General Tips and Terms
Dredge: This means sprinkle something with powder (usually flour). If doing with fish, put the flour on a plate and rub the fish into the flour on both sides.
Sauté: Same thing as fried. Usually in olive oil. Seasoning: Salt, pepper or other spices.
Simmer: This is when the pot is boiling, but very slowly. Small bubbles will rise to the surface slowly. Often recipes will ask you to boil something in water, then turn it down to a simmer.
To taste: This one is just what it sounds like! Taste the food. If you like it, leave it alone. If you don’t, add more seasoning or do more of whatever you’re doing.
Temperatures: All temperatures in recipes are in Fahrenheit, unless stated otherwise.
Vanilla: “Vanilla” usually just means vanilla extract.
Vinegar vs. vinaigrette: Vinegar is vinegar. Vinaigrette is a salad dressing that contains vinegar, oil, and sometimes seasoning. If using vinegar, you’ll have to add oil and stuff to the salad. See “salad dressing.” Vinaigrette can be added directly to the salad without other stuff.
Convection bake: This is when air circulates in the oven to bake things evenly.
Creaming: This means mix up the fat (usually butter) in a Cuisinart or mixer until the butter is smooth and creamy – about the consistency of butter balls. All cookie recipes will ask you first to cream the butter and then to add sugar.
Preheat oven: Turn the oven on before you start cooking, so it will be hot when it’s time to start baking. Folding: Folding is used when you don’t want to let air out of the mixture. Often used with whipping cream or whipped egg whites. Simply add the ingredient and use a spatula or flat spoon to “fold” in. Do not mix vigorously.
1Greasing a pan: Coat the bottom and sides of a pan with butter or oil to make it easier to take your food off the pan after baking. Save empty packages of butter or put butter on saran wrap and use these to spread butter on a pan. Sifting: Sifting is when you put flour or sugar through a sifter to make the flour finer and to remove any lumps. When a recipe says to sift flour into your mixture, measure the flour into the sifter and sift directly into your mixture.
To know when anything is done, stick a fork/toothpick into the mixture. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Also, the mixture should be nice and evenly brown.
Heaped or heaping measurement: Don’t bother to scrap off the excess from the top with a knife. Allow the ingredient to heap on top. Should be just a little larger than a regular measurement.
Pinch: A small amount of an ingredient (usually salt) that can be held between the finger and thumb. Otherwise known as a “dash.” Wikipedia (Wikipedia is amazing non?), defines a pinch of fine salt as 1/4 gram (20-24 pinches per teaspoon), and a pinch of sugar as 1/3-1/2 gram.
When measuring out dry ingredients in measuring cups, use a knife to scrape excess ingredient off top of the cup.