ANNOTATED parts of prime rib

A

Aromatics

The vegetables and herbs that add flavor and aroma to a dish.  These are usually sauteed together at the beginning to provide the base of the dish.  The French have their mirepoix.  The Chinese have their own version of aromatics.

B

C

Caramelizing

By applying heat, the ingredient's natural or applied sugar turns brown and nutty similar to the color and flavor of caramel.

E

Ear

A sourdough ear is the extra crunchy flap of crust that forms on the sourdough bread while baking.  This is caused by the ovenspring which expands the dough quickly and creates a crust flap where the dough is scored.

F

Flaky pastry

Flaky pastry or puff pastry is pastry with visible layers.  This is achieved by a process called lamination: layers of dough and butter / shortening are rolled to form the pastry.  The butter / shortening separates the dough, resulting in a layered effect.  It's time consuming.  A cheater option is to purchase a good quality frozen flaky pastry made with all-butter!

G

Garnish

Decorate or embellish the dish with other ingredients.

H

Hull

Hulling strawberries refers to removing the leaves on the tops of strawberries. Hulling strawberries to minimize waste.

M

Marinate

Soaking the item (usually meat) in a liquid marinade made up of herbs, spices and sometimes some kind of acid that will penetrate the item to flavor and tenderize.  The longer the time marinating, the more flavorful the item.  See Basic Chinese Meat Marinade commonly used in my dishes.

Mirepoix

A combination of diced onions, celery and carrots, sauteed in oil or butter as used in French cooking.  This is the foundation or seasoning base for many dishes and sauces.

P

Poach

A method of cooking by gently simmering food in water / liquid just below the boiling point.  This method also allows the flavor of the liquid to penetrate the food.

Puree

A puree is a smooth, soft consistency of a substance obtained by either using a blender or food processor.  The more powerful the blender or food processor, the smoother the consistency.

vitamix - Low profile

Low profile vitamix

versatile cuisinart food processor

Cuisinart food processor

Emersion blender

Emersion blender for small jobs

R

Render

Rendering fat allows the fat to become shelf stable by removing the water which is the component that attracts bacteria.  Fat in meat is rendered by melting it with heat, initially turning it into a liquid state.  It returns to a solid state when cooled.

S

Saute

Fry quickly with a little  heated oil / fat

Sear

Scorch the surface of the meat with a sudden and intense heat.  This process creates an outer crust that seals the juices on the inside.  Using a castiron skillet is effective in getting the high heat required to sear meat.

Seize

Chocolate seizes when moisture is added to melting chocolate, turning it for a smooth viscous state to a stiff, grainy mess!  To avoid chocolate from seizing, ensure that no moisture (steam) touches the chocolate while melting.  To melt chocolate with a liquid, add the liquid to room temperature chocolate before the melting process.

Melted chocolate with milk added after heating

Chocolate seizes when milk is added to chocolate AFTER heating.

Melted chocolate with coconut oil added before microwaving

Melted chocolate with coconut oil added before microwaving

Short / Sweet pastry crust

A short crust pastry or sweet pastry crust has a texture of short bread.  It is less time consuming to make than flaky or puff pastry as the butter / shortening is incorporated into the dough either by hand or food processor, creating a crumbly, dough consistency. See How to make short crust pastry

Sweet crust pastry

Sweet crust pastry

Simmer

State or temperature just below the boiling point. Small bubbles should appear, but not large bubbles at a constant rate.

Steam

A way of cooking a dish using steam. If you don't have an actual steamer, the dish can be placed on cans with the tops and bottoms removed in a large saucepan of water.  The dish should not touch the boiling water.

Bamboo steamer 12"

Bamboo steamer 12"

Separate beets in steamer
Cans used for molds

U

Umami

Comes from the Japanese word and pronouced “oo-ma-mee which literally translates to ”essence of deliciousness."  This "enhanced flavor" can be achieved naturally or with the addition of monosodium glutamate (MSG). This is one of the five basic tastes which include sweet, sour, salty and bitter. 


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