Cooking Terms

Al Dente – Pasta cooked tender, but with a slight bite in the center.

Baste – To spoon or pour liquid over food while cooking or grilling to keep it moist.

Blanch – Boil food for a few minutes, then plunge it into ice water to preserve its color and crisp texture.

Braise – To cook food, covered, slowly in liquid (to typically add flavor).

Caramelize – When the sugar in food is heated to temperatures of 300°F or higher then turns brown.

Chop – To cut food into odd-shaped squares, usually ¼ to ½ – in size.

Confit – Meat (often duck) that’s cooked and stored in its own fat.

Deglaze – Adding stock, wine or another liquid to a pan to loosen food particles that are stuck at the bottom.

Demi-glace – A rich brown sauce used as a base for many sauces.

Dice – To cut food into odd-shaped squares that are a little smaller than chopped pieces.

GBD – Golden brown and delicious.

Julienne – Cut food into thin, match-like strips.

Macerate – To let food (typically fruit) sit in a liquid to absorb flavor.

Marinate – To let food sit in a seasoned liquid to tenderize or add flavor.

Mince – To cut food into very fine pieces, smaller than chopped or diced but not pureed.

Mirepoix – A combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions often used to add flavor to soups, stocks and other dishes.

Mise en place – A term describing organized kitchen ingredients.

Poach – To cook foods, usually eggs or fish, in liquid at near boiling temperatures.

Purée – Blending food in a blender or food processor until it turns into liquid form.

Rest – To let meat sit before serving.

Roux — cooked mixture of flour and butter or oil that’s used to thicken sauces and gravies.

Sauté – To fry food briefly over high heat,

Score – Using a knife to cut shallow slits in the surface of foods, usually meat or fish.

Sear – To brown meat quickly over high heat.

Shock – To stop the cooking process after food has been blanched.

Simmer – To cook food slowly in hot liquid that is nearly boiling.

Stock – Flavored liquids made from a combination of bones, seasonings, vegetables and liquids.

Trinity – A Louisiana Cajun/Creole vegetable combination of equal parts onion, green pepper and celery.

Zest – Outside colored part of a citrus fruit peel.

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