Monday, August 22, 2011

Japanese Knives Vs Western Knives - See the Difference

What is the difference between Japanese Knives and western knives?
Luckily, both lines possess world class style and functionality. They are made by following age-old methods combined with modern techniques. We probably will never know which is better except by going into the details of their main distinction - the blade. While one good component of a knife is steel, just the steel alone is not enough. You have to consider the making process, tradition and general trends to be able to define a knife's cutting edge and ability.
The Steel
Generally, Japanese knives use harder steel than their western counterpart. They are unbelievably lightweight with a good geometry and a nice balance. These knives carry a very acute edge that marks the strength and edge-holding feature close to the range of very high-end knives, 62-64HRC. They are sharper and easier to re-sharpen and known with almost no downside. Since Japanese knives have thinner edges, they do far better as cutters.
For a comparison, western knives are made of softer steel which typically clocks in at 54-56HRC, a lower hardness on Rockwell scale. This makes western knives much robust and heavier with thicker edges that can endure repeated and extensive use. However, although lower hardness can also mean easier sharpening, 56HRC edge easily dents than 64HRC will chip. In addition the dents and rolls in the blade can dull edge all the more with continued usage. Top end models go further at 67HRC.
Sharpening Edge
The average edge of a western knife is sharpened in the order of 40 to 50 degrees, while Japanese knives are sharpened on a much thinner angle from about 30 degrees or less, making the angles of the blade exceptionally sharp. Some Japanese blades can be sharpened between 6 to 8 degrees making the angles of the blade even thinner than your regular straight razor.
The blend of both world traditions has emerged wonderfully designed and more functional kitchen knives. Traditional Japanese styles have single-edged blades with rounded handles and no grip marks, limiting the knives to specific cutting tasks, but now we can see western-style Japanese knives in western-style grips and double-edged blades. We already see ergonomically sharper and stronger knives versatile enough to handle different cutting needs than the plain traditional Japanese or western Knives.
Price wise, I think it's a mistaken belief that Japanese knives are very expensive. If you investigate prices on standard pieces from European, Western and Asian makers, traditional Japanese knives use harder steel and usually have the wider range of specifically-designed knives bringing the notion that they often look better and are very costly. Since different knives come from different approach in style, function and performance, it is only constant that price also comes with the over-all nature of the knives.
For knives manufactured by a German cookware company with respected and proven reputation since 1845, see Fissler Knives.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Discounted Cookware - Perfect to Make Dining in as Fun As Dining Out By Terry Retter At Ezine Articles

The Good News About Sugar And Your Cookies
Submitted by: Terry Retter

Have you thought of baking a cookie without sugar but heard that it might come out not good Actually, with more and more people paying closer attention to their dietary sugar intake, there are plenty of sugar-free cookie recipes available...

Shopping For Basic Kitchenware, Cooking Pans and Utensils for the Holidays
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If you are thinking of buying a new kitchen collection to dance with the spirit of holiday shopping but hesitant about what to buy, ask yourself what kitchen stuff you are in most need of today and that you feel comfortable buying...

Different Types Of Cookie Sheets Render Different Tastes In Your Baked Goodies
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Everyone with passion in making cookies dream their every goodie to come out from the oven in its ideal brown and chewy delicious taste...

New Cookware Lines - Buying the Cookware You're in Need Of
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Like any other business industry, the cookware industry remains constant in its desire to make new lines of increasingly sophisticated cookware...

The Basics of Cooking - A Beginners's Guide to Success
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Knowing how to make a good meal is an essential skill every cook should learn Even if learning the art of cooking may sound confounding, bear in mind that even top chefs started from the basic...

Excellent Cooking Recipes - How to Find Them
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When was the last time you craved for a certain dish but had to resort cooking something else because you did not find a recipe for it...

Cooking Ranges - The Important Things We Need To Know
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Cooking ranges are traditional appliances every kitchen needs Whether it comes in a customary style, or the clean, sophisticated model, a cooking range will always serve as the heart of a kitchen...

Glorious Cookie Bouquet to Enchant Mom on the Holidays
Submitted by: Terry Retter

Christmas is just around the corner Maybe you have thought about a cookie bouquet as a unique delight for Mom this year...

Baking Christmas Cookies With Kids - Adding Magic to the Holidays
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I dont know but every time I smell aroma of a freshly-baked cookie, it brings back fond memories There is something about a cookie that is so special and smelling that cookie scent feels like I am taken back to my childhood time in a calm place where I want to enjoy the cookie all on my own with a cup of my favorite coffee...

Discover the Wonders of Clay Pot Cooking
Submitted by: Terry Retter

For the everyday cook, a cookware that offers efficient and healthy cooking is a cookware of true value...

Ceramic, Enameled or Glass Material For a Cookware Discovering the One For Your Needs
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Do you agree that taking time to pick for your cookware material is worth-spending Whichever you choose from ceramic, enamel or glass can be your excellent selection...

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How to Cook Delicious Shrimp From Chef John Folse
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tempt Your Kids with Beautifully Cut Vegetables

Since vegetables are the source of all nutrients our body needs, we try our best to encourage children to eat them. The problem is.... kids are also tricky, they make all the best ways possible to escape those foods, and at the end you're left staring at the plate of veggies. But parent as we are, we need to be a little more tricky to twist things up. It's not actually as hard as you think it is, you only need a little more patience and a little more tips.

One of the most common ways we do are the following:

Flower Petals

Cut vegetables like carrots, radish and potatoes into slices then press down with a cookie cutter. You can also use a carving knife by cutting narrow V shapes into every 90 degrees angle of a slice vegetable and take them out. For tomatoes and mushrooms like shitake, make 2 incisions on top of the vegetables and bevel these cuts by inserting the knife diagonally into them, creating a crown looking top. Since flowers are cheerful, put something sweet like cubed colorful "denser" gelatins along with your shaped veggies to make the plate more attractive to your little ones.


Bias or diagonally cutting will expose a better surface area of the vegetable which makes it faster to cook. Place the vegetable on a cutting board and slice the food at an angle that can produce elongated pieces. A paring knife will cut easily and hold the pieces together. Although this is the best vegetable if you want to grill your veggies, the idea may not be so inviting for picky kids, except for those who really enjoys veggies.

Here are other ways to cut your vegetables beautifully. If you have a mandolin, it will make you get into your goal quick and sound, beautifully-cut and shaped vegetables in seconds! But like most people who don't have a mandolin in the kitchen, sharp knives are still the best option.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cook Very Delicious Mahi Mahi More Than Just Grill It

Whether steamed or fried, sauteed or grilled, mahi mahi comes out among the most delicious fish meals I have ever tasted. It has a fairly lean meat with mild sweet flavor that is pinkish to grayish white when raw, and flakey off-white when cooked. Mahi mahi adapts well to any seasonings making it perfect when cooked in different ways. Each of the techniques below renders a fantastic mahi mahi dish which became even more wonderful using only a single pan.


In frying mahi mahi, dredge the fish in flour and seasonings. Heat the frying pan until hot before adding the oil. When the oil starts to hiss or almost smoky, add fillets in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes each sides depending on the size of your fillets. Try turning your fish just once. When the meat turns opaque, your fish is done.


Pan-grilled mahi mahi is very delicious. Put the fillets on a lightly greased grill pan and place the pan 4 to 6 inches above hot coals or fire. Baste with a prepared rub, marinade or plain butter or oil then cover. If you're cooking a large fillet, you can put the fish with skin side down on a foil. Cook until the fish flakes.


To deliciously pouch this fish, make just enough amount of broth seasoned with herbs and spices then simmer in a pan. Slip in mahi mahi then cover to simmer on the stovetop for about 15 minutes or until fish has turned white.


To sauté is to cook your mahi mahi over high heat in a pan. Cut fish in small fillets, season and brush all sides with oil. Place fillets in a non-stick pan and cook until meat flakes easily with a fork. A well-sautéed fish is golden brown on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.


Put water in a saucepan. You can add herbs and spices to enhance the taste of your steamed fish. Insert a steamer basket and place the lightly seasoned mahi mahi onto the steamer. Cover pan and allow to boil. The fish will cook 6 to 8 minutes or 10-15 minutes for a larger cut fillet.

Regardless of how you cook mahi mahi, you will notice that the outside is crisp while the inside is moist and tender. Bear in mind that like any fish, mahi mahi comes out best when cooked at high temperatures for shorter times, and for as long as you don't overcook the fish, it will deliver you one of the most fantastic pan-cooked seafood you can ever have.

Get reasonably-priced Fry Pans and Grills at Your Smart Kitchen. Quality pans are important to produce quality meals. Sign in for the Chef Wannabee Newsletter for seasonal recipes, tips and special discounts.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How a Simplest Herb Can Make Your Dish Look Very Expensive

Don't under estimate the power of herbs!

Tiny as they are, herbs are enjoyable and easy to grow. Using them in your cooking allows you the possibility to change the flavors in your dishes in different ways. The freshest of them are great in soups, stews, vegetables, pasta, salads and breads.

Different kinds of herbs create different tastes in foods. If you are new to using herbs, work on them slowly, adding just a little at a time will help you adjust as you go along until you have it just right. As you get used to cooking with herbs, you will learn the best ones that can be associated with particular foods. Storing herbs is also not difficult. Even fresh ones will keep in the refrigerator for several days. But once herbs are frozen, remember that they would be best when only used in cooking and not as garnishes.

For instance, basil is paired with tomatoes, oregano with sauces, rosemary with roasts, and chives with butter or cream cheese. Although these herbs are not limited to these items, you will see them paired most often these ways. If you think oregano can be ideal for a particular food you have in mind, use your imagination and go for it. You never know your experiment will discover you a new-fangled recipe.

You will also see that even the simplest meal may seem like a gourmet delight, no wonder why gourmets are masters in associating herbs with food - an expertise that shares in the green movement to save mother earth. You can even make herb vinegar for your salad dressing and herb oils that you can use for recipes that call for oil. You can create your own robust-tasting marinades and herb-inspired spreads and rubs. You can make herb butter by mixing butter with minced fresh herb. You will find it fun using your own herb mixes every time you prepare a recipe that calls for vinegar, oil or butter. Really fun, isn't it?

Imagine how fresh herbs can dress up any dish and make it spectacular-looking. Envision how you can lay individual sprigs of rosemary over your roasts, how you can garnish grilled fish with minced basil, and sprinkle chopped parsley over your potato salad. I like chopping a fresh herb and mix the green pieces in my pale salad dressing. The effect was awesome, and my salad entrée really turned out sparkling. With your own creativity, you can make endless combinations and delicious outcome.

In my little garden, I love growing basil, parsley, oregano, lemon balm, mint and a few others. Mint can over run your garden so growing them in individual cans to prevent the herb from "creeping" all through your garden is worthwhile. My wife makes an instant natural face mask using basil, lemon and avocados. She would pulverize a handful of basil by blending it on high, then throw in half of an avocado and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I tried the trick and there was nothing like an all-natural face mask fresh from my garden!

These are just a few ways you can use fresh herbs from your garden. There are still a lot of fun techniques of using herbs that you can learn for your own culinary style and recipes. But first, start planting your herbs. Need help to start thinking about your garden? Become a Chef Wannabee, sign in to my newsletter for more healthy cooking tips!




Tips to Summer Grilling - Delicious and Fun Vegetables to Grilll

Tips to Summer Grilling - Delicious and Fun Vegetables to Grilll

Posted: Jul 26, 2011 |Comments: 0 |


As the summer rages in warmth and moods starts to warm up, my grill also starts to get busy heating up. This alone is a big fun! My family is so much fond of cooking outdoors either with our Dutch oven, grill pan, or charcoal grill and among our favorite foods to put on the grill are greens that comes out crunchy when served right after being cooked.

It's so fun making it possible to cook just about anything on it. One thing I always make sure in all our cooking adventure - try to cook healthy. If you are planning to make your summer grilling a lot more fun and healthier, pick your greens and start grilling. Here are among our top choices of the most delicious and fun to prepare vegetables.

Zucchini or Summer Squash

You need intense fire when grilling these vegetables to loosen excess moisture to concentrate the delicate spring flavor and aroma of the squash. You sure will enjoy the way it grills the inside thoroughly without burning the outside skin, making it super delicious and crisp to bite.


Even without the sun, we like how peppers make the whole dinner hot and spicy. After seeding, cut them into halves and put on the grill. My children like wrapping them in foil after drizzling with olive oil. The blend of the locked in moisture, flavor and aroma makes the whole side dish powerful and very appetizing you sure would be asking for more.

Endive and Raddichio

If you love salads, try radicchio. The bitter nature are tempered by the intense heat of the grill giving us one of the best vegetable salads. I just leave the lettuce in wedges for a more composed presentation and chop the leaves before tossing the rest of the ingredients together. I toast walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant and make a fantastic nutty, citrus vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese to offset the bitter lettuces in my grilled vegetable salad. Isn't that healthy?


Full of fiber and antioxidant and promoting phytonutrients, I too consider eggplant a staple in almost all of our cooking. Summertime is the best time to grill them, so we would brush eggplant slices with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then grill. Sometimes we rub minced garlic, or any rub, all over the eggplant for a fabulous garlicky tasting side for dinner.


Fresh asparagus brushed with a little sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, and pepper gets its very best flavor and crunch as it is grilled cooking the asparagus quickly over high heat. Since the stalks easily fall down between the grill grates, we make it fun lining them up and use toothpicks to put them together in two places, top and near the bottom, or I use my grill pan.


Potatoes are amazingly comfortable. I partially cook mine by simmering them before grilling so they only need to be seared over direct heat to create a golden brown crust. Grilled this way, the potatoes will have almost the texture of French fries by the time they're done. Who wouldn't enjoy golden on the outside, fluffy and cakey on the inside?

Try this:

Bring slices of just about any vegetable in your pantry and put them in a grill pan. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then grill for a couple minutes on each side. If you haven't tried that yet, you will realize how versatile vegetables are and how perfect they come when cooked on your grill. Enjoy your summer!

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Terry Retter

Terry Retter - About the Author:

Terry Retterc- Managing Editor,

Your Smart Kitchen, is your online location for quality cookware, bakeware, cutlery, appliances and related kitchenware at very reasonable prices. Sign in for the Chef Wannabee Newsletter and avail of special discount coupons off all Chasseur cast iron items, Fissler Profession and Perfection Knives and Cameron Stove Top. Join the fun now!

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    Wednesday, July 27, 2011


    You are probably wondering why people consider Mexican foods healthy. Like a genuine Asian diet, traditional Mexican foods are also much less in fat but contain a lot of fresh vegetables and spices. The much less fat content in their food is due to the different cooking techniques that they use to avoid too much frying.

    Mexicans love tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn and chili, as seen in most of their dishes and making their food choices filled with vitamins, proteins and nutrients, rich in fiber, and packed with lycopene, a known cancer-fighting agent. Since Mexican cooking is up to thrill your taste buds, you can taste combinations you never have before. No wonder, their food is popular all over the world.

    Vegetarians enjoy Mexican foods, like beans and roasted butternut squash seasoned with chili powder and oregano, salmon with chili mango salsa, or a flavorful, light dish made of thinly carved, bite-sized pieces of raw fish in sauces made not with butter but with toasted nuts, seeds, and spices. Since this authentic cuisine stays away from fried, a low-fat alternative to the almost eaten everyday fried tortilla chips is the baked chips brushed with a little oil, cut into wedges, arranged on a baking sheet, dusted with salt and spices, baked until crisp and dipped in homemade tomato-rich salsa.

    As a replacement for cream, guacamole is preferred to add richness to basic tacos and burritos. The avocado-based ingredient makes it a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and a great thing to help raise "good" cholesterol. Even with recipes that call for fat or butter, striving to substitute butter with healthy oils, such as grape seed or olive, makes it another reason to be heart-healthy. Old folks still adhere to the old traditional light meals of soup, beans and rice, or plain cereal or sweet bread with milk or hot chocolate.

    Rice, beans, peppers, tomato salsa, a few slices of fresh avocado and lots of veggies can make a very healthy meal. If all these are the basis for a Mexican food, then you can be sure doing the same by using fresh than prepared is simply nice knowing. If you see a plate with loads of fresh produce, protein-packed beans, fiber-filled tortillas, nutritious chili, garlic, cloves, and the greenest of herbs - it must be a heart-healthy Mexican dish.

    So the next time you will be craving for something cultural and a low-fat lifestyle, begin with Mexican inspired lean protein, fresh veggies and reduced fat foods. Why not begin with a tomato sauce blended with sweet pineapple and fresh tarragon over any of your grilled food?

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    Japanese Knives Vs Western Knives - See the Difference

    What is the difference between Japanese Knives and western knives? Luckily, both lines possess world class style and functionality. They ...