Each food reacts differently to different cooking methods. You may boil a stew with impunity, but you can’t do it to a beef steak! Learn the appropriate cooking method for each kind of food.
Braising : Braising consists of first searing the meat on all sides to form a crust. Once this is done, take the meat out of the casserole, pour off the fat, and deglaze by pouring enough liquid into the casserole to reach half-way up the meat. Put the meat back, cover, and simmer slowly. Be careful not to let the liquid boil or simmer too energetically. A gentle steam will envelop the meat. Turn meat frequently so that all sides take a turn in the cooking liquid.
Pressure cooking : This is done in a special pot equipped with a pressure valve. The pot is hermetically sealed. The method saves time and, because only a small amount of liquid is used, keeps the water-soluble vitamins from leached out the foods.
Bain-Marie : This method is used mostly for cooking delicate sauces. In France, the method is termed “bain- marie”, and consists of a small saucepan placed or held over water in a larger container. Very often this can be done by simply using a double boiler. The purpose is to keep foods away from direct heat, especially those containing eggs, or cream. Place a ramekin, mould, saucepan, etc., in a larger receptacle that is half filled with very hot (not boiling ) water. While this method may take a little longer, it doesn’t require as much watching, and there is far less risk of burning.
Blanching : To blanch an ingredient, you must put it into boiling, lightly salted water for a period of 30 seconds to 4 minutes, and then transfer it to icy cold water in order to halt the cooking. Blanching makes it possible to begin cooking an ingredient, and to resume cooking later. It is mostly used in preparing vegetables for freezing. Blanching prevents discolouration.
Steaming : Steaming is done in a form of double boiler that has the top half perforated with large holes, so that the food can be steamed rather than boiled. The cover prevents the steam from escaping.
Boiling : Water is the sole source of heat here. Meat that is to be cooked should be added after the water has been brought to a rolling boil, in order to close the pores and seal previous juices inside. On the other hand, bones or meat used for stock should be added when the water is cold. As the water comes to a boil, the flavour and goodness are drawn out of the ingredients. Boiling is equally useful in cooking vegetables eggs, and fish.
Deep-frying : A food dropped into oil or fat at a temperature of 200 to 500 degrees F (100 to 260 C) will cook evenly on all surface. Basically, deep-frying is to fry food in a deep layer of hot oil.
Au Gratin : With a cheese topping or crust.
Glazing : To coat a food with syrup or jelly to give a lustre.
Grate : To reduce food to small particles by rubbing against a grater.
Grind : To crush in a food chopper.
Fillet : Long thin boneless strip of fish or meat.
Fold In : To cut down through the centre of a batter to the bottom with the edge of a spatula, and to lift the bottom to the top, repeating until foods are blended.
Flake : To brake lightly into small pieces with a fork.
Frost : To cover with icing.
Fry : To cook in hot fat (oil).
Batter : A mixture of flour, liquid, etc. Which can be beaten or stirred.
Bake : To cook in oven by dry heat.
Baste : To spoon liquid or fat over food while it cooks, to add flavour and prevent drying of the surface.
Blend : To thoroughly mix two or more ingredients.
Beat : To mix with a brisk, regulation motion that lifts mixture over and over, making mixture smooth and introducing air.
Chop : To cut fine or coarse pieces with sharp knife.
Coat : To cover with thin film, e.g. flour, crushed nuts, crumbs, etc..
Cool : To let stand at room temperature until no longer warm
Cream : To work foods until soft and fluffy, ordinarily applied to mixing of sugar and butter.
Cube : To cut into pieces with six equal square sides.
Cut in : To combine solid fat with dry ingredients using two knives, pastry blade, etc..
Dice : To cut in very small cubes.
Devilled : Prepared with hot seasonings or spices.
Dissolve : To mix a dry substance with liquid until it is in a solution.
Dot : To scatter bits (e.g. butter) over a food which is to be cooked.
Knead : To work dough with a pressing motion, accompanied by folding and stretching.
Mash : To reduce to a soft pulpy state.
Melt : To liquefy by applying heat.
Mince : To cut or chop food into very small pieces (rather than chopping).
Mix : To combine two or more ingredients, usually by stirring.
Meringue : A stiffly beaten mixture of egg whites, sugar and flavouring.
Mocha : Coffee flavour, or a combination of chocolate and coffee.
Pare : To cut off outside covering, e.g., carrots, potatoes.
Peel : Strip off outside covering, e.g. oranges, bananas, sugar canes
Partially set : To chill to consistency of unbeaten egg whites.
Pit : To remove pit or seeds from fruit.
Puree : To press cooked food through a sieve, making it a smooth, thick mixture.
Pot-Roast : To cook less tender cuts of meat in a little liquid, with or without browning first.
Poaching :Most food can be poached. This method uses water just below the boiling point. The cooking liquid can be flavoured with spices or aromatic herbs. A stock can be used instead. Add a few drops of vinegar to the water before cooking eggs. This speeds up the coagulation of the egg white.
Flambéing : Food is usually poached before being flambéed. This method consists of pouring a small amount of alcohol (such as Cognac, Grand Marnier, etc.), onto the food in a frying pan or a long-handled flambéing pan, and lighting it. The alcohol evaporates, but the food is left with a distinctive flavour.
Barbecuing : Barbecuing or roasting on a spit in the oven cooks the food uniformly. You can use the lower elements only, or heat the broiler as well. If you’re using both elements, watch the cooking closely and baste the meat frequently. It will brown rapidly. If it is as you want it as brown as you want it before the cooking is done, turn off the broiler and finish cooking with the lower element only.
Oven Roasting : The best way to cook a large piece of meat is to subject it to the dry heat of an oven. Heat the oven to a very high temperature. Meanwhile, heat an oiled roasting pan, place the meat in it, and put it in the oven to sear. Turn the heat down after a quarter of the cooking time has passed. You can also sear the meat on all sides in a large stove-top casserole before putting it in the oven. If you want the meat well done, baste it once or twice with its own juices during cooking. If steam forms in the oven during cooking, open the door an inch or two, briefly, now and then.
Marinating : Marinating can be both a preparation for cooking, and a cooking method in itself. The marinade is usually made up of an acidic ingredients (such as vinegar, wine, or a citrus juice), a fatty ingredient (oil), and aromatic ingredients (spices, herbs, vegetables, or alcohol).
Microwaving : Microwaving is a very rapid cooking method. The waves of electronic energy produced by the oven activate the molecules of water in the food, and the friction of their movement produced enough heat to cook it.
Simmer : To cook in liquid at temperature below boiling.
Skim : To remove film that forms.
Stock : The liquid in which meat, poultry, fish or vegetables have been cooked.
Toss : To lightly mix ingredients without mashing.
Toast : To brown food by the application of direct heat.
Whip: To beat rapidly to increase volume by the incorporation of air.
Sauté : To cook in a small amount of fat on low heat.
Sear : To brown surface rapidly at high temperature.
Sift : To pass through a sieve.
Preheat : To heat to desired temperature before placing food in oven.
Chill : To allow to become thoroughly cold.
Pan- fry : To cook in a small amount of fat in a skillet.
Pan-broil : To cook meat on a hot dry surface, pouring off grease as it accumulates.
Scald : To heat to temperature just below boiling point.
Stew : To cook covered in a small amount of simmering or boiling water for a long time.