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May 30, 2007 02:34 PM

Short-hand measurements

Like a satisfied cook I rarely measure my ingredients. So for example, a tablespoon of olive oil is one revolution in the pan, or a tablespoon of garlic is like one large clove or two medium sized cloves. A cup of finely chopped onion is about 1/2 of a regular sized white or yellow onion and two cups is a whole onion.

What are your basic shorthand measurements?

Am I correct to think that a cup of chopped onion is only a 1/2? Or am I way off? Someone out there in chowland give me some help. Grazie mille!

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  1. If a cup of onion does half an onion's worth of duty for you, then stick with it, though of course there's always the obvious solution of chopping half an onion and putting it into a measuring cup...

    Two-finger pinch of kosher salt for one scrambled egg, three-finger for two, fat three-finger for three. With the shaker, seven times seven shakes for a small pot of grits, eleven times seven for a two-cup batch of rice. Most of my offhand measurements are in sevens, a thing having to do with some lingering obsessions of childhood, but as it all seems to work for me I don't let it bother me, and it's an easy way to keep track. The hard part comes when I have to write a recipe down, or rather deconstruct a dish I do into a recipe. That's when I find myself putting the chopped onion into the measuring cup.