Die Uppity Cooking Terms!
I don’t know if it bothers you, but it REALLY bothers me when I’m reading a recipe, or a magazine or watching a cooking show and they make food or cooking seem super difficult and elitist. Sure we can’t all make saffron truffle mussels every night easily, but still, this isn’t that complicated if you own the expensive stuff. So I’m on a crusade to expose fancy terms for what they are… I only have a few so far (6 and a half to be exact), but please add to them!
- Compound butter - this is just butter with stuff in it rechilled into butter consistency
- Julienne – slicing veggies or whatever in slim matchstick like pieces… I’m sure french chefs will say this is a poor explanation, but it’s just about right
- Baste – that liquid at the bottom of the pan? Spoon it up on the meat, done. No need for a baster or brush etc. Use a damn teaspoon.
- Chiffonade – see Julienne.. just do that with leaves or herbs, same deal.
- Au gratin – ok, I love au gratin stuff. Broccoli au gratin, potatoes au gratin… nom nom. You know why I love it? Because it just means to be topped with cheese and bread crumbs. Seems l pretty obviously delicious, no need for the fancy title
- Roux - The most unnecessarily intimidating cooking process of all time. If you want thicker soup or sauce, or a great mac&cheese… do this. Put some butter (melted) or stock in the bottom of a pan. Stir in some flour. Then heat while stirring until it thickens up. TADA you’ve rouxed (not a word, shhh). So easy.
- Ok, really 6.b: Bechamel - this is just an extension of a roux, because a bechamel sauce is just roux+milk. Generally you then add cheese so you’ll have a gorgonzola bechamel, for example, but technically it’s just butter, milk and flour, so we cut it out with froufrou stuff.