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  1. 1Always use the best knife for the job, and always make sure it’s properly sharpened. The basic tools needed for every kitchen include a paring knife, used to peel and for small cutting tasks. Vegetable peelers are also handy. A standard chef knife, for slicing and dicing, and a serrated-edge knife -- also known as a bread knife -- great for slicing tomatoes, are also good to have.
  2. 2The next step is to stabilize your cutting board with a damp paper towel, dish towel, or shelf liner. Then secure the vegetable by slicing a flat edge so that it sits firmly on the cutting board.
  3. 3Protect your fingertips by folding them under the hand that is holding the food in place, and then use your upper knuckles to guide the side of the knife as it moves up and down to make the cut. It’s awkward at first, but you’ll make progress. 
  4. 4Many recipes call for a dice cut. Dicing creates a cube shape that is great for even cooking. To create large dice, best for braising or stewing, slice about 3/4 inch apart, then turn and repeat. Medium dice, best for roasting or broiling, are 1/2 inch, while small die are ¼ inch and best for sautéing and soups. A tiny dice, called Brunoise, is only 1/8 inch thick and is best for garnishing.
  5. 5Mincing creates a very fine texture, often used for garlic and aromatic herbs. Start by making slices as thin as possible, then give a quarter turn and slice again. Don’t just start chopping away -- you’ll be sending all of that flavor to your chopping board instead of into your recipe!
  6. 6Three types of matchstick cuts add visual interest to a dish. Start with a 2 1/2-inch stick, and then cut into various thicknesses. A Batonnet cut, best for roasting root vegetables, is 1/2-inch wide. Alumette, at a 1/4-inch wide, is best for faster cooking methods like steaming or sauteing. Julienne, at a 1/8 inch, is the most common and is often used for carrots, celery, peppers, and onions.
  7. 7Chiffonade is great for any flat leaf herb or lettuce green, like basil or spinach, that you’re going to eat fresh. Start by placing the leaves together so they are flat. Then on a cutting board begin rolling them up from top to bottom. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice strips. They’ll come off in bundles that you can leave as is or separate with your fingertips.
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