Tips on Reading a French Menu

French MenuVisiting France or even dining at a fine French Restaurant and enjoying the rich foods is a dream come true for food lovers. After all, the entire concept of the restaurant began in France. If you don’t speak a word of French, however, the idea of ordering from a menu can be daunting. Here are some tips on reading a French menu that can help you order without embarrassment.

Some Easy Terms Found on a French Menu:

The good news is that so many of the French cooking techniques have spread across the world that you will recognize many of the basic terms used on a French menu. It’s no surprise that amuse-bouche are appetizers, or that the main course is called the pièce de résistance. Many have gotten to know the famous French dish, coc au vin (chicken in wine), and can recognize other dishes with those ingredients. Similarly, quiche, escargot, boeuf, and dessert pose no challenge. Even remembering the term for a menu is not difficult, if you remember that ordering from the menu is ordering à la carte.

Other French words are very close to the terms we use in English. For example, Café is French for coffee, porc is pork, and Le plat du jour is the special of the day. If you simply look over a French menu, you might be surprised at how well you can grasp the meaning of the dishes. Be careful of easily confused terms, however, like entrée, which means appetizer and not main dish in French, and legumes, which means vegetables and not beans or peas.

More Difficult French Menu Terms:

While reading some parts of a French menu are bound to be easier than you’d expect, there are sure to be some terms which are completely unfamiliar. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most common terms on the menu before you go into a restaurant. If you have allergies, you’ll want to be certain to recognize the French terms for those foods.

Aside from food names, you might also want to cover the terms for different types of menus, types of wines and other drinks, cooking and serving methods, and the names of various courses to make sure you’ll be able to order a meal you’ll enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to carry a French-to-English dictionary as backup. It’s better to take the time to look up the food you’re ordering than to have to pay for something that you won’t enjoy eating.

Finally, if you’re uncertain about any of your choices, ask your waiter for assistance. The chances are high that they, or someone else on the wait staff, can speak English.

It’s important not to let the language barrier deter you from having a fantastic French meal. The superb foods and wines are not to be missed, and the best meals are often served in restaurants with no English translation. By following these steps, you will be able to order an unforgettable meal.

Get It While Its Hot – A Guide To Chili

 

The Four Hottest Sauces On the Planet

Anyone who likes their food hot and spicy will be completely familiar with the role that chilies play in cooking. The chili is a fruit of the capsicum plant and is well known for enhancing the flavor of foods and providing a ‘kick’ to a variety of dishes worldwide.

Chillies come in a variety of shapes and sizes from the small birds’ eye chili to the larger bell pepper. In general, the smaller the chili the hotter the flavor.

The Scoville Scale

The Scoville Scale is used to measure the heat level of a chili. It was developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912 and has been refined in more recent years to provide a more accurate reading.

Each chili contains a chemical compound called capsaicin which is actually what produces the hot sensation we all know and love. The greater the concentration of capsaicin in the chili, the higher the rating on the Scoville Scale which is rated from 0 to 16,000,000.

The Habenero chili has always been considered to be the hottest of chili varieties with the Red Sabina Habenero having a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) value between 3520,000 and 577,000. This makes it 100 times hotter that the Jalapeno. However, the title of the hottest chili goes to the Naga Morich with an SHU of between 970,000 and 1,040,000 making it more than 300 times HOTTER than the Jalapeno

One thing to note is that the heat level within different varieties can vary greatly and even chilies found on the same plant can have a different intensity level.

Interesting Facts

• Chilies are a fruit.
• In some South American countries, crushed and ground chilies are used to treat spider bites and bee stings.
• Chilies were used as a weapon by Mayan warriors who would throw chili powder in the enemy’s eyes.
• Capsaicin survives both heating through the cooking process and freezing.
• Capsaicin triggers the brain to produce endorphins which are natural pain killers.
• Red Chilies are generally hotter than green.

Nutritional Value

Chili is:
• Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium
• High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus .

Tips for Using Chili

• Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water after cutting and using chili. Keep fingers away from your face to avoid burning your mouth and eyes.
• Most of the ‘heat’ of a chili is found in the seeds and membrane – remove these and your chili will not be as hot.
• If you find that the heat of a chili dish is just too much for you then drink a glass of milk, have some yoghurt or eat a piece of bread. Drinking water will only intensify the heat.

Some Common Chili Types

Name Description Common Uses Scoville Rating
Pure Capsaicin Capsaicin is the compound in chilies that give them its hotness Found in chili 16,000,000
Habanero Rated as one the hottest chilies at over 50 times hotter than the jalapeno
Sauces, stews 100,000-300,000
Serrano Originated in Mexico. Salsas 10,000-23,000
Jalapeno One of the most common chili consumed in the United States. Pizza, Nachos, Salsa 2,500-8,000
Chipotle Is a dried version of the jalapeno and has a smoky sweet flavor. Stews, sauces, egg dishes 2,500-8,000
Anaheim Is one of the more common varieties of chili available in the US. Also Know as New Mexican Chili. Salsas, stuffed peppers 500-2,500
Poblano Is one of the more popular chilies grown in Mexico
 
Sauces, stews 1,000-1,500

Chili (Cayenne) Peppers, Whole, Habanero 200,000 HU (Capsicum chinense) 1 lb: K
Chili (Cayenne) Peppers, Whole, Habanero 200,000 HU (Capsicum chinense) 1 lb: K

Here you have Frontier’s double wall silverfoil pack available from Kalyx.com.

Chili, or Cayenne, pepper stands out as one of the most recognized of the red peppers. It’s red hot, and delicious.

The Heat Level of Chili Pepper is measured on the Scoville scale in ‘Heat Units’. Two common ground varieties are 30M & 90M Heat Units, (30,000 & 90,000 respectively). The 30M pepper is comparable to the canned ‘Red Pepper’ that you find in at the Supermarket.

Just about anyone can tolerate 30m (also called 30k) Cayenne.

On the other hand, 90m Chili is incredibly hot. So watch out when you eat it.

What You Need To Know About Olive Oil

Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Magic That Is Olive Oil

Homer called it “liquid gold”. Its mystical glow illuminated history.

Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.

The olive tree is known as a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. Its leafy branches have been used to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history.

Olive crowns and olive branches are emblems of benediction and purification that were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Today we value extra-virgin olive oil for its nutritional and healthful virtues. It is the most digestible of the edible fats: it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K; it contains so-called essential acids that cannot be produced by our own bodies and slows down the aging process.

It is also valued for its culinary virtues and sensory properties of: flavor, bouquet, and color.

What is olive oil?

Olive oil is a fat extracted from olives. It is used in cooking to enhance the flavor of foods, as a dressing, and as an oil for sautéing and frying. It is also used as a moisturizer and in soaps. Olive oil is considered to be a healthy fat because of its high content of monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic fatty acid and polyphenols.

How is Olive Oil made?

Olive oil is made from pressing or crushing tree ripened olives. It can undergo a variety of different processes but at its simplest, the olives are picked, the leaves, stems and any dirt are removed and the olives are ground into a paste. A press then separates the oil from the paste and the oil is bottled.

Extra Virgin Olive oil is probably the only oil that can be eaten as soon as it has been pressed from the fruit and the oil retains the flavor, aroma and vitamins that it contained when it was in the raw state of being an olive on the tree.

Types of Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Is the oil that is extracted from the first pressing of the olives. This type of oil undergoes the least amount of processing and therefore has the richest flavor and aroma. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is generally considered to be the

best and is therefore the most expensive. No refined oil is added to this oil.

Olive Oil of the Month Club
Olive Oil of the Month club

Virgin

Is the oil extracted from the second pressing of the olives. It is slightly more acidic than extra virgin. The taste is good but not as flavorsome as extra virgin olive oil. No refined oil is added to this oil.

Pure

Is generally a blend of refined olive oil with a mix of either extra virgin or virgin oil.

Olive oil

Is a blend of refined oil and virgin oil and generally lacks a strong flavor.

There are other types of olive oil such as Olive-pomace oil which is a poor quality blend of refined pomace olive oil and possibly some virgin oil. It is made from the pips and ground flesh after the pressing and although is fit for consumption it may not be called olive oil. Olive pomace oil is often used in soap or for industrial purposes.
Check out the labels when you are buying Olive oil. If the label doesn’t state “virgin” then you are buying a lower grade produce. “100% Pure Olive Oil” is often the lowest quality available for purchase.

Where the label states “Made from refined olive oils” it generally means that although the essence of the olives were captured, the taste and acidity were chemically produced.

Don’t be taken in with a label that states “Light olive oil”. What this really means is that the product is a refined olive oil, not that it has a lower fat content. All Olive oil has a standard 120 calories per tablespoon (34 J/ml).