Aerate To pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so large pieces can be removed.

Al Dente

Literally, "to the tooth" in Italian. Foods cooked to the point that there is still some resistance; tender, but slightly chewy. Used mostly in reference to pasta, which should be cooked al dente, no softer, for most recipes.


Bain Marie

To melt or cook gently by placing the ingredients in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water.


To cook using dry heat - either covered or uncovered in an oven or oven-type appliance.

Bake Blind

To bake a pastry crust before it is filled. To retain the crusts shape it is often lined with baking/parchment paper and filled with rice, beans or ceramic beads.


To tie bacon or pork fat over a joint of meat or poultry before it is roasted to prevent it from drying out during cooking.


To add moisture, flavor and color to foods by brushing, drizzling or spooning pan juices or other liquids over the food at various times during the cooking process. This is especially essential when cooking with dry heat, such as oven roasting or grilling.


To mix thoroughly with a spoon, whisk or beaters until well-combined and very smooth.


To partially cook food, usually vegetables or fruit, in boiling water or steam. Immediately after blanching, vegetables are usually placed in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.


Toix ingredients just until thoroughly combined. Not originally meant to be prepared in a blender, but can be in some recipes.


To heat liquids until bubbles form on the surface, and then to keep it at that temperature during the cooking process.


To remove the bones from meat, fish or fowl. Use a sharp boning knife and angle the blade toward the bone to avoid tearing or nicking the flesh.


To cook slowly in a small amount of liquid in a covered pot. Foods are usually browned prior to braising to add flavor. Braising can be done on top of the stove or in an oven, depending on the recipe.


The process of adding a coating to foods, usually for frying or baking. The food is usually first dipped in flour, then a mixture of egg and water, and finally very fine bread crumbs, corn meal or cracker crumbs. It's a good idea to let the coated food refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before frying to ensure that the coating will stick.


To "skewer," thread or mould a food onto a thin metal or wooden stick skewer and then grill or barbecue.


To cook food directly above or under a heat source. Food can be broiled in an oven or on a grill.


Generally, when a recipe says to "brown", it refers to cooking quickly in a hot pan, on the grill or under a broiler until all sides turn golden or brown in color. The purpose is to seal in the juices and add flavor.


To apply a liquid, like a glaze, to the surface of food using a pastry brush.


A method of cutting meats so that it will lay flat and even. Difficult to describe without visual effects, but the meat is sliced in the center, without going all the way through, and opened to lay flat like the wings of a butterfly. In larger cuts, it is sliced in increments from middle to either side, and the flaps are opened like the pages of a book.



To create small V-shaped grooves over the surface of fruits or vegetables for decorative purposes using a canelle knife. The fruit or vegetable is then sliced, creating a decorative border on the slices.


The process through which natural sugars in foods become browned and flavorful while cooking. This is usually done over a constant heat of low to medium-low. Caramelization can be quickened with the addition of a little sugar. Either way, be careful not to burn.

Chargrill To cook foods on a metal grid over hot coals or on a stovetop grill pan. Creating charred marks and lines on the food.


Finely shredded vegetables, usually herbs, most often to be used as a garnish.


To cut foods into small pieces. Sizes vary from fine (approximately 1/4-inch pieces) to coarse (approximately 3/4-inch pieces). In most recipes, precision is not necessary.


To make a liquid clear, as with butter. Unsalted butter is melted over low heat until the milk solids come to the top. They are then removed. Without the milk solids, the butter may be used in recipes in which you don't want it to brown.


To cover food on all sides with flour, crumbs or batter.


To cook gently just below the boiling point. Most commonly refers to eggs, where the egg is cooked for 1 minute in the shell.


To turn liquid into solid by chilling.

Cool To let hot food stand at room temperature until it is no longer hot.


To beat an ingredient or ingredients with a spoon or beaters until light and fluffy. Most often used in reference to butter or shortening, with or without sugar, in baking recipes.


Cut into squares, size of which is determined by the recipe, generally between 1/2 to 2-inches.

Cure To treat food by one of several methods for preservation purposes. Examples are smoking, pickling - in an acid base, corning - with acid and salt, and salt curing - which removes water.


The separation of milk or cream into curd and whey.Transformed from a liquid into a soft semisolid or solid mass. By the addition of a acid to alkali liquids such as milks, or if too much heat is applied.

Eggs are also vulnerable to curdling.

Cut & Fold To incorporate flour into a batter of butter, sugar and eggs while making cakes

Cut In

To work a solid fat, such as butter, shortening or lard, into dry ingredients. This is accomplished by using a pastry blender, 2 knives, a fork, or even the fingers. Most often, the fat should be chilled first and "cut in" just enough for small lumps about the size of a pea to form.



If a recipe calls for "a dash" of an ingredient, it is somewhat relative. However, the most accurate amount appears to be 1/16-teaspoon. Basically, you just add the ingredient "in a dash". For example, if it is a dry ingredient, such as a spice, just shake the box once, assuming there are small holes, and what comes out is it. It's the same with liquid ingredients that come out in drops. Remember, many of those types of ingredients are to taste, so a tiny bit more or less won't matter.


to remove the fat of skin from meat


To remove the bones from meat or poultry. This is best done with a flexible boning knife so that you can get as close to the bone as possible without losing meat. If in doubt, get a good cookbook that shows the process in stages, or watch a good, informative cooking show. Your butcher will also do it for you, but it's fun to learn how.

Decant To pour off by gently inclining the bottle without disturbing the sediment.


Means taking one main ingredient and preparing it in different ways, usually three, then serving a little bit of each on the plate together. It is a very common formula for main courses.

Deep Fry

To fry foods rapidly in a deep pot of oil so that the food is totally submerged. The oil should never come up much more than half way in the pot, and should be a type with a high smoking point.


The process of scraping up all the fond, or browned bits, that collects in the bottom of a pan or skillet after cooking. Liquid is added to the pan and, as it heats up, the bottom is scraped with a spoon or spatula so that the residue is added back into the liquid for lots of extra flavor.


To sprinkle vegetables with salt to eliminate water or to add cornmeal to water and soak crustaceans to eliminate the sand in their shells.

De-Grease To remove fat from the surface of stews, soups, or stock. Usually cooled in the refrigerator so that fat hardens and is easily removed.


To remove the blackish-gray vein from the back of a shrimp. The vein can be removed with a special utensil called a deveiner or with the tip of a sharp knife.


To cut into very small pieces, approximately 1/8 to 1/4-inch.


To cause a dry substance to pass into solution in a liquid.


To prick holes through pastry when baking blind.


To pour off fat or liquid from food, often using a colander.


To coat before cooking with dry ingredients such flour, corn meal, bread or cracker crumbs, or other mixtures. Sweet items are sometimes dredged with sugar and/or spices, such as cinnamon, after baking or frying.


To sprinkle drops of liquid lightly over food in a casual manner.


To sprinkle lightly before or after cooking with dry ingredients, such as flour, granulated or confectioner's sugar or spices.



To bind together liquid ingredients that do not dissolve into each other. Most common is oil into vinegar or citrus juice to make a vinaigrette. The oil is poured very slowly into the acid while whisking or blending vigorously, until the mixture is thickened and the liquids become one.

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