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Home Cooking Through the 8 Week Challenge

August 16, 2012

Many learned to cook with their mom, grandmother, high school class or 4-H. Others never learned, either for not taking time or because they didn’t have those opportunities. The standard tools and terms may not be familiar.

We’ve covered a variety of things needed for cooking and baking over the last couple of days. Other basics – canisters to store dry goods (flour, sugar etc), plastic containers (especiallly those that can go from freezer to microwave), aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags, paper towels, kitchen string, cheesecloth and (for some things) parchment paper.

Some basic tips –

Baking cooks by dry heat. Preheat the oven 10 minutes to get it evenly heating, and don’t crowd things in the oven. Leave space for air to circulate so it bakes evenly.

Basting is to moisten while cooking – adds flavor and keeps it from drying out. You can use a baster, spoon or brush.

Beating is mixing rapidly in order to make the mixture smooth and light by incorporating air.

Boiling (yes this is basic!) brings liquid to 212* sea level – a point when bubbles break continually on the surface.

Braise is cooking slowly, usually covered, in a little liquid – lean meats like rabbit benefit from this method.

Broil cooks on a grill under strong direct heat.

Caramelize is a process of heating sugar to turn a food (such as onions) brown and gives a unique taste.

Cream is a way of mixing foods together until soft and blended (different from the obvious noun which is something that is pulled from milk). Creaming together, for example, butter and sugar with a large spoon mixes both thoroughly.

Cut in shortening incorporates shortening into flour until it looks like coarse crumbs, uneven in size and texture. A pastry blender or two knives may be used.

Dice – cuts into small pieces – diced onions, potatoes, peppers for example are much smaller than bite sized.

Marinating foods covers it in a seasoned liquid or dry rub to incorporate the flavors.

Mincing chops the food very fine.

Steaming food cooks with moist heat without letting the food touch the water.

This is a very basic list – if you have questions leave it in the comments!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    August 17, 2012 10:51 PM

    Blanching – put vegetables in boiling water and cook for a short amount of time, 1-2 minutes. Vegetables are plunged into ice water to stop the cooking and can then be frozen while still retaining their color and flavor. This is also a great way to prepare crunchy vegetables like broccoli for salads if the texture of raw broccoli is not your thing.

    Poaching – to cook food by immersing it in a hot liquid. Poached eggs immediately come to mind, but chicken and fish like salmon are also wonderful poached.

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