Category Archives: Define: This

define: confit

this specialty of France is derived from an ancient method of preserving meat (usually goose, duck or pork) whereby it is salted and slowly cooked in its own fat. the cooked meat is then packed into a crock or pot and covered with its own cooking fat, which acts as a seal and preservative.

With Thanksgiving just having passed, I had seen so many turkey recipes that called for the bird to be cooked in duck fat. This then made me think of defining confit for everyone who has seen/ heard of it, but never knew what the heck it was. Personally, confit doesn’t really interest me, because the thought of eating something cooked in its own fat is, well… not the most appetizing. However, I’ve seen it so frequently on menus at various restaurants, so someone important must love it! Go ahead, give it a shot, and let me know what you thought! btw, that awesome rhyme was so not intended, but I like it :)

P.S. it’s pronounced con-fee.

define: raclette

a swiss dish consisting of a chunk of raclette cheese that is exposed to heat (traditionally an open fire) and scraped off as it melts… comes from racler, french for “to scrape.” it’s served as a meal with boiled potatoes, dark bread and cornichons, or other pickled vegetables.

There’s no better time to enjoy this dish than in the autumn & winter months. Just like all the holiday decor, it, too, creates that cozy/ warm/ fuzzy feeling inside and truly satisfies any comfort food craving this time of year!

I decided to share this definition with you, because I just saw this awesome little raclette maker in Crate & Barrel’s holiday gift guide (which you’ll find on page 54!) It’s really such a simple concept, but so, so delicious! If you haven’t tried it before, I suggest you do so before the weather warms up again.

P.S. it’s pronounced rah-klet.

define: velveting

a technique in chinese cuisine for preserving the moisture of meat while cooking. it provides a soft or “velvety” texture to the meat of any entree. this technique is applied to raw meat before cooking, and involves pre-coating the meat with a mixture of oil, egg white, cornstarch, and sherry or rice wine.

Have you ever made a stir fry so enthusiastically but were left disappointed because your chicken ended up super dry & rubbery? If your answer is yes, don’t worry… so have I (sad story, I know). Well, cry no more, my friends, because now you know what you were missing!

So let me keep it real for you – don’t even bother with the egg whites, and the oil, and all that fancy stuff… the most important ingredient here is cornstarch. I mean, think about it: why would you waste your time with the extra stuff when all you’re trying to do is make a quick (yummy) meal after work?!

If it makes you feel any better, I don’t entertain the fancies. I just sprinkle on a little bit of salt & pepper and generously coat the chicken with cornstarch (I prefer to massage the cornstarch in because the last thing I want is lumps in my food. Uhhh… ew). Next, marinate the chicken in your stir fry sauce for a good 20 minutes at room temperature; and then when you’re ready, throw the meat into a wok with some veggies and you’ve got yourself some juicy, moist Kung Pao Chicken! Woo!

P.S. I cheated today. I googled the definition because my dictionary didn’t know the definition.

define: mis en place

a french term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking.

This term isn’t new to me, by any means, since it’s something that every student learns in “culinary 101” but I chose it because while I was describing a small food business to the husbo, I threw the word around in conversation, only to have him look at me like I was speaking a foreign language! ok, so technically I guess I was… but you get my drift. It then dawned on me that if he didn’t know what it meant, then other people probably don’t either.

It’s a term that is very commonly used in professional kitchens, but isn’t limited to them. Don’t be afraid to be like, “hey man, I can’t feed your cat after work ’cause I have to do my mis en place for breakfast tomorrow… you know I’m sooo not a morning person.” Lol. I don’t know…

P.S. it’s pronounced meez-on-plass.

define: frico

an italian food, which consists of shredded cheese, potatoes, flour & eggs; baked or fried until crisp. common cheeses include parmesan, mozzarella, or montasio.

If you are a MasterChef fan, then you should already know what this post is inspired by…

This week, the last 3 contestants were fighting for a place in the Top 2. Luca Manfe (who also happens to be our favorite) took inspiration from his Italian roots and created a beautiful entree that eventually earned him his spot in the finale: pancetta wrapped veal accompanied by frico.

This is the first I’ve ever heard of frico, and oh my god it looked amazing. Cheese + potatoes? Yes please! I couldn’t help but notice a resemblance to the hash browns that we served at the restaurant I used to work at in New York. I’m not even going to lie – I ate a slice every time I worked the morning shift; which, you should know, was everyday for 6 months! But back to the frico… the recipe I found seems simple enough, and I’m really hoping it’s as easy to make as it is described!