Kitchen Terms

Blanch: To plunge food (usually vegetables and fruits) into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Compote: A chilled dish of fresh or fired fruit that has been slowly cooked in a sugar syrup (which may contain liquor and sometimes spices).

Deglaze: After food (usually meat) has been sautéed and the food and excess fat removed from the pan, deglazing is done by heating a small amount of liquid in the pan and stirring to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. The liquid is most often wine or stock. The resultant mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.

Mirepoix: A mixture of diced onions, carrots, and celery. The ratio is 50% onion to 25% carrot to 25% celery. It is used to season sauces, soups and stews, as well as for a bed on which to braise foods, usually meats or fish.

Render: To melt animal fat over low heat so that it separates from any connective pieces of tissue, which, during rendering, turn brown and crisp.

Umami: The fifth element of taste in addition to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It does not have a literal English translation, but may be loosely interpreted as delicious or savory.

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