Learn French Food Terminology!

While learning the French language and correct pronunciations may seem like a bit of a challenge it’s always fun to try!  We figured that because you are learning to become an at home French cuisine master why not learn some of the French food terminology.  Check out this video complete with the correct pronunciations!  You are not only on your way to mastering French Cuisine but also one step closer to learning the language of love!!

Common Cooking Techniques 101

master-of-french-cuisineIf you have been following our blog, you have learned French Food Facts, a bit about French wine, and how to execute the perfect stay at home French Date night.  Now it’s time to really master the art of cooking your own French Cuisine! But first! First for those of you especially those who are not completely comfortable in the kitchen and with cooking terms, we will give you a guide to some of the most widely used terms when it comes to cooking.  Having a bit of knowledge as to what each term actually means will help making french cuisine and cooking for that matter that much easier! Did you know that a lot of the cooking terms that are used daily are actually french derived? Take Cuisine for example, yep you guessed it, it’s a french word!

Widely Used (French) Cooking Terms

 

  • Mise en Place- “Put In Place”  While this isn’t too commonly used of a cooking term it does help to know it’s meaning especially when cooking French recipes. It’s also a great habit to get into when cooking ANY recipe for that matter.  Look through your recipe and find the measured ingredients and put them in individual bowl, piles, dishes etc. This will help make executing the recipe that much easier. For example when making cookies it calls for X cups of flour sifted.  Having your sifted flour ready to go along with your beaten eggs and the rest will help you to complete the recipe just as its called for and in a simple organized fashion!
  • Blanch- Wondering how restaurants get their veggies so perfectly cooked, with theblanching-veggies right amount of crisp and without losing the nutrients.(Yes, cooking your veggies too long will void them of nutrients!) Introducing “blanching”.  Start with a pot of boiling water, a spoon with slits, and a bowl of ice water. Put your veggies in the boiling water, then using your slotted spoon transfer them to the waiting ice water. Perfectly cooked veggies every time!
  • Julienne- this term refers to a matchstick like knife cut resulting in (veggies usually) cut into dimensions measuring 1/8×1/8 x 2in.  Don’t fret if yours come out a bit thicker, why? A thicker cut means they are “Jardine”
  • saute-french-cookingSaute- A term that is very commonly used is sauteed. This basically, means cooking something over high heat in some type of fat, think butter, olive oil etc. Next you must move the food around at a fast pace in the pan as to evenly coat the ingredients with the fat of your choice as well as to evenly cook the ingredients as well.
  • Deglacer- This is your gateway to delicious sauces.  You will add wine(we know the french love their wine) or another type of stock ingredient to a pan you have cooked something in( maybe the saute pan).  You will being the ingredients to a boil while lightly scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any leftover remnants. Talk about delicious flavor for your sake you will further make!

While there are other cooking terms to master these 5 will surely help you on your way to becoming an at home master in your own kitchen.  Understanding cooking terms even slightly will help make recipes to appear as if they are not entirely speaking in a foreign language you do not quite understand! Good look all you future chefs, you are on your way to making your own great cuisine!

The Perfect French Date Night At Home

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You are planning a romantic date night for you and your partner. One filled with great food, romance and an intimate feel, but have no idea what route to go.  Should you go to that trendy new restaurant in town, or perhaps you are thinking of an expensive dinner for two at a fancy place where reservations may be hard to come by?  Nothing seems to be fitting and what you really want is to spend an amazing evening with the person you love. Enter in a French inspired date night at home! After all Paris, France is considered the city of love and French Cuisine and desserts are fabulous at that! Not sure where to start in planning this spectacular romantic evening? Check out our guide to the ultimate French Date!

limousine-french-date-nightThe Invitation: Send an invite to your love affection with minimal details. Time & Place for a romantic evening for two.  If you want to really get into the spirit of things find a limousine service near you that can pick your partner up and whisk them away to your “Date Night In France”.  When planning my French date night at home I used limozarizona.com and clued the driver in on the date night plan. John, the driver for the evening was more than happy to help in making sure that at least the beginning of our night went smoothly and with grace.  I think there is something about love and romance that people just love to see!

The Setting: You want to create a setting that is soft light, relaxing, and inspires intimacy.  Think lowlights (not to low) maybe some candles, soft music, a nice bottle of French wine either chilling in a bucket on your counter or a fine red opened and breathing next to your cheese plate

meat-and-cheese-boardThe Starters: Speaking of that cheese plate, let’s talk about starters!  Use a wood cutting board or another platter of your choice and layout an authentic french baguette ( if you aren’t ready to try your hand at making the bread at home, AJ’s or another fine foods store will usually have them) fresh fruit, a few assorted cheeses, gourmet meats and olive oil dusted with fresh herbs. When your guest arrives pour them a glass of wine and linger over the cheese & meat board while the aromas of your dinner cooking fill your nose and the ambiance relaxes you both.  Pour a glass of that waiting wine and really start to enjoy your evening.

The Main Course:  This is your time to shine!  That French cuisine you have been excited to cook is now in the making!  We suggest picking from main entrees such as Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon (rich beef stew cooked in a burgundy wine), Steak Frites, which is basically a french twist on a nice piece of steak and gourmet style french fries.  Its a French Classic that’s simple, easy to execute and delicious at that! Or perhaps in the colder months you can try out a Cassoulet. This usually consists of white beans stewed slowly with meats. Themeats typically used for this dish are duck, sausage, or pork.  You pick your favorite and give it a bit of your own twist.

creme-bruleeThe Dessert: While there are a variety of incredible French desserts that can be made and chosen from, we suggest none other than Creme Brulee!  This french classic is easy enough to make although it does require a torch and individual dishes. It sweet, creamy custard and can be topped with any fruit of your choice.

The Rest Of The Evening:  The rest of the evening is up to you lovebirds.  What we can assure you is that by this time in the date you are both relaxed not only from the wine but from the atmosphere as well.  You have just eaten a delicious meal and all from the comfort of your own home. Romance is in the air and the rest of the evening is stretching ahead of you!

Congratulations, you have pulled off a memorable and magnificent evening and you have tried your hand at french cuisine!  Who said a romantic date night couldn’t be something “out of the box” and completely amazing!

 

All About French Wines

French-winesThe entire dining experience is taken very seriously in France.  Not only do the French believe you should sit and enjoy your food, they also believe in having wine with lunch & dinner. In fact wine is one of the leading staples alongside bread and cheese when it comes to French cuisine.  Perhaps that is why France is the leading wine producer throughout the world!

For those of you that are not wine connoisseurs, and are looking to understand French wine and how it is paired with the cuisine you are trying to replicate, we thought we’d break the French wine categories down for you and make it a bit simpler.  That being said, French wine is organized into 4 different regions and 4 categories depending greatly on quality of the grapes used and production itself.

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4 Categories Of Identifying Grape Quality

  • Table Wine- the lowest on the grape quality spectrum but definitely still delicious to drink. Table Wine is for everyday use.
  • Vin de Pays’- Similar to Table Wine but of a little higher quality
  • Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure- this type of wine is from a specific region and contains high quality grapes
  • Appellation d’origine Contrôlée- This is by far the crem dela creme of all wine. The AOC seal is in recognition of the highest quality of grape and French wine available

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4 Different French wine Regions

  • Bordeaux- This is mainly the region where Cabernets, Merlots, & Malbecs originate from. These wines are typically used in Bordelaise sauce which is made up of red wine, spices, and shallots.
  • Cotes Du Rhone- This region is found in the South of France and is home to red grapes that make up Syrah’s & Grenaches. As well as white grapes that make up viognier & Roussance
  • Burgundy- This particular region is best known for it’s white grapes that are found in Chardonnays and red grapes that are found in Pinot Noirs.  Wine from the Burgundy region finds its way into La Bourguignonne sauce which are also comprised of baby onions and mushrooms
  • Alsace- this region is found very close to Germany and thus has cooler temperatures than the rest of France and it’s wine regions. Because it is so close to the German border this region is influences a lot by Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer

Another fun fact and something your taste buds may thank you for is the fact that French Sauvignon Blancs are comparable to those from New Zealand.  What exactly does this mean?  If you are a Sauvignon Blanc drinker you may know that many people prefer New Zealand Sauv Blancs because of their grassy and grapefruit enhanced structure.  If you are looking to find a Sauv Blanc with notes that differ a bit, but a wine that still stands up to its New Zealand relative try a French Sauv Blanc, we don’t think you will be disappointed!

The French appreciate wine and not only drink it with the majority of meals they also use it alot in sauces and other dishes.  Get familiar with the different regions and find a couple wines from each that are within your budget and taste.  Having a bit of understanding of what wines do for your French sauces and other dishes that call for them, will help you to replicate your chosen French dish and eating it will be that much more enjoyable!

 

French Facts~

You have just been introduced to the wonder and deliciousness of French Cuisine and now you are ready to try your hand at recreating some of the fabulous French recipes available at home.  Perhaps you have always loved French dishes but never have found the time to make them yourself. Whatever it may be, one thing is sure to be said, once you master French cuisine at home your dinner parties and gatherings just got a whole though better!  Before I start on any new venture involving another culture I tend to do a bit of research to understand the culture and their idea of food, spices, pairings etc. Having somewhat of an understanding of the culture you are trying to replicate a dish from can make all the difference in how the dish turns out!  

That being said, to get everyone started on their French cuisine cooking at home, we thought we would share some fun and interesting facts about Food & the French Culture!

French Cuisine/ Culture Facts

    • Enjoying Your Food- In traditional French culture food enjoyment is a HUGE priority.  The French feel that eating is part of their culture and not just an act of putting food in your body.  They take time to savor their meals and enjoy themselves in all aspects while doing so!
    • French-CheeseCheese Galore-  the French have a different cheese for EVERY day of the year.
    • Snails, Snails, Snails- definitely a country staple, the French consume an average of 500,000,000 snails per year!
    • No Food Waste- France was the very FIRST country to prohibit supermarkets from throwing away unsold food.. Instead they must donate it to charities or other services that it may help.  Probably one of my favorite facts!!!
    • Traditional Baguette- If you want to enjoy a truly traditional French baguette, it must only be made with 3 ingredients- Flour, Yeast, & Salt. The entire loaf must way just under 9 ouncesreal-french-baugette
    • Legal Drinking Age- Not 1 but different legal drinking ages in the French culture.  16 for beer/wine, and 18 for hard liquor and other strong spirits
    • Simple Desserts-  Although many can conjure up sweet decadent desserts when thinking of French sweets the opposite is true.  Traditional French dessert consists of fresh fruit, sometimes yogurt or a small square of real dark chocolate.
    • french-wineWine- Wine one of the biggest staples and influences when it comes to French cuisine and dining
    • Celebrations- When it’s time to celebrate the French drink Champagne!
    • Traditional Christmas Menu– during the celebration of Christmas the French enjoy a menu of raw oysters, escargots, smoked salmon, foie gras, scallops, and let’s not forget the Champagne!
    • Horse & Rabbit- If you have ever dined at an authentic French restaurant, you may have noticed you saw an abundance of dishes made with horse and rabbit.  This is because the French tend to eat a lot of horse and rabbit.
    • The AOC- The French rely heavily on the AOC or Appellation D’Origine Controlee labeling system.  This system helps to regulate the quality of chicken, wine, cheeses, olive oils, potatoes & lentils.
    • Lunch Time- We said the French believe in the enjoyment of their food and because this is of such great importance it is not uncommon for the French to take a 2 hour lunch break at minimum.

Every culture has certain staples and beliefs when it comes to their cooking techniques and cuisine.  Understanding their way of seeing food and the ingredients they choose can help to make your at home French cuisine out of this world!  Not only is it fun to cook new dishes, having a great glass of wine that compliments the food and aromas coming from your kitchen makes the whole process that much more delicious and relaxing!

 

Hello, Bonjour!

french-cuisineHello, or as the French say bonjour!  Welcome to our blog on French Cuisine and the simple steps and recipes that you can cook at home.  We took our love for French cooking and decided to share it with the world through this site.  We hope to provide interesting and useful knowledge on the art of french cuisine as well as make French cuisine fun and easy to master in your own home.  Get ready for some great dinner parties and some delicious food!