Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knife Skills + Recipe/Technique

Yesterday was our first ever laboratory session (Yippie!) and we started off with some basic knife skills.

I didn't grab any pictures but you can see some great images from About's "How to Use a Chef's Knife" HERE

I guess I was too busy cutting up vegetables to really worry about taking pictures. Also, there are tons of resources out there for proper knife grips. I'm not going to say that you're going to need to enroll in a culinary class to learn how to hold a chef's knife, but it really helps to have someone there to ask if your grip is proper. I mean, again, there are tons of resources out there, both pictures and videos, but nothing beats the feeling of chopping vegetables just for the act of chopping itself.

Anyways, we sliced up a lot of potatoes and what do you do with odds and ends? Well, make mashed potatoes and crispy shoestring potatoes of course!

Recipe # 1 Mashed Potatoes
Yield 6-8

1 Kilo Large Potatoes (It's important to use large potatoes, because we need the starch)
1 Bulb Garlic
1 225gram bar of unsalted butter (or 1 cup)
1 Small box all purpose cream
Oil
Salt (To taste)
Pepper (To taste)
Nutmeg (To taste)
Cayenne Pepper (To taste)
Chives

Technique:
As a whole bulb, cut the top off the garlic
Dress the garlic with oil and place inside an oven at a medium temperature (this should be done about the same time as the potatoes) (Roasted Garlic)
In a large pot, bring water to boil.
Cut up potatoes into quarters (for faster cooking) I prefer not to take the skin out as this adds flavor to the dish. But if you're going for the ultra-smooth variety then by all means, peel the skin off before boiling the potatoes
Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes until cooked
Drain the potatoes (Don't let cool! Do all the steps while still hot)
Squeeze the garlic into the potatoes
Start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher, or thick gauge wire whisk
Add the butter and all purpose cream slowly while whisking/mashing
Mash until you reach the desired consistency (Some like it ultra smooth, others like it chunky)
Once you reach the desired consistency, add the chopped chives, salt, pepper, nutmeg (some people skip this spice) and cayenne pepper to taste.

Enjoy your mashed potatoes!

Recipe #2
Crispy Shoestring Potatoes
Yield: 4-6
Ingredients

1 Kilo Large Potatoes
Oil
Salt (To taste)
Pepper (To taste)

Technique
Peel the potatoes
Slice the potatoes into shoestrings (about 1/8 inch thick)
After slicing the potatoes, drop them in a bowl of lukewarm water to prevent browning and to help draw out the starch
Drain the potatoes thoroughly and then dry with a paper towel to prevent splattering while cooking
In small batches, deep fry in hot oil for 3-4 minutes
Drain the potatoes on paper towels and cool for a few minutes
Once the cooked potatoes are cooled, re-fry in hot water for about 2 minutes for that extra crisp
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy your shoestring potatoes!

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