Eden Grinshpan's Kitchen Cheat Sheet

Eden Grinshpan knows her way around a kitchen. You may recognize her as the local restaurant explorer on Log On & Eat with Eden Grinshpan, but she's spent much of her career cooking in homes, cafes, and bakeries all over the world — everywhere from India to Israel to Southeast Asia. Now, Grinshpan is back in the U.S. working on her own new culinary ventures, and we were lucky enough to grab her for a sit-down here at R29 HQ.
We're not bad with a stove ourselves, but there are still some techniques we haven't totally mastered. But, Grinshpan has, and she shed some light for us. Ever been stumped when the cookbook tells you to mix up a "roux" for your sauce or stew? Not quite sure just how to "chiffonade" the lettuce — and why? Eden broke it all down into this handy kitchen glossary of common, and slightly less common, terms. You might want to bookmark this one. We all have. Check out the breakdown (and, by popular request, find a printer-friendly version!) right here.
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ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
1) Deglaze: You do this often when you are sautéing or pan-frying meats. Little brown bits and caramelized goodness get stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Here’s how you deglaze: Pour a liquid (stock, wine, beer — whatever the recipe calls for) into the hot pan, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. The liquid will then release all those yummy, stuck-on pieces. You want all that flavor in your food, and the brown bits are the most delicious.

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ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
2) Julienne: This is a particular style of slicing. A cook juliennes vegetables typically for salads, sautéing — anything that requires your vegetables to be uniform and cut into matchstick-thin pieces.

You julienne vegetables by cutting them as thin as possible with a very sharp knife, literally to the width of matchsticks. Start slow until you get the hang of it (there are a few good videos on YouTube), and watch your fingers!

3 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
3) Mise En Place: "Mise en place" is a French term that refers to all your fully prepped ingredients set out to prepare the meal. You should try and do this for every recipe so that once you get cooking, you won’t have to stop and chop or prep something. It is always more efficient and easy to measure out all the ingredients you will need for a meal before you start to cook.

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ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
4) Roux: A roux is a basic mixture of equal parts fat to flour that is used to thicken sauces, stews, etc. All you have to do is heat up the fat and mix in the flour with a spoon. There are two different kinds: blond and brown. The brown one is cooked longer and has a darker appearance and more nutty flavor.

To compose this, melt equal parts butter to flour, stirring consistently until it's the texture of wet sand. Then, add to your sauce, soup, or gravy and stir it to thicken. Start with just a tablespoon — a little goes a surprisingly long way with roux!

5 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
5) Al Dente: You probably already know this one, but just in case: "Al dente" is a term that comes into play when making pasta dishes and some rice dishes. It means the noodles or rice needs to be a little firm when you bite into them. It might even seem a little undercooked, but just check that it's not actually rock-hard in the center. The direct translation means "to the bite." You'll know it when you bite it.

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ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
6) Bain-Marie, a.k.a. The Double Boiler: This is the technique to use when you don't want direct heat on the food you are cooking. The best way to heat, melt, or cook would be in a bain-marie. It's a crucial technique for delicate ingredients. For instance, I always melt my chocolate in a bain-marie since chocolate burns easily.

If you don't have an actual double boiler, simply use a metal or heat-proof bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling or simmering water.

7 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
7) Demi-Glace: When you take veal or beef stock and simmer it for a long time, it reduces by half, becoming very thick and very flavorful. This is usually used as a sauce or the base of a sauce. It’s commonly served with meats. This is one of the mother sauces in French cooking.

The easy way to make demi-glace (without actually roasting the bones yourself) is to start with good-quality stock. Simply pour stock into a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow the stock to cook until it's reduced by half, skimming any foam that comes to the surface, then strain. It's done when it thoroughly coats the back of a spoon.

8 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
8) Flambé: This technique happens during cooking or a food presentation for something like bananas Foster. You flambé by adding alcohol to a dish and lighting it on fire. Don't be afraid, though — this is just the alcohol cooking off.

The whole process happens very fast, so just follow instructions for your specific recipe, and use common-sense precautions. (That is, don't pour the alcohol near an open flame. Pour it, then light it immediately). The flames will disappear in moments, and you'll end up with the flavor and nice aroma of the spirit while losing the actual booze.

9 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
9) Chiffonade: This is another super-thin cutting technique. You can use this on any flat, fresh, leafy vegetables. I usually chiffonade my herbs or my lettuce.

To chiffonade, take your leafy green or fresh herb, roll it up tightly, and then slice across the roll, creating fine strips. Using this technique keeps everything uniform, pretty, and makes the ingredient much easier to work with.

10 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
10) Blanch: "Blanching" just means to quickly scald, then place in cold water. When I want to remove the skins of tomatoes for certain dishes, I blanch them. This technique doesn't actually cook the tomatoes, but simply helps remove their skins by taking them from extreme hot to extreme cold. You are shocking it. Another example of where you might do this is blanching broccoli before you sauté it. This helps a vegetable stay crisp and hold its color.

To blanch, submerge the vegetable into boiling water for a couple of seconds, remove, and then immediately place it into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. That's it!

11 of 12
ILLUSTRATED BY LY NGO.
11) Bouquet Garni: I use a bouquet garni in my stocks and soups. This is when you take herbs and wrap them together with a string or place in a cheesecloth. It holds them all together while you are cooking your meal, while also keeping the bits and pieces out of your dish. This is a great way to add flavor to a meal — and you simply have to fish out the bundle at the end instead of hunting down the floating herbs.

The classic, French bouquet garni is three sprigs of parsley, two sprigs of thyme, and one bay leaf. Wrap them up in a square of cheesecloth, and tie with a piece of cooking twine (or regular, un-dyed string). Done!
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Photographed by James Cant.
Eden Grinshpan's Kitchen Cheat Sheet

1) Deglaze: You do this often when you are sautéing or pan-frying meats. Little brown bits and caramelized goodness get stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Here’s how you deglaze: Pour a liquid (stock, wine, beer — whatever the recipe calls for) into the hot pan, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. The liquid will then release all those yummy, stuck-on pieces. You want all that flavor in your food, and the brown bits are the most delicious.


2) Julienne: This is a particular style of slicing. A cook juliennes vegetables typically for salads, sautéing — anything that requires your vegetables to be uniform and cut into matchstick-thin pieces.

You julienne vegetables by cutting them as thin as possible with a very sharp knife, literally to the width of matchsticks. Start slow until you get the hang of it (there are a few good videos on YouTube), and watch your fingers!


3) Mise En Place: "Mise en place" is a French term that refers to all your fully prepped ingredients set out to prepare the meal. You should try and do this for every recipe so that once you get cooking, you won’t have to stop and chop or prep something. It is always more efficient and easy to measure out all the ingredients you will need for a meal before you start to cook.


4) Roux: A roux is a basic mixture of equal parts fat to flour that is used to thicken sauces, stews, etc. All you have to do is heat up the fat and mix in the flour with a spoon. There are two different kinds: blond and brown. The brown one is cooked longer and has a darker appearance and more nutty flavor.

To compose this, melt equal parts butter to flour, stirring consistently until it's the texture of wet sand. Then, add to your sauce, soup, or gravy and stir it up to thicken. Start with just a tablespoon — a little goes a surprisingly long way with roux!


5) Al Dente: You probably already know this one, but just in case: "Al dente" is a term that comes into play when making pasta dishes and some rice dishes. It means the noodles or rice needs to be a little firm when you bite into them. It might even seem a little undercooked, but just check that it's not actually rock-hard in the center. The direct translation means "to the bite." You'll know it when you bite it.


6) Bain-Marie, a.k.a. The Double Boiler: This is the technique to use when you don't want direct heat on the food you are cooking. The best way to heat, melt, or cook would be in a bain-marie. It's a crucial technique for delicate ingredients. For instance, I always melt my chocolate in a bain-marie since chocolate burns easily.

If you don't have an actual double boiler, simply use a metal or heat-proof bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling or simmering water.


7) Demi-Glace: When you take veal or beef stock and simmer it for a long time, it reduces by half, becoming very thick and very flavorful. This is usually used as a sauce or the base of a sauce. It’s commonly served with meats. This is one of the mother sauces in French cooking.

The easy way to make demi-glace (without actually roasting the bones yourself) is to start with good-quality stock. Simply pour stock into a heavy-bottomed pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow the stock to cook until it's reduced by half, skimming any foam that comes to the surface, then strain. It's done when it thoroughly coats the back of a spoon.

8) Flambé: This technique happens during cooking or a food presentation for something like bananas Foster. You flambé by adding alcohol to a dish and lighting it on fire. Don't be afraid, though — this is just the alcohol cooking off.

The whole process happens very fast, so just follow instructions for your specific recipe, and use common-sense precautions. (That is, don't pour the alcohol near an open flame. Pour it, then light it, immediately). The flames will disappear in moments, and you'll end up with the flavor and nice aroma of the spirit while losing the actual booze.

9) Chiffonade: This is another super-thin cutting technique. You can use this on any flat, fresh, leafy vegetables. I usually chiffonade my herbs or my lettuce.

To chiffonade, take your leafy green or fresh herb, roll it up tightly, and then slice across the roll, creating fine strips. Using this technique keeps everything uniform, pretty, and makes the ingredient much easier to work with.

10) Blanch: "Blanching" just means to quickly scald, then place in cold water. When I want to remove the skins of tomatoes for certain dishes, I blanch them. This technique doesn't actually cook the tomatoes, but simply helps remove their skins by taking them from extreme hot to extreme cold. You are shocking it. Another example of where you might do this is blanching broccoli before you saute it. This helps a vegetable stay crisp and hold its color.

To blanch, submerge the vegetable into boiling water for a couple of seconds, remove, and then immediately place it into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. That's it!

11) Bouquet Garni: I use a bouquet garni in my stocks and soups. This is when you take herbs and wrap them together with a string or place in a cheesecloth. It holds them all together while you are cooking your meal, while also keeping the bits and pieces out of your dish. This is a great way to add flavor to a meal — and you simply have to fish out the bundle at the end instead of hunting down the floating herbs.

The classic, French bouquet garni is three sprigs of parsley, two sprigs of thyme, and one bay leaf. Wrap them up in a square of cheesecloth, and tie with a piece of cooking twine (or regular, un-dyed string). Done!
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