Kitchen 101

Recipe Success Every Time

  • Read the entire recipe from beginning to end BEFORE you start cooking.
  • First gather all your ingredients and cut all your meats and vegetables, then start your recipe.
  • When you are determining whether a dish has ‘finished cooking’, rely on physical descriptions like ‘juices run clear when poked’ instead of cooking times. Cooking times are general and vary. They should be used as a guide only.

 

The Well-Stocked Pantry

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • balsamic vinegar
  • canola oil
  • cayenne pepper
  • chili powder
  • cider vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • crushed red pepper
  • cumin
  • Dijon mustard
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • dried parsley
  • dried rosemary
  • dried thyme
  • garlic powder
  • garlic salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • honey
  • Italian seasonings
  • ketchup
  • kosher salt
  • mayonnaise
  • olive oil
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • pepper
  • rice vinegar
  • wine vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • yellow mustard

 

Ingredient Assumptions (unless otherwise stated)

  • Eggs are large.
  • Sugar is white granulated.
  • Butter is unsalted.
  • Flour is all-purpose.
  • Herbs, lettuce, and vegetables should be washed and dried.
  • Garlic, ginger, and onions should be peeled.

 

Cooking Terminology

  • Al Dente  Most often used to describe pasta. Firm but not hard. A good rule of thumb is to test pasta for doneness 1-2 minutes before the end of the time listed on the box.
  • Baste To brush or spoon liquid over food as it cooks – usually broths, stocks, marinades, or wine. Basting adds flavor and helps maintain moisture in meats as they cook.
  • Deglaze Adding liquid to a pan in which foods have just been seared or sautéed. The process lifts the bits of browned ingredients and juices from the bottom of the pan incorporating them into the final dish.
  • Dice To cut food into small cubes. Diced food is more regularly shaped than minced or chopped foods, and cooks more evenly.
  • Dredge To evenly coat with flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or other dry ingredient.
  • Fold Lightly combining a mixture until airy. Typically used in baking when adding beaten eggs to a heavier batter.
  • Mince To chop food into very small pieces – basically as small as you can get them. Don’t worry about shape.
  • Poach To cook food gently in simmering liquid.
  • Reduce To cook liquids down so that much of the water evaporates. Reducing intensifies flavors and also thickens.
  • Sauté To cook food in a small amount of fat (such as oil) quickly, moving constantly, over high heat.
  • Sear To brown meat quickly over high heat or under a broiler. Searing locks in moisture. Searing is most often used as a first method of cooking followed by slow roasting.
  • Simmer To cook a liquid just hot enough for tiny bubbles just break the surface.
  • Steam To cook food over a small amount of boiling water.
  • Zest To ‘finely grate’ the rind of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes.