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GLOSSARY OF COOKING TERMS

Baste

To moisten food during cooking by spooning liquid over, or by brushing with liquid.

Beat

To thoroughly combine ingredients (e.g. milk and egg) by vigorously mixing together.

Blend

To stir together ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Boil

To heat a liquid until large bubbles break the surface (water boils at 212°F).

Bouillon

Stock or broth that forms the basis of soups and sauces; very often dried into compact form (cube or granules).

Braise

To cook in a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan over low heat.

Brine

To add moisture to meat by immersing it in a salty liquid before cooking.

Broil

To cook food directly under or over a heat source.

Brown

To cook by high heat, causing the surface of the food to turn dark, imparting a rich cooked flavor.

Broth

A liquid resulting from cooking meat, fish, poultry or vegetables with water.

Butterfly

To cut open and spread the sides apart, especially with fish or meat.

Caramelize

To cook a food over direct heat until sugars are reduced to a clear syrup that turns a shade ranging from golden to dark brown.

Chile

Any number of pungent fruits of the Capsicum botanical family; usually used to denote one that is piquant or mildly hot to scorching.

Chop

(v.) To coarsely cut food with a knife or a food processor; (n.) a small cut of meat, usually taken from the loin of pork, beef, lamb, veal.

Core

(v.) To remove the core of some fruits; (n.) the center of some fruits, containing seeds and pithy, woody material.

Crisp-Tender

The state of cooked food, especially vegetables, which offers slight resistance to a knife or tooth.

Cube

To cut food into cubes between ½- and 1-inch across (larger than dice or mince).

Dash

An informal measure meant to indicate just the downward shake of the wrist (as in a bottle of seasoning liquid, like Worcestershire, or a shake of a seasoning shaker, like salt or garlic powder); measure meant to be less than 1/8 teaspoon.

Defrost

To thaw frozen food so it is ready to cook.

Deglaze

To dissolve the sediment on the bottom of a skillet (left by cooking food in a little bit of fat) with a liquid such as wine, broth or water.

Dice

To cut food into small, even pieces – usually less than ¼-inch.

Drain

To pour off liquid or fat from a food.

Drippings

The melted fat, with other liquids, left in a pan after cooking food.

Fabrication

The process of breaking pork down into its primals. To learn butchering techniques, view our video library.

Floret

The single small piece(s) of cauliflower or broccoli into which the heads of these vegetables can be broken.

Glaze

A sweet or savory mixture of ingredients added to meat during the last few minutes of cooking.

Grate

To shred a food, such as a root vegetable or cheese, into very small pieces with a grater.

Grease

To very lightly coat a cooking pan or baking dish with fat.

Grill

(v.) To cook food directly over a live fire heat source; (n.) The implement on which food can be placed to cook directly over heat source.

Greens

One or a mixture of fresh leafy vegetables that can be cooked or eaten raw (e.g. endive, romaine, iceberg, lolla rossa, mustard, kale).

Herb

One of many fragrant, flavorful leaves of various plants that are used for culinary seasoning (e.g. basil, chives, cilantro, marjoram, tarragon, thyme).

Marinade

A liquid including seasoning and acid (vinegar, wine or citrus juice) in which food is soaked before cooking to impart extra flavor.

Marinate

Soaking food in a marinade, very briefly or for hours or days.

Mince

To cut food into very small pieces, usually less than ⅛-inch.

Pan-Broil

To cook food in a pan on top of the stove without adding any water or fat.

Peel

To remove the peel of fruits or vegetable.

Puree

(v.) To reduce a food to a smooth, thick consistency. (n.) A food that is mashed, blended or processed to a smooth, thick consistency.

Roast

(v.) To cook food by exposing to dry heat (as in an oven or before a fire) or by surrounding with hot embers, sand, or stones. (n.) 1. a cut of meat that has been roasted, 2. a large, uncooked cut of meat, often tied or trussed with string.

Reduce

To gently simmer or boil liquid in a pan to evaporate water out of the liquid and concentrate the flavors in the liquid.

Rub

A savory mix of herbs and spices rubbed onto the surface of meat like a dry marinade.

Saute

To cook food in a skillet over moderately high heat in a very little bit of fat.

Skewer

(v.) To align pieces of food on a skewer. (n.) A very thin wooden or metal stick with one sharpened end, used to hold uniform-sized pieces of food together, usually before grilling or broiling.

Sous Vide

The process of slow cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a heated water bath.

Spice

A wide variety of seasonings made from the bud, bark, root, fruit seed or stem of various plants; spices are generally ground to use in seasoning food, but can also be used whole (e.g. caraway seed); spices are also sold as blends, such as curry powder.

Steam

To cook food by surrounding it with steam in a covered pan; food is usually suspended above boiling liquid in a pot with a lid.

Stew

(v.) To cook food slowly in a small amount of liquid without letting it come to a boil. (n.) The finished dish after stewing.

Stir-Fry

(v.) To quickly cook small pieces of food in a large skillet over fairly high heat in a small amount of fat, briskly stirring food to cook and brown as evenly and as quickly as possible. (n.) The finished dish after stir-frying.