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Staying Sharp (in the Kitchen): 7 Essential Kitchen Knives

According to one survey, about 53% of Americans actually enjoy cooking. 

Whether or not you are part of the population that enjoys cooking as a hobby, you’ll need some tools to be able to make everything you want. 

Do you want to make sure that your kitchen is well-equipped? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about the essential kitchen knives to have on hand!

1. Chef’s Knife

A chef’s knife may be one of the more important knives you should own. This is the one that you will most likely use the most, so you should make sure you get one that is high-quality.

It may be a little bit more expensive, but if you treat it well and take care of it, then you’ll be able to use it for years to come.

A chef’s knife is used to slice, chop, and julienne almost anything. You can even cut watermelon or carve a roast with this kind of knife. 

This knife is strong but also lightweight. It has a long blade and a handle that fits perfectly in your hand. 

You should shop around when buying this kind of knife. You want to make sure you’re buying a good brand, and you want to buy one that fits your hand and that you feel comfortable with.

Chef’s knives normally come with either an 8 or 10-inch blade, so you should buy whatever is comfortable for you to handle. 

If you want a good, high-quality chef’s knife, check out this Foxel Knife.

2. Santoku

The santoku is also an important knife to have in your kitchen, and it is a Japanese workhorse knife.

This is similar to a chef’s knife, but there are a few differences.

These knives are normally shorter and have more compact blades. Their blades are only about 6 to 7 inches long. 

If you want a shorter downward stroke, this will help you achieve that. With the chef’s knife, you’ll have more of a rocking and chopping style. 

This knife was designed to be between a Western double-bevel and a Japanese chisel. 

When choosing a good santoku knife, you should look for one that is incredibly sharp but still lightweight. You should also find one that is comfortable for you because everyone has their own preference for the type of knife they want. 

3. Paring Knife

A paring knife is also important. 

This might be the second-most important knife you can have in the kitchen, but you may not use it as often as the chef’s knife. 

If you need to cut something small or fragile, you should use this knife. If you’re peeling a lemon, for example, you would use this paring knife.

A paring knife has a narrow blade that lets you accomplish all the odd cooking things you need to do. 

Don’t pay too much for this kind of knives because you won’t have to use it too often. You should find a really sharp one, but since you won’t use it a lot, it will last you a long time. 

4. Serrated Knife

You can use this knife for either hard or soft foods. If you want to saw through something gently while not squishing the interior of the food, you should use this.

You can cut crusty bread or tomatoes easily with this kind of knife. 

The knife has small grooves on the blade to help it keep its sharpness. You may use this knife more than the paring knife, and a good one will be able to last you a long time.  

5. Cleaver

Depending on what you’ll be cooking, you may also need a cleaver. 

This is a knife with a really heavy, rectangular-sized blade. If you need to cut through large chunks of meat (or possibly even bones), this knife may be perfect for you.

It kind of looks like a small hatchet, and will be able to get the job done that your other knives can’t. 

However, you shouldn’t confuse this with a Chinese cleaver, which is used for vegetables and more precise cutting work. 

6. Carving Knife

A carving knife isn’t always necessary, but it can be really helpful to have.

These are longer and a little bit thinner than a chef’s knife, but they can really carve up a Thanksgiving turkey for you and your family.

A carving knife has a sharp point at the end of the narrow blade, which helps it cut around the cartilage and bones.  

7. Bread Knife

You’ve probably seen a bread knife and noticed it because it has a saw-tooth edge to the blade.

This helps it slice through bread without squishing the bread too badly. 

The one problem with this knife is that once it gets dull, it’s hard to sharpen. You will either need to get a new knife or to get it sharpened by a professional. 

Because it won’t last as long, you shouldn’t spend too much money on a bread knife. Depending on how much your knife was, it may be cheaper just to replace it when the blade gets dull. 

Buy These Essential Kitchen Knives Today!

These essential kitchen knives will really help you when preparing your meals and will make your experience in the kitchen a lot more enjoyable.

Before buying a knife, make sure you do your research and then take care of it and sharpen it to make sure it stays sharp.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you check out our website for others just like it! 

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How to Cook Like a Chef – Enhance Your Skills

Kitchen, Work, Restaurant, Cook, Chef, Professional

If food is your love language, you might be wondering how to make the amazing dishes you crave from your favorite restaurants. Perhaps you’re hoping to learn the secrets to a perfect sauce or how to craft divine Parisian macarons. Maybe you wish you could make delicious cakes and cookies in your kitchen at home; or you’re hoping to create pasta from scratch. How can you cook like a chef at home? The recipes will only take you so far. If you truly want to cook like a five-star chef at home, you need to enhance your skills. Take your skills beyond home-cooking and become a chef!

Watch Popular Cooking Shows

Gordon Ramsay, Alton Brown, and Anne Burrell and many other celebrity chefs make a living teaching other people how to cook on television. Alton Brown explains in detail how and why certain things happen in the kitchen. He would certainly provide a basic understanding for someone interested in becoming a chef. Gordon Ramsay’s claim to fame, besides his trademark attitude, is that he can teach anyone to cook like a proper chef. Surely, a person could learn a thing or two from his fiery kitchen antics. Anne Burrell’s claim to fame is that she has saved many of America’s worst cooks and turned them into proficient chefs by enhancing their skills. It could be helpful to watch her teach others how to make a mouth-watering sauce or properly fry chicken, but if that’s not what you’re looking for, you could always take a class from a culinary school.

Join a Meal Box Subscription

Another option is to join a boxed subscription service that provides monthly recipes and ingredients. After all, practice makes perfect. Subscription services like Home Chef offer recipes, ingredients, tips, and techniques to help subscribers create chef-created meals from home. However, if you really want to learn how to cook like a chef, you’re probably going to want to learn more than a few tricks and tips. A subscription might be a good option if you only want to learn a few good recipes for special occasions. Also, a subscription box might make serving a home-cooked meal easier on weeknights. 

Get Julia Child’s Book

Hey, it worked for Julie Powell. In the book and subsequent movie, Julie Powell spent a year cooking recipes from Julia Child’s famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She learned how to cook like a chef, so it could work for you too. However, the plot involves many setbacks, failed recipes, money wasted on expensive ingredients and inedible dishes. In the end, I’m not sure that she mastered French cooking or even basic cooking for that matter. In summary, it sounds like a lot of fun, but it’s not a culinary school.

Take Cooking Classes

Another great option for learning how to cook like a chef is to take a class. There are many course options. Public libraries, YouTube, and some community events provide opportunities for members to learn some cooking skills. There’s just no substitute for a good culinary education. These days, many culinary schools have options for home cooks. There are course pathways to teach you how to cook like and become a chef. One school, Culinary Lab School in California, even sets students up with apprenticeships that provide first hand experiences. They help prepare students for a career as a professional chef, and provide hands on learning to show students how a chef really cooks. In the end, the best way to cook like professionals is to become a chef!

If you want to learn how to cook like a chef, you might learn a few tricks of the trade from celebrity chefs. Perhaps you will highlight a few great tips from recipe subscription cards, or obtain a well loved copy of Julia Child’s famous book that will catapult you to chef status in about a year. You may learn something that will influence your cooking for a time, but if you truly want to cook like a chef, there is no substitute for cooking classes. Involve your kids or go to your kids cooking classes. There are currently so many options for enhancing your skills through classes. Invest in yourself by taking courses at a culinary school.

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4 Ways to Host a Last-Minute Party With Great Food

Stressful is one way of putting it when you are hosting a party. How about when you are hosting a party last minute? Surprisingly, not as bad as it could be! If you are planning on having a party and it happens to be a last-minute gathering, I’m here to give you some advice and help on how to navigate your way to a fun event that you threw together last minute. 

Check out these tips, so you do not get stuck with a half-finished party: 

Order Food 

If you have little time to get everything organized before your friends or family show up, do not waste your time cooking up a fancy meal or some finger foods. In a pinch, jollibee delivery will save you valuable time that you will need to prep your home for your guests. You can place the food on plates or platters for presentation so that no one will even know that you were in a time crunch. 

Entertainment 

Not every party needs an elaborate entertainment event for it to be fun. Playing cards or charades are fun ways to get everyone socializing and having fun without spending a great deal of time planning a crazy party with live music. These games are played at parties all the time because they are a timeless classic, among many other options that will save you money as well. Plus, they are great icebreakers for friends who have not met or those shy members of our friend groups. 

Pick a Theme 

One way to wow your guests is to pick a color theme and run with it. You do not need to decorate your whole house, but picking a color like red, blue, or whatever color, will let you give your party a nice appearance that will likely distract your guests from any last-minute woes you had set things up. It not only livens up whatever room you designated as the main area but it also gives the appearance of a well thought out and planned event even though you did it last minute! 

Keep It Clean 

It doesn’t take too long to do this, but it should be said for the sake of your guests. Make sure you clean up a bit before anyone comes over! No one wants to go to a party where there are dishes in the sink or overflowing garbage. Do some quick cleaning up, and you’ll be ready to invite everyone in without fear of judgment or awkward explanations. 

Conclusion 

Planning a party for your friends can be stressful, but doing it last minute can be a nightmare. Not so much when you consider how many easy tips can be used to avoid a bad situation where you don’t feel ready to let people into your home. Order in some food, pick some classic and simple party games, color up the room(s), and make sure you do a little bit of cleaning before everyone comes over. Follow these tips, and your last-minute party will be sure to impress. 

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How to Take Pictures of Food: The Top Tips to Know

The era of food photography is upon us thanks to social media. Most people cannot scroll through their Facebook or Instagram without seeing at least one food photo posted by a friend.

That doesn’t even include all the food blogs that you can find online. A good portion of those more than 500 million blogs that exist happen to focus on food.

So what makes certain food photos stand out versus others? Learn how to take pictures of food that will impress your social media followers with the 5 tips below.

1. Plate Your Food

Take the time to plate your food interestingly or elegantly. A study conducted by Montclair State University’s Department of Psychology found that well-plated food made participants rate the taste and care in preparation higher than dishes with no plating.

Pick the right surface on which to display your food like a classic white dinner plate or a wooden cutting board. Start in the middle and move to the outside to create a sense of symmetry.

Don’t be afraid to play around with different platings so you figure out what looks best.

2. Choose Soft, Natural Light Over Artificial

Always choose natural life over artificial light when photographing food. Artificial light gives both the plate and the dish an unappetizing yellow or orange hue.

Aim for soft, diffused light to prevent harsh shadows that mess with the look of your food.

3. Consider the Angle

Think about what part of the dish you want to emphasize or draw attention to.

For example, if you’re photographing a burger, consider cutting it into two pieces and taking a photo that shows the cross-section. It reveals the tenderness and juiciness of the beef as well as the lovely layers.

This will not work with a salad or cheese board, however. Those shots work best when taken from overhead.

4. Try Selective Focus and Changing the Depth of Field

You can also emphasize different parts of a dish by using selective focus and changing the depth of field. Depth of field refers to the distance between the object and the camera and how your lens focuses on the food.

Try focusing on the dish while blurring the background or focusing on one aspect of the dish while keeping the rest blurred. You can also use close-up shots to emphasize the texture of a dish, like when photographing a saucy pasta.

5. Make It Warmer with White Balance

Finally, adjust the white parts of your photo by changing the white balance. This makes your image appear more “cool” or “warm”.

Always adjust the white balance so your food photos appear “warm” rather than cool. It increases the attractiveness of the food to make it more appetizing.

Use these tips to create a photo collage to exhibit your cooking skills or the dishes in your restaurant. Check out these photo collage templates for some great ideas on what you can do. 

How to Take Pictures of Food at Culinary Festivals Around California

Although there are many more tips on how to take pictures of food, these 5 important ones will get you started. Great food photography makes the viewer feel as if they’re there with you experiencing the location and the dish.

Do you dream of traveling to different food festivals, photographing your culinary adventures?

Check out the rest of our blog! You’ll find lists of the best food festivals in and around California along with tips on culinary travel and cooking.

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A Closer Examination of CBD

hemp leaves on wooden background, seeds, cannabis oil extracts in jars.

CBD has become one of the most controversial medical issues of the past twenty-five years. To some, it’s a pharmaceutical godsend that has lifted crippling depression and pain; to others, it’s the embodiment of old-fashioned snake oil and should be banned and wiped out of existence as a total scam. But the middle ground between these two extreme views seems to be where cannabidiol is headed these days, especially in states such as Utah, where it has only been legalized for the past six years. Nowadays CBD products can be found everywhere from grocery stores and gas stations to pharmacies, and even online. 

Medical doctors continue to warn their patients who are considering using CBD that they should purchase it only from a large-scale and legitimate producer, not some mom-and-pop fly-by-night operation that does not guarantee the purity of their product. Otherwise, say medical and industry experts, there is a chance that the CBD will be contaminated with THC — the active ingredient in the ‘high’ that recreational users are looking for. 

A recent report by the World Health Organization says that pure CBD holds no threat of addiction. It can be taken safely in any form without becoming habit-forming.

While the World Health Organization has compiled quite a substantial list of ailments that CBD may be able to help control, the United States FDA is still warning the public that many, if not most, CBD manufacturers are making promises about their product that cannot be substantiated by approved research at this time. 

So it appears that much more CBD research needs to be done before the entire medical community, at least in the United States, will get completely behind CBD. Until then, consumers will simply need to make up their own minds, based on their own experience, as to the benefits of CBD for themselves and their loved ones.