Happy Tipsy Tuesday! When someone finds out that I went to culinary school one of the first things they are interested in are knife skills. The good news, they are really simple techniques. The bad news, just like any other skill, you have to practice! I went through pounds of potatoes to pass my knife skills class since perfection was expected. I will keep it basic here since no one is grading us!
I am going to start with two knife cuts that I find myself using often. The julienne (think matchstick) and the brunoise (little cubes). Why bother? We eat with our eyes first and these two cuts can really elevate the appearance of your final product. It also creates a uniform size so cooking time is easier to manage. No more raw big chunks and over cooked little chunks!
A few things to know before we get started. Sharp knives are SAFER than dull knives! Dull knives will slip away from the object you are cutting and having control of your knife is key! Another danger is the skittering cutting board. One way to prevent this is to place a damp kitchen towel under your board so that it won’t slip while you are cutting. Holding your knife correctly is also very important. Most people tend to hold them by the handle, seems intuitive right? This grip does not provide adequate control leaving you with a wobbly stroke. Pinching your knife just above the handle will give you proper control of the blade. It seems counter intuitive at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will find it much easier to cut! If you are right handed, look over the blade on the right side while cutting to get a view of the size you are creating. Opposite if you are left handed.
I don’t use special cuts everyday but when entertaining guests or just wanting to make a special meal for the family, it is nice to know how to creatively present your dish! Those odds and ends? Don’t discard them! I use them to make stock, smoothies and purees! You can freeze them for later use so no waste is involved!