Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chopping Garlic and Onions

This past weekend, I hosted my parents and younger sister for the weekend while my sister was touring some colleges in the New England area. I was kindly asked to make a meal from my young blog and wanted to keep it a little fancy. I made my Polish Girl Chicken Parmesan and it was hit! It was a great meal to feed a fairly large crowd because it was easy to double and entertaining for people to watch in action!

Anyway, I am sure you don't care to hear about our whole weekend but I just wanted you to know why I have been somewhat off the radar this weekend (as a 9-5 working person, the weekends offer a great opportunity to cook more challenging meals).

In order to make up for that, I thought I'd offer you a couple of quick tips that took me a while to get right.

If there is one thing I hate, it is a big, face-puckering chunk of onion or garlic in an otherwise outstanding meal. Getting an onion or clove of garlic cut up finely enough to enhance a meal rather than take away from it can be fairly challenging for a new cook. So these aren't some great big best kept secrets, but just some beginner tools you might find helpful -- especially if you are going to try some of my dishes...I LOVE ONIONS AND GARLIC! And for both of these tasks, make sure you have a nice, sharp knife! This will really ease the entire process.

How to: evenly chop an onion
First, cut your onion in half, like so:

Lay each half flat side down. Parallel to your cutting board, cut the onion in half again (BUT DO NOT cut the whole way through)

Now make between 4 and 6 cuts (depending on the size of your onion) perpendicular to the cutting surface. Again, do NOT cut the whole way through. The top of your onion is going to serve as a grip during the cutting.

Make small slices in the opposite direction of the previous cut so that you have wonderful little nuggets of onion, perfect for sauteing, soups, slow cooker recipes, etc.

How to: Finely mince fresh garlic
Peel your garlic clove and place on a cutting board.

Lay your knife flat and gently pound the garlic to mush it down. Pound gently 4 or 5 times, putting a little muscle into it once you get comfortable with the feel of it.

Once your garlic is smashed, run your knife through it to create tiny cubes of garlic.

I really love fresh garlic because it is a little more flavorful than the minced stuff. It's also very cheap! So save a little bit of cash and do the mincing yourself!

Happy Cooking, Everyone!

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