Developing your skills in the kitchen can be a process but you learn so much by diving in! Starting out with simple recipes and graduating to more complex dishes takes time and a variety of pro-advice gleaned from cookbooks.
But how many times have you been elbow deep in flour only to realize that you’ve stumbled across a cooking term you’ve never heard of? No worries, we’ve compiled a list for you to hang on your fridge for next time you’re in a pinch. Here are some of the essentials:
AL DENTE: An Italian term used to describe pasta that isn’t overly mushy. It’s cooked until it offers a little resistance when you bite into it.
BLANCH: Perfect for veggies, it’s when food is placed in boiling water and cooked slightly so it still has some bite to it.
MISE EN PLACE: Turns out this is just a fancy way to tell you to prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Pre-measure spices, cut up veggies, and pour liquids; it will make it easier than having to stop mid-recipe.
ROUX: A mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces.
CLARIFY: Commonly mentioned when talking about butter. It separates and removes solids from a liquid. Turning it clear.
DEGLAZE: Add liquid to a pan in which food has been sautéed or roasted and scrape up all little bits on the pan. The small bits of meat and juices add flavor to the liquid so you can use it as a sauce or gravy.
EMULSIFY: Combining two liquids—like oil and vinegar—that normally won’t bond together. Add in the oil slowly and whisk it with the vinegar to combine; allowing the two to combine for at least a short time.
DICE: When you cut food into small cubes that are the same size and shape.
DREDGE: To cover with flour or another flour-like substance.
FOLD: Combining a fluffy food like whipped cream in with another substance without losing the lightness. Mix down to the bottom of the bowl then lift up and over until everything is combined.
GRATIN: Yum! An oven-baked dish on which a golden crust made of breadcrumbs, cheese, or a creamy sauce forms. Think about the top of a bubbly mac n’ cheese or scalloped potatoes to get the right idea.
JULIENNE: A cutting technique where you slice produce into long, thin strips.
MEUNIERE: Food (typically meat) that is dredged with flour and sautéed in butter.
TRUSS: To secure chicken or turkey with string or skewers so it holds its shape.
CASSERBOLE: A MacKenzie-Childs original! It’s part casserole dish part rounded bowl and is 100 percent awesome.
SOUR MILK: When you add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to milk, it can be used in place of buttermilk for some recipes.
LEVAIN: A French term for a mixture of flour and water that is colonized by yeasts and bacteria and is used in bread making.
What words would you add to the list?
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