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Front Page - Friday, September 25, 2015

So you think you can cook?

Kay's Cooking Corner

Kay Bona

All of the cooking shows on TV are incredible. To name just a few: “The Chew,” Hell’s Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “Kitchen Nightmares” (I’ve had more than my share of these), “Cupcake Wars,” “Unwrapped,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “The Next Food Star,” “Food Detectives” (that name has me puzzled), “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” and, last but not least (nor anywhere near the end of the list), “Two Fat Ladies.” (What in tarnation?)

I googled “food shows” and went through at least 14 pages of shows, and there were more. If you need to know anything about cooking, I have no doubt you can find a show that can help. I had no idea there were so many; Julia Child would choke on her noodles if she were alive today. (And for those of the “younger” generation, Child was considered a master chef of French cuisine. RIP Julia.)

Here are some cooking terms that might be somewhat strange to some of you. However, for some, they will be familiar. Especially if you watch a lot of TV.

Air: In the finest of modern restaurants, gravies and sauces are becoming things of the past, being replaced with airs and foams. Airs are produced by using a submersion blender with cooking juices or fruit juices combined with a stabilizer – usually lecithin. The blender causes the liquid to froth up, and the froth is then used on the plated meal.

Bard: To tie some type of fat (bacon or fatback) around what you are cooking to prevent it from drying out while roasting. Often used with fowl or extremely lean meats, barding bastes the meat while it is cooking, thus keeping it moist.

Chiffonade: The French term for a particular knife cut where herbs and leafy greens are cut into thin strips.

Crème fraîche: A dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture, which causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor.

Fond: The brown caramelized bits of stuff left in the pan after you sauté meat or fish. It’s the stuff from which you make great sauces – sort of a base.

Gremolada (greh-moh-LAH-dah): An Italian garnish consisting of minced garlic, parsley, lemon rind, and sometimes shredded basil. It’s most often used in garnishing ossobuco.

Kimchi (KIHM-chee): A very spicy, extremely pungent condiment that’s served at most Korean meals. It’s made from fermented vegetables like pickled turnips and cabbage. In Korea, they are then jarred, buried in the ground, and dug up when needed. If you like it HOT, you’d like kimchi.

Meuniére (muhn-YAIR): A fancy French name for “miller’s wife,” it refers to the cooking technique used. In this case, fish is seasoned with salt and pepper and then dredged with flour and sautéed in butter.

Mise en place (MEEZ ahn-plahs) : A French term for having all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go before starting to cook. That means everything is cleaned, peeled, chopped, diced, measured out, whatever’s necessary to get the ingredients ready prior to preparing your dish.

Molecular gastronomy: A term commonly used to describe a style of cuisine in which chefs explore culinary possibilities by borrowing tools from the science lab and ingredients from the food industry. Examples include serving cocktails in ice spheres, caviar made of olive oil, disappearing transparent raviolis, and liquid pea spheres. (Again, I say, what in tarnation?)

Panko: Japanese breadcrumbs.

Posole: (poh-SOH-leh) : Traditional Mexican thick soup usually made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth.

Pope’s nose : The stubby tail that protrudes from dressed chicken, turkey, and other fowl.

Powders: Powders are a new addition to modern menus – they are flavors that are dried to a dust and then sprinkled or served alongside food as a garnish.

Transglutaminase: Transglutaminase breaks down the cells of meat and basically turns it to a mush that can be piped or shaped, or used in commercial food for binding meats together (as in hot dogs and sausages).

Tomato concasse: fresh ripe tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped. 

This is all I have room for if I want to add a recipe (and I do). Hopefully, you’ve learned a few new terms.

Here’s a new Italian soup I made recently that’s amazing!

30-Minute Italian Sausage Soup

1 pound mild Italian sausage links

3 cloves garlic, diced

4 carrots, sliced into chunks

2 stalks celery, sliced into chunks

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

8-10 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1 (15 ounce) can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced Tomatoes

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 pound dried Orecchiette pasta

2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat a 12-quart pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Brown garlic until tender, and then add sausage and vegetables.

Once sausage is browned on each side, remove from pot and add all remaining ingredients except pasta and basil. Bring soup to a boil.

Meanwhile slice sausage into rounds and add to soup. Once soup comes to a boil, add pasta and basil. Cook until pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally.

Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.