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Sunday, December 21st, 2014

E V E R Y D A Y    T I P S

All The News That's Fit To Burn
Stuff a crumbled sheet of newspaper under your coals, then roll another sheet of into a cone and poke it through the coals to form a chimney. When you ignite the paper it will carry the flame into your charcoal.


H E L P   S E C T I O N
COMMON MEASURES
HOW TOs
GLOSSARY



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A L L   C H O I C E S

G L O S S A R Y  ' * '

T E R M
D E F I N I T I O N
Allspice -

Allspice has a complex aroma, hence its name. It is an aromatic spice with a taste similar to a combination of cinnamon and cloves, but hotter and more peppery. It reportedly scores between 100 and 500 on the Scoville scale of hotness (most often used for chile peppers).

Christopher Columbus discovered allspice in the Caribbean. Although he was seeking pepper, he had never actually seen real pepper and he thought allspice was it. He brought it back to Spain, where it got the name "pimienta," which is Spanish for pepper. Its Anglicized name, pimento, is occasionally used in the spice trade today. Before World War II, allspice was more widely used than it is nowadays. During the war, many trees producing allspice were cut, and production never fully recovered. Most allspice is produced in Jamaica, but some other sources for allspice include Guatemala, Honduras, as well as Mexico. Jamaican allspice is considered to be superior due to its higher oil content, which gives it a more appealing flavor.

Allspice is not, as is mistakenly believed by some people who have only come across it in ground form, a mixture of spices. Rather, it is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe, traditionally they are then sun dried. When dry they are brown and look like large brown peppercorns.

Allspice is most commonly sold as whole dried fruits or as a powder. The whole fruits have a longer shelf-life than the powdered product and produce a more aromatic product when freshly ground before use. Fresh leaves are also used where available: they are similar in texture to bay leaves and are thus infused during cooking and then removed before serving. Unlike bay leaves, they lose much flavour when dried and stored. The leaves and wood are often used for smoking meats where allspice is a local crop.

Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in mole sauces, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain and appears in many dishes, including in cakes. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, such as Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers. Allspice is also a main flavor used in barbeque sauces.

Folklore suggests that allspice provides relief for digestive problems.

Volatile oils found in plant contain eugenol, a weak antimicrobial agent (Yaniv, Sohara et al. 2005).

Allspice is a small shrubby tree, quite similar to the bay laurel in size and form. It can be grown outdoors in the tropics and subtropics with normal garden soil and watering. Smaller plants can be killed by frost, although larger plants are more tolerant. It adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. The plant is dioecious, hence male and female plants must be kept in proximity in order to allow fruits to develop.


Anise -

Anise or Aniseed, less commonly anís (stressed on the first syllable) (Pimpinella anisum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the eastern Mediterranean region and southwest Asia. It is a herbaceous annual plant growing to 50 cm tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 2-5 cm long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are white, 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3-5 mm long.

Pimpinella species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.

Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both hunting and fishing. Anise smells similar to liquorice and is put on fishing lures to attract fish. Anethole, the principal component of anise oil is a precursor that can eventually produce 2,5-dimethoxybenzaldehyde which is used in the clandestine synthesis of psychedelic drugs such as 2C-B, 2C-I and DOB. Aniseed is also commonly found in many brands of Absinthe as well as being used as a flavouring for pastis, ouzo, and other liqueurs.

Aniseed is used to make the British confectionary Aniseed balls and the old fashioned New Zealand confectionary, Aniseed wheels. Anise oil is used to make Italian cookies called pizzelles, and used in the frosting of yellow Italian cake-like cookies called "Drops" or "Anise Drops".


Barbecue -

Barbecue (also barbeque, abbreviated BBQ or Bar-B-Que or diminuted chiefly in Australia to barbie) is a method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal and may include application of a vinegar or tomato-based sauce to the meat. The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooker itself, or to a party that includes such food. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually cooked in an outdoor environment heated by the smoke of wood or charcoal, or with propane and similar gases. Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose.

Barbecue has numerous regional variations in many parts of the world. Notably, in the South and Midwest of the U.S., practitioners consider barbecue to include only relatively indirect methods of cooking, with the more direct high-heat methods to be called grilling. In other countries, notably Australia and many parts of Europe, barbecue is either fried or grilled, and most barbecue appliances do not have a lid.

For those who distinguish between the terms, grilling is almost always a fast process over high heat and barbecue is almost always a slow process using indirect heat and/or hot smoke. For example, in a typical home grill, grilled foods are cooked on a grate directly over hot charcoal; while in barbecuing, the coals are dispersed to the sides or at significant distance from the grate. Alternately, an apparatus called a smoker with a separate fire box may be used. Hot smoke is drawn past the meat by convection for very slow cooking. This is essentially how barbecue is cooked in most genuine "barbecue" restaurants, but nevertheless many consider this to be a distinct cooking process called smoking.

The slower methods of cooking break down the collagen in meat and tenderize tougher cuts for easier eating.


Basil -

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) of the Family Lamiaceae is also known as St. Joseph's Wort and Sweet Basil. It is a tender low-growing herb that is grown as a perennial in warm, tropical climates. Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It is prominently featured in varied cuisines throughout the world including Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian. It grows to between 20–60 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves 1.5–5 cm long and 1–3 cm broad. The flowers are quite big, white in colour and arranged in a terminal spike. Unusual among Lamiaceae, the four stamens and the pistil are not pushed under the upper lip of the corolla, but lay over the inferior. After entomophilous pollination, the corolla falls off and four round achenes develop inside the bilabiate calyx. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell. Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. While most common varieties are treated as annuals, some are perennial, including African Blue and Holy Thai basil.

The word basil comes from the Greek word 'basileus', meaning "king", as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been used in "some royal unguent, bath, or medicine". Basil is still considered the "king of herbs" by many cookery authors. An alternative etymology has "basil" coming from the Latin word basilicus, meaning dragon and being the root for basilisk, but this likely was a linguistic reworking of the word as brought from Greece.

Several other basils, including some other Ocimum species, are grown in many regions of Asia. Most of the Asian basils have a clove-like flavour that is generally stronger than the Mediterranean basils. In China, the local cultivar is called ??? (jiucéngta; literally "nine-level pagoda"), while the imported varieties are specifically called luólè or baxili.

'Lemon basil' has a strong lemony smell and flavour very different from those of other varieties, because it contains a chemical called citral. It is widely used in Indonesia, where it is called kemangi and served raw, together with raw cabbage, green beans, and cucumber, as an accompaniment to fried fish or duck. Its flowers, broken up, are a zesty salad condiment.


Bay Leaf -

Bay leaf (plural bay leaves) is the aromatic leaf of several species of the Laurel family (Lauraceae). Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance.

The leaf of the bay laurel or "true laurel", Laurus nobilis, is a culinary herb often used to flavor soups, stews, and braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavour until several weeks after picking and drying.

The leaf of the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica), also known as 'California laurel', 'Oregon myrtle', and 'pepperwood', is similar to the Mediterranean bay but has a stronger flavor.

The leaf of the Cinnamomum tejpata (malabathrum) tree is similar in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the other bay leaves but is culinarily quite different, having an aroma and flavor more similar to that of Cassia. It is inaccurately called a bay leaf as it is of a different genus (though the same family) as the bay laurel.

Bay leaves are a staple in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in North America. They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaise and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni), and removed before serving.

Although uncommon, ground bay leaves are sometimes also used.

Bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste, with the California bay leaf a bit more intense and bitter in flavor than the Turkish. The flavor and aroma of bay leaves owes in large part to the essential oil eugenol.

Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned victors with wreaths of laurel. The term "baccalaureate," means laurel berry, and refers to the ancient practice of honoring scholars and poets with garlands from the bay laurel tree. Romans felt the leaves protected them against thunder and the plague. Later, Italians and the English believed Bay Leaves brought good luck and warded off evil.

The bay leaf is useful in hearty, homestyle cooking. When you are making bean, split pea and vegetable soups, meat stews, spaghetti sauce, and chili, a Bay leaf can be added for a more pungent flavor. Alternate whole Bay Leaves with meat, seafood, or vegetables on skewers before cooking. Be sure to remove Bay Leaves before eating a dish that has finished cooking. The whole leaves are used to impart flavor only and are bitter and hard to chew.


Beef -

Beef is muscle tissue obtained from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef is one of the principal meats used in European cuisine and cuisine of the Americas, and is important in Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia as well. In the Middle East, lamb is the usual meat preferred over beef. Beef is taboo to Hindus and its consumption is discouraged among some Buddhists.

Beef can be cut into steaks, pot roasts, or short ribs, or ground into hamburger. Several Asian and European nationalities include the blood in their cuisine as well—it is used in some varieties of blood sausage. Other beef variety meats include the tongue, which is usually sliced for sandwiches in Western cooking; tripe from the stomach; various glands—particularly the pancreas and thyroid—referred to as sweetbreads; the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys; and the tender testicles of the bull commonly known as "calf fries", "prairie oysters", or "Rocky Mountain oysters."

The better cuts are usually obtained from the steer, as the heifer tends to be kept for breeding. Older animals are used for beef when they are past their reproductive prime. The meat from older cows and bulls is generally tougher, so it is frequently used for ground beef US/ mince UK. Cattle raised for beef may be allowed to roam free on grasslands, or may be confined at some stage in pens as part of a large feeding operation called a feedlot, where they are usually fed grain.

The United States, Brazil, the European Union, Japan and the People's Republic of China are the world's five largest producers of beef. Beef production is also important to the economies of Nicaragua, Argentina, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.


Blanching -

Blanching is a cooking term that describes a process of food preparation wherein the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process.

Uses of blanching

- Peeling Blanching loosens the skin on some fruits or nuts, such as onions, tomatoes, plums, peaches, or almonds.

- Flavor Blanching enhances the flavor of some vegetables, such as broccoli, by releasing bitter acids stored in the cellular structure of the food.

- Appearance Blanching enhances the color of some (particularly green) vegetables by releasing gases trapped in the cellular material that obscure the greenness of the chorophyll. Since blanching is done - and halted - quickly, the heat does not have time to break down chlorophyll as well.

- Shelf life Blanching neutralises bacteria and enzymes present in foods, thus delaying spoilage. This is often done as a preparatory step for freezing vegetables.

Blanching can also describe deep frying in oil at a lower temperature as with the initial cooking of french fries/chips.


Braising -

Braising (from the French "braiser") is cooking with "moist heat," typically in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid which results in a particular flavor.

Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down tough connective tissue and collagens in meat. It is an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as Coq au Vin are highly-evolved methods of cooking tough and unpalatable foods. Swissing, stewing and pot-roasting are all braising types.

Most braises follow the same basic steps. The meat or poultry is first browned in hot fat. Aromatic vegetables are sometimes then browned as well. A cooking liquid that often includes an acidic element, such as tomatoes or wine, is added to the pot, which is covered. The dish cooks in relatively low heat in or atop the stove until the meat is fork-tender. Often the cooking liquid is finished to create a sauce or gravy.

A successful braise intermingles the flavors of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid. Also, the dissolved collagens and gelatins from the meat enrich and add body to the liquid. Braising is economical, as it allows the use of tough and inexpensive cuts, and efficient, as it often employs a single pot to cook an entire meal.

Familiar braised dishes include Murshed, pot roast, beef stew, Swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, goulash, braised tilapia and beef bourguignon, among others. Braising is also used extensively in the cuisines of Asia, particularly Chinese cuisine.


Brining -

In cooking, brining is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in a salt solution (the brine) before cooking.

Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to enter the cell via diffusion. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix which traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from drying out, or dehydrating.

In many foods the additional salt is also desirable as a preservative. Note that kosher meats are salted during the process of koshering so they should not be brined.

Some cheeses are periodically washed in a saltwater brine during their ripening. Not only does the brine carry flavors into the cheese (it might be seasoned with spices or wine), but the salty environment may nurture the growth of the Brevibacterium linens bacteria, which can impart a very pronounced odor (Limburger) and interesting flavor. The same bacteria can also have some impact on cheeses that are simply ripened in humid conditions, like Camembert. Large populations of these "smear bacteria" show up as a sticky orange-red layer on some brine-washed cheeses.


Brochette -

In cooking, en brochette refers to food cooked, and sometimes served, on brochettes, or skewers. The French term generally applies to French cuisine, while other terms like shish kebab, satay, or souvlaki describe the same technique in other cuisines. Food served en brochette is generally grilled.

The skewer itself, the brochette can also be used to dip pieces of food in a fondue. In those cases it normally takes a slightly different form and is sold as a brochette de fondue or as a set along with the fondue pot.


Broiling -

Broiling (exclusive to American English) or grilling (elsewhere in the English speaking world) is a process of cooking food with high heat with the heat applied directly to the food, most commonly from above. Heat transfer to the food is primarily via thermal radiation. As it is a way of cooking without added oil, it is popular in low-fat diets.

In electric ovens, broiling/grilling is accomplished by placing the food near the upper heating element, with the lower heating element off and the oven door partially open. Gas ovens often have a separate compartment for broiling, as a drawer below the flame.

Similar to a broiler/grill is a salamander, which is most frequently used in a professional kitchen. It is smaller than a standard broiler/grill, and is used to finish off dishes, such as caramelizing the sugar on a Crème brûlée.

The terminology merits a further note: broiling is known as grilling in British English and Australian English, but grilling in American English refers to cooking done over an open flame on a grid-iron, barbecuing. During the 1990's 'grilling' also became used in the USA for double-sided frying with something like a commercial electric grill. Popular US promoters of electric double-sided frying appliance have opted for the 'global' term 'grilling' rather than the geographicaly isolated term broiler.

The flame-grilling machine at Burger King restaurants is called a 'Broiler' in the UK and US. It works by moving meat patties along a chain conveyor belt between top and bottom burners, 'grilling' from both sides.

Cooking meat at high temperatures, such as broiling/grilling or barbecuing, can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogens.


Brunoise -

Brunoise is a method of food preparation in which the food item is first julienned and then turned 90° and diced again, producing cubes of a side length of about 2 mm on each side or less. Common items to be brunoised are leeks and carrots.

Its name comes an area in France notable for its spring vegetables.


Campfire -

Campfires can be used for cooking food by a number of techniques. Cooking food using a campfire can be tricky for those not accustomed to it and campfires are illegal in many areas so many campers prefer to use a portable stove instead. The techniques for cooking on a campfire are no different from those used for everyday cooking before the invention of stoves or where stoves are still not available. Individuals who are backpacking in an area that allows the gathering of firewood may decide to cook on a campfire to avoid the need to carry extra equipment; however, most campfire cooking is done in front-country campgrounds.

Possibly the simplest method of cooking over a campfire and one of the most common is to roast food on long skewers that can be held above the flames. This is a popular technique for cooking hot dogs or roasting marshmallows for making s'mores. Another technique is to use pie irons — small iron molds with long handles, into which can be placed slices of bread with some form of filling — which are placed over hot coals to cook.

Grills are also simpler to use and they tend to make the food pick up flavors from the smoke. Grills over a campfire are used in the same way as ordinary charcoal barbecues. If the food is simply placed on the grill, it may catch fire so it requires constant attention. Handleheld grills that clamp over the food may be used for various tasks like warming food, grilling burgers or sausages or making toast.

A pot hanging over the fire, although picturesque, may spill, and the rigging may be difficult to construct from found wood. Generally this is done with metal rigging, much of it identical to that historically used in home fireplaces before the invention of stoves. Two vertical iron bars with an iron cross-piece allow pots to be hung at various heights or over different temperatures of fire. Griddles, grills and skewers can also be hung over the fire. When working with wood, one may use two tripods, lashed with tripod lashings, but the rope will be liable to melt or burn. Dovetail joints are more secure, but difficult to carve.

A good alternative to cooking with a tripod is to cook directly upon the fire itself. To do this properly the fire needs to have a reasonable bed of coals and to have burned down to the point where it is not a roaring fire. While the pot may be set directly upon the coals, this is not preferable since that will tend to extinguish the coals. To lift the pot up off the fire, often two small logs of similar size may be used on either side of the pot. This allows continued airflow through the fire while providing optimal heat. The one down side to this form of cooking is that the pots will become blackened with soot and ash, which can be difficult to scrub off. The ash and soot build up can be easily avoided by applying a thin layer of dish soap (preferably biodegradable) to the outside of the pot before cooking. The ash and soot will stick to the soap which is then easily rinsed off later.

Dutch ovens are specially designed for camping. The oven is placed in a bed of hot coals, often from a keyhole fire with additional coals placed on top of the lid, which usually has a raised rim to keep the coals from falling off. Dutch ovens are made of cast iron or aluminum, and are not suitable for backpacking. Dutch ovens are convenient for cooking dishes that take a long time such as stews, joints of meat and baked goods. They are the not the only option for baking on a campout as devices for baking on portable stoves exist and clay ovens can be constructed at longer encampments.

Reflector ovens are placed on the ground next to the fire, and gather thermal radiation from it.

Other simple methods include plank grilling, where food is cooked on a wooden plank set vertically next to the fire, and hot-stone cooking, where food is placed on a heated stone next to or even in the fire or where fire-heated stones are dropped into a pot.

Another technique is the baking of food in aluminum foil packets. Food is wrapped inside a durable packet of tin or aluminum foil, crimped to seal, and placed on or under hot coals. Baked potatoes are commonly cooked this way.

Special precautions are required for camping in bear country because cooking activities and food storage attract these potentially dangerous animals. Food preparation and storage must be located a safe distance from sleeping areas, so a fire near camp cannot be used for cooking. Food needs to be stored in bear cans or bear bags hung from a tree or post. Other animals may be attracted to food too; most notably raccoons, squirrels and mice.


Caper -

A Caper (Capparis spinosa L.) is a biennial spiny shrub that bears rounded, rather fleshy leaves and big white to pinkish-white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud of this plant. The bush is native to the Mediterranean region, growing wild on walls or in rocky coastal areas throughout. The plant is best known for the edible bud and fruit which are usually consumed pickled. Other species of Capparis are also picked along with C. spinosa for their buds or fruits.

Capparis spinosa is highly variable in nature in its native habitats and is found growing near the closely related species C. sicula, C. orientalis, and C. aegyptia. Scientists can use the known distributions of each species to identify the origin of commercially prepared capers.

The shrubby plant is many-branched, with alternate leaves, thick and shiny, round to ovate in shape. The flowers are complete, showy, with four sepals, and four white to pinkish-white petals, many long violet-colored stamens, and a single stigma usually rising well above the stamens.

The pickled and salted caper bud (also called caper) is often used as a seasoning or garnish. Capers are a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. The grown fruit of the caper shrub is also used, and prepared similarly to the buds to be used as caper berries.

The buds, when ready to pick, are a dark olive green and about the size of a kernel of maize. They are picked, then pickled in a vinegar or vinegar and salt solution.

Capers are often enjoyed in cold smoked salmon or cured salmon dishes, salad, pizza, pasta and sauces. Capers are also sometimes substituted for olives to garnish a martini.

Capers are categorized and sold by their size, defined as follows, with the smallest sizes being the most desirable: Non-pareil (0-7 mm), surfines (7-8 mm), capucines (8-9 mm), capotes (9-11 mm), fines (11-13 mm), and grusas (14+ mm).

Caper berries can be substituted with unripe nasturtium seeds, which have a very similar texture and flavour when pickled.

In Greek popular medicine a herbal tea made of caper root and young shoots is considered to be beneficial against rheumatism. Dioscoride (MM 2.204t) also provides instructions on the use of sprouts, roots, leaves and seeds in the treatment of strangury and inflammation.

The caper was used in ancient Greece as a carminative. It is represented in archaeological levels in the form of carbonised seeds and rarely as flowerbuds and fruits from archaic and Classical antiquity contexts. Athenaeus in Deipnosophistae pays a lot of attention to the caper, as do Pliny (NH XIX, XLVIII.163) and Theophrastus.

The caper-berry is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes as "avionah" according to modern interpretation of the word.


Caraway -

Caraway or Persian cumin (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and western Asia.

The plant is similar in appearance to a carrot plant, with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20-30 cm stems. The main flower stem is 40-60 cm tall, with small white or pink flowers in umbels. Caraway fruits, (erroneously called seeds) are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm long, with five pale ridges.

The plants prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil.

The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that come from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads especially rye bread. Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Scandinavian cuisine, for instance sauerkraut. It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are also made with caraway, and a tisane made from the seeds is good for colic. Caraway seed oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.

In one of the short stories in Dubliners by James Joyce, a character eats caraway seeds to mask the alcohol on his breath.


Casserole -

In cooking, a casserole (from the French for 'stew pan') is a large, deep, covered pot or dish used both in the oven and as a serving dish. In the mid-twentieth century, the word also came to be used for the food cooked and served in such a dish. These foods usually consist of vegetables and sometimes meat, pasta, or rice cooked slowly in sauce or other liquid, and may be served as a main course or a side dish.

The culinary term en casserole (also from French) means 'served in the vessel used for cooking'.

Hot dish is a US Midwestern (and particularly Minnesotan) term for a casserole; it is one of the quintessential foods of that region.

One of the most popular casseroles in the United States (although almost unheard-of elsewhere)--especially at church potlucks and family gatherings--is green bean casserole, whose main ingredients are green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and french fried onions. In the United States, Hispanic foods such as tamales or enchiladas are sometimes made in a large pan and called a casserole.

Casseroles originate from the ancient practice of stewing meat slowly in earthenware containers. Early 18th century casserole recipes consisted of rice that was pounded, pressed, and used as a filling. Casseroles are cooked in Europe and the United States, and are found in other forms in many other cultures around the world, such as the tagines of Morocco and the mud-encrusted Beggar's Chicken of China.


Celery -

Celery (Apium graveolens dulce) is a herbaceous edible biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the coasts of western and northern Europe, most commonly in ditches and saltmarshes. It grows to 1 m tall, with pinnate to bipinnate leaves with rhombic leaflets 3-6 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. The flowers are creamy-white, 2-3 mm diameter, produced in dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose, 1.5-2 mm long and wide. Celeriac (Apium graveolens rapaceum) is closely related.

In North America, commercial production of celery is dominated by a variety called Pascal celery. Gardeners can grow a range of cultivars, many which differ little from the wild species, mainly in having stouter leaf stems. They are ranged under two classes, white and red; the white cultivars being generally the best flavoured, and most crisp and tender.

The wild form of celery is known as smallage. It has a furrowed stalk with wedge-shaped leaves, the whole plant having a coarse, rank taste, and a peculiar smell. With cultivation and blanching, the stalks lose their acrid qualities and assume the mild, sweetish, aromatic taste peculiar to celery as a salad plant.

The plants are raised from seed, sown either in a hot bed or in the open garden according to the season of the year, and after one or two thinnings out and transplantings they are, on attaining a height of 15-20 cm, planted out in deep trenches for convenience of blanching, which is effected by earthing up to exclude light from the stems.

In the past, celery was grown as a vegetable for winter and early spring; because of its antitoxic properties, it was perceived as a cleansing tonic, welcomed after the stagnation of winter.

Both blanched and green it is stewed and used in soups, the seeds also being used as a flavouring ingredient. Even after long immersion in broth, the stalks remain somewhat crisp, and are useful for adding texture to the soup.

In the south of Europe celery is seldom blanched, but is much used in its natural condition.

Chopped, it is one of the three vegetables considered the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is also one of the three vegetables (together with onions and carrots) that constitute the French mirepoix, which is often used as a base for sauces and soups.

Celery seed is used as a spice. When combined with salt, the resulting spice blend is called celery salt. Celery salt is used as an alternate to ordinary salt seasoning in various recipes and cocktails. It is notably used to enhance the flavor of Bloody Mary cocktails, the Chicago-style hot dog, and Old Bay Seasoning.

Chinese celery or Oriental celery, has thinner stalks and a stronger flavor. It is rarely consumed raw, but is often added to soups and stir-fries.

The whole plant is gently stimulant, nourishing, and restorative; it can be liquefied, with the juice taken for joint and urinary tract inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis, or urethritis, for weak conditions, and for nervous exhaustion.

The seeds, harvested after the plant flowers in its second year, are the basis for a homeopathic extract used as a diuretic. The extract is believed to help clear toxins from the system, so are especially good for gout, where uric acid crystals collect in the joints, and arthritis. They are also used as a mild digestive stimulant. The extract can be combined with almond or sunflower oil, and massaged into arthritic joints or for painful gout in the feet or toes.

The root is an effective diuretic and has been taken for urinary stones and gravel. It also acts as a bitter digestive remedy and liver stimulant. A tincture can be used as a diuretic in hypertension and urinary disorders, as a component in arthritic remedies, or as a kidney energy stimulant and cleanser.

Although many people enjoy foods made with celery, a small minority of people can have severe allergic reactions. For people with celery allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock[1]. The allergen does not appear to be destroyed at cooking temperatures. Celery root - commonly eaten as Celeriac, or put into drinks - is known to contain more allergen than the stalk. Celery is amongst a small group of foods (headed by peanuts) that appear to provoke the most severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). An allergic reaction also may be triggered by eating foods that have been processed with machines that have previously processed celery, making avoiding such foods difficult. In contrast with peanut allergy being most prevalent in the US, celery allergy is most prevalent in Central Europe.

Known to the Ancient Greeks, celery has been found in deposits dating to the 9th century BC at Kastanas, as well as at 7th century BC Heraion on Samos. In Homer's Illiad, the horses of Myrmidons graze on wild celery that grows in the marshes of Troy, and in Odyssey there is mention of the meadows of violet and wild celery surrounding the cave of Calypso (Fragiska, 2005).

A chthonian symbol, celery was said to have sprouted from the blood of Kadmilos, father of the Cabers, chthonian divinities celebrated in Samothrace, Lemnos and Thebes. The spicy odour and dark leaf colour encouraged this association with the cult of death. In classical Greece celery leaves were used as garlands for the dead, and the wreaths of the winners at the Isthmian Games were first made of celery before being replaced by crowns made of pine. According to Pliny (Natural History XIX XLVI), in Archaia, the garland worn by the winners of the sacred contest at Nemea was also made of celery (Fragiska, 2005).


Charbroil -

To charbroil is a means of cooking by placing meat, fish, or vegetables on a flat, horizontally-lined surface. The steel grid-like lines are then heated by a fire below, which then creates the burned "lines" on a steak's surface.

Charbroiling is a better means of cooking meat to well-done or near there instead of broiling it au jus because of the speed and tenderness it can maintain. It also does not dry out the meat.

However, studies have shown that charbroiled (and barbecued) food may contain benzopyrene, a known carcinogen. Heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are chemicals that are formed during the grilling and frying and barbecuing of certain so called "muscle meats" such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish.


Chili Pepper -

The chili pepper, chile pepper or chilli pepper, or simply chili, chile or chilli, is the fruit of the plant Capsicum from the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The name comes from Nahuatl via the Spanish word chile. These terms usually refer to the smaller, hotter types of capsicum; the mild larger types are called bell pepper (simply pepper in Britain and Ireland or capsicum in Australasia).

Chili peppers and their various cultivars originate in the Americas; they are now grown around the world because they are widely used as spices or vegetables in cuisine, and as medicine.

Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since about 7500 BC. They were domesticated there between 5200 and 3400 BC, one of the first cultivated crops in the Americas. Chili peppers are thought to have been domesticated at least five times by prehistoric peoples in different parts of South, Central and North America, from Peru in the south to Mexico in the north and parts of Colorado and New Mexico (Ancient Pueblo Peoples).

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in the Caribbean), and called them "peppers" because of their similarity in taste (though not in appearance) with the Old World peppers of the Piper genus. Columbus was keen to prove (incorrectly) that he had in fact opened a new direct nautical route to Asia, contrary to reality and the expert consensus of the time, and it has been speculated that he was therefore inclined to denote these new substances "pepper" in order to associate them with the known Asian spice[citation needed].

Diego Álvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first chili peppers to Spain, and first wrote about their medicinal effects in 1494.

From Mexico, at the time the Spanish colony that controlled commerce with Asia, chili peppers spread rapidly into the Philippines and then to India, China, Korea and Japan with the aid of European sailors. The new spice was quickly incorporated into the local cuisines.

An alternate sequence for chili pepper's spread has the Portuguese picking up the pepper from Spain, and thence to India, as described by Lizzie Collingham in her book Curry. The evidence provided is that the chili pepper figures heavily in the cuisine of the Goan region of India, which was the site of a Portuguese colony (e.g. Vindaloo, an Indian interpretation of a Portuguese dish). Collingham also describes the journey of chili peppers from India, through Central Asia and Turkey, to Hungary, where it became the national spice in the form of paprika.

The most common species of chile peppers are:

Capsicum annuum, which includes many common varieties such as bell peppers, paprika, jalapeños, and the chiltepin

Capsicum frutescens, which includes the cayenne and tabasco peppers

Capsicum chinense, which includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero and Scotch bonnet

Capsicum pubescens, which includes the South American rocoto peppers

Capsicum baccatum, which includes the South American aji peppers

Assorted paprika fruits from MexicoThough there are only a few commonly used species, there are many cultivars and methods of preparing chile peppers that have different common names for culinary use. Green and red bell peppers, for example, are the same cultivar of C. annuum, the green ones being immature. In the same species are the jalapeño, the poblano, ancho (which is a dried poblano), New Mexico(which is also known as chile colorado), Anaheim, Serrano, and other cultivars. Jamaicans, Scotch bonnets, and habaneros are common varieties of C. chinense. The species C. frutescens appears as chilies de arbol, aji, pequin, tabasco, cayenne, cherry peppers, malagueta and others.

Peppers are commonly broken down into three groupings; bell peppers, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. Most popular pepper varieties are seen as falling into one of these categories, or as a cross between them.

The substances that gives chile peppers their heat is capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in pepper spray. The "heat" of chile peppers is measured in Scoville units (SHU). Bell peppers rank at 0 (SHU), jalapeños at 3,000–6,000 SHU, and habaneros at 300,000 SHU. The record for the hottest chili pepper is assigned by the Guinness Book of Records to the Red Savina Habanero, measuring 577,000 SHU; however the Dorset Naga pepper is claimed to be over three times as hot as the Red Savina pepper, at 970,000 SHU.

However, a recent report was made of a pepper from India called the Naga Jolokia, measuring at 855,000 SHU. Both the Red Savina and the Naga Jolokia claims are disputed as to their validity, and lack independent verification.[2] In April 2006, it was reported that the Dorset Naga pepper, a variety of the Naga Jolokia pepper cultivated exclusively by the Peppers by Post company in Dorset, England, had been measured at 923,000 SHU by a lab used by the American Spice Trade Association.[3] For reference, pure capsaicin rates at 15,000,000-16,000,000 SHU. Subsequently BBC “Gardeners’ World” has recorded an even higher level for the Dorset Naga. As part of its 2006 programming, it ran a chili trial looking at several varieties. Heat levels were tested in a British laboratory and the Dorset Naga came in at almost 1.6 million SHU. The growers are currently waiting for details of the testing before being confident with this result.

The fruit is eaten cooked or raw for its fiery hot flavour which is concentrated along the top of the pod. The stem end of the pod has glands which produce the capsaicin, which then flows down through the pod. Removing the seeds and inner membranes is thus effective at reducing the heat of a pod.

Well-known dishes with a strong chile flavor are Mexican salsas, Tex-Mex chile con carne, and Indian vindaloos and other curries. Chile powder is a spice made of the dried ground chilies, usually of the Mexican chile ancho variety, but with small amounts of cayenne added for heat, while chili powder is composed of dried ground chile peppers, cumin, garlic and oregano. Bottled hot sauces such as Tabasco sauce are made from Tabasco chilies, similar to cayenne, which may also be fermented.

Chipotles are dry, smoked red (ripe) jalapeños.

Korean, Indian, Indonesian, Szechuan and Thai cuisines are particularly associated with the chile pepper, although the plant was unknown in Asia until Europeans introduced it there.

In Turkish or Ottoman cuisine, chilies are widely used. It is known as "Kırmızı Biber" (Red Pepper) or "Acı Biber" (Hot Pepper).

Sambal is dipping sauce made from chile peppers with any other ingredients such as garlic, onion, shallots, salt, vinegar and sugar. It is very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

The leaves of the chili pepper plant, which are mildly bitter, are cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili (literally "chili leaves"). They are often used in the chicken soup dish known as tinola. In Korean cuisine, the leaves are also used to produce chili pepper leaf kimchi.

There are entire breeds of chili pepper which are not intended for consumption at all, but are grown only for their decorative qualities, generally referred to as "ornamental peppers". Some of them are too hot for most common cooking techniques, or simply don't taste good. Some are grown for both decoration and food. Either way, they tend to have peppers of unusual shapes or colors. Examples of these include Thai Ornamental, Black Pearl, Marble, Numex Twilight, and the Medusa pepper. Numex Twilight is a green plant which produces fruit starting purple, then ripening to yellow, orange, and red, meaning that the plant actually has every color of the pigment color wheel except blue. Black Pearl has black leaves and round red fruit.

Chili peppers are popular in food. They are rich in vitamin C and are believed to have many beneficial effects on health. The pain caused by capsaicin stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, natural opioids which act as analgesics and produce a sense of well-being. Psychologist Paul Rozin suggests that eating chiles is an example of a "constrained risk" like riding a roller coaster, in which extreme sensations like pain and fear can be enjoyed because individuals know that these sensations are not actually harmful.

Birds do not have the same sensitivity to capsaicin as mammals, as capsaicin acts on a specific nerve receptor in mammals, and avian nervous systems are rather different. Chile peppers are in fact a favorite food of many birds living in the chile peppers' natural range. The flesh of the peppers provides the birds with a nutritious meal rich in vitamin C. In return, the seeds of the peppers are distributed by the birds, as they drop the seeds while eating the pods or the seeds pass through the digestive tract unharmed. This relationship is theorized to have promoted the evolution of the protective capsaicin.

The three primary spellings are chili, chile and chilli, all of which are recognized by dictionaries.

Chili is widely used, but this spelling is discouraged by some, since it is more commonly used to refer to a popular Southwestern-American dish (also known as chili con carne (literally chili with meat), the official state dish of Texas), as well as to the mixture of cumin and other spices (chili powder) used to flavor it. Chile powder, on the other hand, refers to dried, ground chile peppers. This spelling was popularized in part by the band Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Chile is the American spelling (uncommon elsewhere) which refers specifically to this plant and its fruit. This orthography is universal in the Spanish-speaking world, although in some parts the plant and its fruit are better known as ají. In the American southwest (particularly northern New Mexico), chile also denotes a thick, spicy, un-vinegared sauce, which is available in red and green varieties and which is often served over most New Mexican cuisine.

Chilli, is the preferred spelling according to the Oxford English Dictionary, although it also lists chile and chili as variants.

The name of this plant bears no relation to Chile, the country, which is named after the Quechua chin ("cold"), tchili ("snow"), or chilli ("where the land ends"). Chile is one of the Spanish-speaking countries where chiles are known as ají, a word of Taíno origin.

There is some disagreement about whether it is proper to use the word "pepper" when discussing chili peppers because "pepper" originally referred to the genus Piper, not Capsicum. Despite this dispute, a sense of pepper referring to Capsicum is supported by English dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary (sense 2b of pepper) and Merriam-Webster [4]. Furthermore, the word "pepper" is commonly used in the botanical and culinary fields in the names of different types of chile peppers.

Red chilis are very rich in vitamin C and provitamin A. Yellow and especially green chiles (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular. They are very high in potassium and high in magnesium and iron. Their high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the uptake of non-heme iron from other ingredients in a meal, such as beans and grains.


Chili Powder -

Chili powder (also called chili mix) is a spice mix consisting of various ratios of dried ground chile peppers, cumin, garlic, and oregano. The ground chile peppers may be exclusively hot ones such as cayenne or (rarely) just mild ones like paprika, but are usually a mixture of types to give the desired balance between heat and chile flavor. As the name suggests, chili powder is used to spice chili as well as many other dishes.

Many people make their own chili powder, and many versions are available commercially. In addition to the main ingredients above, small amounts of any of a number of other powdered spices may be added to the mix including cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace, nutmeg, turmeric and even black pepper.

There is some disagreement about the origin of manufactured chili powder. The two men generally credited with marketing the first commercial chili powder blends were William Gebhardt and D.C. Pendry.

Pendry ran a Mexican grocery supply company in Ft. Worth, Texas. He began manufacturing and marketing his blend of chili powder in about 1890, encouraging its use by people who were unfamiliar with it by supplying recipes to restaurants in the area.

Gebhardt was a German immigrant to New Braunfels, Texas. He served chili in his café, flavored with his own blend of chili powder. He starting selling the blend in about 1894 under the brand name Gebhardt's Eagle Brand Chili Powder.

Chili powder is often confused with the similar-sounding chile powder (an ingredient of chili powder), which is simply dried and pulverized hot chile peppers, the fruit of any of a number of hot varieties of the Capsicum plant of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). In cooking, a heaping teaspoon-full of chile powder is an equivalent substitute for one "average" chile.

An acceptable chili powder mix is:

cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon

paprika or other milder powdered chile, 1 tablespoon

ground cumin, 2 tablespoon

oregano, 1 tablespoon

garlic powder, 2 tablespoon

smaller quantities of any or all of the other spices mentioned above

Yield: approx. 1/2 cup


Chives -

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), is the smallest species of the onion family Alliaceae, native to Europe, Asia and North America. They are referred to only in the plural, because they grow in clumps rather than as individual plants. Allium schoenoprasum is also the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old World.

Its species name derives from the Greek [word]s skhoinos (sedge) and prason (onion). Its English name, chive, derives from the French word cive, which was derived from cepa, being the Latin word for onion.

Culinary uses for chives involve shredding its leaves (straws) for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Because of this, it is a common household herb, frequent in gardens as well as in grocery stores. It also has insect-repelling properties which can be used in gardens to control pests.

The chive is a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 30-50 cm tall. The bulbs are slender conical, 2-3 cm long and 1 cm broad, and grow in dense clusters from the roots. The leaves are hollow tubular, up to 50 cm long, and 2-3 mm in diameter, with a soft texture, although, prior to the emergence of a flower from a leaf, it may appear stiffer than usual. The flowers are pale purple, star-shaped with six tepals, 1-2 cm wide, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together; before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts.

Chives are the only species of Allium native to both the Old World and New; however, some argue that the race found in North America should be classified as A. schoenoprasum Var. sibiricum, although this is disputed. There have, however, been significant differences among type specimens: one example was found in northern Maine growing solitary, instead of in clumps, also exhibiting dingy grey flowers.

Albeit repulsive to insects in general, due to its sulfur compounds, its flowers are attractive to bees, and it is sometimes kept to increase desired insect life.

Chives are grown for their leaves, which are used for culinary purposes as condiment, which provide a somewhat milder flavour than its neighbouring Allium species.

Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden, among others. In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches. It is also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes.

Chives are one of the "fines herbes" of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and/or parsley.

Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making it a readily available spice herb; it can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to its taste, giving home-growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own garden.

Chives are cultivated both for its culinary uses as well as its ornamental value; the violet flowers are popular to dry to make ornamental dry bouquets.

Chives thrive in well drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun.

Chives can be grown from seed when mature in summer, or early the following spring. Typically, chives need to be germinated at a temperature of 15 °C to 20 °C and kept moist. They can also be planted under a cloche or germinated indoors in cooler climates, then planted out later. After at least four weeks, the young shoots should be ready to be planted out. Some prefer to replant the small clump of chives available in plastic pots at some markets, thus avoiding unnecessary work with sowing seeds and cloche cultivation.

In the winter, chives die back to the underground bulbs, with the new leaves appearing in early spring. Chives starting to look old can be cut back to about 2-5 cm; this length is also preferred when harvesting, making the unattractive yellowing appear close to the ground, so that the plant can retain its aesthetic value.

Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although signs of its usage date back to 5000 years ago, used by the Chinese.

The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed that eating chives would increase blood pressure and acted as a diuretic.

Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling.

It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.


Clay Pot -

Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. This technique has a long history, stretching back at least to ancient Roman times.

Typically, an unglazed clay pot is submerged for 15 to 30 minutes to absorb water before cooking, then filled with the food and placed into an oven. The walls of the pot help to diffuse the heat, and as the pot warms it releases the water as steam.

The food inside the clay pot loses none of its moisture because it is surrounded by steam, creating a tender, flavorful dish. The evaporation of the water prevents burning so long as the pot is not allowed to heat until it is completely dry. Because no oil needs to be added with this cooking technique, food cooked in a clay pot may be lower in fat compared with food prepared by other methods such as sautéing or frying. And unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out into the water.

Because of the heat lost to the evaporation of water, clay pot cooking requires higher oven temperature and longer cooking times than traditional roasting with dry heat. Clay pots may be cleaned by scrubbing them with salt; soaps or detergents should not be used, because the clay may absorb them.


Confit -

Confit (French) is a generic term for several kinds of preserve.

Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a speciality of southwestern France. The word comes from the French verb confire (to preserve), which in turn comes from the Latin word (conficere), meaning "to do, to produce, to make, to prepare." The French verb was first applied in medieval times to fruits cooked and preserved in sugar syrup or honey. Later, it came to describe various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months, and can be reheated to extend its useful life.

The first kind of confit was preserves of meat in fat. (Excessive fat is discarded before consumption.) The process involves cooking a piece of meat in its own fat and storing it in a pot, covered in the same fat for preservation.

Perhaps the most common examples of confit are confit d'oie (goose) and confit de canard (duck), in which poultry is macerated in herbs and salt, cooked in savory broth or fat, and then preserved in rendered fat. Such confits are a specialty of the southwest of France (Toulouse, Dordogne etc.) and are used in refined versions of dishes such as cassoulet. Although confit of goose or duck are now considered somewhat luxurious products, these dishes were used by peasants as a means to store meats for periods of time without refrigeration.

Fruits confits are fruits (or pieces thereof) preserved in sugar. The fruit must be fully infused with sugar up to its core; larger fruits take considerably longer than smaller ones to prepare. Thus, while small fruits such as cherries are confites whole, it is quite rare to see whole large fruits, such as melons, confits, and when they are available, large fruits confits are quite expensive.

Small fruits confits, such as cherries, are traditionally used as decorations on elaborate cakes. In French, the expression la cerise sur le gâteau ("the cherry on the cake") is used figuratively to mean some kind of desirable, but not indispensable, additional feature or finishing touch. An equivalent saying in English would be "the icing on the cake."


Deep Frying -

Deep frying is a cooking method whereby food is submerged in hot oil or fat. Because of the high temperature involved and the high heat conduction of oil, the cooking process is extremely fast. Because no water is used, deep frying is best classified as a dry cooking method.

If performed properly, deep frying does not make food excessively greasy because the moisture in the food repels the oil[citation needed]. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside out. As long as the oil is hot enough and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long, oil penetration will be confined to the outer surface. However, if the food is cooked in the oil for too long, too much of the water will be lost and the oil will begin to penetrate the food. The correct frying temperature depends on the thickness and type of food, but in most cases it lies between 175 and 190°C (345–375°F).

Some fried foods are given a coating of batter or breading prior to frying. The effect of these is that the outside of the food becomes crispy and browned while the inside becomes tender, moist, and steamed. Some foods, such as potatoes or whole, skin-on poultry, produce a natural skin and do not require breading.

Although correctly produced fried foods are perfectly wholesome, correct management of the oil is essential. Abusing the frying oil by overheating, excessive use or undue exposure to air while hot leads to formation of oxidation products, polymers and other deleterious or even toxic compounds such as acrylamide (in starchy foods). Researchers in many countries have found that of the three major market sectors, the most abused frying oils were (in order from the worst) those in the catering, domestic and industrial sectors.

Some useful tests and indicators of excessive oil deterioration are the following: Sensory: Darkening, smoke, foaming, thickening. Laboratory: Acidity (FFA), anisidine value, viscosity, total polar compounds, polymeric triglycerides. Note that there are now on the market simple, reasonably priced instruments reading the total polar compounds (the best single test), with sufficient accuracy for restaurant and industry use.


Deglazing -

When a piece of meat is roasted, pan fried or prepared in a pan with another form of dry heat, a fond, or deposit is left at the bottom of the pan with any rendered fat. Usually, the meat is removed from the cooking vessel, the majority of the oil is poured off, leaving a small amount with the dried and caramelized meat juices. The pan is returned to the heat, and a liquid is added to act as a solvent. This liquid can be plain water, vegetable or meat stock, a spirit, some wine, or any other liquid. This allows the cook to scrape the dark spots from the bottom of the pan, and dissolve them creating a rich sauce.

This method is the cornerstone of many well known sauces and gravies. The resulting liquid can be seasoned and served on its own, or with the addition of aromatic vegetables such as onions or shallots. The sauce can also be thickened with a starch such as flour, or reduced with a steady heat forming a richer concentrated sauce, sometimes called a coulis if produced from cooking sea food.


Deveining -

Deveining is the removal of the gastrointestinal tract of a shrimp, a common part of preparing them for eating. The digestive track is a dark band running from the head to the tail of the animal, where the spine would be if they were vertebrates. In females the reproductive canal is also in the same area.

The vein is relatively easy to remove. One must first cut a slit in the shell and the back of the animal. Special deveining tools are sometimes used, but most people just use a small knife. The vein is strong enough that when pulled it usually comes out in its entirety.

Removing the vein is not essential, as it is not poisonous and is mostly tasteless. Deveining does slightly change the flavour and makes it more consistent. However, aesthetically the vein does not look appealing. Shrimp also sometimes consume small amounts of sand by accident and the vein thus might be gritty. For females the reproductive canal contains roe that is highly prized by some, but others dislike it. With small shrimp the vein is barely detectable and is rarely removed.


Dicing -

Dicing is a method of food preparation in which the food item is cut into small blocks or dice. This may be done for aesthetic, or artistic, reasons or to create uniformly sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Dicing is a desirable method of food preparation, due to the small nature of the pieces of food, which allows the spread of flavour and texture throughout the dish.

Dicing usually applies to vegetables prepared in this way but it can also apply to the preparation of meat or fish.


Drying -

Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which prevents the growth of microorganisms and decay. Drying food using the sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been known since ancient times. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then water is removed by sublimation.

Many different foods are prepared by drying, including Parma ham, bresaola, beef jerky, and even fruits that normally have a high water content, such as prunes, raisins, figs, and dates.

Dried and salted reindeer meat is a traditional Lappish food. First the meat is soused. It is kept in saltwater for a couple of days to guarantee the conservation of the meat. Then the meat is dried in the sun in spring when the air temperature is below zero. The dried meat can be further processed to make soup.


Earth oven -

An earth oven or cooking pit, is one of the most simple and long-used cooking structures - a simple pit dug in the ground to hold heated materials for food to be cooked over. Earth ovens have been used in many places and cultures in the past. The presence of such cooking pits is a key sign of human settlement often sought by archaeologists.

Although there are many variations, the basic system is for fire-heated rocks in a pit to be covered with green vegetation, large quantities of food, more green vegetation, and then a final covering of earth. Cooking takes at least several hours.

Many ethnic communities still use cooking pits, at least for ceremonial or celebratory occasions. Perhaps the best known examples are the Hawaiian luau and the Māori hāngi.

In many areas archeologists recognise "pit-hearths" as being in common use in the past. In Central Texas there are large "burned-rock middens" apparently used for large-scale cooking of plants of various sorts, especially the bulbs of sotol. The Mayan pib and Andean watia are other examples.

Earth oven cooking was very common in the past and continues into the present - particularly for special occasions.

In the closely-related Polynesian languages the general term is "umu" or similar - the Tongan 'umu, Māori umu or hāngi, Hawaiian imu, Samoan 'umu, Cook Island umu. In non-Polynesian parts of the Pacific, languages are more diverse so each language has its own term - in Fiji it's a lovo. (In Papua New Guinea, "mumu" - borrowed from Polynesian, is used by Tok Pisin and English speakers, but each of the other hundreds of local languages has its own word.)

Despite the similarities, there are many differences in the details of preparation, their cultural significance and current usage.


Flambé -

Flambé (also spelled flambe and pronounced as (flahm'bei) is a cooking procedure in which alcohol (ethanol) is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The word means flamed in French (thus, in French, flambé is a past participle; the verb is flamber).

It is typically done to create a stunning visual presentation at a dramatic point in the preparation of a meal. The flames result from the combustion of the flammable alcohol, which is quickly consumed, subsequently extinguishing the flames.

Although the practice of igniting food for show can be traced to the Moors in the 14th century, modern flambéing was discovered in Monte Carlo in 1895, when Henri Carpentier, a waiter, accidentally set fire to a pan of crêpes he was preparing for the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom. He discovered that burning the sauce affected its flavor in a way that he could not have anticipated.

Simply lighting food on fire is not flambéing in and of itself. Igniting a sauce with alcohol in the pan changes the chemistry of the food. Because alcohol boils at 175 °F (65 °C) and water boils at 212 °F (100 °C) and sugar caramelizes at 320 °F (160 °C), ignition of all these ingredients combined results in a complex chemical reaction, especially as the surface of the burning alcohol surpasses 500 °F (246 °C). However, because taste is a very subjective sense, not everyone can discern a change in flavor as a result of flambéing. Some claim that because the flame is above the food and since heat travels upwards, it cannot significantly affect the flavor, although in an informal taste test conducted by the Los Angeles Times of two batches of caramelized apples (one flambéed and one simmered), one tester declared the "flambéed dish was for adults, the other for kids."

Because of their high alcohol content, in the United States, many low end restaurants use liquors such as Everclear or 151. However, these spirits are highly flammable and usually considered too dangerous by most restaurants. Wines and beers have too little alcohol and will not flambé. Rum, cognac, or other flavorful liqueurs that are about 80 proof are considered ideal. Cinnamon, which is ground from tree bark, is sometimes added not only for flavor, but for show as it ignites when added.

For safety reasons, it is recommended that alcohol never be added to a pan on a burner and that the cook use a long fireplace match.


Frying -

Frying is the cooking of food in oil or fat. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g. palm oil and coconut oil, which are solid at room temperature.

Fats can reach much higher temperatures than water at normal atmospheric pressure. Through frying, one can sear or even carbonize the surface of foods while caramelizing sugars. The food is cooked much more quickly and has a special crispness and texture. Depending on the food, the fat will penetrate it to varying degrees, contributing richness, lubricity, and its own flavour.

Frying techniques vary in the amount of fat required, the cooking time, the type of cooking vessel required, and the manipulation of the food. Sautéing, stir frying, pan frying, shallow frying, and deep frying are all standard frying techniques.

Sautéing and stir-frying involve cooking foods in a thin layer of fat on a hot surface, such as a frying pan, griddle, wok, or sauteuse. Stir frying involves frying quickly at very high temperatures, requiring that the food be stirred continuously to prevent it from adhering to the cooking surface and burning.

Shallow frying is a type of pan frying using only enough fat to immerse approximately one-third to one-half of each piece of food; fat used in this technique is typically only used once. Deep-frying, on the other hand, involves totally immersing the food in hot oil, which is normally topped up and used several times before being disposed. Deep-frying is typically a much more involved process, and may require specialized oils for optimal results.

Deep frying is now the basis of a very large and expanding world-wide industry. Fried products have great consumer appeal in all age groups, and the process is quick, can easily be made continuous for mass production, and the food emerges sterile and dry, with a relatively long shelf life. The end products can then be easily packaged for storage and distribution. Examples are potato chips, french fries, nuts, doughnuts, instant noodles, etc.

There is some criticism of fried foods for their low nutritional value. Frying, especially deep frying, imbues the food with fat from the oil, lowering their nutrient density.


Glaze - A glaze in cooking is a coating of a glossy, often sweet, mixture applied to food. Egg whites and icing are both used as glazes. For example, Donut glaze is easily made from a simple mixture of confectioner's sugar and water.


Grilling -

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves direct heat. Devices that grill are called grills. The definition varies widely by region and culture.

The United States use of the word refers to cooking food directly over a source of direct, dry heat. In the UK and Commonwealth this would be referred to as barbecueing, although grilling is usually faster and hotter than the American sense of the word "barbecue". Grilling is usually done outdoors on charcoal grills and gas grills. Many agree that charcoal provides more flavor, but many prefer gas since one can grill quickly and easily year round. Propane is the most common fuel for gas grills and is most often sold in 20lb cylinders. Those fuel cylinders can be either refilled from a propane tank or exchanged at numerous locations throughout the United States.

A skewer or brochette, a rotisserie, or a wok may link smaller portions of food into this process. Grilling is very popular during the summer months, but is becoming increasingly popular throughout the entire year. Mesquite or hickory wood chips (damp) may be added on top of the coals to allow a smoldering effect that provides additional flavor to the food. Other hardwoods such as pecan, apple, maple and oak may also be used.

Meats such as pork, lamb, beef, and chicken can be basted or marinated to help retain moisture or impart seasonings. Spice rubs and dry seasonings can also be applied to impart different flavors.


Hibachi -

The hibachi (Japanese: literally "fire bowl") is a traditional Japanese heating device. It consists of a round, cylindrical or a box-shaped open-topped container, made from or lined with a heatproof material and designed to hold burning charcoal.

In North America, the term "hibachi" is used to refer to a small cooking stove heated by charcoal (actually called shichirin in Japanese), or to an iron hot plate (teppan) used in Teppanyaki restaurants.

Although the word is Japanese and the device is strongly associated with Japan, the hibachi originated in China as a type of portable charcoal brazier used to heat the homes of the nobility. It is not known when the hibachi was first used in Japan; however written records suggest that it was used by the Heian period (798-1185AD). Owing to the low availability of metal in China and Japan, early hibachis were made from dug-out cypress wood lined with clay. However, craftsmen soon began to make more decorative versions with lacquered finishes, gold leaf, and other artistic embellishments. Stronger materials such as metal and ceramics became popular over time. Traditional hibachis can be very attractive objects in themselves and are today sometimes sold as antiques. They were originally used mainly by the samurai classes and aristocrats but gradually spread among ordinary people. Their design developed throughout the Edo period.

For most of its history the hibachi was used for heating, but it has been put to many uses; for example, as a cigarette lighter and portable stove for Japanese troops during World War II.

The hibachi was once a common sight in Japan before the Second World War (and was often seen in waiting rooms at train stations), but it became a rarity and was gradually replaced by the oil heaters now commonplace in Japan. (Central heating is relatively rare in Japanese homes.)

The traditional Japanese hibachi is a heating device and not usually used for cooking. In English, however, "hibachi" often refers to small cooking grills typically made of aluminium or cast iron, with the latter generally being of higher quality. Owing to their small size, hibachi grills are popular as a form of portable barbecue. They resemble traditional, Japanese, charcoal-heated cooking utensils called shichirin. It has been suggested that these grills were confusingly marketed as "hibachi" when they were introduced to North America because that word was easier than "shichirin" for English speakers to pronounce.

Alternatively, "hibachi-style" is a North American term for Japanese teppanyaki cooking, in which gas-heated hotplates are integrated into tables around which many people (often multiple parties) can sit and eat at once. The chef performs the cooking in front of the diners, typically with theatrical flair -- flipping shrimp tails into his hat, for example, or lighting a volcano of onions on fire with his fingers. The popular Japanese restaurant chain Benihana uses hibachi grill cooking as its trademark. Hibachi's, an unrelated franchise, operates several restaurants in the metropolitan Philadelphia area, with locations in Pennsylvania, Texas, Delaware and New Jersey.


Julienning -

Julienning is a method of food preparation in which the food item is cut into long thin (matchstick-sized) strips. Common items to be julienned are carrots, in preparation for carrots Julienne, a common side dish, potatoes for french fries, or celery for Céléris Remoulade.

With a sharp knife the raw vegetable is sliced on four sides to create a thick rectanglar stick, then cut lengthwise into approximately 3 mm (1/8 inch) slices. Stacking these slices and again cutting lengthwise into strips creates thin uniform square sticks. Julienne usually applies to vegetables prepared in this way but it can also be applied to the preparation of meat or fish, especially in stir fry techniques.

The first known use of the term in print is in 'Le Cuisinier Royal' from 1722. The origin of the term is uncertain, but may derive from the proper name Jules or Julien. Some claim that a certain chef Jean Julien first used this method of preparing vegetables, but definite evidence to support this claim is still needed.

Once julienned, turning the subject to a 90 degree angle and dicing finely produces brunoise.


Lamb -

Chefs and diners commonly know sheep meat prepared for food as lamb or mutton (compare the French word for "sheep": mouton).

Ewes' milk is used in the production of cheese and yogurt in many upland parts of the world. Well known sheep milk cheeses include the Roquefort of France, the brocciu of Corsica, the pecorino of Italy and the feta cheese of Greece. See Category:Sheep's-milk cheeses. Sheep milk contains lactose, and may trigger lactose intolerance in humans.

Sheep testicles, sometimes euphemistically called prairie oysters, are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.


Marination -

Marination, also known as marinating, is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavour by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the 'marinade', is often a vinegar (or other acidic liquid such as lemon juice or wine) and oil mixture. It can also contain herbs and spices.

It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat or harder vegetables such as beetroot, aubergine (eggplant), and courgette (zucchini). The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines. In Indian cuisine the marinade is usually prepared with yoghurt and spices.

In meats, the acid causes the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed and giving a juicier end product. However, too much acid can be detrimental to the end product. A good marinade will have a delicate balance of spices, acid and oil.

Often confused with marinating, "macerating" is also a form of food preparation. Often soft vegetables, legumes or fruits are used and are also coated in a liquid. This process, again, makes the food tastier and easier to chew and digest.


Mincing - Mincing is a cooking technique in which food ingredients are finely divided. The effect is to create a closely bonded mixture of ingredients and a soft or pasty texture. Flavoring ingredients with spices or condiments such as garlic, ginger, and fresh herbs may be minced to distribute flavor more evenly in a mixture. Additionally bruising of the tissue can release juices and oils to deliver flavors uniformly in a sauce. Mincemeat tarts and Pâtés employ mincing in the preparation of moldable paste.


Oregano -

Oregano or Pot Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) is a species of Origanum, native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. It is a perennial herb, growing to 20-80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1-4 cm long. The flowers are purple, 3-4 mm long, produced in erect spikes. The name means "Joy of the Mountains."

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek and Italian cuisines. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.

It is a conditio sine qua non in Italian cuisine. It is used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables and grilled meat. Together with basil, it makes up for the character of Italian dishes; see parsley on Italian variants of bouquet garni.

Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs, oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.

Oregano is an indispensable ingredient for Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavour to the Greek salad and is usually used separately or added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies almost every fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles.

It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavour. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Asia Minor) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia) have similar flavours. A closely related plant is marjoram from Asia Minor, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram (gold marjoram = gold oregano).


Pan Frying -

Pan frying is a form of frying characterized by the use of less cooking oil than deep frying; enough oil to, at most, cover the food to be cooked only half way. As a form of frying, pan frying relies on oil as the heat transfer medium and on correct temperature to retain the moisture in the food. The exposed topside allows, unlike deep frying, some moisture loss (which may or may not be desirable) and contact with the pan bottom creates greater browning on the contact surface (which may or may not be desirable.) Because of the partial coverage, the food must be flipped at least once to cook both sides.

The advantages of using less oil are practical: less oil is needed on hand and time spent heating the oil is much shorter. The chief disadvantage of using less oil is that it is more difficult to keep the oil at an even temperature. The moisture loss and increased browning can be beneficial or detrimental depending on the item cooked and its preparation and should be taken into account if there is a choice to be made between pan frying and deep frying.

Generally, a shallower cooking vessel is used for pan frying than deep frying. Using a deep pan with a small amount of oil does reduce spatter but the increased moisture around the cooking food is generally detrimental to the preparation. A denser cooking vessel -- the pan should feel heavy for its size -- is necessarily better than a less dense pan since that mass will improve temperature regulation. An electric skillet can be used analogously to an electric deep fryer and many of these devices have a thermostat to keep the liquid (in this case, oil) at the desired temperature.

A popular entree that would be described as "pan fried" would be fish or seafood.


Par-Cooking -

Par-cooking refers to the technique of partially cooking foods so that they can be finished later. There are two primary reasons for using this technique. First, it allows foods to be prepared ahead of time, and quickly heated prior to serving. Since the second reheat finishes the cooking process, foods are not overcooked as leftovers often are. This is a common technique in the processed food industry, and most frozen and pre-prepared foods are par-cooked.

A second reason is to take advantage of different cooking techniques. For example, one method of preparing french fries involves first boiling, then frying the potatoes, so they have a crisp exterior and fluffy interior. In stir-fries or other mixed dishes, meats, root vegetables, and other foods that take a long time to cook, will be par-cooked so they finish at the same time as other foods.


Parboil -

Parboil is an action which refers to partially boiling food in water before finishing cooking it by another method. When something has been parboiled it has been partially cooked; that is, subjected to boiling for a brief period of time. To be parboiled can also mean to be subjected to uncomfortable heat.

The etymology of the word includes influences from the Middle English parboilen meaning to boil partly and the Old French parboillir; to boil thoroughly. These words in turn stem from Late Latin. The modern meaning of the word is caused by confusion of par- with part-.

The word is often used when referring to parboiled rice. Parboiling can also be used for removing poisonous or foul-tasting substances from foodstuffs, such as for removing gyromitrin from false morels.

As a unit operation in chemical engineering, parboiling is the same as extraction or leaching.


PLEASE CHANGE THIS ENTRY! - MISTAKE


PLEASE CHANGE THIS ENTRY! - MISTAKE


Poaching -

Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in liquid, generally water, stock or wine.

Poaching is particularly suitable for fragile food, such as eggs, poultry, fish and fruit, which might easily fall apart or dry out. For this reason, it is important to keep the heat low and to keep the poaching time to a bare minimum, which will also preserve the flavour of the food.

Poached eggs are generally cooked in water, fish in white wine, poultry in stock and fruit in red wine.


Pork -

Pork is the meat taken from pigs. It is one of the most common meats consumed by people.

The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated as early as 5000 BC. It is believed to have been domesticated either in the Near East or in China from the Wild Boar. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of the Wild Boar allowed early humans to domesticate it much earlier than many other forms of livestock, such as cattle. Pigs were mostly used for food, but people also used their hide for shields, their bones for tools and weapons, and their bristles for brushes.

Prior to the mass-production and re-engineering of pork in the 20th Century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally a Fall dish; pigs coming to the slaughter in the Fall after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer. Due to the Fall nature of pork in Western culinary history, apples (harvested in late Summer and Fall) have been a staple pairing to fresh pork. The year-round availability of meat and fruits has not diminished the popularity of this combination on Western plates.

Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, providing about 38 percent of daily meat protein intake worldwide, although consumption varies widely from place to place. This is despite religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and the prominence of red meat (beef and lamb) industries in the West. Pork consumption has been rising for thirty years, both in actual terms and in terms of meat-market share.

As Western cultures tend to eat more meat, the highest consumption records may overstate the significance of pork in a diet. The significance of pork requires a measure of proportion: for instance, the percentage of meat protein contributed by pork; or the percentage of dietary calories provided by pork. As an example, pork represents more than 70% of daily protein intake in Vietnam and Korea.

There are different systems of naming for cuts in America, Britain and France.

American cuts of pork

Head - This can be used to make brawn, stocks and soups. After boiling the ears can be fried or baked and eaten separately.

Spare Rib Roast/Spare Rib Joint /Blade shoulder - This is the shoulder and contains the shoulder blade. It can be boned out and rolled up as a roasting joint, or cured as "collar bacon". Not to be confused with the rack of spare ribs from the front belly.

Hand - This can be cured on the bone to make a ham, or used in sausages.

Hormel Pork Loin Fillets

Loin - This can be cured to give back bacon. The loin and belly can be cured together to give a side of bacon. The loin can also be divided up into roasting joints and pork chops.

Belly/Side - The belly, although a fattier meat, can be used for steaks or diced stir-fry meat. Belly pork may be rolled for roasting or cut for streaky bacon.

Legs/Hams - Although any cut of pork can be cured, technically speaking only the back leg is entitled to be called a ham. Legs and shoulders, when used fresh, are usually cut bone-in for roasting, or leg steaks can be cut from the bone.

Trotters - Both the front and hind trotters can be cooked and eaten, as can the tail Pork ribs are taken from the pig's ribs and the meat surrounding the bones.

Pork is particularly common as an ingredient of sausages. Many traditional European sausages are made with pork, including chorizo, fuet, and salami. Pork may also be used as a cheap ingredient in supermarket sausages.

Ham and bacon are made from fresh pork by curing with salt (pickling) and/or smoking. Shoulders and legs are most commonly cured in this manner for ham whereas streaky and round bacon usually comes from the loin, although it may also come from the side and belly.

Roasted pork knuckleHam and bacon are popular foods in the west, and their consumption has increased with industrialisation. Non-western cuisines also use preserved meat products. For example, salted preserved pork or red roasted pork is used in Chinese and Asian cuisine.

In order to utilise the whole carcass ("everything but the squeal"), parts of the pig such as knuckle, pig's feet ("trotters"), chitterlings (pork intestines), and hog jowls may be eaten. In earlier centuries in the United States some of these products figured prominently in the traditional diets of poor Southerners (see soul food). Scrapple and McRib are other examples of aggregate pork products.

Feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, is prepared with pork trimmings: ears, tail and feet.

Throughout the Islamic world, many countries severely restrict the importation or consumption of pork products. Examples are Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Pork is one of the best-known of a category of foods that are forbidden under traditional Jewish dietary law. The biblical basis for the Jewish prohibition of pork is in Leviticus 11:7.

Seventh-day adventists likewise eat no pork.


Pot Roast -

Pot roast is a braised beef dish. Pot roast is typically made by browning a roast-sized piece of beef (taken from the tougher chuck cut) to induce a Maillard reaction, then slow-cooking in an acidulated liquid in a covered dish.

Chuck steak, blade steak, and 7-Bone pot roast are recommended, as it is very inexpensive, yet becomes very tender after braising. As with all braises, the slow cooking tenderizes the tough meat, while the liquid exchanges its flavor with that of the beef. The result of a good pot roast should be tender, succulent meat and a rich liquid that lends itself to gravy.

Pot roast is often served with carrots and/or potatoes simmered in the cooking liquid, though less orthodox vegetable preparations are known (Alton Brown introduces one such preparation in the Good Eats episode "A Chuck for Chuck").


Poultry -

Poultry is the class of domesticated fowl (birds) used for food or for their eggs. These most typically are members of the orders Galliformes (such as chickens and turkeys), and Anseriformes (waterfowl such as ducks and geese).

The word poultry is often used to refer to the meat of these birds. In a more general sense, it may refer to the meat of other birds, such as pigeons or doves, or game birds like pheasants.

The meatiest parts of a bird are the flight muscles on its chest, called breast meat, and the walking muscles on the first and second segments of its legs, called the thigh and drumstick respectively.

In chickens and turkeys, the flight muscles, not adapted for sustained use, have less oxygen-carrying myoglobin than the walking muscles, and are thus lighter in color. This is the distinction between "white meat" and "dark meat". Waterfowl are adapted for sustained flight, and their breast meat is dark.


Pressure Cooking -

Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because water's boiling point increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a temperature higher than 100 °C (212 °F) before boiling. Most pressure cookers have an internal pressure setting of 15 psi, the standard determined by the USDA in 1917. At this pressure water boils at 125 °C (257 °F). The higher temperature causes the food to cook faster. Cooking times can be reduced by a factor of three or four. For example, shredded cabbage is cooked in one minute, fresh green beans take about five, small to medium-sized potatoes (up to 200 g) may be ready in five minutes or so and a whole chicken takes no more than twenty-five minutes. It is often used to simulate the effects of long braising or simmering in shorter periods of time.

The materials used for making cookers are generally aluminium and stainless steel. The aluminium may be wrought and buffed or anodised, however aluminium pans should not be put in a dishwasher. The stainless steel cooker may have bottom plated or brazed with copper or aluminium for uniform heating of bottom of cooker.

A pressure cooker is often used by mountain climbers to compensate for the low atmospheric pressure at a very high altitude. Under these circumstances water boils at temperatures significantly below 100 °C and without the use of a pressure cooker, may leave the food improperly cooked.


Proofing -

Proofing is a step in creating yeast breads and baked goods where the yeast is allowed to leaven the dough. This step is not often explicitly named, and normally shows up in recipes as "Allow dough to rise".

During proofing, yeast converts glucose and other carbohydrates to carbon dioxide gas which gives the bread rise and alcohol which gives it flavor. Bacteria which coexists with the yeast consume this alcohol, producing lactic and acetic acids. Different types of bread have vastly different requirements for proofing depending on their recipe. Some breads will only require a single proofing while others will need multiple periods. Between stages of proofing recipes will often instruct a cook to "punch down" or "deflate" the dough to allow the bubbles of gas which have formed in the dough to deflate without popping (called overproofing). Length of proofing periods can be determined by time or characteristics. Often the "poke method" is used to determine if a bread has risen long enough; if the bread, when poked, springs back immediately it is underproofed and needs more time.

Proofing is divided into a number different categories including fermentation, proofing, retarding, autolyse. Fermenting is any stage of proofing which is completed prior to the shaping of the bread. Often a third of a bread's rise will occur during this stage. Proofing is the general term for allowing a break to rise while at room temperature after it has been shaped. Retarding is the stage in which bread is placed into a dough retarder, refrigerator, or other cold environment to slow the activity of the yeast. The retarding stage is rarely found in recipes with commercial yeast but often used in sourdough bread recipes to allow the bread to develop it characteristic flavor. Autolyse is a period of rest allowed for dough to relax. After the initial mixing of flour and water, the dough is allowed to sit. This rest period allows for better absorption of water and allows the gluten and starches to align. Breads made with autolysed dough are easier to form into shapes and have more volume and improved structure.

To ensure consistent results, specialized tools are used to manipulate the speed and qualities of fermentation.

A dough proofer is a chamber used in baking that encourages fermentation of dough by yeast through warm temperatures and controlled humidity. The warm temperatures increase the activity of the yeast, resulting in increased carbon dioxide production and a higher, faster rise. Dough is typically allowed to rise in the proofer before baking.

A banneton basket viewed from below.A dough retarder is a refrigerator used to control the fermentation of yeast when proofing dough. Lowering the temperature of the dough produces a slower, longer rise with more varied fermentation products, resulting in more complex flavors. In particular, cold reduces the activity of the yeast relative to the lactobacilli, which produce flavoring products such as lactic acid and acetic acid.

A banneton is a type of basket used to provide structure for the sourdough breads during proofing. Proofing baskets are distinct from loaf pans in that the bread is normally removed from these baskets before baking. Traditionally these baskets are made out of wicker, but many modern proofing baskets are made out of silicone. Frequently a banneton will have a cloth liner to prevent dough from sticking to the sides of the basket. These baskets are used both to provide the loaf with shape and to wick moisture from the crust. Banneton baskets are also known as Brotform or proofing baskets. Alternatively, a couche or proofing cloth can be used to proof dough on or under. Couche are generally made of linen or other coarse material which the dough will not stick to and are left unwashed so as to let yeast and flour collect in them, aiding the proofing process.


Purée -

Purée and (more rarely) mash are general terms for food, usually vegetables or legumes, that has been ground, pressed, and/or strained to the consistency of a soft paste or thick liquid. Purées of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g. mashed potatoes or apple sauce. The term comes from French, where it meant purified or refined.

Purées overlap to some extent with other dishes with similar consistency, such as thick soups, creams (crèmes) and gravies — although these terms often imply more complex recipes and cooking processes. Coulis (French for "strained") is a similar but broader term, more commonly used for fruit purées. The term is not commonly used for paste-like foods prepared from cereal flours, such as gruel or muesli; nor with oily nut pastes, such as peanut butter. The term paste is often used for purées intended to be used as an ingredient, rather than eaten.

Purées can be made in a blender, or with special implements such as a potato masher, or by forcing the food through a strainer, or simply by crushing the food in a pot. Purées generally must be cooked, either before or after grinding, in order to improve flavor and texture, remove toxic substances, and/or reduce their water content.


Reduction -

In cooking, reduction is the process of thickening or intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture such as a soup or sauce by evaporation. Common preparations involving reductions include

- Consommés, reduced and clarified stocks

- Gravies

- Gastriques, sauces involving both acidic and sweet components

- Pan Sauces

- Syrups

While reduction does concentrate the flavors left in the pan, extended cooking can drive away volatile flavor compounds, leaving behind less interesting tastes.

To perform a reduction, boil the liquid (whether stock, wine or sauce mixture) rapidly until the volume desired is reached by evaporation.


Riced - Rice is a cooking term meaning to pass food through a device called, appropriately, a ricer or food mill, which comes in several forms. In the most basic, food is pushed or pressured through a metal or plastic plate with many small holes, resulting in a smoother result than mashing, but coarser than pureeing or passing through a sieve or tammy. Potatoes are the most commonly "riced" foods, as in the dish riced potatoes, essentially a smoother version of mashed potatoes.


Roast -

Roasting is a cooking method that utilizes dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source. Roasting usually causes caramelization of the surface of the food, which is considered a flavor enhancement. Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted. Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. Vegetables and poultry prepared in this way are referred to as roasted (e.g. roasted chicken or roasted squash). Some foods such as coffee and chocolate are always roasted.

Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and yorkshire puddingUntil the late 19th century, roasting by dry heat in an oven was called baking. Roasting originally meant turning meat or a bird on a spit in front of a fire. It is one of the oldest forms of cooking known. Formerly, the kitchens of great houses were equipped with treadmills, powered by dogs or humans, for turning the spit.

Traditionally recognized roasting methods consist only of baking and cooking over or near an open fire. Grilling is normally not technically a roast, since grilled meat is usually seasoned with wet ingredients or marinated. Smoking differs from roasting because of the lower temperature and controlled smoke application.

Most meat roasts are large cuts of meat, and have to cook for a long time. This meat may be moved during cooking, as on a spit or rotisserie, or roasted in place. A roast of meat is occasionally referred to as a joint, especially in Britain, or a Leg, if it is a leg.


Rotisserie -

Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit and revolves over a flame or other heat source. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous basting if desired.

Historically, rotisseries were turned by hand or by clockwork contrivances. Nowadays, they are usually driven by electric motors.

This style of rotisserie mounts the spit horizontally. They are often used to cook whole chickens or roasts of various meats including beef and pork. The design may include a single spit mounted over an open broiler or grill, a single spit mounted within an otherwise-conventional oven, or many spits mounted within a large industrial oven. The latter are commonly used to mass produced roasted meats for sale to consumers.

In this style of rotisserie, balance is important. If the object to be cooked is far out of balance, it will impose a heavy load on the drive mechanism or cause the mechanism to fail to turn. Loose chicken legs or wings can also cause the mechanism to jam. For these two reasons, some skewering skill is required.

High-end consumer ovens commonly come with a rotisserie (or allow the installation of a rotisserie as an option). In these cases, the motor drive mechanism is usually concealed within the oven. The rotisserie is used by removing the normal cooking racks; a special carrier may be needed to provide one or both bearing points for the spit.

The other common style of rotisserie is the vertical rotisserie; here, the heat is applied directly from the side (as shown in the picture) or, less-commonly, convected up from below. In this style of rotisserie, balance of the load is less important than with a horizontal rotisserie.


Sauté -

Sautéeing is a method of cooking food using a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Sauter means "to jump," in French, and the food being sautéed is kept moving, not unlike the stir fry technique using a wok. The difference between stir-frying and sauteeing which is implied in the name of the latter is that the food in question is meant to be flipped onto its other side after being made to jump into the air.

Food that is sautéed is usually cooked for a relatively short period of time over high heat inorder to brown the food, while preserving its color, moisture and flavor. This is very common with more tender cuts of meat, e.g. tenderloin and filet mignon. Sautéeing differs from searing in that the sautéed food is thoroughly cooked in the process. One may sear simply to add flavor and improve appearance before another process is used to finish cooking it.

Olive oil or clarified butter are commonly used for sautéeing, but most fats will do. Regular butter is less well suited for sautéeing, because it will burn at a lower temperature due to the presence of milk solids.

A related cooking method, called a sweat, starts with the same raw materials as a sauté (a pan and some fat), but uses a low heat. The purpose of the sweat is simply to soften the food, not brown it as in a sauté. The food being sweated is sometimes salted, to allow some of the food's moisture to "sweat" out.

To sauté, a hot pan is required, large enough to hold all of the food in one layer. A kind of frying pan known as a sauté pan is ideal for sauteing; it has straight sides, to maximize the surface area available for the saute. Only enough fat to lightly coat the bottom of the pan is needed. Using too much fat will cause the saute to fry rather than to slide. The food is spread across the hot fat in the pan, and left to brown, turning occasionally for even cooking. Tossing or stirring the items in the pan by shaking the pan can cause the pan to cool faster, and make the sauté take longer, possibly producing a lower quality result.

The two most important items to watch are that the pan is very hot, and that the food is not crowded into the pan. This ensures that the food browns well without absorbing the fat or stewing in its own juices. Furthermore, the food must be completely dry in order to keep the pan from cooling and to keep the moisture from building up in the pan; moisture will steam or stew the food. This is particularly important in the case of food that has been marinated.

To flip your food, an important element of a proper sautee, requires practice. The movement of flipping involves first tightly gripping the handle of the pan, then sliding it forward to the front of the pan and quickly yanking the pan an inch or so backwards, causing the food to slide up the far side of the pan and into the air if performed correctly. This requires a fairly non-stick pan with rounded edges, so that the food is curled up and back, rather than jettisoned forward. To practice this movement before attempting it in front of a date, you might want to practice on a slice of well-toasted (and therefore rigid) bread, which you should work with until you can successfully flip it so it lands back flat on the pan without hitting the sides. You can then progress to dry (raw) beans, which cannot make a serious mess and slide easily. The sign of a true master is to be able to flip two large crepes on industrial-sized, heavy pans at the same time without tearing them. For bonus points, you can try rolling a crepe by performing a series of mini-flips, doubling small sections of the crepe back onto itself.


Searing -

Searing (or pan searing) is a technique used in grilling, roasting, braising, sautéing, etc. that cooks the surface of the food (usually meat, poultry or fish) at high temperature so that a caramelized crust forms. A similar technique, browning, is typically used to sear or brown all sides of a particular piece of meat, fish, poultry, etc. before finishing it in the oven.

It is commonly believed that this acts to lock in the moisture or "seal in the juices" of the food. However, it has been scientifically shown that searing results in a greater net loss of moisture versus cooking to the same internal temperature without first searing. Nonetheless it remains an essential technique in cooking meat for several reasons:

The browning creates desirable flavors through caramelization and the Maillard reaction.

The appearance of the food is usually improved with a well-browned crust. The contrast in taste and texture between the crust and the interior makes the food more interesting to the palate.

Typically in grilling the food will be seared over very high heat and then moved to a lower-temperature area of the grill. In braising, the seared surface acts to flavor, color and otherwise enrich the liquid in which the food is being cooked.


Separating (Eggs) -

Separating eggs is a process usually used in cooking, in which one removes the egg yolk from the egg white. This is used to allow one part of the egg to be used without the other part — for instance, many recipes require frothing egg whites to make a foam, which will not work if the yolk is also included, as fat prevents eggs from foaming. Since egg yolks are high in fat, it is best to separate them before whisking.

All methods for separating eggs make use of the fact that the yolk can hold itself together while the white is much more runny. Since older eggs have more watery yolks which make separation difficult, it is a good idea to begin with the freshest[1] eggs available. Old eggs can be used for other dishes that do not require separation, like omelettes. An egg is fresh if it lays flat at the bottom of a glass of water. It is bad if it floats.

Different methods:

- Break the egg and use your fingers to strain out the yolk, while the whites run into the bowl below. This is very quick but messy.

- Crack the egg in half and cradle the yolk in one half of the shell (using the other half of the shell to keep it from slipping out) while draining the white into a bowl. If some white is left with the yolk, carefully pass the yolk back and forth between halves until it is all drained, being sure not to break the yolk on the sharp edges of the shell. Then deposit the yolk into another bowl.

- Break the egg on to a plate, and trap the yolk under a glass. Carefully, drain off the whites, lifting the glass slightly.

- Use a needle to pierce the egg and run the whites out, leaving the yolk inside.

- Break the egg into a funnel, thus capturing the yolk.


Simmering -

Simmering is a cooking technique in which foods are cooked in hot liquids kept at or just barely below the boiling point of water (at average sea level air pressure), 100 °C (212 °F). To keep a pot simmering, one brings it to a boil and then adjusts the heat downward until just before the formation of steam bubbles stops completely. Water normally begins to simmer at about 94 °C or 200 °F.

Professional chefs debate the appropriate temperature and appearance of simmering liquids constantly, with some saying that a simmer is as low as 180°F. If you are in culinary school or a professional kitchen, you should always use the chef's definition of simmering.

Simmering ensures gentler treatment than boiling to prevent food from toughening and/or breaking up. Simmering is usually a rapid and efficient method of cooking.

In Japanese cuisine, simmering is considered one of the four essential cooking techniques (along with grilling, steaming, and deep frying).

In Argentina, simmering is considered the essential method to heat the water to experience "mate" in the perfect quality to taste the flavor of this worldwide known Argentinian tradition.


Smoking -

Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials, most often wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables, and ingredients used to make beverages such as Scotch whisky, Rauchbier, and lapsang souchong tea are also smoked.

In Europe, alderwood is the traditional smoking wood, but oak is more often used now, and beech to a lesser extent. In North America, hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, maple, and fruit-tree woods such as apple, cherry and plum are commonly used for smoking. Other fuels besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavoring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea, heated at the base of a wok. Some North American ham and bacon makers smoke their products over burning corn cobs. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make Scotch whisky and some beers.

Historically, farms in the western world included a small building termed the smokehouse where meats could be smoked and stored. This was generally well-separated from other buildings both because of the fire danger and because of the smoke emanations. The buccan is a smoking device used by some Native Americans.

"Hot smoking" is a several-hours-long process that can be used to fully cook meats or fish; barbecue is a form of hot smoking. Generally, hot-smoking involves holding the food directly above the fire, or in an enclosure that is heated by the fire. The cooking temperature in a hot-smoking environment is usually between 55 and 80°C (130–180°F) The temperatures reached in hot smoking can kill microbes throughout the food.

"Cold smoking" is an hours- or days-long process in which smoke is passed by food which is held in a separate area from the fire. Generally the food is held at room temperatures (15–25.5°C/60–80°F) as it is smoked. Since no cooking takes place, the interior texture of the food generally isn't affected; neither are any microbes living within the meat or fish. For this reason, cold-smoking has traditionally frequently been combined with salt-curing, in such foods as ham, bacon, and cold-smoked fish like lox (smoked salmon).

Hardwoods are made up mostly of three materials: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Cellulose and hemicellulose are the basic structural material of the wood cells; lignin acts as a kind of cell-bonding glue. Some softwoods — especially pines and firs — hold significant quantities of resin, which produces a harsh-tasting soot when burned. Because of this, these woods are generally not used for smoking.

Cellulose and hemicellulose are aggregate sugar molecules; when burnt, they effectively caramelize, producing sweet, flowery, and fruity aromas. Lignin, a highly complex arrangement of intelocked phenolic molecules, also produces a number of distinctive aromatic elements when burnt, including smoky, spicy, and pungent compounds like guaiacol, phenol, and syringol, and sweeter scents like the vanilla-scented vanillin and clove-like isoeugenol. Guaiacol is the phenolic compond most responsible for the "smokey" taste, while syringol is the primary contributor to smokey aroma. (Hui 512) Wood also contains small quantities of proteins, which contribute roasted flavors. Many of the odor compounds in wood smoke, especially the phenolic compounds, are unstable, dissipating after a few weeks or months.

A number of wood smoke compounds act as preservatives. Phenol and other phenolic compounds in wood smoke are both antioxidants, which slow rancidification of animal fats, and antimicrobials, which slow bacterial growth. Other antimicrobials in wood smoke include formaldehyde, acetic acid, and other organic acids, which give wood smoke a low pH — about 2.5. Some of these compounds are toxic to people as well, and may have health effects in the quantities found in cooking applications. The compounds best demonstrated to have long-term health consequences are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, many of which are known or suspected carcinogens. Hotter wood fires make more PAHs; hot-burning mesquite produces twice as much as cooler-burning hickory.

Since different species of tree have different ratios of components, various types of wood do impart a different flavor to food. Another important factor is the temperature at which the wood burns. High-temperature fires see the flavor molecules broken down further into unpleasant or flavorless compounds. The optimal conditions for smoke flavor are low, smoldering temperatures between 300 and 400 °C (570–750 °F). This is the temperature of the burning wood itself, not of the smoking environment, which sees much lower temperatures. Woods that are high in lignin content tend to burn hot; to keep them smoldering requires restricted oxygen supplies or a high moisture content. When smoking using wood chips or chunks, the combustion temperature is often lowered by soaking the pieces in water before placing them on a fire.

Smoke is a decent antimicrobial and antioxidant, but smoke alone is insufficient for preserving food in practice. The main problem is that the smoke compounds adhere only to the outer surfaces of the food; smoke doesn't actually penetrate far into meat or fish. In modern times, almost all smoking is carried out for its flavor, not its preservative qualities.

In the past, smoking was a useful preservation tool, in combination with other techniques, most commonly salt-curing or drying. For some long-smoked foods, the smoking time also served to dry the food. Drying, curing, or other techniques can render the interior of foods inhospitable to bacterial life, while the smoking gives the vulnerable exterior surfaces an extra layer of protection. For oily fish, smoking is especially useful, as its antioxidant properties delay surface fat rancidification. (Interior fat isn't as exposed to oxygen, which is what causes rancidity.) This antioxident effect could be especially important for salted meats and fish, since salt itself is an oxidant. (Hui 512) Some heavily salted, long-smoked fish could keep without refrigeration for weeks or months. Such heavily-preserved foods usually required a treatment such as boiling in fresh water to make them palatable before eating.


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Spice Rub -

Spice rub is any mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked immediately after it is coated in the rub. The spices are usually coarsely ground. In addition to spices, salt and sugar may be added to the rub, the salt for flavor and the sugar for carmelization. The simplest rub is just coarsely ground pepper as in Steak au poivre.

Spice rubs can also have ingredients like herbs, crushed garlic or oil added to make a paste. The spice rub can be left on or partially removed before cooking.

Spice rubs are mainly used for preparing meats and fish There are a large number of different recipes for rubs and most of them are targeted towards a specific kind of food. The exact combination of spices that makes a good rub for a particular kind of food vary from region to region and culture to culture.

Cooking with rubs is almost always done using the dry heat method of cooking where almost no water based liquid is used in cooking. The most popular cooking method for food prepared using a spice rub is grilling. Baking and pan roasting are other dry-heat methods. Sauteing is another method, especially if the spice rub had flour or bread crumbs added.

When water is used for cooking, it is usually after the food has already been partially cooked with the dry heat method.

In some cultures, spice rubs are highly personal and sometimes a very secret recipe. Grill masters in the southern United States jealously guard their recipe secrets and they will usually have a secret ingredient that they will not reveal to any one. In some cultures the recipe for making a spice rub and how to cook with it are passed from mother to daughter and every family will have a slightly different recipe. Because of the lack of time to cook in most modern societies, spice rubs are now sold in grocery and gourmet stores with some brands enjoying a loyal following.


Steaming -

Steaming is a method of cooking using steam.

Steaming is a preferred cooking method for health conscious individuals because no cooking oil is needed, thus resulting in a lower fat content. Steaming also results in a more nutritious food than boiling because fewer nutrients are destroyed or leached away into the water (which is usually discarded). It is also easier to avoid burning food when steaming.

Steaming works by first boiling water, causing it to evaporate into steam; the steam then carries heat to the food, thus cooking the food.

In western cooking, steaming is most often used to cook vegetables, and only rarely to cook meats. By contrast, vegetables are seldom steamed in Chinese cuisine; vegetables are mostly stir fried or blanched instead.

In Chinese cooking, steaming is used to cook many meat dishes, for example, steamed whole fish, steamed pork spare ribs, steamed ground pork or beef patties, steamed chicken, steamed goose etc. Other than meat dishes, many Chinese rice and wheat foods are steamed too. Examples include buns, Chinese steamed cakes etc. Steamed meat dishes (except some dim sum) are less common in Chinese restaurants than in traditional home cooking because meats usually require longer cooking time to steam than to stir fry.

The Chinese chefs developed an efficient method of restaurant cooking: big bamboo steaming baskets, each 1 m (3') in diameter and 10 cm (4") tall, can be stacked up on top of a wok like a chimney. The bottom of each basket is a grid which allows the steam from the wok to rise all the way to the top of the stack. In the kitchen of some dim sum restaurants, a steaming stack can be 20 levels high. The bottom level is removed when done and the entire stack simply shifted downward. This technique ensures a constant supply of freshly steamed dim sum.

Steaming at home can also be done with a wok. A shelf is put on the bottom of the wok, and a small steam basket or a dish of food is put on the shelf. Water is then filled to just below the dish or basket. The water is kept boiling, and a lid is placed over. Most vegetable dishes can be cooked in approximately 5 minutes using this method; most meat dishes, however, take longer than 20 minutes.

A common alternative is to put the dish to be steamed on top of rice which is being cooked. A pot of rice which takes about 30 minutes to cook will then be ready at the same time as the steamed food.

Specialized steamers are often available for purchase; however, although they are more convenient, they are not necessarily better.

Rice is traditionally steamed in the Lowcountry around Charleston, South Carolina, and specialized rice steamers are a common household cooking vessel in that area, although rather obscure elsewhere.

A related technique is enclosing food in a container or material that will release steam when heated, such as clay pot cooking. A kind of steaming can be done outdoors by wrapping meat, poultry, or fish in banana leaves and burying it in hot sand or ash. Another form of outdoor steam cooking is covering a large piece of meat, poultry or fish in wet clay and placing it in a fire.


Steeping -

Steeping may mean:

- Soaking in liquid until saturated with a soluble ingredient, as in, for example, the steeping of tea. In the case of herbal tea, it is referred to as decoction, and may also be called maceration.

- Soaking to remove an ingredient; Example -- salt from smoked ham or salted cod.

One example is the steeping of corn, part of the milling process. As described by the US Corn Refiners Association, harvested kernels of corn are cleaned and then steeped in water at a temperature of 50 degrees for 30 to 40 hours. In the process their moisture content rises from 15% to 45% and their volume more than doubles. The gluten bonds in the corn are weakened and starch is released.

The corn is then ground to break free the germ and other components, and the water used (steepwater), which has absorbed various nutrients, is recycled for use in animal feeds.


Stewing -

In cooking, stewing means preparing vegetables or meat by simmering in liquid. Unlike braising, the ingredients are generally diced.

A stew may be either simmered in a pot on the stove top or cooked in a covered casserole in the oven. Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

Stews may be thickened by reduction, but are more often thickened with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour.

White stews, also known as blanquettes or fricassées, are made with lamb or veal that is blanched, or lightly seared without browning, and cooked in stock. Brown stews are made with pieces of red meat that are first seared or browned, before a browned mirepoix, sometimes browned flour, stock and wine are added.


Stir Frying -

Stir frying is an English umbrella term used to describe two fast Chinese cooking techniques: ch?o (?) and bào (?). The two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amounts of heat used, and the amount tossing done to cook the food in the wok. Cantonese restaurant patrons judge a chef's ability to perform stir frying by the "wok hei" produced in the food. This in turn is believed to display their ability to bring out the qi of the wok.

Chao Technique

A traditionally round-bottom iron pan called a wok is heated to a high temperature. A small amount of cooking oil is then poured down the side of the wok (a traditional expression in China regarding this is "hot wok, cold oil"), followed by dry seasonings (including ginger and garlic), then at the first moment the seasonings can be smelled, meats are added and agitated, then once the meat is seared, vegetables, rice, along with liquid ingredients (for example often including premixed combinations of some of soy sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, and cornstarch) are added and the wok may be covered for a moment so the water in the liquid ingredients can warm up the latest additions as it steams off. In some dishes, or if the cooking conditions are inadequate, different components may be stir fried separately before being combined in the final dish (if, for example, the chef desires the taste of the stir fried vegetables and meats to remain distinct).

The food is stirred and tossed very quickly using wooden or metal cooking utensils. Some chefs will lift the wok to the side to let the flame light the oil or add a dash of wine spirit to give the food extra flavor. Using this method, many dishes can be cooked extremely quickly (within a minute).

Some dishes that require more time are cooked by adding a few dashes of water after the stirring. Then the wok is covered with a lid. As soon as steam starts to come out from under the lid, the dish is ready. In this case, the food is stir fried on high heat for flavor and then steamed to ensure that it is fully cooked.

Bao Technique

The wok is heated to a dull red glow. With the wok hot, the oil, seasonings and meats are added in rapid succession with no pause in between. The food is continually tossed, stopping for several seconds only to add other ingredients such as various seasonings, broths or vegetables. When the food is deemed to be cooked it is poured and ladled out of the wok. The wok must then be quickly rinsed to prevent food residues from charring and burning to the wok bottom due to residual heat.

The main ingredients are usually cut to smaller pieces to aid in cooking. As well, a larger amount of cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as lard, is often used in bao.

Most home kitchens in the West are poorly equipped to stir fry properly. The average kitchen is not designed to handle the large amount of oil vapour produced as a byproduct of proper stir frying. Those stir frying at home cannot achieve the same flavor as in restaurants because the wok is neither hot enough nor big enough to allow fast tossing. By contrast, most Chinese home kitchens are designed with stir frying in mind. The kitchen itself is either in a separate building or in a room with access to the outside. The stove is usually separated from the rest of the kitchen and near a large window to allow for ventilation. The kitchen itself usually is lined with tile or brick for easy cleaning. In the western world, remedies can be to purchase specially designed vents to direct the oil vapour out of the house better.

Western-marketed woks with non-stick coating are not considered appropriate for proper stir-frying because the Teflon coating usually disintegrates after exposure to high heat. By contrast, low heat non-stick stir-frying is an oxymoron according to Cantonese cooking standards. Teflon woks also require the use of Teflon-safe utensils made of plastic or wood, which some traditional Chinese stir fryers deem are not as effective as metal utensils. Western woks are also usually flat-bottomed to accommodate for western stove tops that are flat, where a round-bottomed wok would roll around.

Many Western cooks on TV demonstrate stir frying on low heat with a small wok and a stirring motion comparable to tossing a salad. This is a western adaptation of stir frying, but is different from the traditional Chinese method.


Swiss Steak -

Swiss steak is a method of preparing meat, usually beef, by means of rolling or pounding, and then braising in a cooking pot, either on a stove (cooker) or in an oven.

The name does not refer to Switzerland, but instead to the process of "swissing", which refers to fabric or other materials being pounded or run through rollers in order to soften it. Swiss steak is typically made from relatively tough cuts of meat, such as the round, which have been pounded with a tenderizing hammer, or run through a set of bladed rollers to produce so-called "cube steak". The meat is typically coated with flour and other seasonings and served with a thick gravy.

The process of swissing meat is done to enable tougher and cheaper pieces of meat to be tenderized. Cube steak is the usual meat used in producing swiss steak by most home cooks. Cube steak has had the connective fibers that make the meat tough physically broken by the butcher and the braising process further breaks down the connective tissue in the meat. Swiss steak should be tender enough to be eaten without a knife.


Tenderizing -

In cooking, tenderizing is a process to break down collagens in meat to make it more palatable for consumption.

There are three basic forms:

- Mechanical tenderization, such as pounding.

- The tenderization that occurs through cooking, such as braising.

- Tenderizers in the form of naturally occurring enzymes, which can be added to food before cooking.


Teriyaki -

Teriyaki in the Western sense, is a Japanese cooking sauce for fish or meat which has been cut or sliced and broiled or grilled in a sweet soy sauce marinade. The word derives from the word teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sauce, and yaki, which refers to the cooking method (grilling or broiling). In the traditional way of cooking the meat is either dipped in or brushed with the sauce multiple times before completion.

Traditionally, teriyaki sauce is made simply by mixing and heating four ingredients: Mirin, sugar, soy sauce, and sake (or occasionally another alcohol). These may all be in equal quantities or varied by the recipe. After being boiled and reduced to the desired thickness, the sauce is added to the meat which is marinated and then grilled or broiled. Sometimes ginger is added, and the final dish may be garnished with green onions.

In other cultures, teriyaki is often misrepresented, using the term for any dish made with a teriyaki-like sauce and adding ingredients such as garlic (which is uncommon in traditional Japanese cuisine) or sesame. Many of the bottled teriyaki sauces on the market are actually a version of the spicier Korean bulgogi sauce, which contains the aforementioned ingredients. Sometimes a meat will be grilled first and then a sauce poured on afterward but this is not a traditional way of cooking teriyaki.


Thickening -

In cooking, thickening is the process of increasing the viscosity of a liquid either by reduction, or by the addition of a thickening agent, typically containing starch.

Desserts are often thickened with sago, tapioca, gelatin or a gelatine substitute such as agar. Soups, sauces and stews are more often thickened with a starchy product like cornstarch, arrowroot or wheat flour, or a fat and flour mixture such as roux or beurre manié. More rarely, savoury dishes may be thickened with blood.