Why Most People Just Wing It. Part 1
Do You Understand What the Chef is Talking About?
A good fine dining server knows most or all of the terminology or Lingo used by head chefs, cooks so they can better describe details of the meal preparation to restaurant patrons.
Success in your kitchen always begins with a clear understanding of the meal recipe in front of you. At home, you will hear or read many of these cooking terms on TV or in a recipe. You can avoid the confusion of kitchen jargon.
Dazzle your friend with some “Back of House” jargon. Street Cred is now Kitchen Cred, at least in your circle of friends, family. As always, have fun.
Here is a list of common chef and/or recipe terms, to help you be more confident while cooking.
- Blanch– to immerse in boiling water for a short time, to remove any bitterness and seal in flavor, color. Then immerse in ice water or cold facet to stop the cooking process.
- Caramelize– heat a sugar substance to brown.
- Deglaze– flavor a liquid by adding it to a hot pan that has a thin glaze of left over drippings. Usually after roasting, sauteing or frying.
- Julienne– to cut vegetables or fruit into thin strips.
- Pan Fry– cook in a small amount of fat.
- Poach– cook very gently in a hot liquid just under boiling.
- Render– make a solid fat into a liquid. Cook the fat off the bacon.
- Sear– brown very quickly in intense heat to give more flavor, improve appearance.
- Pare– to remove the outer skin of a fruit or vegetable.
- Par Boil-to boil until partially cooked, usually followed by by a final cooking.
- Reduce– boil down to a desired amount.
- Saute– to cook and brown in a small amount of fat.
- Al dente– pasta cooked until just firm.
- Baste– moisten food.
- Braise– cook first by browning, then simmer in a small amount of liquid, covered, until tender.
- Dredge– to cover or coat uncooked food with flour or cornmeal or bread crumbs.
- Glaze– coat food with a glossy mixture or sauce.
- Mince– to cut into tiny pieces, usually with a knife.
- Puree– mash or grind food until smooth, usually in a blender or food processor.
- Scald– heat liquid almost to a boil or until bubbles form around the edges.
- Au Gratin– sprinkle with bread crumbs, cheese or both, then browned.
- Bisque– a thick creamy soup, with a base of strained broth.
- Flambe– the process of adding alcohol, a brandy or cognac or rum into a hot pan to create a burst of flames.
- Mise en Place– (meez en plahs) the preparation of ingredients, such as diced vegetables, measuring spices before starting cooking.
- Par cooking– to partly cook food, so it be reheated and finished later.
- Whip– beat food with a mixer to incorporate air and produce volume. Often used in heavy cream.
- Zest– cut off the the colorful skin of a fruit or vegetable that contains oils and produces aroma, flavor.
I realize this list terms can go and on, so I gave you what I believe are some basic to more advanced words or phrases to help build your cooking skills.
You will now have an improved outlook relating to your culinary skills.
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