Cooking Terms

Bake: To cook in oven. Baking uncovered keeps food dry (ex. bread or chicken), and covered keeps food moist (ex. casseroles).

Baste: Pour liquid or pan juices over food while cooking.

Batter: A thin mixture of eggs, flour, liquid, etc. (ex. for pancakes)

Beat: To mix ingredients quickly with a whisk, fork, spoon, or electric mixer until well blended.

Blanch: Briefly put food into boiling water. This method helps preserve nutritional value, retain color, and texture.

Blend: Mix until very smooth and uniform.

Heat until bubbles form in liquid and continually rise to the surface. To bring the liquid to a rolling boil the bubbles will form more rapidly.

Broil: Cook directly under or above very hot heating unit.

Caramelize: To melt sugar slowly over low heat, until it becomes a golden brown.

Chop: Cut into coarse irregular pieces, using a knife or food processor.

Coat: To cover food evenly with crumbs, sauce, etc.

Cool: Allowing hot food to stand at room temperature until no longer hot.

Core: To remove the center of a fruit.

Crush: Press into very fine pieces.

Cube: Cutting food into squares, using a knife.

Cut In: Mix solid fat into dry ingredients until particles are the desired size, using a crisscrossing motion with two knives, a wire whisk, or a pastry cutter.

Dash: Less than 1/8 of a tsp.

Dice: Cutting food into squares that are smaller than 1/2 inch, using a knife.

Dissolve: Stirring a dry ingredient into a liquid until it disappears.

Dough: A mixture of liquid, flour, and other ingredients. It is a stiff mixture, yet still pliable.

Dust: To sprinkle lightly.

Flake: To break gently into small pieces, usually using a fork.

To squeeze pastry edges with fingers to make an attractive edge to pie crust.

Fold: Combining ingredients lightly while preventing a loss of air. Use a rubber spatula and cut down vertically through the mixture. Next, slide the spatula across the bottom of the bowl and back up the side turning the mixture over. Continue doing this while turning the bowl each time. This must be done gently. Also, don’t over do it…just until blended.

Fry: To cook in hot oil over medium or high heat.

Rubbing a hard-textured food against the rough-edged holes of a grater.

To rub the inside surface of a pan with butter or shortening.

Cut food into thin strips, using a knife or food processor.

Work dough on a floured surface until it is a smooth, elastic texture, using hands or an electric mixer. It can take up to 20 minutes by hand.

Place food in a sealed plastic baggie or container, usually with acidic liquid. Ex. salad dressing. Marinating can take place for an hour to 24 hours.

Mince: To cut food into very tiny pieces.

Mix: Combine ingredients until evenly distributed

Peel: Cut off outer covering of a fruit or vegetable, using a vegetable peeler or knife.

Poach: To cook in simmering liquid just below the boiling point.

Preheat: Turn the oven on to specified temperature, allowing the oven to heat to that temperature before adding food. Usually about 10 minutes.

Process: Use a food processor to mix, blend, chop, knead, liquefy, etc.

Reduce: Boil liquid uncovered to evaporate and intensify flavor.

Roast: Cook uncovered in a shallow pan w/o adding any liquid.

Cook over medium-high heat in hot oil, frequently tossing or turning.

Scald: To heat liquid just below the boiling point. A thin skin will form on milk that is scalded.

Score: Cut the surface of food 1/4 inch deep.

Shred: Cut into long, very thin strips, using round holes on shredder, knife, or food processor.

Simmer: To cook liquid on low heat, usually after liquid has been brought to a boil.

To cut into flat pieces, usually the same, or close to the same size.

Soft Peaks:
Egg whites that are beaten until peaks (tops) are rounded or curl when beaters or whisk is lifted from bowl. They will still appear moist and glossy.

Soften: To let cold food (Ex. butter, cheese) stand at room temperature until no longer cold.

Steam: Cook food by placing in a steamer basket over a small amount of water in a covered pan.

Stew: To cook slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long period of time.

Stiff Peaks: Egg whites that are beaten until peaks (tops) stand up straight when beaters or whisk is removed from bowl. They will still appear moist and glossy.

Combine ingredients with a circular motion.

Cooking equal in size pieces of food in a small amount of very hot oil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Pour liquid through a fine sieve or strainer to remove large pieces.

Toss: Mix ingredients lightly with a lifting motion. (Ex. “tossed” salad)

Whip: Beat ingredients to add air and to increase volume. Usually until they are light and fluffy.