Cooking Today: Kitchen How-To

Cooking Today


-how to chop and onion-

Remove the outer papery layer from the onion. Lay it on its side, and cut the onion in half lengthwise from root to tip. Lay the halved onion cut-side down, then cut off the top, leaving the root end (the hairy end) in tact. Peel back the outer layer. Then using the tip of a sharp knife, make multiple vertical cuts, making sure to get as close to the root end as you can without cutting it. Then turn your knife horizontally, and start slicing. As you make the slices across the small vertical cuts in the onion, the onion will come apart in small, chopped pieces! Discard the root end after you’ve cut as closely to it as you can.

-how to chop garlic-

Use the palm of your hand to roll around an entire head of garlic against the counter, loosening the individual cloves. Remove a clove, then use the side of your knife and a good pound to mash the garlic which will break up the paper. Peel the paper, then trim the tough end of the garlic clove. Then carefully slice the garlic, then rotate the clove and chop again.

-how to cut/chop a bell pepper-

Lay the pepper over on it’s side and slice off the bottom of the pepper, making it flat. Peppers often are wonky on the bottom which makes for more difficult cutting. Then stand the pepper up on it’s newly flat end, and use a sharp knife from top to bottom to cut just the outside flesh off. Rotate the pepper, then make another cut from top to bottom. Continue cutting around the outside of the pepper, cutting off the good flesh, and leaving the inner core/seeds. Discard the core/seeds. You should have four clean sections. Lay them down and slice them into long narrow strips, then rotate the section of strips and chop them.

-how to clean whole fresh mushrooms-

Use a damp paper towel to wipe off the dirt and grime from the mushrooms. Trim any thick, tough stems or discard the stems altogether, keeping only the caps.

-how to trim whole brussel sprouts-

Many brussel sprouts do not require trimming. The only required trimming may be to remove any tough stems at the bottom. You may also then halve them lengthwise.

-how to zest a lemon-

Lemon zest is bright and citrusy. It shouldn’t be bitter. The way to best zest a lemon is to first wash it and dry it. Then use a microplane zester to lightly zest only the very outer, yellow rind. Do not zest in the same spot twice or you may get into the white pith which is bitter. Continue to rotate the lemon in order to zest a new spot each time you run the microplane over it.

-how to clean cast iron-

Never soak, never put in the dishwasher, and never use dish soap on your cast iron. Allow your pan to cool down after using it, then use hot water and steel wool to gently scrub any residue off of the pan. You may use coarse salt as a scrubbing agent to help loosen the residue. Rinse, and wipe the whole pan dry. Use a paper towel to rub a thin coat of vegetable oil inside the pan and up the sides.

-how to clean/care for wood-

Extended contact with water will ruin your wood boards and utensils. Always wash them with hot soapy water as quickly as you’re able after using them. Then dry them immediately. Don’t let them soak in your sink; and do not put wood in the dishwasher. Using a paper towel, a shop towel, or other unimportant linen, wipe the wood with mineral oil or board cream to moisturize the wood. Wipe plenty of the oil on the wood, allowing it to soak in

the oil. Allow the wood to soak up the oil, then use a towel to wipe off any excess oil before storing. Occasionally, you may use a fine sandpaper to smooth out any rough places before oiling.

-how to test baking soda for freshness-

Baking soda should be checked and replaced before using it in your cooking and baked goods. To test for freshness, pour a few teaspoons of white vinegar in a little bowl, then spoon a teaspoon of baking soda into the bowl. If the baking soda is fresh, it should fizz with fervor! If it isn’t effervescent, then it needs to be replaced.

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