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At table, only standard today is flavor, and red or white wines are served interchangeably. Traditionally, red is for meat and white is for chicken or fish - but these days, you can do as you please!
When wine is added directly to a dish during cooking, lower heat immediately or meat will toughen.
7. Fats and Oils: For true gourmet cooking, there is no substitute for butter unless particularly specified. Sweet butter is preferable, because amount of salt varies in commercial brands; if salt butter is used, decrease amount of salt in a recipe and check seasoning just before you serve.
Butter is absolutely essential for sauces and basting, but cannot be used for frying; at high temperatures, it decomposes chemically and burns.
For Deep-Fat Frying, use liquid or hydrogenated oils such as Crisco. These can be re-used once or twice, if you allow sediment to settle and decant (pour off) clear top fat after each frying. Once frying fat has been used for fish, it cannot be used for anything else! If you enjoy fried foods, it's wise to have two fat kettles - one for fish, and one for everything else.
For all Italian, Spanish or Latin-American dishes, a tablespoon of olive oil should replace butter in starting dish.
Lard is excellent for greasing baking potatoes or pan-frying fish. It cannot be re-used, but is inexpensive enough to discard and start fresh next time. Bacon grease is equally good for baking potatoes or to saute fish, and can be smeared thickly over chicken breasts or squab before roasting. Because of its positive flavor, only tangy herbs will combine with it for added taste.
No gourmet cook ever uses margarine for anything.
8. Meat Glazes: For a handsome browned surface to meat or poultry, mix a tablespoon of commercial gravy coloring with two table spoons of water. Paint all exposed parts of poultry or meat before placing in oven.
9. Shallots are a small onion bulb resembling garlic in formation of cloves, but very mild in flavor. Typically French, they are not always available but make all difference in a sauce if they can be had. Minced scallions (spring onions) are an acceptable substitute - and in moments of stress, a tablespoon of grated white onion will equal 2 minced shallots.
10. Grated orange and lemon peel are readily available in jars; a teaspoon equals grated rind of a whole medium- sized fruit.
11. Garlic can be bought powdered (a quarter teaspon equals a fresh clove), but a garlic press will produce a much better flavor from a peeled garlic clove.
Onion and garlic juice are also available; use them purely for flavoring, as many dishes are better with sauteed pieces of onion. Onion flakes are good for home-cooking, but not sufficient for gourmet results.
Good luck with your quick gourmet sauces!
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