Aerate: To incorporate air into ingredients to make them lighter.
Al dente: "To the tooth," in Italian. The pasta is cooked just enough to maintain a firm, chewy texture.
Bake: To cook in the oven.
Baste: To brush or spoon juices over meat during roasting, adding flavor and to prevent drying out.
Batter: A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that is thin enough to require a pan to encase it, such cakes. A batter is different from dough, which maintains its shape.
Beat: To smoothen a mixture by briskly whipping or stirring it.
Bind: To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.
Blackened: Seasoned foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated skillet until charred.
Blanch: To loosen the skin of a fruit or vegetable by briefly boiling and then plunging into ice water to stop the cooking and allow the skin to be easily sliced off.
Braise: Browning meat in oil or other fat and then cooking slowly in liquid to tenderize the meat.
Bread: To coat the food with crumbs (usually with soft or dry bread crumbs), sometimes seasoned.
Broil: To cook food directly under the heat source.
Broth or stock: A flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables (and/or their by-products, such as bones and trimming) often with herbs, in liquid, usually water.
Brown: A quick sautéing, pan/oven broiling, or grilling method to enhance flavor, texture, and/or eye appeal.
Brush: To coat a food such as meat or bread with melted butter, glaze, or other liquid using a pastry brush.
Bundt pan: The generic name for any tube baking pan having fluted sides.
Butterfly: To cut open a food down the center without cutting all the way through, and then spread apart.
Brine: A water and salt solution used for pickling or preserving.
Caramelization: Browning sugar over a flame, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º C to 182º C).
Chiffon: Pie filling made light and fluffy with stabilized gelatin and beaten egg whites.
Chop: To cut into irregular pieces.
Clarify: Remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming it.
Coat: To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs, or a batter.
Coddle: A cooking method in which foods are placed into separate containers and slowly cooked in a pan of simmering water.
Confit: To slowly cook pieces of meat in their own gently rendered fat.
Core: To remove the inedible center of fruits.
Cream: To beat vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine, with or without sugar, until light and fluffy.
Crimp: To create a decorative edge on a piecrust or seal edges together.
Crisp: To restore the crunch to foods; Soaking vegetables in an ice water bath or heating stale crackers in a medium oven.
Crush: To condense a food to its smallest particles.
Crystallize: To form sugar- or honey-based syrups into crystals.
Curd: Custard-like pie or tart filling flavored with juice and zest of citrus fruit, usually lemon.
Curdle: To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated protein to develop in food, usually as a result of the addition of an acid substance, or the overheating of milk or egg-based sauces.
Cure: To preserve or add flavor with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar.
Custard: A mixture of beaten egg, milk, and possibly other ingredients such as sweet or savory flavorings, cooked with gentle heat, often in a water bath or double boiler. Often used as a pie filling.
Cut in: To work vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter into dry ingredients.
Casserole: Food that are baked in various-sized deep dishes. Usually all the ingredients are mixed together or layered before cooking and topped with cheese.
Dash: A measure approximately equal to 1/16 teaspoon.
Deep-fry: To completely submerge the food in hot oil.
Deglaze: To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been fried or roasted to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Devil: To add hot or spicy ingredients such as cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce to a food.
Dice: To cut into cubes.
Direct heat: A cooking method that allows heat to meet food directly, such as grilling, broiling, or toasting.
Dot: To sprinkle food with small bits of an ingredient such as butter to allow even melting.
Dough: A combination of ingredients producing a firm but workable mixture for making baked goods.
Dredge: To sprinkle lightly and evenly with sugar or flour.
Drizzle: To pour a liquid such as a sweet glaze or melted butter in a slow, light trickle over food.
Dust: To sprinkle food lightly with spices, sugar, or flour for a light coating.
Drippings: The juices and fat that is collected from the pan of cooked foods, often used for gravies and sauces.
Dutch Oven: Large deep pots that are covered with a tight-fitting lid.
Egg wash: A mixture of beaten eggs with either milk or water; Used to coat cookies and other baked goods to give them a shine when baked.
Entrée: Referred to the first course of a meal or the main dish.
Fillet: To remove the bones from meat or fish.
Filter: To remove lumps, excess liquid, or impurities by passing through paper or cheesecloth.
Flambé: To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames.
Flan: An open pie filled with sweet or savory ingredients
Flute: To create a decorative scalloped or undulating edge on a piecrust or other pastry.
Fold: To lightly mix ingredients with a spoon, slowly folding the heavier ingredient into the lighter one, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
Fricassee: To lightly cook small pieces of meat in butter and then simmer in liquid until done.
Fritter: Sweet or savory foods coated or mixed into batter, then deep-fried (also known as beignet).
Frizzle: To cook thin slices of meat in hot oil until crisp and slightly curly.
Fry: To cook food in hot cooking oil, usually until a crisp brown crust forms.
Ganache: A rich chocolate filling or coating made with chocolate, vegetable shortening, and possibly heavy cream.
Garnish: A decorative piece of an edible ingredient such as parsley.
Glaze: A liquid that gives an item a shiny surface; To cover a food with such a liquid.
Gluten: A protein formed when hard wheat flour is moistened and agitated. Gluten is what gives yeast dough its characteristic elasticity.
Grate: To shred or cut down a food into fine pieces by rubbing it against a rough surface.
Gratin: To bind together or combine food with a liquid such as cream, milk, béchamel sauce, or tomato sauce, in a shallow dish. The mixture is then baked until cooked and set.
Grease: To coat a pan or skillet with a thin layer of oil or butter.
Grill: To cook over the heat source, often outdoors over charcoal.
Grind: To mechanically cut a food into small pieces.
Hull (also husk): To remove the leafy parts of soft fruits, such as strawberries or blackberries.
Ice: To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; To spread frosting on a cake.
Infusion: Extracting flavors by soaking them in liquid heated in a covered pan; Refers to the liquid resulting from this process.
Jell (also gel): To cause a food to set or solidify, usually by adding gelatin.
Jerk seasoning: A dry mixture of various spices such as chilies, thyme, garlic, onions, and cinnamon or cloves used to season meats such as chicken or pork.
Jus: The natural juices released by roasting meats.
Jambalaya: A Creole dish that is made with rice, tomatoes, onions, and meat.
Julienne: To cut food into thin strips.
Kebab: Marinated meat that is skewered and grilled.
Knead: To press and fold dough in order to give it a smoother consistency needed for leavening.
Larding: Inserting strips of fat into pieces of meat, so that the braised meat stays moist and juicy.
Leavener: An ingredient or process that produces air bubbles and causes the rising of baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
Line: To place layers of edible (cake or bread slices) or inedible (foil or wax paper) ingredients in a pan to provide structure for a dish or to prevent sticking.
Loin: A cut of meat that typically comes from the back of the animal.
Marble: To gently swirl one food into another.
Marinate: To combine food with aromatic ingredients to add flavor.
Marzipan: A paste of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites used to fill and decorate pastries.
Mash: To beat or press a food to remove lumps.
Medallion: A small round bit of meat.
Meringue: Egg whites beaten until stiff, then sweetened; Used as toppings for pies or baked as cookies.
Mince: To chop food into tiny pieces.
Mix: To beat or stir foods together until they are thoroughly combined.
Moisten: Adding enough liquid to dampen, but not soak, dry ingredients.
Panbroil: To cook a food in a skillet without added fat, removing any fat as it accumulates.
Panfry: To cook in a hot pan with small amount of hot oil, butter, or other fat, turning the food over once or twice.
Parboil: To partly cook in a boiling liquid.
Parchment: A heavy, heat-resistant paper used in cooking.
Pare: To peel or trim a food, usually vegetables.
Pesto: A sauce usually made of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese.
Pinch: Same as "dash."
Pipe: To force a semisoft food through a bag (a pastry bag or a plastic bag with one corner cut off) to decorate food.
Pit: Using a sharp knife to take out the center stone or seed of a fruit.
Poach: To simmer in liquid.
Pressure cooking: A cooking method that uses steam trapped under a locked lid to produce high temperatures and achieve fast cooking time.
Proof: To let yeast dough rise.
Purée: To mash or sieve food into a thick liquid.
Parboil: To partially cook food in boiling water for just a few minutes.
Quiche: A pastry shell that is filled with eggs, cheese, cream, meats, and vegetables.
Ramekin: A small baking dish used for individual servings of sweet and savory dishes.
Reconstitute: To take a dried food such as milk back to its original state by adding liquid.
Reduce: To cook liquids down by water evaporation.
Refresh: To pour cold water over freshly cooked vegetables to prevent further cooking and to retain color.
Render: To melt down fat to make drippings.
Roast: To cook uncovered in the oven.
Sauté: To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil over direct heat.
Scald: Cooking a liquid such as milk to just below the point of boiling; to loosen the skin of fruits or vegetables by dipping them in boiling water.
Score: To tenderize meat by making a number of shallow cuts across its surface. Useful when marinating.
Sear: Sealing in a meat's juices by cooking it quickly under very high heat.
Season: To enhance the flavor of foods by adding aromatic and/or flavorful ingredients; To treat a pot or pan with a coating of cooking oil and baking it to seal rough.
Seize: To form a thick, lumpy mass when melted (usually applied to chocolate).
Set: Let food become solid. (See also "Jell.")
Shred: To cut or tear into long narrow strips.
Sift: Passing a dry ingredient through a fine mesh to remove large lumps and/or incorporate air, making them lighter.
Simmer: Cooking food in a liquid at a low temperature that small bubbles begin to break the surface.
Skim: To remove the top fat layer from stocks, soups, sauces, or other liquids.
Springform pan: A two-part baking pan in which a spring-loaded collar fits around a base; the collar is removed after baking is complete.
Steam: To cook over boiling water in a covered pan; allows food to keep shape, texture, and nutritional value better than methods such as boiling.
Steep: To soak dry ingredients in liquid until the flavor is infused into the liquid.
Stewing: Browning small pieces of meat, poultry, or fish, then simmering them with other ingredients in enough liquid to cover them.
Stir-Fry: The fast frying of small pieces of meat and vegetables over very high heat.
Thin: To reduce a mixture's thickness by adding more liquid.
Toss: To thoroughly combine several ingredients by mixing lightly.
Truss: To use string, skewers, or pins to hold together a food to maintain its shape while it cooks (usually applied to meat or poultry).
Unleavened: Baked goods that contain no ingredients to give them volume, such as baking powder, baking soda, or yeast.
Whisk: To mix of fluff by beating; A utensil that is made from looped wires for the purpose of mixing or blending ingredients into a smooth consistency.
Water bath: Setting a container into a pan of simmering water to gently cook food. (See also "Coddle.")
Whip: To incorporate air into ingredients such as cream or egg whites by beating until light and fluffy.