Video: Here’s How to Peel and Mince Garlic Super Speedily

Blue Apron is now on video! Every Thursday, we’re posting a new video on our YouTube channel and over here on the blog.

To start, we’re embarking on a quest to help you cut down prep time in the kitchen by finessing your knife skills and making short work of onions, lemon wedges, and  potatoes.

Today we’re moving onto garlic, one of our most prized flavor contributors and an ingredient that shows up in the majority of our meals. To cook garlic evenly, you’ll want to peel and mince it evenly. Speedy peeling and mincing saves both time and frustration and helps you get dinner on the table in no time at all. Watch below for how to make garlic magic happen.

You’ll need to peel and mince garlic for our Marjoram-Garlic Chicken with Panzanella, our Tilapia with Shallot-Tarragon Butter, and Filipino Vegetable StewWatch the video again and again, until you’ve mastered the motions of our Chef Matthew Wadiak and can peel and mince your garlic in seconds. Ready, set, go!

Here’s How to Small Dice a Carrot Really Fast

Blue Apron, now on video. Welcome to our channel! Every Thursday, we’ll be posting a new video on our YouTube channel and over here on the blog.

To start, we’re embarking on a quest to help you cut down prep time in the kitchen by finessing your knife skills.

Today: how to chop a carrot into a small dice in no time at all. Coming soon: medium and large dices!

You’ll use the small dice technique when you cut carrots for arroz con pollo, peppers for paella, and beets for golden borscht. Watch the video again and again, until you’ve mastered the motions of our Chef Matthew Wadiak and can small dice your two carrots in under a minute. Ready, set, go!

And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel here.

Here’s How to Chop an Onion Really Fast

Blue Apron, now on video. Welcome to our channel! Every Thursday, we’ll be posting a new video on our YouTube channel and over here on the blog.

To start, we’re embarking on a quest to help you cut down prep time in the kitchen by finessing your knife skills.

Today: how to chop an onion in no time at all.

You’ll need to chop onions for almost all of our meals, for chicken stew, curry, and string beans with cabbage. Watch the video again and again, until you’ve mastered the motions of our Chef Matthew Wadiak and can chop your onion in under a minute. Ready, set, go!

Here’s How: Make Dinner in One Pot

HERE’S HOW is a series where we share the best useful tips from our cooking adventures. We’ll answer questions before you have them and illuminate food mysteries with a blend of science and legend.

Making your whole supper in one pot can lead to extreme feelings of accomplishment. Not only can you brag, “I made that!” you’ll be able to say, “I made that all in one pot.” The after-dinner realization that you have only one dirty vessel to scour will also enhance the deliciousness of the meal you devoured.

Cooking in one pot has another perk as well. With each ingredient that you sauté, sear, or braise, you build up–and keep–tons of flavor. Rather than washing away the little brown bits that accumulate in the bottom of a pan as you brown chicken or onions, you incorporate those bits–known as sucs–into the finished product. And, did we mention you only have one pot to clean?

Next week’s Arroz Con Pollo is a prime example of the type of incredible flavor that results from mastering the one-pot format. Here’s how.

The Order

The very first ingredient should usually be the meat, chicken, or other protein. The idea here is that searing the chicken keeps the flavor of the meat inside while everything else cooks. Plus, the little bits of browning chicken that get stuck to the pan are the first step in building up the flavor.

After that, add ingredients by what cooks the longest. We actually remove the chicken to make space for the next bunch of ingredients, usually flavor-enhancing vegetables like onion, garlic, celery, or carrots. After that, it’s best to throw in any seasonings like spices or tomato paste or salt, then any grain being used with the liquid you’ll use to cook it. Finally, the protein goes back in and we pop a lid on it and cook everything until it’s done.

The Timing


In a one-pot meals, dinner is only as fast as its slowest ingredient. That timing establishes a baseline for when dinner will be done. Any tender but fast-cooking ingredients that should not be overcooked have to be stirred in towards the end. In the case of Arroz Con Pollo, the rice is the ingredient that takes the longest to cook through. But most of the vegetables here–carrots and onions–don’t suffer from being cooked for a while. Likewise, chicken thighs have moist meat that won’t dry out.

On the other hand, the peas, olives, and oregano are more delicate. We wait until only 5 minutes before the dish is done to throw them in. That way, they retain their flavor, freshness, and texture.

Serving Ideas

Many one-pot meals look best right when they’re finished cooking. This means you don’t have to worry about arranging your casserole, stew, or hash in a serving platter, meaning this isn’t “one pot, one serving dish,” but really just one pot. You can set the pot right on the table for a rustic presentation (put it on a trivet or potholder so you don’t leave a burn mark). Garnish with some fresh torn herbs. Then dole our portions into your plates or bowls from there. Enjoy every bite knowing how few dishes await.

Got questions about any of the techniques in our recipes? Leave a comment or shoot us a tweet and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming post.

The Whole Spice Dilemma

Spices have launched empires and triggered wars. They have done this while flavoring dishes from souvlaki to tagine. They have done this because they flavor dishes like souvlaki and tagine so well. And Chicken & Apricot Coconut Curry with Basmati Rice – that’s what the ingredients above are going to go into.

A good pinch of curry, Spanish paprika, cumin, or ras al hanout separates a mundane dish from an extraordinary one. That dash of spice allows cooks to cut down on salt and fat, other prime drivers of flavor.

If you read much into the spice literature, you’ll find that many chefs claim not to use pre-ground spices when they cook up the delectable dishes served to you in restaurants. Here’s what they do instead: toast spices in a pan then grind them in a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder.

That takes time and energy. It creates a mess.

We believe in flavor, but not at the cost of tons of extra gear to wash and store.

If you read further into the spice literature, you’ll hear recommendations of a plan b. If you can’t grind your own spices, you’ll hear, you should replenish your spices every few months. That practice seems wasteful. It’s hard to toss a half full jar of ground coriander, even if you know it doesn’t taste that great.

Here’s what happens to spices as they sit in jars in your spice rack: they lose their flavor. If you buy curry powder for one recipe in March and then try to make chicken curry again in October, you’ll find yourself pouring in the salt in an attempt to regain lost flavor. That’s a sad situation.

We remedy this. We make the mess on our end. We seek out spices and have them freshly ground for you, then mixed up in customized spice mixtures you’d have to purchase six jars of spice to recreate. This is what we do for chicken curry, and one of the reasons our chicken curry and souvlaki and tagine are so good. Not to brag, you know, But we’ve got a spice solution.

Here’s How: Crisp with Confidence

HERE’S HOW is a series where we share the best useful tips from our cooking adventures. We’ll answer questions before you have them and illuminate food mysteries with a blend of science and legend.

In next week’s box, we garnish flank steak with deliciously frizzled shallots. Take one minute to think about the best onion rings you’ve ever eaten, and you’ll understand why we decided that crispy shallots ought to rest atop the meat in this meal.

Still, we know pans of hot oil can inspire terror in even experienced chefs, so we wanted to demystify just what goes on when you turn squash into tempura or shallot slices into, well, frizzled shallots. We’ll walk you through what oil to use, what temperature to keep your pan at, and how to prep your ingredients so they’re ready to get crispy.

The Oil

First, a word about oil. In our recipes, we almost always pour olive oil and suggest that you do too. For drizzling on salads, high-quality olive oil is an unbeatable condiment. For sautéing anything from vegetables to chicken to shrimp, olive oil works well too. If you’re going to have only one bottle of oil in your pantry, olive should be it.

That said, when you’re heating up more than a super thin film of oil and you plan to render chicken or goat cheese crispy and delicious, we suggest you use a more neutral oil, one that can really stand up to high heat. (Different oils have different levels at which they start to smoke.) We suggest vegetable oil and its cousins: safflower oil, peanut oil, and canola oil. These are all virtually tasteless and can stand up to the high heat you’ll need to make food crispy.

The Temperature

When using oil to cook, you want to get that oil sufficiently hot that it cooks the interior of what you’re making at the same time as it crisps up the outside. We don’t use a food thermometer to test our oil (if you have one, you’ll usually want the oil to be about 325°F).

Even without a thermometer, there are tricks to be sure your oil ready. First, you’ll want to set your pan over high heat and leave it there for a minute or two before beginning to cook. This gives the pan a head start so that when you add in the oil, it’ll take less time to heat. Once the oil is hot, you’ll start seeing shimmery lines move around in your pan. Then, according to Food52, if you stick a wooden spoon right into the oil, little bubbles will form around the spoon. Never let the oil smoke–that means you’re way too hot. Turn off the stove and step away.

When the oil is ready, gently submerge whatever it is that you’re cooking. If you throw in your food, the oil may splatter.

The Coating

In order to help a crust form when cooking, we like to coat our ingredients in a starch or a batter. The coating also helps keep the food inside from becoming greasy, acting as a barrier between the high-fat oil and the inside ingredient, which actually does not absorb very much of the oil’s fat.

This coating can take a few different forms. For our crispy chicken and our goat cheese rounds, we use a classic three-step method. First, the ingredient is coated in flour. Next, it gets bathed in milk or buttermilk–the dry flour provides a surface for the liquid to stick on. Last, we place the ingredient in a plate of panko breadcrumbs, turning to get them on all sides. The crumbs stick effortlessly to the flour-milk coating below it, which acts as an adhesive. On the other hand, for both our shallots and our acorn tempura, we use a Japanese ingredient–rice flour–to keep the coating light and brittle.

Got questions about any of the techniques in our recipes? Leave a comment or shoot us a tweet and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming post.

Here’s How: Cook Your Grains Like Pasta

HERE’S HOW is a series where we share the best useful tips from our cooking adventures. We’ll answer questions before you have them and illuminate food mysteries with a blend of science and legend.

“Bring a big pot of water to boil.”

If you’ve ever cooked pasta, you know that phrase. A stockpot full of water set over high heat means dinnertime is approaching, and fast.

We love spaghetti, linguine, and egg noodles with great fervor, but we love variety too. Enter: grains, from freekah to millet, which find a frequent place in our dinners.

Yet even when we give pasta a break, we often like to use the “pasta method” to cook rice and other grains. Just as we’d throw our penne into boiling water, we add grains to the pot, then drain them in a fine mesh strainer after they’re cooked. There’s no need to measure the water when you do it this way, and you don’t have to monitor the pot so closely. In other words, it’s harder to mess up.

We love this method because it’s a more streamlined process, and in the case of the Quinoa with Baby Squashes, Basil, and French Feta Cheese, makes sure the quinoa holds its shape and texture better than when it slowly simmers, absorbs a pre-measured amount of water. In fact, the pasta method is how quinoa is cooked in its native Peru.

Here’s the rundown: boil several quarts of water in a pot with a lid, as if you were making pasta. Add a few pinches of salt and the grains you want to cook. Start checking the grains for doneness about 2 minutes before the package directions say they’ll be done; when grains are cooked to your liking, drain them in a metal mesh strainer. (Don’t use plastic or the hot water will melt it.)

Now you’re ready to eat or use them in your final dish.

Got questions about any of the techniques in our recipes? Leave a comment or shoot us a tweet and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming post.

**Follow the Blue Apron Blog with Bloglovin**

Here’s How: Slice Meat Against the Grain

Here’s How is a series where we share the best useful tips from our cooking adventures. We’ll answer questions before you have them and illuminate food mysteries with a blend of science and legend.

In this week’s Roast Beef with Horseradish Sour Cream & Heirloom Carrots, we bake up an eye-round beef roast and slice it thinly to serve with a salad, handsome heirloom carrots, and spicy horseradish cream. The flavorful slices will be tender, not because we cooked the meat forever (it’s only in the oven for 30 minutes) or because it’s a fatty cut (in fact, it’s pretty lean).

Nope, it’s because we slice against the grain.

Here’s how slicing against the grain works:

If you look closely at the meat when it comes out of the oven, you’ll see little lines running across it. In this case, they are perpendicular to the string tied around the beef. That’s the grain we’re talking about. Hold your knife crosswise to the grain and cut thin slices of meat

Here’s why cutting across the grain makes meat tender, according to our chef Matthew Wadiak:

Meat is a muscle. For a tougher piece of meat especially, that muscle is long and stringy. You don’t want a long and stringy bite of meat. So when you cut against the grain of the muscle, you get hundreds of tiny fibers–instead of one long one. That makes the meat melt in your mouth.

Next time you cook a flank, hanger, or skirt steak, check out the grain in the meat before you sear it. The grain won’t always be as obvious as on our roast beef, but if you look carefully you’ll find it. And earn more tender meat in the process.

Check out a few more of our favorite steak recipes:

Got questions about any of the techniques in our recipes? Leave a comment or shoot us a tweet and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming post.