Clapping On The Down Beat

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Mini lesson: knife skills October 25, 2011

Filed under: 2011 Cooking 101 the basics — clappingonthedownbeat @ 3:03 PM

I am going to try to have a summary of what I did in culinary class on Tuesdays and then move the meal plan to Thursdays since I have class Wednesday and get home late.

This week we learned the use of a steel and stone, proper holding of the knife and cutting techniques.

Here is how a knife is properly held.  (we learned that our chef knife is an extension of our arm- watch out, I talk with my hands)

  Pinch the knife with your thumb and index finger just above the handle.

Did you think that the steel (the rod that comes in many knife sets) was for sharpening your knife?  That’s what I thought.  But it’s not!  It is for honing your knife and you should do it frequently.  The steel is magnetized and when the knife is correctly run over the steel it aligns the atoms in the edge of the blade.

     Start with the heel of the knife and run it down the steel to the tip.  The take the knife behind the steel and run it again from the heel to the tip so both side of the blade are aligned.  A stone is used to sharpen knives.  Since the knives here are brand new, we only used the steel.

Next we practiced our cutting techniques.  Our homework is to practice so I will probably be making a large pot of potato soup!

    This is a Tourne, it is a 7 sided football shape cut with  pairing knife

  This is a Batonnet (1/4″x1/4″X1/4″x 1 1/2″x- 2 1/2″) Like a french fry cut, notice mine are not perfect, they taper down.  They need to start with a perfect rectangle and then be cut down.  Again, I will be practicing  A LOT.  The second picture is the Batonnet cut into Paysanne, like a thin small dice. Both done with a chef knife.

   Next is a Julienne, very difficult on a carrot.  Notice I tried to get more perfect rectangles to begin with so the julienne cut did not taper.  Smaller than this is a fine julienne, usually seen on lemon peels and basil. Again, done with a chef knife.

  Lastly we sectioned an orange with the pairing knife.

Tomorrow we go into stock production.  Stocks are the foundations of many recipes.  From the stocks we get 5 mother sauces; Beshamel, Espangnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, and Veloute.  Sauces are a liquid and a thickening agent and then additional seasonings or flavors.  More to come…..

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