Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dicing, Chopping, and Mincing! OH MY!

Minced onion, diced carrots, chopped parsley… WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?!?!

After doing a bit of research on the web, I was able to find the words to get this all out.  Having been a bit of a “foodie” for some time now, I knew the differences between all these techniques.  But knowing them and being able to articulate them is two different things.  Kinda like someone who just listens to a stereo system would say, “Hey, my speakers are making this buzzy noise.  Can you fix it?” versus the audiophile who goes, “Hey, my speakers are buzzing.  Perhaps they aren’t shielded from a power source or one of my components aren’t grounded correctly.”

Big difference, huh?

So I am going to try to explain, with the help of the internet and, in no small part, the differences between chopping, mincing, and dicing.



When it comes to chopping, there are no rules except for bite-sized.  Think large, leafy greens and veggies.  The chopping does not have to be uniform and is best used when you want your ingredients to retain some of their character but still want to get some flavor out.

Think roasted veggies.  Lots and lots of delicious, delicious roasted veggies.  Om nom nom!



Different dices: C'mon 7!

Dicing is just that.  Think Picasso meets plate.  Dicing is for small, evenly cut pieces.  This is useful especially when you want to get timing down to a science.  Foods that are cut evenly will cook evenly and that’s important.  Also, the smaller the dice cut is, the easier it is to heat the food and the faster it will get done.  Clinically, you are looking for 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size.  Since we’re not into hard and fast rules, let’s just say that you’re looking for the food to give up most of itself in flavor but retain some texture.


You'll be all like, "Ay! Where'd my veggies go?!"

Mincing is a different animal altogether.  Take your food and chop it.  Good.  Now chop it some more.  Excellent!  Now chop it some more.  In fact, put it all in a pile and then put your blade in the middle of it, then rock that sucker all over the place until whatever it is you’re cutting is unrecognizable from its original form.  Or grab two cleavers and take out your frustrations until you have a little pile of itty-bitty-tiny-pieces-parts.  That’s mincing.  And if you are really good at it, the only trace of what you minced will be the aroma.



I hope this clears things up for people and helps you to interpret some of those instructions in your recipes.  Whenever there is a term you guys don’t know, just let us know and we’ll put it in the technique corner!

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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Techniques


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Tomato Basil Bisque

Simple and rustic:  Tomato Basil Bisque
Simple and rustic: The perfect accompaniment to a frosty winter day.

My recipe for Tomato Basil Bisque breaks a lot of the rules when it comes to soups.  I like clean, fresh tasting soups that burst with flavor.  And I personally think that the addition of chicken broth, celery and onions otherwise muddies what is a BEAUTIFULLY clean and pure flavor where the tomato shines.  So I submit by version of the Tomato Basil Bisque.


(1) 6 oz. can of tomato paste

(2) 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes

(18-24) fresh basil leaves

(1) Pint heavy cream

(2) Tablespoons butter

(3) Cloves garlic, crushed

(2) Shallots, minced

(1)  Teaspoon Olive Oil

(taste) Salt and pepper


1.  In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the butter and olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add the shallots and garlic.  Saute’ until the shallots become translucent.

3. Add the tomato paste and stir.  Mixture will become thick.

4. Open and drain 1 can of tomatoes.  Then add to stockpot with second can of tomatoes along with juice from second can.

5. Bring mixture a boil then reduce heat.  Continue to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

6. Place mixture in a blender or use an immersion blender until smooth.

7. Pour mixture through a sieve and return to low heat.

8. Reserve 3 basil leaves and chop the rest finely and add to the pot.

9. Add 3/4 of the pint of heavy cream to the saucepan.

10. Continue cooking uncovered until reduced by 1/4 and the soup coats the back of a spoon.

11.  Remove soup from heat.

12.  Chiffonade the 3 remaining basil leaves for garnish

13.  Lightly beat the remaining heavy cream.  Do not whip to peaks! Cream should be thickened but still liquid.

14.  Plate soup in a wide bowl, add a bit of cream to the center of the soup and garnish with fresh basil.  Add croutons if desired.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Recipes


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Cooking misadventures with Gil 12/13/11

This recipe suffices as both a dinner dish and a rather interesting party snack.  We haven’t given it a name yet, but we like to call it delicious!


1      lb. ground beef

1/2  bulb garlic, crushed (4-5 cloves)

3      tablespoons mayonnaise (mileage may vary on mayo used)

1      teaspoon prepared mustard

Salt, black pepper, cumin and onion powder to taste


  1. Heat up a pan or appropriately-sized pot and a very tiny amount of oil (I used medium heat on an (urgh) electric stove)
  2. Sautee the crushed garlic until barely browned
  3. Add the ground beef and seasonings.  Cook the beef until brown, adjust seasonings as necessary.  Garlic should maintain color once meat is added
  4. When meat is sufficiently cooked (ready for consumption) turn off the heat, add all mustard and add mayonnaise 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add more mayonnaise once the tablespoon prior is mixed into the beef
  5. When finished, the meat should be loosely bound due to the fat of the meat and the eggs of the mayonnaise

Enjoy!  For a little more… fun(?) eat with plain tortilla chips.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Recipes


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