Results tagged knife from David Lebovitz

The Bread Knife

bread knife

When I moved to France, the one thing I made sure to bring along was my bread knife. It’s not that you can’t get bread knives here, but I was particularly attached to mine, having used it for nearly three decades. It was a good value Victorinox at the time, and if you don’t believe that I’ve had it for so many years, I think I paid about $14 for it, and the list price now is nearly three times higher.

(And for those who live in the Bay Area, I think I might have bought it at Whole Earth Access – if you can remember that far back.)

Of the knife “trilogy” that I think everyone should have – a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife – the first two should be of top quality, since you’ll be chopping on a board and relying on their sturdiness and good blades to cut through firm vegetables and meats.

Continue Reading The Bread Knife…

My Favorite Kitchen Tip, Ever

dirty dishes

This isn’t the most photogenic of posts, but one of the dirty secrets of writing cookbooks is the dishes. And this season, as the cavalcade of cooking tips comes tumbling forth in anticipation of all the holidays – and the cooking and baking that go along with them – this is the best tip I’ve ever been given.

Most of you probably know how many dishes to takes just to bake a simple cake: a stack bowls, a mixer and the whip, a gaggle of spatulas, and for my fellow Americans, a bunch of measuring cups and spoons. Now imagine if you made that same cake three times in a row, making a few other sets of dishes dirty. Then did it again.

In spite of that fact that I have a real dishwasher, I spend a few hours each and every day washing dishes. It’s funny because when friends call and ask me if I’m free for dinner, sometimes I have to decline because I have to work, and they don’t seem to understand that part of my “work” is washing and/or putting away dishes and pots and pans. It’s a cycle that’s part of my life and when I left the restaurant business, being able to hand off a bustub full of dirty dishes to someone else was something I missed a lot. (If you ask anyone who is the most important person in a restaurant kitchen, even more than the chef, it’s the dishwasher.)

Continue Reading My Favorite Kitchen Tip, Ever…

Slate Plates

assiette ardoise

Since I arrived in Paris a while back, a number of food tendances have slipped into our vocabulary. From appetizers served in Chinese-style spoons, to the alarming addition of adding sugar to savory hors d’oeuvres, I’ve learned to become diplomatic when faced with a plate lined with white porcelain spoons with a dollop of minted pea puree topped with a touch of crème fraîche and three salmon eggs in the middle, or a beef cubes dipped in caramel and garnished with a raw quail egg and a strawberry-flavored marshmallow. But I’m still having a little trouble with slate plates. And I’m not the only one.

Continue Reading Slate Plates…

10 Things to Bring Back from Your Trip to Paris

On my last visit to the states, I engaged a bit in the all-American pastime of le shopping. Of course, I wasn’t looking for things made in France (although folks have a tendency to want to direct me to French bakeries), but I did see what was—and wasn’t, available from my adopted country.

Interestingly, I get a fair number of people coming to France and asking what they should bring their hosts. Generally speaking, the French aren’t especially interested in macaroni & cheese mix, backside-burning hot sauce, or jars of organic crunchy peanut butter. But I always recommend people bring things like bean-to-bar chocolate, Rancho Gordo beans, and a big bag of dried sour cherries, which I’ve only seen at a few places in Paris, and they sell for over €55 per kilo (2.2 pounds). Their hefty price reflects the fact that they’re imported from America.

In the reverse direction, outside of France you’ll often pay hefty prices on French-made items; certain goods one can buy in France quite cheaply. Of course, shipping, exchange rates, taxes, and other costs figure in to those prices when you see them in a store in New York City, but if you’re coming to France, here’s a few things you might want to check out. I didn’t include things like chocolates, macarons, or other obvious things simply because, well, they’re pretty obvious.

Continue Reading 10 Things to Bring Back from Your Trip to Paris…

New York City Dining and Travel Notes

pretzels empire state building

I had a wonderful trip to New York City recently and shared some of the places that I visited (see links at end of post), but there were plenty more places that I ate at, which didn’t get mentioned in previous posts. So here’s a round-up of them…

katz's corned beef sandwich

Katz’s

Most of the good delis are gone in New York City, but Katz’s is an institution and I like to believe it’s never going to let me down. I’ve had great meals there, but on this visit, my corned beef was tough and almost all of the meat inside my sandwich was inedible. A sandwich that costs $14.50, plus tax, should be museum-quality.

Continue Reading New York City Dining and Travel Notes…

How to Take Care of Your Knives

drying knives

I can deal with a lousy oven. I can use crummy cookware. And I’ll admit that I can bake a cake in a flimsy pan. But I refuse to use a dull knife. It’s not only that they’re hard to use, but a bad knife is downright unsafe. Some people are terrified of sharp knives when in fact, when used properly, they’re actually safer: Most people cut themselves when a knife slides off something they’re slicing rather than when it makes a clean cut right through it.

Professional cooks bring their own knifes to work and take care of them themselves. It’s something I still do to this day. And when I go away for a weekend to someone’s house in the country, if I plan to do any cooking (which I usually do), I bring along at least one knife of my own so I know I’ll have a good, sharp knife to cook with.

Continue Reading How to Take Care of Your Knives…

My Favorite Knife

My Favorite Knife

I have a knife block on my counter armed with a sharp, ever-ready arsenal of knives for almost all kitchen purposes. There’s a nice, long bread knife, several fancy Japanese knives, a terrific 3-inch paring knife I bought in 1983 at Columbus Cutlery in San Francisco that I lost my first week at Chez Panisse and found it ten years later sitting in a silverware bin, a jumbo Martin Yan Chinese cleaver, and a flexible boning knife, which we used to simply call a ‘boner’ in the restaurant.

(Which we did simply because in our juvenile fashion, we got a kick out of asking our fellow cooks, “Can I use your boner?“)

But the one knife I reach for 97% of the time in my 4½-inch Wüsthof serrated knife. I bought mine at a cookware shop in Ohio that I was teaching at. And when I saw them at Zabar’s in New York last week for only $7.99, I started thinking what a fabulous little knife this baby is and how dependent I am on mine.

Beets

Dirt cheap, I’ve had my handy little knife for about six years and it’s still as sharp as the day I bought it. (Actually, it seems to get sharper and sharper. Either that, or my other knives are getting duller and duller.) I use mine for everything: slicing crusty baguettes, tomatoes, perfectly-diced beets, cutting up fruit, and a gazillion other things. It does every job with the greatest of ease and its small size also makes it fabulous for space-challenged cooks.


Update: After decades of great service, mine finally bit the dust as it was no match for a large block of well-aged slab of cheese. This particular knife has been discontinued but happily, Wusthof has replaced the knife with the Silverpoint “Brunch” knife.


Related Links and Posts

How to Take Care of Your Knives

Inside the KitchenAid Factory

Mini-Tongs

Scissors

Buying an Ice Cream Maker

Kitchen Cutlery (Amazon)