Knive Sharpening and the Best Caesar Dressing


I’ve had a few requests to post some tips on knife sharpening. This is something that people who cook for a living take for granted, but it’s one of the most valuable things you can do to make cooking more efficient and more enjoyable.

knives

I only use three knives in my home kitchen, a santoku knife, a pairing knife, and a bread knife. My favorite is a santoku, a medium sized knife that’s great for cutting up almost everything, vegetables, meat and fish. I also think a good steel can’t be overrated. The one I use, I purchased from cutleryandmore.com. They have really good prices and fast shipping. I only paid about $25.00 for it and it’s worth every penny.

When using the steel to sharpen your knife, hold the steel in one hand and the knife in another. At a 20 degree angle, run the knife down the steel. Then turn the knife and do the other side. To test sharpness, try cutting something like a tomato that requires a sharp knife. It should cut easily and cleanly. I use my steel every time I cook, and I give the knife about 10 runs on each side. This keeps it nice and sharp.

kitchen

We live in a 50 year old Spanish style Florida ranch in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida. I don’t have a bit fancy kitchen, or even a modern kitchen, but I do have a lovely view of palm trees right outside my brand new windows. Someday, we will update the kitchen, but in the meantime, I have a small oven, old cabinets and turquoise counters (yes, I said turquoise, I didn’t even know they made laminate in that color!) But, what I love about my kitchen is the size; I wouldn’t want it any bigger. Since I cook in about 4 square feet of it anyway, I don’t have to move far to get to anything, which makes it really convenient.

Caesar Salad with homemade Dressing

caesar_salad

Caesar dressing is never that good when you buy it in the store. This recipe is quick and really great. Tossed with romaine lettuce, croutons and some parmesan cheese, it’s a great salad for almost any meal, chicken, steak, or all by itself, with grilled shrimp or chicken on top. This recipe is adapted from the the caesar dressing at the Brooklyn restaurant Prime Meats.

1/4 c mayonnaise
3 tbs. freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp anchovy paste or 1 fresh anchovy filet
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, smashed
dash of worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
Salt and Pepper
1-2 tbs water

Place the garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to puree it up. Add all of the remaining ingredients and blend till combined. Add the water slowly to obtain the correct consistency.

To make the croutons, cut up old bread, hot dog buns or anything leftover into small squares. Toss these with olive oil, salt, pepper and onion and garlic powder. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees until nice and crispy. This should take at least 15 minutes, but check them often so they don’t burn.

For the salad, cut up romaine lettuce, toss with the dressing, add grated parmesan cheese, croutons, salt and pepper and enjoy.

-Jeanne

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