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Useful Cooking Terms...

  • Al dente: ​To cook food until just firm, usually referring to pasta, but can include vegetables. Means “to the tooth.”

  • Bake:​ To cook food in an oven using dry heat.

  • ​Baste:​ To moisten food while cooking by spooning, brushing, or squirting a liquid, such as meat drippings to stock, to add flavour and prevent it from drying out.

  • Beat​: To stir rapidly in a circular motion to make a smooth mixture, using a whisk, spoon, or mixer.

  • Braise​: To cook first by browning the food in butter or oil, then gently simmering in a small amount of liquid over low heat for a long period of time in a covered pan until tender.

  • Broil​: To expose food to direct heat on a rack or spit, often used for melting food like cheese.

  • Brown​: To cook over high heat (usually on the stove-top) to brown food.

  • Caramelize​: To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a syrup.

  • Chop​; To cut vegetables into large squares, usually specified by the recipe.

  • Cream​: To beat ingredients (usually sugar and a fat) until smooth and fluffy.

  • Cube​: Like chopping, it is to cut food into small cubes, usually about 1/2 inch.

  • Dice​: To cut into small cubed pieces. Small dice 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4, Medium dice 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2, Large dice 3/4 x 3/4 x 3/4.

  • Dollop​: A spoonful of a semi-solid food, like whipped cream or mashed potatoes, placed on top of another food.

  • Dredge​: To lightly coat uncooked food with a dry mixture, usually with flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs, to be pan fried or sautéed.

  • Dress​: To coat foods with a sauce, such as salad.

  • Drizzle​: To pour liquid back and forth over a dish in a fine stream, usually melted butter, oil, syrup, or melted chocolate.

  • Dust​: To coat lightly with a powdery ingredients, such as confectioners’ sugar or cocoa.

  • Fillet​: To cut the bones from a piece of meat, poultry, or fish.

  • Fold​: To combine light ingredients, such as whipped cream or beaten eggs whites, with a heavier mixture, using an over-and-under motion.

  • Glaze​: To coat foods with mixtures such as jellies or sauces.

  • Grate​: Creates tiny pieces of food, best for things like cheese to melt quickly or a vegetable used in a sauce.

  • Grease​: To coat the interior of a pan or dish with shortening, oil, or butter to prevent food from sticking during cooking.

  • Julienne​: Cutting vegetables until long, thin stripes, approximately 1/4 inch thick and 1 inch long.

  • Knead​: The process of mixing dough with the hands or a mixer.

  • Marinate​: To soak in a sauce or flavoured liquid for a long period of time, usually meat, poultry or fish.

  • Mince​: To cut as small as possible, most commonly used with garlic.

  • Pan Fry​: Cook larger chunks of food over medium-heat, flipping once only. 

  • Poach​: To cook gently over very low heat, in barely simmering water just to cover.

  • Purée​: To mash or grind food until completely smooth.

  • Roast:​ Like baking but concerning meat or poultry, it is to cook food in an oven using dry heat.

  • Sauté​: To cook small pieces of food over a medium-high heat with oil in a pan, usually to brown food.

  • Sear​: To brown the surface of meat by quick-cooking over high heat into order to seal in the meat’s juices.

  • Shred​: Done on a grater with larger holes, resulting in long, smooth stripes to cook or melt.

  • Simmer​: Bring a pot to a boil, then reduce the heat until there are no bubbles.

  • Skim​: To remove fat or foam from the surface of a liquid.

  • Slice​: To cut vertically down, thickness depends on the recipe.

  • Steam​: To cook food on a rack or in a steamer set over boiling or simmering water.

  • Steep​: To soak a dry ingredient in a liquid just under the boiling point to extract the flavor, such as with tea.

  • Stew​: To cook covered over low heat in a liquid for a substantial period of time.

  • Whip​: To beat food with a whisk or mixer to incorporate air and increase volume.

  • Whisk​: To beat ingredients with a fork or a whisk.

  • Zest​: The outer, colored peel of a citrus fruit.

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