A Chef’s Life: Cooking 101 (Part 2)

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Feijoa: A New Zealand fruit that has a thin greenish skin. The meat of this fruit tastes like banana, pineapple and strawberry combined. Now ain’t that a kick!

Feijoada: Here’s a meal in itself from Brazil. It’s black beans cooked with just about every part of a porker’s meat eatable, with a heavy hand on adding ham, bacon and spicy sausage. I like spicy, so I throw in lots of onions and serrano peppers, plus some garlic and salt for good measure. Serve it over rice or by itself, with a side compliment of a dish similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca. It worth the wait, cause you have to soak the black beans forty-eight hours, and rinse thoroughly, before cooking. You sure don’t want ’em coming out black as tar.

Ficelle: That’s French for string. If you ever come across a recipe from France calling for you to tie up your meat before cooking, then you’ll know what to use.

Flan: Now this is Heaven sent. Mexican egg custard with caramel sauce. Sometimes orange, vanilla, cinnamon or anise flavored. You cook it in a large shallow loaf pan, placed in a bain-marie and baked in the oven. 

Florentine: Basically, any style of entree with spinach … sautéed, baked, or creamed. 

Foie Gras: Fatten goose liver, sliced or made into pate. So ever expensive but so good!

Frittata: An Italian puff omelet made with eggs, heavy whipping and with whatever seasonings, meats, vegetables and cheeses your aching heart desires. Baked in the oven in a personal size cast iron skillet dish and served in the same vessel.

Fritter: Any vegetable, meat, seafood or fruit that’s batter dipped and deep fried. Who’s counting calories, anyway?

Gazpacho: A chilled raw vegetable soup that consists of coarse diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, celery and bell peppers, with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. Cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Seasoned with pepper and salt to taste. To prevent separation of juices from the vegetables, my trick is to add a forty-six ounce can of V-8 juice, thus creating a solidified solution, similar to a soup consistency … and it makes it better!

Guacamole: Diced avocadoes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers, with salt, cayenne pepper and lemon juice to taste. 

Gumbo: A Cajun stew thicken with a dark brown roux. Made with a rich hearty meat or seafood stock with chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, okra, Creole seasoning, cayenne pepper and gumbo file. Style created with either seafood, poultry, water fowl and/or sausages. My favorite is duck and sausage gumbo served over a Spanish style rice.

Hollandaise Sauce: Bear with me on this one … boy, it’s a doosey! You take a dozen or so separated egg yolks, ounce of lemon juice, and a cup of white wine, combine in stainless steel mixing bowl. Have a pot of low boiling water fired up on the stove. Take a whip and blend together the egg yolks, lemon juice and wine thoroughly. Hold bowl of blended egg yolk mixture over pot of boiling water, but not directly on it but just low enough to feel the heat (you don’t want the eggs to cook and curdle, if so, throw it out, it’s ruined!). Now whisk the hell out of the egg yolk mixture till it doubles in volume, then remove from heat. Have a pint of melted clarified butter at kitchen temperature ready (90 to 100 degrees is normal for a restaurant kitchen). Now slowly drizzle butter (till it is all incorporated) into egg mixture while constantly whisking it (if you don’t, it’ll seperate…that would suck big time!), thus achieving emulsification. Spice it up with a few shots of Tabasco sauce. Now use it pretty damn quick … it’s shelf life is only a few hours.

Infusion: An abstract concept of letting flavors combine, thus creating a new taste. Such as combining whole sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, or basil to a bottle of olive oil, creating a new flavor. Also, it can pertain to the marination of meats in wines, oils and spices, infusing their flavors through the same process.

Jambalaya: My favorite classic Creole dish. Cook white rice with chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, Ro-tel tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and minced garlic. Spice it up with Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Throw in a combination of shrimp, sausage, and chicken meat. Or, add duck, goose and venison, or perhaps any wild game, water fowl, or road kill you may come across. It’s Jambalaya, man … it’s all good, ya’ know!

Jicama: A root vegetable with a brown skin, bulbous tubular in nature, that has a nutty flavor with a taste and texture sorta like a cross between an apple and a potato.

Julienne: Cutting vegetables, meats and cheeses into long, thin strips…oh, around three inches long.

Jus: Juice leftover in the pan from cooked meats, sometimes adding wine to deglaze, reheated and thicken with a slurry, turning it into a sauce for the cooked meats.

Langouste: Darlin’s, that’s French for spiny lobster, which has no claws…quite different from our Maine Lobsters.

Liaison: It’s your standard basic process of thickening sauces, soups and stews with either a roux, slurry, eggs, heavy cream, or other types of starch.

Lyonnaise: French for dishes with onions cooked golden brown, seasoned with wine, garlic and parsley.

Macerate: The process of soaking fruits, meats or vegetables in wines, liquors or syrups, to allow the foods to absorb moisture, thus infusing the flavors.

Maitre d’ Hotel Butter: Soften butter incorporated with minced parsley and garlic, lemon zest and juice, then molded into a roll form (for easy access) and chilled to re-harden.

Marzipan: An almond paste made with pulverized almonds, powder sugar, soften butter and whipped, thick peaked egg whites. Used for coating cakes and candy.

Mascarpone: A rich, fresh Italian triple cream cheese that resembles solidified whipped cream.

Menudo: A rich, spicy Mexican meat stock broth soup made with Tripe, hominy, and hot peppers. Eat two big bowls of this stuff after a night of partying, and it’ll kill your buzz in a heartbeat.

Milanese: Italian style of any food dipped in raw egg and seasoned parmesan cheese breadcrumbs, then pan fried in butter.

Mirepoix: A mixture of chopped, diced or minced (depending on type of dish it’s flavoring) carrots, celery and onions. 

Mole: Mexican and Latin American style of super thick sauces made with different types of chiles that are seasoned with chocolate, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, various nuts and seeds. Use to cook with pork, chicken or beef.

Mornay Sauce: Bechamel sauce incorporated and heated with melted Gruyere cheese and raw eggs to create a rich, full body sauce.

Mousse: Creating an assortment of desserts (melted chocolates, puree fruits, etc.) by incorporating (folding in gently) either whipped heavy cream or whipped egg whites to lighten and fluff said dessert.

Nantua Sauce: I experimented with this one … puree crawfish tail meat, minced tomatoes, garlic, onions, and bell peppers, cooked in a bechamel sauce, then laced with Cognac. Hell, it’s excellent topped over any style of seafood dishes. I’m kind of proud of this creation.

Ouef: Yeah, baby! That’s egg in French. Ouef in the morning … Ouef in the evening … Ouef at the midnight hour!

Osso Buco: Thick and meaty Veal Shanks, crosscut, braised in oven for hours with carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, seasonings and herbs, covered with meat stock. Allowed to reduce till stock becomes lightly syrupy in consistency.

Pancetta: Italian style cured pork belly, rolled and tied. It’s not smoked like American bacon.

Panino: That means sandwich in Italian. Give me a panino with ham & swiss with dijon on rye, on the fly, ya’ll!

Pate: French for paste, and for a style of pastry.

Pate Choux: Made by adding flour and sugar to boiling milk with butter, creating a sweet paste, to which eggs are blended in to leaven it.

Pesto: A mixture of olive oil, minced fresh basil, parmesan cheese, minced fresh garlic and minced fresh parsley. Sometimes roasted pine nuts or minced walnuts are added.

Pico De Gallo: A combination of fresh diced onions and tomatoes, minced garlic, jalapeno peppers and cilantro, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Polenta: Italian version of cornmeal mush that’s seasoned with onions, garlic and parmesan cheese. It’s mighty tasty!

Praline: Well, here’s two types of this item. In France, it’s a paste made out of caramelized almonds and/or hazelnuts. Her, in the States, it’s a caramel sauce with pecans, or a solidified candy version of pecans praline.

Prosciutto: That’s ham in Italian…usually raw cured hams from Parma, Italy. Cooked hams from other regions of Italia.

Pumate: Sun dried tomatoes in Italian.

Quiche: A mixture of eggs and heavy whipping cream, with an assorted cheeses, vegetables and/or meats thrown in an open-faced pie crust shell and baked.

Ragout: French for a stew made with meats, vegetables or seafood.

Ratatouille: A vegetable stew with onions, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, garlic, herbs, spices and olive oil. Cooked till mushy and broken down, creating a unified flavor of blended ingredients. A bold, rich zestful stew.

Remoulade: A sauce consisting of mayonnaise, Creole mustard, minced shallots and green onions, diced boiled eggs, minced parley and herbs. Excellent for topping boiled seafood and leafy green salads.

Roux: A mixture of flour and oil to thicken soups, gumbos, stews and sauces. From light to dark roux, depending on how long you want to brown it in a skillet.

Scampi: Shrimp sautéed or broiled in butter, squeeze of lemon, splash of white wine, minced garlic and parsley, with a pinch of seasoning.

Sweetbread: Thymus gland of a beast of burden with many styles of preparation in the culinary arts. A sweetbread most desired is from baby veal and lamb. I know it’s cruel, but so delectable!

Tartare: The most common, and best, is Steak Tartare made from minced beef tenderloin, minced garlic, onion, and parsley, seasoned and served with a raw egg on top. Smoked Salmon makes an excellent version of tartare.

Tripe: The stomach of pigs, cattle and sheep. Used to make Menudo.

Ugli: A Jamaican citrus hybrid fruit, created by crossing a tangerine and a grapefruit.

Veloute: A sauce made from various meat stocks, thicken with a roux.

Vichyssoise: Cold potato and leek soup. It’s about as boring as it sounds.

Weiner Schnitzel: Pounded pork or baby veal slices dipped in egg and coated with seasoned breadcrumbs, then pan fried in butter. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of finished entree.

Zabaglione: Here a delight that will please the old taste buds. It’s a Italian custard made with raw egg yolks, sugar and your favorite wine or fruit juice, prepared by combining ingredients in mixing bowl and whisking them, holding bowl over a pot of boiling water (exactly like heating the eggs while making Hollandaise), till it thickens and the volume doubles. Then pour into wine glasses and chill for an hour. 

Part 1 ? (Part 2)



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