Cooking Basics

French cooking terms and kitchenware

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French cooking terms to get you started, starting with kitchenware!

Not everyone can afford the luxury of visiting a quiet bistro in France, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a delicious French meal.  Turn your own kitchen into a gourmet restaurant. 

Some challenges with cooking this food might be the new cooking terms, but don't let that stop you.  Start cooking your own French cuisine--and dazzle your friends with your new vocabulary.

  • Concasser: chop up roughly.  Don't bother with slicing and dicing... this only requires you to chop something into pieces roughly the same size.
  • Dariole: a mold for shaping deserts, cakes, salads, etc.  Its mouth is wider than the bottom, making your food smaller towards the top.
  • Déglacer: adding a liquid such as water or wine to the browned or caramelized drippings from the bottom of your pan so that they may be boiled together in order to form a sauce.
  • Dégorger: extracting juices from vegetables or meat with (usually) salt.  The meat or vegetables are then soaked or washed off.  This generally is used to remove a strong taste from the food.
  • Dépouille: removing the scum that boils to the top of your sauce.  Simply skimming the top will do the trick.
  • Flambé: setting alcohol on fire.  Although it's visually appealing to have flames fly up from your meal, using this method also slightly changes the taste of your food.  This gives it a signature flambé taste.
  • Paner: coating something with eggs and crumbs before frying.  Coating something with egg first allows the crumbs to stick to your meat much better than just crumbs alone.  It also helps keep in moisture.
  • Papillote: cooking your meat in foil or parchment paper.  This keeps all the moisture in the meat until you are ready to serve your meal.
  • Piquer: inserting fat, bacon, ham, etc. into your meat.  This gives your meal a different flavor, and something quite out of the ordinary.

If you feel like your French food experience shouldn't stop merely with cooking, try getting some bistro furniture and decorations for your kitchen.  These decorations will give your kitchen the perfect attitude for serving up French cuisine.  Why travel all the way to France when you can have your own bistro right in your home?

Some great kitchen decorations to try?  Some simple changes such as French linens and tableware can give your kitchen table a European air without changing too much.  However, if you'd like to go all out and give yourself a mini bistro out on the patio, a nice little round or square bistro table with a tablecloth draped over the top with two folding chairs tucked neatly at the side can transform your patio.

Cooking nook
Online dictionary of cooking and food terms

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