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What is the one cooking trick


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Chopping onions - the standard pro method ...

I'll admit, I don't know the method. Please share. I swear, I keep getting more sensitive to onions. It's getting so bad that my eyes are burning just reading this post. :laugh:

I'm very short on time at the moment - anyone else, feel free to jump in here.

Jacques Pepin illustrates this in La Technique, it's easier to see than describe:

Pull off the loose roots (less messy that way) but leave the root end of the onion otherwise intact.

Cut the onion in half from top-to-bottom (stem end to root end), peel.

Put one half cut-side down (flat) on the board, and trim off some of the stem end to leave a nice clean vertical cut. Again, leave the root end alone, it holds the onion together for the next steps.

Cut a series of vertical slices top-to-bottom (again, stem end to root end) in the onion. Do not cut the onion all the way into seperate pieces, leave them attached at the root end. Space the cuts farther apart for larger dice, and closer for small dice.

Cut some horizontal slices (parallel to board) but don't cut into seperate pieces (again, leave intact at the root end.) Closer cuts for smaller dice.

Now, slice the onion into dice (vertical cuts) across the width of the onion, starting from the cut stem end, and proceeding towards the root end.

Repeat with the other half; fix any overly misshapen pieces.

Voila, a whole chopped onion with no tears involved (I hope).

Tip: Making the cuts parallel to the cutting board can be a bit tricky; it may be easier at first to cut each half into quarters, and do the preliminary slices on one of the quarters at a time, but it'll take a bit longer.

Again, it's easier to see being done than describe in words; a little practice, and it'll be obvious and second-nature.

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inventolux's garlic method also works with the side of a cleaver or the flat of your palm, just crush and slip off skin...

It seems to me that he is describing something entirely different. The smash and grab technique is my preferred way of peeling garlic. :smile:

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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QUOTE (enthusiast @ Jul 15 2003, 10:29 AM)

so many books tell you to add the oil (butter) one drop at a time to begin with. 

Whaaa? I'd never heard that.

A thin slow stream.

well thin slow stream is even worse. that's exactly what stops it coagulating (?). if you keep streaming before the oil is incorporated your oil bill will rise. :smile:

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Chopping onions - the standard pro method ...

I'll admit, I don't know the method. Please share. I swear, I keep getting more sensitive to onions. It's getting so bad that my eyes are burning just reading this post. :laugh:

I'm very short on time at the moment - anyone else, feel free to jump in here.

Jacques Pepin illustrates this in La Technique, it's easier to see than describe:

Pull off the loose roots (less messy that way) but leave the root end of the onion otherwise intact.

Cut the onion in half from top-to-bottom (stem end to root end), peel.

Put one half cut-side down (flat) on the board, and trim off some of the stem end to leave a nice clean vertical cut. Again, leave the root end alone, it holds the onion together for the next steps.

Cut a series of vertical slices top-to-bottom (again, stem end to root end) in the onion. Do not cut the onion all the way into seperate pieces, leave them attached at the root end. Space the cuts farther apart for larger dice, and closer for small dice.

Cut some horizontal slices (parallel to board) but don't cut into seperate pieces (again, leave intact at the root end.) Closer cuts for smaller dice.

Now, slice the onion into dice (vertical cuts) across the width of the onion, starting from the cut stem end, and proceeding towards the root end.

Repeat with the other half; fix any overly misshapen pieces.

Voila, a whole chopped onion with no tears involved (I hope).

Tip: Making the cuts parallel to the cutting board can be a bit tricky; it may be easier at first to cut each half into quarters, and do the preliminary slices on one of the quarters at a time, but it'll take a bit longer.

Again, it's easier to see being done than describe in words; a little practice, and it'll be obvious and second-nature.

Wow, I've been chopping onions using the standard pro method all along!!

And trust me, I'm still tearing up. :sad:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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This one's pretty basic, but when I finally learned to get all my ingredients prepped and ready (a mise en place, in other words), cooking became a much smoother and more predictable process.

Ditto.

It also helps make the whole experience more enjoyable.

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I second the thermometer.

Pre-made roux

Can you give more details here, Carolyn? I mean, I've made a roux before. How do you scale it up? Just multiples? And what kind of quantity are we talking about? Gallons? :biggrin:

As far as the "pro-method" of cutting an onion, I learned a similar technique that I find works a little better, and you never have to turn your knife so the side is toward the board... after you cut the onion in half, cut it into quarters. Then, slice downward. Then, turn the quarter 90 degrees onto the other cut face, and slice downward again. Then turn, and slice downward again for small dice. I find this method less clumsy, even if it does require more cutting. And I don't think it does anything to keep you from crying.

I find that if I rinse my hands when onions start irritating my eyes, I stop crying. I know why onions make me cry, and I know that rinsing my hands shouldn't have any effect on it, but it seems to work for me.

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eGullet.

Mise en place.

Finishing with butter.

Kosher salt.

"Pro method" of chopping onion.

Trusting my instincts as to flavor and textural matching.

Sharp-as-shit knives.

Tourne.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I run both the onion (after it's been peeled and the knife under cold water first. It works for me.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Pre-made roux

Can you give more details here, Carolyn? I mean, I've made a roux before. How do you scale it up? Just multiples? And what kind of quantity are we talking about? Gallons?  :biggrin:

We are talking weight vs. volume. 1 pound butter and 1 pound flour to end up with 2 pounds roux. This comes from the CIA's cookbook, page 423. I swear I had some of this stuff in my fridge for a year!

The trick with roux is that the method for combining roux with liquid is that the temperatures have to be different - hot liquid/cold roux or cold liquid/hot roux (to prevent lumping!) - it was perfect to be able to chisel off a hunk from the fridge for my soups or sauces.

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For me the biggest trick has been salting.

Using both a good salts and salting at various stages and salting enough.

this includes brining as well, my life has changed since I started brining! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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really? I will be trying this for sure!  How big of bowl do you use?

Ben

Use 2 metal bowls for best results. They should be about 8 inches in diameter for every head of garlic. The beauty about this trick is the enzyme that is released from the garlic (im sure everyone is familiar with the stickyness of a crushed garlic) sticks to the bowl and the skins then stick to the bowl thus peeling the garlic. You can peel this way much faster than using a cleaver or pretty much any other method that I am aware of.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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(bloviatrix)

Wow, I've been chopping onions using the standard pro method all along!!

And trust me, I'm still tearing up.

You could try growing taller - to keep your eyes further from the food. :smile: Okay, not very practical...

How about: sharper knife, work faster, but be sure to keep fingers away from sharp fast knife? I find that the many possibilities for serious injury is one thing that makes cooking interesting. The ACTUALITY of serious injuries isn't that fun though. :sad:

But seriously, I'm no speed demon in the kitchen, and rarely get more than a mild and transient eye irritation from one or two large onions. If I had to do several pounds, it would probably be different though.

(DaveFaris)

As far as the "pro-method" of cutting an onion, I learned a similar technique that I find works a little better, and you never have to turn your knife so the side is toward the board... after you cut the onion in half, cut it into quarters. Then, slice downward. Then, turn the quarter 90 degrees onto the other cut face, and slice downward again. Then turn, and slice downward again for small dice. I find this method less clumsy, even if it does require more cutting. And I don't think it does anything to keep you from crying.

You are correct; I was wrong. I saw it in the tips section of Cooks Ill a few months ago; I tried it, found it wasn't faster or better for me, and forgot the crucial detail of turning the quartered onion to only make vertical cuts. Thanks.

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Use 2 metal bowls for best results. They should be about 8 inches in diameter for every head of garlic [....] You can peel this way much faster than using a cleaver or pretty much any other method that I am aware of.

Well, YOU can peel faster with the bowls than whacking with a knife; I think my cleaver works pretty well, and I don't have to wash two extra bowls when I'm done. :biggrin:

And now for something completely different: does anyone have a really fast way for peeling shallots? The whacking technique doesn't work well at all compared to garlic. [Hmm, maybe I should put the cloves between two metal bowls??? :laugh:]

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(bloviatrix)

Wow, I've been chopping onions using the standard pro method all along!!

And trust me, I'm still tearing up.

You could try growing taller - to keep your eyes further from the food. :smile: Okay, not very practical...

:laugh::laugh:

How did you know I was short?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Recently I have begun adding chipotles to everything - shrimp, ceviche, mahi mahi carpaccios, soups, stews, salads.. you name it. And the new chipotle Tabasco is also "dreamy"...

Prep H, here I come!

:rolleyes:

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And now for something completely different: does anyone have a really fast way for peeling shallots? The whacking technique doesn't work well at all compared to garlic. [Hmm, maybe I should put the cloves between two metal bowls???  :laugh:]

I don't know any way as quick as smashing with a cleaver which, obviously, doesn't work for shallots. Just be sure to cut the shallots in halves or quarters before peeling.....that way, the skin will usually come off each half or quarter fairly easily, often in one piece.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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And now for something completely different: does anyone have a really fast way for peeling shallots?

Just be sure to cut the shallots in halves or quarters before peeling.....that way, the skin will usually come off each half or quarter fairly easily, often in one piece.

Sounds like a winner, thanks, I'll give it a try.

And as for PaulaDR's suggestion for chipotles in everything, in general, I'd agree. Wild sockeye salmon is on sale here, and I was pondering whether chipotles might be good with salmon. I'm a little concerned that they might overwhelm the salmon, but am willing to give it a try anyway.

But as for good with EVERYTHING, I'm highly doubtful that they'd enhance my morning Raisin Bran - anyone willing to convince me otherwise? :biggrin:

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Hmm.. perhaps a little too strong for salmon unless you made a mayo or egg based sauce like a hollandaise or bernaise for it.

As for the raisin bran, add the chipotle to the bloody mary, make it a brunch and your set.

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Using a salad spinner to thoroughly dry fresh herbs, especially the leafy ones like parsley and cilantro. Makes mincing so much easier.

I am having trouble visualizing the quartered onion dicing method. Don't the onions fall apart after the first slice through? Or are you slicing them perpendicular to, but not through, the root?

Lobster.

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I just had an apprentice, Steven Duyzer, come back from a four month tour at a 2 star Michelin restaurant tonight. He gave me the 'new way of making veal jus'! It sounds great and my apprentice says it is the best thing he has every tasted.

I have just finished my sixth course and fourth bottle of wine. I will post the recipe tomorrow. Fat Guy please call me a call if I forget. This recipe is revolutionary (or at least 21st century), Steven says it is like jello, the colour of molasses and is never bitter!

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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Chef Fowke I can't wait!

Just to make sure that I add something to the thread, the one cooking trick I've learned is to always try and learn something from every dish; to analyze everything you eat and try and figure out a way to make it better by analyzing your own methods or trying to figure out how somebody else did it.

Over time this builds up theories. The true joy is when you find something that challenges your theories. I don't have a fear in the world that someday I won't learn something about food.

edit: that or learning how to smoke, though I'm not sure which.

Edited by col klink (log)
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