We eat a LOT of peppers at our house. I’d say our little family goes through at least 4-6 every week. We love them raw (especially with hummus) but also use them in Mexican and Italian dishes. Yum!
A couple of years ago my husband and I were on a date night where we took a cooking class. We learned a bunch of interesting techniques, including how “real” chefs slice and dice certain vegetables. The most interesting thing we learned was how to chop a pepper. Before this lesson, I was doing it all wrong. I would cut a circle around the stem to pop it out, and then just kind of slice down some strips here and there. Here’s how the pros do it:
Here are my beautiful, colorful peppers all washed and waiting for me!
First, chop off the bottom.
Then, chop off the top.
And this is where I put my own spin on things… in the cooking lesson, we learned that “real” chefs just ditch the top and bottom. No WAY! I chop up the good parts of the top and bottom and put them into a container, and store them in the fridge to toss into my salads, into enchiladas, into anything really. Why waste it if I can eat it?!?!
Okay, now back to what the pros do… use your knife to carve out the innards.
Next, chop the pepper in half and slice consistently sized strips. That was the big push from the pros… everything must be identical in size/shape.
So here you can see I have three piles. A pile of strips for us to chomp away on, a pile of random extras for my salads, and a pile for the trash can.
Same for the yellow
And the orange
I toss them into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. They stay fresh for 5-7 days this way so I chop once and we all eat for days. Yay!
I put all the extras I chopped into a second bowl and grab a handful whenever I need to add some goodness to a dish. A handful for my salad, dice some up for some quesadillas, toss some into some pasta sauce, you know…
Here are my little eaters cheesing it up for the camera!
Peppers aren’t easy for little ones to chop, but my kiddos love to help me in the kitchen so I often involve them in the cooking/prepping process. Here’s Princess Birdie helping me prep some food with a kid knife. She couldn’t help with the peppers so she helped with our dessert… strawberries. (You’ll notice I’ve moved the cutting board onto the floor. I do that a lot when my kids help. It makes it easier for them as compared to standing on a chair or something. I’m not at all worried about this practice because, trust me, my house is very clean (and I use natural, nontoxic cleaners to make sure that’s the case).
Now I’m SO NOT the mom who makes cutsie food to entice her kids to eat, but every once in a while I will surprise them with something goofy. Here’s my attempt at one the kids names “Hummus Hair Boy”.
So there you have it… step by step instructions to chop a pepper like a professoinal chef, but even better because there’s less waste!
Do you use “techniques” in the kitchen or do you just make it up as you go along? (Which beyond this post is pretty much what I do! Ha!!)