Ever have something in a recipe and you looked at it and thought…What the heck is that?... or How do I do that?... well wonder no more…. this section will help you through those moments… I will update it as often as possible… with tidbits of useful information… well we think it’s useful… hopefully you will too!
Bar Syrup – Boil together for 5 minutes… 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup water. Store in an airtight container and use to sweeten drinks.
Bouquet Garni - A bouquet garni is a little bundle made of fresh or dried herbs. The assortment of fresh herbs can include parsley, thyme, bay leaves, fennel, leek, marjoram, cloves, tarragon, rosemary, peppercorns or tarragon. The assortment depends on the recipe. It’s so easy to just make-up a bouquet garni that fits your recipe. See my post about bouquet garni.
Cake Flour - a fine wheat flour that is specifically made for cakes, cookies and other delicate baked goods that require a finer, lighter texture. Cake four is not suitable for breads. Some supermarkets carry cake flour. If you are unable to find it, you can substitute ¾ cup sifted bleached all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch for 1 cup of cake flour.
Clarified Butter – Melt butter in a small pot (stove method) or glass measuring cup (microwave method) and carefully pour off the clear fat that is on top of the milky sediment that will settle to the bottom.
Crème Fraiche – is the French term for “fresh cream”… it is a soured cream … it is less sour and less thick than sour cream. It can be commercially purchased or homemade. Crème fraiche can be made by heating 1 cup heavy cream to lukewarm (no more than 100 degrees F) and adding 1 teaspoon cultured buttermilk to it. Keep in a warm place for 12-36 hours until it thickens… and is the taste you want...suggestion.. place it in the oven with the light on.
Fines Herbes- is a main ingredient in French cooking, meaning "fine herbs". They are not pungent and give the food a mild herbal flavor. The ingredients of fines herbes are minced fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil and basil in any desired proportions.
Foie Gras – Foie gras is the liver of a force-fed goose. Whole foie gras is imported from France in cans and is cooked. (Yeah, we know it sounds gross… but, hey, you never know, lots of people eat that stuff)
Scald Milk – some older recipes call for scalding milk. To scald milk is to bring it to near boiling (180 degrees F)… but milk burns easily, so when you scald milk… you really should use a thermometer…and stir constantly, otherwise the proteins in the milk will settle on the bottom and burn. When you scald milk, it destroys the bacteria and enzymes in the milk. This method pre-dates pasteurization and is pretty much an unnecessary step since milk sold in the US and most Western countries is pasteurized. However, scalding milk used for baking bread is said to result in a more tender bread. If a recipe calls for scalding and doesn't allow the milk to cool... just heat it to warm it. If you live where it is not pasteurized, then follow the scalding instructions in a recipe.
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