Aioli – Garlic mayonnaise.
À la Nage – Cooking à la nage means poaching food, usually seafood, in a court bouillon and serving the court bouillon and the vegetables around the food as part the garniture.
Al dente – An Italian expression meaning pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.” The expression is also applied to vegetables that have been cooked crisp by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying.
Aromatics – Plant ingredients, such as herbs and spices used to enhance the flavour and fragrance of food.
Aspic – A clear jelly made from stock or occasionally from fruit or vegetable juices.
Bain-marie – A pan of water that is used to help mixtures such as custards bake evenly and to protect them from the direct heat of the oven or, in some cases, the stove. Also used for keeping food warm.
Bake blind – To bake a flan case with no filling.
Bard – to tie bacon around a piece of meat to be roasted to keep it from drying out.
Baste – To moisten food during cooking with pan drippings, sauce or other liquid. Basting prevents foods from drying out.
Baster – A large kitchen syringe used to baste meats with their own gravy, another liquid, or melted fat.
Batter – A mixture of flour and liquid with the addition of eggs and sometimes fat, used to prepare cakes, muffins, pancakes, crepes and quick breads. Also applies to frying batters.
Battuto – A combination of chopped raw vegetables for sautéing – typically carrots, celery, onion and/or garlic, and parsley that is the foundation of many Italian sauces and other dishes.
Bavarian – A type of custard made by folding together whipped cream and a flavourful liquid mixture, usually a crème anglaise flavoured with vanilla, coffee, chocolate or a fruit puree.
Béarnaise – A warm, emulsified egg and butter sauce similar to hollandaise, but with the addition of white wine, shallots and tarragon.
Beat – To agitate a mixture with the goal of making it smooth and introducing as much air as possible into it.
Béchamel – A classic white sauce made with full cream milk thickened with a roux and flavoured with aromatic vegetables.
Beurre Blanc – A rich butter sauce made by whisking butter into a reduction of white wine, white wine vinegar and shallots, and sometimes finished with fresh herbs or other seasoning.
Beaurre Manié – Butter and flour mixed together in equal quantities used to thicken sauce. Added in lumps to a sauce.
Bisque – A soup based on purees of vegetables and/or crustaceans. It is classically thickened with rice and usually finished with cream.
Blanch – A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten colour and flavour, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.
Blend – To combine two or more ingredients by mixing thoroughly.
Bouillabaisse – Mediterranean seafood soup.
Bone – To remove bones from meat, poultry or fish.
Bon Femme – To cook in a simple way.
Bouillon – French for broth. Refers to the liquid resulting from simmering meats, vegetables and aromatics in water until the meats have lost all their nutritional elements to the water and the broth can jell upon cooling.
Bourguignonne – Button mushrooms and small onions in a sauce made with red wine.
Bouquet Garni – A bundle of parsley stems, dried thyme and a large bay leaf, tied together and left to float freely in broth, stock or sauce. A variation of other herbs can also be used.
Braai – A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade or sauce is brushed on the food before or during cooking.
Braise – To cook in a small amount of liquid (also called stewing or pot roasting). The purpose of braising is to concentrate the food’s flavours in the surrounding liquid so that it can be made into a sauce or allowed to reduce so that it coats or is reabsorbed by the foods being braised.
Bread – To coat foods to be sautéed or deep-fried with flour or a breadcrumb mixture to create a crust.
Brine – A salt, water and seasoning solution used to preserve foods.
Brush – To spread or brush with melted fat or other liquid to coat.
Broil – To cook with a direct heat source – stove top.
Broth – Broth and stock are interchangeable terms and mean a flavourful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables, often with herbs in liquid, usually water.
Buttercream – A mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs or custard.
Butterfly – To cut and open out the edges of meat or seafood like a book or the wings of a butterfly.
Caramelize – The flavour of many foods, including vegetables, meats and seafood is often enhanced by a gentle browning that caramelizes natural sugars and other compounds and intensifies their flavour.
Cheesecloth – A light fine mesh gauze used for straining liquids.
Chiffonade – The fine ribbons obtained when several leafy vegetables or herbs are tightly rolled into a cigar shape and cut across into thin shreds.
Chill – To cool in the refrigerator.
Chinoise or China Cap – A very fine-meshed conical strainer used for straining refined sauces and coulis.
Chop – To cut into irregular pieces. Foods can be chopped from very fine (minced) to coarse.
Chowder – A thick soup that usually contains potatoes.
Cioppino – A fish stew usually made with white wine and tomatoes.
Clarified butter – Butter contains milk solids, which burn at relatively low temperatures so it can’t be used to sauté at the high temperatures required for browning most meats and seafood and some vegetables. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids in butter.
Coat – To cover the back of a spoon with a layer of a thickened sauce or stirred custard.
Coddled eggs – Eggs cooked in simmering water in their shells or in ramekins, until set.
Colander – A perforated bowl made of metal or plastic that is used to strain foods.
Collops – Small slices of meat from a tender cut e.g. neck of lamb.
Compote – A dish of fruit cooked in syrup flavoured with spices or liqueur.
Compound butter – Whole butter combined with herbs or other seasonings and used to sauce grilled or broiled meats or vegetables.
Consommé – Broth or stock that has been clarified by simmering it with beaten egg whites, which attract and trap the impurities clouding the broth.
Cool – To reduce warmth at room temperature.
Corned – As in corned beef or other meat; refers to a meat that has been salted and cured.
Cornichon – Tiny pickles mixed with onions and other aromatics and preserved in seasoned pure wine or cider vinegar.
Coulis – A mixture; often a fruit puree that has been strained of tiny seeds or pieces of peel so it is perfectly smooth.
Court Bouillon – A vegetable broth made by simmering onions (or leeks), carrots, celery and sometimes, other vegetables, such as fennel, with a bouquet garni in water and often, white wine or vinegar.
Cream – To beat butter and sugar together rapidly until the mixture looks white, aerated, and somewhat like stiffly beaten whipped cream.
Crème anglaise – Custard sauce or vanilla sauce.
Crème brulee – Custard topped with sugar and caramelized under the grill or by using a blow torch before serving.
Crème fraiche – Heavy cream cultured to give it a thick consistency and a slightly tangy flavour. Substitute sour cream, if necessary.
Crème patisserie – Custard made with eggs, flour or other starches, milk, sugar and flavourings, used to fill and garnish pastries or as the base for puddings, pies, soufflés and creams.
Crepe – A thin pancake made with an egg batter.
Croute, en – Enclosed in a bread or pastry crust.
Crudités – French for a mixture of sliced and shredded vegetables diversely dressed and served as a first course.
Cube – To cut into small squares of equal (or semi-equal) size.
Cure – To treat with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar, originally for the purpose of preserving foods by protecting them from bacteria and moulds.
Cut in shortening – To combine shortening (or any other solid fat) with flour and other dry ingredients by chopping it into mixture with a pastry cutter, or two knives or spatulas.
Deglaze – To add liquid to a pan in which foods have been sautéed or roasted in order to dissolve the caramelized juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. The purpose of deglazing is to make a quick sauce or gravy.
Degrease – To remove the fat that forms on the tops of simmering broths, sauces, jus and braising liquids.
Demy-glace – A mixture of equal parts of brown stock and brown sauce that has been reduced by half.
Dice – To cut into small cubes (unlike chopping, which cuts foods into irregular pieces).
Dot – To scatter small pieces of butter or other fat over food before cooking.
Dredge – To coat a food with flour, any finely crumbled ingredient, or, in pastry, with fine sugar.
Drupe – Peaches, apricots and all plums are drupes. A juicy false fruit attached to a wooden pit in which an almond is enclosed.
Dumpling – A small lump of soft leavened and seasoned egg, milk and flour dough, shaped with two spoons or piped out of a pastry bag. Usually it is poached in simmering water, but can be steamed over a stew.
Dust – To sprinkle food lightly with a dry ingredient.
Dutch oven – A cast-iron pot used for the preparation of stews, braises, and pot-roasts.
Egg wash – A mixture of egg or egg white, oil and water brushed over floured items, which are then deep-fried or pan-fried in clarified butter or oil, or to be baked in the oven.
Emulsion – A smooth mixture of two liquids, such as oil and water that normally do not mix.
Espagnole – Brown sauce made with brown stock, caramelized mirepoix and tomato puree, and seasonings.
Essence – A concentrated flavouring extracted from an item.
Etouffe – A cooking method similar to braising in which items are cooked with little or no added liquid in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Also a Cajun stew.
Fish sauce – Clear, amber-tinted liquid that is drained from salted, fermented fish. A very important flavouring in Thai cuisine.
Flambé – To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames. Most of the time flambéing has no real function other than to delight your guests.
Flan – A liquid or semi liquid mixture, held together with whole eggs, egg whites or egg yolks that is gently baked in a mould or pastry shell.
Florentine – Spinach purée or leaf spinach.
Foie Gras – The livers of geese and ducks that have been force-fed a mixture of corn, lard, and salted water.
Fold – To incorporate an egg white foam into an egg yolk foam or a flour batter without deflating it so that it retains its full leavening power.
Forcemeat – A mixture of chopped or ground meat and other ingredients used for pates, sausages, and other preparations.
Frappé – Iced or set in a bed of ice.
Fricassee – A fricassee is almost always a stew in which the meat, usually poultry, is cut up, lightly cooked in butter and then simmered in liquid until done.
Frittata – A flat Italian baked or sometimes also half-fried/half-baked omelette.
Fritter – Any food coated with a batter or crumbs and deep-fried.
Ganache – A mixture of grated or finely chopped chocolate (dark or white) and scalded heavy cream, whisked on medium speed until completely cool.
Garnish – To add an edible item to a plate to make it look more attractive.
Génoise – A sponge cake made with whole eggs used for layer cakes and other desserts.
Giblets – The neck, heart, gizzard and liver of poultry.
Glaze – To give food a shiny surface by brushing it with sauce or icing. For meat – to coat with sauce and then brown in an oven.
Gnocchi – Gnocchi are starchy dumplings made from potatoes and or flour.
Grand sauce – (Mother sauce) – One of several basic sauces that are used in the preparation of many other small sauces. The grand sauces are: demi-glace, veloute, béchamel, hollandaise, and tomato.
Grate – To cut food into very fine particles by rubbing on a grater.
Gratin – A way of binding together, or combining, cooked or raw foods (usually vegetables or pasta – baked macaroni and cheese is a gratin) with a liquid such as cream, milk, béchamel sauce or tomato sauce, in a shallow dish and baking until cooked and set. Typically the gratin is sprinkled with cheese or bread crumbs so a crunchy, savoury crust forms on top.
Gratinier – To brown under a grill with crumbs or cheese.
Gravy – Cooking flour into some of the fat skimmed off the jus. Cornstarch mixed with a little water can also be whisked into the jus and the jus brought to a simmer to get the cornstarch to thicken.
Grease – To rub lightly with shortening or butter.
Grind – To pass through a grinder or a food processor to reduce to small pieces.
Gumbo – An African word for okra, it is now the name of a soup of shellfish made famous in Louisiana.
Haricot – French for bean.
Harissa – A hot paste of red chillies, garlic and olive oil.
Hash – Chopped, cooked meat, usually with potatoes and/or other vegetables, which is seasoned, bound with a sauce and sautéed.
Hoisin sauce – A thick, sweet-tasting Chinese sauce made from fermented soy beans, sugar, salt and red rice. Used as a dipping sauce or glaze.
Hollandaise – One of the Grand or Mother sauces. It is made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks and melted butter flavoured with lemon juice.
Hors d’oeuvre – The first course or a selection of savoury titbits.
Jambalaya – A Cajun and Creole composition of rice, smoked sausage, cubed ham, aromatics and any meat.
Jardiniere – French for a main course made mostly of new spring vegetables, like lettuce, peas, green beans, carrots, turnips and flavoured with bacon or salt pork.
Julienne – To cut into long thin matchstick size strips.
Jus – The natural juices released by roasting meats and poultry.
Jus lié – Thickened sauce.
Knead – To repeatedly fold, turn and press down on dough with the hands until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Lard – To insert strips of fatback into a piece of meat to be braised, using a special cutter with a hollow blade called a lardoir. Also, to wrap a tenderloin of beef in a thin sheet of fatback before roasting it.
Lox – Yiddish word derived from the German word lachs for salmon and the name of salt-cured belly of salmon.
Lyonnaise – Lyons-style with onions and usually butter, white wine, vinegar and demi-glace.
Mandoline – A slicer that can be fitted with diverse cutting blades.
Marinade – A mixture of ingredients used to flavour and moisten foods. May be liquid or dry.
Marinate – To combine food – usually meat or seafood and occasionally vegetables with aromatic ingredients in order to flavour the food.
Marsala – An Italian fortified wine.
Meringue – Egg whites beaten until they are stiff with added sugar or sugar syrup, used as a topping or shaped and baked until stiff.
Mince – To chop very finely.
Mirin – Heavily sweetened rice wine used as cooking wine. You can substitute sweet white wine.
Miso – A thick paste made from fermented and processed soy beans. Red miso is a combination of barley and soy beans and yellow miso is a combination of rice and soy beans.
Mix – To combine ingredients by hand or with a mixer with the goal of blending them well and uniformly together.
Mousse – A general term that can describe any mixture lightened with something airy, usually beaten egg whites or whipped cream.
Mousseline – A sauce made by folding whipped cream into hollandaise, or a very light forcemeat based on white meat or seafood lightened with cream and eggs.
Napoleon – A pastry made with alternating layers of puff pastry and a cream of your choice and glazed.
Nori sheets – Dried seaweed pressed into square sheets. Used for nori rolls, soups and Japanese cuisine.
Omelette – Beaten eggs that are cooked in butter, then rolled or folded into an oval. They may be filled with any variety of ingredients before folding.
Paella – A Spanish dish of rice cooked with onion, tomato, garlic, saffron, vegetables, and various meats, including chicken, chorizo and/or shellfish.
Pan gravy – A sauce made by deglazing pan drippings from a roast and combining them with a roux or other starch and additional stock.
Papillote – Food wrapped in parchment paper or aluminium foil and baked in an oven where it will steam in its own moisture and that of any vegetables added to the package to flavour the meat.
Parboil – To cook partially in boiling water.
Parchment paper – Heat-resistant paper used in baking to line pans. It does not need to be buttered or greased and it keeps rich biscuits from losing their shape and from sticking to the pan.
Parmentier – Use of Potato as garnish.
Pastasciutta – Literally “dry pasta,” meaning fresh or dried pasta with sauce as opposed to a soup or a baked pasta dish.
Pasticcio – A baked dish of pasta and other ingredients, moistened with one or more sauces.
Pâté – A rich forcemeat of meat, game, poultry, seafood, and/or vegetables, baked in pastry or in a mould or dish.
Pâté à choux – Cream puff paste, made by boiling a mixture of water, butter and flour, then beating in whole eggs.
Pâté brisee – Short pastry for pie crusts.
Pâté en croute – Pâté baked in a pastry crust.
Pecorino – A hard grating cheese derived from ewe’s milk.
Peel – To strip off the outside covering of vegetables or fruit.
Persillade – Finely or coarsely chopped mixture of garlic and parsley.
Pesto – From the Italian pestare, a verb that means to pound or crush. Pesto is traditionally made of crushed fresh basil leaves pounded with garlic, Pecorino, either pine nuts or walnuts and olive oil.
Phyllo dough – Pastry made with very thin sheets of a flour and water dough layered with butter and/or crumbs; similar to strudel. Also called filo dough.
Pilaf – A technique for cooking rice in which the rice is sautéed briefly in butter then simmered in stock or water with various seasonings.
Poach – To cook completely submerged in barely simmering liquid.
Punch down – To strike down risen dough with the fist to allow gas to escape.
Prosciutto – A salt-cured, air-dried Italian ham.
Puree – To work or strain foods until they are completely smooth.
Quenelle – A paste made of fish, poultry or veal meat mixed with eggs, cream, panade and/or beef suet or an oblong dumpling made from such a paste or other more modern and lighter pastes, shaped between two spoons, poached in stock, and served with a sauce and garnish.
Quiche – Originally a pie made with a butter crust and filled with eggs beaten with heavy cream and very smoky bacon. Today there are many variations of ingredients.
Quick bread – Bread made with chemical leaveners, which work more quickly than yeast.
Ragout – Stew.
Ragừ – A complex meat sauce that may or may not contain tomato.
Ramekin – A small ovenproof dish, usually ceramic.
Ratatouille – An ancient Mediterranean mixture of vegetables cooked slowly until they make a well-bound compote.
Reduce or Reduction – Cooking liquids down so that some of the water they contain evaporates and concentrates the flavour of the sauce.
Refresh – To rinse just-boiled vegetables under very cold water to stop their cooking.
Resting – Roasted meats should not be served straight out of the oven, but should be allowed to rest in a warm place for a while, loosely covered with aluminium foil. (The foil keeps the meat warm; loose wrapping ensures that the outside of the meat doesn’t steam and lose its crispness.) Resting allows the meat to relax so the juices become redistributed in the meat and aren’t squeezed out onto the platter during carving.
Risotto – Risotto is a creamy rice dish made where rice is gently cooked in butter or olive oil. Liquid, usually broth is then added a small amount at a time until the rice is cooked and bathed in creamy liquid.
Roulade – A slice of meat or fish rolled around a stuffing.
Roux – A mixture of flour and butter used to thicken sauces, soups and gravies.
Sabayon – A light, frothy mixture made by beating egg yolks with water or other liquid over gentle heat.
Sake – Japanese fermented rice wine. Used in cooking to tenderize and add flavour.
Salsa – A raw tomato and onion sauce flavoured with a fairly wide variety of ingredients.
Sauté – To cook over high heat in a small amount of fat in a sauté pan or skillet.
Scald – To heat milk just below the boiling point or to immerse a vegetable or fruit in boiling water in order to remove its skin easily.
Scallions – Immature onions – also called green onions.
Sear – To brown the surface of pieces of meats and or fish by submitting them to intense initial heat.
Semolina – The coarsely milled hard wheat endosperm used for gnocchi, some pasta, and couscous.
Sift – To put dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter, to lighten and/or incorporate them, or to remove large pieces.
Shred – To cut into fine strips. Shredding is similar to cutting into chiffonade but less precise.
Sliver – To slice into long thin strips.
Skim – To lift and discard any unwanted foam or fat from the surface of a stock, broth, sauce or soup.
Smother – To cook in a covered pan with little liquid over low heat.
Soft peaks – To beat egg whites or whipping cream until peaks are formed. When beaters are lifted, the tips of peaks will curl over.
Sorbet – A frozen dessert made with fruit juice or another flavouring, a sweetener (usually sugar), and beaten egg whites, which prevent the formation of large ice crystals.
Soufflé – A preparation made with a sauce base, whipped egg whites, and flavourings. The egg whites cause the soufflé to puff during cooking.
Spatzle – Small flour, egg and milk dumplings resembling fine noodles which are poached in water and then buttered.
Spring-form pan – A cake pan with a detachable bottom and a clamp on its side that can be released to easily unmould the cake.
Steam – To cook in steam by suspending foods over (not in) boiling water in a covered pot or steamer.
Steep – Let stand in hot liquid to extract flavour, as in tea, or to hydrate dried vegetables or fruits.
Stew – A cooking method nearly identical to braising but generally involving smaller pieces of meat and hence a shorter cooking time. Also, the dish prepared by using this method of preparation.
Stir – To mix foods with a circular motion for the purpose of blending or obtaining uniform consistency.
Stir-fry – Chinese technique of cooking thin slivers of meat, shellfish and vegetables in hot oil usually in a wok.
Stock – A rich meat, fish or vegetable broth.
Sugo – A simple tomato sauce or other type of sauce comprised of relatively few ingredients.
Sweat – To cook foods over gentle heat, usually covered or partly covered until they release their moisture.
Tart – A pie that has only a bottom crust.
Tempura – A Japanese method of cooking vegetables and shellfish. They are coated with a light cornstarch batter and deep-fried.
Terrine – A loaf of forcemeat, similar to a pâté, but cooked in a covered mould in a bain-marie. Also, the mould used to cook this item.
Thin – To dilute by adding liquid.
Timbale – A small pail-shaped mould used to shape rice, custards, mousselines and other foods. Also, a preparation made in such a mould.
Toss – To lightly blend ingredients by lifting them and letting them fall back in a bowl.
Veloute – One of the Grande or Mother sauces. A sauce of white stock thickened with white roux. Also, a cream soup made with a veloute sauce base and flavourings that is usually finished with a mixture of egg yolks and cream.
Vinaigrette – The classic French salad dressing made of one part vinegar and three parts oil.
Wasabi – A spice that comes from a knobbly green root of the Japanese plant wasbia japonica. A traditional condiment served with Japanese sushi and sashimi.
Whip – To beat a preparation with the goal of introducing air into it.
White sauce – Traditional white sauces are divided into two types: those based on béchamel sauce and those based on veloute sauce. A basic béchamel sauce is made by adding hot milk to a roux, and a basic veloute sauce is made by adding hot broth to a roux.
Wok – A round-bottomed pan, usually made of rolled steel used for virtually all Chinese cooking methods.
Zabaglione – A whipped custard made with egg yolks and sugar gradually diluted over heat with Marsala or other wine, fruit juice or liqueur.
Zest – The thin, brightly coloured outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. The oils in the skin make it ideal for use as a flavouring.