A symbol of fall, butternut squash is perhaps the most common and versatile of winter squashes. Thanks to its firm flesh and very thick, tough skin, it can keep for a long time at room temperature, but that thick skin and firm flesh also makes it more challenging than most vegetables to peel and slice. Here are the tools and techniques for trimming the squash, peeling it, removing its seeds, and then cutting it into different size pieces.
When scallions are used as a base ingredient in a stir-fry or salsa, a fine rough chop will do you just fine. But the beauty of scallions is that they're as pretty as they are flavorful—provided you know how to cut them. Here are the basic knife skills you'll need to produce three different types of garnish-worthy scallion slices.
Cleaning your own live soft-shell crabs is incredibly easy, and guarantees that you're going to eat the freshest, best soft-shells possible. Here are the basic steps for preparing the soft-shells for cooking.
It's easy to waste a lot of delicious pineapple if you don't slice it the right way. Here's how to get the most out of the fruit, while removing skin, core, and all those annoying eyes.
Learning how to cut properly can make the difference between seeing kitchen work as a chore and a joy. It can mean the difference between unevenly cooked dishes and poor flavor development, and excellence. There's a good reason why the very first class any culinary student takes and the very first job any starting cook has in the kitchen is knife work. Cooking without mastering these basic strokes is like trying to run without knowing how to tie your shoes. These are the four strokes everybody should know.
This week we're gonna show you how to cut citrus fruits into slices, wedges, and suprèmes (aka fancy-pants segments). Seems like simple stuff, right? And it is, but doing it right can make a world of difference in how your finished dishes look and taste.
The key to a good chicken stir-fry is starting with evenly sliced pieces of meat that will cook quickly and uniformly. Here's how to do it.
Recipes often call for boneless skinless chicken thighs, yet finding them in supermarkets can be a bit of a hassle. You're far more likely to find bone-in thighs or even whole legs. Knowing how to take that bone out yourself will save you some hassle and provide you with some good bones for making stock in the process. Here's how to do it.
Unless I'm going for a big, juicy, dry-aged ribeye, the skirt steak is my favorite cut for grilling. It's got a loose texture with a distinct grain and big, buttery swaths of fat that run through it, keeping it nice and moist as it cooks. And while it's no longer necessarily dirt cheap at the supermarket, it's also a cut that comes out juicy and flavorful, even when you don't spring for the extra-fatty prime-graded stuff, which can help keep a few bucks in your wallet. At my local supermarket, it runs around half the price-per-pound of a prime ribeye steak—a bargain in my book. As with any inexpensive steak, the key to success starts in knowing how to trim it properly to maximize flavor and tenderness. Here's how to do it.
If there's one knife skill that can save you money and make you look cool at the same time, it's breaking down a chicken. Consider that boneless breasts often cost around three times more than whole chicken does. So for the same price as a two-pack of breasts, you can buy a whole chicken, which comes with those same breasts, plus two legs, and a back.
Whether you spell it portabella, portobello, or portobella, nobody can tell you you're wrong. Here's another place you can be right: when you tell someone that portabella, white mushrooms, button mushrooms, champignon mushrooms, and crimini are all actually the same fungus. The difference in color on the cap between white and crimini comes down to the specific strain of Agaricus bisporus they're cultivated from, while a portabella is simply a mature version of the same fungus.
To be honest, pearl onions are available pretty much year-round at the same quality level, but they're especially useful in winter when other vegetables aren't in their prime. Available in white, yellow, or red (just like their full-sized brethren!), they are generally milder than full-sized onions and take on a noticeable sweetness when cooked. Here's a little trick to help you remove the skin easily with your fingers by blanching the onions first. Watch the video for full instructions.
Pale yellow with an elongated bulbous shape, Belgian endives are made up of a series of tightly overlapping leaves. Here's how to cut them for using in salads or for cooking.
Leeks are like the Lord Thistelwick Flanders of the onion family. The refined and aloof European cousin who needs to be nudged before his true onion character emerges. But once you start cooking with them, they offer a variety of characteristics that you don't find in regular onions.
Fennel is a generally divisive vegetable. Crisp, with a distinct anise flavor, it can be overpowering for some people. I like my fennel in small doses. Sliced super thin on a mandoline and tossed with citrus segments and a nice lemony vinaigrette, it's a great winter salad that goes well with sausages, terrines, and other charcuterie.
This video will show you an easy method to take advantage of the relative densities of the seeds and pith of a pomegranate to separate the two as painlessly and stainlessly as possible.
Slicing a whole bunch of apples for a pie can be a chore. If you're awesome with a paring knife, you can use the Jacques Pepin technique: twirl the knife around the top then the bottom, split it in half, cut out the seeds, and slice the wedges, all without ever letting the apple leave your hand. For the rest of us, here's the easiest, most consistent technique I've found.
Have you ever tried to make a mushroom out of George Washington's head on a dollar bill? Well, we're not going to do that today, nor are we going to do the opposite, which is significantly more difficult (and altogether more impressive). Instead, we're going to learn how to cut button mushrooms into two basic shapes, which for most practical purposes, is all you need.
A chicken paillard is just a fancy French way of describing pounded chicken cutlets. As a technique for home cooks, it's one of the most useful; Once you know how to do it, a hot chicken dinner is only a few minutes away. When pounded to a quarter inch, chicken breast takes about four minutes total to cook in a hot skillet.
Our turkey shopping and cooking guide will be coming tomorrow, but here's your chance to bone up on your carving skills.