Blanching/shocking green vegetables. This step starts the cooking process helps hold the green color of vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts and asparagus.
Trim tour vegetables properly and place them in boiling water for 1 minute. Strain and place immediately into ice water to stop cooking and set the color. They can now be sautéed, quickly roasted or even served fresh on a crudité.
Cut vegetables in consistently sized shapes. Promotes even cooking and better visual presentation.
If prepping vegetables ahead, store in cold water after cutting to retain crispness.
Mushrooms…to rinse or not to rinse? Button and cremini mushrooms, rinse away…but let them dry again before cooking so flavor is not diluted. Wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, morels or lobster mushrooms should never be rinsed. Gently clean off any dirt with a pastry brush or towel.
Cutting onions making you cry? Put em in the fridge for an hour before cutting. Or wear goggles.Roasting vegetables…if stored in water after prepping/cutting, be sure they are strained and dry, then coat well with oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. This ensures all vegetables are coated and seasoned.More on roasting…try roasting vegetables that you would typically steam or boil, I.E. broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower or brussels sprouts. Olive oil, salt, pepper and some choice herbs, roast on high until lightly browned…delicious.
Peeling garlic got you down? With a good garlic press you don’t need to peel the cloves…just stick em in there and press. No peel comes out, just the garlic and juice. Need lots of garlic peeled? Try the 2-mixing-bowl trick. Break a head of garlic into unpeeled cloves. Put em in a large steel mixing bowl. Place another mixing bowl on top, creating a “dome”. Hold the two bowls together on the sides and shake like hell for 15 seconds. Garlic will “peel itself”.Work on your knife skills. My mother could do everything with a paring knife, but using a larger knife safely for certain veggies will cut down your prep time. Follow this link for a short video on improving your knife safety and skills. https://youtu.be/G-Fg717G1zw
Some vegetable cuts to explore that you may not have heard of or you may need more info on: Oblique, Tournee, “Turtle” (for celery and zucchini), Batonnet, Brunoise, Paysanne or Chiffonade. Practice these and you will be faster in the kitchen, guaranteed. You can of course eat what you practice!