CJSW

Spooning and Forking

Archive for November, 2011

Knives

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Normally when I’m building an episode for the show it’s because I want to learn about something myself (think the two-part series on beer and coffee).  I long knew knives would be an interesting topic and we had great resources between our chefs and Knifewear, but I was afraid.  Like, I was literally afraid of knives because I am notorious for cutting myself and furthermore I didn’t really want to be scolded by experts on how irresponsible I was.

But, one too many visits to Knifewear had enticed me to the point that I went for it.  If you haven’t been to the store yet it is amazing.  Although I’ve only ever been there to browse the selection of esoteric magazines and local cookbooks, or gawk at knives, the staff patiently answer all my questions every time, and even invited me to use one of the knives to try cutting a tomato, which let’s just say, was magical.

However, I was still nervous to meet Kevin, the store’s owner.  Besides working as a sous chef at St. John’s in England, Kevin is incredibly well informed about knives and food in Calgary and Japan.  Without gushing too much, I will say I had nothing to worry about.  Kevin is just as accommodating and informed as his staff.  Our interview quickly became a conversation and I stayed chatting with him long after, discussing an interesting mix of food topics including the flavour of horse sashimi (I’ll leave that one for him to answer).

As for my actual fear of knives, I’ve made plans for one of his Cut Like  a Chef classes to educate myself!

Besides the knowledge imparted by Kevin, for our Ask the Expert we spoke to Ken Keller of Bon Ton Meat Market  to gain a butcher’s perspective.  Another great Calgary institution, Bon Ton is a traditional meat shop that sells a great range of meat, including rabbit as I discovered on a recent trip.  I saw this after watching bunnies hopping around on the U of C campus, so that meal may be a while coming for me.

Finally, Naddine, interviewed Justin LeBoe of the recently opened Model Milk to learn about what he and his staff use (okay, that reminds me, I definitely ate rabbit at Model Milk recently.  Ooops.).

Check out the episode on iTunes to hear all about what we learned and the zen of cutting.

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, send us your Ask the Expert questions!  Nothing is too small or strange for our food sleuths.

While I was interviewing Kevin about knives, he told me the store supplies a french onion soup recipe with every usuba purchase.  After cutting so many onions the costumer should understand the advantage of this vegetable knife.  Coincidentally, Chatellaine posted a “French Onion Grilled Cheese” right before I sat down to write this post and I couldn’t resist the adaptation.

French Onion Grilled Cheese

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thinly (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 900 mL carton low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 4 slices gruyére or swiss cheese, about 120 g
  1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high. Add 1 tsp oil, then onions, broth and thyme. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until liquid is reduced, about 15 min. Add sherry and continue cooking until absorbed, about 5 more min. Remove thyme.
  2. Spread Dijon on 4 slices of bread. Top each slice with about 1/3 cup onion mixture and 1 cheese slice. Top with remaining bread.
  3. Wipe pan clean. Heat over medium. Brush pan with 1 tsp oil. Cook 2 sandwiches at a time, about 2 min per side. Repeat with remaining oil and sandwiches.
  • Prep Tip:

    Keep grilled sandwiches warm on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 200F oven.