07/10/15

What is a Mirepoix?

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A mirepoix (meer-PWAH) is, most typically, a combination of celery, onions, and carrots. There are a lot of regional mirepoix variations, and it can also  include additional spices.

Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or olive oil, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces (as well as my mama’s turkey stuffing). The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Similar combinations of vegetables are known as the holy trinity in Creole cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, sofrito in Spanish,

Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term mirepoix dates from the 18th century and derives, as do many other appellations in French cuisine,from the aristocratic employer of the cook credited with establishing and stabilizing it: in this case, Charles-Pierre-Gaston François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix (1699–1757), French field marshal and ambassador. According to Pierre Larousse (quoted in the Oxford Companion to Food), the unfortunate Duke of Mirepoix was “an incompetent and mediocre individual. . . who owed his vast fortune to the affection Louis XV felt toward his wife and who had but one claim to fame: he gave his name to a sauce made of vegetables and a variety of seasonings”

One of my favorite recipes using a mirepoix is our Italian Sausage Potato Soup.

Italian Sausage Potato Soup

Traditionally, the weight ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots; the ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

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01/24/15

What is: Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce – A sauce, popular in Asian cooking, that brings a multitude of sweet and spicy flavors to a dish: fermented soybeans, molasses, vinegar, mustard, sesame seeds, garlic, and chiles. Look for hoisin sauce alongside the soy sauce in most supermarkets or in Asian markets.

Our Favorite Recipe: Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce

http://ninecooks.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451fa5069e20168e63f07c9970c-pi

01/23/15

What are: Giblets

What are giblets

Giblets – The edible internal organs of poultry, including the liver, heart, and gizzard. (Although sometimes packaged with the giblets, the neck is not part of the giblets.) Giblets are sometimes used to make gravy.

Our Favorite Recipe: Grandpa Frank’s Giblet Gravy

Giblet Gravy recipe

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

01/22/15

What is: Fillet

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Fillet – To remove bones from a fish, so that only the flesh remains. The process depends on the type of fish. Though similar, it is different for flat fish, like a flounder, or round fish, such as a trout. The best way to learn how is to purchase a cookbook with details or watch the cooking shows. If in doubt, your seafood monger will do it for you.

Our Favorite Recipe: Simple Poached Salmon with Lemon-Parsley Orzo

Simple Poached Salmon

01/21/15

What is: A Dash

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Dash – If a recipe calls for “a dash” of an ingredient, it is somewhat relative. However, the most accurate amount appears to be 1/16-teaspoon.

Literally, you just add the ingredient “in a dash”. For example, if it is a dry ingredient, such as a spice, just shake the box once, assuming there are small holes, and what comes out is it. It is the same with liquid ingredients that come out in drops.

Our Favorite Recipe: Easiest Poached Eggs Ever

Microwaved poached egg

 

01/20/15

What is: Broth vs. Stock

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Broth – The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry, or fish has been simmered with vegetables and herbs. It is similar to stock, which is basically the same thing, but richer and more concentrated.

Want to make your own stock at home? See our post, “Making your own Chicken Stock”.

Our Favorite Recipe:  Chicken Kotletki with Sour Cream Mushroom Sauce & Sweet Cabbage Salad

Russian Chicken Kotletki

01/19/15

What is: Dredging

dredge in flour

Dredge – To coat before cooking with dry ingredients such flour, corn meal, bread or cracker crumbs, or other mixtures. The term can also refer to pulling a dry ingredient through a wet coating, as in the recipe below.

Our Favorite Recipe: Chef Perry’s Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Enchiladas

01/17/15

What is: All-purpose (AP) flour

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All-purpose (AP) flour: This flour is made from a blend of soft and hard wheat flours and, as its name implies, can be used for many purposes, including baking, thickening, and coating. All-purpose flour usually is sold pre-sifted and is available bleached or unbleached.

Our Favorite Recipe: Easy Goat Cheese Naan

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(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

 

01/16/15

What is: Fish Sauce

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Fish Sauce – A pungent amber-colored liquid made by fermenting fish, usually anchovies, in brine. It’s often used in Southeast Asian cooking. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in numerous cultures in Southeast Asia.

Fish sauce, and its derivatives, impart an umami flavor to food due to their glutamate content.

Our Favorite Recipe: Quick and Easy Pork Meatball Pho

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

01/15/15

What is: Drizzling

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Drizzle – To randomly pour a liquid, such as butter, oil, or icing, in a thin stream over food.

Our Favorite Recipe: Honey Ginger Carrots

Honey ginger carrots

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)