Saturday, November 19, 2011

Handy Dandy Cooking Terms and Techniques

I was mostly self taught when it came to cooking and baking and really didn't have a lot of input so there were terms I was totally clueless about.  I didn't know what folding meant or basting and so forth so I've put this handy dandy term and technique guide together for anyone just starting out or as a refresher for others.

Baste:  To moisten food while cooking with natural food juices, drippings, sauce or juice in order to add flavor and prevent from drying

Blanch:  to partially cook in boiling water or steam; also used to loosen skins from tomatoes (handy when canning and making sauces), peaches, and almonds as well.

Braise:  to cook meats slowly in a tightly covered pan using a small amount of liquid.

Cube:  to cut into exact pieces of 1/2 inch squares

Dash:  a unit of measure that is equal to 1/16 of a teaspoon.  Make it easy on yourself and find measuring spoons that say dash, pinch etc.  I love mine!  You can also measure by filling a 1/4 teaspoon one fourth full.

Deglaze:  to add liquid like water, wine or broth to a skillet after it's been used to cook meat, used to create a sauce.

Dice: to cut into uniform pieces, normally 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

Fold:  to combine a light mixture, such as beaten eggs or egg whites, with a heavy mixture, such as cake batter, without the loss of air.  Heavy ingredients are folded directly into the center of the light ingredients with a spatula and pulled toward the edge of the bowl.

Julienne:  to cut food into thing, matchstick size strips about 2 inches long.

Mince:  to chop food into tiny, irregular pieces.  Like minced garlic.

Poach:  to cook food by partially or completely submerging it in a boiling liquid like broth.

Puree:  to convert a solid into a liquid or heavy paste using a blender or food processor.

Simmer:  to cook food in liquid to just below the boiling point.

Until next time, see you 'round the kitchen,

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