A device for an amateur cook to cut up vegetables very small.

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BML

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Dec 14, 2007
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I have just started to learn how to cook Spaghetti Bolognese but would like to find a device that would help me in cutting up carrots and the like into small pieces as advised by the recipe. Can anyone help?
 

dragnlaw

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Other than honing your knife skills the only other thing I can think of is a Mandolin - which is also something that needs careful attention while using.

I've never used one of those "chopper" style things so can't advise on them but they are probably one of the safest alternatives.
 

HeyItsSara

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I don't know the recipe but my food processor grinds, slices and shreds with different blades and is safer to use - to me anyway - than a mandoline.
 

dragnlaw

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OMGoodness, I completely forgot I have a mini-chopper very like yours bethzaring.

I think it is by Star Frit. I used it a lot at one time! Carrots, celery, onions - was great.
Thanks for the reminder, I'll have to bring it to the front of the cupboard again.

BML just google 'mini-choppers' and you'll see plenty of ideas. not expensive.
 
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Roll_Bones

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8" Chef knife and practice. You might as well start learning if you are serious about cooking.
Do not go to gadgets. Learn cooking skills, not cutting corners.
 

taxlady

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I think this is the perfect time to practice knife skills. I could do it with my mandolin's "julienne" blade (using the food pusher, not holding with fingers) and then turn the slices 90° and do it again, but it would be more work than cutting with a chef's knife. Washing the mandolin would be more work than washing the chef's knife and cutting board. I don't believe that the soffritto used in making Bolognese sauce is usually made with veg chopped as fine as a food processor would do. I might be mistaken. If you don't mind very thin pieces, a food grater would work, but watch your fingers when the piece you are holding gets small.
 

dcSaute

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Apr 24, 2011
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915
you will find that a gadget that works for carrots does not work so well for onions, but one that does well on onions doesn't work well on sweet peppers, but the one that handles peppers can't do potatoes worth a hoot . . .



a chef's knife is your friend. a dull knife is your worst enemy.
learn how to sharpen, and keep sharp, you knives. life turns out so much easier....
slicing and dicing with a dull knife simply does not go well.



for hard(er) stuff, first slice it into long thin strips, then dice the strips into little pieces. carrots, parsnips, leeks, celery . . .

for round things, cut them in half, then make slices, cut the wide slices into strips, then dice the strips.
rutabaga, beets, celeriac, turnips . . .



onions - a special case - thousands of videos showing (1) cut in half (2) horizontal slices (3) vertical slices (4) slice off small dices. the size of the dice depends on how many horizontal and vertical slices you make on the "half onion"
if you are nervous about the horizontal slicing, there's another method - cut into quarters, do the vertical slices, rotate the quarter 90', do more vertical slices, then slice off the dices.....


the most versatile, altho still limited,,,, gadget is probably the "slap chopper"
these have been around for tens of decades - near a century perhaps....
if you search on slap chopper you'll get some very amusing 'as seen on TV' videos.
guys with dull knifes cutting up an onion, leaving the root, and trying to make little pieces of it.....
 

taxlady

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you will find that a gadget that works for carrots does not work so well for onions, but one that does well on onions doesn't work well on sweet peppers, but the one that handles peppers can't do potatoes worth a hoot . . .



a chef's knife is your friend. a dull knife is your worst enemy.
learn how to sharpen, and keep sharp, you knives. life turns out so much easier....
slicing and dicing with a dull knife simply does not go well.



for hard(er) stuff, first slice it into long thin strips, then dice the strips into little pieces. carrots, parsnips, leeks, celery . . .

for round things, cut them in half, then make slices, cut the wide slices into strips, then dice the strips.
rutabaga, beets, celeriac, turnips . . .



onions - a special case - thousands of videos showing (1) cut in half (2) horizontal slices (3) vertical slices (4) slice off small dices. the size of the dice depends on how many horizontal and vertical slices you make on the "half onion"
if you are nervous about the horizontal slicing, there's another method - cut into quarters, do the vertical slices, rotate the quarter 90', do more vertical slices, then slice off the dices.....


the most versatile, altho still limited,,,, gadget is probably the "slap chopper"
these have been around for tens of decades - near a century perhaps....
if you search on slap chopper you'll get some very amusing 'as seen on TV' videos.
guys with dull knifes cutting up an onion, leaving the root, and trying to make little pieces of it.....

I agree.

And that bit I made bold - never heard of that before. It's brilliant.
 

dcSaute

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Messages
915
oh, it gets more better...


another non-threatening dice method:
peel
stand vertically on root end
slice vertically but not through the root
rotate 90'
2nd slice vertically but not through the root
cut in half, top to bottom
slice off the dices....


bit trickier as... if the cut goes thru the root, it all falls apart.
 

taxlady

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Actually, for onion. I usually cut in half the long way. Then I cut the long way, not slicing too close to the root end. Then I slice across the slices. It isn't dice. I cut that into smaller bits using the "rock the chef's knife" across the food method.
 

dcSaute

Sous Chef
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Apr 24, 2011
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915
I have found doing the horizontal cuts first keeps the onion 'more intact' for the 2nd step vertical cuts.


but - billions of internet experts support both sides - hence I surmise it's best to do what oneself finds most comfortable/effective.
 

taxlady

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I have found doing the horizontal cuts first keeps the onion 'more intact' for the 2nd step vertical cuts.


but - billions of internet experts support both sides - hence I surmise it's best to do what oneself finds most comfortable/effective.

I just don't do the horizontal cuts. I find them too fiddly.
 

dcSaute

Sous Chef
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
915
can't disagree - methinks it only a question of how uniform the dicing needs to be....
which is usually unrelated to the recipe....
 

RCJoe

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As a young kid I started with a Veg-O-Matic

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I think at one time the women in my family had about every kitchen toy coming and going. A lot of the stuff was put in yard sales but can still be found on eBay or Etsy. (and others)
 
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