Cooking Glossary

This list was created to help with defining words that you may not be familiar within the cooking world.  If I’m missing a word you’d like to see add just sent me a quick note.  Happy Cooking!

Al dente: Means firm to the bite and is often used when describing the perfect doneness of pasta and vegetables. Not too firm, not to soft.

Bard: To tie some type of fat, such as bacon on a meat while it is cooking to keep it from drying out and continually baste with flavor.

Baste: To spoon or ladle high flavor cooking liquid, such as stock or butter over meats and poultry to keep them from drying out and add flavor.

Blanch: To pre-cook, such as partially cooking vegetables before sautéing them, or par cooking potatoes before turning them into frozen french fries.

Bouquet Garni: Bundle of herbs, usually thyme, parsley and bay leaf that is tied in a cheesecloth and used to flavor stocks and soups.

Braise: A cooking method in which tough cuts of meats and hard vegetables are browned and then simmered in a small amount of liquid for a long time to break down tough proteins and produce moist and tender results. A pot roast is a classic braised dish.

Dredge: To coat food such as meat or vegetables in flour, egg wash and bread crumbs before frying or baking for crispy results.

Fry: Deep frying is submerging foods in a large amount of oil and frying until crispy. Shallow frying is similar, but often done in a pan with much less oil. Neither is a very healthy way to prepare foods and should be limited.

Glace: A stock that is reduce to the point of a syrup and used as a flavorful sauce.

Knead: To work dough such as bread with your hands until it becomes a soft and pliable ball. Often done by mixers, as this is a much quicker way to achieve the desired results.

Leavening: The process in which dough is lightened and raised; can be done with chemicals such as baking powder or by beating eggs into a batter.

Mirepoix: Classic mixture of onions, carrots and celery which is sautéed and used to flavor soups, stocks or stews. Other ingredients, such as mushrooms, leeks or bacon can be added for a different flavor.

Poach: A slow simmering method for cooking delicate foods such as fish, fruit, or other foods that might dry out or fall apart using high heat methods.

Puree: To blend food into a smooth consistency using a blender, food processor or immersion blender. Often used for soups and sauces.

Roux: An equal mixture of fat and flour which is cooked down and used as a thickening agent. Typical ingredients are butter and flour and the darker the roux, the more flavor you get.

Roast: To cook at very high heat, producing browning and caramelization. Often done to meats, poultry and vegetables, and creates a brown flavorful crust.

Sauté: To cook at high heat with little fat, such as a stir fry dish. This method of cooking produces crisp, instead of mushy and steamed vegetables and meats.

Simmer: The process of cooking where liquids are kept just below the boiling point of water, but higher than poaching temperature.

Sweat: To slowly cook aromatic vegetables such as onion and garlic in oil to release the flavors into your dish. Browning is discouraged.

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