Welcome to Cooking 101. Here are some culinary terms and techniques that will have you cooking like a pro in no time. If you already know your way around the kitchen, scan the list for a quick review.
Spoon on or brush food with melted butter or other liquids as it cooks. Basting adds flavor and color to foods.
Hold large knife with one hand; rest the other hand on the top for control. Chop in large, uniform pieces using quick, heavy, rocking motions.
Dip or roll foods such as chicken or fish in seasoned breadcrumbs or flour. The food may be dipped in a liquid, such as beaten eggs or milk, before it is coated with the dry mixture.
Cook like a TV Chef with this easy technique for creating a pan sauce. Remove sauteed meat and excess fat from a pan after cooking and add a small amount of liquid to the pan — usually wine or stock. The resulting mixture is the base for a sauce to go with the meat.
Cut foods into matchstick-thin strips for a restaurant-style side dish or garnish. Start by slicing off the bottom of the food to keep it from rocking as you cut; then cut food into 1/8-inch slices. Cut across the strips to create long, thin pieces in the desired length.
Cut food, such as herbs, into very small pieces using the same motion as chopping.
Use this easy technique to cook pieces of meat, seafood or large pieces of vegetables in a hot pan, turning only once or twice.
Finely mash food to a smooth, thick consistency. Popular purees include sweet potato and raspberry.
Oven-cook food in an uncovered pan for a well-browned exterior and a moist interior.
Cook food in a small amount of oil or other fat in a skillet or saute pan over direct heat for a fast, healthy meal.
Brown meat quickly over very high heat either in a skillet under a broiler or in a very hot oven to seal in the juices.
Heat a liquid just below the boiling point so that small bubbles are visible on the surface.
Use a whisk, a must-have kitchen utensil, to whip (incorporate air into) ingredients such as cream, eggs and sauces.
The more you know about cooking, the easier and more fun it is to create great meals in your kitchen. Be sure to use these terms and techniques as the foundation for a whole new cooking adventure.