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Ask A Chef Anything
#1
As before, I'm open to any and all questions about

- food in general; whatever went wrong with your last cooking experiment, I can probably fix it
- butchery and charcuterie in particular (it's a pet interest of mine, and I have trained as a butcher)
- culinary uses for plants (again, this is a pet interest)
- cooking techniques
- care and feeding of kitchen tools. Your knives and your cookware matter, and surprisingly few people care for them as well as they should. A chef's knife, well cared for, should last you twenty years without needing repair or replacement.
- how to become a professional cook
- what restaurants are actually like behind the scenes
- everything wrong with the culinary practices of any fictional universe you care to name...the Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire universe makes a great fuss about being gritty, "realistic" fantasy, but they should have starved to death a very long time ago!
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#2
What's a good bread for cubanos? I used Italian and if was a little rough and a little heavy. Don't have access to Cuban bread, but I find that too chalky anyway (guessing it's to do with the lard?). Other than that, turned out great.

Half sour pickles were a pain to find....
Saru mo ki kara  ochiru
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#3
(03-01-2015, 06:33 PM)hussaf Wrote: What's a good bread for cubanos?  I used Italian and if was a little rough and a little heavy.  Don't have access to Cuban bread, but I find that too chalky anyway (guessing it's to do with the lard?).  Other than that, turned out great.  

Half sour pickles were a pain to find....

In the absence of pan cubano I would use a fresh baguette. The crust is a little different, so it's not a precise substitute, but a good quality baguette or the kind of "hoagie" roll that subs are built on (with that lovely soft interior) might do well enough. Alton Brown favours those.

I've also heard of Turkish bread/pide being used, which seems unusual and isn't a particularly close match but would probably be pleasant in a different way.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#4
Let's pretend you're the head chef for a small-time restaurant of some sort of "ethnic" food. It's not a fine-dining establishment by any means.
Let's further pretend that someone comes in with no experience in working in a restaurant wants to apply for an open position in your kitchen.
Now let's pretend that he's a disabled veteran with 10 years experience in the military and says that he can follow directions and is a fast learner.

What would this theoretical person have to do in addition to the above in order to get himself a job there?
(09-24-2014, 05:32 AM)damn03 pid=' Wrote:<br />dont question yoss, he knows everything and youre wrong.<br />
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#5
(03-01-2015, 07:02 PM)Wombitch Wrote:
(03-01-2015, 06:33 PM)hussaf Wrote: What's a good bread for cubanos?  I used Italian and if was a little rough and a little heavy.  Don't have access to Cuban bread, but I find that too chalky anyway (guessing it's to do with the lard?).  Other than that, turned out great.  

Half sour pickles were a pain to find....

In the absence of pan cubano I would use a fresh baguette. The crust is a little different, so it's not a precise substitute, but a good quality baguette or the kind of "hoagie" roll that subs are built on (with that lovely soft interior) might do well enough. Alton Brown favours those.

I've also heard of Turkish bread/pide being used, which seems unusual and isn't a particularly close match but would probably be pleasant in a different way.

I've actually heard the same thing about turkish bread.

I used an Italian baguette. Ok but a little heavy and tore up the mouth. Leftovers today was on kings Hawaiian rolls and a Caesar with homemade dressing (yes, anchovies), and homemade croutons (leftover italian baguettes from Saturday). pretty good turnout for leftovers.

can't wait to use that mojo marinade in other dishes....

(03-02-2015, 03:16 PM)Aaryq Wrote: Let's pretend you're the head chef for a small-time restaurant of some sort of "ethnic" food. It's not a fine-dining establishment by any means.
Let's further pretend that someone comes in with no experience in working in a restaurant wants to apply for an open position in your kitchen.
Now let's pretend that he's a disabled veteran with 10 years experience in the military and says that he can follow directions and is a fast learner.

What would this theoretical person have to do in addition to the above in order to get himself a job there?

from the chefs that I know they would say to pretty much have to work your ass off starting at the bottom rung in high pressure dinner service and slowly prove you can handle mor pressure...like picking parsley and chopping onions.
Saru mo ki kara&nbsp; ochiru
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#6
(03-02-2015, 03:16 PM)Aaryq Wrote: Let's pretend you're the head chef for a small-time restaurant of some sort of "ethnic" food.  It's not a fine-dining establishment by any means.
Let's further pretend that someone comes in with no experience in working in a restaurant wants to apply for an open position in your kitchen.
Now let's pretend that he's a disabled veteran with 10 years experience in the military and says that he can follow directions and is a fast learner.

What would this theoretical person have to do in addition to the above in order to get himself a job there?

Formal qualifications would be a plus (either an apprenticeship as I did, or culinary school) but if you're going to start from the bottom they are not technically a requirement. Some of the best cooks I've ever known began as dishpigs scrubbing pots at fourteen or fifteen, learned by watching what happened around them and simply never left!

You need to not only be a fast learner, but also a fast (and safe) worker; kitchens are hot, crowded, sometimes very dangerous working environments with a lot of potential for injuries, and being pushed to perform as fast as you possibly can does not help. I've had some very nasty injuries over the years (I've stabbed through my hand before, have nearly lost a finger, have layer upon layer of burns, have knocked myself out cold, have torn ligaments; a very good friend of mine had several of his toes removed after crushing them to pulp, I've seen some horrific scaldings, and I recall at one point seeing someone try to work with the sort of infection that blew his hand up to three times the size it ought to have been because he had stabbed himself with about fifty bone fragments while taking a Cornish gamehen apart). Good hand-eye coordination is a plus.

Ability to handle stressful situations is essential. This is one of the reasons why turnover among hospitality staff is so high. You must be able to follow (and give) instructions precisely when under pressure, with no drop in quality. You are also one cog in a very complicated machine, so if you cannot work with others as part of a team...this is not for you. Your military time may be a help to you here; we have our ranks too, and a full brigade de cuisine (not all kitchens will have a full set up, not all kitchens are large enough to need it) may be bigger than the average infantry platoon. Add in the front of house staff, the sommeliers in the cellars and everyone else, you may have a company-sized contingent of people who all need to cooperate perfectly!

You need to be flexible in regard to hours. Kitchens tend to be a little ridiculous in the hours they expect, shift work is the norm and for someone very low down the pecking order like a new kitchenhand this is exacerbated because everyone will expect you to take the worst of it. Do you remember being a boot? Good, you'll be one again.

Willingness to get dirty. It can be filthy work, especially as a lowly peon seconded to the things no one else wants to do. It gets worse, since you do filthy work but are never allowed to look dirty. Why do you think chef's whites look as they do?

Related to this, make a point of personal cleanliness and the organisation of your workspace. Your hands and tools need to be immaculate at all times, and God help you if your hair is too long or uncovered. I still remember being told exactly why kitchen hygiene matters so much; food poisoning is not a joke, it's not only an upset stomach and getting it wrong can kill someone.

As a disabled veteran, some questions may be asked about the nature of your disability, and at the very least you need to consider this yourself. If this is something to do with your back/knees/shoulders, can you stay on your feet for long periods and lift heavy things? How are you with loud workspaces...is your hearing affected? If you have had a head injury, how is your memory and executive functioning when it comes to juggling multiple tasks at once?
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#7
I think I can do what you're talking about. As to the disability, my back is fucked something fierce but I can stand all night as long as standing all night doesn't also mean heavy lifting all night. My hearing is reduced but if I can look at you when you're talking to me, I usually can understand what you're staying. I'm not deaf, by any means, but it's just a little weaker than normal. No head injuries though. One concussion in high school but I'm sound.
(09-24-2014, 05:32 AM)damn03 pid=' Wrote:<br />dont question yoss, he knows everything and youre wrong.<br />
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#8
(03-04-2015, 06:35 PM)Aaryq Wrote: I think I can do what you're talking about.  As to the disability, my back is fucked something fierce but I can stand all night as long as standing all night doesn't also mean heavy lifting all night.  My hearing is reduced but if I can look at you when you're talking to me, I usually can understand what you're staying.  I'm not deaf, by any means, but it's just a little weaker than normal.  No head injuries though.  One concussion in high school but I'm sound.

Hearing loss is not a dealbreaker. There are deaf cooks, so mild hearing loss like you have may complicate the situation (a head chef will usually want to give instructions only once, usually very quickly [which I know can complicate lipreading] and may or may not be in a position for you to see them clearly...this is what the tall white hat is for, so you can find him among the chaos!) but is not a dealbreaker provided you have strategies in place to manage it. You know your limitations and you are the best judge of what will help you, but be aware that the natural noise level in a busy kitchen is shouting to be heard over the clatter and the din.

Your back, on the other hand, may be more of a problem. You'll be on your feet the entire time. You'll be frequently hunched over to do prep work, and may be ducking underneath the benches a lot to get access to things stored underneath; stirring, fine knife movements, peeling, trying to work under a range hood too low for you, all these require you to be close. How long can you hold a bent-backed stance before your shoulders and spine start to protest? Heavy lifting happens all the time too; a kitchenhand may have to haul six 50lb sacks of flour for the patissier or a 100lb sack of potatoes for the entremetier, a line cook has to move a full 140lb pot of boiling stock from one burner to another without spilling anything, the butcher has to get a 170lb side of beef down from its hook in the coolroom...

We all have backs that hate us. If you come into it with a back that already has issues, you're going to be in quite a lot of chronic pain. Hernias and slipped discs and the like are more common than we like to admit.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#9
Previous advice has been competent, so you get my return business.

1. Typically will marinade a loin in serranos, lemon, teriyaki mix for my pork burritos. But requires 8 hour min.
Is there a shorter method to get equivalent effect?

2. Materials and methods for home-made pecan-cinnamon 'swirl' bread? I-net recipes require too much sugar or taste too doughy. For that matter, any type of bread is too fukin difficult to manufacture.
there is no safety in numbers. numbers do not lie.
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#10
Quote: 1. Typically will marinade a loin in serranos, lemon, teriyaki mix for my pork burritos. But requires 8 hour min.
Is there a shorter method to get equivalent effect?

By definition, a marinade takes time to work, but there are a few things you can do that will help the meat absorb flavours faster.

- Cut the pork loin up into smaller sections. Smaller, thinner pieces of meat will be faster at picking up the flavours consistently throughout, since they have proportionally more surface area exposed to the marinade. Much of the eight hour wait comes because you're waiting for the flavours of the marinade to work their way down to the thickest, internal part of the loin, yes? A smaller, thinner piece of meat will do this faster and will usually have a more intense flavour.

- Score the surface of the meat with a knife or poke holes in it with a fork before adding the marinade. You may already do this, but do it more. The cuts slightly increase exposed surface area and allow the marinade an easier way to get deep inside the meat.

 - Learn to love the ziplock bag. Instead of trying to marinate an entire loin in a large bowl or however else you've been trying to do it, take your smaller pieces of meat ans drop them into a resealable bag full of marinade. Get as much of the air out of the bag as you can and seal it closed, then shake it to be sure that the meat is more or less evenly covered. Having the meat in the sealed bag, surrounded entirely by marinade and nothing else, increases the meat-to-marinade contact ratio and allows it to absorb flavours somewhat faster.


Quote:Materials and methods for home-made pecan-cinnamon 'swirl' bread? I-net recipes require too much sugar or taste too doughy. For that matter, any type of bread is too fukin difficult to manufacture.

Baking is not my strongest area, but I can think about this and get back to you. What recipe are you using now, out of interest?
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#11
Knife brands that you favor? Care of knives, sharpening/honing especially. Recommendations on a knife skills book?
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#12
fuck. Yeah I'm having a hell of a time sharpening my Kershaw Shun chefs knife. The "ha" keeps pitting when I sharpen it.
Saru mo ki kara&nbsp; ochiru
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#13
(03-08-2015, 03:32 PM)Bldg. 621 Wrote: Knife brands that you favor?  Care of knives, sharpening/honing especially.

Let's discuss knives.


Knives are almost an intimate as underwear for professional cooks. They are our tools, they are essential to our livelihood, they spend so much time in our hands that they are extensions of our arms. My knives are MY knives, and they are something I do not willingly share; my husband occasionally uses them, but on sufferance only (we have a second set for his use that fits his hands better) and there is no faster way to make me lose my temper than to mistreat them. If I find them in the dishwasher, someone is going to die. 

The simple truth of the matter is that a good chef's knife, a paring knife and possibly a serrated utility knife are the most important purchase you as a cook will ever make. Those two or three knives will do 99% of all the things you ever want to do...and for this reason, telling you what knives I like to use will not actually help you find knives you should use.

However, since you ask, my knives are a real mixture. Some Wusthofs in general use, which are not for everyone but I got used to them. Messermeister are also very good at general purpose (chef's and paring, the workhorses) knives, and have a smaller bolster than the Wusthofs if that matters to your comfort - I like those very much. I have one vintage carbon steel Sabatier with a slightly lighter "French" profile, which is beautiful and responsive, but a pain in the ass to maintain. I have an eight-inch Misono hybrid knife which has been an interesting choice for me because it is so light and I must admit I'm still adjusting to it...remember that if you buy a gyutou, you have to buy specifically either right or left-handed, as they have only one edge and are not ambidexterous. Forschner/Victrinox are a good choice for the butcher's knives and the cleavers; they are relatively cheap but they are GOOD for a butcher.

...I think I own too many knives!

To answer your question about care and feeding of knives, I have to ask something first. How much do you know about the knives you currently own? There are some things that are universal in knife maintenance, but the style of knife and the edge that style requires, the kind of material used in the blade, the material the grip is made from, certain details of construction...all of these are variables, and the care given will have to take them into account.

In general, knife care rests on four things



1: Buy good quality knives to start with. A truly good chef's knife and paring knife set will cost you over $250 at a minimum for those two knives alone, and this can seem extremely steep...but knives are a long term investment, and you get precisely what you pay for. If you buy them wisely and care for them well, you'll be using them still in twenty years or more, even with extremely heavy daily use. Spend the big money on two or three excellent knives that you will use all the time, rather than on a set of ten matched blades where most of them will rarely see any use; even consistently good brands have less carefully made knives on offer, and the deals that allow you eight knives for $250 are the usual place to put the crap ones. If your cooking habits genuinely do need specialised knives (you like to make sushi and want a yanagiba specifically for this purpose? You do a lot with whole fish or large cuts of meat and could use a more flexible boning knife for precision work? You need a heavy cleaver?) you will realise this as you go and can purchase the specific knives individually later. Having good, useful knives is more important than having pretty matching knives that fit perfectly into a decorative block on the bench.

Ideally you want fully-forged blades (this means they were made in one piece) with a full tang (the extension of the blade into the handle; having one that runs the full length of the grip plays a great role in strengthening the knife) and a good bolster (the collar at the base of the blade/top of the handle, again this is for strength and also helps to weight the bottom of the blade to improve balance and control). You should be able to see strong rivets holding the grip in place. Look for Micarta or other tough polymer composite, specially treated hardwood or steel grips rather than plastic or softer timber (plastic can melt, wood can warp unless protected...I find steel has issues too, as it can be slippery, but this is a matter of personal preference and matters more for dedicated carnivores than vegetarians) and the kind of weight and balance that feels comfortable for your hands. These are YOUR tools, and you always should try them in your hands to be sure before you make the purchase.

 They are also not penis replacements, so don't assume you need the biggest one you see.  Big Grin No one is going to look at you and say "My God, his knife is HUGE, what a man he must be". A huge heavy knife with a fourteen inch blade will do you no good if you have small hands better suited to eight or nine. Another thing to consider is that you may find that you prefer one blade shape (the deep-belly German, a flatter and lighter French, a Japanese sharpened with a single grind so only one side has a cutting edge?) or one style of grip; given a choice between the light Japanese-style grip vs the weightier European-style grip, I very much prefer the latter, but I have several friends who have equally strong preferences elsewhere.




2:
Whatever knives you own, always clean and dry your knives by hand after every use. Never, ever let me hear of you putting your knives in the dishwasher. Not even cheap knives from the Walmart bargain bin deserve to be treated that way. Never do it. It can warp the grip, risks chipping the blades as the contents of the cutlery bin bump against each other and can over the long term permanently soften and take the edge off the blade, making it impossible to sharpen properly and dangerous to use.



3:
 Store them correctly. Knives do best in a dry storage space, if possible with a more or less consistent temperature range. Do NOT just throw them in your cutlery drawer and be done with it; knocking against each other loose in a drawer will blunt them and chip them, even if the roughness to the blade is too small to see, and you will hurt yourself if you reach in and take the wrong end. Knives should be kept somewhere safely immobile like a knife block or a cloth knife roll. If all else fails you can store them in the same cardboard box or plastic sheath they came in when you bought them.



4:
Do the small things to take care of your knives as you use them. Use a proper chopping board (end-grain wood or bamboo are best, or good quality, clean plastic mats for raw protein; marble, ceramic and glass look very pretty but are too hard and will start to dull the blade almost immediately, and cheap plastic has a tendency to hold bacteria in the scratches) instead of cutting things on a plate. Use a honing steel (there is a technique to this) on your knife every fifty to one hundred strokes; the steel is not actually "sharpening" your blade, there is no new edge, but the impact of chopping causes the metal in the edge of the blade to roll over on itself and dull the cutting surface, and using the steel to straighten this curled over section and work any burrs out extends the lifespan of the cutting edge. Eventually, the steel will roll inwards on itself too tightly for a honing steel to undo, and this is when you take it to be sharpened properly and have a truly new edge put on. Japanese style blades may need slightly more complex care than European blades.

Have your knives properly sharpened (or learn to do it yourself; a good stone works wonders if you do it with care, but you do have to think about precisely what the knife you're sharpening needs, as this can vary...I can explain the use of these in another post?) regularly, about once every two months, or once a month for knives under very heavy use; counterintuitive as it sounds, blunt knives are infinitely harder to control (and thus more dangerous) than sharp ones. A sharp knife that slips will cut you cleanly, a blunt one will leave a ragged tear. It is possible to OVER-sharpen your knives as well, so be careful of this.



What your knife is made from can affect its care. You have several common choices, or you can go for the "I'm entirely mad and too rich to function" route and have your knives made out of something absurd like titanium. As I doubt you will be doing this, let's discuss the more likely options.

Carbon steel knives hold a beautiful edge when sharp, they are durable, they are easy to sharpen and they can be reshaped with the honing steel almost at will. For at least a century, they were the usual choice in professional kitchens for these reasons. However, they are prone to corrosion (especially after chopping something acidic like tomatoes, or else it can be a side effect of contact with salt or prolonged water contact...carbon steel will turn black if left alone) and discolouration, so if you buy a carbon steel blade you MUST be prepared to care for it. If you are too lazy to bother or don't have extremely well drilled good habits, you'll destroy a perfectly good carbon steel knife. They need to be washed and dried especially carefully after every use, and should be oiled with food-grade mineral oil regularly. Pitting on a knife blade (as Hussaf has) is usually a sign of this early stage corrosion; it can't be helped, as all carbon steel is prone to it eventually, but a polish with a mild abrasive cleaner will help to make it less obvious, and careful handling thereafter will minimise it in future. Hussaf, have you contacted Kershaw to see what they say?

Stainless steel knives are easy to care for, will not rust unless you treat them utterly appallingly and tend to be quite affordable. However, they blunt themselves quickly and in unpredictable ways (they can have a blunt section and a sharp section almost at random when they wear down, so a cook has much less freedom to keep the blade as a whole in good condition with the honing steel), can be hard to fully sharpen again when you finally give up and can sometimes be a little more flimsy in construction (they ARE usually bought by people wanting to be cheap) unless you buy a very very good one like a Kasumi. Japanese stainless honestly tends to be better, but for those who prefer a European knife Henckels stainless models may be worth a look. Have these sharpened more regularly.

Ceramic knives hold an edge forever (easily ten times as long as even the best steel), they are extremely light, they are easy to clean, they do not transfer flavours from one food to the next or leave a slight metallic aftertaste as porous steel sometimes can and because they are not metal they will never oxidise sliced fruit or vegetables...you know how when you slice an apple, it turns brown? On the other hand ceramic knives are often very expensive, and because they are brittle they damage extremely easily – heavy work like cutting through hard cheese, doing anything with frozen food or boning meat is the exclusive domain of steel, as ceramic blades simply will not cope. I suspect this is why I've never met anyone who used only ceramic knives. In addition, whenever they do finally lose their edge, ceramic knives are impossible to sharpen again without specialised diamond-grind equipment, so you will HAVE to take it to a professional.

High carbon steel (sometimes called high carbon stainless steel) is a relatively modern update and would be my choice where possible, since it is an alloy that allows you the best of all worlds. It has the same (actually usually slightly higher) carbon content as carbon steel, thus will be very strong and hold a consistent edge better than stainless steel can. It has much of the chromium content of stainless steel knives (though usually better quality goes into this alloy) and thus resists corrosion somewhat better than carbon steel normally would – it isn't true stainless and will still stain eventually, but not so badly. Molybdenum, vanadium and other things are added to the alloy to improve durability and sharpness further. Unfortunately high carbon stainless steel is not cheap, and you will have to pay for the privilege...this is how I ended up with a knife roll worth more than my car!

Quote:Recommendations on a knife skills book?

There is no one book that will teach you "knife skills". There are too many to learn, they vary too much from person to person, and in truth the only way to get better with a knife is to use a knife. Attack a bag of onions until you cry, live on French onion soup for the rest of the week and then do it again.


What is it that you feel needs work?

Do you want more speed? More control? More comfort when doing it for long stretches? Is there some specific kind of cut that you have been trying and making a mess of?
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#14
I live in a small town and even we have access to knife skill classes. Took my mom to one and took a date to one. Pretty fun, plus we broke down poultry.


The Kershaw is an 8inch, left handed, carbon chefs. No issues with serrated (I just have a carbon bread knife I use for bread and soft skin veggies/fruit.". I have a small pairing from Kershaw and a santoku from Wüstof. I use honing steel but it needs professional care, which is a little harder to come by. I just found a guy who comes around once a month to Ace Hardware and sharpens knives, will have to look more into that.

The blade edge is at a different angle than most knives, and that's about all I know. Beautiful hamon, though. Never actually thought to look at their website for care instructions. I think my chefs knife was around 200, the others a little less.
Saru mo ki kara&nbsp; ochiru
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#15
(03-09-2015, 03:39 AM)hussaf Wrote: I live in a small town and even we have access to knife skill classes.  Took my mom to one and took a date to one.  Pretty fun, plus we broke down poultry.


The Kershaw is an 8inch, left handed, carbon chefs.  No issues with serrated (I just have a carbon bread knife I use for bread and soft skin veggies/fruit.". I have a small pairing from Kershaw and a santoku from Wüstof.  I use honing steel but it needs professional care, which is a little harder to come by.  I just found a guy who comes around once a month to Ace Hardware and sharpens knives, will have to look more into that.

The blade edge is at a different angle than most knives, and that's about all I know.  Beautiful hamon, though.  Never actually thought to look at their website for care instructions.  I think my chefs knife was around 200, the others a little less.
 
Shuns ARE beautiful knives. Most good quality Japanese steel is beautiful, to the point where I would buy it just to look at it. I know a lot of cooks who speak very highly of them as well, but for myself...they weren't quite my cup of tea, as I wasn't so fond of the grip.

The Kershaw site should tell you how to sharpen them on a stone, the angle to set them at etc. If not, I'm sure I could ask around and find out. Have you ever tried using a stone to sharpen anything else? A commercial sharpening service is better than nothing, but they can be a little hit and miss with really good quality kitchen knives (sometimes they grind with the wrong surface, and take too much or not enough) and considering where you live and how much your little collection is worth it might be worth your while to learn how to do the maintenance yourself as I do.

A good sharpen should help with the worst of the pitting too. It can't be helped on carbon steel knives, unfortunately; this is one of the reasons I so rarely use my Sabatier K, which is a beautifully balanced, responsive knife in all other particulars and is essentially a classic. Carbon steel is just so much more demanding about after-use care, and it's so old already!

As to the knife skills, you are correct (most places do have classes available somewhere) but it's a little more complicated than that. Taking a chicken apart is a different skillset to making a bowl of coleslaw in three minutes...so which does he want to learn? Does he know the basics and want something more specialised, or is he a total beginner?

More than that, what is his natural cutting technique and what sort of knife is he used to? We call it chopping as though it is one thing, but there are two possible movements, either using the wrist as a fulcrum or using the tip of the blade. Someone who learned on a flat Sabatier style "French" knife (or a Japanese one, for that matter; Japanese knives with their single edge can be very different) would find a deeper "German" knife ridiculously wallowing, rolling all over the board with entirely too much curve; someone who learned with the deep belly of a German knife would be confused as hell about why you need to lift the French profile so much higher.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#16
I used to sharpen pocket knives on a stone, haven't had one in awhile. Probably a good thing to invest in
Saru mo ki kara&nbsp; ochiru
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#17
(03-09-2015, 05:05 AM)hussaf Wrote: I used to sharpen pocket knives on a stone, haven't had one in awhile.  Probably a good thing to invest in

Do some research on Japanese waterstones. You may need more than one (for different grades of sharpening and/or different steels since you buy from multiple companies who all have slightly different approaches to their steel) but they work incredibly well when used correctly.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#18
Hey, what's a good entree to pair with vichyssoise?

Thanks!
Saru mo ki kara&nbsp; ochiru
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#19
(03-09-2015, 04:28 PM)hussaf Wrote: Hey, what's a good entree to pair with vichyssoise?  

Thanks!

My first thought is fish. Fresh/smoked salmon or trout, scallops, prawns, any of the dense whitefish (cod, snapper etc) would pair well with the cream and chives, and wouldn't weigh too heavily against the soup's natural delicacy. Something light with chicken and creme fraiche may also work. A touch of creme fraiche will make vichyssoise fairly sing.

Dry white wines are the best match for vichyssoise if you need something to drink. I would look for a viognier, a sav blanc or something of that kind?
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#20
Thanks for taking the time for a very detailed and informative reply!

Current workhorse is a 8" Messermeister Meridian Elite which I like quite a bit although I'm just a cookin' hack. I don't abuse it in the ways you described so I'm good there. I have a steel that I use and seem to be doing ok with my technique from the results but I don't use it as frequently as you describe. I have a few paring knives of various manufacture, I just don't seem to use them much... Other player is a big ass Dexter cleaver, I don't get to use it often but it's nice for beating up flesh and bone. Next acquisition might be a cimeter.

I get you on the time spent using your knives. I'm just looking for something that might teach me a few new tricks/techniques. I can be efficient, maybe not slaw in 3 minutes efficient, but good enough for me.

You mentioned something about an over sharp knife. Can you expand on that please?
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#21
(03-09-2015, 05:59 PM)Bldg. 621 Wrote: Thanks for taking the time for a very detailed and informative reply!

Current workhorse is a 8" Messermeister Meridian Elite which I like quite a bit although I'm just a cookin' hack.  I don't abuse it in the ways you described so I'm good there.  I have a steel that I use and seem to be doing ok with my technique from the results but I don't use it as frequently as you describe.  I have a few paring knives of various manufacture, I just don't seem to use them much...  Other player is a big ass Dexter cleaver, I don't get to use it often but it's nice for beating up flesh and bone.  Next acquisition might be a cimeter.

I get you on the time spent using your knives.  I'm just looking for something that might teach me a few new tricks/techniques.  I can be efficient, maybe not slaw in 3 minutes efficient, but good enough for me.

You mentioned something about an over sharp knife.  Can you expand on that please?

Based on what you tell me I would recommend something like the Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills by Jeffery Elliot and James P. DeWan.


http://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-Henckels-Complete-Knife-Skills/dp/0778802566/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1YKWYK4MPMVX9R24PF6P

Henckels overwhelmingly produce knives of the style you seem to favour, and their directions for knife skills and technique reflect that. If you were a Japanese single-ground knife fan, I would have to recommend something else as the techniques and balance can be quite different. This book DOES have a little about Japanese technique, but primarily deals with European designs like your Messermeister has.

As to an "over-sharp" knife...

The problem is not the sharpness itself. A freshly sharpened knife cuts like the wrath of God, and is an utter joy. The problem comes with the lengths you will go to to have a freshly sharpened just-off-the-stone blade at all times. Sharpening a blade as I was taught to do it happens in at least three stages, and can take quite a long time to do exactly as you want it:

One coarse grit, to grind away old dull metal very quickly and expose new steel. This stage can be skipped if your knife is in reasonable condition, but for very dull blades or damaged blades you start here and use it only for a short while because it takes so much away.
One finer grit, to refine and shape the newly exposed edge more precisely. A knife that stops at this stage (or has only used this stage) is sharp by most standards; workable, but could be better.
One very fine grit, to polish away microscopically tiny burrs and scratches left by the coarser grits so the blade is perfectly even. A knife that ends this stage is smooth and sharp, to the point where you could cut down the length of a piece of paper in one clean stroke. It's like cutting air. Beautiful.

It's a little like using sandpaper on timber in that when you do a full sharpen (as you have every time you get your knives back from a commercial sharpening service) what you have done is shaved off a fine layer of steel to expose a brand new, never been touched, never even been seen cutting surface, which is then shaped more carefully and has even more removed to make it exactly as you want it. You are actually making the blade very slightly smaller every time, and will eventually have ground so much away that you begin to (sometimes visibly) change the shape.

Can you imagine what would happen over five years if you took the blade to a commercial sharpener or ran it through an electric bench sharpener to be ground down anew every week? Or if you made more passes over the rougher surfaces (and thus removed more metal) than you technically needed to every time you took it in? Look at some very old knives one day, see how the blades are and you will see what I mean.

If you sharpen your knives yourself on stones, as I do, this is not so much a problem because assuming you do it correctly you have control over exactly when, where and how much the knife is sharpened. You have multiple stones with multiple grades of harshness, and could use the finest one (which is for polishing, smoothing out fine scratches and finishing the surface more than revealing a new surface - a very fine stone is like a more complete, more careful use of the honing steel, but takes far longer to do) every day without harm; many chefs actually do this, as knife maintenance is a very soothing way to finish a shift. It's almost a form of meditation.

For you, though? A home cook who's using twenty seconds in an electric sharpener to tend his knives, or else taking it to a commercial sharpener who wants to do the quickest, most simple job of it he possibly can and is therefore doing it in only one or two stages (sharp, but not perfect) and who may or may not trouble to get the ideal sharpening angle for every knife? Different bevels and hardnesses of steel can need different angles to hit their peak, and not all commercial grinders will respect that, or even necessarily know that.

For you, every day would be far too frequent. Every week would be too frequent. You're simply not using your knives enough to need a brand new surface that often (you do perhaps an hour of knifework a day? Seven to eight a week? Your week's wear and tear is one shift for me and those like me) and trying to maintain it as though you are will shorten the lifespan of the knife because you've ground off so much of the steel when there was no need.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#22
In conversation with Maggie, she asked me about yerba mate. I thought I would put the core of the explanation here, for anyone who may have an interest in the sort of tea that will have people around you calling for the drug dogs! Big Grin




This is the current president of Argentina. This is also the pope. They are sharing space in the single most Argentinean picture in the world. Can you guess why? Look at what he has in his hand.

[Image: 1024px-Pope_Francis_with_Cristina_Fernan...hner_4.jpg]

Yerba mate (or just "mate", pronounced "ma-tay" or "ma-tea" depending on where you are) is a kind of...it's not a tea but it is a little like tea, a sort of infusion of leaves and water. It tastes the way fresh hay smells, and may or may not be mistaken for marijuana by people who see it and don't know what they're looking at. This has in fact happened to me.

Who knew, if you show someone a little plastic bag full of dried leaves and a funny looking gourd thing they can't immediately recognise a use for, they're more or less always going to assume it must be pot?

This is something that you would find over the southern cone; people drink it in Paraguay and southern Brazil and Chile and parts of Bolivia, but ESPECIALLY in Uruguay and Argentina. It's VERY popular, to the point where people routinely carry a thermos full of hot water and a mate gourd with them in their bag; you could stop in any petrol station or shop or cafe and ask "can I have some hot water?", and they would let you have it with no charge. They expect to be asked by almost everyone who comes in, and if you come in they'll immediately point you to it  -"oh yes, we have hot water over there, please by all means refill your thermos immediately".

If someone has any heritage at all from one of the countries I just listed, she has at some point or another had yerba mate in her mouth. Whether or not she LIKES it is a different question (I do) but she has had it. There has always been a bag of it in her family home, there has always been a gourd somewhere left sitting on a shelf. Mate is universal.

It's most often made with hot (not boiling, boiling water makes it bitter) water, and served in something like this.

[Image: AAAAAmhsYXEAAAAAAN615g.jpg?v=1205495525000]

If you have it cold, it would be mixed with other herbs (lemon verbena, mint...something of that sort) and citrus peel or fruit juice in a style called tereré, served in a bull's horn guampa like this.

[Image: Guampa_bombilla.jpg]

The word guampa can be used for either vessel, but you would hear it more for the horn cups than the round gourds, which are more often just called "mate" themselves. The straw is usually nickel, silver plate or sometimes bamboo, and is called a bombilla. It has a filter built in specially at the bottom to separate the sludge of leaves and stems from the part you would actually want to drink.

To have it cold is more of a northern habit (my father is a northerner, and he sometimes has his mate cold and spiked with lime juice; my mother is from the city and prefers her mate hot) and I would expect it most of all for someone who comes from the northeast near the Paraguay border or even maybe from southern Brazil (in Brazil they often like pineapple juice more than lime), but it's not unknown elsewhere, and bottled tereré exists just as bottles of iced tea exist. You could also sweeten it with a little sugar or honey before adding hot water; this is called mate dulce (as opposed to the usual mate amargo, which is unsweetened), and is very much a child's thing. Sweetening it is "soft", something a little weak for an adult (especially a grown man) to do; the herbal quality is considered part of mate's virtues and an adult who sweetened it would probably be laughed at a little.

Another way (popular with farmers who need to get themselves started very early on cold mornings; my uncles used to do this, and I expect they still do) is to use hot water and add a shot or so of something with a kick to it (Chileans would probably like pisco where Argentineans would be more likely to use whiskey or aguardiente de caña [sugarcane grappa], but there is some overlap between the two around the Andean passes) that can warm them as the mate wakes them up. Caña is quite potent, and my grandmother used to give us little nips of it as children for medicinal purposes. I will admit it would probably kill most germs!

As I said, it would traditionally be served in a gourd or a horn like that, and many people would still have them, but you can get mate vessels made in other materials like wood, ceramic, glass, metal (children often have metal, wood or silicone ones with cartoon characters painted on them...yes, you can drink your mate out of Batman's head!), leather or silicone. A metal cup is particularly popular for tereré, as you can wash the juice out easily without it eating away at the interior.
 
If someone lives on their own they will have their own mate to drink from, but in truth it's often a more communal tea than many of you might be used to; you would very often have a single gourd and straw being passed around among a group, with everyone sharing it. There are certain habits and rituals around this communal version that must be observed.

- the owner of the gourd will be the cebador who makes it for everyone
- the cebador always empties the cup when he fills it the first time (the first infusion may be bitter and it would be rude to give that to a guest, so he drinks it himself to be sure he has everything just so) before refilling it again and passing it on
- anyone who is NOT the cebador is not allowed to fiddle with the straw or do anything of that kind; this is extremely rude, and will clog the bombilla.
- it's not impolite at all to slurp, and if anything that rattling noise you get at the bottom of an empty cup is encouraged because you're SUPPOSED to drink it all before giving it back to the cebador to refill again.

If you make it you must drink it, so no cafe would ever make it for you; they would give you the hot water (and maybe even the leaves, if you were lucky) for nothing so you could make it for yourself to drink, but they would not make it for you unless they wanted that waiter to be the cebador who would then have to sit down with you and share it. Most important of all...if you were having a cup of tea or coffee with someone and they made it/poured it for you, you would say thank you when they handed the mug to you, right?

Never do this. Never say thank you. If you say thank you, it's understood as "I've had enough thank you. I don't want any more". You thank them only when you're sure you're completely finished and done. I've had mate sessions with my papa where we have passed one gourd back and forth for forty minutes and not said a word.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#23
(03-31-2015, 06:03 PM)Wombitch Wrote: In conversation with Maggie, she asked me about yerba mate. I thought I would put the core of the explanation here, for anyone who may have an interest in the sort of tea that will have people around you calling for the drug dogs! Big Grin




This is the current president of Argentina. This is also the pope. They are sharing space in the single most Argentinean picture in the world. Can you guess why? Look at what he has in his hand.

[Image: 1024px-Pope_Francis_with_Cristina_Fernan...hner_4.jpg]

Yerba mate (or just "mate", pronounced "ma-tay" or "ma-tea" depending on where you are) is a kind of...it's not a tea but it is a little like tea, a sort of infusion of leaves and water. It tastes the way fresh hay smells, and may or may not be mistaken for marijuana by people who see it and don't know what they're looking at. This has in fact happened to me.

Who knew, if you show someone a little plastic bag full of dried leaves and a funny looking gourd thing they can't immediately recognise a use for, they're more or less always going to assume it must be pot?

This is something that you would find over the southern cone; people drink it in Paraguay and southern Brazil and Chile and parts of Bolivia, but ESPECIALLY in Uruguay and Argentina. It's VERY popular, to the point where people routinely carry a thermos full of hot water and a mate gourd with them in their bag; you could stop in any petrol station or shop or cafe and ask "can I have some hot water?", and they would let you have it with no charge. They expect to be asked by almost everyone who comes in, and if you come in they'll immediately point you to it  -"oh yes, we have hot water over there, please by all means refill your thermos immediately".

If someone has any heritage at all from one of the countries I just listed, she has at some point or another had yerba mate in her mouth. Whether or not she LIKES it is a different question (I do) but she has had it. There has always been a bag of it in her family home, there has always been a gourd somewhere left sitting on a shelf. Mate is universal.

It's most often made with hot (not boiling, boiling water makes it bitter) water, and served in something like this.

[Image: AAAAAmhsYXEAAAAAAN615g.jpg?v=1205495525000]

If you have it cold, it would be mixed with other herbs (lemon verbena, mint...something of that sort) and citrus peel or fruit juice in a style called tereré, served in a bull's horn guampa like this.

[Image: Guampa_bombilla.jpg]

The word guampa can be used for either vessel, but you would hear it more for the horn cups than the round gourds, which are more often just called "mate" themselves. The straw is usually nickel, silver plate or sometimes bamboo, and is called a bombilla. It has a filter built in specially at the bottom to separate the sludge of leaves and stems from the part you would actually want to drink.

To have it cold is more of a northern habit (my father is a northerner, and he sometimes has his mate cold and spiked with lime juice; my mother is from the city and prefers her mate hot) and I would expect it most of all for someone who comes from the northeast near the Paraguay border or even maybe from southern Brazil (in Brazil they often like pineapple juice more than lime), but it's not unknown elsewhere, and bottled tereré exists just as bottles of iced tea exist. You could also sweeten it with a little sugar or honey before adding hot water; this is called mate dulce (as opposed to the usual mate amargo, which is unsweetened), and is very much a child's thing. Sweetening it is "soft", something a little weak for an adult (especially a grown man) to do; the herbal quality is considered part of mate's virtues and an adult who sweetened it would probably be laughed at a little.

Another way (popular with farmers who need to get themselves started very early on cold mornings; my uncles used to do this, and I expect they still do) is to use hot water and add a shot or so of something with a kick to it (Chileans would probably like pisco where Argentineans would be more likely to use whiskey or aguardiente de caña [sugarcane grappa], but there is some overlap between the two around the Andean passes) that can warm them as the mate wakes them up. Caña is quite potent, and my grandmother used to give us little nips of it as children for medicinal purposes. I will admit it would probably kill most germs!

As I said, it would traditionally be served in a gourd or a horn like that, and many people would still have them, but you can get mate vessels made in other materials like wood, ceramic, glass, metal (children often have metal, wood or silicone ones with cartoon characters painted on them...yes, you can drink your mate out of Batman's head!), leather or silicone. A metal cup is particularly popular for tereré, as you can wash the juice out easily without it eating away at the interior.
 
If someone lives on their own they will have their own mate to drink from, but in truth it's often a more communal tea than many of you might be used to; you would very often have a single gourd and straw being passed around among a group, with everyone sharing it. There are certain habits and rituals around this communal version that must be observed.

- the owner of the gourd will be the cebador who makes it for everyone
- the cebador always empties the cup when he fills it the first time (the first infusion may be bitter and it would be rude to give that to a guest, so he drinks it himself to be sure he has everything just so) before refilling it again and passing it on
- anyone who is NOT the cebador is not allowed to fiddle with the straw or do anything of that kind; this is extremely rude, and will clog the bombilla.
- it's not impolite at all to slurp, and if anything that rattling noise you get at the bottom of an empty cup is encouraged because you're SUPPOSED to drink it all before giving it back to the cebador to refill again.

If you make it you must drink it, so no cafe would ever make it for you; they would give you the hot water (and maybe even the leaves, if you were lucky) for nothing so you could make it for yourself to drink, but they would not make it for you unless they wanted that waiter to be the cebador who would then have to sit down with you and share it. Most important of all...if you were having a cup of tea or coffee with someone and they made it/poured it for you, you would say thank you when they handed the mug to you, right?

Never do this. Never say thank you. If you say thank you, it's understood as "I've had enough thank you. I don't want any more". You thank them only when you're sure you're completely finished and done. I've had mate sessions with my papa where we have passed one gourd back and forth for forty minutes and not said a word.

Very cool. I don't think I'll ever get the chance to use your knowledge (not that I don't want to) but I'm glad you shared it.
[Image: dpo8auk.gif]

(05-06-2016, 02:33 PM)NSFgirl Wrote: You're a terrible person, wongtastic.
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#24
(03-31-2015, 06:34 PM)Wongtastic Wrote: Very cool. I don't think I'll ever get the chance to use your knowledge (not that I don't want to) but I'm glad you shared it.

If you wanted to try it, any Hispanic specialty shop would probably have it. Go to the same kind of place you would get masa for tortillas, they will probably have it. It's become quite a popular thing among a certain subgroup of organic-everything loving hipster shits, so you may find it worthwhile to check there too.

...or you could take the easy way, and order off Amazon. Tongue

It's honestly good for you; lots of antioxidants, it keeps you awake and focussed, it's good for the heart...in many ways it beats tea (even green tea) as far as benefits go. I've never met anyone who got the jitters from it, and I drank it while I was pregnant, so it's CERTAINLY better for your health than coffee! The only downside to it is the part where everyone assumes you must be a drug dealer because you've always got a bag of mysterious green leaves in your pocket, but...

Maggie was curious; she has been asking me for help with a project of hers, and this was relevant. Smile
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#25
I have lots of deer bones. What can I do with those besides make bone broth?
What's the best way to get at the marrow?
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