Tools

Definitions

  • Barbeque- a noun, not a verb. pork, prepared in a special way, depending on where you’re from (via).
  • Beurre fondue- butter melted in water, which gives it a creamy texture.  fondue is the french word for melted.
  • Clarified butter- butter that has been removed from its milk solids.  To clarify butter, melt slowly.  Skim the foam off the top, and then pour the clear butter off the solids that have settled to the bottom of the pan.
  • Crostada- free form tart
  • Kitchen string- a cotton or linen (usually uncolored) rope that is used to truss meats.  It will not burn in the oven.
  • Liquid smoke- liquid smoke is smoke condensates that are produced through the controlled burning of wood.  The smoke is passed through water, which gives the liquid a smoke flavor.  You can use liquid smoke in grilling, sautéing, or roasting meats and vegetables to give them a fresh out of the smoker taste.
  • Opaque- opaque is the relative opposite of translucent.  Something that is translucent, you can see through.  Something that is opaque is a soild.  A freshly chopped onion is opaque, a thoroughly sauteed onion is translucent.
  • Parboil- parboiling is the process of partially cooking something, so that you continue to cook it later
  • Parchment paper- heavy, silicone coated paper- safe for the oven
  • Proof- proofing is the process of yeast converting glucose to carbon dioxide.  Essentially, this is what makes dough rise.
  • Retardation process- to allow a dough to go through a retardation process is to let the dough rise in a refrigerator for an extended period of time- a few hours or overnight.
  • Tagine- a Moroccan slow cooker.  A cooking tagine is usually made out of unglazed clay, and can be used in the oven or ontop of a burner.
  • Turkey Triangle- A triangle made out of aluminum foil (large enough to cover the body of your turkey), that gets placed over the body of your turkey during the roasting process.
  • Trussing- to tie up, or bind tightly.  Traditionally you truss with kitchen string.  The point of trussing is to keep the meat together so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.
  • Wax paper- heavy, wax-coated paper, NOT OVEN SAFE.

Conversions

  • 1 stick of butter = 8 tablespoons
  • 2 sticks of butter = 1 cup
  • 16 cups = 1 gallon
  • 1 cup of fluid = 8 fluid ounces
  • 1 quart = 4 cups

Substitutions

  • 1 tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp of baking soda + 5/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 oz vegetable oil = 1 oz melted butter
  • 1 oz butter = 1 oz vegetable shortening (for baking)
  • 1 cup pastry flour = 1 cup – 2 tbsp all purpose flour

Longevity

Honey is the only food that won’t go bad, but some ingredients loose their sparkle long before there are warning signs (i.e. mold) to the naked eye.  Here are some ingredients that are best within a certain time period:

  • baking powder has a 6 month shelf life after you remove the seal.
  • spices can keep their flavor up to 3 years as long as they’re kept in airtight containers.
  • semisweet chocolate is good for approximately 12 months
  • cornstarch has a shelf life of 18 months
  • flour is good for 6-8 months, but watch out for little bugs!
  • pasta and rice are good for 2 years
  • most oils last 18 months to 2 years, unless you’ve been reusing them.

Tips on Your Kitchen Equipment

  • Cast-iron cookware- cast iron cookware is preferred in some instances.  For example, it is often used in cooking meats, frying, and making cornbreads.  Cast iron provides a nice crisp edge on meats, doesn’t stick with eggs, and evenly distributes heat.  With cast iron cookware you do not need to use soap to clean.  One of the benefits of cast iron is that you can season the pans, so after your done simply clean with water and then rub down with oil to retain the flavors in the pan.  Interested in restoring a cast iron piece? Read about the process here.
  • Knives- good knives, the ones used for preparing and creating your kitchen masterpieces, should never be put through the dishwasher.  Like wineglasses, they’re too fragile and the dishwasher can make them dull.
  • Stainless Steel- if your stainless steel cookware turns out to be not-so-stainless, here’s a tip.  Even with the most high-end cookware, a white film can appear.  To rid yourself of this, just rub with vinegar.

Spice Dictionary

  • Allspice- sweet, spicy flavor, similar to cloves, nutmeg, & cinnamon
  • Basil- a leafy herb with a sweet, clove-like flavor
  • Bay leaves- an herb most popular when dried, with a salty, almost floral taste
  • Black pepper- spicy, almost sweet flavor, adds dimension to dishes.
  • Cayenne- red chili pepper, adds spice and heat to dishes
  • Chipotle- smoked dried jalapeños, chipotle has heat but also a rich smokiness
  • Cilantro- (aka coriander) when fresh this herb has a fresh, peppery flavor, with anise overtones
  • Cinnamon- woody, intense flavor perfect for baking.
  • Cloves- warm, sweet flavor.  add a nice spice profile, perfect during the holidays
  • Dill- spicy, lemony taste.  perfect for mayonnaise
  • Gumbo file- powdered sassafrass leaves
  • Herbs from Provence- a mixture of ground rosemary, majoram, basil, bay leaf, thyme, and sometimes lavender
  • Lavender- sweet, floral, with hints of citrus.  part of the mint family
  • Nutmeg- nutty, warm, almost sweet
  • Oregano- warm, full flavor with minty undertones
  • Parsley- the most commonly consumed parsley, flat leaf, has a fresh, mild flavor
  • Red Pepper Flakes- dried anaheim pepper, adds heat
  • Rosemary- an evergreen herb with a woody, bitter taste
  • Sage- an herb with a smoky, rustic flavor
  • Tarragon- subtle, anise-like flavor
  • Thyme- minty, lemony flavor
  • White pepper- more mild pepper, spicy flavor