Friday, March 19, 2010
Moist Heat Cooking Part One
Basting simply means applying some form of liquid to the food that you are cooking, whether it is Chef Scott’s Cumin-Chipotle Marinade or brushing BBQ sauce on your burger at one of your backyard barbeques.
The term “basting” generally applies to adding liquid to a protein; this liquid can be fat, marinade, pan juices or some other kind of sauce/liquid. The possibilities are endless; it all depends on the creativity of the cook. Basting can be done whether you are baking, broiling, roasting, barbequing, smoking or any other form of dry heat cooking.
If you have ever brushed a piece of fish with butter or added BBQ to your ribs or burgers then you have basted!!! ChungaChungaBam Baby!!!!
Blanching means to par boil or par steam a food (usually vegetables). The idea is to partially cook the food and then quickly cool the product so that it enables you to use it at a latter time.
Blanching aids in the preservation of flavor, color and texture of the foods blanched, hinders the ripening enzymes that can destroy the foods, and is the best way to preserve foods before freezing. Blanching also is the best way to preserve the vitamins and other essential nutrients of the raw food.
The most important thing to remember in blanching is that you are par cooking the product, not cooking it. If you take the product and immediately submerge it in ice water you will stop the cooking process by bringing it down to less than 40 degrees as quickly as possible, which halts the cooking process.
Boiling means just that, bringing water or some other form of liquid to a boil and cooking your product until it is finished.
I personally do not recommend boiling vegetables because you lose a lot of the nutrients that Mother Earth had given us in the raw form, I prefer to steam any vegetable I can. But there are things in our little culinary world that must be boiled or at least par boiled, like grains and pasta.
As far as pasta or some any other grain or grain based product that you may have to boil is concerned, I recommend quick cooling, such as the ice bath method I explained in the blanching section, running under cold water or by laying your product evenly on a pan or some other piece of equipment that you can refrigerate in order to halt the cooking process as quickly as possible until it is ready to use.
Par Boiling is basically the same as blanching, but has a wider spectrum. What I mean is that par boiling not only means vegetables, but also grains and pastas among others. The premise is the same though, you are par cooking your product, par boiling generally means that you are cooking your product longer. I prefer to par boil or par steam root vegetables like parsnips, rutabaga, celery root, carrots and potatoes to make them easier to use when it comes time to apply the product to my recipes.