Kitchen Shortcuts with Susan Feniger

Kitchen shortcutsLots of us love to cook, but there are some parts of the process that we definitely wish could be easier. Chef and cookbook author Susan Feniger shares some of her best kitchen secrets and shortcuts with Easy Does It host Ereka Vetrini.

Related: 7 kitchen shortcuts for busy cooks

Feniger says that the most important thing is to buy "one French knife." She adds, "The way that you tell a great knife is you want to look and make sure that the steel goes all the way through to the end of the handle." She also recommends buying a serrated knife for the times when that's the best tool for the job.

Related: Back to basics: Knife skills to learn and master

Making a garlic puree

Garlic can be difficult to work with, but Feniger has a way to make it simpler. She says to start by cutting off the ends of the cloves. Then she smashes the clove with the side of the French knife "and the peel comes right off." Feniger recommends curling your fingertips under and then using your third knuckle as a guide and letting your thumb push the knife forward as you chop.

Next, sprinkle some kosher salt on the garlic. "The salt is going to act like an abrasive, like sand paper." Use the side of the knife to blend together the salt and the garlic. This combination helps to create a delicious garlic puree.

Dicing onions

Before you start dicing your onion, says Feniger, create a flat side with your knife - a tip she recommends when you are cutting anything round. Then take the outer skin off. Next, cut the knife through the middle and lay it on its flat side. Begin making vertical cuts close together. Next, make horizontal cuts. Feniger says to never cut toward your hand so that you avoid injury. Finally, make additional vertical cuts to create a nice pile of diced onions.

Do onions make you cry? Feniger says "Sometimes if [the onion is] really fresh and it's a little bit chilled, you won't cry as much. But no guarantee. You might just have to cry."

Dicing tomatoes

"I never refrigerate tomatoes, ever. The second you refrigerate tomatoes, it totally changes the texture, the flavor, everything about it," says Feniger. To perfectly slice your tomato, use a serrated knife. First, take the core out and then slice the tomato to create a flat side. Then cut the tomato into strips. Finally, turn the tomato and dice it.

For more of Feniger's great recipes, check out her cookbook, Street Food.

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