Cooking Terms1

Egg wash
A mixture of beaten eggs (yolks, whites, or whole eggs) with either milk or water. Used to coat cookies and other baked goods to give them a shine when baked.

Emulsion
A mixture of liquids, one being a fat or oil and the other being water based so that tiny globules of one are suspended in the other. This may involve the use of stabilizers, such as egg or mustard. Emulsions may be temporary or permanent.

Entrée
A French term that originally referred to the first course of a meal, served after the soup and before the meat courses. In the United States, it refers to the main dish of a meal.

Fillet
To remove the bones from meat or fish for cooking.

Filter
To remove lumps, excess liquid, or impurities by passing through paper or cheesecloth.

Firm-ball stageIn candy making, the point where boiling syrup dropped in cold water forms a ball that is compact yet gives slightly to the touch.

Flambé
To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames.

Flan
An open pie filled with sweet or savory ingredients; also, a Spanish dessert of baked custard covered with caramel.

Flute
To create a decorative scalloped or undulating edge on a piecrust or other pastry.

Fold
To cut and mix lightly with a spoon to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Fricassee
Usually a stew in which the meat is cut up, lightly cooked in butter, and then simmered in liquid until done.

Fritter
Sweet or savory foods coated or mixed into batter, then deep fried (also, in French, beignet).

Frizzle
To cook thin slices of meat in hot oil until crisp and slightly curly.

Fry
To cook food in hot cooking oil, usually until a crisp brown crust forms.




Ganache
A rich chocolate filling or coating made with chocolate, vegetable shortening, and possibly heavy cream. It can coat cakes or cookies, and be used as a filling for truffles.

Garnish
A decorative piece of an edible ingredient such as parsley, lemon wedges, croutons, or chocolate curls placed as a finishing touch to dishes or drinks.

Glaze
A liquid that gives an item a shiny surface. Examples are fruit jams that have been heated or
chocolate thinned with melted vegetable shortening. Also, to cover a food with such a liquid.

Gluten
A protein formed when hard wheat flour is moistened and agitated. Gluten is what gives yeast dough its characteristic elasticity.

Grate
To shred or cut down a food into fine pieces by rubbing it against a rough surface.

Gratin
To bind together or combine food with a liquid such as cream, milk, béchamel sauce, or tomato sauce, in a shallow dish. The mixture is then baked until cooked and set.

Grease
To coat a pan or skillet with a thin layer of oil.

Grill
To cook over the heat source (traditionally over wood coals) in the open air.

Grind
To mechanically cut a food into small pieces.

Hard-ball stage
In candy making, the point at which syrup has cooked long enough to form a solid ball in cold water.

Hull (also husk)
To remove the leafy parts of soft fruits, such as strawberries or blackberries.

Ice
To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; also, to spread frosting on a cake.




Infusion
Extracting flavors by soaking them in liquid heated in a covered pan. The term also refers to the liquid resulting from this process.

Jell (also gel)
To cause a food to set or solidify, usually by adding gelatin.

Jerk or Jamaican jerk seasoning
A dry mixture of various spices such as chilies, thyme, garlic, onions, and cinnamon or cloves used to season meats such as chicken or pork.

Julienne
To cut into long, thin strips.

Jus
The natural juices released by roasting meats.

Knead
To work dough with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion until it becomes smooth and elastic. Larding
Inserting strips of fat into pieces of meat, so that the braised meat stays moist and juicy.

Leavener
An ingredient or process that produces air bubbles and causes the rising of baked goods such as cookies and cakes.

Line
To place layers of edible (cake or bread slices) or inedible (foil or wax paper) ingredients in a pan to provide structure for a dish or to prevent sticking.

Loin
A cut of meat that typically comes from the back of the animal.

Marble
To gently swirl one food into another.

Marinate
To combine food with aromatic ingredients to add flavor.

Marzipan
A paste (of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites) used to fill and decorate pastries.

Mash
To beat or press a food to remove lumps and make a smooth mixture.

Medallion
A small round or oval bit of meat.

Meringue
Egg whites beaten until they are stiff, then sweetened. It can be used as the topping for pies, or baked as cookies.

Mince
To chop food into tiny, irregular pieces.

Mix
To beat or stir two or more foods together until they are thoroughly combined.

Moisten
Adding enough liquid to dry ingredients to dampen but not soak them.

Mull
To slowly heat wine or cider with spices and sugar.

 

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