basics

how to cut leeks

Like most other plants in the onion family, a good portion of the leek plant grows underground in sandy soil  This means that you'll usually encounter a lot of dirt when you cut into leeks.  But a little dirt never hurt anyone!

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Cut the leek in half lengthwise

Turn it 90 degrees and cut horizontally, moving toward the root

After cutting to the desired size, fill a bowl with cold water and dump the leeks in, let it sit for a minute or two.

Take the leeks out with a slotted spoon, or with your hands.  Don't drain the water with the leeks still in the bowl because all of the gross dirt settled at the bottom will just pour over the leeks.  Dry them with paper towel and use in your fave recipe!

how to dice a shallot

Ever confused a shallot for a red onion?  I have.  I thought they were the same thing for a while. Shallots are the onion's milder, slightly peppery cousin.  Its flavor doesn't punch you in the face, it subtly mingles with the flavors of whatever you add it to.  

Anyway, this wasn't supposed to be an ode to the perfectly understated flavor of the shallot, it's a guide to dicing a shallot.  Shall we begin?

chop the shallot in half lengthwise, through the root

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chop off the end opposite the root, this is usually the thinner, pointier end

after you take a second to marvel at my ability to do this with one hand, peel off the outer skin 

cut thin vertical strips, close to the root, but not through the root

cut horizontally

you did it!  now throw these into something delicious!