Knife Skills & Cutting Techniques
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!
Types of Knives
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.
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.
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!
If you want this? Better put out! (Dinner ladies, dinner).
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.
"I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it will be with a knife." ~Louise Brooks
Perfect Topping Ideas for French Bread
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