1. THE DICE: Don’t Cry, It’s Just an Onion
Dicing an onion can end up in tears, and not just because of the propanethial S-oxdide released from chopping this sassy member of the Allium family (okay, we Googled). Have you been Swedish Chefing your way through cutting these bad boys your whole life? Let’s upgrade your dice game, shall we?
Cut the onion in half, slicing down through the root, then peel. This is not an orange, and trying to peel first will just leave you with a serious case of Onion Fingers (which can be treated with this ingenious odor absorbing stainless steel bar.)
Take one onion half and cut thin vertical slices towards, but not through, the root. You’re giving your onion bangs! Make sure you hold onto the root with your fingers curled IN. Diced finger tips are not the goal here.
Slice the onion horizontally, so your knife is parallel to the root. This will leave you with uniform, small square pieces. The goal is that they’re all the same size. Repeat with the other half of the onion. Cry with a mixture of joy, pride, and that evil stinging onion juice!
2. THE CHIFFONADE: How to cut your herbs all fancy-like
“Chiffon” means “rag” or “cloth” in French! Who knew (besides French people)! This technique is perfect for any leafy green like basil, mint, or even lettuce. The goal here is thin ribbons of green goodness
Gently pluck the basil leaves off the stem and give them a little shower. Try not to crush the leaves too much, you want to save all that flavorful goodness for your dish.
Stack your leaves, and then roll them up and smoke them...oh no, that’s another post! Once you have a rolled up tube o’ greens, carefully cut along the ends to create fine strips.
3. JULIENNE: A great chop for any root veggie
This matchstick-cut was named after Julienne Moore...jk, it’s not. We’re using another sassy redhead, the daikon radish. Give that girl a shower (tubers are root veggies grown directly in the dirt, so they can be a little muddy).
Use your knife or mandoline (link) to cut even rounds. A mandoline is a great alternative to a chef’s knife for this, ensuring consistent, even slices in a flash.
Stack your rounds and slice off narrow, matchstick-like pieces. Again, uniform size is the goal here. Not only does it look pretty, but it also ensures that everything will cook evenly.
4. MINCE: The cut you need to achieve garlic greatness
Loosen the individual cloves from the head of garlic by smashing it with the heel of your hand.
Peel the skin off the garlic by trimming away the root end. You can also use this handy dandy tool if garlic skins are the bane of your existence. We’re not usually about single purpose tools in the kitchen, but this little tube makes the process kind of fun (link)
Pour a tiny bit of olive oil on the garlic before cutting it. This keeps the little bits of garlicky goodness from sticking to your knife, and it’s how the pros do it in Italy.
Slice your garlic roughly, don’t worry about perfect sized pieces here.
Hold your knife in one hand, and lay the other hand across the tip of the blade. In a rocking, see-saw motion, chop the garlic until it’s finely cut into itty bitty pieces. Mincing garlic really helps release the flavor into your dish.
Since the minced garlic is being put into a cooked dish, it can be a little messy. Think of this as the punk rocker knife skill.
5. RIBBONS - How your vegetable peeler can turn zucchini into pappardelle
Instagrammable ribbons require a sharp, high quality vegetable peeler. Still using the sad one you got at Ikea 10 years ago? Upgrade to this bad boy and zucchini ribbon dance your way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics!
Trim the ends off and, in one fluid motion, slice the veggie lengthwise to create one long ribbon. The pressure you use determines how thick or thin your ribbons are.
Dishwasher friendly plastic cutting board, plus, they also have little rubber grippies that keep your slicing and dicing on the board and off the floor.