Cooking Terms

Cooking Terms
A synonym for sift; to pass ingredients through a fine-mesh device to break up large pieces and to incorporate air into the ingredients to make them lighter.Al dente
“To the tooth,” in Italian. The pasta is cooked just enough to maintain a firm, chewy texture.Bake
To cook in the oven. Food is cooked slowly with gentle heat, causing the natural moisture to evaporate slowly, concentrating the flavor.Baste
To brush or spoon liquid fat or juices over meat during roasting to add flavor and to prevent it from drying out.

A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that is thin enough in consistency to require a pan to encase it. Used in such preparations as cakes and some cookies. A batter is different from dough, which maintains its shape.

To smoothen a mixture by briskly whipping or stirring it with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer.

To slice a food crosswise at a 45-degree angle.

To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.

A popular Cajun-style cooking method in which seasoned foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated heavy skillet until charred.

To boil briefly to loosen the skin of a fruit or a vegetable. After 30 seconds in boiling water, the fruit or vegetable should be plunged into ice water to stop the cooking action, and then the
skin easily slices off.

To mix or fold two or more ingredients together to obtain equal distribution throughout the

To cook food in heated water or other liquid that is bubbling vigorously.

A cooking technique that requires browning meat in oil or other fat and then cooking slowly in liquid. The effect of braising is to tenderize the meat.
To coat the food with crumbs (usually with soft or dry bread crumbs), sometimes seasoned.

To cook food directly under the heat source.

Broth or stock
A flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables (and/or their by-products, such as bones and trimming) often with herbs, in liquid, usually water.

A quick sautéing, pan/oven broiling, or grilling method done either at the beginning or end of meal preparation, often to enhance flavor, texture, or eye appeal.

Using a pastry brush, to coat a food such as meat or bread with melted butter, glaze, or other

Bundt pan
 The generic name for any tube baking pan having fluted sides (though it was once a trademarked

To cut open a food such as pork chops down the center without cutting all the way through, and then spread apart.

Browning sugar over a flame, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º C to 182º C).
Pie filling made light and fluffy with stabilized gelatin and beaten egg whites.Chop
To cut into irregular pieces.Clarify
Remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming it.

To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs, or a batter.

A cooking method in which foods (such as eggs) are put in separate containers and placed in a pan of simmering water for slow, gentle cooking.

To blend two or more ingredients into a single mixture.

To slowly cook pieces of meat in their own gently rendered fat.

To remove the inedible center of fruits such as pineapples.

To beat vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine, with or without sugar, until light and fluffy. This process traps in air bubbles, later used to create height in cookies and cakes.

To create a decorative edge on a piecrust. On a double piecrust, this also seals the edges together.

To restore the crunch to foods; vegetables such as celery and carrots can be crisped with an ice water bath, and foods such as stale crackers can be heated in a medium oven.

To condense a food to its smallest particles, usually using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.

To form sugar- or honey-based syrups into crystals. The term also describes the coating.

Custard-like pie or tart filling flavored with juice and zest of citrus fruit, usually lemon, although lime and orange may also be used.

To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated protein to develop in food, usually as a result of the addition of an acid substance, or the overheating of milk or egg-based sauces.

To preserve or add flavor with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar.

A mixture of beaten egg, milk, and possibly other ingredients such as sweet or savory flavorings, which is cooked with gentle heat, often in a water bath or double boiler. As pie filling, the custard is frequently cooked and chilled before being layered into a prebaked crust.

Cut in
To work vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter into dry ingredients.

A measure approximately equal to 1/16 teaspoon.

To completely submerge the food in hot oil.

To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been fried or roasted, in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan.

To add hot or spicy ingredients such as cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce to a food.

To cut into cubes.

Direct heat
A cooking method that allows heat to meet food directly, such as grilling, broiling, or toasting.

To sprinkle food with small bits of an ingredient such as butter to allow for even melting.

A combination of ingredients including flour, water or milk, and, sometimes, a leavener, producing a firm but workable mixture for making baked goods.

To sprinkle lightly and evenly with sugar or flour. A dredger has holes pierced on the lid to sprinkle evenly.

To pour a liquid such as a sweet glaze or melted butter in a slow, light trickle over food.

Used for gravies and sauces, drippings are the liquids left in the bottom of a roasting or frying pan after meat is cooked.

To sprinkle food lightly with spices, sugar, or flour for a light coating.