Cooking Glossary

A la Broche
Cooked over a flame on a skewer.
A la Provencale
A dish prepared with olive oil and garlic.
Acidulated water
Water containing a small quantity of lemon juice or vinegar, used to prevent discoloration in vegetables or meat.
Aging
A process for tenderizing meats, by keeping them at a temperature between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius for a period of time, which allows enzymes to break down the tough connective tissues.
Aiguillettes
Strips of meat or fish.
Allemande
A white sauce that contains egg yolk.
Amandine
Garnished or prepared with almonds.
Au Jus
Served with natural juices.
Au Lait
With milk
Au Naturel
Plainly cooked
Bard
To wrap meat (particularly chicken and lean meats) with bacon or salted pork while roasting, to prevent it from drying out. The wrapper is removed towards the end of cooking, to allow the meat to brown.
Baste
To pour, spoon or brush a liquid (usually meat drippings, stock or fat) on food while it is cooking, to add flavor and prevent drying out.
Bechamel
A white sauce that is usually made with milk and cream.
Bercy
A sauce served with meat or fish, made from white wine, brown sauce, lemon juice and shallots.
Bisque
A thick and rich creamy soup, most often made from shellfish.
Bouchee
A small patty of creamed meat or fish, in a pastry shell.
Bouquet Garni
A small bundle of herbs used to enhance the flavor of a soup or stew. Any herbs may be used, but the most common combination is bay leaf, parsley and thyme.
Bourgeoise
Meats served with vegetables.
Braise
A technique of cooking in which meat or vegetables are first browned in oil and/or butter, then cooked at a low heat for a lengthy period of time in a covered pot in a small amount of liquid. This process adds flavor, and tenderizes the food by breaking down its fibers.
Brioche
A roll made of light sweet dough.
Brochette
Cubes of meat on a skewer.
Bronoise
Vegetables cut into fine, small cubes (usually made from julienne).
Brown
To cook quickly over high heat, thus causing the surface to become brown while retaining a moist interior.
Butterfly
To split meat almost completely in half with a knife and then spread it apart.
Candying
Cooking fruits or vegetables in a heavy sweet syrup.
Cannellini Bean
A large white Italian kidney bean used to add flavor to soups and stews.
Canola Oil
The common term for rapeseed oil. The popularity of canola oil is growing because of its low saturated fat content and high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat. It is nearly tasteless, and is useful for cooking due to its high smoking point.
Caramelize
Slowly cooking sugar (or a sugar-heavy food) over low heat in order to convert the sugar into caramel.
Cartouche
Greased paper used to cover meats during cooking.
Casserole
A fire-proof cooking dish.
Cassoulet
A dish containing beans, pork, mutton, goose or duck.
Chantilly
Served or prepared with whipped cream.
Chateaubriand
Double steak cut from the beef tenderloin.
Coddle
To simmer or cook at a temperature just below the boiling point for a brief period.
Cracklings
The crisp remains that are left behind after frying fat.
Cream
To blend or beat to the consistency of cream.
Crush
To press into very fine particles.
Cube
To cut food into 1 to 2cm cubes.
Cut in
To mix together a dry ingredient such as flour and a solid fat like butter until they form into small particles. It can be done with a food processor or by hand.
Dash
A very small amount, less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.
Deep-fry
To cook food by completely immersing in very hot fat.
Deglaze
To add a liquid (such as wine, stock or water) to the bottom of a pan in order to dissolve the caramelized drippings so that they can be added to a sauce, for added flavor.
Dice
To cut food into cubes smaller than 1cm.
Dollop
An imprecise measurement, roughly a heaped tablespoon.
Drawn butter
Melted butter
Dredge
To lightly coat food (typically with flour, cornmeal or breadcrumbs) that is to be pan fried or sauteed.
Drippings
The natural juices and fat that drips from roasted meats.
Dusting
To sprinkle with sugar or flour.
Egg threads
Lightly beaten eggs that are poured into a hot broth, to create irregularly-shaped strings of egg for garnishing soups.
Entrecote
A steak cut from the rib section of beef.
Epazote
A pungent herb with a strong flavor, used in Mexican cooking.
Escalope
Thinly sliced meat, fish or vegetables.
Extract
A concentrated flavor, in solid or liquid form, usually obtained by distillation or evaporation. Also called essences.
Filet mignon
Filets of beef tenderloin, usually without any fat.
Fines Herbes
A mixture of parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon.
Fold
Combining ingredients using a gentle under and over motion, in order to prevent loss of air that may result from stirring or beating.
Fondue
From the French word for "melt". Can be used to refer to food cooked in a communal pot at the table, or to finely chopped vegetables that have been slowly cooked to a pulp and used as a garnish.
Forcemeat
Ground meat or meats, mixed with seasonings, used for stuffing.
Frappe
Refers to dessert items that are frozen or partially frozen to a mushy texture.
Giblets
The trimmings from poultry, such as the liver, heart, and kidneys.
Glace
A stock that has been reduced to a syrup-like consistency and used to color and flavor a sauce.
Goulash
A rich savory brown stew, in which paprika is usually the main seasoning.
Grate
To reduce to very fine particles, usually with a grater.
Gratin
Browned surface of foods cooked in an oven or salamander.
Grease
To coat with a thin layer of fat or cooking spray.
Gremolada
An Italian garnish, most often used with osso buco, typically comprised of parsley, lemon rind, minced garlic, and sometimes shredded basil.
Halibut
A large saltwater fish with lean, mild-flavored, white flesh.
Harissa
A spice mixture containing chilies, cumin, garlic, coriander and olive oil. It can be used as a condiment or a seasoning.
Headspace
The amount of space to leave at the top of a container to allow for expansion of food when frozen or processed.
Heavy cream
A rich dairy product with a butterfat content of at least 36 percent. Also known as whipping cream and double cream.
Hoisin sauce
A thick reddish-brown sauce made from fermented soybeans or wheat, garlic, vinegar, chilies, and sesame seeds. It is used as an ingredient or a seasoning.
Hollondaise
A rich creamy sauce, consisting mainly of butter, lemon juice and egg yolks.
Horseradish
A pungent, hot-tasting root sold fresh and whole, or grated and bottled (in a light vinegar) as a prepared sauce.
Ice
To chill a glass or serving dish so that a coat of frost forms on its surface.
Indian Pudding
A spicy cornmeal-molasses pudding which may be served with whipped cream or hard sauce.
Involtini
Thin slices of meat or fish which are stuffed and rolled. They may then be sauteed, grilled, or baked.
Italian green beans
Fresh green beans with a strong flavor, that are wider, flatter and longer than most other varieties.
Jalapeno chilies
An extremely hot and sharp flavored chili, usually dark green and about 5cm long.
Jicama
A root vegetable with a sweet nutty flavor. It has a thin brown skin and white chunky flesh.
Julienne
Cut into very thin long strips.
Kaymak
A Turkish thickened cream used mainly in desserts.
Knead
To mix and work dough into a pliable mass, either manually or with a mixer or food processor. The technique for kneading by hand is to press the dough with the heels of the hands, then fold in half and give a quarter turn, and repeat.
Kumquat
A small citrus fruit having the peculiar characteristic of a sweet skin and bitter flesh. Mainly used in preserves, chutneys and pastry making.
Ladyfinger
A delicate spongecake shaped like a sausage, used for making desserts like Tiramisu and Charlottes.
Larding
Strips of salted pork that are inserted into meat with a special needle, in order to add flavor and moisture to meat.
Liaision
A binding agent used for thickening soups and sauces; usually made up of cream and egg yolks.
Macerate
To infuse food, usually fruit, with flavor by soaking it in a liquid. A liqueur is often used.
Marinade
A flavor-enhancing solution in which meat can be soaked prior to cooking.
Milanese
Foods that are dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and fried in butter.
Mince
To chop food into very small irregular pieces.
Mirepoix
A seasoning for soups and stews, generally comprised of diced onions, celery, carrots and herbs that have been sauteed in oil or butter.
Miso
A paste made from fermented soy beans, used in Japanese sauces and soups.
Mollet
Soft boiled egg.
Nap
To completely cover food with a thin even layer of sauce, forming a light coating.
Navarin
A rich brown mutton stew, garnished with carrots and turnips.
Ossobuco
Italian for "bone with a hole". A dish made with gelatinous veal shanks that are braised with rich stock and fresh vegetables. Often served with Gremolada.
Pan Broil
To cook in an uncovered skillet, pouring the fat off during cooking.
Papillote
Cooked in foil or parchment paper to seal in flavor, then served and cut open at table.
Parboil
To cook partially, by boiling for a short time.
Pare
To cut the skin from a food. This is usually done with a short knife known as a paring knife.
Parmentiere
Soup containing potatoes or served with potatoes.
Persillade
Garnished with parsley.
Pesto
An uncooked sauce, also used as a condiment. Usually consists of garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Poach
To cook food in liquid, at or just below the boiling point. Meat, fish and eggs are usually poached in water or a seasoned stock.
Preserve
To prepare foods for long storage. Methods of preserving include freezing, drying, canning, curing, drying, smoking and refrigeration.
Primavera
A pasta sauce made with vegetables such as celery, carrots and bell peppers.
Puree
Any food that is mashed to a thick, smooth consistency. Also the action of mashing the food.
Queso
The Spanish word for cheese.
Quinoa
A grain which is rich in protein and unsaturated fat and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. It can be used as a substitute for rice.
Reconstitute
To return a dried or dehydrated product to its original consistency by adding a liquid.
Reduce
To boil a liquid until its volume is reduced, in order to achieve a more intense flavor.
Render
To extract the fat from meat by cooking over low heat.
Roast
To cook uncovered in an oven without adding liquid.
Roe
Fish eggs
Roux
A mixture of flour and fat cooked over low heat, used for thickening soups and sauces. There are three distinct types of roux - white, blond and brown, each having different flavours. The main difference is in the heating time, and in the fact that white and blond roux are usually made with butter, while brown roux can be made with drippings instead.
Sachet bag
A cloth bag filled with select herbs, used to season soups or stocks.
Salamander
A small broiler used to brown or gratin foods.
Saute
To cook food in a small amount of fat over moderate heat, with stirring to prevent it from sticking to the pan or burning.
Scald
To heat to a point just below boiling.
Score
To make shallow cuts into the surface of foods such as fish, meat or chicken, in order to tenderize, decorate, or increase the absorption of a marinade.
Sear
To seal in the juices of a piece of meat by quickly scorching or charring the surface at high temperature.
Shred
To cut into long narrow pieces, generally by using a shredder.