Saturday, September 18, 2010

Terms in Culinary Arts

Culinary art is the art of preparing and/or cooking foods. The word "culinary" is defined as something related to, or connected with, cooking or kitchens. A culinarian is a person working in the culinary arts. A culinarian working in restaurants is commonly known as a cook or a chef. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. Increasingly they are required to have a knowledge of the science of food and an understanding of diet and nutrition. They work primarily in restaurants, fast food chain store franchises, delicatessens, hospitals and other institutions. Kitchen conditions vary depending on the type of business, restaurant, nursing home etc.

5 Terms in Culinary Arts are :
  • Blanch
  • Boil
  • Simmer
  • Deglaze
  • Saute

Blanching is a cooking term that describes a process of food preparation where in the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process. 
  • The meaning of blanching is "to whiten", but this is not always the purpose of blanching in cooking. Food is blanched to soften it, or to partly or fully cook it, or to remove a strong taste (for example of bacon, cabbage, or onions).
  • The technique of blanching vegetables is best illustrated by the requirement to stop cook asparagus, otherwise it would become soggy due to the asparagus continuing to cook after it is removed from the boiling water.
  • To cook asparagus using the blanching method, the shoots are boiled for 30 seconds, and then to stop the cooking instantly they are dipped into cold or ice water. The term "blanched asparagus" is also used for white asparagus. White asparagus is produced by a special gardening technique; one first covers the young preemerging shoots with a paper bag to block out light and cause the unexposed white shoots to grow without chlorophyll (some of the shoots from the plant must remain in sunlight and turn green, to keep the plant healthy).
Blanching green beans (refreshing in iced  water)

Boiling is the method of cooking food in boiling water, or other water-based liquid such as stock or milk. Simmering is gentle boiling, while in poaching the cooking liquid moves but scarcely bubbles.
  • Boiling is a very harsh technique of cooking. Delicate foods such as fish cannot be cooked in this fashion because the bubbles can damage the food. Foods such as red meat, chicken, and root vegetables can be cooked with this technique because of their tough texture.
  • The open-air boiling point of water is typically considered to be 100 °C or 212 °F. Pressure and a change in composition of the liquid may alter the boiling point of the liquid. For this reason, high elevation cooking generally takes longer since boiling point is a function of atmospheric pressure. In Denver, Colorado, which is at an elevation of about one mile, water boils at approximately 95 °C. Depending on the type of food and the elevation, the boiling water may not be hot enough to cook the food properly. Similarly, increasing the pressure as in a pressure cooker raises the temperature of the contents above the open air boiling point.
  • Adding a water soluble substance, such as salt or sugar also increases the boiling point. This is called boiling-point elevation. However, the effect is very small, and the boiling point will be increased by an insignificant amount. Due to variations in composition and pressure, the boiling point of water is almost never exactly 100 °C, but rather close enough for cooking.
  • Boiling carrots
  • Bringing water to a boil is generally done by applying maximal heat, then shutting off when the water has come to a boil, which is known as bang–bang control. Keeping water at or below a boil requires more careful control of temperature, particularly by using feedback.

In places where the available water supply is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, boiling water and allowing it to cool before drinking it is practiced as a valuable health measure. Boiling water for a few minutes kills most bacteria, amoeba, and other microbial pathogens. It thus can help prevent choleradysentery, and other diseases caused by microorganisms.
Foods suitable for boiling include vegetables, starchy foods such as ricenoodles and potatoes, eggs, meats, sauces, stocks and soups.
Boiling has several advantages. It is safe and simple, and it is appropriate for large-scale cookery. Older, tougher, cheaper cuts of meat and poultry can be made digestible. Nutritious, well flavoured stock is produced. Also, maximum color and nutritive value is retained when cooking green vegetables, provided boiling time is kept to the minimum.
On the other hand, there are several disadvantages. There is a loss of soluble vitamins from foods to the water (if the water is discarded), and some boiled foods can look unattractive. Boiling can also be a slow method of cooking food.
Boiling can be done in several ways: The food can be placed into already rapidly boiling water and left to cook, the heat can be turned down and the food can be simmered; or the food can also be placed into the pot, and cold water may be added to the pot. This may then be boiled until the food is satisfactory.
Water on the outside of a pot, i.e. a wet pot, increases the time it takes the pot of water to boil. The pot will heat at a normal rate once all excess water on the outside of the pot evaporates.

Levels of boiling

In Chinese cuisine, particularly tea brewing, one distinguishes five stages of boiling:[3] "shrimp eyes, the first tiny bubbles that start to appear on the surface of the kettle water, crab eyes, the secondary, larger bubbles, then fish eyes, followed by rope of pearls, and finally raging torrent [rolling boil].
In detail:
shrimp eyes
about 70-80°C (155–175°F) – separate bubbles, rising to top

crab eyes
about 80°C (175°F) – streams of bubbles

fish eyes
about 80-90°C (175–195°F) – larger bubbles

rope of pearls
about 90-95°C (195–205°F) – steady streams of large bubbles

raging torrent
rolling boil, swirling and roiling

Simmering is a food preparation technique in which foods are cooked in hot liquids kept at or just below the boiling point of water (which is 100°C or 212°F at average sea level air pressure), but higher than poaching temperature. To keep a pot simmering, one brings it to a boil and then reduces the heat to a point where the formation of steam bubbles has all but ceased, typically a water temperature of about 94°C (200°F).

Umami - Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine

In Japanese cuisine, simmering is considered one of the four essential cooking techniques.

South American cuisine

In Argentina and Chile, simmered water is considered essential to correctly prepare the beverage mate.

Chinese cuisine

Simmering with soy sauce flavored with anise and other spices is common. Everything from eggs to tripe to tofu are often "simmered" in this way.

American cuisine

Food prepared in a crockpot is by definition simmered. Examples include stewschilisoups, etc.

Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving caramelized bits of food from a pan in order to make a pan sauce.
A chicken-based bouillon in
the process of preparation
When a piece of meat is roasted, pan fried or prepared in a pan with another form of dry heat, a deposit of caramelized sugars, carbohydrates, and/or proteins forms on the bottom of the pan, along with any rendered fat. The French culinary term for these deposits is sucs, from the word "juice" in plural form.
Usually, the meat is removed and the majority of the fat is poured off, leaving a small amount with the dried and caramelized meat juices. The pan is returned to the heat, and a liquid such as vegetable or meat stock, a spirit, some wine, or verjuice is added to act as a solvent. This allows the cook to scrape the dark spots from the bottom of the pan and dissolve them, creating a basic sauce. The culinary term fond, French for "base" or "foundation", refers to this sauce, although it is also sometimes used to describe the caramelized food bits instead.This method is the cornerstone of many well known sauces and gravies. The resulting liquid can be seasoned and served on its own (sometimes called a jus), or with the addition of aromatic vegetables such as onions or shallots, or be used as the base for a soup. The sauce can also be thickened by whisking butter in, through the addition of a starch such as flourcornstarch, or arrowroot, or simply simmered down with a steady heat to form a rich concentrated reduction.

Sautéing is a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking. Food that is sautéed is browned while preserving its texturemoisture and flavor. If meat, chicken, or fish is sautéed, the sauté is often finished with a sauce made from the pan's residue sucs.
Sautéing is often confused with pan-frying, in which larger pieces of food (for example, chops or steaks) are cooked quickly, and flipped onto both sides. Some cooks make a distinction between the two based on the depth of the oil used, while others use the terms interchangeably. Sautéing differs from searing in that searing only cooks the surface of the food. Sautéing is also different from stir-fry in that all the ingredients in the pan are cooked at once, instead of serially in a small pool of oil.
Olive oil or clarified butter are commonly used for sautéing, but most fats will do. Regular butter will produce more flavor but will burn at a lowertemperature and more quickly than other fats due to the presence of milk solids, so clarified butter is more fit for this use.

Performing a saute
In a sauté, all the ingredients are heated at once, and cooked quickly. To facilitate this, the ingredients are rapidly moved around in the pan, either by the use of a spatula, or by repeatedly jerking the pan itself (sauté literally means "made to jump", a description of the motion of the ingredients as they are being cooked).
A sauté pan must be large enough to hold all of the food in one layer, so that steam can escape - which keeps the ingredients from stewing, and promotes the development of fond. Most pans sold specifically as sauté pans have a wide flat base and low sides, to maximize the surface area available for heating. The low sides allow quick evaporation and escape of steam. While skillets typically have flared or rounded sides, saute pans sold for home use also typically have straight, vertical sides - this keeps the ingredients from escaping as the pan is jerked or stirred.
Only enough fat to lightly coat the bottom of the pan is needed for sautéing; too much fat will cause the food to fry rather than to slide, and interfere with the development of fond. The food is spread across the hot fat in the pan, and left to brown, turning or tossing frequently for even cooking.
The sauté technique involves gripping the handle of the saute pan firmly, and using a sharp elbow motion to rapidly jerk the pan back toward the cook, repeating as necessary to insure that the ingredients have been thoroughly jumped. Tossing or stirring the items in the pan by shaking the pan too often, however, can cause the pan to cool faster and make the sauté take longer.

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