Aerate A synonym for sift; to pass ingredients through a fine-mesh device to break up large pieces and to incorporate air into the ingredients to make them lighter.
Bake To cook in the oven. Food is cooked slowly with gentle heat, causing the natural moisture to evaporate slowly, concentrating the flavor. Baste To brush or spoon liquid fat or juices over meat during roasting to add flavor and to prevent it from drying out.
Batter A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that is thin enough in consistency to require a pan to encase it. Used in such preparations as cakes and some cookies. A batter is different from dough, which maintains its shape.
Beat To smoothen a mixture by briskly whipping or stirring it with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer.
Bias-slice To slice a food crosswise at a 45-degree angle.
Bind To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.
Blackened A popular Cajun-style cooking method in which seasoned foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated heavy skillet until charred.
Blanch To boil briefly to loosen the skin of a fruit or a vegetable. After 30 seconds in boiling water, the fruit or vegetable should be plunged into ice water to stop the cooking action, and then the skin easily slices off.
Blend To mix or fold two or more ingredients together to obtain equal distribution throughout the mixture.
Boil To cook food in heated water or other liquid that is bubbling vigorously.
Braise A cooking technique that requires browning meat in oil or other fat and then cooking slowly in liquid. The effect of braising is to tenderize the meat.
Bread To coat the food with crumbs (usually with soft or dry bread crumbs), sometimes seasoned.
Broil To cook food directly under the heat source.
Brown A quick sautéing, pan/oven broiling, or grilling method done either at the beginning or end of meal preparation, often to enhance flavor, texture, or eye appeal.
Brush Using a pastry brush, to coat a food such as meat or bread with melted butter, glaze, or other liquid.
Butterfly To cut open a food such as pork chops down the center without cutting all the way through, and then spread apart.
Caramelization Browning sugar over a flame, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º C to 182º C).
Chiffon Pie filling made light and fluffy with stabilized gelatin and beaten egg whites.
Chop To cut into irregular pieces.
Clarify Remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming it.
Coat To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs, or a batter.
Coddle A cooking method in which foods (such as eggs) are put in separate containers and placed in a pan of simmering water for slow, gentle cooking.
Combine To blend two or more ingredients into a single mixture.
Confit To slowly cook pieces of meat in their own gently rendered fat.
Core To remove the inedible center of fruits such as pineapples.
Cream To beat vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine, with or without sugar, until light and fluffy. This process traps in air bubbles, later used to create height in cookies and cakes.
Crimp To create a decorative edge on a piecrust. On a double piecrust, this also seals the edges together.
Crisp To restore the crunch to foods; vegetables such as celery and carrots can be crisped with an ice water bath, and foods such as stale crackers can be heated in a medium oven.
Crush To condense a food to its smallest particles, usually using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.
Crystallize To form sugar- or honey-based syrups into crystals. The term also describes the coating.
Curdle To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated protein to develop in food, usually as a result of the addition of an acid substance, or the overheating of milk or egg-based sauces.
Cure To preserve or add flavor with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar.
Cut in To work vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter into dry ingredients.