Tag Archives: paring knife

Peaches, Image from MorgueFile

National Peach Month

August is National Peach Month, but how did this come to be?  Back in 1982, the United States Congress and Ronald Reagan approved this as Proclamation 4947.  According to the Atlanta Examiner, “Reagan called upon US citizens to ‘incorporate this nutritious fruit into their diets.’”  In honor of this declaration and to encourage you to celebrate with and educate your patrons, Central is providing 10 peach related facts, tips, recipes and tools to get National Peach Month off to a great start.

Peaches, Image from MorgueFile1)    FACT Peaches are Nutritious

Peaches contain 3 grams of fiber* and no fat***.   They are also a good source of vitamins A, B and C** and provide fewer than 70 calories*.

Summer Peach Pie with Vanilla Cardamom from Epicurious  can be made using
Pie Pans, Pie Servers and Mixing Bowls from Central.

3)    FACTDon’t eat Peach Pits
The peach pit contains hydrocyanic acid** which is highly toxic to humans.

4)    TIPWhen are peaches in season?
Peaches are in season in the U.S. from June to the end of August* and in China
from July to August ****.

Peach Salsa from Simply Recipes can be made and served using Cutting Boards,
Paring Knives, Hamilton Beach Food Blender and Salsa Dishes from Central.

6)    TIPRipening Tricks
Ripen the fruit by placing it in a brown paper bag for two to three days**.  To
prevent peaches from ripening, place it in the refrigerator*** and to keep it from browning sprinkle the flesh with lemon or lime juice***.

Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce from Fine Cooking can be used with Basting Brushes from Central.

8)    FACT Where is the origin of the peach?
Originated in China where they symbolized immortality and longevity***.  They are still the world’s largest producers of the fruit***.

Fruit, Image from MorgueFile9)    RECIPE & TOOLS
Fresh Peach-Pecan Muffins from Ingredients Inc. can be made with Muffin Pans from Central.

10) FACT World’s Largest Peach Items
The World Largest Peach Cobbler was made in Georgia and measured 11 feet by 5  feet*.  The World’s Largest (individual) Peach was grown in South Carolina and weighed 10,000 pounds*****.

With all of this information, we hope you’ll take advantage of this great fresh fruit and maybe even try out a new recipe or two.  If you do try one of our recipes or if you have a recipe you’d like to share with our other readers, please leave a comment below.


All facts and tips were found on the following sites:
*WebMD  **The Nibble ***Peach-Facts
**** Wall Street Journal *****Fill Your Plate

10 Handy Terms to Advance Your Cooking

It’s happened to us all, you’re watching a cooking show or looking at a recipe and you run across a term you’ve never heard before.  Most people at least know a few terms that are the basis for most recipes.  However, with cooking at home becoming more and more popular, it’s only a matter of time before there’s an instruction that might get you stumped.  To save you time and frustration, we’ve compiled a list of 10 useful cooking terms along with their definitions, where you’ll hear them and a recipe for each.  And just in case you’re missing the perfect tool we’ve thrown in some suggestions for great products from Central that will get you on the path to becoming a great chef! 

1)    Term: Al dente628-043

Definition: “To the tooth,” in Italian. Pasta
is cooked just to a firm and chewy texture.
(from goodcooking.com)
Where you might hear it: Italian
Tool: Pasta Cooker and
        Vegetable Steamer 
Recipe: Pasta Puttanesca
(from epicurious.com)


2)      Term: Bain-marie  (or double boiler)

          Definition: A bain-marie is a pan of water that is used to help
mixtures such as custards bake evenly and to protect them from the
direct heat of the oven or, in some cases, the stove.
(from newitalianrecipes.com)
Where you might hear it: Desserts (custard/cheesecake) or Sauces
Tool:  Bain Marie Pot 
Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake (from food.com)

 3)    Term: Blackened

        Definition: Method in which
seasoned foods are cooked over
high heat in a super-heated
heavy skillet until charred on the
outside.  (from
Where you might hear it:
Cajun cooking
Cast Iron Skillet
Blackened Salmon Filets
(from allrecipes.com) 


4)      Term: Blanch         

        Definition: To boil briefly to loosen the skin of a fruit or a vegetable.
After 30 seconds in boiling water, the fruit or vegetable should be
plunged into ice water to stop the cooking action and then the skin
easily slices or peels off.  (from
Where you might hear it: Vegetable/fruit dishes or cooking before
freezing a fruit/vegetable
Stock Pot 
Stuffed Peppers for Two (from allrecipes.com)   

5)      Term: Braise535-298

       Definition:  A cooking technique
that requires browning meat in oil
or other fat and then cooking slowly
in liquid. The effect of braising is to
tenderize the meat.
Where you might hear it:
When cooking tougher cuts of meat
Stout-braised short ribs
(from epicurious.com) 

  6)      Term: Caramelize

         Definition: Browning sugar over a flame with or without the addition
of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which
sugar caramelizes, approximately 320° to 360°.
Where you might heart it: Desserts (Crème Brule or meringue) or
preparing onions
Butane Torch
Lemon Meringue Parfait  (from kitchendaily.com) 


7)      Term: Confit

Definition: Slowly cook pieces
of meat in their own gently
rendered fat until very soft and
tender. With seasonings,
brandy/wine and sometimes
vegetables. Duck and pork are
two popular meats to be used in
confit. When cooked and cooled
the meat is keep submerged in
its cooking fat as a preservative
and as a seal against oxygen.
Where you might hear it: Preparing goose or duck
Roasting Pan  
Duck Confit (from epicurious.com)

8)      Term: Deglaze          

        Definition: To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been fried or
roasted, in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom
of the pan. (from
Where you might hear it: When sautéing or roasting
Saute Pan  
Chicken Saute with Mango Sauce (from kitchendaily.com) 

 9)      Term: Score

           Definition: To tenderize
meat by making a number of
shallow (often diagonal) cuts
across its surface. This
technique is also useful in
marinating, as it allows for
better absorption of the

Where you might hear it: Tenderizing or flavoring meat 
Paring Knife
 Recipe: London Broil (from allrecipes.com)  

 10)   Term: Sweat

        Definition: Cooking vegetables over low heat in a small amount of fat
to release their moisture, flavor and to have them look translucent.
Where you might hear it: Cooking aromatic vegetables (ex: onions,
celery, carrots) 
Non-stick fry pan  
Curried Parsnip Soup (from grouprecipes.com)

The gospel according to Tony

For my birthday, I got a copy of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and I’ve been laughing my way hysterically through each chapter.

If you aren’t familiar with Anthony Bourdain, in addition to being a well-known author, he’s also host of Travel Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure program, No Reservations.

But before all that, Bourdain graduated in 1978 from the Culinary Institute of America. He is currently a “Chef-at-Large” with a home base at the Brasserie Les Halles, where he was executive chef for many years.

I thought it would be fun to run down Bourdain’s list of the indispensible kitchen supplies he recommends for any serious chef.

And you’ll see, Bourdain has a delightfully dry wit to accompany his vast wealth of cooking knowledge.

Number one, he says, “you need, for God’s sake, a decent chef’s knife….This should cut just about anything you might work with, from a shallot to a watermelon.”

Use the tip of the knife for the small stuff, he advises, and the area nearer the heel for the larger.

Another useful item, Bourdain says, is flexible boning knife. You can fillet fish, and with the same knife, he says, you can butcher whole tenderloins, bone out legs of lamb, French cut racks of veal and trim meat. (But, he counters, if your butcher is doing all of this for you, you can probably live without one.)

A paring knife, Bourdain says, is to be used for “microsurgery:” turneeing vegetables, fluting mushrooms, etc.

The last knife Bourdain recommends is the offset serrated utility knife: “This is a truly cool item that, once used, becomes indispensable.” Bourdain says.

You can use it not only for your traditional serrated blade needs like slicing bread and thick skinned tomatoes, but also for the full line of vegetables, spuds, meats and even fish.

“Numero uno” in the kitchen, Bourdain says, is a plastic squeeze bottle.

Surprised? Bourdain says this inexpensive item is essential to that artful drizzle that dresses up a plate, and makes for a stunning presentation.

Next, the mandoline, because “you didn’t think they actually cut those with a knife did you?”

The mandoline is a vertically held slicer with various blade settings. Bourdain says, “it helps make those slick-looking, perfectly uniform julienned and batonnet-cut veggies.”

Last, Bourdain emphasizes the importance of a premium set of pots and pans, adding that most pans sold for home use are dangerously flimsy.

“A proper saute pan should can serious head injury if brought down hard against someone’s skull,” Bourdain says. A thick-bottomed pan will prevent scorched sauces, carbonized chicken, pasta that sticks to the bottom of the pot and burnt bread crumbs.

Last, Bourdain says, “a a nonstick saute’ pan is a thing of beauty.” Treat it nice, he advises: “never wash it – simply wipe it clean after each use and don’t use metal in it – use a wooden spoon or ceramic or nonmetallic spatula to flip or toss whatever you’re cooking in it.”

Any professional chef will have his own preference of style and brand – so don’t take Anthony’s word for it: shop around and figure out what works best for you.