The Skills

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The Skills: Our weekly newsletter-soon-to-be-cooking-book wherein we're going to concentrate on how to cook and let you the reader worry about what to cook!

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Whip It Good

Now that we have the required Devo reference out of the way. We fully expected this edition of the newsletter to be the simple one, yes? Eric and I both jockeyed to get to write it thinking… whisks, folding, what could possibly go wrong, right? Wrong? How about all of it. Let us disabuse you of a simple notion: There’s a whole lot more to whisking something up than a simple ‘Whisk goes in the bowl, whisk goes roundy-roundy.’ A lot more. There’s tools, and techniques, there’s ingredients and temperature control oh my.

Having said all of that… we are going to be focusing exclusively on non-mechanical means of whipping things. First, because this is one of several tests of true cooks: can you whip egg whites into a thick, brilliantly white snowy mixture? By hand? The second reason is that we have a hard time not giggling like schoolboys when someone mentions using a machine to whip something. Yes, we admit to being juveniles, we’re comfortable with ourselves.

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Well, we’ve learned how to break things down so the obvious next step is to learn how to put them back together. Or together into a different (hopefully better!) order. With that in mind this section is referred to as “The Spoon” because of that tool’s obvious connection with mixing things up. We’re talking about combining two, three or more items into something that is new. And yes, even when you whip egg whites you are mixing the proteins with air. So what are the various methods of assembly that we will be reviewing in this newsletter?

  1. Mixing
  2. Kneading
  3. Whipping
  4. Folding

Pretty easy stuff, you might be thinking. Simply toss the target ingredients into the old stand mixer, hit ‘10’ and go see if the commercial is over on the TV, right? Well… no. In fact that’s a pretty easy way to run into issues. Lots of them. But not to worry, we’ll be covering all of the finer points of methodology involved in each of these. Understand that in our minds mixing and kneading are variations on a theme as are whipping and folding. Two pairs as it were. Read to dive in? Here we go…

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Intro

Here we are over a month into our newsletter and not one malicious threat on our lives or on our kitchen appliances. As of this very moment we believe that we can chalk this up as a win in the good idea department. This newsletter is made possible by readers like you! One small step for chef, one giant leap for chef-kind. We did not have hug that Kitchen-aid for just a few seconds uncomfortably long! You want the cake? You can’t handle the cake! … I uh … lost my train of thought there … so sorry.

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The Classic Cuts

This week is all about the classic cuts. These cuts mostly come from French cuisine and can be found in texts coming all the way back from the 1700 - 1800s.These have been used for hundreds of years by chefs everywhere. Once again this is a “Do it this way” newsletter as the recipe calls for a chiffonade not a shred for a reason. No need to take notes on these. We will give you a nice info-graphic to print out and put on the fridge.

Without further adieu [uh-do] the classic cuts!

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Basic Knife Skills

Hello and welcome to the third installment of “The Skills”. Last week we introduced you to your most commonly used tool in the kitchen … your knife. We went over what you want to look for in a knife, the different styles of knives, and why you want a good knife that feels right in your hands. Now what? Sure “Pointy end goes that way.” (that way meaning AWAY FROM YOURSELF) is not a bad place to start but what about after that? If you decide that you want to try a challenging recipe with your new knife, do you know the difference between a Julienne and a Chiffonade or a Rondelle and a Lozenge? (A what and a what and a what?) Fear not chefs not only will we be explaining what everything is, we will also be showing you how to do it and giving you a neat little info-graphic that you can print out and keep handy in the kitchen for quick reference (infographic is coming at the end of the knife section in two weeks). So let’s dive in to learning about each of these cuts and what they are good for.

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