Monthly Archives: August 2014

All About Cutting Boards

Recently on our blog, we gave you an overview of kitchen knives. Now let’s take a look at cutting boards.

There are several different types of cutting boards made from a variety of materials and available in a wide range of prices.

When choosing cutting boards for your kitchen, you should consider two main factors: how they treat your knives and how sanitary they are. The USDA recommends using two separate cutting boards–one for fruits, veggies, herbs, cheese, and bread and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. This helps to ensure that no cross-contamination takes place during the food preparation process.

WOOD–This is probably the most popular choice for cutting boards. They are truly beautiful to look at and work on. They are the best for your knives because wood does not dull the blades. However, they are porous, so they absorb food, liquids, and bacteria. Wooden boards should be washed in hot, soapy water. Do not soak in water or place in the dishwasher because they can warp and crack. After washing, rinse and dry well. Once dry, treat boards with a food-grade mineral oil to create a moisture barrier. Select a hardwood cutting board made from maple, beech, walnut, cherry, teak, ash, or birch. Choose end grain (checkerboard pattern) or edge grain (striped pattern). 

Chef Scott uses a thick wooden block cutting board at his home. He suggests placing a lightly dampened dish cloth under your cutting board to keep it from slipping.

BAMBOO–Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that is harder than wood and less porous, so it absorbs less liquid than wood boards. Wash, dry, and oil bamboo boards the same as wooden boards.

PLASTIC–Plastic cutting boards are inexpensive and durable. They can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. They are not as good for your knives as wood or bamboo boards. Plastic boards can still hold bacteria, so they must be washed thoroughly. They should be replaced when scratches and grooves from knives begin to appear, as bacteria is more difficult to remove from these crevices.

EPICUREAN–The cutting boards are made from a combination of different recycled materials, including wood and plastic. These boards are safe for knives, nonporous, and dishwasher-safe.

GLASS–These boards are nonporous and easy to sanitize. They can be washed in the sink or dishwasher. No oiling is needed. However, glass boards are often slippery and they are especially hard on your knives (glass surfaces will dull them quickly).

Dressler’s Spotlight: Erik Draheim

 

Erik DraheimMeet Erik Draheim, Assistant Manager of Dressler’s Metropolitan.

Erik has been with Dressler’s Restaurant for two-and-a-half years. During that time, he has enjoyed developing a special relationship with the staff and guests. Much like the rest of the team at Dressler’s, Erik has a keen sense of humor and a strong devotion to his job and the people he encounters every day. When Erik isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

What are your responsibilities at Dressler’s?

“Keeping Tim’s ego in check,” jokes Erik.

Name 3 things that you like about your job.

“The energy of the restaurant, the people, and the people.”

What are some of the challenges of your job?

“Any kind of math or spelling.”

What are some of your favorite foods and beverages at Dressler’s?

Blackened Heart of Ribeye (served with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, and herb blue cheese butter) and all of our local tap beers,” says Erik. “My two favorites are Mother Earth’s Endless River and Railhouse Brewery’s Mastiff Oatmeal Stout.”

What qualities make Dressler’s an exceptional restaurant?

“The team has a great work ethic, but we also have fun at our jobs.”

Why do you think people like coming to Dressler’s?

“It’s like walking into a friend’s home.”

How do first-time guests respond after enjoying a meal at Dressler’s?

“What I hear most are compliments about the delicious food and exceptional service,” says Erik.

What do you like best about your job?

“It sounds cliché, but it’s the people I get to work with and visiting with all our guests.”

Any interesting hobbies?

I repair airplane engines and it’s all ball bearings these days. Unless of course it’s the bypass line.”

 

A Guide to Kitchen Knives

No kitchen is truly complete without a set of quality knives.

They are one of the most essential tools in the food-preparation process and should be chosen carefully.

At Dressler’s Restaurant, our staff bring their own knives to work and spend 10-15 minutes sharpening them several times a week. Chef Scott recommends spending a little less money on your knives and spending more time keeping them sharp for day-to-day use. If you are going to splurge on a knife for yourself or as a gift, there are a large number of high-quality artisan knife makers right here in the Carolinas. We love Williams Knife Company, Bloodroot Blades, and Middleton Made Knives.

There are a lot of knives on the market, but not all knives are the same. They come in all different sizes, shapes, materials, and prices. Various types of chopping, cutting, slicing, and dicing tasks call for different knives. Use knives that are the right size, comfortable to hold, durable, and sharp. Here are the kitchen knives you need to get the job done.

Chef’s Knife–These general utility knives are typically 8 to 12 inches in length. Chef’s knives are used for mincing, slicing, and chopping vegetables, slicing meat, and disjointing large cuts. Blades are made of carbon steel, stainless steel, a laminate of both metals, or ceramic. Handles can be made of wood, steel, or synthetic/composite materials. The highest quality knives are forged from a single piece of steel (typically high-carbon stainless steel) that runs the entire length of the knife.

Paring Knife–This knife is designed for the controlled cutting, peeling, and slicing of fruits and vegetables. Typical sizes range from 2.5 to 4 inches.

Serrated Knife–Use this knife for slicing delicate items like bread, tomatoes, and cake.

Fillet Knife–The thin, flexible blade is designed to slice meat and separate it from the bone and skin. It is good for filleting fish, as well as cutting thin sections from beef, pork, and chicken.

Boning Knife–The boning knife has a curved, narrow blade that is designed for removing meat from bones and cutting fish or poultry.

Keep your knives clean. Do not put your knives in the dishwasher. Instead, wash them by hand in soapy water. Do not allow them to soak in the water if they have wood handles, as they may crack or warp. Keep the blades pointed away from your fingers and wash slowly and carefully. Dry carefully, keeping the blade pointed away from you.

Keep your knives sharp. Your knives work best when they are sharp. Do this by using a handheld sharpener or whetstone.

What Knives are Essential For a Serious Home Kitchen?

Choosing Knives for Your Kitchen

Kitchen Knives: Blade Styles and Uses