How to cut
Onions are used so much in cooking in any culture that many kitchen dwellers have them pre-peeled and chopped in the fridge. I prefer to peel and halve them as I don’t always use the same cut depending on which dish I’m making. To peel simply slice off any end and peel back skins. Now chop in half horizontally and keep chopping until you get desired size. If sliced vertically you will get a nicely shaped slice to use in stirfrys and grills.
Garlic is something else that can be pre-chopped or at least, Pre-peeled. To peel, smash clove with flat side of a wide blade of the santoku kmife or the chefs Knife. Then simply remove loosened skin and proceed to chop or mince if wanting to use whole cloves, just don’t smash as hard…just enough to loosen.
Peppers are best chopped from fresh. They are easy to slice but be careful not to slip on the smooth outer skin. Chop from the inside surface as it is rougher. Simply remove seeds by cutting around the center seed vessel. If you cut right through it you will be picking seeds out for the next 10 minutes. Keep peppers chunky for grilling, roasting,and stirfys and chop as needed for sauces and soups. Usually they are cooked with onions and garlic as they don’t take long to soften.
Peel if desired and then cut in half. You are ready for a Boil or a Pot aux Feu. Chop each half again and you have chunks for roasting, stews, and mashed potatoes. Cut thin lengthwise and you are ready for a gratin. Slice thinly the other way and you have home fries. Potatoes take a while being a root vegetable so the smaller the quicker to cook.
Carrots use the same cooking time as potatoes so when using together cook together. Carrots are very versatile and are used in various creative ways. When sliced thin and preferably on a diagonal they are a colourful addition to strifes and are a main staple in salads as long as not too chunky which would compete with delicate lettuces. Experiment with making ribbons with your peeler or slicing thin then cutting into matchsticks or smaller. Fun.
Celery, like the carrot, is also used often in many forms. It cooks faster however. When using in a stir fry cut celery on a thin diagonal like the carrot.
Begin slicing your tomato with a serrated Knife unless you are very confident the desired Knife is very sharp. Use a smaller knife with the smaller varietals.
Broccoli & Cauliflower
These are fun to chop. Cut off any stalk or leaves and you can either slice in half from bottom u and keep going or cut each flowered off individually. Unless you are only using the flowerets, use the stalk too. Just cut off hard rind and cube or slice. Cauliflower can hold its shape and texture well but never over cook broccoli. Ugghhh…khaki in colour and nasty in flavour.