Thursday, June 7, 2012

Latest Paula - Hot Pepper Alert And How NOT To Chop An Onion

Paula's Best Dishes with Paula Deen

I nearly sputtered right into the television and called the paramedics when I saw Bobby cutting a jalapeño with his bare hands on Paula's Best Dishes over the weekend. (Or was it Jamie? No, it was Bobby.) 

Remember my run-in with stupidity when I handled hot peppers recently? Admittedly, I was dealing with a habañero in addition to a  jalapeño, but still. Don’t do it. I guess he didn’t want to look like a sissy.

Then I noted Paula making an incredible mess of chopping an onion, which reminded me of the way I do it when no one’s looking, which would never happen if there were a French chef within 5 kilometers of my kitchen.

What did Paula do? She cut off BOTH ends. (The classic way is to leave the root end intact.) Then she sliced the onion and attempted (unsuccessfully) to get those slices lined up so she could turn them into a nice dice. It was kind of a wreck and she chopped it all willy nilly at the end anyway. If she’s processing her barbecue sauce before she uses it, it really doesn’t matter. Oh, but she’s not, so the sauce will have onions of all shapes and sizes.

Here’s the classic way to chop an onion:

1) Cut off the hairy bits at the root end.

2) Slice the onion in half on the international dateline 
(as opposed to the equator). 
3) Slice onion parallel to the work surface.
4) Next, cut onion perpendicular to the root end. 
(See, kids, geometry does come in handy.)
5) The last cut is parallel to the root and leaves you with a nice dice.

MY way actually starts out like Paula’s by cutting both ends off. (A chef would go wild.) But it’s so much faster than the classic method. 

The trick is to hold the onion together at the end so it doesn’t splay apart. Let me show you. (And no matter if I’m processing the final result or not, I always feel better when I chop an onion neatly.):

1) Cut both ends off each onion half.
2) Make your first cut parallel to the top (or bottom) of the onion.
How close your slices are will determine the size of your dice.
3) Turn your onion 90 degrees.
4) Hold slices together tightly while you cut. 

5) The onion pieces will separate as you stir them.

About Paula and Bobby’s barbecue sauce for their shrimp – it’s somewhat similar to my version of a James Beard one…so I bet it would be good. But I still can’t believe that Bobby’s mama didn’t tell him to put on gloves.

By the way, when I watched the rest of Paula’s show – Crab Cake Sandwiches, Fried String Potatoes and Parsnips, and a Coconut Cake iced with butter (lots) and confectioner’s sugar (5 cups) - I completely forgot about the diabetes thing. I just hope Paula hasn't.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Rachael Ray is also infamous for her onion chopping ways. She cuts off both ends and "runs her knife through it."

That's a lot of fried stuff. Can Paula ever change her ways before she has that heart attack?

Sue said...

Oh gosh, Rachel, I HATE it when RR says that. I think one should chop onions with more intention AND attention. But I'm just weird that way.

Anonymous said...

I also hate Ina's saying "a big rough chop." Really? As opposed to a small rough chop? Or a big fine chop?

Sue said...

Well, Tom, I find it hard to hate ANYTHING about Ina, but, you're right, that is a bit inaccurate. Of course, if anyone else had said that, I would be all over him or her.

Emily said...

5 cups of powdered sugar! Wowza. I used 4 cups in a frosting the other day and it was sweet!

Does chopping onions always make you cry?

Sheila said...

Emily - I bawl my eyes out. I have two sets of goggles. One is a pair of swimming goggles that I bought when I wanted to be a swimmer. The other is an actual onion chopping goggle. THEY WORK. The later is better as I can see better which is probably important when you are handling a knife.

Sue said...

I think you're right. That IS a lot of sugar.

I refrigerate my onions, which really helps.

Try storing your onions in the fridge and see if that cuts down on the tears.

Please, please post a picture of you in the goggles...somewhere.