I enjoy cooking but I am no master chef. However I have picked up some culinary techniques over the years, particularly apropos vegan cooking, which I think are worth passing on. I assume we all here spend some time in the kitchen preparing all those lovely healthy veggies we have in our diets, so read on for some advice on preparing them.
First off, place a damp cloth, e.g. a kitchen towel, under the chopping board to stop it moving around as you work.
Always use a sharp knife, especially on tough root veg. A blunt knife needs more pressure and can slip out of control (and you don’t want some of your own blood mixed up with the veg – that’s not vegan!)
To chop vegetables like a pro, rest one hand on the back of the blade, at the tip, keeping it in contact with the board, while the other hand rocks the handle up and down, moving the knife across the veg. For rough chopping, raise and lower the whole blade. Cut round vegetables in half lengthwise, then put the flat side down before further cutting, to keep it stable.
To dice a vegetable into small cubes, first cut into lengthwise into even slices. Bundle them together and cut into sticks. Then cut crosswise into cubes.
To julienne a carrot, slice 4 sides to create a rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 2.5 cm (1 inch) slices. Stack and again, cut lengthwise into 2.5 cm (1 inch) strips. Voilà!
Broccoli can be chopped with a small kitchen knife or even scissors!
Onions Without Tears
To slice an onion, use a knife twice as long as the onion. Cut it in half, laying halves cut side down. Cut 15 cm (½ inch) off the root and stem ends. Then peel off the skin. Cut 3 or 4 times in each direction.
To avoid tears (here are the top tips I have found – they all work!)
1) partially freeze it before you start (not too much though, or it will be impossible to cut)
2) Pop a chunk of white bread in your mouth (then eat it!)
3) Chew gum (in fact, generally breathing through your mouth rather than your nose should help)
4) Cut onions under cold, running water
5) Use a really sharp knife, as less juice will be released, and cut as rapidly as you can.
6) Light a candle to draw the gas from the onion to the flame (so if you are cooking a romantic dinner à deux the candle will have more than one use!)
7) Or wear swimming goggles! (or maybe a gas mask, for really strong fiery onions!)
Good Garlic Technique
To get the most flavour from a clove of garlic, simply crush it with the flat side of a knife. Add a little sea salt and, with a rocking motion, slice it in one direction, then the opposite, until it is finely minced.
So there you have it – some kitchen tips that should make your preparation of vegetables in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable.
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