Mise En Place

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Here’s my primer on mise en place:
Early in the day I get out my ingredients while consulting the recipe (let's say I'm making a dinner). If it's something that needs to remain chilled, I check to be sure it's on hand, fresh, in the correct quantities, move it to the front of the refrigerator, separate out 2 eggs from the rest, etc. Next, I take out the pots, pans, measuring devices I’ll need, sort of stack them by the stove, then I go about my business for the next few hours. Knowing that some advance work has been done makes the act of actually COOKING the meal (and the rest of day) more pleasurable.
Let's take this concept further: before lunch chop, mince and measure things like: onion, garlic, flour, s&p, herbs, spices, and set them out in little dishes near your food prep area. You might be able to combine the garlic & onion in the same small bowl because the recipe calls for them to added to the skillet at the same time. (I have been to garage sales for sets of 1/2 cup glass ramekins; 2 cup steel bowls - the kind used by a bartender for drink garnishes. I now have stacks of them that are for mise en place.)
The goal is to have your ingredients on hand right where you need them, already measured out. This method requires less time in the kitchen when you are actually cooking the meal. If you are entertaining, or it's a really big or complicated dinner, you'll have more time for your guests during the "coctail hour", and you have taken huge steps at organizing your overall meal prep process.
You might recognize this as what you see on TV cooking shows. Even though the famous chefs have somebody to do all of their prep work for them, pretend you are the sous chef doing your own morning kitchen work. When you return to the kitchen in your fresh apron in the evening, you are now the Chef de Cuisine and everything is in it’s place, ready for you to work your magic!
Whether it's a stir fry prepared in a matter of minutes (you really do need those ingredients on hand and ready to throw in the wok) or a baking project, mise in place is the way to go.
Translation: everything in it’s place. Lots of French words have been gobbled up into the common English language, and the food/cooking arena is no exception.

next: so what about that pot pie?


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This page contains a single entry by Carol published on January 16, 2006 8:52 AM.

Cream Puff Pot Pie was the previous entry in this blog.

The cream puff pot pie experience is the next entry in this blog.

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