Bake: To cook by dry heat, usually in the oven. When applied to meats and vegetables, this is called roasting.
Baking sheet: Good baking sheets (also called cookie sheets) are thick, and the best are insulated. Non-stick baking sheets can make life easier.
Baking (pizza) stone:It’s best to bake pizza and bread directly on a hot surface, and a baking stone provides you just that.
Barbecue: To roast means very slowly on a spit or rack over heat, basting with a seasoned sauce.
Baste: To moisten foods (usually roasting meats) while cooling, with meat drippings, melted fat, or sauces, to prevent drying and to add flavor.
Beat: To work a mixture smooth with a regular. hard, rhythmic movement.
Blanch: Plunging a food product into boiling water of a very few minutes (times vary). Generally when the food is removed it is plunged into cold water to halt the cooking process.
Blend: To mix thoroughly two or more ingredients.
Blind bake: To bake a piecrust before it is filled to create a crisper crust. To prevent puffing and slipping during baking, the pastry is lined with foil and filled with pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice; these are removed shortly before the end of baking time to allow the crust to brown.
Boil: To cook in liquid in which bubbles rise constantly to the surface and break.
Braise: To brown meat or vegetables in a small amount of hot fat and cook slowly, tightly covered. In some recipes, you add other liquids after the initial browning. Braising is an ideal way to prepare less-tender cuts of meat, firm fleshed fish and vegetables.
Broil: To cook directly under a flame or heating unit or over an open fire or grill.
Brown: To cook food quickly on top the stove (in fat), under a broiler, or in the oven to develop a richly browned, flavorful surface and help seal in the natural juices.
Brush: To spread food with butter or margarine or egg, using a small brush.
Butterfly: To split a food such as shrimp or boneless lamb leg or pork chop, horizontally in half, cutting almost but not all the way through, then opening (like a book) to form a butterfly shape. Butterflying exposes more surface area so the food cooks evenly and more quickly.
Candy: To cook fruit in a heavy sugar syrup until transparent, then drain and dry. (Orange peel, for example.) Also, to cook vegetables with sugar or syrup to give a coating or glaze when cooked.
Caramelize: To melt sugar slowly over very low heat until sugar is liquid, deep amber in color and caramel flavored.
Chill:To refrigerate food or let it stand in ice or iced water until cold.
Chop:To cut food into small pieces with a knife or small cutting appliance.
Chow (Stir-Fry): A basic cooking method in Oriental kitchens, Generally a wok is used, but you may use a frying pan. The food is tossed about in a hot pan with very little oil, in a process not unlike sautéing.
Coat: To roll foods in flour, nuts, sugar, crumbs, etc., until all sides are evenly covered; or to dip first into slightly beaten egg or milk, then to cover with whatever coating is called for in a recipe.
Coddle: To cook slowly and gently in water just below the boiling point. Eggs are frequently coddled.
Combine: To mix all ingredients.
Cook: To prepare food by applying heat in any form.
Core: To remove the core or center of various fruits and vegetables. Coring eliminates small seeds or tough and woody centers (as in pineapple).
Correct the seasoning: When a dish is completed, a cook should always taste it before serving. To correct the seasoning simply means to check for salt, pepper, or herbs to make sure the dish has turned out as expected.
Cream: (1) To beat shortening until smooth, creamy and light, with wooden spoon or beater. Usually applied to shortening when combined with sugar; e.g., in making cakes.
(2) To cook food in, or serve it with, white or “cream” sauce.
Crimp:To pinch or press dough edges – especially piecrust edges – to create a decorative finish and/or to seal two layers of dough so the filling doesn’t seep out during baking. Edges of parchment or foil may also be crimped to seal in food and it’s juices during cooking.
Crisp: To make firm and brittle in very cold water or in refrigerator (lettuce, or other greens, for example).
Curdle: To coagulate, or separate, into solids and liquids. Egg-and milk-based mixtures are susceptible to curdling if they’re heated too quickly or combined with an acidic ingredient, such as lemon juice or tomatoes.
Cut: To break up food into pieces, with a knife or scissors.
Cut in: To combine shortening with dry ingredients by working together with two knives used scissor fashion, or with pasty blender. Usually applied to pastry making.
Deglaze a pan:After meats or vegetables have been browned, wine or stock is added to the pan over high heat, and the rich coloring that remains in the pan is gently scraped with a wooden spoon and combined with the wine or stock.
Devein:To remove the dark intestinal vein of a shrimp. Use the tip of a sharp knife, the rinse the shrimp in cold water.
Develop: Developing a food product means that you have allowed it to sit for a time before serving so the flavors have a chance to blend or brighten.
Devil: To coat with a hot seasoning, such as mustard or a hot sauce. Eggs are “deviled” with the yolk is mixed with highly spiced seasonings.
Dissolve: To make a liquid and a dry substance go into solution.
Dot: To scatter small amounts of butter, nuts, chocolate and so forth over the surface of food. This adds extra richness and flavor and helps promote browning.
Dredge: To lightly coat food with some dry ingredient, such as seasoned flour, bread crumbs or sugar.
Drizzle: To slowly pour a liquid, such as melted butter or a glaze in a fine stream, back and forth, over food.
Dust: To sprinkle a food or coat lightly with flour or sugar.
Emulsify: To bind liquids that usually can’t blend smoothly, such as oil and water. The trick is to add one liquid, usually the oil, to the other in a slow stream while mixing vigorously. You can also use natural emulsifiers – egg yolks or mustard – to bind mixtures like vinaigrettes and sauces.
Ferment: To bring about a chemical change in foods or beverages. Beer, wine, yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, cheese and yeast breads all get their distinctive flavors from fermentation.
Flambé: To cover a food with brandy or cognac, etc.; then light , and serve flaming; e.g., plum pudding.
Fold, Fold in: To combine two ingredients — more often than not, beaten egg whites and batter — very gently with a wire whisk or rubber scraper, using an under-and-over motion, until thoroughly mixed.
Fork-tender: A degree of doneness for cooked vegetables and meats. You should feel just a slight resistance when food is pierced with a fork.
Fry: (1) To cook in a small amount of fat on top of the stove; also called “sauté” and “pan-fry.” (2) To cook a food in a deep layer of hot fat, called deep-frying.” The aim is to produce foods with a crisp golden-brown crust and a thoroughly cooked interior without letting them absorb too much fat. The kind, quantity and temperature of the fat are important in accomplishing this result.
Garnish: To decorate any foods. Nuts, olives, parsley and so forth are called garnishes when used to give a finish to a dish.
Glacé: To coat with a thin sugar syrup cooked to the crack stage.
Glaze: To cover with aspic; to coat with a thin sugar syrup; to cover with melted fruit jelly. Cold meats, fish, fruit, etc., are often glazed.
Hack:When cutting up chickens or thin boned meats, one “hacks” with a cleaver, thus cutting the meat into large bite-size pieces and retaining the bone. The presence of the bone will keep the meat moist during cooking.
Knead: To work and press dough with the heels of your hands so the dough becomes stretched and elastic.
Leavening:Any agent that causes a dough or batter to rise. Common leaveners include baking powder, baking soda, and yeast. Natural leaveners are air (when beaten into eggs) and steam (in popovers and cream puffs).
Liqueur: A sweet, high-alcohol beverage made from fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, or herbs infused with a spirit, such as brandy or rum. Traditionally served after dinner as a mild digestive, liqueurs can also be used in cooking.
Lukewarm: At a temperature of about 95°F. Lukewarm food will feel neither warm nor cold when sprinkled on or held to the inside of the wrist.
Marinate: To let the food stand in acid such as lemon juice, tomato juice, wine, or in an oil-acid mixture like French dressing or soy sauce. Acts as a tenderizer, steps up the flavor. the time of the marinating varies with the recipes.
Melt: To heat solid food, like sugar or fat, until it becomes liquid.
Mix: To stir, usually with a spoon, until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Pan: To cook, covered, in a very small amount of liquid.
Pan-broil: To cook, uncovered, on a hot surface, usually a skillet. The fat is poured off as it accumulates.
Pan-fry: To cook or fry on top of the range in a hot, uncovered skillet with little or no fat. Steaks, chops, potatoes are frequently cooked this way.
Pare: To cut away coverings of vegetables and fruits.
Pasteurize:To sterilize milk by heating, then rapidly cooling it.
Peel: To strip or slip off outer coverings of some fruits or vegetables.
Pinch: The amount of a powdery ingredient you can hold between your thumb and forefinger — about 1/16 teaspoon.
Pipe: To force a food (typically frosting or whipped cream) through a pastry tip to use as a decoration or garnish, or to shape dough, such as that for éclairs.
Pit: To remove the seed or pit.
Plank: To bake or broil meat, fish or vegetables on a wooden or metal plank.
Pound: To flatten meats and poultry to a uniform thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. This ensures even cooling and also tenderizes tough meat by breaking up connective tissues. Veal and chicken cutlets are often pounded.
Pot-roast: To brown meat in a small amount of fat, then finish cooking in a small amount of liquid.
Preheat: To heat oven to stated temperature before using.
Prick: To pierce a food in many or a few places. You can prick a food in order to prevent buckling — an empty piecrust before it’s baked, for example — or bursting — a potato before baking, or sausages before cooking.
Proof: To test yeast for potency: If you’re not sure if yeast is fresh and active, dissolve it in warm water (105° to 115° F) with a pinch of sugar. If the mixture foams after 5 to 10 minutes, the yeast is fin to use. Proofing also refers to the rising stage for yeast doughs.
Punch down:To deflate yeast dough after it has risen, which distributes gluten (the elastic protein in flour that gives bread it’s strength) and prevents dough from overrising. Punch you fist in the center of dough then pull the edges toward the center.
Purée: To press fruits or vegetables through a sieve or food mill or blend in an electric blender or food processor until food is free of all lumps. Sauces, soups, baby foods, vegetables are often puréed.
Reconstitute: A procedure used for preparing dried foods, whereby the product is soaked in fresh water for a time.
Reduce: To boil a liquid until you have a small concentrated amount.
Render:To slowly melt animal fat (e.g., duck and chicken skin, pork rinds) until it separates from its connective tissue. The clear fat is strained before being used in cooking. The crisp, brown bits left in the skillet — delicious but high in fat — are called cracklings.
Roast: To cook meat or vegetables in an oven by dry heat. See “Bake.”
Roux: A blend of flour and oil or butter used to thicken sauces and gravies. The fat and flour are mixed together in equal amounts over heat. If a white roux is desired the melting and blending are done over low heat for a few minutes. If a brown roux is desired, the flour is cooked in the fat to the desired degree of brown.
Rubbed: When whole-leaf herbs, such as sage or bay leaves, are crushed in the hands so that their oils are released, the herbs are then referred to as having been rubbed.
Sauté: From the French word that means “to jump.” To fry foods until golden and tender, in a small amount of fat on top of the range. See “Fry.”
Scallop: To arrange foods in layers in a casserole, with a sauce or liquid, and then bake. Usually has a topping of bread crumbs.
Score: To cut narrow gashes, part way through fat, in meats before cooking.; e.g., in steaks to prevent curling, or to cut diamond-shaped gashes through fat in ham just before glazing.
Scramble: To stir or mix foods gently while cooking, as eggs.
Sear: To brown surface of meat over high heat, either on top of range or in oven.
Shave: To cut wide, paper-thin slices of food, especially Parmesan cheese, vegetables, or chocolate. Shave off slices with a vegetable peeler and use as garnish.
Shirr: To break eggs into a dish with cream or crumbs; then bake.
Shred: To cut food into slivers or slender pieces, using a knife or shredder.
Shot: A liquid measure that amounts to very little or to taste. A shot of wine is about 1 ounce, but a shot of Tabasco is less than 1/16 teaspoon.
Shuck:To remove the shells of oysters, mussels, or clams, or the husks of corn.
Sift: To put dry ingredients through a fine sieve.
Skewer: To thread foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, on a wooden or metal skewer so they hold their shape during cooking.
Skim: To remove fat or froth from the surface of a liquid, such as stock or boiling jelly.
Steep: To allow food to stand in hot liquid to extract flavor and/or color.
Sterilize: To heat in boiling water or steam for at least 20 minutes, until living organisms are destroyed.
Stew: To cook foods, in enough liquid to cover, very slowly — always below the boiling point.
Stir: To mix, usually with a spoon or fork, until ingredients are worked together.
Sweat: To sauté over low heat with a lid on. This method causes steam and expedites the cooking time.
Temper:To heat food gently before adding it to a hot mixture o it doesn’t separate or curdle. Often eggs are tempered by mixing with a little hot liquid to raise their temperature before they are stirred into a hot sauce or soup.
Tender-crisp: The ideal degree of doneness for many vegetables, especially green vegetables. Cook them until they are just tender but still retain some texture.
Terrine: A dish used for the cooking and molding of coarse-ground meat loaves or pâtés. Also the meat itself. The dishes are found in many styles and materials.
Toast: To brown and dry the surface of foods with heat, such as bread and nuts.
Toss: To tumble ingredients lightly with a lifting motion.
Whip: To rapidly beat eggs, heavy cream, etc., in order to incorporate air and expand volume.
Whisk:To beat ingredients (e.g., cream, eggs, salad dressings, sauces) with a fork or the looped wire utensil called a whisk so as to mix or blend, or incorporate air.
Zest:To remove the colored peel of a citrus fruit. Use a grater, zester, or vegetable peeler to remove the outermost part, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. The peel itself is often referred to as zest.