Understanding Cooking 
Language - Terms

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a la king:  A dish of diced foods, usually chicken or turkey, in a cream sauce with pimientos, mushrooms, green peppers and sometimes sherry. 

Al dente: pasta is cooked just enough to maintain a firm chewy texture.

Aroma: Fragrance or odor.

Au gratin: A method of cooking in which food is placed in a shallow dish and sprinkled with cheese and/or breadcrumbs.

au jus: A French term for roasted meats, poultry or game served with their natural, unthickened juices.

Baste: To pour or brush melted fat, water, wine or other liquid over food as it cooks.

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

Blanch : To apply boiling water or steam briefly to fruits and vegetables, then cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is used to to loosen skins.

Blend: To mix two or more ingredients together thoroughly with a spoon, beater or blender. 

Boil: To heat a liquid until bubbles rise to the surface and break

Bone-in:  a cut of meat containing the bone.

Bouquet garni: A combination of herbs tied together in cheesecloth used as a seasoning for stocks.

Braise: To use fat to brown a meat or vegetable before adding a small amount of liquid and covering to cook.

Broil: To expose food to a direct source of intense heat one side at a time.

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

Caramelized: Browning sugar over a flame, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. Because it will burn, the temperature should be controled, the range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º C to 182º C). 

Chiffon: A filling made light and fluffy with stabilized gelatin and beaten egg whites. 

Clarify: To remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming off the froth. 

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

Core: To remove the central seeded area from a fruit.

Court bouillon: A highly seasoned broth made from fish; also a broth in which fish is cooked.

Crush: To break up a food to its smallest particles, usually using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin. 

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

Deep-fry: To cook by immersing food in hot oil heated to 375°F or higher.

Deglaze: 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.

Devein: To remove the gritty, grey-black vein running down the curved top of the shelled shrimp by slitting the top of the shrimp open and pulling it out.

Dice: To cut into small cubes.

Dredge: To coat with flour.

Entree (entree): The main dish of an informal meal or a subordinate dish served between main courses.

Fold in: To gently mix food without releasing air bubbles by lifting a part of the mixture from the very bottom until blended.

Fricassee: To cook unbrowned meat or poultry slowly in a seasoned liquid. 

Fry: To, cook in fat over direct heat.

Garnish: To use edible decorations on to and the sides of a dish which is appealing to the eye.

Glaze: To add something usually mixed with sugar to give a shiny coating to a food as it browns.

Grind: To reduce the food size by using a food chopper.

Julienne: A technique of cutting vegetables or meats into thin strips of even length and width.

Knead: To work dough with the hands or using an electric mixer, food processor or bread maker mixer until smooth and elastic.

Marinade: Soaking, usually in a mixture of oil, wine or vinegar and seasonings prior to cooking. Food should be covered and refrigerated while marinating.

Mince: To cut into fine pieces.

Pare or Peel: To cut (remove) the outside covering of potatoes, apples, etc.

Parboil: To partially cook a food briefly in boiling water before storing or finishing it by another method.

Poach: To simmer gently in hot liquid.

Preheat: To bring the oven or grill to the desired temperature before placing the food in to cook.

Puree: To process a food into a smooth creamy paste, usually with a blender or food processor.

Roast: To cook using dry heat, usually in an oven.

Roux: A mixture of fat and flour cooked together until the flour has turned an even, nut-brown color.

Saute: To cook or brown in a small amount of oil or butter on top of the stove.

Scald: To heat a liquid, usually milk or cream, to just below the boiling point, until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan.

Scalloped: To bake with crumbs of bread or cracker.

Score: To make slashes in meats or breads before baking.

Sear: To brown the a surface of  meat on all sides quickly by cooking in a little fat at a very high heat which will seal in the meats juices. 

Sieve: To strain liquid from food through the fine mesh holes of a strainer. 

Sift: To pass dry ingredients, such as flour and baking powder, through a sifter to remove lumps and create a fine powder.

Simmer: To cook liquid at a temperature just below the boiling point, low enough for tiny bubbles to form around the edge of the pan..

Snip: To cut into tiny pieces with scissors or knife.

Steam: To cook food over boiling water or wrapped in foil to create steam.

Stew: To cook slowly for a long period of time in a liquid.

Stir-fry: To fly quickly over high heat with a small amount of oil, butter or margarine, stirring constantly.

Truss: To tie a fowl or meat or wooden skewers so that the shape is preserved during cooking and moisture is retained.

Vent: To allow to circulate and allow escape of steam.

Warm: To heat a food using a very low temperature not higher then 105°F to 115°F

Whip: To mix ingredients quickly and vigorously using a beater or whisk to incorporate air bubbles which increases volume.

Zest: The thin outermost skin layer of citrus fruit which contains flavorful aromatic oils, removed with a zester, paring knife or vegetable peeler.