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Kitchen Terms You Need to Know

Kitchen vocabulary is full of different words for different functions. Here's a list of those you need to know. Terms Applied to Food: Cube. Cutting food into cubes means to cut them in about 1-inch square pieces. Dice.

To dice foods, means to cut up into smaller cubes - between 1/4 and 1/2 inch square. Chop. To chop means to cut food into smaller pieces than the dice. The pieces don't need to be perfectly square but should be fairly uniform in size. Finely Chop. Chop into smaller pieces than the regularly chopped foods but larger than minced.

Mince. To mince a food is to chop it as fine as possible, to the point of its almost being a puree. Shred or Grate. Shredding is coarser than grating. You shred cabbage for coleslaw but grate cheese for pasta. Shred vegetables like cabbage with a knife by cutting thin.

Use a box grater to shred carrots or zucchini. Slice. Slicing foods takes a bit more skill than chopping, shredding or grating. The most important thing to have with slicing is a sharp knife. Some people can slice vegetables extremely quickly - without losing a finger.

But, most of us need to take more time. Terms Applied to Cooking Saute. To saute means to cook quickly in fat over medium-high to high heat.

Saute doesn't mean to brown the meat. Boil. To boil means to bring a pot of liquid to a fast, rolling boil. Soups and stews should not boil, but simmer. Simmer. To simmer means to heat a liquid only until it starts to bubble on the surface.

To maintain a simmer, you need to turn your burner heat down as low as it will go. Poach. Poaching means to simmer fish, chicken or other foods submerged in liquid.

Braise. To braise means to cook slowly, covered, in moist heat, either in the oven or on top of the stove. It doesn't mean to submerge the food in liquid.

Roast. To roast means to cook, uncovered, in an oven. Be sure the hot air will easily circulate freely around the oven.

(Don't crowd too many items together.) Brown. Browning adds flavor to your foods.

Degrees of browning are usually indicated by color; from very dark brown to light golden brown. Browning is done over a low heat rather than a high heat. Terms Applied to Baking Beat. To beat is a less vigourous mixing that whipping or whisking.

You would beat eggs to blend them but you would whip cream to form stiff peaks. Stir. Stirring means to blend ingredients or to keep them moving so they don't burn.

Knead. Kneading refers to the process of working dough by hand by folding it over onto itself. The gluten binds and stretches as you knead, making the dough smooth and elastic. There you have it. The most important kitchen terms you should know. Knowing these terms will help you to follow recipes more accurately and therefore get a better result from your cooking efforts.

Jude Wright is the webmistress of 40 websites. Visit her popular cooking and recipe site at HomestyleRecipesOnline.com


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