I have been watching a lot of cooking shows over the past year, and we've eaten out in some more adventurous restaurants than we used to, and I've discovered that my cooking vocab needs polishing!
I find myself skimming over words on menu's that I do not understand, and by the time I get home, have forgotten what it was, so never look it up. I hate not knowing what is on the menu. What if my new favourite dish was overlooked on the menu, simply for fear of not knowing! Sometimes I ask the waiter to explain elements of the menu, but, it seems to pain them here and I feel embarassed for having asked.
So, Mumbo-jumbo Mondays are going to be a regular post item in which I will explain a cooking term or ingredient that I haven't understood. I want to learn more about food, and thought, perhaps others do too! Some weeks they may be very basic, other weeks hopefully more useful. As pregnancy brain settles in for the long haul, some weeks may be VERY basic (what's the difference between heating and re-heating......), but hopefully I can learn something and perhaps pass this knowledge on, so that you too feel confident reading a menu or knowing exactly what the chefs are talking about on Top Chef!
To kick off, I have been hearing a lot about Clarified butter of late, have even clarified some myself, but whenever I hear the words, I still instantly go blank! So, let the Mumbo-jumbo Monday's begin!!!
Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat.
It has a higher smoking point than normal butter or oil, so is used when you want to cook something in butter for a long period of time or over a higher heat than normal.
Known as ghee in Indian cooking, and drawn butter in America.
To make clarified butter, you heat unsalted butter in a pan until boiling point when the white foamy bits rise to the top. You spoon these off the top, strain it over gauze-lined strainers and what is left behind is the clarified
If you then continue to cook the clarified butter, it will take on a brown colour and a nutty aroma. This is referred to as Brown Butter or beurre noisette. I just realised that I haven't put a post up yet which I cooked straight after Christmas, using Blanche for the first time. The recipe for donut-like-muffins was pure heaven, and used Brown Butter. I will post it soon, but, I warn you, bake it only when there are other people around or you will be tempted to eat the entire batch yourself, and, well, it isn't exactly good for you!!!