Post # 21 Mis en Place

July 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mis en Place?  What the heck is that?  First, it’s pronounced Meez Own Plahss.  It’s a term used in professional cooking that basically means set up.  It encompasses everything it takes to be prepared.  It’s one of those terms that get thrown around a lot on television cooking shows that most people don’t recognize or understand.  Here’s some more.

EVOO – okay, this one originated with Rachel Ray.  I don’t care of her very much.  Just a personal quirk, but I find her voice annoying.  It means Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  That’s all, nothing mysterious.

BTB – This is either Rachel Ray or Anne Burrel, haven’t figured out who used it first.  Either way, it means Bring To a Boil.

RTS – see above.  It means Reduce to Simmer and is usually used in conjunction with BTB.

Proofing – It’s a bread making term and it refers to letting dough rise.  The yeast is working, or proofing.  The rise is proof that the yeast is alive and not dead.

Sponge – this is another baking term.  It refers to the material to be baked whether it’s a cake batter, bread dough, etc.

Fondant – this is a dough made of powdered sugar and shortening.  It’s very stiff and can be formed, shaped, painted, etc to make cakes look amazing.  I’ve never tasted it, but I’m assured it’s not worth eathing.  It’s used to give a cake a smooth, professional surface.

Al Dente – used when cooking pasta.  It means “to the tooth” or toothsome.  It really means when you bite into pasta, it should be firm and chewy, with substance and flavor.  Pasta should not be soft, gooey, falling apart, etc.

Zest – usually refers to citrus fruit, ie, lemons, oranges, etc.  The zest is the outer part of the skin where all the color is.  The zest contains all the citrus oils and flavor.  When zesting, or cutting the outer part of the skin off of citrus, be extremely careful not to get any of the white part, the pith.  It’s very bitter.  There are special micro-graters that make zesting very easy.

Julienne – it’s a way of cutting vegetables into long, very narrow strips that look like match sticks.  It’s easy to do once you’ve practiced enough.

Florentine – basically just means anything with spinach added.

Mousse – something that has been whipped to within an inch of its life.  Actually, it’s anything that’s been beaten and whipped, then chilled (sometimes in a mold) before serving.  Most people know the chocolate dessert, or the chocolate pie, but anything can be put in a mousse, even fish.

Amandine – just add almonds.

Creme Fraiche – a European dairy product that is similar to sour cream and yogurt.  It’s whole milk to which buttermilk culture has been added then left to work.  In a couple of days, it becomes a delicious tangy addition to many foods and can be used in place of either sour cream or yogurt.

Seasoning Process – used with pans, mostly cast iron cookware.  It’s the process of cooking oil into the metal making it rust resistant, and enabling foods to not stick to it.  Easier to clean, too.

Well, this is where I leave for this go round.  If you have any cooking questions, phrases, etc that are confusing you, just let me know.  I’ll do my best to undo the confusion.


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