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 The Passionate Home Cook Terminology

Term Description
à poivre with pepper
acidulatedmade acidic
aerateto introduce air into a liquid or substance. A decanter introduces air into wine.
agar-agarA vegetarian alternative to gelatine, agar-agar is the jelly that results from boiling several kinds of seaweed together
aioligarlic and oil emulsion
au jusFrench for “with [its own] juice”
à la modewhat is in fashion. commonly means “with ice cream”
arrestpour cold water over freshly cooked vegetables to prevent further cooking and to retain color. Aka Refresh
aubergine eggplant
back of the housekitchen area
bain-marie(water bath) a pan of water surrounding the cooking container(s) that is used to help mixtures such as custards, cheese cake, shirred eggs bake evenly, usually filled at least a 1/2 inch up the cooking vessel.
bannetona proofing (rising) wooden basket usually made of willow to rise and imprint its shape on unbaked loafs (sometimes cloth lined)
bardto tie fat, such as bacon or fatback, around lean meats or fowl to prevent their drying out during roasting
batoncut into a long, thin rectangle shape
batterie de cuisinerange of kitchen tools needed to create complete meal courses, the accoutrements of the kitchen
béchamelbasic white sauce
beignetsFrench donuts
bigaBiga is aged or previous batch dough serving as a starter where the yeast have been fully developed to promote better flavor and nutrition in traditional Italian breads.
bistrosmall café
blackenedNew Orleans's chef Paul Prudhomme extra hot skillet combined with the seasoning rub gives fish an extra crispy crust
blanchsee parboil
blancmangesimple cooked pudding made of milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla
Boston shakerThis shaker serves a dual purpose because it is comprised of a mixing glass and a larger, flat-bottomed bar tin. The glass can be used alone for stirring drinks over ice and the two pieces are used together for shaking ingredients with the tin fitting over the glass.
bouillonFrench for broth (brodo di carne - Italian)
bouquet garnia tied bundle of herbs
braisesimmered slowly in a liquid
brineto soak in a salted solution
broilto cook with a radiant heat source from above
brunoise Fine chopped in 1/8 inch cubes
brule to burn or singe
boiling water bath (BWB)canning in a Boiling Water Bath. Not all foods can be safely preserved by boiling water heat processing. The safest bet is to follow trusted recipes.
chafing dishused to warm or cook food, a chafing dish consists of a metal dish with a heat source directly beneath it. The heat can be provided by a candle, electricity or solid fuel
charcuterie cold cuts
chefa cook, especially the chief cook of a large kitchen staff (French, short for chef de cuisine, head of the kitchen) (capocuoco Italian)
chiffonadethin cuts or shreds of vegetables or herbs
chinoismetal conical strainer available in degrees of finest
clarifyremoving impurities or suspended particulates from a liquid (often applies to butter or broth.)
concasseFrench term meaning to rough chop any ingredient, usually vegetables. Tomato concasse is a uncooked tomato that has been peeled, seeded and chopped.
coq au vinstewing chicken cooked in wine
coulissmooth, thick fruit or vegetable sauce usually made by pureeing or sieving.
crème FraicheFrench clotted cream (like sour cream)
cream (verb)Make creamy by beating. Beat until soft and mixed to a creaming consistency
cruditéFrench appetizers comprising sliced or whole raw vegetables with a dipping sauce
cureto preserve food by smoking, salting, and or drying
custard (flan)a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk that are stirred on top of the stove or baked. The word custard is derived from “crustade” which is a tart with a crust.
deglazeafter meat or poultry is sautéed or roasted, most of the fat and the meat are removed and a liquid is added to the browned residue and heated, while stirring continuously.
demi-glacea stock highly reduced its concentrated essence. When term used alone it means from veal stock.
depouillageto skim the surface of a cooking liquid, such as a stock or sauce.
deveinTo remove the grainy, blackish vein under the rounded top of shellfish by splitting the shrimp, prawn, crayfish, lobster's tail and pulling it out.
dicecut into especially small pieces
diluteadd liquid to make less concentrated
dotplace bits of food (like butter) here and there over the surface of another food.
dough hookappliance attachment used for kneading bread
dredgelightly coat food typically with flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs
dress (verb)to prepare for cooking; in the case of vegetables, to add a dressing, as in salad.
Dutch ovena large pot or kettle, usually made of cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid so steam cannot readily escape.
duxellesa reduction of finely chopped mushrooms, parsley, onions, pepper, shallots, salt and butter, used to flavor soups, stuffings and sauces.
en chemisea French term for food that is wrapped or coated (has a shirt on)
fauxfake or imitation
flambe to flame
foie gras a well-known delicacy of French cuisine made from fattened goose livers
gâteau cake
gremoladaminced garlic, parsley, lemon rind, and sometimes shredded basil
griswold cast iron skillet
hash (noun)a dish containing chopped potatoes, meat, and other vegetables
hash (verb)chop together
haute cuisineFrench term for the highest quality restaurant food available.
hors d'Oeuvreappetizers
infuse introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout (imbue or inoculate)
jell to congeal
juice liquid extracted from any raw food, usually fruit
juicera device or appliance for extracting juice from fruit
julienne to cut into long thin match-size strips
lamesmall tool with a razor-sharp blade at one end, used for slashing cuts into risen bread dough just before it goes into the oven.
late harvestAmerican wine term referring to wines made from grapes picked toward the end of the harvest (usually late fall), preferably those with BOTRYTiS CiNEREA, a fungus that shrivels the grape thereby concentrating its sugar. Late-harvest wines are very sweet and usually have a high alcohol content.
l'eau de viethe water of life
leavenany ingredient or process to add bubbles or cause the rising of baked goods.
maître d'short for maître d'hôtel and is translated literally as master of the hotel
macerateto make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid or sugar
mandolinfrench slicer
marinateTo steep in a liquid
mashto press or crush a food into a smooth mixture
mask hide the original flavor
matignon a standard mirepoix plus diced smoked bacon or diced smoked ham and; depending on the dish; mushrooms and herbs.
meldthe “coming together” or marriage of ingredients
mescluncombination of fancy young salad greens now typically raised by hydroponics
meuniérecooking technique used for seasoned fish dredged with flour, then sautéed in butter.
mignonettea sauce of vinegar and shallots; typically used for oysters
mirepoix a traditional French culinary combination of onions; carrots and celery aromatics
mise en placethe setup or organization - French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as “everything in place” but having the meaning “everything in its proper place”
mixto combine ingredients until well integrated.
mortar and pestleis a tool used to crush, grind, and mix substances. The pestle is a heavy bat-shaped stick whose end is used for pounding and grinding, and the mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, marble, clay, or stone. The substance is ground between the pestle and the mortar.
monté Beurre French “mount with butter” refers to melted butter that remains emulsified, even at temperatures higher than that at which butter usually breaks down as finish a pan reduction by swirling in butter.
Mother saucefoundation sauce from many other sauces can be made
muddlera bartender's tool, used like a pestle to mash — or muddle — fruits, herbs, and/or spices in the bottom of a glass to release their flavor
on the biascut diagonally
Nicoisefrom Nice, France
noirdark or browned
noisettelight brown
noisettevery small medallions of meat
oeuf eggs
oignon French for onion
open-faced on one piece of bread
packPress or mash together tightly
parboil To boil a food briefly, until partially done, to blanch, unless otherwise specified, in water.
parchment paperA heavy, grease- and moisture-resistant paper used including lining baking pans, wrapping foods that are to be baked in a pouch (“en papillote” in French or “al Cartoccio”) and to make disposable pastry bags. This paper's non-stick characteristic is its most salient property.
pestouncooked sauce that usually has fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil
poachsimmered slowly in a seasoned broth
poolisha wet sponge with flour, water, and domestic yeast. (French term.)
pomme apple
pureeto process to a fine or smooth consistency by mashing, or straining
quenelle Classically, a poached dumpling, usually made of meat or fish but today, often, an egg like shape formed with two spoons for a pleasing presentation for semi-soft foods
quichea baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust
reconstitute to restore condensed, dehydrated or concentrated foods to their original strength with the addition of liquid, usually water.
reduceto boil a liquid until a portion of it has evaporated. Reducing intensifies the flavor and results in a thicker liquid.
render to extract the fat from meat by cooking over low heat. Rendered fat is strained of meat particles after cooking.
roast to cook a food in an open pan in the oven, with no added liquid
rouladestuffed meat or fish rolled
roux a mixture of fat and flour which is blended and cooked slowly over low heat until the desired consistency or color is reached. Roux is used as a base for thickening sauces.
royal icingan icing which hardens when dried
sachetsmall bag of cloth or cheesecloth filled with various herbs & spices to add flavor to soup, stews, stocks or sauces.
salamander a small overhead broiler unit in a professional oven that quickly browns the tops of foods
sauté to cook quickly in a pan on top of the stove until the food is browned
scaldto heat milk or cream to just under the boiling point so that bacteria and enzymes in are pasteurized. Somewhat academic as most milk products in the US are pasteurized.
scoremake shallow cuts into the surface of foods
sear to brown a food quickly on all sides using high heat primarily for flavor.
shell to remove the shell from nuts, legumes and shellfish.
shiftpass ingredients through a fine-mesh screen to break up lumps and to add air to make them lighter.
shirrto bake (eggs removed from the shell) until set
shredto cut, slice or tear into thin strips. Also, to pull apart very tender cooked meats.
sievesieve - To strain liquid from food through the fine mesh or perforated holes of a strainer or sieve.
siftsift - To shake a dry, powdered substance through a sieve or sifter to remove any lumps
silicone baking matnon-stick flexible mat made of a laminated rubberized silicone
simmercook food in liquid gently over low heat
singesinge - To expose food, usually meat, to direct flame.
skewerto thread food onto a pointed metal or wooden rod or stick
skimto remove the surface layer (of impurities, scum, or fat) from liquids such as stocks and jams while cooking.
skinto remove the skin of a food, such as poultry or fish, before or after cooking.
sliverto cut a food into thin strips or pieces.
smoketo expose foods to wood smoke to enhance their flavor and help preserve and/or evenly cook them.
smoke pointthe temperature at which a fat such as butter or oil smokes
snipto cut quickly with scissors into fine pieces.
soffrittoa sub-fry of vegetable ingredients (Italian and Spanish term)
sous-chefchef who is second in authority in a restaurant or kitchen, ranking below the head chef
spitsharp metal rod used to hold food for roasting over an open heat source.
sponge a thick yeast batter that is allowed to ferment and develop into a light, spongy consistency.
sprigleaves of an herb still attached to the stem often used as a garnish.
steamcooking foods over, not in, hot liquid, usually water.
steepto allow a food to stand in water that is just below the boiling point in order to extract flavor or color
stewto cook food in liquid for a long time until tender, usually covered.
stirto move foods around. Stirring is done to move foods when cooking or cooling.
strainto pass a liquid or moist mixture through a colander, sieve or cheese cloth to separate the solid from the liquid.
sweatto cook slowly over low heat without browning
tapenadea thick paste made from capers, anchovies, olives, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings.
tassoCajun smoked lean chunk of cured pork richly seasoned with herbs or spices that is firm, smoky and flavorfully principally used for seasoning
Tatin pan pan especially made to be inverted for tarts or apple tatin (see Desserts and Pastry)
teffa miniscule grain that is staple of Ethiopia having a mildly nutty-flavored. Often served as an unleven bread cake
temperTo moderate - tempering most often refers to slightly warming beaten eggs, by rapidly stirring a little of the hot ingredients into them, before adding them to the hot mixture so that they will combine, stirring rapidly again, without solidifying. It also refers to the softening of a heavy mixture before folding in a whipped mixture, so that incorporation occurs without deflation.
terrineglazed earthenware
thickenthe process of making a liquid substance dense by adding a thickening agent (ex. flour, gelatin) or by cooking to evaporate some of the liquid.
thinto dilute a mixture by adding more liquid
tiellaa regional layered Italian dish like Tiella alla Barese featuring rice, potatoes, mussels, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil baked then browned.
to tasteaccording to your preference, sometime means actually tasting, but not in all case.
tommemolded cheese
topto place one food item or mixture on top of another.
tossto combine ingredients by gently turning over until blended
tourneA classic tourne is a football-shaped, blunt-ended cut classically with seven equal sides for vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or squash that provides a distinctive and consistent appearance to the food item being served. A small paring knife or bird’s beak knife is typically used to trim this shape.
trimto remove undesirable portions of a food item
trussto secure poultry or other food (usually meat) with string, pins or skewers so the food maintains a compact shape during cooking
umamisavoriness, proposed as one of the basic tastes sensed by the tongue
universal graterThis is usually a two or four sided metal tool with a handle that slices, grades various sizes of each face.
veloutéa sauce made with veal stock
ventto allow the circulation or escape of a liquid or gas
warmto heat a food using a very low temperature of approximately 105°F to 115°F.
whipto beat an item to incorporate air, augment volume, and add substance
whiskto mix with a wire beater, also called a whisk. Whisking can refer to blending, beating, emulsifying, or whipping, depending on the recipe.
zestpeel of citrus
zestto remove just the thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits

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