AL DENTE: An Italian term used to describe pasta that is cooked until just slightly firm, meaning "to the tooth" in Italian.
BAKE: To cook by dry heat, usually in the oven.
BASTE: To moisten food with fat or juices while cooking to add flavor and prevent drying out.
BATTER: A mixture containing flour, liquid, and other ingredients. Batter is different from dough because batter is thin enough to pour, while a dough can be formed into a ball and keeps its shape. Batter usually describes unbaked cakes, cookies, or muffins.
BEAT: To mix rapidly with a spoon, fork, whisk, or electric mixer to incorporate air and create a smooth, light mixture.
BLANCH: To plunge vegetables or fruits into boiling water for a short amount of time, then immerse in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
BLEND: To combine two or more ingredients thoroughly with a whisk, spoon or mixer.
BOIL: To heat a liquid until bubbles break continually on the surface.
BRAISE: To cook meat, fish, or vegetables by first searing in fat, then simmering in liquid over low heat.
BREAD: To coat with bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or other crumb mixture before cooking.
BROIL: To cook on a rack under direct heat, usually in an oven.
BROWN: To cook over high heat, usually on top of the stove, to brown food.
CARAMELIZE: To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a golden brown syrup. Fruits and veggies can also be caramelized.
CHOP: To cut food into pieces with a knife, blender, or food processor.
CORE: To remove the seeds or tough woody centers from fruits and vegetables.
CREAM: Beating butter with sugar until smooth and creamy.
DEEP FRY: To cook food by completely immersing it in hot oil or fat.
DEGLAZE: To loosen brown bits from the bottom of a pan by adding a liquid, then heating while stirring and scraping the pan.
DESEED: To take the seeds out of a fruit or vegetable.
DICE: To cut food into small cubes of a consistent size.
DILUTE: To thin a liquid by adding more liquid to it, usually water or milk.
DOUGH: An uncooked mixture of flour, liquid, and other ingredients that creates a firm mixture, usually used to describe bread or cookies. Dough is different from batter because dough can be shaped into a ball, while batter can be poured.
DREDGE: To lightly coat food with flour or bread crumbs.
DRIZZLE: Pouring a liquid over food in a slow, light trickle.
DUST: To decorate cakes and pastries by coating lightly with powdered sugar.
EMULSIFY: To combine two or more liquids that do not usually mix into one another – like oil and vinegar. The process involves adding one liquid very slowly into the other and mixing vigorously.
ENTRÉE: The main dish.
FILLET: To cut the bones from a piece of meat, poultry, or fish. Also a flat piece of boneless meat, poultry, or fish.
FOLD: To combine light ingredients such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture, using a gentle over-and-under motion, usually with a rubber spatula.
FRY: To cook food in hot oil or butter until browned or cooked through.
GARNISH: To add an edible decoration to make food more attractive.
GLAZE: To lightly coat with a glossy substance, which can be either sweet or savory.
GRATE: To shred food into tiny pieces by rubbing against a grater.
GREASE: To coat a pan with butter or oil to prevent food from sticking.
JULIENNE: To cut food into long, thin strips shaped like matchsticks.
KNEAD: To massage dough with the palms of your hands or a machine, continually pressing and folding for several minutes until dough is smooth. Kneading develops the gluten in the flour.
LUKEWARM: Neither cool nor warm; approximately body temperature.
MARINATE: To soak meat, chicken, or fish in a flavored liquid mixture.
MINCE: To chop food into extremely small pieces.
MIX: To combine ingredients, usually by stirring.
PAN-FRY: To cook in a skillet in a small amount of fat.
PEEL: To remove the peels from vegetables or fruits.
PICKLE: To preserve meats, vegetables, and fruits in brine.
PINCH: A pinch is the small amount of an ingredient you can hold between your thumb and forefinger.
POACH: To cook very gently in a hot simmering liquid.
PURÉE: To blend food together until it becomes completely smooth.
REDUCE: To thicken and intensify the flavor of a liquid by boiling it until the liquid reduces in volume, so the flavor is concentrated.
ROAST: To cook by dry heat in an oven.
ROUX: A thickened paste made from cooked butter and flour, usually used to thicken sauces.
SAUTÉ: To cook or brown food in a small amount of hot fat over high heat.
SEAR: To brown the surface of meat over high heat to add flavor.
SEASON: To flavor meat, fish, or vegetables with salt, pepper, or other seasonings.
SIFT: To remove lumps from dry ingredients with a mesh strainer.
SIMMER: To heat a liquid to just below boiling; bubbles form but do not burst on the surface of the liquid.
STEAM: To cook food set above boiling water in a covered pan.
STEW: To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time.
STIR-FRY: To quickly cook small pieces of food in a small amount of hot oil, stirring constantly.
STRAIN: To use a colander to drain liquid from food.
TOSS: To combine ingredients with a gentle, lifting motion.
WHIP: To quickly beat ingredients together with a whisk or electric mixer until light and fluffy, like with heavy cream or egg whites.
WHISK: To beat ingredients with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.
ZEST: To remove the outer part of citrus fruits with a small grater.