how to make a wonderful summer cavatappi pasta dish that will taste awesome with this type of appetizer. Your papa's are going to be so proud of you!

French bread - toasted, with olive oil and herbs.

A beautiful way to start any meal!
A beautiful way to start any meal! | Source

"I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it will be with a knife." ~Louise Brooks

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  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hahaha good one:) as always - I don't know how you missed this one either! LOL.

    I do know really - it's tough to keep up with everyone isn't it?

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    This was great, I dunno how I managed to miss this! :) Knice moves with the Knife, blade-wielding RealHousewife! :)

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Are you serious! That is cool - I am so glad you shared that with me! Awesome Audra!

  • profile image

    iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

    Kelly, Brian Adams' Heaven is my favorite, Beast is great too...have not heard that in years...need to catch up! Oh, he is a photographer now! http://www.bryanadamsphotography.com/?show=about

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey rcrumple! I love a guy that can cook - I will say that again! lol Cooking is a thrill for me - if I have time. If I am in a hurry because I have a meeting to get to or the kids have a game - I don't love it so much! It is a necessity though so I have to do something.

    Ooooh a bread knife for dicing?? No no no! lol I love my chef's knife...I wouldn't cut bread with it though:) It is about the most useful knife to me but dicing goes so much quicker and faster with a nice utility knife. Tuck those fingers under! lol Thanks so much!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Audra! lol I know - I love Brian mmmm he is so cute! lol Don Henley too - I've been revisiting "Building the Perfect Beast" .. forgot how much I loved that!

    Thanks so much - my mom and grandmom always said "everything worth doing - is worth doing well"...that always stuck with me. LIke my mom would say "your cabinets shoud be neat inside ...drawers..stuff like that should always look as good on the inside as we try to make them appear on the outside:) That was some good advice right there! lol

  • rcrumple profile image

    Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

    When I married my wife decades ago, she could only do one thing...fry! Thus, I had to teach her baking and broiling. If I could count the number of times I cut myself while cutting various things, the number would be astronomical! I still cook at least once a week. To me, it's a thrill instead of a chore. However, my cutting skills are still lacking. Your Hub has definitely showed me much of what I've been doing wrong (using a bread knife for dicing for example). I thank you and my existing fingers thank you! Great Hub!

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    iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

    Don't laugh. I can see ou as Brie from Desperate Housewives when you talk about Knife skills, but without the drama. I like your table display at the end!

    You are a good wife to your husband and take special care of your guests when they come over. You did a nice job with this!

    ps... Brian Adams is awesome!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Oh I see! Really? Well I would love to know more about that knife! Hey you should make a hub about that? I have NEVER heard of this multipurpose knife! Sounds like the one I need!

    I had 2 chef's knives somehow grow legs and walk out of the kitchen. I bet the farm they somehow found directions to my 23 year old daughter's kitchen...! So I had to buy a few more - expensive!

  • Ruchira profile image

    Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

    Kelly...I do realize that there are many knives that specialize in many things but my one sturdy knife, made in Germany fits all the chores :)

    Btw, you could do an a elaborate hub on these knives as a culinary hub. Am sure novice people like me would like it :)

    Many votes. Btw, I liked your presentation and yourtable mat is pretty :)

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    LOL Hey that would be a good move too Bill! When Dave helps me cook - makes me realize how sweet he is! The food always tastes better too! Good luck buddy!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Kelly, this hub snuck by me! I am not very good at slicing and dicing so this hub was useful for me. Next time Bev wants me cutting up the veggies I'll be ready to dazzle her.

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    That's so funny Drjb - when I was doing some fact checking for this hub - I almost had to include some knife throwing facts! haha! They have been doing that actually for a really long time...who thought that was a good idea in the first place??? And I do not want to be having dinner at the home of the folks who do that for fun!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi FP!

    I had one of those handy dandy little chopper shredders - mine didn't work long either. Now it won't even chop well through onion skin! ha! I could do that with a butter knife!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi beingwell! That's funny! I suppose I could say you must be a straight shooter and you call it what it is:) haha!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

    Such interesting knife advice, Kelly. Do you have a video teaching knife throwing, too? Not that I plan on throwing them at anyone. Just askin'. :)

  • The Frog Prince profile image

    The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

    Now I have to fess up being a cook myself. I've come to rely more and more on my little electric chopper/dicer to do more of the fine work quickly. It won't slice though :(

    The Frog

  • beingwell profile image

    beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

    Oh cool! I call my kitchen knives, knives nothing more. Thanks for this. Something new for me. :)

    Shared this one.

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Christy! Lol. A real housewife has to have her fun:) haha!

    The bread is great though - so for all you talented cooks I thought I'd share that one:) lol

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thanks for the tip about the olive oil onto the toasted bread - I am going to try the toasting tip!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Dexter! Thank you! I had fun doing this hub too - I always do. I bet you do also because you write so funny!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Jayden - thank you so much! I was so annoyed about the white spot at the top but I couldn't manipulate it and finny gave up! Lol

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Vicki! Thank you so much! This is a terrific plate that almost everyone loves. Even the kids will nibble on it and not complain while I finish the dinner:)

    I do chop my onion different than in the video - I learned to chop the whole top off, then I slice just a bit on one side for a flat edge andmthen chop it like she showed...I don't cut it in half first. And I like to caramelize onions a lot - I want the whole ring,

    Tuck those fingers under - it's awkward at first but once you get the feel of it, it's faster and easier!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Susan! I am such a sucker for bread! I really serve it with almost every meal...last night I had buttery dinner rolls that were perfect!

    Hey I love the EVOO spray! What a great mommy's helper that one is! And you can just buy the cheap stuff from the store all the major brands have been making it lately! I use it to also spray my grill and it helps keep the junk off so well!

    Thank you!

  • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

    Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

    I really enjoyed reading and learning from this hub! Voted up, up and away!

  • JaydenMiller profile image

    JaydenMiller 5 years ago from USA

    This is such a useful hub! Aside from the great information, I really like how well-laid out it is. Voted up!

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    I love that bread, oil and vinegar appetizer. So good! Love this hub. Very helpful AND funny, too.

    I watched that video on cutting onions. I've always cut them the opposite way! I don't keep a sharp knife, though. I cut myself too often!

    Lovely photo at the end. Great job, girl!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Your dipping sauces made me think of this wonderful bread I'd bought last week. An artisan olive and Parmesan loaf that was to die for.

    I've never used an olive oil spray for bread before....will have to try this. Great shortcut!

    Fun hub!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Josh - yeah the titles always are important! lol Thank you - I had fun with this one as usual and I knew people would want some of that bread! lol

  • josh3418 profile image

    Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Kelly,

    Yay! The knife hub is out! And you did great with the title! I know you were trying to figure out the best title to use, excellent job. Informative and awesome hub, and that bread looks too good! :) You are making me hungry!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi WillStarr - thank you so much! I tell you, if I only knew 20 years ago the short cuts I know now...pfft...life would have been easier as a young wife and cook! lol

  • WillStarr profile image

    WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    Hey! I learned something! Actually, several things! Great Hub and thank you!

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Dr. Pooja - nothing to be ashamed about!

    I would use a good Chef's knife to julienne and in the second video - they show you exactly which cut that is and how to do it without loosing a fingertip! You can buy a mandolin but unless I am slicing a whole lot it isn't worth the cleaning time. I have to take my mandolin apart, set the cut size - kind of a pain. My chef knife is my most used knife in the kitchen.

  • Dr Pooja profile image

    Dr Pooja 5 years ago

    I was too ashamed to admit that I don't know the correct knife to use for various activities in the kitchen.Reading your hub has made a little wiser.Can u advice how to juliene cucumbers and carrots ?I mean commercial name of the juliene cutter?

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Lord! Thank you so much for having some fun with me!

    Yeah I am concerned about Ardie too - I shall send her a message and see if I can drag her out! I love her so much - she makes me laugh my you know off! lol

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hey Mel - you can't smell? Really? Wow about 2 million people are afflicted with that I read not long ago - sorry! Well on the other hand, I could thing of many benefits of that!

    Thank you so much! I needed to brush up a bit too:)

  • RealHousewife profile image
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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Hi Kumar24894 - a few more digits and I will have your number! lol

    Yes - this week the other real housewives need to practice thier knife skills:) Do you know how many fingernails I sliced when I was learning to cook? Many...many! lol

    Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Well, Knives aside, this was a great intro into a realhousewife kitchen. You are getting better and better. forget those e-Books and forget Dave,,... I mean the FoodChannel Network! Love that French bread - toasted. Good in the mornings with my cup of coffee, ready to play my harp..and create my poetry....! Thanks for taking your time! Where is Ardie!!

  • melbel profile image

    Melanie Shebel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

    This is a really helpful hub. Even though I went to culinary school, I don't have very good cutting skills.

    I didn't take the knife skills course before I left school (I became anosmic, so there was no point to continue my education in the culinary arts.) Even after cooking often, I do an awfully crummy job at dicing tomatoes or julienning a cucumber (and I LOVE julienned cucumbers.)

    I'll have to watch some videos and brush up on my knife skills. :) Great hub, shared, voted up and awesome, helpful, and all that fun jazz. :P

  • profile image

    kumar24894 5 years ago from Fuck of HUBPAGES

    A RealHousewife Cuts with a Knife!

    Is this video to show us what a Kitchen knife can do? LOL