I’ve been cooking and barbequing for 40 years and have tons of experience. So even as a new member of The Chopping Block’s team, I was skeptical that I might learn something new in a recent hands-on grilling class I attended. However, within the first 20 minutes I learned a new time saving trick: Use a fork to quickly remove parsley from their stems.
You simply take a bunch of parsley and hold it in your hand while taking a fork in your other hand, with the tines facing upward, and scrape the leaves off the stems. Fantastic! What a great tip.
Within the next 10 minutes, I learned two more time saving solutions: Peel and mash ginger with a spoon. Slice the ginger into 1/8” thin circles and use the edge of a spoon to peel away the skin.
Then use the spoon tip to scratch away at the flesh in small pieces. The spoon perfectly mashes the ginger into small pieces. I just learned three new tricks to shorten food preparation time. To me, this alone was worth taking the class.
I wasn’t prepared for the realization that I’ve been using some of my kitchen tools incorrectly. For example, I’ve been putting my lemons and limes into the squeezer upside down. No wonder I was getting juice shooting out of the gadget instead of into the bowl.
And while I’ve been using a Microplane to zest lemons and limes for years, I didn’t realize I was using that tool wrong also. Instead of it facing down while pushing the fruit back and forth across the top, I learned to keep the tool facing upward while pushing the fruit in one direction below. That way you can see how much zest you have accumulated and push it directly into your preparation bowl with your finger. It also keeps your Microplane sharp, because going back and forth with the fruit will dull its surface. Here's Shelley's demo on how to use a Microplane and why our staff loves it:
During the rest of the course, I continued to learn new tricks, like how to judge when a steak is cooked to your desired doneness, and how to prepare vegetables for grilling. It just goes to show you that even an experienced cook can learn time saving tips and proper use of kitchen tools at The Chopping Block’s cooking classes. I’m so excited to be working with such an experienced team of chefs and associates. I’m looking forward to continue learning new tricks for food preparation in my home.
Have you taken our Knife Skills class? Even the most experienced cook will learn some new kitchen tricks.
Here are our upcoming classes in July: