Category: Tips (Page 1 of 6)


Can anyone say no to puff pastry? Vol-au-vents are small hollow cases of puff pastry that are filled with savory mixtures (meat/fish, sauces, vegetables, etc.) and served as an appetizer or main course. Vol-au-vent is French for ‘windblown’—describing the lightness of the little morsel of goodness.

Nappe [nap]

Stop yawning! In the culinary world, nappe (French) is the consistency of a sauce that will coat the back of the spoon, as well as the food being served with the sauce (a very thin coating).

Gateau [gah-toe]

French word for ‘cake’ but its exact meaning depends on who you are talking to… In America, the gateau is any cake type dessert. In France, the gateau refers to various pastry items made with puff pastry, éclair paste, etc. AND cake. Have your cake, um, gateau, and eat it, too!

Clarified Butter

Sounds technical? Clarified butter is PURIFIED butter (water and milk solids are removed). Anyone can do it at home: melt butter in a saucepan over a very low heat, skim the foamy layer off the top, and then carefully pour the butter off of the milk solids that have settled to the bottom. Why would I want clarified butter? Without the water and milk solids (impurities), the now clarified butter can be used at much higher temperatures without burning. Clarified butter, without the milk solids, can also be kept much longer without going rancid.


More French terminology… ‘to crush or grind.’ You will almost always see concasse following tomato: tomato concasse is peeled, seeded and diced tomato. It’s one of the very first things you learn at culinary school!

Crudités [croo-dee-TAYS]

Traditional French appetizers of sliced or whole raw vegetables that are usually served with vinaigrette or other dipping sauce. Crudités may include celery and carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus spears. Um… does celery with peanut butter count??!!

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