Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Maintaining Your Knife For Life

If I just forked over this much money for a quality knife to slice and dice veggies, I am gonna want to take the very best care of it that I can.

So how do we do that?

Here are a few tips…

After each use wash your knife in warm, soapy water and dry it well.

Never put it in the dishwater. This can dull and damage the blades.

Never soak your knife in water.

Store your knife in a certain place, not in a drawer crammed with everything else that manages to find its way into your kitchen….but more on this later…

Use a traditional knife sharpening steel to sharpen your knives. Otherwise, bring them to a knife store that will sharpen them for you. Remember that sharp knives are  not only easier to use, but also safer.

——————————————————————

  • Cuts
  • slice, mince, chop, crush, tenderize, and scoop up
  • cutting and
  • making garnishes
  • hold the knife in your writing hand (the Chinese
  • call this the “chopstick hand”).
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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

These Knives Made the Cut

7" Chinese Chef's Knife Vegetable Cleaver, , large

So in my quest for the best knife to buy as far as veggies, which ones did I find worth considering…

Cutco Vegetable Knife #1735

  • Blade…wide enough to easily move ingredients from the cutting board to the pan
  • Blade Length…7-3/4″
  • Blade Material…410 High-Carbon, Stainless Steel
  • Cost…$150
  • Edge…straight
  • Engraving…available
  • Guarantee…Cutco’s Forever Guarantee means that they will sharpen, hone, buff, repair and if necessary replace your CUTCO knives and accessories for FREE, no receipt required
  • Handle…ergonomically designed for all hands—both large and small…both left and right
  • Handle Color…classic brown or pearl white
  • Handle Material…highly engineered thermo-resin
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Review…On the Gas
  • Source…”American Made. American Proud.”
  • Tang…full, meaning that the blade extends the full length of the handle
  • Use…to chop, slice and dice ingredients for soups, stews and vegetable platters
  • Weight…7.6 oz.

Dalstrong Phantom Series 6” Nakiri Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Length…6”
  • Blade Material…forged from a single piece of ice tempered steel with high levels of chromium added for stain resistance…the ice-tempering ensures excellent resilience and superior edge retention
  • Cost…$149.99…on sale now for $44.04
  • Edge…straight…double-bevel…tapered to minimize surface resistance and to increase both durability and flexibility
  • Handle Material…traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood with a distinct red spacer, carefully crafted mosaic of copper and brass, and hand-polished stainless steel end cap designed to create counterbalance and distinction
  • Review…That’s a Knife
  • Tang…full tang for incredible robustness and quality
  • Use…prepping vegetables in bulk

Global Cutlery USA SAI 6″ Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Material…three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Cost…$164.95
  • Edge…12.5-degree convex convex blade edge
  • Handle…unique thumb rest to give added comfort and control.
  • Handle Material…metal, totally wood free….three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Review…Knifeista
  • Tang…full
  • Warranty…lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
  • Weight…1.3 pounds

Shun Classic 7-in. Vegetable Cleaver

  • Blade…hand-sharpened 16° double-bevel blade
  • Blade Length..7 in
  • Blade Material..high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel.
  • Cost…300.00
  • Handle Material…D-shaped ebony PakkaWood
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Source…Japan

ZWILLING Cutlery TWIN Signature 7″ Chinese Chef’s Knife Vegetable Cleaver

  • Cost…90
  • Edge…laser-controlled edge that is incredibly sharp, honed, and hand-finished
  • Handle…three-rivet handle
  • Handle Material…polymer
  • Source…a German manufacturer that has been making knives for over 280 years
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Choose Quality Kitchen Knives

The very first thing that you will need to do when sauteeing food is to chop whatever ingredients you are going to use into manageable, bite-size pieces. This will make them faster and easier only to cook, but will also make sure that the ingredients cook more evenly.

Not only do you want your ingredients to be manageable and bite-size, but you also want to cut the different ingredients similar sizes so that they will cook evenly, instead of some ingredients being overcooked and other ingredients being undercooked.

Before we move to the next thing that you will need to saute your foods—which would be drying off your food and heating your skillet to actually start cooking—let’s take a look at different cutting terms and choose which knife we are going to use.

But first, let’s find a decent knife…

There are many knife manufacturers that market knives designed just for cutting vegetables.

These knives are specifically made to slice vegetables…

These vegetable knives are usually found only in Japanese kitchen knife sets—such as those knife sets made by Shun, Global, and Zhen.

Although these knives are a good choice, they are not always the best choice. For instance, larger vegetables such as potatoes will require a paring knife in order to shape and peel them.

But is buying a vegetable knife really necessary?

I don’t think so…

So let’s take a look at all of the other kitchen knife choices that could be used instead as you slice and dice your veggies, or whatever you may be cooking, that do not require forking over money that could be used to buy better quality ingredients instead.

Knife Choices

Boning Knife…Boning knives have a very thin blade and are used mainly for removing meat from the bone because the thin blade allows you to remove as much meat from the bone as you can.

Chef’s Knife…Chef’s knives are designed with a blade that makes it easy to learn how to do the fancy “rocking” motion that most of us only can wish for when watching such shows as Iron Chef…more on this later…

They also help when you’re cutting vegetables over a long period of time because they have some weight behind them.

Chinese Chef’s Knife…The Chinese chef’s knife is a lightweight, all-purpose knife that looks like a meat cleaver.

—Paring Knife…Because this knife is so small, it is great for cutting vegetables and fruits, but if you’re going to be cutting a lot of vegetables and it will take you a lot of time, this knife will make your hand more fatigued more quickly. Save this knife for those times when you are just slicing a carrot or peeling a few potatoes.

But regardless which knife you choose to dice and slice your veggies, there are some important things to consider, including…

Blade…The perfect blade should be strong and sturdy enough to cut meats and bones. If you will be slicing meat, you also need your blade to be thick. The blade of the knife should meet surgical grade or 18/10 grade.

Handle…The handle is an important part of the knife, just as important as the blade. The handle should not be slippery. For this reason, it is usually better to buy knives with wood handles. You also want the handle to be substantial, but not so heavy that you can hardly lift it. The handle must fit well and balanced in your hand.

Material…Always choose high-carbon steel or high-carbon stainless steel knives.

Tip…There are a few advantages of choosing knives with pointed or rounded blades, such as serving meat with bones directly onto a guest’s plate.

Weight…Technically there is no “correct” weight when it comes to knives, This is a matter of personal preference. But you do want to make sure that the knives you choose allow you to maintain control over the whole knife.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Wood You Rather

If you don’t want to fork over the money for a good wood cutting board, or you like other surfaces instead of wood, there are many choices available.

The main second choice would be plastic.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of these boards.

Advantages include…

  • affordable
  • are priced economically
  • available in many sizes
  • can be washed in the dishwasher, which is more likely to kill all of the bacteria
  • easier to maneuver
  • lighter
  • non-porous material that can’t absorb liquids
  • offer a non-porous surface so juices are unable to penetrate the surface. Furthermore,
  • practical to use
  • relatively easy on knife edges
  • require no additional maintenance
  • safe for knives

Disadvantages include…

  • don’t last as long
  • have no self-healing or bacteria-fighting properties
  • knife-scarred plastic surfaces are impossible to clean and disinfect manually
  • pores in the wood allow for the bacteria to penetrate where they become trapped, suffocate and die
  • surface gets rougher and rougher and becomes extremely difficult to clean, even in the dishwasher

Ultimately, the choice between these two surfaces is your own…but there are a few things to remember when choosing a new plastic cutting boards, such as…

  • Always use a separate plastic cutting boards for fish because the smell can sometimes seep into wood fibers and leave a lasting smell on your wood cutting board.
  • Avoid slick or smooth plastic, as this can cause knives to slip.
  • Choose polyethylene or polypropylene. These are kindest to your knives.
  • Make sure you buy a board that can fit it in your dishwasher.

Cleaning…Sanitize your board every so often, even if you do run it through the dishwasher, using a solution of 5% white vinegar with 4 parts water.

Other Surfaces—Besides these two materials, cutting boards can also be made from other things—such as bamboo, marble, granite, ceramic and glass.

Be careful when choosing one of these, because they can quickly dull your knives.

Bamboo

Bamboo boards have many advantages. One of these is the fact that bamboo boards are one of the best choices for cutting fruits and vegetables. Other advantages include…

  • lasting a long time
  • being “knife-friendly”
  • being made from a sustainable, environmentally friendly, highly renewable resource….
  • weighing less than wood boards
  • not having to be oiled as often as wood boarda

Glass

Glass cutting boards may be cute to decorate with in your kitchen, but as far as actually using glass cutting boards as you cook, don’t even bother. They’re terrible.

Why are they so “terrible?”

Becsuse they can dull the brand new knives that we are fixing to buy as the final tool to saute with in as little as ten strokes. 

Other Materials—such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite

The same holds true to any other material out there that cutting boards may be made from-such as marble, granite, ceramic, and composite—can do similar damage to your knives, and should be avoided.

The Bottom Line…So just stick to wood and plastic boards….such as the boards that we will be highlighting in the next article…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

11 More Uses for Mineral Oil

In addition to the various uses for mineral oil around the home that we just got through talking about, there are several uses for mineral oil for your own use also.

So a bottle of mineral oil is well worth the investment.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses for yourself.. 

 

1.Arthritis...Mineral oil can decrease the stiffness and reduce the pain of arthritis.

2. Babies…Mineral oil can be used to treat cradle cap, diaper rash, and many other types of skin irritation. In fact, baby oil as marketed to new mothers is mineral oil with added fragrance…and costs much less,

3. Constipation...Mineral oil can be used as a laxative to treat constipation and hemorrhoids. Mineral oil creates a film around the stools that makes passage of the stools through the colon much easier.

 

Cosmetics...Mineral oil is a common ingredients in many ointments and cold lotions, in addition to baby oil.

5. Ears…Mineral oil can also be used to treat earaches and to remove ear wax, Drop a few drops of warm mineral oil into your ears at night to melt any ear wax. Be sure to rinse your ear with warm water in the morning.

6. Eyes…Mineral oil can be used to remove any oil which has settled on your eyes and to help maintain the your eyelashes from busting and cracking.

7. Face…Mineral oil can be used for about ten minutes before using mineral oil makeup. The oil does not cause acne or blackheads, but works as a great moisturizer

8. Feet…Mineral oil can make your heels crack-free. Rub your feet with the oil and wear socks.

9. Hands,,, Mineral oil can be used to treat dry hands if you apply it throughout the day.

10. Paint…Mineral oil can be used to remove paint spots from your skin.

11. RadIation…Mineral oil can hhelp treat radiation skin burns,

 

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 More Uses for Mineral Oil Around Your Home

As we start building our kitchen one item at a time and crawling our way along the Raw Foods pyramid at a snail’s pace, so far we only have three items in our dream home…

  • A saute pan
  • A spatula
  • A cutting board

And in the last post we saw that we should also buy some mineral oil to keep our boards in good shae,…

But sorry, as a minimalist on a budget, I am so not gonna buy mineral oil just to kee my cutting board in working condition…

There has to be way more reasons to fork over money on mineral oil, regardless of how chea it may be, than to rub on cutting boards.

So I did some research to find what else I can use mineral oil for, and was surrised to find just how useful mineral oil can be…both around the home and around to take better care of myself and my family.

First let’s take a look at how mineral oil can be used around the home, other than taking care of your cutting boards…

1.Adhesives…Mineral oil is the one thing that can be used to remove stickers, bumper stickers, adhesive tape, price tags…as well as any residue that may be left behind.

2. Essential Oil Diffuser…Mineral oil can be used as a carrier oil when using essential oils in your diffuser.

3. Knives…Before you leave your kitchen and move to other rooms in your house with your brand new bottle of mineral oil, take the time to use the mineral oil to clean and maintain your kitchen knives. This will create a barrier against any moisture in your home’s atmosphere and also help keep knives rust-free.

. Laundry…Mineral oil can be used as a pre-wash treatment for stained clothes. 

5. Leather…Mineral oil can be used to clean your leather surfaces, such as leather shoes. Before doing this, first rub a small amount of the oil onto a small area of the item to make sure that the oil doesn’t affect the color of your leather. Once you’re sure that the mineral oil will not damage the surface, rub the leather surface with the oil and wait for about thirty minutes before buffing the leather with a clean, soft cloth.

6. Linoleum…Mineral oil not only is great for wood and metal surfaces, but also for refreshing the color of your faded linoleum kitchen counters. Just let it be known that even though mineral oil does refresh the color of faded linoleum for about three weeks before fading, and that constant application of mineral oil to linoleum will make it break down…so only do this for special occasions such as holiday parties when you really need your kitchen to look extra-gorgeous.

7. Metal…In addition to wood surfaces around your home, mineral oil is also great for metal surfaces, such as your stainless steel kitchen appliances and preventing rust on metal furniture, such as your outdoor table and chairs.

8. Noises…Mineral oil can help reduce the noise around your house—such as noises from squeaking doors and creaky floors.

9. Stainless Steel…Mineral oil is great for shining your stainless-steel sinks, appliances and countertops. Pour a few drops of the oil onto a clean, soft cloth…and then wipe the surface until you have a smudge-free shine.

10. Wood…It kinda goes without saying that if mineral oil is good for your cutting boards, it’s good for other wood stuff around your house also—such as wooden handles of kitchen cooking utensils, salad bowls, and wood furniture.

In fact, mineral oil can be used instead of your normal store-bought furniture polish to help preserve and protect wooden furniture.

To make your own furniture polish, combine 2C mineral oil and the juice from a lemon.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Seasoning and Maintaining Your New Wood Cutting Board

Before using a new wood cutting board, you should take the time to properly season your cutting board.

In fact, you should oil your boards about once a month in order to keep wood cutting boards in good condition.

 

 

Seasoning your wood cutting board regularly will help prevent staining, warping, and cracking.

 

When choosing an oil to season your board, you want to look for an oil that is inexpensive, easily available, and food-grade.

Mineral oil is the oil most commonly recommended oil for seasoning your wood cutting boards…more on this later…

 

Seasoning Your Wood Cutting Board

Heat the oil slightly.

Rub the oil into the board, rubbing in the “direction of the grain.”…yeah, I hate it when I’m told that also and usually have to ask someone to show me what that means…don’t feel like you’re all alone in this…jk…

Allow the oil to soak in for about thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, then decide if you need to rub even more oil onto the board.

In fact, the very first time you season your board, you need to do this about four to six times.

 

Other Ways to Maintain the Integrity of Your New Wood Cutting Board

In addition to this, you can use a cutting board refinisher, such as this tool from  Ace Mart from time to time. This will remove the top level of wood, along with its nicks and scratches, leaving you with a smooth surface again.

As far as taking care of your wood cutting boards on a routine basis, scrub the board with hot soapy water immediately after each use.  

 

 

Two more things to remember as far as taking care of wood cutting boards…

Never run your wood cutting boards through the dishwasher

Never let soak in water.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Advantages of Wood Cutting Boards

You may wonder if it is better to buy a wood cutting boards or a board made from another material.

There are several arguments in favor of using wooden cutting boards, including that they…

  • absorb less water and bacteria
  • are less porous than other materials
  • are more attractive and functional
  • fight bacteria
  • have special bacteria-fighting properties
  • keep your knives in good working condition
  • last a long time
  • self-heal

However, there are also several arguments against using wood cutting boards, including that they…

  • can be cumbersome to wash
  • cannot be washed in the dishwasher
  • harbor bacteria
  • need to be oiled regularly

Types of wood…Wood cutting boards can be made from several different woods—such as acacia, oak, beech, chestnut, cherry and black walnut. maple, and teak. Teak is a great option because it absorbs very little liquid and so it will take longer for the board to wear out.

Grains of wood…There are two choitces as far as wood grain—end-grain and edge-grain.

End grain means that the board consists of many small pieces of wood assembled in a checkerboard pattern. Advantages of end-grain cutting boards include…

  • able to use more force when cutting without damaging your board
  • allowing the knife to slide between the vertical wood fibers
  • absorb the sharp edges of your knife without dulling them
  • being a bit easier on knives
  • being more durable
  • less likely for pieces of the board to break off into splinters
  • less risk of warping
  • typically thicker than edge grain

The only major disadvantage to end grain boards is the fact that the boards are usually much more expensive than other type of cutting board.

Edge grain means that strips of wood are laid side-by-side, in a similar fashion as bowling alley flooring and most butcher block countertops.

Advantages of edge-grain cutting boards include…

  • sturdier
  • last longer
  • less risk of warping
  • thicker

As far as disadvantages, edge grain boards show scratch and knife marks more easily and over time these can become permanent. Also, these boards can dull knives faster than end-grain cutting boards.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

On the Chopping Block

The first step in sauteeing your food is to cut whatever you’re going to saute into uniform, bite-size pieces…

And unless you totally want to ruin both your countertops and your knives, it is very important to invest in a decent cutting board.

As you are shopping for your new cutting board, it is important to consider several things—such as size, maintenance, material, and cost.

Size…As far as size, I have found that it is smart to have at least two different sized cutting boards—a small one for cutting up fruit and small vegetables—such as strawberries, lemons, and limes…and a larger one for everything else.

As far as the larger cutting board, a general rule of thumb is to buy a board that measures 15″x20″. 

You should be able to lay your knife diagonally on your cutting board and have at least 1″-2″ on either side of the knife.

Buying such a large board is great for several reasons, including…

  • allowing you to better control the board as well as the knife
  • being more comfortable in general
  • giving you plenty of room to work safely and effectively
  • making cutting both easier and safer
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sources for Cooking Utensils

Quality cooking utensils are key to quality cooking results, regardless of the cooking method that you are using.

And so here I’ve highlighted a few of the sources of quality cooking utensils that you can refer to as we finish discussing the various cooking methods…

I also used this as a chance to find which one spatula to buy to go next to my brand new saute pan.

 

1. di Oro Seamless Spatula

  • Material…BPA free, US FDA and German LGFB certified silicone with 18/10 stainless steel reinforced core
  • Size: 11.2″ x 2.5″ with 3.25″ blade
  • Cost…$11
  • Awards…Chosen America’s Test Kitchen  & Cook’s Illustrated “2017 Best All-around Silicone Spatula
  • Colors…Black, Red
  • Easy to Clean…Dishwasher Safe
  • Temperature Resistance…to 600ºF
  • Warranty…Forever Guarantee…Every spatula or utensil bought from them is guaranteed. forever.
  • Weight: 3.2 oz

  • Material…BPA Free and FDA Approved Silicone
  • Colors…red, orange, purple, and blue
  • Design…one-piece design
  • Heat Resistant…to 450°F
  • Easy-to-clean…dishwasher safe…stain and odor resistant
  • Durability…will not discolor, warp, melt or chip.

3. OXO Silicone Sauté Paddle

Silicone Saute Paddle 3647
  • Cost…$9.99
  • Colors…available in black or red
  • Easy to Clean…dishwasher safe

Vremi

West