Glossary of Cooking Terms

Al Dente
Italian term for pasta that is cooked, but is not completely limp. It's still has a slightly resistance consistancy when you bite into it.

Au Gratin
French cooking term, used for descibing sauced dishes that are topped with bread crumbs, or cheese or both and then broiled unitl slightly browned. It is often used to describe dishes that are covered or baked in a creammy cheese sauce.

To spoon or pour liquid over meat or poultry while cooking. Continuous basting adds flavour and prevents meat from drying out.

To quickly cook a vegetable or fruit in boiling water, to make it just barely tender. This makes fruit easier to peel, and reduces strong flavours in some vegetables.

To stir, or beat ingredients to form a well combined mixture.

To cook food in butter, oil or fat over a high heat until it becomes "browned" according to cooking directions. Browning ranges from lightly browned to dark golden brown.

To make a mixture of sugar and butter, heat over low heat until brown and coast vegetables or meat according to recipes instructions

To cut food into small pieces. A knife is normally used, but a food processor can be helpful if you're chopping a large amount of food.

Clarified Butter
Melt butter over a low heat, do not stir. Skim fat from top and discard. Pour remaining butter into another dish and use according to recipe directions. Clarified butter should be quite thick and milky.

To dip food into egg, bread crumbs, or sauce until completely covered. Also used do describe covering baked goods with frosting or icing.

To refrigerate or let food sit at room temperature until it is no longer warm to the touch.

To cut meat, poultry or vegetables into pieces. Cubes are standardly 1 inch in size.

To combine food until soft by beating with a spoon, whisk, or a hand mixer.

Deep Fry
To place enough oil in a pan to cover food being fried to be completely covered

Fat Free Salad Dressing
Less that 0.5 grams of fat per serving (average serving is 2 Tbs.)

Light Salad Dressing
1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat than regular salad dressing

Low Calorie Salad Dressing
40 calories or less per serving (average serving 2 Tbs.)

Low Fat Salad Dressing
3 grams or less of fat per serving (average serving 2 Tbs.)

Reduced Fat Salad Dressing
At least 25% less fat than regular salad dressing

To make a roux, melt butter over medium heat until it sizzles, sprinkle and equal amount of flour evenly over the pan and stir briskly with a wire whisk. The mixture should be smooth, and beige/yellow in color. Cook about 2 minutes.
This mixture is generally used to thicken sauces and soups. It's also used in Cajun dishes, although the roux is often cooked much longer to create a stronger tasting roux.

Sweet Butter
Sweet butter is commonly used to describe unsalted butter. In regular recipes, you may use salted butter if you like salt, but in baking it's important to use unsalted or sweet butter when the call for it.


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