Add Sugar Gradually
Sugar is often beaten with egg whites, a tablespoon at a time, when making meringues and some cakes. This helps to stabilize the egg white foam. Since sugar can actually slow or prevent the foaming or the whites, it must be slowly added so the final volume is not diminished.
Add Cream of Tartar
Beaten egg whites are easily deflated if not stabilized. Adding cream of tartar (or lemon juice) helps to stabilize beaten whites.
Always taste food, before you add more salt, freshly ground black peppercorns, herbs or spices. Remember, you can add, however you can't remove too much seasoning.
Aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is a delicious accompaniment to cold or hot grilled vegetables, steamed or boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes, and grilled or baked fish and shellfish.
À la mode
Topped with ice cream.
À la Nage
Cooking à la nage means poaching food, usually seafood, in a court bouillon and serving the court bouillon and the vegetables around the food as part the garniture. When making a court bouillon to use for cooking à la nage, cut the vegetables in a decorative manner, such as julienne.
A synonym for egg white.
All-purpose Flour/Hard Wheat and Soft Wheat
All-purpose flour is usually a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. Flour should not be used directly from the bag and should be "fluffed up" by stirring it with a knife just before measuring. The hardness of a wheat kernel is an indication of the protein content. Hard wheat has less starch and is preferred for bread making. Duram wheat is the hardest wheat and is milled to form semolina which is then used to make pasta. Soft wheat has a high starch content and is made into cake flour. Soft wheat flour is powdery when compared to the coarser hard wheat flour. All-purpose flour is in-between and is therefore more versatile for general baking needs. For baking in this cookbook I recommend using either King ArthurÒ all-purpose, which is made from hard wheat and is well suited to recipes for breads and baked goods and gives chocolate chip cookies a crisp finish with a chewy texture, or Gold MedalÒ all-purpose flour which is better suited to cookies and cakes where all-purpose flour is recommended. While you can use these flours interchangeably, you will notice that in some recipes less flour is needed when using a hard wheat flour. This is more important in bread making. Experience will tell you if there is too much or too little flour. If you have a problem with the flour you are using, switch to King ArthurÒ or Gold MedalÒ unbleached flours, which also have a better taste than bleached flours.
A versatile product used to stabilize egg whites. I use it in buttercream icing to prevent the butter from separating out. Use a 1/4 teaspoon in meringue toppings for pies or 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of whipping cream before whipping. You will find many uses for this white powdery product.
A creamy mixture of ground blanched almonds mixed with sugar.
An Italian expression applied in all western kitchens to pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.” Fresh pasta can never by cooked al dente as it is too soft. The expression is also applied to vegetables that have been cooked crisp by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying.
Angel Food Cake Pan
This is a pan with high sides and a center tube which promotes the even distribution of heat through the air-leavened batter. These pans are also known as tube pans.
An Italian selection of appetizers including: olives, pickles, peppers, vegetables and cold meats.
Bite-sized food served before a meal. Hors d'oeuvre is a more specific word for finger foods or "extra" food. They originated as small foods to stimulate the appetite.
Risotto recipes The name given to some of the best short-grained rices grown in the Po Valley of Italy, and used to prepare risotto.
Plant ingredients, such as herbs and spices, used to enhance the flavor and fragrance of food.
A fine starch extracted from the rhizomes of plants of the genus Maranta.
A clear jelly made from stock or occasionally from fruit or vegetable juices.
Topped with crumbs or cheese and a sauce which is then browned in the oven, e.g., cauliflower au gratin.
To cook a meat in its own natural juices. Can also be made with water, beef base and seasoning.
Beverage served with milk, e.g., coffee au lait.
B. Cooking Termst
This is dried codfish, either salted or sundried.
Bacteria causes food-borne illness and is present in many foods. Handling foods properly will greatly reduce the risk of illness.
A bain-marie is a pan of water that is used to help mixtures such as custards bake evenly and to protect them from the direct heat of the oven or, in some cases, the stove.
To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usually implies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.
This is a wooden or flat metal shovel used to slide yeast breads and pizzas into the oven and retrieve them when cooked.
Bakewell Cream Baking Powder
An aluminum-free baking powder carried by King Arthur Flour. It contains sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate and cornstarch. It was developed in 1943 in Maine.
A glass or ceramic dish used for cooking in the oven.
A metal dish used for cooking in the oven.
This is the main leavening agent used for making baked goods. Double-acting baking powder is used in all the recipes in this book and is unique as it releases a small amount of gas when it comes in contact with moisture. It does however require heat for a full reaction and to cause the cake, biscuits or muffins to rise.
Baking Soda/Sodium Bicarbonate
An alkali produces carbon dioxide when mixed with an acid and therefore rising will occur. Most recipes which use baking soda will also contain an acid ingredient such as buttermilk or molasses. Baking soda can also be used to extinguish grease fires, clean pots, deodorize refrigerators, scrub crystal flower vases, freshen drains and clean disposal units. America is the main source for baking soda which is formed from a peculiar mixed salt mined in the form of an ore called trona from the Green River Basin in Wyoming. Trona is a natural white mineral which is converted to sodium carbonate, then to sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.
To produce bakery-style breads or restaurant-style pizza, a baking stone is essential. The stone not only absorbs moisture from the crust, it also helps distribute the heat evenly. The stones will crack if exposed to sudden changes in temperature. It is best to leave them in the oven until they have cooled completely. They may be rinsed with water but never cleaned with soap and water, as the porous material will absorb the soapy taste.
This distinctive vinegar comes from the area around Modena, Italy. It is made from white Trebbiano grape juice. After being aged in wooden barrels for at least 10 years, it is then bottled. It is the perfect acidity and may be used in salad dressings.
These are the young shoots of the tropical bamboo plant in Asia. When very young they are crisp and the perfect addition to any stir-fry meal or a healthy addition to a sandwich.
A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade, or sauce is brushed on the item before or during cooking.
Chicken or beef base is a paste stock. It may be ordered from www.gazins.com. Similar to bouillon granules, it is much more flavorful and less salty. Base is superior to canned stocks and is essential to gourmet soups and sauces.
The name of the most deliciously flavored long-grain rice from India.
To moisten food during cooking with pan drippings, sauce, or other liquid. Basting prevents foods from drying out.
A large kitchen syringe used to baste meats with their own gravy, another liquid, or melted fat.
A mixture of flour and liquid with the addition of flour, eggs, and sometimes fat, used to prepare cakes, muffins, pancakes, crepes, and quick breads. Also applies to frying batters.
A combination of chopped raw vegetables for sautéing – typically carrots, celery, onion and/or garlic, and parsley—that is the foundation of many Italian sauces and other dishes.
A type of custard made by folding together whipped cream and a flavorful liquid mixture, usually a crème anglaise flavored with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or a fruit puree.
A warm, emulsified egg and butter sauce similar to hollandaise, but with the addition of white wine, shallots, and tarragon.
To agitate a mixture with the goal of making it smooth and introducing as much air as possible into it.
Beat Yolks Until Thick and Lemon-Coloured
Beat yolks with a mixer for few minutes until they become a pastel yellow colour and fall in ribbons when the beater is lifted or they are dropped from a spoon.
Beat Whites Until Soft Peaks Form
Use an electric mixer or whisk to beat whites until rounded peaks form. The whites will droop when the beater or whisk is removed.
Beat Whites Until Stiff Peaks Form
Use an electric mixer or whisk to beat whites until upright, pointed peaks form when the beater or whisk is removed. The peaks should be moist and glossy-looking and should not flow from the beater when the bowl is tipped or inverted. If the whites are under beaten, the finished product will be heavier and less puffy than desired. If the whites are overbeaten, they may form clumps that are difficult to blend with other foods in the mixture and finished product may be dry.
A classic white sauce made with whole milk thickened with a white roux, and flavored with aromatic vegetables,
A rich butter sauce made by whisking butter into a reduction of white wine, white wine vinegar, and shallots, and sometimes finished with fresh herbs or other seasoning.
An equal weight of butter and all-purpose flour which has been blended together to be used in soups or gravies. Works as a thickening agent which will not cause lumps when added to hot liquids like gravies or soups.
To slice a vegetable crosswise at a 45 or higher angle. This technique is used in Chinese foods.
Italian cookie often hard in texture and lightly flavored with anise. Click here to go to the Biscotti Recipe area.
A soup based on purees of vegetables and/or crustaceans. It is classically thickened with rice and usually finished with cream.
A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.
To process ingredients in an electric blender or food processor or to mix ingredients of different textures into a smooth mixture. A blender is best used for puréed soups, sauces, drinks, and salad dressings. A food processor works better with less liquid ingredients and handles chopping, grating, shredding and makes pastry dough. It kneads bread dough much more quickly than by hand. Hand mixers work well when making batters, beating egg whites and cream and may have the option of a balloon whisk. Standing mixers have other options which include food grinding, dough hooks, a juicer, copper liners for bowls, pasta plates, shredders and mixing paddles. An egg beater is useful for blending small batches of eggs for scrambled eggs and operates with a handle and gears to spin the beaters.
Fresh Italian mozzarella balls sold in a water or brine solution. Available from delicatessens and supermarkets.
To cook in water or other liquid heated until bubbling vigorously. Few techniques cause as much confusion as boiling, simmering, and poaching. Boiling is, in fact, often a technique to be avoided. Most foods—meat and seafood, for example—are poached instead (cooked in liquid held just below the boil so it just shimmers slightly on the surface), because boiling turns them dry or stringy, and it can cause the liquid to become murky or greasy.
Some foods, however, are best cooked at a rolling boil. Rice and pasta cook more quickly and evenly in boiling water. Green vegetables are often cooked uncovered in a large amount of boiling salted water. The large quantity of water prevents the vegetables from lowering the temperature of the water, which would slow their cooking and cause them to lose their bright color. The salt also helps the vegetables retain their green color. As soon as the vegetables are done, immediately drain them in a colander and either plunge them into ice water or quickly rinse them under cold tap water until completely cool. This technique of immediately chilling the drained vegetables so they retain their flavor and color is called refreshing, or sometimes, shocking.
Mediterranean seafood soup.
French, for broth. Refers to the liquid resulting from simmering meats, vegetables, and aromatics in water until the meats have lost all their nutritional elements to the water and the broth can jell upon cooling.
A bundle of parsley stems, dried thyme, and a large bay leaf, tied together and left to float freely in broth, stock, or sauce.
To cook in a small amount of liquid (also called stewing or pot roasting). In contract to poaching, in which the food is completely submerged in simmering liquid, braised dishes use a relatively small amount of liquid. Usually, the purpose of braising is to concentrate the food’s flavors in the surrounding liquid so that it can be made into a sauce, or allowed to reduce so that it coats or is reabsorbed by the foods being braised.
The granular form of bouillon cubes made from dehydrated beef, chicken or vegetable stock. Substitute with beef base which may be ordered from Gazin's Cajun-Creole Cuisine catalog.
A bouquet of parsley, thyme and bay leaves tied with a string or placed in a cheesecloth bag which is removed before serving.
Meat which has been browned and cooked with a minimum amount of liquid for a long time. The lid should cover the pan tightly; this process will produce tender meat.
The outer layer of a cereal grain removed during milling.
To coat foods to be sautéed or deep-fried with flour or a breadcrumb mixture to create a crust.
To coat a piece of meat, fish or poultry with soft or dry bread crumbs.
A salt, water, and seasoning solution used to preserve foods.
The famous flour, egg, and yeast cake of northern France, which is now made in one form or another everywhere.
A cut of beef from the lower forequarter, best suited for long-cooking preparations like braising.
To cook with a direct heat source—usually a gas flame or an electric coil—above the food.
Broth and stock are interchangeable terms and mean a flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables, often with herbs, in liquid, usually water.
To fry food on medium high to high heat in order to develop a rich color on the outside and add flavor to the dish.
An amber liquid produced by simmering browned bones and meat with vegetables and aromatics.\
Garlic and Olive Oil topped toasted bread topped with chopped Tomatoes and Basil. Click here to go to the Antipasto Recipe area.
To use a pastry brush to apply a thin coating over food. Look for brushes which have bristles which won't fall out.
These deep tube pans are used to bake densely textured cakes. The sides are curvy and produce cakes with attractive patterns.
Butter, Table or Salted
Cream which is beaten until it becomes a solid and to which salt has been added. Also see unsalted butter. Regular table butter is the salted version. This regular table butter is used whenever butter is listed in the ingredients. Unsalted butter is only used when it is specifically called for. Butter may be used straight from the refrigerator as it is easy to soften in the microwave. Cold butter is often desired, especially in pastries.
A mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs or custard.
To cut and open out the edges of meat or seafood like a book or the wings of a butterfly.
A cultured dairy product produced by adding special bacteria to low-fat milk to make it thick and tangy. Originally buttermilk was the liquid left after butter was churned, it did once contain small flecks of butter.
C. Cooking Terms
Cabbage comes from the French word caboche, a colloquial term for head. The most common cabbage is the tight leafed compact head that ranges in color from white to red although there are many other types of cabbage varying in size in shape worth trying. Cabbage can be cooked or eaten raw as in cole slaw. When buying, look for heads that appear heavier than their size with crisp leaves. The cabbage family also includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
An Italian combination meat and vegetable dish (ie: Chicken Cacciatore) in which vegetables are cooked in a hearty sauce with meat.
There is no substitute for a homemade cake. A cake is made from a thin batter which is usually made from flour, eggs, butter, baking powder, sugar and other liquids and flavorings. Flour gives the cake its structure, butter or oils provide tenderness, sugar helps to tenderize and sweeten, eggs give leavening as does baking powder. Other liquids and flavorings give added dimension to our favorite celebratory treat. Some of the best cakes often contain melted chocolate which makes them even more moist and appealing.
Usually a round pan, preferably nonstick in a variety of sizes.
The 8 and 9-inch pans are the most common. Rectangular, square, springform, tube, fluted tube and Bundt pans are common versions of the cake pan.
Calculating Fat Percentages
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Multiply the grams of fat by 9 to give you the total calories from the fat. Divide this number by the total calories and multiply this number by 100 to = the % of total calories from fat.
A good example is a food containing 2.5 grams of fat (as stated on the package or according to the individual serving size). 2 multiplied by 9 and divided by the 40 calories stated on the package must be multiplied by 100 to give you 45% total calories from fat. This is above the recommended 30%. These calculations will help you to make better food choices.
Dry, apple-flavored brandy, which is named after a town in the Normandy region of France. Substitute apple cider, brandy, or sweet cooking wine.
Citrus peel or fruits are candied by boiling them in sugar syrup. Flowers are sometimes preserved by dipping in boiling syrup.
A large white Italian kidney bean that's great in soups and stews.
The market name for rapeseed. As the most popular oil in Canada, the name was changed to protect the innocent. Now popular in the US because it only contains about 6% of saturated fat. Also it contains more mono saturated fat than any oil other than olive oil as well as Omega-3 fatty acids... thought to help lower cholesterol. It doesn't have much of a taste and should be used for cooking (high smoking point) and salad dressings.
Sugar is caramelized when it is melted into a clear golden to dark brown syrup, reaching a temperature from 320 to 350 degrees F. To start, add some water to dry sugar in a pot, stirring, until it reaches the consistency of wet sand. The acid from added lemon juice will help prevent recrystallization.Instead of using lemon juice, you could add acidity with vinegar, cream of tartar or corn syrup. Always start with a very clean pan and utensils. Any dirt or debris can cause crystals to form around it. Heat the pan over a medium flame. As the sugar melts, you can wash down the sides of a pan with a wet brush, which also prevents crystallization by removing any dried drops of syrup that might start crystals. As the caramel heats, it colors in amber shades from light to deep brown.
The flavor of many foods, including vegetables, meats, and seafood, is often enhanced by a gentle browning that caramelizes natural sugars and other compounds and intensifies their flavor. Meats for stews, for example, are usually browned to caramelize juices that if not caramelized are much less flavorful. Chopped vegetables, especially aromatic ones such as carrots and onions, are often caramelized—sometimes with cubes of meat—in a small amount of fat before liquid is added to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and sauces.
Traditional pasta sauce consisting of garlic, eggs, and bacon served over pasta click here for carbonara recipe.
Thinly sliced whole beef tenderloin topped with a mustard - mayonnaise sauce.
A deep round, oval, square, or rectangular oven-proof cooking vessel with a lid.
Consists of partially cooked white beans blended with diverse meats, baked in a deep, round earthenware container.
A light, fine mesh gauze used for straining liquids.
The French word for goat and by extension the cheeses made from goat’s milk.
The fine ribbons obtained when several leafy vegetables or herbs are tightly rolled into a cigar shape and cut across into 1/16 –to 1/8-inch wide shreds.
Chili powder is made from ground dried chiles and spices. Fresh chiles are available seasonally, while dried chiles may be purchased and kept for use year-round. Find a chili powder you are happy with and use it in every recipe calling for chili powder. The heat is not specified as all tastes vary. Chili powder is mostly found in mild, medium and hot varieties. Ground cayenne is different from chili powder, although chili powder contains chiles. Look for chili powder for recipes calling for this mix and look for ground cayenne for use in other dishes. The two are not interchangeable.
To cool a food in the refrigerator or freezer.
Use leaves from unsprayed (no insecticide) lemons, oranges and roses. Rinse and dry leaves. Melt 1/4 cup chocolate with 1 teaspoon shortening in microwave, stir well. Use an artists paint brush to apply chocolate to underside of leaves. Place in refrigerator, or chill, then peel off carefully. Set on waxed paper.
Chinoise or China Cap
A very fine-meshed conical strainer used for straining refined sauces and coulis.
To cut into irregular pieces. Foods can be chopped from very fine (minced) to coarse.
A spicy Spanish sausage containing a mixture of pork, pepper, and chilies.
A thick soup that usually contains potatoes.
Cioppino Cioppino Recipe
A fish stew usually made with white wine and tomatoes.
Because butter contains milk solids which burn at relatively low temperatures, it can’t be used to sauté at the high temperatures required for browning most meats and seafood and some vegetables. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids in butter. You can purchase clarified butter called ghee at most larger grocery stores.
The clumping of protein by heat or acid, e.g., egg white coagulates when fried.
To cover the back of a spoon with a layer of a thickened sauce or stirred custard.
Cocoa beans – from the tropical Theobroma Cacao tree – are the basis for chocolate. The Crillo tree produces the best quality beans. The Forastero tree produces a more bitter bean. Deriving chocolate from beans of the cacao evergreen tree was originally only known to ancient Latin Americans, but the secret soon spread to Mexico. Seed pods, growing on the trunk and main branches are harvested and opened with sharp blades to reveal creamy white cacao beans which darken, then ferment under banana leaves for up to nine days as they lay in the sun.
After a 250 to 350 degree hour-long roasting process, the beans are dehulled leaving small pieces called nibs. Cocoa powder results from ground roasted beans which have the cocoa butter removed. After the cocoa butter is extracted, dry cakes of cocoa are ground and sifted to make fine cocoa powder. The Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten added alkali to neutralize the acidity of chocolate and mellow the flavor. This is how the darker Dutch-process cocoa was created. Black cocoa is slightly more bitter and is the darkest cocoa powder available.
It is best combined with a Dutch-process cocoa powder. When manufacturers make chocolate bars, the roasted beans are crushed with sugar and vanilla to make chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is refined to evaporate excess moisture and acidity, then it is ground so fine that the mouth no longer perceives the beans as individual particles. After heating and cooling, chocolate is poured into molds, cooled and wrapped to be sold as bittersweet, semisweet or unsweetened chocolate bars, depending on sugar content or lack of it.
Cocoa powder is naturally 97.75% caffeine-free. A 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder contains about .0002 ounces of caffeine. There is 10 times as much caffeine in a 6-ounce cup of coffee.
Eggs cooked in simmering water, in their shells or in ramekins, until set.
A perforated bowl made of metal or plastic that is used to strain foods.['
Coming from the Dutch term, koolsla, which means "cool cabbage", it's a salad made with shredded cabbage mixed with mayonnaise as well as a variety of other ingredients.
A dish of fruit cooked in syrup flavored with spices or liqueur.
Whole butter combined with herbs or other seasonings and used to sauce grilled or broiled meats or vegetables.
A fancy sweet or candy served anytime, e.g., fudge, chocolate- covered cherries, chocolate truffles and wedding mints.
Broth or stock that has been clarified by simmering it with beaten egg whites, which attract and trap the impurities clouding the broth.
As in corned beef or other meat; refers to a meat that has been salted and cured.
Tiny pickles mixed with onions and other aromatics and preserved in seasoned pure wine or cider vinegar.
A mixture—often a fruit puree—that has been strained of tiny seeds or pieces of peel so it is perfectly smooth.
Pellets of semolina (duram wheat/also called hard wheat) usually cooked by steaming.
A vegetable broth made by simmering onions (or leeks), carrots, celery, and sometimes, other vegetables, such as fennel, with a bouquet garni in water and, often, white wine or vinegar.
To stir a fat—usually butter—and sugar together rapidly until the mixture looks white, aerated, and somewhat like stiffly beaten whipped cream. Or, that part of milk, containing 32 to 42 percent of butterfat in emulsion, that rises to its surface after the milk cools to room temperature and stands for several hours.
Cream of Tartar
This is the deposit remaining on the inside of a wine cask after the fermentation process. It is refined to produce a white powder. Cream of tartar promotes the coagulation of beaten egg whites and will also stop crystallization in sugar syrups.
Custard sauce or vanilla sauce.
Custard topped with sugar and caramelized under the broiler before serving.
Heavy cream cultured to give it a thick consistency and a slightly tangy flavor. Substitute sour cream, if necessary.
Custard made with eggs, flour or other starches, milk, sugar, and flavorings, used to fill and garnish pastries or as the base for puddings, pies, soufflés, and creams.
A thin pancake made with egg batter.
Made from partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, Mono- and Diglycerides. Used to make very flaky pastry or melted to fry chicken.
Enclosed in a bread or pastry crust.
French for a mixture of sliced and shredded vegetables diversely dressed and served as a first course.
Crackers or cookies which have been placed in a plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin.
Use a mortar with pestle or use a garlic press for garlic.
When molecules in a sugar syrup join together, they form crystals. Corn syrup in pecan pie recipe prevents this process. The sugar particles are prevented from clumping together to form sugar crystals.
Food which has been cut into strips, then sliced into 1/2-inch squares.
Separating by over-heating or adding an acid to a milk- or cream-based sauce. Happens most in dishes with eggs. Can be prevented by cooking custards in a double boiler.
To treat with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar, originally for the purpose of preserving foods by protecting them from bacteria, molds, etc.
A mixture of spices that may include turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne or other chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, or garlic.
A liquid mixture that is combined with whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks, or a combination, and gently baked until set. Examples of custards are a quiche filling; a crème caramel and a crème brûlée.
To work butter into all-purpose flour using 2 knives or a pastry cutter.
Referred to as breadboards in some recipes. Buy a variety of sizes and at least one which is dishwasher safe to use with raw meat. Keep one board just for bread making and several small ones for quickly chopping an onion. A tiny cutting board is handy for slicing lemons.
Ingredients cut into smaller pieces with a knife or scissors.
D. Cooking Terms
About 1/16 teaspoon or less than 1/8 teaspoon.
A French cake comprised of three discs of almond meringue which are layered and covered with buttercream icing.
To cook completely submerged in hot oil. Deep-frying at the proper temperature, foods absorb little oil and are surprisingly light. But if the oil is too hot, foods will brown too quickly and stay raw in the middle. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the foods will sit in the oil too long and absorb too much oil. You can judge the oil by how certain foods behave. When the oil is too cool for frying, foods sink to the bottom and stay there. In somewhat hotter oil (but still not hot enough) foods sink to the bottom and then slowly rise to the top. The oil is at the proper temperature when the food doesn’t drop all the way to the bottom when it is added and then bobs back to the surface within a second or two. When the oil is too hot, foods immediately float, remaining on the surface, surrounded with bubbles. These are not necessarily hard and fast rules. French fries, for instance, require oil that’s hot enough to immediately surround the potatoes with bubbles.
To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been sautéed or roasted in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. The purpose of deglazing is to make a quick sauce or gravy for a roast, steak, chop, or a piece of seafood fillet or steak. To make a pan-deglazed sauce, first pour out any fat left in the pan, and make sure that the juices clinging to the bottom of the pan haven’t blackened and burned. Add a few tablespoons of flavorful liquid, such as wine, broth, or, in a pinch, water, to the pan. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the caramelized juices. You can use such a sauce as is, or you can turn it into something richer and more elaborate by adding reduced broth, swirling in a few pieces of butter, adding a little heavy cream, or thickening it with a vegetable puree, such as garlic or tomato, and then reducing the sauce to the consistency like. You can add nuance and flavor to the sauce by adding chopped herbs or ingredients such as green peppercorns.
To remove the fat that forms on the tops of simmering broths, sauces, jus, and braising liquids. There are a couple of reliable methods for degreasing broth. The first, which requires a little practice, is to use a ladle or spoon to skim around the edges of the simmering broth to catch and remove just the surface fat. An easier method is to chill the broth overnight in the refrigerator and then remove the fat that has congealed on the surface. You can also use a degreasing cup that is specially made for this task. You simply pour the juices into the cup and then pour them out, leaving the fat behind.
A mixture of equal parts of brown stock and brown sauce that has been reduced by half.
Sweet treats presented after a meal, e.g., cakes, tortes, ice cream, pudding, custard, etc.
The intestinal tract in shrimp should be removed. A small knife works just as well as a special utensil. The shrimp should then be rinsed.
To cut into cubes (unlike chopping, which cuts foods into irregular pieces).
Cholesterol is a fat-type substance found in all animal tissues. Egg yolks, organ meats, meat, poultry, fish and other seafood and dairy products contain dietary cholesterol. Choose the lowest fat content available and make low-fat choices such as beef-round, sirloin, rump steak, loin, poultry without skin, turkey or chicken breast, pork tenderloin, fat-free milk, low-fat buttermilk, low-fat evaporated milk, low-fat cheeses, fat-free yogurts, egg whites and fat-free egg substitutes. Limit your daily cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less.
To make a liquid less strong by adding more water or other specified liquid.
To immerse a piece of food into a liquid or dry mixture like bread crumbs.
To make a solid, such as sugar, melt into a liquid, such as water.
Piercing holes at intervals in a pastry dough to prevent air bubbles forming while cooking.
To drop a small portion of cream on a slice of pie, in a bowl of soup or on a serving of strawberries.
To scatter bits of butter over a pie before the top crust is in place. Can also mean to place an ingredient in a random fashion over the specified item.
A set of two special saucepans, one nested inside the other, to gently cook egg based sauces.
A mixture of flour, water and other ingredients which is firm enough to knead or to be shaped with the hands.
Shiny silver or gold balls made with sugar. This may also refer to almonds covered in a sugar coating.
A term used to describe fish or poultry which has had the internal organs removed. If the fish was dressed it would also have the scales removed.
To coat a food with flour, any finely crumbled ingredient, or, in pastry, with fine sugar.
The fat and meat particles remaining in a pan after meat has been roasted or fried.
To randomly pour icing in a thin stream over a cake or pastry.
To allow a soft cookie dough to fall from a spoon onto a baking sheet.
Peaches, apricots, and all plums are drupes, a juicy false fruit attached to a wooden pit in which an almond is enclosed.
A small lump of soft leavened and seasoned egg, milk, and flour dough, shaped with two spoons or piped out of a pastry bag fitted with a nozzle. Usually it is poached in simmering water, but can be steamed over a stew.
To sprinkle a fine powdery layer of confectioners' sugar over baked goods, or flour on a breadboard.
A cast-iron pot used for the preparation of stews, braises, and pot-roasts. Originally used by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1700s. The cast-iron pot was hung from a special hook over a fire and used for stews and slow-cooked meats. Today a nonstick Dutch oven is available through many companies.
A medium-fine shallot-scented mushroom hash.
E. Cooking Terms
The oblong French pastries filled with whipped cream or custard called pastry cream. Traditionally topped with melted chocolate.
Since many flowers are grown with pesticides, it is only safe to use flowers you grow yourself or purchase from a qualified supplier like Earthy Delights at 1-800-367-4709. I don't recommend eating flowers even if they are edible unless they are for a salad and then usually just the petals are used for color. Some nontoxic flowers for decorating include:
When you see eggs are to be separated, usually the whites go in a deep medium bowl to be beaten to soft or stiff peaks, the yolks go into a large or small bowl to be added to the batter or beaten with the sugar. In the event where only whites or yolks are called for, the leftover white or yolk may be frozen in an ice cube tray then placed in a bag for use later in another recipe. Simply thaw and use. Check the freshness of eggs by placing the whole egg in a glass of cold water. Fresh eggs will stay at the base of glass, older eggs will float or turn sideways and stand upright.
Eggs At Room Temperature
This is necessary only when eggs are to be combined with a fat and a sugar. Cold eggs could harden the fat in the recipe, causing the batter to curdle and affecting the texture of the finished product. To bring eggs to room temperature, remove them from the refrigerator about an hour before baking or put them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes while assembling other ingredients.
Eggs Beaten, Slightly
Beat with a fork or a whisk just until blended.
Eggs Beaten, Well
Beat with a whisk or electric mixer until light, frothy and evenly coloured.
A mixture of egg or egg white, oil, and water brushed over floured items, which are then deep-fried or pan-fried in clarified butter or oil.
These are agents that stabilize a fat and liquid mixture to prevent separation. Eggs act as the stabilizer/emulsifier in mayonnaise and keep oil from separating from vinegar or lemon juice.
An emulsion is a smooth mixture of two liquids, such as oil and water that normally do not mix. Mayonnaise, beurre blank, hollandaise, cream sauces, vinaigrettes, and béchamel sauce are examples of emulsions.
Also known as enokitake mushrooms. Thin, long-stemmed mushrooms with a mild flavor.
The main course in America, or the course between fish and meat in Europe.
Strong coffee made by forcing boiling water through ground coffee in an espresso maker. One fluid ounce of straight coffee liquid drawn from 7 grams of ground coffee. A double shot would be two ounces. Use beans which are recommended or use espresso beans which are specially blended and roasted to an almost black color.
Brown sauce made with brown stock, caramelized mirepoix and tomato puree, and seasonings.
A concentrated flavoring extracted from an item.
A strong flavor extracted from the leaves, stems or flowers of plants.
A cooking method similar to braising in which items are cooked with little or no added liquid in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Also, a Cajun stew.
Milk which has 60 percent of the water removed. This is not a substitute for sweetened condensed milk which is much thicker with more water removed and sugar added, e.g., Eagle Brand.
An aromatic concentrated natural oil suspended in alcohol, e.g., vanilla.
F. Cooking Terms
Dietary fat is divided into three different types of fat, namely saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The foods we eat contain percentages of these fats. A high-fat diet will contribute to obesity and heart disease. In order to stay healthy, limit your daily fat intake to 30% or less of the total calories. Up to one-third can be saturated fat and the remaining two-thirds should be from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Fenugreek seeds come from the pods of the fenugreek plant. They are legumes which are highly aromatic when dried and roasted. This is an essential component of curry powder.
¼-inch-wide ribbon noodles.
Ground sassafras leaves used to give the Southern gumbos their distinct flavor.
A piece of boneless meat or fish.
Chocolate varies in taste and texture, not to mention intensity. Valrhona chocolates (Manjari, item "Valmanj" from New York Cake & Baking Distributor) are one of the most aggressive chocolates with an almost winey flavor; perfect for use when flavoring ice cream.
A mixture of chervil, chives, parsley, and tarragon.
Firm Ball Stage for Candy
Drop 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy into cold water. Candy should form a firm ball which will flatten out after being removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read between 244 and 248 degrees. Caramels and divinity are examples of this stage.
Clear, amber-tinted liquid that is drained from salted, fermented fish. A very important flavoring in Thai cuisine.
A term usually used to describe the process of separating fish with a fork. Fish is done when flakes easily with a fork.
To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames. Most of the time flambéing has no real function other than to delight your guests. If you are going to flambé a dish keep in mind that it is impossible to flambé a cold dish by sprinkling it with spirits and trying to light it—the spirits only release their flammable fumes when hot. Do not pour flaming spirits.
A liquid or semi liquid mixture, held together with whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks, that is gently baked in a mold or pastry shell. Quiches, crème caramel, and crème brulee are examples of sweet flans. Any puree, or pureed soup, can be converted to a flan with the addition of egg. One whole egg, 2 egg whites, or 2 egg yolks will bind ¾ cup of liquid.
An imitation of an extract, e.g., Imitation Vanilla.
Fleur de Sel
Salt which is described as the flower of the ocean. Large light salt crystals float in large sheets on the surface of the water. It is then gently lifted off the water with a hand tool and placed in baskets to dry in the sun. July and August are the main months for harvesting when the wind comes from the east.
To press a pastry edge with your left thumb and right thumb and index finger to form a scalloped edge. If your nails are too long, use the bent index finger of right hand and the bent index and middle fingers of left hand.
Italian pizza dough often topped with olive oil, herbs, garlic, and cheese.
The livers of geese and ducks that have been force-fed a mixture of corn, lard, and salted water.
To incorporate an egg-white foam into an egg yolk foam or a flour batter without deflating it so that it retains its full leavening power.
Icing made with sugar, water and corn syrup or glucose. The mixture is heated to 238 -240 degrees , cooled and then kneaded, e.g., fondant used in chocolate-covered cherries.
From the French word for "melt", the term could refer to food cooked in a communal pot at the table or to finely chopped veggies that have been slowly cooked to a pulp and used as a garnish.
A mixture of chopped or ground meat and other ingredients used for pates, sausages, and other preparations.
Unconfined livestock, e.g., chickens which were not raised in a coop and lived a better life.
To allow an ingredient or food to reach 0 in a freezer. The freezer is also useful for quickly cooling ingredients or freezing foods before packing in a bag or wrapping, this keeps foods separated. Label and date all foods. Leftovers are best frozen immediately, you may not decide to eat them the next day and later in the week you can heat it easily in the microwave. Leftover onions, herbs and chopped bell peppers can be frozen in little plastic containers for use on pizza or use in other recipes.
Foods which have not been processed, frozen or cooked. Also known as uncooked foods in their natural state.
A fricassee is almost always a stew in which the meat, usually poultry, is cut up, lightly cooked in butter, and then simmered in liquid until done.
A flat Italian baked or sometimes also half-fried/half-baked omelet.
Any food coated with a batter or crumbs and deep-fried.
To cover a cake or cookie with icing.
A mixture of candied diced lemon peel, orange peel, citron, red cherries and pineapple.
To cook in a hot fat.
A semi-soft creamy candy often made with chocolate.
G. Cooking Terms
A mixture of chocolate and warm heavy cream. Melt 12 ounces of chocolate chips or shaved chocolate in 1 1/2 cup heated heavy cream. Refrigerate half the mixture and whisk occasionally to form an firm icing. I use a chocolate cake recipe and bake the batter in a bundt pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
When completely cooled, you first spread on the firm icing, then you pour the room temperature mixture over the cake. You will have some firm icing left for decorating with a piping tool. I melt a square of white chocolate and drizzle it across the cake. Then a toothpick is pulled through the drizzles to form a pattern.
We sprinkle the cake with nonpareils and then decorate the top with little icing stars. You can also pipe around the base of the cake. One silver dragée looks wonderful on each star. The cake could also be cut and layered with a filling before icing with ganache.
Use a garlic press and forget about peeling each clove.
To add an interesting and completely edible item to a plate to make it look more attractive; or any such edible item.
To allow a liquid to congeal so that it is firm enough to retain the shape of the bowl or container it is in.
A tasteless thickening agent derived from collagen in the connective tissue and bones of animals.
A sponge cake made with whole eggs, used for layer cakes and other desserts.
Beef stew made with onions and tomato sauce (often used as a pasta sauce).
In India, the heat of the climate causes butter made from water buffalo milk to go rancid. To solve this problem, butter is slowly melted to reveal a golden liquid below the milk solids. It is then simmered until moisture evaporates from the milk solids and they turn a light brown. Butter can be kept longer and gives a nutty flavor to dishes. Spices may also be added.
A small pickled cucumber.
Pickled vegetables usually preserved in a mason jar.
The neck, heart, gizzard, and liver of poultry.
French for iced, candied or crystallized. Food with a glossy sheen coating. Cherries are often found this way for use in baking. Candied mixed fruit peels are also called a glacé fruit mix.
To give food a shiny surface by brushing it with sauce, aspic, icing, or another appariel. For meat, to coat with sauce and then brown in an oven.
This is a combination of gliadin and glutenin found in flour. When flour is moistened and stirred it becomes a tough and elastic protein. It is responsible for giving foods structure, volume and texture. Strands of gluten form as dough is kneaded; and trap air and gas released by leavening agents.
Gnocchi are starchy dumplings that are made in various shapes. There are two basic types of gnocchi: those based on potatoes and those based on flour or cornmeal.
A connoisseur of fine food and wine.
Grand sauce (or Mother sauce)
One of several basic sauces that are used in the preparation of many other small sauces. The grand sauces are: demi-glace, veloute, béchamel, hollandaise, and tomato.
To change solid food into fine shreds by moving food carefully and deliberately over a grater. Hard cheeses are grated.
The best grater is an ergonomically built one from the Practica catalog. It has a smooth round top and pyramid-like sides. A grater should have large, medium and small holes and possibly a slot for slicing cheese.
A way of binding together, or combining, cooked or raw foods (usually vegetables or pasta—baked macaroni and cheese is a gratin) with a liquid such as cream, milk, béchamel sauce, or tomato sauce, in a shallow dish and baking until cooked and set. Typically the gratin is sprinkled with cheese or bread crumbs so a crunchy, savory crust forms on top. A gratin is really the same thing as a casserole, except a gratin is usually baked in a special oval, shallow dish.
A gravy is an American-style jus that has been thickened with a roux. This roux can be made using butter and flour or by cooking flour into some of the fat skimmed off the jus. Cornstarch mixed with a little water can also be whisked into the jus and the jus brought to a simmer to get the cornstarch to thicken. Once the gravy is thickened, other ingredients, such as herbs or chopped giblets, can be added to it to give it extra flavor. Vegetable purees can also be used to thicken a natural jus and turn it into a flourless gravy. Garlic, roasted along with meats and poultry, or separately, is excellent pureed and whisked into the jus to thicken it.
To coat a pan with butter or fat. Butter wrappers may be saved for this purpose. A small square of waxed paper can be dipped into butter and then used to grease a pan.
An Italian garnish consisting of minced garlic, parsley, lemon rind, and sometimes shredded basil. It is most often used in garnishing osso buco.
To cook above the heat source (traditionally over wood coals) in the open air. To place food on a rack over direct heat. This may be an indoor grill on a stove top or an outdoor gas/charcoal grill. Clean your grill with a metal-bristle brush. Look for one with a scraper attachment. When grilling fish or vegetables, first spray grill with nonstick spray.
To pass meats or nuts through a grinder or a food processor to reduce to small pieces.
A fruit native to Brazil, also grown in South Africa, California and Hawaii. Fresh guavas have a green skin with an beautiful peachy-pink flesh—with edible seeds inside—which softens when boiled in sugar syrup, it can then be served with a custard sauce made with custard powder. Also used in fruit salads and fruit punch in Africa.
An African word for okra, it is now the name of a soup of shellfish made famous in Louisiana. It is lightly thickened with okra or the powdered sassafras leaves called filé.
H. Cooking Terms
Firm white cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a stringy texture and is usually sold in brine.
Hard Ball Stage for Candy
Drop a 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy mixture into cold water. Use your fingers to form a hard ball. The ball will roll around if removed from the water. Taffy is a good example of the hard ball stage and will reach a temperature of 250 to 265 degrees .
Hard Crack Stage for Candy
Drop a 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy mixture into cold water. The candy will form brittle threads in the water and remain brittle once removed from water. A candy thermometer will read from 300 to 310 degrees.
French for bean.
A hot paste of red chilies, garlic and olive oil. Available in tubes or jars.
Chopped, cooked meat, usually with potatoes and/or other vegetables, which is seasoned, bound with a sauce, and sautéed. Also, to chop.
To make a food or liquid hot by placing it in oven or on the stove top in an appropriate pan. Foods may also be heated on a grill outdoors or in a microwave oven.
Herbs come from the aromatic leaves of many plants. The best way to find fresh dried herbs is through mail order. It is impossible to tell how long a bottled dried herb has been sitting on a store shelf. Penzeys Spices has a wonderful catalog and the packaging is practical. When purchasing an ounce of dried herbs, remember this will almost fill two 1/2-cup spice bottles. The remaining herbs may be saved in the re-sealable packages.
A thick, sweet-tasting Chinese sauce made from fermented soy beans, sugar, salt, and red rice. Used as a dipping sauce or glaze.
One of the Grand or Mother sauces. It is made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and melted butter flavored with lemon juice.
An early gift from the American Indians, hominy is dried corn kernels which have had the hulls and germ removed either mechanically or chemically. For our Posole, we purchased canned hominy, but you can also buy it dried. Do you remember in the movie My Cousin Vinny when they talk about grits? Well they were talking about ground dried hominy.
Appetizers and portions of savory foods served with toothpicks or eaten as finger food.
Removing the stem and leaves from berries, e.g., strawberries.
The chemical process by which hydrogen atoms are pumped into unsaturated oils/fats to make them firmer at room temperature. Shortening and margarine are more saturated than the oils from which they are made.
I. Cooking Terms
Sweet coating for cakes, breads or cookies.
The basic elements of each recipe. The best ingredients will give superior results. My top 20 favorite basic ingredients are: Fleur de Sel, Tellicherry peppercorns, Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla, Gold Medal® or King Arthur® flours, Aluminum-free baking powder, balsamic vinegar, beef and chicken base, fat-free milk, Peter's, Valrhona and Callebaut Chocolates, canola and olive oil, Fiori di Sicilia flavoring, Dutch cocoa, and meringue powder, orange blossom honey, Johnny's Dock® seasoning salt and Lawry's® garlic salt. Organic meats and free-range eggs will also enhance your meals.
This term is used when making rolls. Simply take the cut piece of dough, cut side up. Take both thumbs and pull over until a rounded surface develops. Pinch dough underneath and set on baking sheet. This is easier than trying to roll the perfect roll.
To turn a food upside down. Inverting gelatin means turning the bowl or mold upside down so that the set gelatin can slide onto a serving plate.
J. Cooking Terms
A fruit and sugar mixture cooked with pectin.
A Cajun and Creole composition of rice, smoke sausage, cubed ham, aromatics, and any meat that interests the cook.
French for a main course made mostly of new spring vegetables, like lettuce, peas, green beans, carrots, turnips, and flavored with bacon or salt pork. It may also contain baby artichokes and young celery and fennel hearts, or cauliflower.
A clear mixture of fruit juice and sugar which jells or sets to a soft yet firm texture.
A shallow 18 x 13 x 1-inch pan with a rim. Used to make jellyroll cakes or to toast items you wouldn't trust on regular baking sheets, e.g., nuts and coconut.
The extracted natural liquid from fruits and vegetables.
To cut into long thin matchstick size strips.
The natural juices released by roasting meats and poultry.
K. Cooking Terms
A variety of lime with a knobby outer skin. The fragrant leaves are crushed or shredded and used in cooking, and the limes are used for their juice, mainly in Thai cuisine.
In France the term "Batterie De Cuisine," meaning artillery of the kitchen, may be a more appropriate term than essentials for some cooks when you see their kitchen after they have had a creative cooking spree. There are many tools which are essential to basic cooking. Pots, pans, measuring spoons, measuring cups, bowls, wooden spoons and forks are about the most basic tools. For serious cooks, this list can go and on, ad infinitum.
Perfect to have on hand, especially if mounted in a butcher block. Use for trimming fat off poultry, removing fat from bacon, snipping herbs, cutting flower stems, opening bags and cutting kitchen twine. A kitchen shears or poultry shears is also useful for cutting up whole chickens.
Dough shaped into a ball which is pushed with the "heels" of your right hand while holding the dough with the fingers of left hand or vice versa. Fold dough, turn and repeat. If you are short on time and have purchased a food processor, use the kneading blade and knead for one minute. Bread machines are the best shortcut?simply run on a bread dough cycle and take care of the first rise at the same time. Don't worry about over kneading dough. According to most experts?this is almost impossible to do at home. Most recipes in this book use short kneading times.
From the Hebrew kasher. When talking about food, to prepare it at every stage in strict observance of the Jewish dietary laws. When talking about salt, kosher salt is a coarse salt that does not contain magnesium carbonate.
L. Cooking Terms
Is a delicate sponge cake that is used for making desserts like Tiramisu and Charlottes. You can usually purchase them in bakeries, supermarkets, or specialty markets.
To insert strips of fatback into a piece of meat to be braised, using a special cutter with a hollow blade called a lardoir. Also, to wrap a tenderloin of beef in a thin sheet of fatback before roasting it.
Wide strips of thin pasta.
The best is called "leaf lard," and is made from rendered (melted and clarified) pork fat found around the pork kidneys. Used to make very flaky pastries and for frying "sopaipillas.”
Meat, poultry and seafood which are considered lean should contain less than 10 grams total fat, and containing less than 4 grams saturated fat. This meat should also contains less than 95% cholesterol per 3.5 ounce serving. Extra lean meats contains less than 5 grams total fat and less than 2 grams saturated fat.
Yeast and baking powder help to "leaven" or raise the bread.
Leavening may have been discovered when ale instead of water was used to make bread dough. The spores of yeast then grew and a lighter bread resulted. The sourdough starter evolved from using a piece of dough from the previous day's batch. It was added to the new bread dough. Starters can be ordered from the Baker's Catalogue® along with yeast and baking powder.
Most recipes will call for a certain size container or package where possible. When using green bell peppers and only a half is called for, you may want to chop the leftover half and place in a small container in the freezer. This is also a good idea for leftover onions. Soon you will have enough and won't have to chop a whole onion. An egg white or egg yolk which is left out of a recipe may also be frozen in ice cube trays (wash in dishwasher before using again for ice cubes).
A product to help prevent white specks from forming in chocolate.
A tall, lemon-scented grass, used in Thai cooking.
You may choose to use regular lime juice, however there is a special blend which comes from Key limes grown in the mountains of Mexico which is simply the best for use in Key Lime Pie. This may be ordered through www.KingArthurFlour.com and is called FloribbeanÒ Key Lime Juice.
To line a baking dish with baking parchment you should set the baking pan on the parchment and draw a line around the base. Cut out the shape and place inside the greased pan. It may also refer to lining a pan with aluminum foil when preparing a pan for roasting meats.
A spirit flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, and / or seeds and usually sweetened.
The essential pan for bread making. Standard size is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch.
A large steak generally grilled or broiled and cut out of the rib cap, flank, or chuck of beef.
Partially defatted milk containing 1 to 2 percent fat.
Yiddish word derived from the German word lachs for salmon and the name of salt-cured belly of salmon.
Lyons-style; with onions and usually butter, white wine, vinegar, and demi-glace.
M. Cooking Terms
Macaroni / Italian Macaroni
Handmade eggless pasta made from flour or a combination of flour and semolina, water, and a small amount of salt. Often used to refer to elbow-shaped pasta.
A firm-fleshed fish with a light, delicate flavor.
Short for maître d'hôtel and is translated literally as master of the hotel is the headwaiter who is in charge of assigning people to their tables in a restaurant. Part of their responsibilities may also include making sure the staff waiters are doing their jobs, training, handling complaints and working as a liaison between the front of the house and the kitchen.
A slicer that can be fitted with diverse cutting blades.
To swirl two different colors of batter, usually chocolate and vanilla with a knife. The batters will blend slightly but should look separate.
A pasta sauce traditionally made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil. Variations: Capers, pitted black olives, crushed red pepper or diced chile pepper. The sauce first originated from Naples after the Spaniards introduced the tomato. The word marinara is derived from marinaro, which is Italian for “of the sea.” Because of this, many people mistakenly believe marinara sauce includes some type of fish or seafood. However, marinara sauce loosely translates as “the sauce of the sailors,” because it was a meatless sauce extensively used on sailing ships before modern refrigeration techniques were invented.
If you wish to substitute margarine for butter, do so at your own risk. Margarines vary in fat content and this makes it tricky. Look for one containing 60% - 80% vegetable oil or fats and purchase the ones in stick form for baking.
A mixture of ingredients used to flavor and moisten foods. May be liquid of dry. Liquid marinades are usually acidic based and dry marinades are usually salt based.
To combine foods—usually meat or seafood, and occasionally vegetables—with aromatic ingredients in order to flavor the food.
An Italian fortified wine made in the vicinity of Marsala in Sicily.
Ground blanched almonds, sugar and egg whites. Make your own marzipan by mixing a quarter of a pound almond paste with one cup sugar and two tablespoons light corn syrup. Mix until smooth. Used to decorate cakes and to make candies or can be shaped into miniature fruits and vegetables, painted with food coloring to resemble the real thing.
A common term used to describe the process of crushing potatoes with a potato masher.
Measuring brown sugar
Brown sugar should be lightly packed into the measuring cup, unlike many recipes which call for firmly packed sugar.
Butter can be easily measured by buying the butter in pre-measured sticks. 1 stick of butter is equal to 1/2 cup. Cut the butter into the desired measure at the markings on the wrapper. Some wrappers may be unclear or not centered right and may need to be removed and re-wrapped around the butter. In this case, cut the butter in half then proceed with measuring. There are 8 tablespoons of butter in 1 cube. Half a cube would be 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup, and one quarter would be 2 tablespoons, etc. Soon you will be able to measure 1 tablespoon butter by eyeing out the size.
Measuring dry ingredients
Stainless steel or plastic measuring cups and measuring spoons are a must for dry ingredients. When using measuring spoons, remember to never measure the ingredients over the mixing bowl or pan in case the spoon overflows. Measure dry ingredients and then use the straight side of a dinner knife or kitchen knife to level off the surface.
All recipes in this cookbook use the "dip and sweep" method as it is quicker than spooning flour into the cup. When measuring flour into a measuring cup the "dip and sweep" method is only accurate as long as you make sure flour is "fluffed up." This is easily done by using a knife to stir flour around until it is aerated, dip cup, then simply sweep off the top with a knife. When purchasing flour, I always dump the bag into a more usable plastic container. Flour tends to get packed down in shipping and this helps to fluff up the flour.
Measuring liquid ingredients
Use glass liquid measuring cups or fill stainless or plastic measuring cups to the brim. When liquids are under two cups it is often easier to use stainless or plastic measuring cups instead of trying to read the measurement in a larger glass container.
When measuring spices, use special spice spoons which are thinner and can easily fit into the spice bottle. Fill the spoon and shake in the bottle to even out the surface. You can be a little more liberal with herbs.
A tool resembling a tiny ice cream scoop. Perfect for scooping perfect balls of cantaloupe or watermelon. Look for a tool with two different size scoops.
To liquefy a fat or a gel by heating it.
Egg whites beaten until they are stiff, with added sugar or sugar syrup, used as a topping or shaped and baked until stiff.
A combination of fancy, young salad greens once hard to find but now popular and available pre washed in the produce section of your supermarket in the Bag O Salad section. The mix usually contains a combination of arugula, dandelion, frisee, mizuma, oak leaf, radicchio and sorrel.
A fancy French name for "miller's wife" and refers to the cooking technique used. In this case, fish is seasoned with salt and pepper and then dredged with flour and sautéed in butter. Check out my recipe for Sole Meuniére
I don't recommend a microwave oven for cooking meats but it is helpful when defrosting them. Foods may be kept in the freezer and brought to room temperate when needed, e.g., butter. A temperature probe which can be inserted into foods or liquids to bring them to exact temperatures is very helpful. This feature is excellent for bringing water to a boil or to an exact temperature for bread making or to bring frozen butter to room temperature for making buttercream icings.
Middle Celery/Heart Celery
The part of celery literally in the middle of the bunch. This is the tender celery with some light green leaves which are also a delicious addition to soups. A stalk may also be called a rib. Technically the celery ribs are attached to the stalk. The whole celery plant is then called a bunch of celery.
Fat-free milk is used in most recipes. When substituting whole milk or skim milk be aware of the consistency of the recipe. It is advisable to add more whole milk than fat-free milk. Fat-free milk is also used in many recipes in place of water. Use a substitution at your own risk as fat-free milk does not have the fat contained in whole milk. This changes the recipe slightly.
To chop very fine.
Many cooking preparations, particularly braises, stews, roasts, and soups, call for sweating various mixtures of chopped aromatic vegetables before liquid is added. These mixtures are designed to add freshness and flavor to meats and seafood. The best-known mixture is the French mirepoix, a mixture of 2 parts onion, 2 parts carrot, and 1 part celery, but other countries and regions have their own variations. Italy has its soffritto (onion, carrot, celery, and usually, garlic). Spain has its sofregit and sofrito (onion, carrot, celery, ham, and sometimes tomato). Indonesia has bumbu (garlic, shallots, spices, and shrimp paste).
Heavily sweetened rice wine used as cooking wine. You can substitute sweet white wine.
Mise en Place
Means to prepare ingredients up to the point of cooking. Read through each recipe before making it the first time. I have tried to list all the ingredients and the way they should be prepared to save time in the directions. You can prepare all the ingredients and have them waiting or prepare them as you need them. The latter will save you a lot of dishes. Some recipes demand that you prepare the ingredients first. These are recipes in which timing is essential, such as stir-fry. This philosophy also requires you to take stock of your kitchen each week to make sure you have enough essential ingredients. The shopping list in this cookbook will help you prepare for each recipe. If you are unsure about an ingredient check, before you start. Running to the store in the middle of making candy or bread can be disastrous.
A thick paste made from fermented and processed soy beans. Red miso is a combination of barley and soy beans and yellow miso is a combination of rice and soy beans.
To combine ingredients by hand or with a mixer with the goal of blending them well and uniformly together.
Coffee and chocolate. Either strong-brewed coffee or instant coffee granules are mixed into a chocolate mixture, e.g., chocolate cake batter.
To add enough liquid to a dry ingredient to make it damp.
Mongolian Hot Pot
A sort of Chinese fondue, this giant communal pot contains a simmering stock where diners cook a variety of raw, thinly sliced meats and vegetables.
Olive and canola oils are excellent and have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. These fats can be solid or liquid. Olive oil tends to become more solid when refrigerated.
Mortar and pestle
The perfect set to grind fresh or dried herbs. The pestle resembles a mini-baseball bat which is pressed into the bowl which may have a textured base to make grinding easier. Marble is my preference. These come in a variety of sizes, a medium size is handy to have sitting on the counter for spices.
Pure, unrefined fruit juice used in wine and liquors. Grape mosto is used for winemaking as well as for flavoring many Italian sweets and meat dishes. There are other types of mosto too: malt mosto can be used to make beer, apple for cider, and cherry and prune for brandies and liqueurs.
A general term that can describe any mixture lightened with something airy, usually beaten egg whites or whipped cream.
A sauce made by folding whipped cream into hollandaise. Or, a very light forcemeat based on white meat or seafood lightened with cream and eggs.
Italian cheese made of pasta filata, a cheese paste that pulls into strings when cooked to approximately 96 to 98 degrees F.
A slowly heated and spiced apple cider or red wine.
N. Cooking Terms
To completely cover food with a light coating of sauce so that it forms a thin, even layer.
A pastry made with alternating layers of puff pastry and a cream of your choice and glazed.
Tiny multicolored sugar pellets used to decorate cakes.
This term is used to describe pans or bakeware which have been coated with a interior surface which allows food to release easily and speeds up cleaning. Not all surfaces are durable. I recommend Calphalon® for great food release. Scanpan® is better for moist cooking, while Calphalon® excels in the area of frying and baking. I choose to have both of these fine lines of products in my kitchen for various tasks. You may wish to order all nonstick items for your baking needs. Nonstick pots and pans are not essential, but make life easier. The heavy-based Scanpan® line is perfect for stew, soups and sauces. Calphalon® nonstick pans are best when frying potatoes, steaks, pancakes or other foods where you wish to cook in very little oil.
Pasta made with flour or a mixture of flour and semolina, whole eggs, or egg whites.
Dried seaweed pressed into square sheets. Used for nori rolls, soups and Japanese cuisine.
O. Cooking Terms
After harvesting, olives are cold pressed to produce olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the best you can buy. The best oils come from Greece, Italy and France. Zingerman's® catalog has a unique oil similar to those sold in Cassis, France on the Mediterranean Sea. Look for "Maussane-les-alpilles" which runs around $30 a bottle. Use in salad dressings, over meats or anytime when a distinctive herbal character is desired. Extra virgin olive oil is best when used during the first year after opening and can be kept in the refrigerator, but needs to warm to room temperature before using.
Beaten eggs that are cooked in butter, then rolled or folded into an oval. They may be filled with any variety of ingredients before folding.
In Italian means barley, but it is really a pasta that is shaped like rice. I like to substitute it for rice in salads like my Seafood Orzo Salad but it is also great in soups.
In Italian means bone with a hole and that's where this dish derives it's name. The hole is filled with marrow and some consider it a delicacy while others shy away from it. This Italian dish is made with gelatinous veal shanks that are braised with fresh vegetables and rich stock. This dish comes from Milan in Italy's northern region of Lombardy. The area is known for dairy farming with veal being a natural by-product. Ossobuco is simple and delicious meal that is often served with Gremolada.
This term is used for those who prepare food during the day and use the night to let foods marinate, etc. If you are on a different time schedule, use 12 hours as a guide where logical.
Thin-ridged, delicately flavored, cultivated mushrooms with a slight taste of oysters.
P. Cooking Terms
A Spanish dish of rice cooked with onion, tomato, garlic, saffron, vegetables, and various meats, including chicken, chorizo, and/or shellfish.
Most cooks use the terms panfry and sauté interchangeably, but strictly speaking, there is a difference. Although both terms refer to cooking in a small amount of hot oil, butter, or other fat, sautéing means to toss foods over high heat, while pan-frying describes cooking pieces of meat, seafood, or large pieces of vegetables in a hot pan, turning with tongs, a spatula, or a fork only once or twice.
To cook uncovered over high heat in an ungreased pan.
Found in the fat belly or cheek of a pig, consisting of alternating layers of fat and lean tissue. It can be rolled, aged, salted or smoked.
The term given to fish which has the scales, gills and viscera removed. The fins and tail should be trimmed with a scissors.
To scale your own fish, place fish on newspaper next to the sink. Hold the fish by the tail, using a little salt to keep a firm grip. Scrape the scales with the back of a knife. Rinse and repeat on the other side. To skin: place skin side down on clean paper and use a sharp knife to separate flesh from skin while holding tail tightly.
A sauce made by deglazing pan drippings from a roast and combining them with a roux or other starch and additional stock.
Food wrapped in parchment paper for aluminum foil and baked in an oven where it will steam in its own moisture and that of any vegetable added to the package to flavor the meat.
From the Italian city of Bologna, this long ribbon pasta measures from 6 - 10 inches long and anywhere from 1/2" to 1" wide and is great with hardy sauces because of it's larger surface. It's usually homemade but is starting to show up more and more in gourmet stores and supermarkets. If your local gourmet store doesn't carry it, ask them. They are usually accommodating.
To cook partially in boiling water.
Heat-resistant paper used in baking to line pans. It does not need to be buttered or greased, and it keeps rich cookies from losing their shape and from sticking to the pan.
To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable, also know as peeling a fruit or vegetable.
A short knife used for paring and trimming fruits and vegetables. Its blade is usually 2 to 4 inches long.
The king of Italian hard-grating cheeses made from cow’s milk. Once you have tasted this cheese grated over the top of a pasta dish you will always have it on hand!
The Italian generic name for all forms of alimentary pastes made from a mixture of flour, semolina, and whole eggs or egg whites, but no water, as opposed to macaroni, which contains water and no eggs. It takes 4 ounces of dry pasta per person. A 1 pound package of pasta should yield 4 servings. Use plenty of water (at least 4 quarts per pound) so that it doesn’t stick together. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the water. This avoids the pasta to stick together when it cooks. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of pasta. This will bring out the flavor of the pasta. When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta. Stir the pasta often to prevent sticking. One pound of spaghetti takes aproximately. 8 to 10 minutes to cook but check it frequently until it’s "al dente" (firm to the bite). As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander. Combine the sauce and pasta in a bowl, mix well, and then serve.
Literally “dry pasta,” meaning fresh or dried pasta with sauce (as opposed to a soup or a baked pasta dish).
A baked dish of pasta and other ingredients, moistened with one or more sauces.
Sweet treats served after dinner, for breakfast or at tea time, e.g., pies, tarts, cream puffs and Danish pastries.
A cone-shaped bag with a pointed end. May be fitted with a pastry tip which is held by a coupler. Tips are sold individually or in sets. See "piping" for directions on using pastry bags.
The most useful brush resembles a paint brush and has bristles which are firmly attached so they do not fall out while using. Natural bristles work well for brushing melted butter over pastry. Pastry brushes should be washed well after each use. Dipping them in boiling water after washing is also a good idea after use with meats and eggs and it helps to remove soap residues.
A rich forcemeat of meat, game, poultry, seafood, and /or vegetables, baked in pastry or in a mold or dish.
Pâté à Choux
Cream puff paste, made by boiling a mixture of water, butter, and flour, then beating in whole eggs.
Short pastry for pie crusts.
Pâté en Croute
Pâté baked in a pastry crust.
A natural gelatin-like substance prepared from apples or citrus fruits, used in jelly making.
really good in risotto recipes with pecorino A hard grating cheese derived from ewe’s milk mostly made in the Roman Lazio countryside and Sardinia.
To remove the skin from fruits or vegetables. Can also refer to citrus peel or the rind of the citrus fruit. Citrus peel is the same as zest, however zest contains none of the white pith.
Two pepper mills are recommended, one for Tellicherry peppercorns and one for regular store-bought peppercorns. The Tellicherry peppercorns are larger in size and may need a special grinder. Place mills in their own small bowl to catch the leftover milled pepper, useful when a "pinch" of pepper is needed.
Finely or coarsely chopped mixture of garlic and parsley.
Pesto / Pesto Recipes
From the Italian pestare, a verb that means to pound or crush. Pesto is traditionally made of crushed fresh basil leaves pounded with garlic, Pecorino, either pine nuts for walnuts, and olive oil.
Pastry made with very thin sheets of a flour-and-water dough layered with butter and / or crumbs; similar to strudel. Also called filo dough.
Usually a standard 9-inch plate. Glass is highly recommended in this cookbook as it will give an even crisp crust. The deep-dish pie plate is also highly recommended to prevent spills. If you have trouble getting the pie crust into the pie plate, either roll the pastry halfway around your rolling pin, or use a plastic pastry sheet and turn it upside down over pie plate.
A technique for cooking rice in which the rice is sautéed briefly in butter, then simmered in stock or water with various seasonings.
The amount of a dry ingredient you can hold between tips of the thumb and index finger. Usually 1/16 teaspoon. To obtain this amount, simply add spice/herb onto food in one or two shakes from a regular spice bottle with a perforated inner lid.
Also called pignoli or Italian nut, pine nuts come from, you guessed it, pine trees. The nut is extracted from the cone usually with heat and is highly labor intensive thus expensive. they have a high fat content and should be stored in airtight containers in your refrigerator. They have a wonderful flavor especially when toasted.
The best piping bags have a plastic lining and have an apparatus which allows you to change the nozzles or tips without changing bags. To pipe: hold the top of the bag over your hand to form a collar or stand the bag in a tall glass with the nozzle pointing down. Spoon the mixture, icing, filling, etc., into the bag until it is no more than 2/3 full. Twist the top of the bag down and remove any air bubbles. Hold the twisted end in one hand and use the other hand to guide the nozzle. Squeeze the top of the bag with the first hand. The pressure should be even and constant. When you have completed the piping, stop applying pressure and press down slightly and then quickly lift the nozzle. Hold vertically for meringues and at an angle for éclairs. Plastic squeeze bottles and strong plastic bags also work well as piping bags.
The French version of Italy's pesto without the pine nuts or parsley.
The stone of apricots, peaches, avocados and cherries. This word is often used to describe the removal of the stone, e.g., to pit the cherries. Could also mean a “barbecue pit.”
To cook completely submerged in barely simmering liquid.
These fats will actually help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats are generally found at room temperature and include fats such as sunflower oil and corn oil.
Porcini Mushrooms / Seafood Risotto With Porcinis
Mushrooms with a meaty texture and a woody, earthy taste. Available fresh and dried. Dried porcini should be soaked in hot water before using.
A traditional Mexican dish from the pacific coast region of Jalisco. A thick soup that's usually made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth. Check out Huntley Dent's recipe for posole.
A utensil with a grid pattern which is pressed into potatoes and other vegetables after they are cooked. They can then be fluffed with a hand beater or wooden spoon.
Use a meat mallet to pound chicken or beef to tenderize tough meats or to create a uniform size.
The process of turning on oven so that it will be at the recommended temperature to cook a food by the time the food has been prepared. This is especially important when baking cakes or roasting meats.
To preserve food in canning bottles or to prepare food in a food processor.
To allow a yeast dough to rise. Also refers to the process of dissolving yeast in warm water (110 ) with sugar to see if it is alive and bubbling. A proofing box is a warm place for dough to rise. This may be obtained in an oven which has been turned on to 200 and turned off when heat is felt on hand from open oven.
A salt-cured, air-dried Italian ham that originated in the area around the city of Parma. This dense-textured, intensely flavored ham is served as an appetizer with melon or figs, and also used in cooking, often to flavor sauces. Prosciutto has been produced in the United States for years, but imported Italian prosciutto is also available. The finest is labeled “Prosciutto di Parma.” Prosciutto crudo is raw and prosciutto cotto is cooked.
To use your fist to literally punch a risen dough.
To work or strain foods until they are completely smooth.
Q. Cooking Terms
A paste made of fish, poultry, or veal meat mixed with eggs, cream, panade, and/or beef suet. Or, an oblong dumpling made from such a paste or other more modern and lighter pastes, shaped between two spoons, poached in stock, and served with a sauce and garnish.
Originally a pie made with a butter crust and filled with eggs beaten with heavy cream and very smoky bacon. American cooks have created a plethora of recipes for quiche.
Bread made with chemical leaveners, which work more quickly than yeast.
R. Cooking Terms
A complex meat sauce that may or may not contain tomato. Our timpano recipe link uses one of these!
A small, ovenproof dish, usually ceramic.
An ancient Mediterranean mixture of vegetables cooked slowly until they make a well-bound compote.
To add a liquid to a condensed food such as soup or juice to bring it to original strength.
Reduce or Reduction
The technique of cooking liquids down so that some of the water they contain evaporates. Reduction is used to concentrate the flavor of a broth or sauce and, at times, to help thicken the sauce by concentrating ingredients such as natural gelatin.
To rinse just-boiled vegetables under very cold water to stop their cooking.
A natural enzyme obtained from the stomach of young cows that is used to curdle milk when making cheese.
Roasted meats should not be served straight out of the over, but should be allowed to rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil. (The foil keeps the meat warm; loose wrapping ensures that the outside of the meat doesn’t steam and lose its crispness.) Resting allows the meat to relax so the juices become redistributed in the meat and aren’t squeezed out onto the platter during carving.
A fresh, creamy white cheese, smoother than cottage cheese, with a slightly sweet flavor. It is available in whole milk and part-skim milk versions, and is often used in lasagna and stuffed pastas. A little can be stirred into a sauce to add richness as well as creamy body. Refrigerate and use within a week.
The outer skin of watermelon, bacon, cheese and citrus.
To cleanse foods with cold running water. Lettuce should be rinsed.
Risotto / Risotto Recipes
Risotto is a creamy rice dish made with short-grain or Arborio Italian rice. The rice is gently cooked in butter or olive oil. Liquid, usually broth, is then added a small amount at a time until the rice is cooked and bathed in creamy liquid. Risotto must be stirred almost constantly to release the starch from the rice so the starch thickens the broth, giving the dish its characteristic creamy consistency.
The purpose of roasting is to create a golden brown crust on whatever it is we are roasting and, at the same time, make sure the meat, fish, or vegetable properly cooks in the center. When roasting, no liquid such as broth, wine, or water comes in contact with the food—only hot air, or, if the roast is being basted, hot fat. Roasting is both simple and complex—simple because there’s very little to do except slide the food into the oven; complex because if the temperature isn’t right, the food may never brown or cook properly.
A large, deep pan made of stainless or preferably aluminum covered with a nonstick coating. Both a deep pan and a shallow pan are acceptable.
To use a rolling pin to flatten dough or pastry.
Both a French tapered and traditional two-handled rolling pin are the best to have on hand. The tapered rolling pin is very useful when rolling pie crust or tortillas, as it seems to encourage a rounding of the dough. Never wash in the dishwasher.
Also known as egg tomatoes. Oval-shaped tomatoes, which are great for cooking and eating.
A hard, salty grating cheese. Pecorino Romano is the best known, and is made with sheep’s milk, while many other types are made with cow’s milk or a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk. Grate as you would Parmesan and use as a tangy accent for pasta dishes.
The temperature should be around 68º. Butter is best at 67º as it may be easily creamed with sugar or incorporated into egg whites, e.g., buttercream icing.
A slice of meat or fish rolled around a stuffing.
A mixture of flour and butter used to thicken sauces, soups, and gravies. Usually the butter is cooked with the flour in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Most roux are white roux, made by cooking the flour for only a minute or two. Brown roux—made by cooking the flour until pale brown to dark brown—is also used in many recipes, especially Cajun cooking.
A handy tool for measuring baking pans and checking measurements of dough or pastry for baking. Can also be used to cut straight lines by using ruler and a knife.
S. Cooking Terms
A light, frothy mixture made by beating egg yolks with water or other liquid over gentle heat.
A sachet is a small bag made out of cloth or cheesecloth that is filled with various herbs and spices and used to add flavor to soup, stews, stocks and sauces. The combination of herbs and spices can vary depending on what you are cooking but typically include bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley and thyme.
Made from the yellow-orange stigmas of crocus flowers. Kashmir saffron from Northern India comes in a small vial and is usually not crushed. It is deep red with a distinctive sharp, bitter-floral flavor. Spanish saffron is more versatile in all recipes and may be found in a powdered form. Expensive, however a little goes a long way.
Japanese fermented rice wine. Used in cooking to tenderize and add flavor. Store in a cool, dark place and use soon after opening. Substitute dry white wine.
Tomato sauce or other type of sauce flavored with a fairly wide variety of ingredients.
Two types of salt are recommended. One in a salt "crock" or glass jar with a cork lid which is easy to remove. This salt is called Fleur de Sel and is sea salt. The other salt is finer milled, regular salt found in the grocery store. It is useful to put this salt in a small spice container with a sprinkling side and a measuring side lid. This makes it easy to level salt for most recipes.
Finest quality tuna cut in an Asian or Japanese style. It is very tender and used raw in Japanese cuisine.
A fat generally found in a solid form at room temperature. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as butter, milk, cream and lard. The percentages of saturated fats in vegetable oils are as follows: coconut (89%), palm-kernel oil (83%), cottonseed (26%), avocado (20%), sesame seed (18%), peanut (17%), walnut (16%), soybean (14%), olive (14%), grapeseed (13%), corn (13%), sunflower (12%), hazelnut (11%), safflower (9%), almond (9%) and finally the lowest canola (6%). Saturated fats have been found to increase blood cholesterol levels. See the substitutions list for heart-healthy alternatives.
To cook over high heat in a small amount of fat in a sauté pan or skillet. Sautéing is cooking food quickly in the right amount of oil and/or butter over high heat. You can use a skillet or saute pan, but make sure it is big enough to comfortably contain what you are cooking. To preheat you need high heat when sautéing to cook ingredients quickly, otherwise the internal moisture tends to push to the surface and your ingredients won’t brown.
Sauté with butter or oil? Butter will give your food the best taste and a wonderful golden crust but burns more easily. Olive oil produces a nice crust and will not burn as quickly, but also doesn’t leave as rich a flavor or color as butter alone. So, the Reluctant Gourmet uses a combination of the two. What you cook and the amount you’re cooking will determine how butter and oil you use.
To heat milk just below the boiling point. Or, to immerse a vegetable or fruit in boiling water in order to remove its skin easily.
Immature onions (also called green onions) with a milk and slightly sweet flavor. Both the white bulb and the green tops can be used in cooking. The green tops also make an attractive garnish.
To make shallow cuts across the surface of a food before cooking. This is seen in French bread or may be done to a flank steak before cooking in order to keep the edges of the meat from curling up.
To remove the outer peel from vegetables with a sharp knife. The knife is rubbed across the vegetable to partially or completely remove the skin.
To brown the surface of pieces of meats and or fish by submitting them to intense initial heat.
Salt produced by evaporating sea water. It is available refined, or unrefined, crystallized, or ground.
To remove the segments from a citrus with a sharp knife.
Is one of the first "baking mixes." Rather than having to measure out all purpose flour, baking powder and salt separately, a cook can just measure the self rising flour--everything else is already in there.
The coarsely milled hard wheat endosperm used for gnocchi, some pasta, and couscous.
To separate the yolk from the white, use an egg separator. The easy method used by chefs is to hold the egg in the right hand, rap the egg against the metal or ceramic rim of a bowl and then use both thumbs to ease open the egg. Transfer the egg yolk back and forth between the two egg shell halves until all the egg white has dripped down into the bowl. If you get some egg yolk in the whites you can soak it up with a piece of bread.
Yolks and whites are often separated, and beaten separately, particularly when aerating the whites is important. Egg yolks contain fat that will inhibit the foaming of the whites and prevent them from reaching their fullest possible volume. The yolks and whites must be separated very cleanly, avoiding getting any yolk in the white. Bowls and beaters must be very clean and grease-free. Eggs will separate more easily if cold, but the whites will absorb more air, and beat faster and to a greater volume and stiffness if at room temperature.
A member of the onion family, looking rather like large cloves of garlic. Shallots are used to infuse savory dishes with a mild, delicate onion flavor. Refrigerate for not more than 1 week to maintain maximum flavor.
To remove the rigid outer covering of foods such as nuts and eggs.
To cut into fine strips. Shredding is similar to cutting into chiffonade but less precise.
This is a vegetable oil which has been process to form a solid form. Crisco® is a solid vegetable shortening.
A meaty, Oriental variety of mushroom with an almost steak-like flavor, used in pasta sauces and salads for depth. Choose fresh shitakes that are plump and unblemished, and avoid broken or shriveled caps.
To remove the shells from shellfish or to remove the husks from ears of corn. To shuck an oyster: rinse oysters, use a rubber oyster glove and oyster knife. Pry tip of knife between shell into soft spot on hinge. Twist knife to break the hinge and pry open shell. Slide knife in and sever connector muscle from top of the shell. Discard top shell. Sever connector muscle from bottom shell. Use tip of knife to remove bits of shell or sand from oyster. Rinse off sand. Remember to discard any oysters which are open before shucking.
When purchasing shrimp by the pound you will get an approximate number according to the size of the shrimp. When you need an exact amount, request that amount. When purchasing miniature shrimp you will receive approximately 100; small shrimp (36-45); medium shrimp (31-35); large shrimp (21-30); extra-large shrimp (16-20); and jumbo shrimp will have 11-15 shrimp per pound. Look for this information at your seafood counter when purchasing shrimp.
To press foods through a strong metal mesh strainer. This is done to remove seeds or other undesirable particles from foods.
A sieve or strainer is also useful to sift dry ingredients. Purchase at least 3 sizes.
To pass dry ingredients through a mesh strainer to remove lumps.
To maintain the temperature of a liquid just below boiling.
Long wooden "spears" which are thicker than toothpicks. Metal skewers work better when grilling outdoors or when ingredients are heavy. Bamboo skewers should be soaked in water before using on a grill.
This is used frequently in cookbooks and is just a thick-based fry pan. The thick base allows the heat to spread evenly.
To lift and discard any unwanted foam or fat from the surface of a stock, broth, sauce, or soup.
To cut food into thick or thin slices, usually 1/4-inch thick.
The point when a fat such as butter or oil smokes and lets off an acrid odor. Not good since this odor can get into what you are cooking and give it a bad flavor. Butter smokes at 350° F, vegetable oil at 445° F, lard at 365°-400°F , olive oil at about 375° F.
To cook in a covered pan with little liquid over low heat.
Fresh herbs should be placed in a cup and then snipped with a kitchen shears into tiny pieces.
Found in many foods but especially in salt. Table salt makes up the majority of our sodium intake. One teaspoon of salt contains 2,000 milligrams of sodium. 1,100 to 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day is considered normal consumption for the average adult.
Soft Ball stage for candy
Fill a cup full of cold water and drop in about 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy. Use your fingers to roll the candy mixture into a soft ball. The ball will quickly lose shape if removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read from 234 -240 . Fondant and fudge are examples of this stage.
Soft Crack stage for candy
Fill a glass with cold water and drop in 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy. The candy will form brittle threads which will soften when they are removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read between 270 and 290 . Butterscotch is a good example of this stage.
To leave butter on the counter until it comes to room temperature or to mash cold butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft and workable. The quickest way to soften frozen and refrigerated butter is in the microwave. Experiment with your microwave as each one is different. Try 20 to 30 seconds on full power if frozen. Refrigerated butter will take less time.
The wine steward or waiter.
A frozen dessert made with fruit juice or another flavoring, a sweetener (usually sugar), and beaten egg whites, which prevent the formation of large ice crystals.
A preparation made with a sauce base, whipped egg whites, and flavorings. The egg whites cause the soufflé to puff during cooking.
Originally soy beans were grown in Asia for thousands of years. This protein-rich food is commonly eaten as tofu, miso and soy sauce. While it is bland on its own; it will absorb flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. Your best source for soy products is Dixie USA, Inc. in the Source section.
Small flour, egg, and milk dumplings resembling fine noodles which are poached in water and then buttered.
Spices come from the seeds, bark, fruit, flower or roots of plants and add dimension to foods. The best way to purchase spices is through mail-order sources. Penzeys Spices is one of my favorites. If you are purchasing spices at your local store, you are most likely spending an exorbitant amount of money on each glass jar. The most economical way to purchase dried or whole spices is in bulk. Once you have invested money in a spice jar rack, there is no need to keep buying more jars. Many stores have a bulk section, however freshness is never guaranteed. Spices vary in price and weight. When purchasing a 4-ounce bag of crushed dried spices like cinnamon, remember this will fill about three 1/2-cup size spice jars. If you cook less frequently, the small plastic jars may be more practical. Family and friends are more than willing to take any extra spices which don't fit in the spice jars. On the other hand, you might just reseal the packages and store them in you cupboard.
To scoop up a food such as soup or batter with a spoon and to transfer it to another container or baking dish.
The mix between the convenience of a spoon and the versatility of a spatula. Essential for folding ingredients into a batter.
To apply butter or preserves with a knife.
A cake pan with a detachable bottom and a clamp on its side that can be released to easily unmold the cake. You make Tiramisu link in one of these.
To cook in steam by suspending foods over (not in) boiling water, in a covered pot or steamer.
To let food stand in hot liquid to extract or enhance flavor, e.g., tea bags in hot water or poached fruit in sugar syrup.
A cooking method nearly identical to braising but generally involving smaller pieces of meat, and hence a shorter cooking time. Also, the dish prepared by using this method of preparation.
Chinese technique of cooking think slivers of meat, shellfish, and vegetables in hot oil.
Also called broth or bouillon, a flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, chicken or fish (with bones) in water and used for making sauces, soups, glaces and can be used for braising or poaching. I have read that in order for this liquid to be called stock, it must be made with bones therefore there is no such thing as vegetable stock. Not so sure this is true but sounds interesting. I have also read that the term comes from professional chefs keeping this important liquid ingredient "in stock" until they need it to cook with.
A rich meat, fish, or vegetable broth. It is used as a base for soups, sauces, and other preparations.
This is a tall narrow pot used to make stock as well as boiling crab legs, corn on the cob, etc. An 8 to 12-quart pot should be sufficient for all needs.
To pour a liquid through a mesh sieve to remove solids.
A simple tomato sauce or other type of sauce comprised of relatively few ingredients.
Plum tomatoes that have been dried slowly to produce a chewy, intensely flavorful sauce ingredient. They are available in both oil-packed and dry-packed. For many recipes, the dried tomatoes must be soaked in hot water to soften them before using.
To cook foods over gentle heat, usually covered or partly covered, until they release their moisture. Vegetables, meats, and seafood are often sweated when making soups, stews, and sauces so that the foods release their juices into the pan and surrounding liquid. Sweating is the opposite of sautéing.
T. Cooking Terms
Refined, granulated rock salt.
Table Serving and Etiquette
"Left is right," is the way to remember to serve food to guests from their left. Beverages are served from their right. Serve women, older guests and children first. When you are seated at a table, serve the person to the right of yourself if you are the host and proceed counterclockwise. Everyone should pass the food in the same direction. Clear dishes from the right and never stack or scrape dishes in front of a guest.
Table Set-up for a Daily Meal
The simplest meals will have a dinner plate with a fork on the left and a knife on the right. The glass should be in the upper right above the knife. The napkin should be on the plate or next to the dinner fork. A salad fork may be added to the left of the fork. A teaspoon can be added to the right of the knife. The bread plate should be above the forks on the left. The salad plate can be placed on top of the dinner plate. Soup bowls may be used in place of salad plates. A coffee cup should be placed to the right of the knife.
A product from the ripe bean pods of the tamarind tree. It can be purchased as pulp or in the more convenient form of tamarind concentrate ready to use.
A thick paste made from capers, anchovies, olives, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. This delicious condiment originated in France's Provence region.
A pie that has only a bottom crust.
A shallow pan, preferably with a removable base. The edges should be fluted. The round 9 by 1-inch and 11 by 1-inch are common sizes. Pans are measured straight across the top of a dish from the inside edge to the other opposite edge.
The temperature of your burners is essential to the results you achieve. Too high and the heat will burn the food, too low and the food will cook too slowly and affect the taste – especially in preparing steaks. While rice may be cooked on low to allow the rice to slowly absorb the water, meats are cooked at higher temperatures to seal in juices. Use high heat to boil or reduce liquids. Use medium to medium-high heat for sautéing, stir-frying and frying most foods. Use low heat for warming foods, simmering sauces and preparing delicate foods which burn easily. Learn to adjust the temperatures based on your experience with your cookware. Some pots and pans will conduct heat more quickly than others.
A Japanese method of cooking vegetables and shellfish. They are coated with a light cornstarch batter and deep-fried.
A loaf of forcemeat, similar to a pate, but cooked in a covered mold in a bain-marie. Also, the mold used to cook this item.
To bring a frozen food to room temperature. Meats should be thawed in the refrigerator.
An instant-read thermometer is great for meats. A candy thermometer is practical as you can clip it to the side of the pan and monitor the temperature changes. A new thermometer on the market is a boon for the busy cook and has the features of a timer with a long wire which allows meat to be cooked to a specific temperature in the oven.
When a sugar syrup reaches between 230 and 234 F. The syrup will form threads when dropped into ice water but will not form a ball when rolled between fingers.
A small pail-shaped mold used to shape rice, custards, mousselines, and other foods. Also, a preparation made in such a mold.
A British dish consisting of a Yorkshire Pudding batter and cooked link sausages. When baked, the batter puffs up around the sausages giving the appearance of "toads in the hole"
To lightly brown a piece of bread in a toaster, oven or frying pan. Nuts can also be toasted in oven or a frying pan.
Fresh ripe tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped.
A concentrated essence of cooked tomatoes, sold in cans and tubes. It is commonly used to thicken and accent the flavor and color of sauces; however it is slightly bitter and should not be used alone or in large quantities. If you are using only part of a can, save the remainder by freezing it in a plastic bag.
Helpful when frying foods or to pick up and turn pieces of chicken. Also useful to serve salads.
A ¼ -inch-thick steak cut from the tenderloin.
A chocolate ganache (ga-nosh) is made with chocolate, warm whipping cream and butter. After refrigerating or freezing, the chocolates are dipped in more chocolate, creating a hard shell.
Truffles, Subterranean Mushrooms
Discovered in Babylonian times, mushrooms, called truffles, are actually subterranean fungi which grow in the soil by oak trees in France and in the deserts of Arabia. They can be white or dark brown and are very expensive due to the high demand. Like most expensive ingredients, a little often goes a long way. Black truffles are from the Perigord region in France. They are only in season from August to December. Dogs are trained to hunt out truffles then they are carefully removed from the earth without being touched by even a human hand, this would cause them to rot. Truffles may be ordered from Dean & Deluca or Urbani and should be used immediately. Truffle butter will last much longer and can be frozen. I recommend the truffle butter which is more practical. White truffle oil will also go a long way and can be used easily.
The method of securing the wings and legs of a turkey or chicken using skewers and kitchen twine so that it keeps shape during cooking. Unflavored dental floss works in a pinch.
V. Cooking Terms
An extract made from vanilla beans soaked in alcohol. Comes in many forms including vanilla powder, vanilla paste which contains flecks of vanilla bean and vanilla marinade. These are not as common as vanilla extract. Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla extract is superior in quality. You can also make your own vanilla extract with vanilla beans and Bourbon.
A fixed blade is more useful than a swivel blade, however the choice is up to you.
There are several types of vegetarians. Most will eat vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and tofu. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat dairy products and eggs. Lacto vegetarians will also eat dairy products. The vegetarian diet should include all the amino acids for it to be effective. Mixing beans and rice will give you a complete protein meal.
One of the Grande or Mother sauces. A sauce of white stock thickened with white roux. Also, a cream soup made with a veloute sauce base and flavorings that is usually finished with a mixture of egg yolks and cream.
The classic French salad dressing made of one part vinegar and three parts oil. Mustard and cream can be added if desired.
W. Cooking Terms
A spice that comes from a knobby green root of the Japanese plant wasbia japonica. A traditional condiment served with Japanese sushi and sashimi. It has the same warming or stinging nasal sensation as horseradish.
When the liquid separates from a solid food. Meringues are famous for this problem with droplets of liquid visible on them.
To beat a preparation with the goal of introducing air into it. Or, the balloon wire whisk often used to do so.
Use a looped wire kitchen utensil to mix in a swift circular motion. A coated or plastic whisk is very handy to use in nonstick pans when making gravies as they help prevent lumps from forming. Buy several sizes and at least two large ones.
Cocoa butter flavored with sugar and milk solids.
Mirepoix that does not include carrots and may include chopped mushrooms or mushroom trimmings. It is used for pale or white sauces and stocks.
Traditional white sauces are divided into two types: those based on béchamel sauce and those based on velouté sauce. A basic béchamel sauce is made by adding hot milk to a white roux, and a basic veloute sauce is made by adding hot broth to a white roux.
A light-colored stock made with bones that have not been browned.
A round-bottomed pan, usually made of rolled steel, used for virtually all Chinese cooking methods.
Developed in India by the British, this dark, spicy sauce got its name from the city where it was first bottled...Worcester, England. Used to season meats, gravies, and soups, the recipe includes soy sauce, onions, molasses, lime, anchovies, vinegar, garlic, tamarind, as well as other spices.
Y. Cooking Terms
With many manufacturers using different strains of this organism, the choices can be very confusing. Using a package of yeast in one recipe may be sufficient while in another more may be needed. If you measure yeast by the teaspoon or tablespoon, you will have the exact quantity needed. Yeast, a natural leavening for bread, is found in many forms. Cakes of yeast, instant yeast, active dry yeast, instant active dry, and rapid-rise yeast can all be used at different times. You can substitute the same amount of rapid-rise yeast for regular active dry yeast and cut the rising time of a dough in half. This may not always be desired, as some breads benefit from a slow rising. Sweet breads seem to benefit from a rapid yeast. Rapid yeast is also faster and has all the qualities of the best yeast around the world. Rapid rise yeast is an excellent choice for the cook who wants to get bread on the table fast. Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast seems to be the best and most popular yeast on the market. Instant yeast, an all-purpose yeast which has smaller granules, can be added to a mixture without being "proofed" (dissolved in water to reactivate the live cells covered by dead cells). Instant yeast is more aggressive as it is dried at a lower temperature, thus it produces more live cells ready for action. Fleischmann's Instant Yeast is an excellent choice. The process of proofing is no longer necessary, as modern yeast – unless the plant (fungi) has completely died by being subjected to high temperatures – works well all the time. Active yeast, which is deactivated when dry, is the favorite store variety. Purchase dry yeast in a bottle, three linked individual packets or use Bob's Red Mill refrigerated variety, which is an excellent yeast as long as the expiration date has not passed. Find the yeast which works best for you. If you are using a yeast which does not work at all, purchase a fresh container immediately to prevent the wasting of ingredients. Most dry yeast will last longer if kept in the refrigerator in a closed container. To test yeast, mix 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1/4 cup warm water (110 ), 1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) in a 1/2 cup measuring cup. The mixture should swell to fill the measuring cup.
Milk cultured with bacteria to give it a slightly thick consistency and sour flavor.
Z. Cooking Terms
A whipped custard made with egg yolks and sugar gradually diluted over heat with Marsala or other wine, fruit juice, or liqueur.
Fine strips of the peel of citrus fruit without the bitter white pith. To remove the zest, scrape a zester (a tool with small holes in one end) against the skin of the citrus fruit. A fine grater will also work but is more time consuming. Organic citrus fruit is recommended or wash lemons with a vegetable wash to remove pesticide residues. Some zesters have a special channel cutter which can be used to remove strips of lemon peel from end to end evenly spaced around lemon. Thinly slice the lemon to make lemon wheels. To obtain a piece of lemon peel, simply cut a section about an inch wide and 2 inches long from the side of the lemon being careful not to cut too deeply, to avoid bitter white pith. A vegetable peeler or small sharp knife works well to cut off pieces of lemon peel.
Recipes by Gina - Recipe of the Moment
Blue Cheese Sauce
- 1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- dash of black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Combine blue cheese, milk, butter and black pepper in saucepan over moderate heat and cook until blended and creamy.
- Add heavy cream and reduce heat to low, stirring continuously.
- Add parmesan cheese and blend to desired consistency.