Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coconut Macaroons and Knife Tips

So in my office I am the original baker and bring it baked good about once a month.  In reality I really do not bake that much but when I do I end up with extras so I bring it to work to dispose of it. So I have gained the baking queen title at work so my coworker randomnly asks if I know how to make macaroons. I had never made them before and so I found a recipe on www.foodnetwork.com and after work went and got the supplies. I have to say that macaroons have got to be the easiest dessert ever…4 ingredients and that is it.
14 oz packages sweetened coconut
14 oz sweetened condesnsed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
¼ tsp kosher salt
Ok so five. I lied… Anyways take the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla and combine them. Add two egg whites and salt to stand mixer and place on high until medium firm peaks are created. Gently fold egg whites into coconut mixture. Place on sheet lined with parchment paper. I did not have parchment paper and just put them on an ungreased sheet and well now I have a little work cut out for me… so I would recommend the parchment paper.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes and all done!
Easy right?! I told you so!
So after the coconut macaroons baking session I went to the class I signed up for at Sur la Tab. The course was Essential Knife Skills. I have to say it was pretty interesting- not the cutting part since I think I knew all that from food network but the tips he shared as to care, so it was worth it.
So the most important things I learned yesterday was regarding cutting boards. I learned that it is not good for your knife if you cut on glass, marble or tile… so why they have glass cutting boards is beyond me.  The chef that taught the class recommended three different boards. I am going to list them as good, better and best with the reasons why.  The good: Wood Cutting Board- it is good because it won’t dull your knife but it cannot go in the dishwasher and because of that not a good bored for poultry. The better option is a plastic board- It can go in the dishwasher but it is not the best because the board can etch after a while and those can hold bacteria. The best option is a composite wood board- it is NSAF certified (means it can be in a professional kitchen) so is plastic but wood is not! The composite wood board is called Epicurean and it is dishwasher safe and won’t etch. So I would invest in one- I did yesterday!
Knife Storage: same thing going to go good, better and best. It is good or just ok but not really to store knives in a drawer. The problem is the knives bang around and can get damaged and even with a sleeve on they still get damaged. The better option is a wood knife block but it is still not the best since the holes can harbor bacteria if the knife is not cleaned all the way. By far the best option is a magnetic strip to hang in the knives. If you have kids keep them out of reach but do not worry those magnets are strong.
Best way to use honing steel
The other tip I learned was about this too (see left) honing steel- it is not a sharpener which I now know. It is used to maintain sharpness but if you have a dull knife it will not sharpen it. Typically with a sharp knife you want to use this before every time you cut and the best way to use it is like the picture illustrates. The chef recommended three swipes on the right, three swipes on the left (repeat once), two swipes right then two swipes left (repeat  twice), then one left, one right (3-5 times). The honing steel is use to maintain the blade angel and keep it straight since it can curve to one side or another.
I also learned how to hold a knife and I have inserted a great image that illustrates it. Your thumb and index finger are on the blade because what this does is it puts you in the middle of the knife. That way if you were to let go with the rest of your fingers you would still have control and find it to be balanced. This was the most important thing I learned yesterday.
Anyways I think that is about it. I did learn some great tricks but most of the actual cuts I have seen on Food Network and already  knew how to do it but all in all it was a great experience.
Happy Thursday! Live Well and Create Often
<3 Jesika
all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {9/19}
Tip Junkie handmade projects

2 comments:

  1. Great knife tips! I've seen that class offered at Sur la Table and wasn't sure what it was all about. Good to know.

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  2. It was great information wise but the hands on portion where you learn cuts wasn't anything new to me. It was interesting to watch but I already knew most of the cuts so that part was pretty basic but the rest of the information was very helpful.

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