Don’t let fancy recipe terms scare you away from trying out a recipe. It’s like anything you try the first time – a little scary, a little tricky, but practice always makes better!
Bain Marie – A water bath. A great way to keep mashed potatoes warm if you make them ahead of time for a dinner party. You can use a pot of simmering water with a smaller pot, heatproof bowl, etc. on top similar to a double boiler.
Bake – cooking in an oven (electric or gas).
Baste – coating meat with its own juices while you are cooking it.
Beat – quickly mixing to add air and volume to something.
Bind – adding an ingredient that helps things stick together. I use a raw egg to bind my meatloaf.
Blanch – placing food in boiling water for a very short period of time. I blanch almonds for my stewed fruit recipe. The skins pop right off. Also, used to bring out color in vegetables remove skin from tomato.
Braise – start of by browning in oil with intense heat and then continue to cook slowly on low heat in a small amount of liquid.
Broil – to cook food above or below a direct heat source. I use this when browning the top of a dish – crispy cheesy potatoes.
Caramelize – to bring out the nutty flavors as the sugar breaks down and creates a light brownish color. Used a lot when referring to onions.
Chiffonade – mostly used with veggies & herbs. Cutting into thin shreds. Let me show you!
Chop – to cut up in a precise and even way. Making sure all the pieces are the same size to ensure even cooking.
Clarified Butter – removing the butterfat from the liquid butter. Easily done with a spoon or straining the melted butter through cheesecloth.
Combine – to mix two or more ingredients together until they are one.
Cream – beat until soft and creamy. This term is used a lot in baking recipes.
Dice – cut into small cubes.
Deglaze - getting all the good bits off the bottom of the pan by using broth, wine, etc.
Dredge – to lightly coat with flour.
Egg wash – is a combination of egg and liquid used to create a seal (like pastry glue), creates a light brown shiny color on pastry.
Fold – a way to combine a more dense mixture with a lighter one. A spatula is the best tool and you use it from the outside of the bowl into the center, down through the mixture and then back up. Don’t over mix! Let me show you!
Internal temperature – a temperature which tells you if your meat is cooked properly. You insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (avoiding the bone if there is one). According to the USDA: Beef - 145˚F for rare 170˚F for well done. Pork – 165˚F. Lamb- 145˚ for rare – 170˚ for well done. Chicken – minimum 165˚, but I would recommend somewhere between 180˚ – 185˚ F
Grill – to cook food over a high heat source usually a BBQ Grill. In my house I “man” the grill! According to my husband British men don’t BBQ? Good one, huh?
Hull – to remove the core. I always hull my strawberries. Let me show you!
Julienne – cut into small even sticks.
Lardon – a small rectangular piece of pork fat. You hear this term used a lot when referring to bacon.
Marinate – to give flavor to food by placing it in seasoning. I love to marinate food in large Ziploc bags. When you remove the food from the marinade to cook, you simply throw out the bag – no cleanup!
Mince – cut into teeny tiny pieces. Don’t forget that there are great pre-minced products out there. Using the pre minced garlic is a real time saver.
Muddle – To crush/mash ingredients. I find it works best with a wooden spoon. I use this technique when making sangria. I “muddle” the sugar with the lemon, lime and orange slices.
Non-reactive – stainless steel is the best non-reactive pan to cook in. If the recipe calls for non-reactive don’t use: aluminum or copper.
Parboil - partially cooking in boiling liquid. How to start roast potatoes & roast parsnips.
Poach – cooking food in a liquid. I like to poach chicken for recipes that require a really moist and tender chicken breast as part of the recipe.
Roast - to cook with dry heat, like in an oven or over a fire (think bbq spit) at a high temperature sealing in the juices. Roasting produces meat that is browned on the outside, but moist and tender on the inside. I roast chicken, beef and pork. Sunday Roasts are a great British Tradition.
Rough Chop – Is exactly that. Cutting things up in a non-uniform manner.
Sauté- cooking rapidly in a small amount of oil in a sauté pan.
Sear – browning meat quickly to seal in the juices.
Sift – using a sieve for dry ingredients to make sure they are smooth with no clumps or lumps.
Simmer – cooking almost to a boil, but not quite. Keeping it just under the boiling point. This is the technique used for rice – bring to the boil and then simmer to the liquid is absorbed.
Steam – cooking over steam in a wire steamer basket. It’s an excellent way to retain the texture, color and vitamin content of whatever you’re steaming. Unless I’m roasting veggies, I always steam them. When I’m having a dinner party I love to drizzle a little of my Lemon Butter Sauce on top.
Temper – for eggs it’s heating them gently so they don’t curdle. Chocolate is also tempered to form stable crystals. The stable crystals assure the chocolate will be firm at room temperature for however you plan to use it.
Whip – using a whisk to add air to a mixture until light and fluffy.
Zest – removing the outer skin of citrus with a zester or microplane. Adds bold flavor to many dishes.