Hi everyone, and happy Monday!
Knives are kind of my thing. (Not in the way that they are Dexter’s thing.) I love buying them, I love caring for them, and nothing makes cooking easier than working with the correct knife that has been properly sharpened. Here are my knives:
From left to right: 10″ chef’s knife, slicer, santoku, santoku with granton edge, paring knife
Ok so, I have a lot more knives than that. But these are the knives that I use the most, by far. If any of these went AWOL on me, I would notice and it would not be pleasant.
- Purchasing a knife
…is like buying snow boots, they have to be comfortable and they have to be functional. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you probably shouldn’t get the cheapest one either. i always recommend going to a kitchen supply store over a chain department or home store. You want to be able to confide with the knife specialist, and try out a few knives. In a chain store, those are all wrapped up in 4″ thick plastic and you will never really know what it feels like. This is crucial! At a specialty store you can hold as many knives as you please until you meet your match. For a good chef knife, you should plan to spend more than $20, but spend over $50 and you’re just being ridiculous. Unless you cook every day and are die-hard…then, make it rain.
- Avoid celebrity brands
If you buy a Rachel Ray knife, you’re going to get a Rachel Ray knife. Yuck-o.
- Keep, your, knives, SHARP
If your knives aren’t sharp, you probably dread cooking. Or, you keep cutting yourself. Or, you burn stuff. Or, you just eat things whole all the time. Using dull knives is not only annoying, but it is dangerous. When a blunt edge of a knife meets the slick skin of a waxy vegetable or fruit…your finger is the first to go. This is THE most important thing about owning knives. There are many places that offer knife sharpening. If you on the North Fork like me, you can bring your knives to Complement the Chef in Southold. If you are around my hometown of Rhinebeck, Warren’s Kitchen and Cutlery does a great job and sells any kind of knife you need. I have mine done about every 3 to 4 months. If you want to buy a stone and do it at home, that’s even more bad-ass. Here is a great video on stone sharpening.
This is actually the main reason why you are hysterically sobbing over your onions. When you cut with a dull blade, the knife pressure squeezes the onion instead of piercing it immediately and all those onion juices come streaming out onto your cutting board. That’s whats making you cry so much! If your knife is sharp, you will slice perfectly through the onion without pressing the juices out. You may shed one tear, but that’s life.
- Use the correct knife
Every knife has their best uses. A chef’s knife is your best friend, and is useful for most things. But…you should try to avoid using it for tiny things like garlic or for any cutting that happens off of the cutting board. For those occasions, the small paring knife is awesome because it is small and agile, and you can use it to core, peel, or remove small parts from produce that a chef knife would be too big and clumsy for. The slicer pictured above is great for fish, chicken, and meat because it has a very thin blade that will give you a clean cut without having to use much effort. It is also great for cutting anything really, really, thin. The santoku a thinner blade than a chef’s knife, but has the sturdy feel and build of one so this one is great for hard veggies like carrots and other root vegetables. The granton edge on the other santoku prevents sticking, so it is a great knife for slicing potatoes, eggplant and big blocks of cheese.
I can’t stress how much a sharp knife will turn your world around! seriously, gather your knives and bring ’em in!
Next time, I will get into knife cuts & tips for efficiency.
*edit- I will be back Thursday with pro tips on slicing & dicing*