Al dente: Pasta that’s cooked just till firm to the touch. There should be slight resistent when you bite into it. Not overcooked

Bake: To cook using dry heat by placing foods in an oven (covered or uncovered, whatever your choice), under coals, or on a heated stone.

Baking Powder: Used as a leavening agent in preparing baked goods. Consists of a carbonate, an acid substance, and starch or flour. Check the expiration date as baking powder loses its leavening power over time. Instead of discarding when it becomes old just use it as a deodorizer in your refrigerator.

Baking Soda: A leavening agent which must be combined with an acidic liquid to achieve results. Sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, orange or lemon juice produce good results.

Baste: To moisten and improve the flavor of foods (usually meats) by brushing on, drizzling or spooning over pan drippings, fruit juices, sauces, etc.

Beat: To rapidly stir food in a circular motion using a spoon or fork, rotary egg beater or electric mixer. (one minute in an electric mixer equals about 100 strokes with a spoon or fork).

Blanch: To boil or steam foods briefly in order to either remove the skins (tomatoes, nuts, etc), whiten, or prepare food for freezing by stopping the enzymatic action.

Blend: To mix ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

Boil: To heat liquids until bubbles form on the surface and steam forms.

Braising: A method of cooking foods (most often used for meats) by quickly browning in oil and then cooking slowly in liquid (wine, stock, etc) in a covered pot.

Bread: To dip foods into a liquid (beaten eggs, milk, etc) then coat food with bread crumbs.

Broil: Using intense heat to cook food (usually meats) by placing it directly under a broiler or on a grill. This is a low-fat way to cook as the fat drips away.

Brown: To cook food quickly (usually meats) over high heat by either frying or broiling until the surface browns sealing in all the succulent juices.

Carmelize: To melt either sugar or sugary foods by cooking slowly over low heat until the contents become browned. Be carful not to burn.

Chop: To cut food either into small chucks (finely chopped) or large chunks (coarsely chopped).

Coddle: To cook food slowly in water keeping the water just below boiling.

To mix an ingredient or combination of ingredients until soft, smooth and well-blended. Usually the ingredients contain butter or shortening and sugar.

Cube: To cut foods into uniform 1/2″to 1″ cubes.

Cut in: To mix butter, shortening, etc., into dry ingredients by using a pastry blender or two knives.

Dash: A very small quantity measuring three drops to 1/4 teaspoon.

Deep Fry: To cook food by placing in enough hot oil cover the food completely.

Double Boiler: A cooking method consisting of two saucepans fitting together so that the contents of the upper pan can be cooked or heated by boiling water in the lower one.

Dredge: To coat food with flour, bread crumbs, etc.

Deglaze: The process used to make a great-tasting sauce using the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan by heating a little bit of wine or stock and stirring to loosen the brown bits.

Dust: To sprinkle lightly with sugar or flour.

Emulsify: To bind together substances which do not normally mix, such as oil and water. Egg yolk is a commonly used for this purpose.

Fillet: To cut the bones from meat or fish.

Fry: To cook food in hot fat over medium to high heat.

Flake: To break food into small pieces, usually done with a fork.

Fold: To combine two ingredients, usually a heavier ingredient (whipping cream) with a lighter ingredient, (egg white). Using a rubber spatula, lift the heavier mixture from the bottom and blend with the lighter mixture on top.

Garnish: Edible ornaments to enhance the appearance of food.

Grate: To shred hard food by rubbing it against a grater.

Grater: A kitchen utensil with different sized sharp-edged holes, for rubbing off small particles of any hard food.

Grease: To prevent foods from sticking by lightly coating a pan with butter, shortening, cooking spray, etc.

Grill: To cook food on a rack over hot coals or other heat source.

Grind: To transform food into pieces ranging from small (fine grind) to large (coarse grind) using a food processor or grinder.

Julienne: To cut food into matchstick-sized strips

Knead: To mix dough on a floured surface by pressing the dough down with the palm of your hands then folding it over itself; repeat the process until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Leaven: Adding a leaving agent such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda to ingredients in order to allow either dough or batter to rise.

Marinade: A savory usually acidic sauce in which meat, fish, or vegetable is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it.

Mince: To finely chop food, resulting in tiny pieces.

Mix: To combine ingredients until smooth and evenly distributed.

Panbroil: To cook uncovered over high heat in a pre-heated, lightly-greased heavy pan, constantly removing any fat that accumulates.

Parboil: Partially cooking food in boiling water, stock, etc for a few minutes just to tenderize the food, cooking is normally completed using another method.

Pare: To remove skin from fruits and vegetables using a knife.

Pinch: A measure of dry ingredients that is normally the amount that can be held between the thumb and forefinger, usually much less than 1/8 teaspoon.

Poach: To cook food slowly in simmering water, milk, stock, etc.

Puree: Foods usually fruits or vegetables reduced to a smooth, thick consistency using either a blender, food processor or a sieve.

Reduce: To boil a liquid, uncovered, until the volume is reduced by evaporation, which thickens and intensifies the flavor.

Roast: To cook food in an oven, using dry heat.; placing food on a spit before a fire; or surrounding food with hot embers, sand or stones.

Sauté: To cook quickly over high heat in an open frying pan with a small amount of butter, oil or cooking spray, turning food frequently.

Scald: To heat milk to just below the boiling point.

Sear: To cook at very high heat for a short period of time in order to brown meat and seal the surface ensuring that the juices are trapped within.

Shred: To cut or tear food into long, thin strips.

Sift: To pass dry ingredients, usually flour and baking powder, salt, etc., through a fine-meshed strainer or sifter to blend ingredients thoroughly and remove larger pieces thereby lightening the texture of the mixture.

Simmer: To cook in liquid just below the boiling point.

Stew: To cook food slowly and for a long period of time using a small amount of liquid in a covered pan or pot.

Stir-fry: To cook food quickly over high heat with a small amount of oil using a skillet or wok, being sure to constantly stir ingredients.

Strain: To remove solid particles from a mixture or liquid by pouring through a colander or sieve.

Toast: To brown with dry heat in an toaster or oven.

Toss: To blend foods together by gently turning the pieces over until the ingredients are well mixed.

Whip: To add air and volume to food by beating rapidly using a wire whisk, beater or electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy.

Whisk: A wire kitchen utensil used for mixing dry ingredients together.

Zest: A small amount of the grated rind or thin outer skin of any type of citrus fruit (orange and lemon being the most common) used as flavoring especially in baking.