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Glossary of Cooking Techniques


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F - L  

It doesn't always occur to those of us who have cooked for a long time that we put terminology in our recipes with which others might not be familiar, so I have decided to create a glossary. These are not typical "dictionary" definitions. I have tried to include tips and explanations that even the novice cook will comprehend.



Index

F G H I J K L

[ A - E ] [ M - R ] [ S - Z ]




F


Fillet - To remove bones from a fish, so that only the flesh remains. The process depends on the type of fish. Though similar, it is different for flat fish, like a flounder, or round fish, such as a trout. The best way to learn how is to purchase a cookbook with details or watch the cooking shows. If in doubt, your seafood monger will do it for you.

Flake - To gently separate into small pieces, usually with a fork or your fingers. Most commonly refers to cooked fish which, because of its texture, flakes easily.

Fold - To gently mix two or more ingredients together, where one is usually heavier than the other, in order to combine but preserve the texture of each. For example, to combine whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavy batter without deflating. First, stir a little of the whipped product into the batter to lighten it. Then add the remainder. Cut through the center with a rubber spatula, move across the bottom of the bowl towards the side, and gently bring up some of the heavy mixture. Continue, turning the bowl slightly each time, until combined. It is acceptable to leave a few streaks of egg whites when beating them into a batter.

Fry - To cook and brown food in a specified amount fat, usually done very quickly so that a minimal amount of the fat is absorbed into the food. See also: deep fry; shallow fry.


G


Garnish - To enhance finished foods with flavor or visual appeal by using other edible products on the plate. The most common are herbs or grated cheese, but there are many other possibilities including, but not limited to, fruits, small vegetables and edible flowers.

Glaze - The process of dipping or brushing, usually with a sugar-based liquid, to give flavor and a shiny finish to foods, such as roasted or grilled meats, fried pastries or baked goods.

Grate - To rub foods, such as cheeses, vegetables, citrus skins, spices or chocolate, against a grater. Alternately, you can use a processor or mixer blade. Size of grate is dependent upon recipe and/or taste.

Grind - To process foods finely in a grinder, processor or with 2 knives (in a drum roll fashion). Some examples are ground beef for hamburger or ground pork for sausage, but there are preparations other than meats. The advantage of grinding your own is that you can control the texture (from fine to coarse), fat, seasonings and bacteria that can sometime form in excessively or improperly handled processed foods. That being said, be certain you know how to handle the foods safely while grinding.


H



I



J


Julienne - To slice foods in sticks, usually about 1/8-inch wide and 2-inches long. This can easily be accomplished with a knife by stacking slices, then cutting down very thinly. You can also use a mandolin, processor or electric mixer blade attachment.


K


Knead - The process of working a dough to activate the gluten, which is the protein in flour that makes the dough cohesive. To knead by hand, place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Using the heel of the hand, press down on the dough in a forward motion. Then fold the dough over and press again. Continue the process until the dough is very smooth and elastic. For most recipes, it will take about 10 minutes. Alternately, the dough can be kneaded in a processor or heavy-duty standing mixer with a dough hook. Some recipes specify a very light kneading, so follow the instructions carefully.


L


Leaven - To add an ingredient, such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda, that adds gas to a dough or batter, causing it to expand, or rise, and lighten the texture of the finished product.


[ A - E ] [ M - R ] [ S - Z ]