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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

High Tech

I came across a list of 10 techniques that are "crucial" in the kitchen on YumSugar.com.  While I'm not sure these are crucial to being able to cook well, some of them aren't bad to know how to do. 

Here's the list--you can check out slideshows of how to do each one in the article.

  • Chiffonade--Slicing things such as herbs in little ribbons.  It makes the herbs look nice and easy to distribute.
    Do you know how to get the shells
    off of these guys?
  • Poaching Eggs--This is one thing my dad can do.  Of course, he uses one of those egg poaching pans with the little cups in it (not that there's anything wrong with that).  A good thing to know, I guess, but I wouldn't call it crucial.
  • Shucking Oysters--Oysters are pretty much the one seafood that I'm not very fond of, so I'm not one to talk about this one.  I guess if you like them, then knowing how to get to the meat is important.
  • Wrapping Bouquet Garni--A Bouquet Garni is a bunch of herbs or spices that are wrapped together to add flavor to soups or stocks.  They can simmer in the liquid and are easily removed later once they've done their job. 
  • Boiling Crabs--I love crabs and knowing how to cook them without overcooking is a good thing to know.  (Again, crucial?  Probably not.) 
  • Cleaning Cooked Crabs--If you know how to boil them, then you better know how to get to the yummy meat.  This is one of those things that, once you learn it, you can do it with your eyes closed.  I've actually found that cleaning the crabs BEFORE cooking them (yes, that means while they're alive) is a much better way to do things.  It makes eating them a lot less messy.
  • Roasting Peppers--Freshly roasted peppers are great--they add huge amounts of flavor to all sorts of foods.  And it's very easy to do--especially on a grill.
  • How do you get those little kernals
    off of the cob?
  • Peeling Shrimp--Easier than cleaning crabs.  I suppose they're including deveining as part of "peeling".  If you're going to serve shrimp, this definitely is something that you should know how to do well.
  • Removing Corn from a Cob--If you're going to freeze corn while in season, this is a good skill to learn.  I find the easiest way to remove fresh corn from the cob is to chew it off.  That may be not what they're talking about, though.
  • "Turning" Vegetables--This is a classic French technique for cutting veggies in a way that looks nice and helps them to cook evenly.  But it's very time consuming and just doesn't seem worth the trouble.  (My apologies to all you French chefs out there.)
So good luck in learning all these crucial skills.  I guess the next challenge is to make a meal that incorporates all 10 of them.  Good luck!

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