Cooking Dictionary Part 1

2 Oct

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you figure out confusing words you may come across in recipes.

Al dente: Italian phrase meaning “to the tooth,” used to describe pasta or other food that is cooked only until it offers slight resistance when bitten into.

Au gratin: A dish that is topped with cheese or a mixture of breadcrumbs and butter, then heated in the oven or under the broiler until brown and crispy.

Au jus:French phrase describing meat that is served with its own natural cooking juices.

Au lait: French for “with milk.”

Bain-marie: A water bath used to cook certain dishes.

Baking powder: A leavener (which helps a dough or batter rise or become light in texture) that contains a combination of baking soda; an acid (such as cream of tartar); and a moisture-absorber (like cornstarch).

Baking sheet: A flat sheet of metal, usually rectangular, used to bake cookies, biscuits, etc.

Baking soda: Bicarbonate of soda. Baking soda is used as a leavener in baked recipes. When combined with an acid like buttermilk, yogurt, or vinegar in a batter, it produces bubbles from carbon dioxide gas that allowing the batter to rise as it bakes.

Blackened: A cooking method in which meat or fish, usually rubbed with Cajun spices, is cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet.

Broth/bouillon: A liquid made by cooking vegetables, poultry, meat, or fish. The flavored liquid is strained off after cooking.

Braise: A cooking method, on top of a stove or in the oven, in which food is browned in fat, and then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid, at low heat for a long time.

Broil: To cook or brown food by placing it under the broiling unit in an oven. The broiling unit is usually at the top of the oven, but older ovens may have a broiler drawer underneath. Recipes often call for placing the food 4-6 inches away from the broiling unit.

Brown: To cook quickly over high heat, causing the surface of the food to turn brown while the interior stays moist.

Brush: To apply a liquid with a pastry brush to the surface of food.

 

Source: Cooking 101: WebMD

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