Sponsored Post: Complete Knife Skills with Craftsy

pickled carrot set-up

Friends! Welcome to my first-ever sponsored post. I’ve teamed up with Craftsy for a year-long series. See more about our partnership at the end of the post! Enjoy!

I am a self-taught home cook. I’ve never been to culinary school and I haven’t taken a cooking class since I was seven years old and my mom enrolled me in a “Kids in the Kitchen” series at our local community center. When I was young, I learned by watching my mom, my grandma Bunny, and my great-aunt Doris.

trimming and slicing carrots

During college, I picked up a few tricks from my roommates and discovered a lot through trial and error. And when I was in my early twenties, the Food Network was my guide (people may knock Rachael Ray, but I learned a lot from her in 2002).

I’ve done pretty darn well in this vein, but there’s always been one area where I knew I could do better. Knife skills. For years, I meant to take a class on the subject, but first the budget was too tight and then in later years, I couldn’t find the time.

red pepper

So, when Craftsy asked me to try out their free Complete Knife Skills course, I was a very willing pupil. Taught by Chef Brendan McDermott, the course consists of four components and takes just over an hour and 45 minutes to complete.

Chef McDermott starts out with an introduction to the necessary knives, moves into the four basic cuts, offers an array of tricks and short cuts, and finally gives you the details necessary to maintain your knives.

all ingredients prepped

You’ll also learn fun tidbits, like how to sharpen a knife using the bottom of a ceramic mug, how to quickly open a bottle of beer with a chef knife (!), and even how to split a handful of grape tomatoes with a single knife stroke.

I was particularly impressed by how easy he made it look to cut a carrot into gorgeous julienned strips. I’ve long struggled to create uniform matchsticks and so always opt to use a mandoline slicer when prepping a cut like that. However, inspired by his example, I decided to make thin-cut carrots and red peppers for a refrigerator pickle, sliced up with nothing more than my mighty chef knife.

zest confetti

Here’s how to do it. First, prepare the brine. Mix one cup apple cider vinegar with one cup fresh water, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Heat until the salt and sugar dissolves.

Grab two hefty carrots that weigh about a pound in combination. Trim the ends and cut the carrots in equal lengths. Trim away the sides of the carrots so that you end up with a neat orange rectangle. Carefully cut the carrots into slim planks. Stack two or three of the planks and cut them into matchsticks.

building pickles

Set the carrots aside and prep one red pepper by slicing off the ends. Cut the pepper into two equal halves and trim away the interior pith and seeds (Chef McDermott demonstrations this beautifully in Short Cuts component). Thinly slice the red pepper so that they roughly match the size and shape of the carrots.

Take a small lime and trim off both ends. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice away three or four strips of zest. Switch back to a chef knife and mince those strips into confetti.

cilantro

Using a clean, wide mouth quart jar, begin to build your pickles. Place 1/2 teaspoon each black peppercorn and crushed red chili flakes in the bottom of the jar. Add two garlic cloves (crushed or sliced, depending on your preference) and the lime zest confetti. Add a layer of fresh cilantro leaves and stems (about half a cup packed).

Then, gather up a handful of your carrot and red pepper matchsticks and place them in the jar. I like seeing them upright, but you can pack them in any way you’d like.

pouring brine

Once all the carrots and peppers are in the jar, carefully pour the warm brine over the vegetables. It should be enough liquid to fully cover the veg, but since this is a refrigerator pickle, it will be okay if there’s a bit uncovered. The carrots and peppers will act like straws and sip up the brine even if they’re not entirely covered.

Place a lid on the jar and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before eating.

finished pickles

Note: For a spicier pickle, consider adding some fresh jalapeño pepper rings. I actually intended to do this, but managed to leave my jalapeño at the grocery store (truly, I know I put one in my basket, but it just didn’t make it home with me).

Sign up for Craftsy’s free Complete Knife Skills class to learn how to make these great cuts for your own batch of refrigerator pickles.

Sponsored content like this is virgin territory for me. I’ve not done anything like this up until now because I’ve never felt like the opportunities presented were the right fit. However, I’m working with Craftsy because I feel like their mission aligns with the things I try to do here. Over the next year, I’m going to be working with Craftsy on a series of sponsored content pieces and I’m excited to see where this partnership goes. I hope you enjoy the ride along with me!

Official disclosure statement: This is sponsored post from Craftsy. I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions remain my own.

Carrot and Red Pepper Refrigerator Pickles

Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and warm until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. Trim the ends and cut the carrots in equal lengths. Trim away the sides of the carrots so that you end up with a neat orange rectangle. Carefully cut the carrots into slim planks. Stack two or three of the planks and cut them into matchsticks. Repeat until all your carrots are reduced to matchsticks.
  3. Set the carrots aside and prep one red pepper by slicing off the ends. Cut the pepper into two equal halves and trim away the interior pith and seeds. Thinly slice the red pepper so that they roughly match the size and shape of the carrots.
  4. Take a small lime and trim off both ends. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice away three or four strips of zest. Switch back to a chef knife and mince those strips into confetti.
  5. Take a clean, wide mouth pint jar and place 1/2 teaspoon each black peppercorn and crushed red chili flakes in the bottom. Add two garlic cloves and the lime zest confetti. Add the cilantro leaves and stems.
  6. Pack the carrot and red pepper matchsticks into the jar.
  7. Once all the carrots and peppers are in the jar, pour the warm brine over the vegetables.
  8. Place a lid on the jar and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before eating.
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12 Responses to Sponsored Post: Complete Knife Skills with Craftsy

  1. 1
    Lisa R. says:

    I love seeing quantities that I’d have as “leftovers” being turned into something that will offer some variation and extend shelf life! Thanks!

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    Go, Marisa! You’re one of the few people from whom I have no trouble reading sponsored content: I know you wouldn’t compromise your brand for the sake of promotion, so I take it as a chance to learn about something new and cool. Also, my knife skills suck and I’m totally in to doing this! Thanks for the introduction to Craftsy!

  3. 3
    Barbara says:

    Ever since I got my top-of-the-line knives which I won’t let anyone touch, I have loved chopping, slicing, mincing, julienning (is that a word), and even peeling. Making a mound of mirepois is fulfilling, then storing it for a meal or two yet to be made. I no longer shred my fingers except on that darned new mandolin I recently bought, and am now scared to death to use again. I’m going to take that free course and I know my Hubs would go nutso for that carrot and red pepper pickle combo, so I’ll try a small amount. He should have much sodium, but can just a tiny sliver of carrot really hurt that much? I’m fortunate in that I don’t have that restriction, so I’ll munch many more of them. It’s beautiful to see, sitting on the shelf, and just like all cooking endeavors, balm to my soul.

  4. 4
    Terri D says:

    Best wishes on your new partnership. I am new to your site but I just love the ease of how you explain things and those beautiful photos show us how the project should look like. Thanks for all you do!

  5. 5
    Lynn says:

    Marisa- love your recipes, love your newsletter, love your photos. I am an experienced cook, but was excited to see the Knife Skills class on Craftsy. Old dogs can learn new tricks! Thanks!

  6. 6
    Gail says:

    I made the carrot red pepper pickles last night. I usually prefer cooked carrots so I was hoping this might be a way for me to eat more raw carrots. Just had a first taste tonight…fabulous! I love the lime cilantro flavor. I made these in one of the new Ball green quart jars. The green tint is very subtle; the pickles are gorgeous. I can’t wait to use these green jars for more refrigerator pickles and layered salads. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. 7
    Becca says:

    I’m not sure how I have managed to live my life for this long without knowing about Craftsy! So THANK YOU, and see, sponsored posts work!

  8. 8

    […] few weeks back, I wrote a post about Craftsy’s free Complete Knife Skills class and all the useful things I’d learned from it (along with a recipe for carrot and red pepper […]

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    […] For more about this series of sponsored posts and my year-long partnership with Craftsy, please visit this post. […]

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