Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Cooking Terms A-L

à la carte: French "According to the menu" or to order dish by dish. With a separate price for each item on the menu.

al denté: Italian "To the tooth". Describes the texture of pasta or vegetables cooked
just until tender-crisp or slightly resistant to the bite.

Aspic: A transparent jelly made of meat, fish or vegetable stock, either boiled down or thickened with gelatin to become firm when cold.

Au gratin: French Describes a topping of cheese or bread crumbs or a sauce over food that is browned under a broiler or baked in the oven.

Au jus: French Served in natural juice or pan juices.

Bake: To cook by dry heat in an oven.

Bard: To cover a bird or roast with strips of fat in order to automatically baste meat or to protect delicate parts.

Baste: To pour liquid by spoonfuls over food while it is cooking.

Batter: An uncooked mixture, usually of flour, eggs, liquid, and a leavening agent, that is thin enough to pour.

Beat: To stir or mix rapidly in order to blend or make lighter.

Bind: To add egg, cream or other liquid to a mixture to hold it together.

Bisque: A rich, thick soup, a variation of cream soup.

Blanch: To pour boiling water over a food or to immerse briefly in boiling water, then drain and rinse with cold water. May be done to loosen skin (as for almonds), to remove or set color, or to stop enzymatic action (as for canning or freezing).

Blancmange: A flavored milk dessert, usually cooked in a mold, thickened with gelatin or flour.

Bouillon: A clear soup stock not as strongly flavored as broth. it is usually clarified.

Bouquet garni: A blend of herbs, sometimes tied together or enclosed in a small cloth
bag. Used in cooking to flavor soups, sauces or stews; usually consists of parsley, bay leaf and thyme.

Braise: To cook over low heat with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan. Meats may or may not be browned in fat first.

Bread: To cover or coat food with bread crumbs.

Brine: A salt and water solution which may have other ingredients (such as vinegar for pickling) as well; used for preserving foods.

Broil: To cook under direct heat in broiler or over coals.

Brown: To give the outer surface of a food a brown color by frying, toasting, broiling or baking at a high temperature.

Cacciatore: Italian style of cooking in a flavorful tomato-wine sauce. Usually used for chicken or veal.

Canapé: A small piece of fried or toasted bread with a topping. Served as an appetizer.

Candy: To cook syrup until transparent or to glaze with sugar or syrup.

Capon: Roaster chicken which has been gelded; grows larger and has tender meat.

Caramelize: To cook sugar slowly until it melts and turns clear and golden.

Chasseur: French for hunter. Perpared "hunter's-style" usually means a dish cooked in white wine with mushroms and shallots.

Chateaubriand: French A cut from thickest part of beef fillet; usually grilled or sauteed and served with bearnaise sauce.

Chill: To reduce temperature by putting in refrigerator or over ice.

Chou paste: Light and airy dough, used for making such pastries as cream puffs and eclairs.

Clarify: For butter, to melt and skim off top foam, then strain off milk solids, using only the clear layer. For stocks and broth, to remove cloudiness by adding slightly beaten egg white and egg shell. Simmer gently about 15 minutes; remove from heat. Allow to set ½ hour before pushing aside scum and straining broth through a cloth.

Coddle: To simmer slowly just below the boiling point (usually applies to eggs or fruit).

Combine: To mix thoroughly two or more ingredients.

Cordon bleu: French for blue ribbon; also the name of a well-known French cooking school; a term for an exceptional cook.

Cream: To beat butter, or butter and sugar, until very light and nearly twice original volume.

Crimp: To pinch the edges of pastry together to form a fluted edge and or to seal in a filling.

Crisp Tender: Cooked until tender enough to be pierced by a fork but still firm to the bite.

Cut In: To mix solid fat (such as butter or shortening) with, dry ingredients using fingers, pastry blender or two knives.

Cube: To cut into ¼-inch squares.

Decant: To carefully pour liquid into a second container to separate residue.

Deep Fry: To fry in a large kettle in deep fat which completely covers the food being prepared. Fat should be hot enough to brown foods quickly.

Devil: To season with hot flavorings such as pepper or mustard.

Dice: To cut food into small, even cubes.

Deglaze: To loosen pan drippings by adding liquid, usually to make a sauce.

Dissolve: To form a solution by adding a dry substance to a liquid.

Dredge: To coat, usually with flour.

Dress: To add a dressing (as for salads or vegetables); to stuff (as for fowl or meats); to garnish or decorate.

Drizzle: To pour liquid such as melted butter over food in a thin stream

Dust: To lightly sprinkle one food item with another ingredient.

En papillote:French Meaning food that is wrapped, cooked and sometimes served in paper, parchment or foil.

Enrich: To add eggs, cream or butter.

Entrée: In the United States, the main course of a meal; in other parts of the world, the term denotes a small prepared dish served between main courses at a formal dinner.

Flack: To separate lightly into small natural divisions.

Flambé: To douse with an alcoholic beverage and ignite.

Flake: To separate into small pieces with a folk.

Flour: To cover completely with a thin layer of flour.

Flute: To make a decorative edge on the rim of a pie crust.

Fold in: Using a spatula, to combine fragile substances, such as whipped cream into a heavier mixture with light, circular motions.

Fondue: A dish of melted cheese, broth or oil into which other pieces of food are dipped; a baked dish, similar to a soufflé, made of cheese and bread crumbs.

Fricassee: To cook meat by braising or stewing in gravy.

Fry: To cook in hot fat. When a small amount of fat is used, the process is called pan-frying or sautéing; when food is partially covered with oil it is called shallow frying and when food is completely covered it is deep frying.

Garnish: To ornament a dish with bright and savory tidbits

Gelée: French Refers to jelly or a jellied substance.

Glaze: To add a shiny appearance to food by applying a coating of syrup, beaten eggs, or milk.

Gluten: The sticky substance in wheat flour that gives dough its tough, elastic quality.

Grease: To apply a thin layer of butter or oil on food or utensils.

Grate: To separate food into small particles by rubbing across the teeth of a grater.

Grill: To cook over hot coals or a gridiron or under a broiler.

Homogenize: Most commonly with milk, to break down fat particles so finely that they remain uniformly dispersed.

Hors d’oeuvre: From the French, literally "outside of work", the term has come to be synonymous with appetizer.

Infusion: A method of preparing beverages by covering a flavoring item with boiling water, covering the pot, and allowing it to stand until flavor is extracted.

Julienne: Cut into match-like sticks or strips.

Knead: To work dough by repeatedly stretching it with the hands, folding it over and pressing it with the "heel" of the hand.

Lukewarm: Temperatures of about 95 degrees F., that feel neither warm nor cold when dabbed on the inside of the wrist.

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