Cooking Techniques Dictionary: Chapter 3

Below is the last chapter in a series of blogs identifying and explaining some of the cooking terms you are likely to encounter as you grow as a chef. From basic terms like ‘Bake‘ to more advanced terms like ‘Chiffonade‘, this list will help you improve your skills in the kitchen and follow recipes more closely. If there is a term you’d like us to define, let us know in the comments below! Make sure to review terms from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Basic

Beat: To stir rapidly to make a mixture smooth, using a whisk, spoon, or mixer.

Boil: To cook in bubbling water that has reached 212 °F.

Deep-fry: To cook by completely immersing food in hot fat.

Dice: To cut food into very small (1/8 to 1/4-inch) cubes.

Fold: To combine light ingredients such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture, using a gentle over-and-under motion, usually with a rubber spatula.

Grill: To cook food on a rack under or over direct heat, as on a barbecue or in a broiler.

Shred: To cut food into narrow strips with a knife or a grater.

Stew: To cook covered over low heat in a liquid.

Whisk: To beat ingredients (such as heavy or whipping cream, eggs, salad dressings, or sauces) with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Zest: To grate the outer, colored part of the peel of citrus fruit.

 

Intermediate

Baste: To moisten food for added flavor and to prevent drying out while cooking.

Cut in: To distribute a solid fat in flour using a cutting motion, with two knives used scissors-fashion or a pastry blender, until divided evenly into tiny pieces. Usually refers to making pastry.

Dress: To coat foods such as salad with a sauce. Also, to clean fish, poultry, or game for cooking.

Grind: To reduce food to tiny particles using a grinder or a food processor.

Poach: To cook gently over very low heat in barely simmering liquid just to cover.

Roast: To cook a large piece of meat or poultry uncovered with dry heat in an oven.

Simmer: To cook in liquid just below the boiling point; bubbles form but do not burst on the surface of the liquid.

Whip: To beat food with a whisk or mixer to incorporate air and produce volume.

 

Advanced

Blanch: To cook briefly in boiling water to seal in flavor and color; usually used for vegetables or fruit, to prepare for freezing, and to ease skin removal.

Brine: A mixture of salt, water and seasoning used to preserve foods.

Confit: Lightly cured meat, usually duck or goose, stewed in its own fat. Pieces are packed in the fat and chilled for later use.

Emulsion: A uniform mixture of two unmixable liquids, such as oil and water. Emulsions can be both temporary and permanent.

Flambé: To drizzle liquor over a food while it is cooking, then when the alcohol has warmed, ignite the food just before serving.

Jacquarding: The process of poking holes into the muscle of meat to tenderize.

Mise-en-Place: Meaning “Everything in place”, refers to the preparation and organization of ingredients and equipment.

Nappe: A certain consistency in liquid that coats the back of a spoon.