Knife Skills

Let's Get Slicing And Dicing

In learning knife skills, so you can cut fruits and vegetables quickly and safely, I want to describe how to hold the knife.

My explanation will include using an 8 inch chef's knife for our demonstration. You will hold the knife in your dominate hand with your index finger and thumb very close and even touching the blade.

The blade will have a curve to it which will aid in rocking the blade from the tip to the handle. That's the motion you will be looking for as you chop.

Once you understand how to hold the knife we can move on to how to hold the fruit or vegetable you are cutting.

Hold your non-knife holding hand in a claw like shape. Your index finger will be the guide. The index finger will be placed on top of the vegetable in the most forward position compared to all your other fingers and thumb.

This finger is the most important one and will keep you from accidentally cutting yourself.

Start with the blade on top of the vegetable and leaning against your index finger (keep it slightly bent with the knuckle sticking out towards the blade) and start the rocking motion with the blade.

As you cut, slide your guide hand just a little bit back after each cut depending how thick you want your slices.

In learning knife skills, practice is very important so practice, practice, practice. One of the best vegetables to practice with is celery so give that a try.

To dice an onion or mince garlic, it's helpful to make your first slices very thin. When you turn your onion or garlic to cut in the other direction, your pieces will be very small and you will spend less time chopping.

Believe me, you will appreciate this time saver when you are dicing onions.

Tip- to remove the garlic smell from your hands after mincing garlic, take a stainless steel spoon and rub your fingers over the spoon under cold running water. The garlic smell will disappear. Really.

If you can master these knife skills, cooking will be that much more enjoyable as you will be faster, safer and more efficient with your time. And it's fun.

Watch the video below to see an actual demonstration of how to chop an onion and garlic.

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Made your apple pie recipe yesterday. Absolutely the best!! And no gap! Your spice mixture was just right.

I have the apple/corer/peeler and it made perfect slices in no time. Thank you so much for your wonderful step by step instructions and for the video. Much appreciated. Lucky me! :)

-B.A. from 

Hi! I just wanted to say that your tortilla recipe/video is pretty much the greatest thing ever! I'm a college student, so it's a really great/cheap thing to make. They're especially good with butter, honey, and brown sugar.

I just have to make sure my family doesn't find out I stopped using the family tortilla recipe! Ha! Thanks again!

-C.M. from 
Queens, New York

I just have to write to you and admit something! I'm preparing your spanish rice recipe at the moment AND....I want to thank you!

I had actually given up on making Spanish rice! No one, or no recipe, until YOURS, ever said to actually BROWN the rice so much.! I think thats the taste difference!

Thank YOU so much.  I followed your recipe exactly,..and it is absolutely wonderful!

-Martha MacDonald from 
Karlovac Croatia

Just to let you know that I found your website and love it. We have very limited Mexican produce in Australia and I am enjoying making your recipes.

I have made your enchilada sauce a few times now.  We all love it and have managed to find pinto beans at our central markets. Good Job. Well done.

-Wendy Sachse from 
Adelaide Australia

Rockin' Robin, you truly rock! I live in china right now, far, far away from my beloved Mexican food. Finding ingredients is hard enough, learning how to make everything from scratch no longer is with your recipes.

Though I've only tried your tortilla recipe, I will certainly be coming back to your site to make retried beans and Spanish rice!

My tortillas were awesome, best yet, thanks for giving us a night of Mexican food all the way over here in China!

-Erin from Santa Barbara, California

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I stumbled upon your website today as I searched the web for flour tortilla recipes. I made these just after viewing your video, and five of us devoured them.

SO DELICIOUS. And easy to make! I am most grateful to you for this simple, tasty recipe. Your video was a useful tutorial.

I've not attempted to make tortillas prior to making yours, though we often eat tortillas. We're vegetarians, so I was looking for a recipe which used canola oil instead of lard. You delivered. Merci.

-Frances Bolte

WOW! What a great website. Love how you show what to do and how it is supposed to look. Definitely in my favorites folder.

-Terri M from Florida Keys
Where good Mexican food is hard to find.

Just made your enchilada sauce recipe and that's what I've been looking for. I like the fact it has a little heat but not too much so my kids will eat it. Thank you for posting the recipe. i am turning leftover turkey into turkey enchiladas tonight but the star is really the sauce. Thanks again.

-Tony Starks, California