Pro Cooking Techniques That Anyone Can Pull Off

They may sound fancy, but these pro techniques are easy for anyone to pull off.


This cooking technique involves two simple steps. Just boil the fruit or vegetable that you want to blanch and then dip it in ice water to stop the cooking. This technique is perfect for softening produce slightly without eliminating its bright, vibrant color.


Braising is a technique that's often applied to meats to tenderize them and intensify their flavors. Start by browning the meat over relatively high heat. Then, when it is colored on all sides, remove it from the pot, sauté a flavorful mirepoix, add a little liquid (and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan), and then return the meat to the pan and let it cook, partially submerged, in the liquid.


Chiffonade is just a fancy word for the shape that is produced when you cut leafy greens or herbs into long, thin ribbons. The easiest way to create a chiffonade is to stack your leaves, roll them tightly, and then cut slices across the roll to produce the ribbons.


Double-boiling is a gentle cooking method that's perfect for melting chocolate or cooking sauces and custards. If you don't have a double-boiler (two pans, one of which nests inside the other), all you have to do is place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water and then cook your ingredients in the bowl. 


As long as you pay careful attention to what you're doing, flambéing food is safe and easy. Start by cooking whatever you want to flambé in a pan. When the food is just about done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, pour in a small amount of alcohol, and then return the pan to the heat, tipping the pan away from you slightly  so that the alcohol catches fire. Swirl the pan gently to evenly distribute the flames and let them die out. Don't flambé foods cooking in a lot of oil or butter or that have yielded a lot of fat (like duck) — a lean back from the stove a little when you ignite the pan.


Julienne is a fancy way of describing food that's been cut into the shape of matchsticks. For round foods (like, potatoes, for example) start by cutting off the sides and ends to produce a rectangular shape. Then, cut thin slices from the rectangle, cut the slices to the length of a matchbook, and then cut thin strips from the sections.

Suprême Citrus Fruits

Another French term, suprême simply means to cut the segments out of a citrus fruit. Simply trim both ends of the fruit and then use a knife to trim away the peel and pith. When the citrus fruit is peeled, cut into one of the segments on both sides (as close to the membrane as possible). The section of fruit should be easy to remove.


What could be easier than cooking vegetables very slowly in a little bit of butter or oil so that the liquid that is released during the cooking process evaporates (and the vegetables don't start to brown)?