Midday Fix: Chef Heather Terhune demonstrates knife skills 101

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Heather Terhune


Choose the Right Knife
The most important thing to consider when buying a knife is how it feels in your hand.

Ready, Set, Chop
With your cutting board and food prepped, select the right knife for what’s being chopped.
8-inch Chef’s Knife: Perfect for herbs, vegetables or greens
3-1/2″ Paring Knife:  Offers greater mobility and is useful for tasks that require a delicate, precise touch like trimming vegetables
8″ Bread Knife: A serrated knife is ideal for slicing bread and removing skins from melons and citrus
5″ Utility Knife: Extremely useful for slicing raw and cooked meat and dicing tomatoes due to size
Shears: Designed for many uses, including snipping herbs and cutting the backbone out of a chicken
Always use a cutting board: use a  plastic board for meat and fish, wood for everything else

Knife Safety 101
Concentrate on the task at hand: Avoid conversations and pay attention to your cutting
Always use sharp knives: Dull blades cause more accidents because they require more pressure and are harder to work with
Choose the correct size for the job: Using a small knife for a task that requires a chef’s knife can be dangerous; be as efficient as possible and safer
Do not hold food while you cut it: Always use the cutting board and keep your fingers firmly in place on the grip of the handle
Watch handles for grease or slippery substances: Clean knives are a must for best use and to prevent cross-contamination
Place knives away from the counter edge : Step out of the way if a knife is dropped
Use knives for their intended purpose: Do not use knives as can openers or screwdrivers

Clean and Store like a Pro
When meal prep is complete, follow these steps to increase the life of your knives and prevent injury:
Wash immediately after use: Do not leave knives in soapy water where they cannot be seen, and point the blade away when washing
Knives can rust if left in water: Let air dry to prevent rusting
Avoid the dishwasher: Harsh chemicals can dull the blade
Sharpen continually: Use a sharpening steel to save your edge and extend its “sharp lifetime”
Store in a knife rack or drawer when not in use: Do not store knives with other small objects or leave on a countertop

Rainbow Salad

1# green or purple asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1” pcs. (use chef’s knife)
2 carrots, washed, peeled, trimmed and cut on a julienne (use chef’s knife)
2 cups sugar snap peas, washed, remove the string, trimmed and cut on a bias (use paring knife)
1  large red beet, peeled, trimmed and cut into julienne (use chefs knife)
1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced (use chef’s knife)
10 French breakfast radishes or red radishes washed, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced (use paring  knife)
2  yellow bell peppers, trimmed and cut on a allumette (use chef’s knife)
1 large red beet, peeled, trimmed and cut into fine julienne (use chefs knife)
1/2  roasted and salted sunflower seeds

Prepare all the vegetables as listed with the different techniques.  Place half the dressing on the bottom of a large platter.  Line the individually cut vegetables in the color of the rainbow, side by side, or however you would like it.  Keep like colors apart.  Drizzle remaining dressing on the top of the salad.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.  Feel free to use whatever vegetables you would like and interchange them.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs finely minced shallots
7 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar.  Shake to combine.

Bias Cut:  Is a hard angle used for something  long (like a baguette).  Using your forefinger as a guide, you cut angles of vegetables for a nicer presentation.

Chiffonade: is a cooking technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables (such as spinach) are cut into long, thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then cutting across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife, producing fine ribbons.

Julienne :  An urban legend has this cut named for Julia Child. The julienne measures approximately (1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 inches). It’s also the starting point for the brunoise cut.

Allumette:  Sometimes also called the “matchstick cut” (which is the translation of “allumette” from French) the allumette measures approximately (1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 & 1/2 inches). It’s also the starting point for the brunoise

Fine Julienne: Measures approximately (1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 2 inches). It’s also the starting point for the fine brunoise cut.

Chicago Cutlery



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