We had a wonderful time on our Virtual HEA. Lots of discussions on the science and the “how to’s” of whole foods, plant based eating, and “break out time” with our coaches. Below are photos and notes from Nick’s chopping Demo from Week 2 Virtual HEA. You can watch the demo on video here. It's interesting to understand why/how each cut serves different purposes. Note that Nick does all these cuts with his favorite knife, a “chef’s knife” …. and the key is to keep it sharp. Look at his finger placement with thumb and fingertips tucked.
Peasant Cut is primarily used with root vegetables (such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes beets). It starts with one slanted cut; rotate the carrot 1/4 turn, make a 2nd slanted cut, and continue in this manner.
The Peasant Cut provides lots of angled edges that helps sugars caramelize while cooking. These are most often roasted and served as a side dish. They can be incorporated into stews and soups, after they have been roasted. Tarragon, Basil, rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Garlic, Pepper, and Onion Powder all work great to season.
Julienne Cut – Technique shown below to get fine match stick size cuts of any firm veggie. We used carrots in the demo. Excellent to use raw in cold salads. They can be steamed, microwaved, roasted, and boiled and served as a side dish. They are great for using in sushi rolls. Minimal herbs and spices –zero is OK. Just a bit of onion powder, or garlic powder, and a garnish of chopped parsley. Less is better with this cut.
The trick to matchstick thin Julienne carrots. Cut a large carrot in two inch pieces. Stand on end. Slice 1/8 ” thick. Stack and slice again.
Large, Thin, Square Shaped – Specifically for Onions, and Peppers. Ideal for roasting. Rub with green herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc..), garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Great addition to stews and soups. Can be added cold to hummus and used as a wrap filling. Very versatile.
Wedge Cut is Great for Roasted Veggies – Chef Nick rinses his cut veggies “for a second” before seasoning them, so that the herbs adhere. For roasted yams he loves green herbs “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” (remember the Simon & Garfunkel hit?) and adds some garlic and onion powder, and black pepper for a little zing.
Batonee Cut – this cut is like a very large Julianne. Is used primarily for French Fries in the USA. We did Sweet Potato Fries. You can use any root vegetable, even large radishes.
When roasted, root vegetables are inherently sweet, you don’t need many herbs or spices. The following work particularly well – Oregano, Garlic and onion powder. Paprika or Smoked Paprika add a great flavor.
Diced Squares ½ by ½ inch
Diced squares of onions, carrots, and celery are deal for Mirepoix. The initial building block for many recipes. Use as the first step in most stews, soups, stir fries and gravies. Simply sauté all together with veggie broth, plain water, or a tart juice like cherry or blueberry. The 1/2 inch, even small size can also be used for even, quicker roasting. Sweet potato is demonstrated here – cutting from the Batonee Cut
Asian Style (sliced on the biased) – We did celery, but you can also do peppers, and carrots. Perfect for all Asian inspired dishes ; stir fries in particular. Seasonings vary with the dish – but often, ginger, star anise, cloves, cumin, garlic, green onions, are typically used.
Each of these cuts brings out the flavors in a different way and enhances how you use different (modes) of cooking