Info - ten kitchen technique tips

Yield: 1 Servings

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1. There are three essential knives for the home kitchen - but they should be of good quality and honed before each use to keep them smooth and sharp.

They are a chef's knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife.

2. Ever wonder why your eyes tear while you're chopping onions? It's because your knife is dull. Only with a sharp knife can you slice an onion cleanly - without crushing it and releasing the sulfuric acid.

3. Don't trim both ends of an onion before you start chopping. Leave the root end intact. Slice crosswise first, stopping your blade just short of the root end. This will keep the onion together as you start cutting in the other direction.

4. If you plan to serve your chopped onions raw, make sure you rinse them in cold water - that washes away any residue of sulfuric acid - then use a cloth towel to squeeze them dry.

5. There are three simple ways to peel a tomato. If it's firm, use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to saw back and forth as you go round and round. Or impale the tomato on a long-handled fork and - turning as you go ~ char the skin off over the direct flame of a gas burner. But if you have a lot of tomatoes to peel, just drop them in simmering water - from 10 seconds in they're very ripe, up to 50 seconds if they're not - and remove them with a long-handled fork. The skin will pull off easily with a knife.

Some will say to chill the tomatoes in ice water after pulling them from the hot water, but that will wash out some of the flavor.

6. Want to know how to keep the skin of chicken from sticking to the pan during roasting? Put a piece of parchment paper underneath 7. To keep the cut end of your artichoke from discoloring, tie a slice of lemon to the bottom of each artichoke before cooking. Then cut the strings and remove the lemon before serving.

8. Need to chill wine or champagne in a hurry? Put coarse sea salt or kosher salt in the ice water to lower the temperature in the wine bucket.

Then turn the bottle regularly for about 20 minutes, and voila - it will be ice cold.

9. Here's how to keep the shells from cracking when you're boiling eggs: Gently pierce the wide end of each raw egg with a push-pin or thumb tack to release the air inside the shell and give the egg itself some "leg" room.

It's that air which, when heated in water, expands to break the shell, often carrying the white of the egg - the albumen - with it.

10. More egg tips:

* If you have a lot of eggs to separate, don't do them one by one. Break them all into one large bowl, and use your clean hands to lift out the yolks. Let any adhering egg white dribble back into the bowl.

* Crack your eggs on a flat surface - on a cutting board or on the counter ~ to make sure broken bits of shell don't fall into your bowl or into the egg itself.

* Add a little white vinegar to the water you're using to poach eggs. It keeps the whites from "wandering." When they're done, lift them out with a slotted spoon directly into an ice bath to rinse off the vinegar and stop the cooking. Before serving, trim the irregular portions off the cooked egg with scissors or a knife.

Recipe by: Jacques Pepin

Posted to Digest eat-lf.v097.n312 by Reggie Dwork <reggie@...> on Dec 08, 1997

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