Monday, August 31, 2009
If Carrots got you drunk...Rabbits would be Faaaaaded
Well. Well. Well. You have defeated Onion my young grasshopper? (Cooker begins slowly clapping) Then you must feel ready to take on your next adversary. Hmmm? You were born ready? Well then prepare yourself grasshopper, for CARROT! Why is there no fear in your eyes? Feeling cocky then eh? Cocky enough to use...a PEELER? Still no fear. Right. Let's get on with it then.
Before you lies the carrot, edible raw or cooked, whole or cut, peeled or unpeeled. This post is designed to show you some basic ways to cut up a carrot without using crazy french terms. Those will follow shortly though if all goes to plan. So there is the simple round, wheel cut which is good for longer cooking where the carrot needs to be recognizable. There is the half circle carrot cut for slightly faster cooking and where it can begin fading into a background flavor. Then there is the quarter wheel cut which is good for fast cooking where you do not need to have a distinct carrot flavor. Remember to keep those fingers curled under and bigger carrots are easier to practice on. Oh, and that dang knife better be sharp.
Start by peeling the carrot. There are millions of ways to do this. The Cooker is meticulous and goes from top to bottom one ever so slightly overlapping strip at a time until the whole thing is peeled. The hand and peeler are out of focus because the camera's eye has a hard time capturing something that fast.
When the carrot is completely naked it is time to start making with the cuts. Snip the tip and the top just a bit from each side to clean it up. Then depending on what type of cut you are going to make you can cut it in half to make it more manageable or leave it whole. A variety of cuts are to be performed so this carrot is being halved.
Now curl those fingers under and start slicing the carrot into wheels. Something to keep in mind while doing this is to try and keep the carrots the same size as you go. Carrots are smaller closer to the tip so make wider cuts there and narrow then as you come up so that they cook at the same rate. P.S. use a rocking motion with your knife to make the job easier.
For the half wheel, take the section of carrot that you are working with and bisect it lengthwise. Taking care to keep the carrot from rolling which might sink the knife into your fingers. Use that same rocking motion here as carrots can be cruel mistresses.
Then use the same method and cut across your previous cut to make a series of half wheels.
To make the quarter wheel cut. Bisect the half carrot you have lengthwise again. Keep the two halves together though as it is quicker to cut them up this way. Then cut them the same way as both times before and you end up with cute little quarters.
Here are the three cuts ready for your viewing pleasure. From left to right, quarters, halves and wholes.
Still got all those sweet little fingers intact it looks like. Nice job. Seriously though these little guys can get the best of you if you are not careful. You can now cut up 2/3 of the super base mirepoix. Well really you can do all three. Celery is pretty much the same idea as carrots just shaped a little different. Celery poses the question...do peel or not to peel? Keep the stringies or get rid of them. You make the call. So now you can make a solid base to soups, sauces, stocks, stews etc.
Okay so now just knock out 80 - 90 of these and you will be ready for your next task. Okay you don't really need to cut that many. But think about how you might make a dice out of a veggie shaped like a carrot. Go make something tasty with these little games so that you can make it happen in your tum tum.