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Cooking Definitions

  • Bain-Marie - a double boiler used to slowly, evenly cook items over indirect heat to keep them from overcooking.
  • Baste - to moisten food during cooking with pan drippingssauce, or other liquid.
  • Bechamel - a white sauce made with milk or cream.
  • Bench Scraper - also known as a Dough Scraper, is a tool used by bakers to gather sticky doughs, scrape dough off counter tops, and cut an divide dough.  Bench Scrapers are usually made of stainless steel, but some are made of plastic.
  • Blanch - to immerse a food (usually raw fruit or vegetables) briefly in boiling water and immediately plunging it into cold water until cold.
  • Blind Baking - to bake a pie crust partially or completely before filling it.
  • Braise - to cook slowly in a small amount of liquid, usually in a dish with a tightly sealed lid.
  • Brine - a solution of water and salt and flavourings such as sugarspices and herbs in which food is completely immersed.
  • Broil - to cook food directly under a heat source.
  • Brulee - to burn a food to caramelize the sugar on a foods surface.
  • Butt Roast - this pork roast is also known as Boston roastpork butt roastpork shoulder, Boston-style shoulder, Boston shoulder, Boston-style butt, and fresh pork butt. 
  • Cane Syrup - also known as Golden Syrup, cane syrup is made by evaporating sugar-cane juice until it's a thick golden-colored syrup.
  • Caramelize - t0 cook until brown and a characteristic flavor develops.  
  • Castor sugar - also known as superfine sugar.
  • Caul Fat - a lacy fatty membrane from the internal organs of an animal, often used for wrapping roasts or pâtés.
  • Chinois - a fine, metal sieve used to puree or strain food.
  • Chipotle (chi-POTE-lay) - a smoked jalapeno pepper.   
  • Choux Paste - a paste consisting of eggs, watersaltbutter, and flour for making Eclairs and cream puffs.
  • Clarified Butter - also known as Ghee, clarified butter is butter from which all water and milk solids have been removed, resulting is a clear yellow fat that can be heated to a higher temperature than butter before burning.
  • Clarify - meaning to clear or purify.  This term is used to refer to the process of removing the impurities from fat, usually butter.  
  • Clotted Cream - also known as Devonshire Cream, is made by slowly heating cream or unpasteurized whole milk.  Cream rises to the surface, then when cooled, is removed.  Clotted Cream is traditionally served with scones and fresh fruit.
  • Coat a Spoon - a cooking technique used to test the doneness of cooked, egg-based custards, and sauces. The mixture is done when it leaves an even film (thin to thick, depending on the recipe instructions) on the spoon. This film can be tested by drawing your finger across the coating on the spoon.
  • Cobbler - a baked fruit dessert covered with a sweet biscuit or pie crust topping.
  • Compound Butter - softened butter than has chopped fruit, herbs, or other ingredients mixed in.
  • Confectioners' Sugar - also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar, this sugar is type of highly refined and ground to a very fine powder.  It may contain up to 3% cornstarch to prevent clumping.
  • Court Bouillon - a mixture of waterherbsvegetables and either wine or vinegar, used mainly for cooking fish.
  • Cream - beating together of fat and sugar until pale in color and fluffy.
  • Crimp - to seal two pieces of pastry, usually around the edge of a pie, by applying pressure with fingers or a fork.
  • Crisp Tender - to cook food to the stage where it is tender, but still crisp.
  • CSA - Community Supported Agriculture; an association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.  
  • Curdle - separation of a mixture into a liquid with solid particles.
  • Cure - to treat food by one of several methods for preservation purposes. Examples:  smokingpickling - in an acid base, corning - with acid and salt, and salt curing - which removes water.
  • Cut In - to blend or cream butter or shortening into a flour mixture.
  • Crock Pot - also known as a Slow Cooker, is a counter-top electric cooking appliance used for long, slow, unattended cooking.
  • Slow Cooker - also known as a Crock Pot, is a counter-top electric cooking appliance used for long, slow, unattended cooking.  
  • Deep Fry - the process of cooking food in hot fat in a large pot so that the food is totally covered with the liquid fat.
  • Defrost - to allow food that has been frozen to come back to its original non-frozen state.
  • Deglaze - to heat a liquid, usually stock or wine, with the cooking juices that are left in the pan after cooking or roasting meat.  
  • Dehydrate - to remove the natural moisture from food by slowly drying it.  
  • Demerara Sugar - a type of unrefined sugar with large grain and pale to golden color.
  • Demi Glaze - a rich brown sauce or gravy made by reducing meat stock.
  • Devein - to remove the blackish-gray vein from the back of a shrimp.  
  • Devonshire Cream - also known as Clotted Cream, is made by slowly heating cream or unpasteurized whole milk.  Cream rises to the surface, then when cooled, is removed.  Devonshire Cream is traditionally served with scones and fresh fruit.  
  • Dicing - to dice food means to chop it into small cubes.
  • Disjoint - a cooking term meaning to separate meats at the joint.
  • Dissolve - to mix a dry substance with liquid until the dry substance becomes a part of the solution.
  • Dock - to pierce dough before baking, allowing steam to escape and prevent rising or blistering during the baking process. 
  • Double Boiler - a slow, gentle cooking technique that includes two vessels.  The lower vessel, usually a sauce pan, holds water that is heated to a simmer.  Food is placed in the upper vessel (metal or glass) which is suspended above the lower vessel.  The bottom of the upper vessel should not touch the water in the lower vessel.   
  • Dough Blender - also known as a pastry blender, is used to cut butter or other fat into dry ingredients, such as flour when making pie crust, scones, or biscuits.  A dough blender has half-moon shaped stainless steel wires or blades.    
  • Dough Scraper - also known as a Pastry Scraper, is a tool used by bakers to gather sticky doughs, scrape dough off counter tops, and cut an divide dough.  Dough Scrapers are usually made of stainless steel, but some are made of plastic.
  • Dredge - to lightly coat food that is going to be fried with flour, breadcrumbs, or cornmeal.  The coating helps to brown the food and provides a crunchy surface.
  • Drippings - the fat and juices that cook out of meat or poultry.  
  • Drizzle - to pour a very fine stream of liquid over food for decorative purposes and/or to add flavor.
  • Dry Cure - a method of curing meat or fish by using a combination of salt and seasoning, usually before smoking.  
  • Dry Rub - a blend of herbs and spices applied to foods for flavor and to help crust formation. 
  • Dust - to lightly sprinkle with a dry ingredient, such as sugar, cocoa, or flour.
  • Dutch Oven - a cooking vessel consisting of a large heavy pot with a tightly fitting lid. It is used for braising and stewing meats and vegetables, both on the stove top or in the oven.  
  • Duxelles - finely chopped mushrooms sauteed in butter, onion or shallots, and sometimes herbs, until soft and dry.
  • Egg Wash - egg yolk or egg white mixed with a small amount of water or milk.  
  • Emulsify - to combine two liquids that do not typically mix together well, such as oil and water.
  • Espresso Powder - a powder made from dried roasted espresso beans that dissolve instantly in water. 
  • Evaporated milk - a canned milk product that is made by removing about 60 percent of the water from ordinary milk. 
  • Farro - a food composed of the grains of certain wheat species, sold dried and prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy.
  • Fat Separator - a container in which pan dripping are poured to allow the fat to rise and be removed from the desirable liquid that remains.  
  • Financier - a sponge cake made with ground almonds, egg whites, and melted butter. 
  • Flambe - to flame, using alcohol as the burning agent, to caramelize and enhance flavor.
  • Flan (flahn) - a famous Spanish baked custard coated with caramel. 
  • Fleur de Sel - a hand-harvested sea salt that comes from the coast of west-central France.
  • Fold In - to mix two things together using a gentle lifting and turning motion so as not to lose any trapped air bubbles.
  • Food Mill - a type of food strainer with a crank-operated, curved blade. It is used to puree soft foods. 
  • Frangipane - an almond flavored sweet pastry cream.
  • French Rolling Pin - a rolling pin that is a solid piece of wood that tapers at both ends, and unlike traditional rolling pins, it does not have handles. 
  • Galette - a round, flat cake or tart.
  • Ganache - a combination of chocolate and cream, melted together slowly. When used warm, ganache is drizzled or poured over desserts, cookies, or desserts to form a smooth glossy coating.  At room temperature, it can be whipped to use as a frosting. When chilled, it can be formed into chocolate truffles.  
  • Garlic Press - a kitchen utensil used to press a garlic clove through small holes, extracting both pulp and juice. 
  • Garlic Scapes - the edible shoot that grows up from the garlic bulb.
  • Gelatin - also known as gelatine, a setting agent, derived from animals, sold in powder or sheets. 
  • Gelato - an Italian frozen dessert, similar to ice cream, made with milk instead of cream. 
  • Ghee - also known as Clarified Butter, ghee is butter from which all water and milk solids have been removed, resulting is a clear yellow fat that can be heated to a higher temperature than butter before burning.
  • Glaze - to coat foods with syrup, jam, egg, milk or other liquid to give it a glazed surface when cooked. 
  • Glycerine - a colorless, odorless liquid made from fats and oils and used to retain moisture and add sweetness to foods. It also helps to prevent sugar crystallization in foods like candy.
  • Golden Syrup - also known as Cane Syrup, golden syrup is made by evaporating sugar-cane juice until it's a thick golden-colored syrup. 
  • Gougere - a savory pastry made of choux paste flavored with cheese.
  • Gratin - a food dish topped with cheese or bread crumbs mixed with bits of butter, then heated in the oven or under the broiler until brown and crisp.  
  • Ham hock - cut from the hog's lower leg, often smoked or cured, Great in bean soups and other slow-cooked soups and stews, where they lend rich, smoky flavors. 
  • Hard Ball Stage - the stage or temperature at which a small quantity of heated sugar syrup forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water.  This temperature is usually between 250°F and 265°F.  As sugar syrup cooks, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises.
  • Hard Crack Stage - the stage and temperature when a small amount of hot sugar syrup is dropped into cold water and it separates into brittle threads.  The temperature is usually between 300°F and 310°F.
  • Hoagie - a sandwich also known as a, submarine, sub, hero, wedge, blimpie, po'boy, zep, bomber, grinder, torpedoes, or rocket. 
  • Hygroscopic - absorbing or attracting moisture from the air.  Sugar is hygroscopic.
  • Ice Bath - a mixture of ice and water used to chill a food or beverage rapidly.
  • Icing Sugar - also known as confectioners' sugar or powdered sugar, this sugar is type of highly refined and ground to a very fine powder.  It may contain up to 3% cornstarch to prevent clumping.
  • Iodized salt - a fine granular salt which has been fortified with the essential trace mineral iodine. 
  • Immersion Blender - a tall, narrow blender that has a rotary blade at the end.  It is immersed in directly into a pot of soup or other mixture to puree or blend the contents.
  • Instant Flour - such as Wondra, is a granular flour especially formulated to dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquids.  It's used mainly as a thickener in sauces, gravies, and other cooked mixtures.
  • Julienne - to cut vegetables into matchstick pieces. 
  • Kosher Salt - a coarse or flaky type of granular salt preferred by cooks due to its lack of the additive iodine. **NOTE: Diamond Brand Kosher Salt is used for all the recipes that specify kosher salt on ButterYum.org. Use half as much if substituting table salt.
  • Lard - rendered and clarified white pork fat used for cooking and baking.
  • Lardon - to cut bacon or pancetta into small strips.
  • Liaison - a thickener for soups and sauces.
  • Macaroon (mak-uh-ROON) - a small round cookie that has a crisp crust and a soft interior. It may be made from almonds or coconut.  
  • Macaron (mak-uh-RON) - a light, often brightly colored sandwich cookie consisting of two round disks made from a batter of egg whites, sugar, and finely ground almonds, filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam.
  • Macerate - to add liquid or an ingredient, such as sugar, to food (usually fruit) that causes liquid to form, in order to soften and enhance flavor after it sets for a given amount of time.  
  • Matcha - finely-milled green tea.
  • Medallion - a small, coin-shaped slice of meat or fish.
  • Mexican Chocolate - a mixture of chocolate, almonds, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon and vanilla, ground together and formed into octagonal tablets, used to make Mexican hot chocolate. 
  • Mirepoix (meer-pwa) - a combination of diced carrots, onions, celery, and herbs cooked in butter and used to flavor a wide range of dishes.  
  • Mise en place (meez en plaas) - a French technique meaning "everything in its place" which refers to having all ingredients measured out before a recipe is made.
  • Mousse - a light, airy pudding made with whipped cream or egg whites, served chilled or frozen.
  • Muscovado Sugar - a British specialty brown sugar that is very dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor.  The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier than regular brown sugar.
  • Nutella - a thick, smooth paste made from chocolate and hazelnuts.
  • Palm Sugar - a sugar made from the sap of various palm trees which is boiled and set into hard cakes. The sugar is scraped off for use in South East Asian dishes.
  • Papillote (pah-pee-yote) - a method of cooking in which food is baked inside a sealed wrapping of parchment paper or tin foil.  
  • Pastry Bag - a cone-shaped bag with openings at both ends.  Food is placed into the large opening then squeezed out the small opening which may be fitted with a decorator tip.  
  • Pastry Brush - a brush used to apply glaze or egg wash to breads and other baked goods either before or after baking.
  • Pastry Blender - also known as a dough blender, is used to cut butter or other fat into dry ingredients, such as flour when making pie crust, scones, or biscuits.  A pastry blender has half-moon shaped stainless steel wires or blades.  
  • Pastry Cloth - a large piece of lightweight canvas used as a surface for rolling out pastry dough.  The cloth is rubbed with flour before rolling to make a non-stick surface.
  • Powdered Sugar - also known as confectioners' sugar or icing sugar, this sugar is type of highly refined and ground to a very fine powder.  It may contain up to 3% cornstarch to prevent clumping.
  • Pressure Cooker - a pressurized cooking pot in which food is cooked at temperatures above the boiling point by steam maintained under pressure.  Since the food is cooked at a very high temperature, its cooking time is reduced by as much as two-thirds, without destroying its nutritional value.
  • Puree - to blend, process, sieve, or mash a food until it's very smooth and has the consistency of baby food.
  • Quiche - a pie made primarily of eggs and cream in a pastry crust which may also contain meats and vegetables. 
  • Quinoa (keen-wah) - a tiny, bead-shaped seed, high in protein, with a slightly bitter flavor and firm, chewy texture.
  • Ramekin - a small, straight sided dish glass or ceramic.
  • Roux (roo)- a thickener for sauces and soups that combines equal parts flour and fat that are cooked together.
  • Sable (sa-BLAY) - sable is the French word for sand.  Sables are a cookie or cake from a sandy textured dough.  
  • Santoku Knife - usually a 7-inch blade with a wide body, sometimes referred to as a Japanese chef's knife, an all-purpose knife suitable for chopping, dicing, and mincing.
  • Sauté - a term used for cooking food in a skillet.  Saute literally translated means "to jump".  This is because very high heat is used during the cooking process and the food should be in frequent motion.
  • Sear - to quickly brown the surface of meat in hot fat before it is cooked by either roasting or grilling. 
  • Sieve - a mesh or perforated utensil, usually made of metal. Food is pressed or passed through a sieve to remove lumps or strain liquid. 
  • Skim - to remove an undesirable substance that forms on the top surface of a liquid, usually fat, foam, or scum.
  • Sweat - to cook food, generally vegetable, over low heat using a small amount of fat.
  • Szechuan Peppercorns - not peppercorns at all, but split, dried, reddish brown berries from the prickly ash tree renowned for the tingly numbness they produce in the mouth.
  • Tahini - a paste made from sesame seeds. 
  • Tapioca - a starchy food made from the cassava plant used in puddings. 
  • Tart Panusually metal. Unlike a pie pan, it has straight sides that are usually fluted, and a removeable bottom. 
  • Torrone - nougat candy made of honey, nuts, and egg whites. 
  • Tube pan - a round pan with deep sides and a hollow center tube used for baking cakes, especially angel food and sponge cakes.  The tube promotes even baking in the center of the cake.
  • Turbinado Sugar - a raw, coarse sugar that has been spun in a centrifuge to separate the crystals. It has a light molasses flavor.  Demerara or raw sugar can be substituted. 
  • Udon - a type of thick wheat-based noodle popular in Japanese and Korean cuisine.  
  • Umami (oo-MOM-mee) - one of the five basic taste sensations (the others being sweet, sour, bitter, and salty), umami is caused by amino acids called glutamates and is best described as a deep and rich, warm, complex, and meaty.
  • Vacherin - a dessert consisting of several crisp meringue rings stacked on top of each other and placed on a meringue or pastry base. 
  • Vanilla Bean - the sweetly fragrant dried pods of the vanilla orchid, a native of Mexico, which can be used either whole or split to reveal the aromatic seeds, and then stored in a sugar jar to impart its flavor, or used directly in baked goods, custards, creams, and puddings. 
  • Vanilla Extract a vanilla-flavored product made by macerating chopped vanilla beans in a water-alcohol solution to extract the flavor.
  • Vanilla Powder - this alcohol-free powder is made from vanilla beans that have been dried and pulverized.  Unlike vanilla extract, it doesn't evaporate when heated, so it's well suited to making custards and other cooked desserts. 
  • Vanilla Sugar - granulated sugar flavored with vanilla by enclosing it with a vanilla pod in an airtight jar.
  • Veloute - one of the 5 mother sauce.  A veloute sauce is a variation of bechamel, or white sauce, except instead of milk, the liquid added to the roux is chicken stock or another light stock like veal or fish.  
  • Wet Rub - A blend of herbs and spices mixed with oil or water applied to foods for flavor and to help crust formation.
  • Xanthan Gum - produced from the fermentation of corn sugar; most commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickener.  
  • Zabaglione - an Italian custard-like dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine.
  • Zest - the outer rind of citrus fruit containing flavorful essential oils.
  • Zuccotto - an Italian dessert made to be dome-shaped when served.