A Short Glossary Of Cooking Terms

  • (work in progress - will add to this over time)

    A-B

    A la carte
    Menu items are priced separately. Opposite of Menu Pre-Fixe (fixed price)

    A La Provencale
    Prepared/served with garlic and oil.

    Adobo Sauce
    Adobo is a tangy sauce whose basic ingredients include vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and chiles. It is also a cooking style and is used in preparations with pork, chicken, fish and vegetables.

    Al Dente
    An Italian expression indicating the correct degree of tenderness for pasta, which must be removed from the heat and drained while it is still firm enough to bite into. The term literally means "to the tooth" and can also be used to describe the degree of firmness for certain vegetables, such as green beans and carrots.

    Appetizer
    Food or beverage served before the first course of luncheon or dinner.

    Armoniche
    Small ridged pasta noodles that resemble harmonicas.

    Au Jus
    Served with natural juices.

    Barbecue
    To cook over the embers or coals of an open fire. To roast meat slowly either whole or cut in pieces, on a spit or rack over coals or direct heat, usually basting with a special highly seasoned sauce.

    Barder
    To cover poultry or game with thin slices of bacon when roasting to inject flavour and preserve juices.

    Baste
    To ladle drippings over a piece of meat being cooked as a roast to make it juicy and prevent dryness.

    Blackened
    Meat or fish coated on both sides with Cajun spices. Then cooked in a red-hot cast-iron skillet
    with butter.

    Blanch
    To put food in boiling water to remove skin.

    Blend
    To combine two or more ingredients until smooth.To mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth & uniform.

    Boiling Point
    The temperature reached when a mixture maintains a full bubbling motion on its surface.

    Bouillon
    A clear brown stock made either by boiling meat with water and seasonings, or from commercially prepared bouillon cubes.

    Bouquet Garni
    A bunch of herbs, usually thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together with a string (or in a cheesecloth bag with a string attached). The seasonings are dropped into soups or stews to enhance flavour but removed before serving.

    Braise
    To simmer food in a covered dish or pan, using both heat and liquid to tenderize and cook the item.

    C - D


    Can
    To preserve food in metal or glass containers.

    Canape

    An appetizer of toasted bread or crackers covered with a flavourful garnish.

    Candy
    To cook sweet potatoes or carrots in sugar or syrup. Also the process of cooking fruit, fruit peels,
    or ginger in heavy syrup until they are plump and transparent.

    Carmelize

    Heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear syrup ranging in color from golden to dark
    brown. Granulated or brown sugar can also be sprinkled on top of food and placed under a heat
    source, such as a broiler, until the sugar melts and caramelizes. To melt dry sugars or foods
    containing sugar until golden brown or flavorful

    China Cap

    Shaped like a dunce hat with holes. A china cap is a cone shaped colander.

    Clarify
    To clear a liquid or fat by removing any solid particles. Butter is clarified by being melted and
    strained down to an oil form. To make a liquid clear by removing any cloudiness.

    Creaming
    The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend them uniformly and to incorporate air

    Cube
    To cut into dice-shaped pieces. Also to tenderize meat by pounding cuts into a pattern of squares.

    Daube
    A slowly cooked French stew of meat or fish braised in wine and stock with vegetables and herbs.

    Dissolve
    To mix or unify to ingredient with the addition of liquid.

    Dock
    To pierce pastry dough before baking to allow steam to escape and prevent blistering of the
    dough.

    Dredge
    To coat with flour, sugar, bread crumbs or other finely divided food by sprinkling or by rolling the
    food in them.

    Duxelle
    Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. Duxelle are also
    flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira.

    E - F


    Emince
    Cut fine, or sliced thin.

    En Papillote

    Food wrapped, cooked and served in oiled or buttered paper or foil.

    En Tasse

    An item which is served in a cup.

    Espagnole

    A mother sauce. Basic brown sauce.

    Farci

    Stuffed.

    Fine Herbs

    A combination seasoning comprised of chives, chervil, tarragon and parsley. Sometimes listed on
    a menu in the French term “herbes fines”

    Flake
    To break into small pieces with a fork.

    Flambé

    Setting food on fire using an alcohol based ingredient like a cognac or brandy. Take precautions
    with dealing with the flames and watch how much alcohol you use as the flames can be harmful.

    Flan

    Caramelized custard.

    Fold

    To mix, using a motion beginning vertically down through the mixture, continuing across the
    bottom of the bowl and ending with an upward and over movement

    Frenched
    To scrape meat and fat from bones of meat, generally associated with lamb chops or veal rib
    chops

    G - H


    Garnish

    To decorate a dish with an item to improve its look

    Glacé

    Glazed, iced, or frosted to cover with a glossy coating. Also a term used for candied cherries.

    Glaze

    To coat with icing, a thin jelly or a sugared syrup mixture.

    Grate

    To rub a solid food against a rough surface (a grater), to reduce it to small particles. Usually, food
    grated is transformed into very thin strips or to powder.

    Grate

    To rub or wear into small particles, by rubbing on the rough surface of a grater.

    Grease

    To apply cooking fat to the surface of pans, pot etc. to prevent food from sticking.

    Haché

    Meaning to hashed or minced.

    Haricots Verts

    Tiny green string beans

    Homogenize

    To break up fat globules into small particles, generally referring to milk.

    I - J

    Ice
    To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; also, to spread frosting on a cake.

    Infusion

    Liquid derived from steeping herbs, spices etc.

    Italienne

    Made in the Italian style and generally using some sort of pasta.

    Jerk

    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.

    Julienne

    To cut food into matchstick sized pieces. Often used for vegetables in salad etc.

    Jus

    Natural meat juice.

    K - L

    Knead

    To work dough with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion until it becomes
    smooth and elastic.

    Kosher

    Food prepared according to Orthodox Jewish Law.

    Kosher Meat

    Meat sold within 48 hours after being butchered in accordance to Hebrew religious laws. The style of Jewish dietary cooking.

    Larding

    Adds moisture to meat by inserting bits of fat into holes punched in the meat with a special instrument called a larding needle. It can also mean to cover meat or fish with strips of fat.

    Loin

    A cut of meat that typically comes from the back of the animal.

    M - N


    Macerate

    To soak a fruit in a liqueur or wine. This softens the fruit while releasing its juices and absorbing
    the macerating liquid's flavour.

    Marble

    To gently swirl one food into another.

    Marinate
    Enhancing and tenderizing the flavor of foods (generally meats) by immersing them in seasoned
    liquid. Acids such as lemon juice, vinegar and wine are essential for the tenderizing.

    Mince

    To cut or chop into very small pieces. To finely chop.

    Mull

    To slowly heat wine or cider with spices and sugar.

    Niçoise

    The term refers to the region's cooking, characterized by the use of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and
    brown-black olives.

    Noodles

    Flat ribbon pasta made from flour, water and egg, then dried and re-hydrated for serving by
    boiling in water.

    O - P


    Okra

    A vegetable pod used mainly in gumbos and soups and served as a vegetable

    Pan Broiling

    To cook in an uncovered skillet where the fat is poured off during cooking.

    Pastry Cream

    A thick custard sauce containing eggs and starch.

    Pastry Flour

    A weak flour used for pastries and cookies.

    Piquant

    Generally a sauce that is sharp and tart to the taste

    Poach

    To cook an egg without its shell in or over boiling water.

    Potage
    A thick soup.

    Puree
    A Food that has been cooked until it's pulpy.


    Q - R

    Quenelle
    A meat dumpling generally made with chicken or veal

    Ramekin

    A small shallow baking dish in which foods can be baked and served in

    Reconstitute

    To take a dried food such as milk back to its original state by adding liquid.

    Reducing

    Boiling a liquid down to bring out its flavour. You could reduce a beef stock to a beef jelly by boiling it down.

    Render

    To melt down fat to make drippings.

    Roti

    Means roast.

    Roux

    A thickening agent used for sauces. Similar effects as cornstarch.

    S - T


    Saute

    To quickly heat meat or vegetables in fat in an open pan. To cook food quickly in a small amount
    of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat.

    Set

    Let food become solid.

    Shortening

    A white, tasteless, solid fat that has been formulated for baking or deep-frying.

    Shred

    To cut or tear into long narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or food processor.

    Simmer
    To cook in water on very low fire below the boiling point

    Steep

    To soak in a hot liquid to extract flavor and color or to soften.

    Stock

    Made by simmering fish, chicken or meat bones in water with added seasonings and then strained to obtain only the liquid which is later used for soups and gravies. Can be done with vegetables for a vegetarian stock.

    Tasse
    French word for cup.

    Thin
    To reduce a mixture's thickness with the addition of more liquid.

    Toss
    To cause a rising and falling action for the purpose of blending ingredients together as in salads.

    Truss
    To bind or fasten with string or skewers such as preparing poultry for roasting.

    Wellington
    Beef tenderloin baked in a rich dough until the meat is slightly rare and the crust is crisp and golden.

    Whey

    A liquid which separates from the curd when milk curdles, and is often used in cheese making.

    Whip
    To incorporate air into ingredients such as cream or egg whites by beating until light and fluffy; also refers to the utensil used for this action.

    Whisk
    To beat with a whisk until well mixed.

    Yorkshire Pudding

    A batter made with flour, eggs, salt, and milk that is baked with standing rib roast.

    Zest

    Thin brightly coloured outer part of the rind of citrus fruits.

    Ziti
    Medium-sized, tubular pasta shape that is perfect for chunky sauces and meat dishes