Thursday, June 19, 2014

Knife Course

I went to a knife class to learn different cutting techniques.  I learned a bunch of information and I was sure to record it all in my binder.  Now, it is transcribed and ready for me to share to you.  I broke this into categories of what the instructor went over, so I tried to make it easy to follow.   He was really funny so maybe I will include a follow blog post of the jokes he made :)  But the jokes where so good that I can't remember them.

Knife Safety:
Do not take knife and board together.  Instead just go with board.  Use back of the knife to scape off food.  Don’t plunge the knife into water.  To store keep the knife on a magnet or inside a bamboo block.  Not because it looks cool, but because you need to keep it somewhere where it is away from

Different Knives:
A pairing knife is used to cut small vegetables, and the other only knife you will need is a French chef knife.  A French chef blade has a rounded bottom and flat top, meanwhile a Santoku has a flat bottom and a rounded top.  Both the French chef blade and the Santoku do the same thing and give the same type of cut.

Caring For Knifes:
On the tip of the knife there are little pieces of metal that separate every so often, so a honer(hoe-ner not aw-ner) is used to put teeth back into position.  To use a honer you should be almost parallel to the blade and use a down and across motion.  Each side of the blade should be honed 20 times.  Overtime, the tip of the knife becomes dull, so you need to physically shave the blade 2 times a year with an electric sharpener.  To do so just run the blade through the coarse side about 10 times per side, and then through the smooth side 2 times per side, afterwords it should be honed.

Holding the Knife:
Right before the handle at the end of the blade should be the knifes balance point.  Hold the balance point with your index and thumb then wrap the 3 other fingers around the handle.

Using the Knife:
Press the tip down and use the back of the blade to chop the food.  Use a rocking motion to cut the food, and press the food through as if it was a car wash.  As you are pushing the food through be sure to grab the food with a claw grip, meaning the fingers are tucked away.  Aim for cutting the food in a way that they will all be a uniform size.

Other Tips:
If your cutting board is moving around on you that can be dangerous.  Therefore, place a wet paper towel underneath the board so it does not move.

Cutting Foods:
Cut a cucumber in half and then flesh side down start cutting it into uniform pieces.

Cutting a bell pepper can be easy simple cut of the sides and after all the sides are cut off the middle is what remains

To chiffonate basil layer the basil, roll it like a crepe, and then cut it into thin vertical strips.  To keep the basil fresh and to keep it from turning brown store it in cold water to use later as a pretty finishing garnish.

Cut off the root of an onion then cut slivers into the onion but not all the way through, then cut into the onion straight down to make cubes of onion that are roughly uniform in size.

To supreme an orange cut off the top and the bottom then cut around from top to bottom then cut out from the membrane.  Keep the membrane to make orange juice.

When buying a whole chicken drain out the juice over a trash can.  Then take out the gizzards and hearts out of the chicken and through them out.  Keep the necks and stuff them back into the chicken.  Cut off the fat near the bottom of the chicken.  Sometimes it is helpful to use a boning knife which is curvy and helps get around a bone, but a french knife works as well.  Pop the thigh of the chicken and cut off the whole leg.  Then to separate the thigh from the chicken leg look for a change in the color of skin and cut there.  The thigh will be yellow and the drumstick is purple.  Dislocate the chickens shoulder and cut down into the wing, so that all that is left is the body.  Cut off the little parts of the wing, because there is very little meat there anyways.  Cutting into the breast bone involves going to the side of the bone that sticks out of the chest.  Curve the knife around the body to get as much breast as you can.  The flap under the breast is the tenderloin, but if you cut up the next vertical piece, and then do a 2/3 cut, you will be left with 2 tenderloins.  It is easy to get 2 more if you take the piece you have left and cut it in half across the grain.  The oysters is right below the thigh and it is dark mean and it is the best part of the meat.

Different Kinds of Cuts:
A Julianne is a long thin strip, meanwhile a Brunoise is small cubes made from cutting up a Julianne.

Making Chicken Stock:
To the bones and water, about 1 inch above the bones,  and simmer for 8 hours and skim the fat you see within the first 1/2 an hour.  Then take a mirepoik, (2:1:1 ratio respectively) of onions, carrots, and celery.  Cook the mirepoik for 1/2 an hour and then strain it, finally add in parsley, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary.  If it is thick then you are doing it right.  Get the mixture to be in gentle simmer with no lid which is one bubble every second.  It can easily be stored in ice cube trays or in baggies.

Do not make fish stock unless you have a venting hood.  The best kind of fish to make a stock out off is trout and rockfish.  Note:  If you are making a fish stock then use white fish and please make sure you have a vent hood, other wise you would want to sell your home, but it won't sell.

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