Monday, February 21

I'mma cut you.

First off, I realize titling my post "I'mma cut you" is not nice, nor is it grammatically correct. However, it is a suitable alternative to the many, many rap lyrics I had flowing through my head that I would've rather used. But in the vein of being somewhat professional and appropriate and all, let's just leave it at that vaguely written threat, mmmkay?

As part of my Valentine's Day present, Sean enrolled us in a Jamie Oliver knife skills/cooking class.

I have a secret love for the prep work aspect of cooking. Chopping and dicing ingredients is really relaxing for me. Give me a giant pile of onion and garlic and I will happily drift off into my thoughts and mince away to my heart's content.

But I am also the same girl who has crashed her car no less than 7 times (Seriously. You should see my car insurance bill.) Lady Grace I am not.

So out of love and concern for my safety and the safety of all ten of my little wiggling digits, Sean and I headed off to Jamie Oliver's joint in Clapham yesterday.

It was a restaurant, test kitchen, and store rolled all into one. When you walked in, you were immediately hit with a waft of orgasm-inducing scented breads and muffins. We made sure to snag some garlic foccacia bread for the trip home.

Scrumptious? Yes. Cheap? No.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any pictures during the actual class due to the whole food sanitation/trying to avoid cutting off your fingers thing. Ironically enough, while we weren't allowed to photograph while slicing and dicing, we were allowed to drink wine.

A lesser wine drinker cook than I would be daunted by this task, but since I've been mixing my booze with dinner for years now, it wasn't a problem for me. (Does that sound as bad to you as it does to me? Errrr....)

I managed to survive the class with a meal in hand and all 10 fingers still intact. Success!

On the menu? Thai mango salad with grilled prawns.

We chopped A LOT: cabbage, peppers, garlic, ginger, cucumber, chile, mango, spring onions, and fresh coriander. We were also supposed to rip the heads off our prawns and pull out the poop trail ourselves, but one look into my bowl and seeing those beady little eyes staring back at me and I said, "uh uh, no way, I'll stick with my wine and veggies ma'am". The end result was beautiful though:

I learned some really cool techniques during the class. Did you know you can peel ginger root with a spoon instead of a knife or potato peeler and it wastes less of the ginger?

One of the most important things I learned was how to properly do the "rock chop", which is one of the basic styles of cutting. I'm sure many of you already know about this (especially Becca and all my other culinary experts!), but it saved me from losing a pinkie or two.

The first thing to remember when using any big, sharp instrument is to protect yourself. I never realized how many times I let my fingers fly all over the place when I'm cutting vegetables. The #1 thing the instructor emphasized was the importance of tucking in your thumb and creating a wall with your fingers.

This morning I was particularly excited to attack a pineapple we had (who gets excited over chopping fruit? Such a nerd.)

I made a short video for you on the rock chop technique they taught us yesterday. Enjoy the bed head!

Untitled from Marie Evans on Vimeo.

(One of the other major things you'll notice in the video is that I'm not holding the handle of the knife properly. I was told it's a bad habit to stick your index finger on the knife the way I do and can be an indication that the knife isn't comfortable enough for you. I didn't even realize I was doing it until I watched the video 2 minutes ago. Woops!)

Hope that was helpful! Now go pour yourself a big glass of wine, grab your sharpest knife, and start cutting! (Wow! Worst. advice. ever.)

In other news, to update the 52 Flavor Challenge post from yesterday...Next week's flavor: Saffron! I've never worked with this spice before, so I'm excited to try it! I've heard it can be notoriously expensive, so I'm going to see what I can find. If you have any recipes or cost-cutting techniques to cooking with saffron, let me know!

52 Flavors Tally:
Foods I like: 5 (Fennel, Indian, British desserts, Chickpeas, Kale)
Foods I dislike: 3 (Figs, Quinoa, Hummus)
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