Ganache – Definition

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[gahn-AHSH] – A rich icing/filling made of semi-sweet chocolate and whipping cream, heated and stirred together until the chocolate has melted. The mixture is cooled until lukewarm and poured over a cake or torte.

Remoulade – Definition

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[ray-muh-LAHD] This classic french sauce is made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It’s served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.

Stock – Definition

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In the most basic terms, stock is the strained liquid that is the result of cooking vegetables, meat or fish and other seasoning ingredients in water. A brown stock is made by browning bones, vegetables and other ingredients before they’re cooked in the liquid. Most soups begin with a stock of some kind, and many sauces are based on reduced stocks.

Mirepoix – Definition

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[mihr-PWAH] A mixture of diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs sauteed in butter. Sometimes ham or bacon is added. Mirepoix is used to season sauces, soups and stews, as well as for a bed on which to braise foods, usually meats or fish. A white mirepoix omits the carrots and often incorporates mushrooms and/or parsnips.

Espagnole Sauce – Definition

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[ehs-pah-NYOHI] A rich, reduced brown stock containing herbs, tomato puree or fresh tomatoes and a mirepoix of browned vegetables, all thickened by brown roux. Espagnole is one of the four original “mother sauces”.

(Or as I like to refer to them: OGMS, Original gansta’ mother sauces.)

Demi-glace – Definition

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[DEHM-ee glahs] A rich espagnole sauce, which is slowly cooked with beef stock and madeira or sherry until it’s reduced by half. The result is a thick glaze that coats a spoon. This intense mixture is used as a base for many other sauces.

Sugar Syrup – Definition

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Also called simple syrup, gomme syrup and strop de gomme, sugar syrup is a solution of sugar and water that is cooked over low heat until clear, then boiled for a minute or so. Sugar syrup can be made in various densities-thin (3 parts water to 1 part sugar), medium (2 parts water to 1 part sugar) and heavy (equal parts water and sugar). Depending on the thickness, sugar syrups have various uses including soaking cakes (such a baba), glazing baked goods, poaching or preserving fruit, adding to fro stings, etc. Sugar syrups are the basis for most candies and can be flavored with a variety of extracts, juices, liqueurs, etc…

Compote – Definition

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[KAHM-poht] A chilled dish of fresh or dried fruit that has been slowly cooked in a SUGAR SYRUP (which may contain liquor or liqueur and sometimes spices.) Slow cooking is important for the fruit to retain its shape.

Garam Masala – Definition

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[gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah] Garam is Indian for “warm” or “hot,” and this blend of dry-roasted, ground spices from the colder climates of northern India adds a sense of “warmth” to both palate and spirit. There are as many variations of garam masala (which may contain up to 12 spices) as there are Indian cooks. In can include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, dried chiles, fennel, mace, nutmeg and other spices. Garam masala may be purchased in Indian markets and in most supermarkets.* It’s also easily prepared at home, but should be made in small batches to retain its freshness. As with all spices, it should be stored in a cool, dry place for no more than 6 months. ** Garam masala is usually either added to a dish towards the end of cooking or sprinkled over the surface just before serving.

*It’s not at Kroger, for those of you in the south. I had to go to Fresh Market, which is similar to Whole Foods for my West Coast friends. If you’re reading this in another country, I’m sorry but I have no idea where you can go. (But I’m stoked you’re checking out the website, thanks!!)

** I call bullshit on this rule of using spices in 6 months. Spices are expensive and I know I can’t afford to buy them all new every 6 months. It’s true to buy in small quantities so you don’t keep it forever, but don’t go overboard. (My boss, who is a brilliant cook backs me up on this too, by the way.)

Roux – Definition

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[ROO] A mixture of flour and fat that, after being slowly cooked over low heat, is used to thicken mixtures such a soups and sauces. There are three classic roux-white, blond and brown. The color and flavor is determined by the length of time the mixture is cooked. Both white roux and blond roux are made with butter. The former is cooked just until it begins to turn beige and the latter until pale golden. Fuller-flavored brown roux can be made with butter, drippings or pork or beef fat. ti’s cooked to a deep golden brown and used for rich, dark soups and sauces. CAJUN and CREOLE dishes use lard based roux, which is cooked (sometimes for almost an hour) until a beautiful mahogany brown. This dark base is indispensable for specialties like GUMBO.