10/26/08

Cooking Terms... What Does Braising Mean?

While I and most cooks regularly might tell you to braise or scald something we of course assume that you know what we're talking about. Because you don't see a lot of 'scalded milk' recipes these days maybe it wouldn't make sense to a new cook. And I assume everyone knows what whisking is (I'm doing it in the photo to the left), again, the new or young cook might be clueless.

So this morning, while I sipped my coffee I decided to do a post on cooking terms. So, while I sit here and type, you sit here and read. And then? My recipes will make sense to you when I tell you something needs to be 'candied' or 'broiled'.

Bake: Cook covered or uncovered in an oven. If it's a meat however, it will be called 'Roasting' even though it's the same thing.

Baste: To moisten foods during hte cooking process with pan drippings or a sauce. This adds flavor and keeps the food moist during cooking.

Beat: To make the mixture smooth by whipping or stirring briskly.

Blend: To mix two or more ingredients together until smooth and uniform.

Boil: To cook in liquid at boiling temperature where bubbles rise to the surface and break.

Braise: To cook slowly with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan on top of a range or in the oven.

Broil: To cook by direct heat usually inches away from the direct heat source in the oven or over coals.

Candied: To cook in sugar or syrup with it's applied to sweet potatoes or carrots but means to cook in a heavy syrup until transparent and well coated when cooking fruit.

Chill: Place in the refrigerator and reduce the temperature.

Chop: Cut into pieces about 1 centimeter big with a chopper, knife, blender, etc.

Cool: Remove something from the heat source and let it stand at room temperature.

Cream: To beat with spoon or mixer until it's soft and smooth or light and fluffy.

Cut in: To mix shortening or butter with dry ingredients using knives or fingers or a pastry cutter. You smoosh and smash and rub until it is crumbly and looks like pea sized peices.

Dice: Cutting foods in small uniform cubes.

Dissolve: Mixing a dry substance into liquid and stirring or heating until it's completely dispersed.

Glaze: A mixture applied to food that hardens or becomes firm. Adds flavor and glossy appearance.

Grate: To rub on a grater so to make small particles out of a solid food.

Marinate: Standing or soaking food in a liquid to add flavor and tenderize.

Mince: Cut or finely chop food into very tiny pieces.

Mix: Combining ingredients with a spoon or fork until evenly distributed.

Poach: Cook in hot liquid, usually quickly so the food holds it's shape while cooking.

Precook: Partially or fully cooking a food before the final stage of cooking or reheating.

Roast: Cooking uncovered in an oven without adding water.

Saute': To brown or cook in a small amount of fat or water to soften

Scald: To bring a liquid (usually milk) to a temperature just before boiling. Tiny little bubbles form at the edge of the pan and bottom but you remove from heat before they break to the surface and come to a boil.

Scallop: To bake a food in casserole form with a sauce or liquid and usually has a crumb topping.

Steam: To cook in steam or without pressure.

Stir: Mixing ingredients with a circular motion until blended and consistent.

Toss: Mixing ingredients lightly and briefly.

Truss: Securing meat or poultry with skewers or tying to hold it's shape during the cooking process.

Whip: To beat or incorporate air and produces expansion (in cream and eggs).

Whisk: To blend or whip something together until smooth or incorporate air into the mixture using a wire whisk and a very quick, consistent motion.
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