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.

Ingredient Assumptions

  • 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.

Weights and Measures

1/16 teaspoon = a dash

1/8 teaspoon = a pinch

3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoons

1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons

1/4 cup = 4 Tablespoons

1/8 teaspoon = a pinch

3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoons

1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons

1/4 cup = 4 Tablespoons

1/3 cup = 5 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon

1/2 cup = 8 Tablespoons

3/4 cup = 12 Tablespoons

1 cup = 16 Tablespoons

1 pound = 16 ounces

8 ounces = 1 cup

1 pint = 2 cups (16 ounces)

1 quart = 2 pints (4 cups)

1 gallon = 4 quarts (16 cups)

 

How Much and How Many
Pasta / Rice
Spaghetti: 4 oz (1 – 1 1/4 c) dry = 2 1/2 cups cooked
Elbow: 4 oz (1 – 1 1/4 c) dry = 2 1/4 cups cooked
Rice: 1 cup uncooked = 3 cups cooked

Butter
1 stick = 8 tablespoons
1 stick = 1/2 cup
1 stick = 1/4 pound
2 tablespoons = 1 oz

Cheese / Eggs
1 pound brick cheese = 4 cups shredded
1/4 pound crumbed cheese = 3/4 – 1 cup
12 – 14 egg yolks = 1 cup
8-10 egg whites = 1 cup

Fruit / Vegetables
1 medium onion = 1/2 cup chopped
2 stalks celery = 1 cup chopped
1 apple = 1 cup chopped
1 lemon = 3-4 tablespoons juice
1 lemon = 1 teaspoon zest
1 orange = 6-7 tablespoons juice
1 orange = 2 teaspoons zest

In a Pinch Substitutions

  • Allspice  1 teaspoon = 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Baking Powder  1 teaspoon
 = 1/3 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar   OR  
1/4 teaspoon baking soda +  1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk (then decrease the liquid in your recipe by 1/2 cup)
  • Breadcrumbs  1 cup
 = 3 slices of lightly toasted bread, crumbled
  • Butter (melted) 1 cup = 

7/8 cup coconut oil (room temperature or melted) OR 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • Butter (solid) 1 cup = 

7/8 cup coconut oil (solid – cold) OR 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (for baking)
  • Buttermilk  1 cup
 = 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar) + enough regular milk to make 1 cup (stir and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • Cream and Half & Half  1 cup = 
7/8th cup whole milk + 1/2 tablespoon butter (or 3 tablespoons olive oil) +  enough milk for 1 cup  OR 
1 cup evaporated milk
  • Chocolate (square)  1 ounce square = 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened) + 1 tablespoon butter
  • Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)  1/4th cup
 = 1 ounce (square) chocolate (then decrease the butter or oil in recipe by 1/2 tablespoon)
  • Condensed Milk  1 cup – 
1/3 cup evaporated milk + 3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons butter. (Microwave on medium until smooth)
  • Cornstarch (for thickening)  1 tablespoon
 = 2 tablespoons flour (will take a little longer to thicken than cornstarch)
  • Egg  1 large whole egg = 

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (baking recipes only) OR 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds + 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid. Stir combination until it becomes gelatinous)
  • Flour (all-purpose) 1 cup = 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup of all purpose flour (don’t substitute more than 1/2 the flour)
  • Flour (cake)  1 cup = 7/8 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Milk (whole) 1 cup
 = 1 cup buttermilk + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (if baking, reduce baking powder by 2 teaspoons) OR 
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk + 7/8 cup water + 2 teaspoons butter OR 3/4 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water
  • Oil (for baking) 1 cup = 1 cup coconut oil (room temperature) OR 1/2 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup oil or butter OR 1 cup melted butter OR 1/2 cup oil + 1/4 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • Oil (for cooking or sautéing)  1 cup = 1 cup coconut oil OR 1 cup butter
  • Sour Cream  1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Brown Sugar 1 cup = 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Granulated Sugar  1 cup = 
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar OR 
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (not in baking recipes) OR 3/4 cup maple syrup or honey (reduce liquid in recipe by 3 tablespoons)
  • Powdered Sugar  1 cup = 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Yogurt (Plain)  1 cup
 = 1 cup buttermilk OR 
1 cup cottage cheese (blended smooth) OR 
1 cup sour cream