Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cooking School Day 2: Onions & Garlic

Yes, this was yesterday's lesson, and although I did take my lesson yesterday, I only had time to blog about my experience today cause I had a Tom Petty concert to get to!!! More on the Tom Petty concert at the end of today's don't want to miss it...!!

Onions and garlic are so largely used in cooking that The Kitchn School dedicated a whole day to them instead of lumping them with vegetables. I learned so much from watching all the videos. They explained how to peel a garlic, how to mince them, how to dice and slice onions and how to caramelize onions. 

Wow! Great info here. I dislike using store bought minced garlic, and opt for mincing my own. However, I have been using a garlic press for years. So I was glad to see their instructions on how to mince them with a knife...super easy! Did you know there are 3 ways to peel a garlic? There's flattening a clove with the side of your knife, there's squeezing it like a lemon, and then there's shaking it in a cocktail shaker where you can actually peel a whole garlic head at once. And you don't ever have to use fancy tools again!! I have several garlic dicing, mincing and peeling tools I now feel silly of owning and having spent money on. And they're such a pain to look for in my drawer of handy tools I probably would be better off without. And then there's the washing of the little tools and their accessories to scrape out the garlic, etc. So with one good, sharp, handy knife I can accomplish all! 

Don't need these anymore

Also covered was chopping, dicing, slicing an onion....never really knew if I was doing it correctly. So another great lesson for me. Watch here How to Properly Dice an Onion.
Now I am one of these people that owns a chopper and I used to use it all the time for chopping onions but it's just a pain again to find in my cupboards when needed and to wash, specially when you're only chopping one or two onions which is usually my case. Now if I'm chopping a bunch  like when I entertain, then the chopper is definitely the way to go. Now if I can just find a way to stop crying when handling onions...not covered in the lesson today, but I wear my glasses in an effort to decrease the amount of crying I do.

One of my favorite lessons from today was How to Caramelize Onions. I've caramelized onions before for burgers and oh my what a difference it makes. So delish!! But I just kinda did it by instinct and base on what I saw a chef do once at a party. But didn't really know the ins and outs and The Kitchn really explained what happens to the flavors and the fond (the stuff that gets stuck on the bottom of the  pan) and how you want the fond is not the enemy but definitely something you want. Caramelized onions does take about an hour to do if you're cooking 3-4. So it's recommended you caramelize a bunch at once even if you don't need them right away. They keep in the fridge for a week, and they keep well in the freezer. The can be used on sandwiches, burgers, over a baguette, in soups and stews, in other recipes...yummmm. Oh the possibilities!

So for homework I opted to practice slicing an onion, yay me!, and caramelizing it!! I tasted it every 5 minutes as recommended to learn the difference in taste at each stage.  i added balsamic vinegar and salt once they were done and only cooked for 40 minutes since I only used one onion. It's amazing how the taste starts changing as it's getting cooked and the smell of the house is divine.

I'll be using my caramelized onion (I only had one in the house) for dinner tonight. But will definitely make it a habit to have some in my freezer from time to time. I'll save it in small batches so I can use just what I need.

Did you try today's lesson?

And regarding the Tom Petty concert....wait for it....I missed it!!! Can you believe it???? I wasn't feeling well all day, took some meds, took a nap in the afternoon as I so desperately wanted to feel better for the concert. We get picked up in a limo, go to a nice dinner where I had the most fabulous lobster tacos and head to the concert. On the ride there I felt worse by the minute. Arriving at the concert I spent the first 30 minutes in the bathroom getting rid of my wonderful lobster tacos (eeewww, I know sorry), the lights and the music were pounding on my head and finally decided to go sleep it off in the limo so as to not ruin my boyfriend's and our friends night. Waaaaahhh, waaaahhh, boo for headaches and feeling sick :-( I woke up after 2 hours feeling better and thinking I can head back into the concert, only to find everyone was already walking out of the venue. On the way back home we were all planning on going back for the Stevie Knicks concert in a couple months and someone asked "so should we only purchase 7 tickets instead of 8?"...didn't take long for the jokes so start and I'm not going to live this down for a long time!


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