On Wednesday, September 11, I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class with Chef Alli in Manhattan, Kansas. CommonGround of Kansas arranged the cooking class as a way to open up food conversation in a relaxed and fun setting. Goal – achieved! I had so much fun learning (my kitchen skills and knowledge are pretty limited) and talking to a few local farm wives.
Chef Alli is a Kansas television celebrity chef. (There she is pictured above with WIBW-CBS channel 13′s news anchor Ralph Hipp) She is such a lovely person, inside and out! Her food and kitchen knowledge is amazing, I just had to pass some of the things I learned along to you.
- Zest over Juice – There is a lot more flavor in the zest of lemons and limes than in their juice. If you are creating a recipe, always opt for including the zest of the fruit.
- Wood or Bamboo Cutting Boards Are Best - Wood and bamboo do not dull your knife blades.
- Use Mineral Oil to coat your cutting board - The mineral oil seals the knicks and cuts of your board and helps lengthen its life.
- Always hand wash your knives – Putting them in the dishwasher will lead to dulling the knife and affect the shape.
- Rinse your canned beans to halve the sodium
- Always cook with sharp, full-flavored cheese – When you use a bolder cheese, you need to use less of it – and therefore cut your fat and calories.
- Microplanes zest better than graters – They are simpler to use and grate finer, creating amazing zest.
- Zap a lime in the microwave for 30 seconds to release juice
- Use a very sharp knife when cutting onions – If you use a dull knife, you will be smashing your onion, releasing more of the tear-inducing juices.
- Store herbs in a brown paper sack – they will last longer!
These are just a few of the many many tips I learned! She also taught us about cast iron skillets and food storage.
Chef Alli did say the three essential kitchen items she will always spend the money on and keep in her kitchen:
1. Quality 8inch chef knife
2. Zest Microplaner
3. Wood Cutting Board
YOUR TURN! Please share the little kitchen tricks you have learned through the years!