Cooking and preparing meals is an art of intuition and a science of basic cooking knowledge. Blending the two together will help to create fabulous meals. Below is a list of basic cooking techniques that are used throughout this cookbook. It will be helpful to familiarize yourself with them before moving on to the recipes. When making a recipe, use your intuition as to whether you should add more or less of certain ingredients, and how long to cook some dishes.
No recipe can ever be perfect because of the incredible variations in ingredients, cooking equipment, and the person preparing the recipe. CUTTING TECHNIQUES Chiffonade: This cutting technique can be used for leafy greens, such as chard, kale, and collards, and fresh herbs, such as basil and mint. Stack the leaves one on top of another and roll tightly lengthwise. Then slice with a sharp knife crosswise to make long, thin strips or ribbons. Chopping:
A chef’s knife is typically used for chopping. This general technique involves cutting the food into pieces when no specific size or shape is called for. Dicing: Dicing food produces small, even squares or cubes. Diced vegetables are typically⅛- to ¼- inch cubes. Slice the food item into long strips, and then cut across the slices to make cubes.
This technique can be used for onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, yams, and squash, as well as many other vegetables and fruits. Julienne Cut (Matchsticks): The julienne cut creates small matchstick pieces. This technique is particularly useful for cutting vegetables that go into sushi rolls, as well as for many other recipes. Simply take your vegetable, a carrot, for example, and cut it diagonally into ⅛-inch slices.
Then take each slice and cut lengthwise into thin strips. Mincing: Mincing is a technique used for cutting food into very small pieces. Strong-flavored foods such as garlic, shallots, onions, fresh ginger, and hot peppers are typically minced to incorporate flavors evenly. Use a chef’s knife and start by slicing the food, then chop back and forth in a rocking motion until the food is in small, fine pieces.