A good many of us foodies missed the little box or button or whatever it was that allowed us to categorize our posts this month as culinary. Bummer! Makes it harder for me to find new blogs to follow and harder for them to find me. Next year!
Now that we’re a few days into these posts, are there cooking terms/foods/techniques you wonder about? Do you have your own A-Z list of confusing words? List them in the Comments section below, and I will give you an answer on the appropriate letter day. Now, for today, C is for …
C is for Chiffonade
Chiffonade (French for “little ribbons”) is a technique for chopping green, leafy herbs and veggies into long, thin strips. I take a stack of basil or spinach leaves, roll them tightly together, and slice them into thin strips with a sharp knife crosswise.
There is a kitchen gadget (which of course I had to buy) you can roll over herbs to chiffonade them, but I have found that harder to use. The gadget takes longer than the rolling/slicing, and you sometimes end up with mashed herbs or veggies instead of separate strips. Or maybe it is my ineptitude. Whatever, I now chiffonade with my knife.
Interestingly, the chiffonade technique has also been applied to crepes or even thin omelets. But, it is not appropriate to chiffonade herbs with small, irregular leaves (like parsley).
C is for Cut In
You’re getting ready to make piecrust and the recipe says to “cut in” the shortening. Cut in is the technique for keeping that piecrust flaky instead of tough.
There are right and wrong ways to cut in shortening however. First, the shortening must be chilled but not cold. You should be able to mold it like playdough.
Second, cut the shortening into large chunks and add all at once to the dry ingredients. You can either cut in with a pastry blender (with all its sharp edges) or just use your hands to get the flour mixture loose and crumbly looking. The pieces of shortening will vary in size, and that’s the way you want it.
Do not overwork the dough (the biggest mistake people make when cutting in).