Knives

Japanese Zanmai Knives

October 6, 2016

Japanese Zanmai Knives Are Some Of My Favorite Knives. It’s always a fabulous day when I get a new knife, but of course I always cut myself straight away. It’s like christening the new knife I suppose, which is why I keep a stack of bandages on the windowsill above the kitchen sink.

I tend to think that the Japanese made knives are far superior to the German made knives. Beyond the essentials, build your collection of knives based on the kind of cooking you like to do. If you roast meat a lot, then a carving knife may be more necessary than a thin-bladed vegetable cleaver.

Start With: 8 Inch Chef’s Knife, 3 1/2 Inch Paring Knife, 9 Inch Serrated Bread Knife

Add: 10 Inch Chef’s Knife, 5 1/2 Inch Santoku Knife (Ceramic Or Metal), Kitchen Shears

Nice To Have: Boning Knife, 9 Inch Carving Knife, Thin Bladed Vegetable Cleaver, Serrated Tomato Knife, 4 Inch Paring Knife.

I often give knives, to people who love to cook, as gifts. Cooking is so much more joyous when you’re doing it with a fabulously sharp knife.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

No Kid Hungry “Kid-Friendly” Spatulas & Basic Knives For Young Chefs

November 2, 2015

Spatulas for children with bright designs by chefs, including David Chang and Stephanie Izard, benefit the “No Kid Hungry” meals campaign. There is also a basic knife, called My First Knife for children who are 9 and older, with a contour handle to encourage proper grip and serrated edge for easier cutting. “No Kid Hungry” Chef Series spatulas, $12.95; My First Knife, $39.95; with 30 percent of the price goes to benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign.
Williams-Sonoma Stores
www.williams-sonoma.com

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Perplexing Foodstuffs

Perplexing Foodstuffs

February 10, 2015

Perplexing Foodstuffs

There are those foods that can be rather difficult to figure out how to eat without looking like you were born in a cave. Here are some useful tips for properly eating perplexing foodstuffs.

Artichokes
Pluck off artichoke leaves and scrape the tender part (not the prickly point) between your teeth (preferably after dipping in melted butter). Work your way to the delicate inner leaves, and then use a knife to cut off the remaining small leaves and feathery innards. Cut the artichoke “heart” into bite-sized pieces and eat with a fork.

Asparagus
Eat asparagus with your fingers if served raw as crudités. Eat with a fork and knife if served with dinner.

Bread
Break bread into bite-sized pieces, and butter it or dip it into olive oil just one piece at a time.

Crab (Soft-Shelled)
Eat entire crab, including shell, either in sandwich form or using a fork and knife. Remove inedible pieces from your mouth with a fork.

Fajitas
Place meats, vegetables, and other fillings on a flat tortilla. Roll up and use your fingers to eat fajitas from one end.

Fondue
Spear bread, vegetables, or fruit with a fondue spear and dip into cheese or sauce. Remove food from spear using a dinner fork, and eat from a plate. DO NOT double dip. Spear uncooked meat cubes and place spear into fondue broth or sauce. When cooked, transfer meat to a plate using a dinner fork and cut into smaller pieces to eat.

Lobster
Wear a lobster bib to avoid fishy splatters, Crack shells with shellfish crackers and extract meat with a small fork or pick. Cut larger pieces with a knife, and eat with a fork after dipping in melted butter. Clean your hands by dipping fingers into finger bowls, and use lemon (if provided) to cut extra grease. Dry your hands with your napkin.

Peas
Use a knife to push peas onto a fork. Do not mash peas before eating, or eat peas from a knife.

Raw Shellfish
Use a small fork to extract mussels, clams, or oysters from the half-shell. Season with fresh lemon or cocktail sauce. In informal settings, you may quietly slurp shellfish from shells.

Soup
Using a soup spoon, spoon soup away from your body and then quietly sip from side of spoon. Tilt bowl away from you to spoon up remaining drops.

Spaghetti
Twirl pasta with fork tines into bite-sized portions, and allow any dangling pieces to fall back onto your fork. You may also rest fork tines against the bowl of a spoon while you twirl pasta.

Steamers
Extract clam from shell using a small fork, and use a fork and knife to remove inedible neck. In informal settings, it is permissible to use fingers.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Table Manners Dos and Don’ts

February 9, 2015

Table Manners Dos and Don’ts

I believe it’s always best to start with the positive so let’s start with the “Dos.”

Table Dos

Do place your napkin in your lap, and use it to blot your lips and wipe your hands.

Do wait for your hostess to be seated before you start eating, unless requested to do so earlier.

Do cut food into manageable, bite-sized pieces, and swallow before you speak.

Do say, “Please pass the…” instead of reaching across the table and igniting yourself on an open flame.

Do place fork and knife diagonally across the upper right hand corner of your plate when you are finished eating.

Do remove hot or inedible substances from your mouth with your fork, not your fingers or napkin.

Do eat drink garnishes after draining your glass, not before.

Do use a fork when sopping up gravy or sauces with chunks of bread.

Do use finger bowls to clean fingers, and hot towels to clean hands and mouths.

Do refrain from making or receiving phone calls at the table.

Table Don’ts

Don’t grasp eating utensils as you would a garden trowel or hammer, or place used utensils directly on the table.

Don’t tuck your napkin into your shirt collar.

Don’t primp or clean your teeth at the table.

Don’t fidget or make loud noises while you eat (slurping, burping, lip-smacking).

Don’t slouch or otherwise lean on the table.

Don’t scoop ice from your water glass to cool hot soups or beverages.

Don’t season your food before you taste it.

Don’t push your plate away from you when you are finished eating.

Don’t leave your spoon in your mug while drinking from it, or wring tea bags with your fingers.

Don’t dunk donuts or scones into beverages.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Table Your Manners

February 8, 2015

Table Your Manners

Teaching manners to your children is difficult and sometimes following proper table manners yourself is even more difficult. The dinner table has become a free-for-all these days, and did you just see the “Lord of the Napkin Rings” just stuck his chewing gum on his plate? But before you double-dip your roast orc in the fondue, take a look around you. This is NOT Middle-Earth, and that is NOT your water glass! Oy Vay!

The first step to deciphering the individual place setting involves locating your drinking glass. While you should always, “drink right,” as in not gulping or slurping beverages, you should remember that your drink is on the right side of your plate. If you need a status symbol to boost your confidence, think of your BMW while you dine. Bread plate to the left; Meal plate in the center; Water glass to the right.

Use silverware from the outside in, and in the order it is presented (soup spoon on the outer right, small fork on the far left).

You have two choices when it comes to handling your fork and knife, which are American-style and European-style. When cutting meat, for example, both Americans and Europeans hold the fork in the left hand, tines down, and the knife in the right hand, blade down. After slicing meat into bite-sized pieces, however, Americans place the knife on the plate (preferably at a diagonal across the upper right side), and switch the fork to the right hand before eating. Europeans hold their fork, tines down, in the left hand while cutting and eating. Either style is correct.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Kitchen Equipment

January 15, 2015

Kitchen Equipment

Great tools make for better food and a more pleasurable cooking experience, which tends to make you want to cook more often. This is a good foundation for good cooking and eating. Throw out the junk that clutters your kitchen drawers and cabinets, and invest in good quality knives, measuring cups, pans, and cutting boards. As your skills and interests progress, add more specialized tools, such as a a mandolin, a microplane grater, and a kitchen scale. 

"Work With What You Got!"

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Knives

September 3, 2013

Knives

Knives

Whenever you have finished using a knife, you should hone, or sharpen, it briefly with a honing steel before you put it away.  The steel, which is a long, metal rod, actually shaves off the tiniest bit of metal to improve the edge.  Every 6 months or so, most knives should be sharpened either by a professional or with an at-home mechanical or manual sharpener (such as a sharpening stone). 

Knife Set Essentials

Beyond the essentials, build your collection of knives based on the kind of cooking you like to do.  If you roast meat a lot, then a carving knife may be more necessary than a thin-bladed vegetable cleaver. 

Start With

8 Inch Chef’s Knife

3 1/2 Inch Paring Knife

9 Inch Serrated Bread Knife

Add

10 Inch Chef’s Knife

5 1/2 Inch Santoku (Metal or Ceramic)

Kitchen Shears

Nice To Have

Boning Knife

9 Inch Carving Knife

Thin-Bladed Vegetable Cleaver

Serrated Tomato Knife

4 Inch Paring Knife

The edge of a knife is made at a 20-degree angle.  So, to properly hone a knife, hold the knife at a 20-degree angle to the steel and run each side of the cutting edge across and along the steel three or four times. 

If you don’t have a honing steel handy, you can use a ceramic plate or mug.  Turn the plate over and draw the knife along the edge of the unglazed bottom ring, holding the blade at a steady 20-degree angle.  The ring of the plate will turn gray, but it will clean up with the wipe of a moist sponge. 

When knives are stored in a wooden knife block, the blades are hidden, which can make it difficult to identify knives that have similar handles.  To help distinguish one knife from another, use red or white nail polish to mark the heel of each knife with an initial, i.e., C for carving, S for serrated, or U for utility.  

Honing Steel 2

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