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Knife Skills 101

Knife skills 101

Using a chef's knife is one of the most important parts of the culinary arts. Here's a collection of articles, tutorials and how-tos will help you practice your knife skills.

More About Chef's Knives:
Culinary Arts Spotlight10

Two French Classics

Monday April 21, 2014
Here are a couple of French classics: Beef Bourguignon and Steak au Poivre. They might sound fancy, and they are definitely impressive dishes to serve, but they're relatively simple to make.
Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon.

Beef Bourguignon is a rustic beef dish made by braising beef in red wine and beef stock, along with button mushrooms and pearl onions. The traditional wine is Burgundy, which is where the dish gets its name.
Steak au poivre
Steak au poivre.

Steak au poivre is another bistro classic in which a steak is crusted with cracked black peppercorns and then pan-fried in butter and served with a creamy sauce flavored with cognac.

Check out the recipes for Beef Bourguignon and Steak au Poivre. And here's more about cooking meat: Connect with Me: Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

How to Hard Boil Eggs

Friday April 18, 2014
Easter is the number-one hard-boiled egg holiday of the year. What turkey is to Thanksgiving, hard-boiled eggs are to Easter. (To be sure, plenty of people serve a roasted turkey for Easter, but that's another story.)
How to Hard Boil Eggs
How to Hard Boil Eggs
Photo © Danilo Alfaro

Hard boiled egg are used in all kinds of recipes, like in salads or sandwiches, and they're a nearly perfect snack on their own. Unfortunately, making hard boiled eggs is one of those obscure skills that few people seem to have mastered. How long do I boil it? Do I start with cold water, or do I boil the water first and then drop in the egg? And why are they so hard to peel?

Fear not, faithful reader. I've got a simple technique that will help you make a perfect hard boiled egg every time.

One thing to know about a good hard boiled egg is that you should never see a greenish ring around the yolk when you cut it open. When you see that it means the egg is overcooked. It's the sulfur in the egg that causes that greenish hue, and it appears when the egg has been overheated because it was boiled for too long. It doesn't smell amazing, either, as you've no doubt experienced at one time or another. With this technique, you can say goodbye to those greenish, overcooked egg yolks.

As for boiled eggs being hard to peel, that's a function of how fresh the egg is, not how you cook it. Fresher eggs will be harder to peel. So if you've got some older eggs in your fridge, those would be a better choice for making hard boiled eggs than ones you just grabbed from the henhouse. Check out: How to Hard Boil Eggs.

(Oh, and about that roasted turkey. Check out this roast turkey breast.)

Finally, here are a few more articles to help with your Easter preparations: Connect with Me: Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

How to Roast a Leg of Lamb

Thursday April 17, 2014
Roast leg of lamb is a classic holiday dish, and you can get a 6-8 pound semi-boneless one that will feed anywhere from 8 to 12 people.
How to Roast a Leg of Lamb
How to Roast a Leg of Lamb.
Photo © Ben Fink / Getty Images

Semi-boneless means that it's had the hip and tail bone (which is also sometimes called the H-bone) removed, as well as the hinged end of the shank bone. These bones are great for making stock, so your best bet is to have the butcher do this for you from a whole leg of lamb so that you can take the bones home with you.

Here's an article that describes How to Roast a Leg of Lamb. Also check out this Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe. Finally, here are a few related resources: Connect with Me: Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

How to Cook Asparagus

Friday April 11, 2014
Asparagus is in peak season right now, and every time I eat it I'm reminded of a book I had to read for homework many years ago. Or more specifically, about 30 minutes after I eat asparagus.
How to Cook Asparagus
How to cook asparagus.
Photo © Danilo Alfaro

In the book, the narrator describes how eating asparagus "transforms my chamberpot into a flask of perfume."

Interestingly, only about 40 percent of the population know what he's talking about — at least firsthand. But briefly, a sulfur-based compound in asparagus (which is related to the substance in asparagus' cousin, the onion, that makes your eyes water when you slice it) causes your pee to smell like — well, like a flask of perfume.

And since no more than about 40 percent of people notice the effect themselves, it was originally thought that asparagus only reacted this way in certain people's bodies. But it turns out that asparagus turns everyone who eats it into a perfume factory. The difference is that only 40 percent of the population are capable of smelling it.

Asparagus is one of the most versatile and flavorful veggies, and it's definitely one of my favorites. Not everyone feels the same, though, and I don't know if it's because of the pee thing, which to me is certainly remarkable, but not necessarily unpleasant. Instead, I suspect it's because asparagus is so often overcooked. Boiling it too long is the biggest culprit here.

Not that boiling isn't a good way to cook asparagus; you just have to be careful. Still, possibly my favorite way of cooking asparagus is to grill it. Roasting is also a great technique, and so is sautéeing. So check out How to Cook Asparagus. Maybe you're one of the lucky 40 percent. And here are a few more asparagus recipes: Connect with Me: Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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