A

 

Au Gratin Having a browned or crusted top, often made by topping with cheese, breadcrumbs, and/or a rich/thick sauce and passing under the broiler or salamander.

 

B

 

Bain-Marie A container of hot water used for keeping foods hot or for bringing the temperature up on some ingredients.

Bake To cook foods by surrounding them with hot, dry air.  Similar to roast, but the term bake usually applies to breads, pastries, vegetables, and fish.

Blanch To cook an item partially and briefly in rapidly boiling water or in hot fat.  Usually a pre-preparation technique, as to loosen peels from vegetables, fruits, and nuts.  To partially cook food before serving (e.g. green vegetables in hot water, French fries in oil, etc.).  To prepare for freezing, or to remove undesirable flavours.

Boil To cook in water or other liquids that are bubbling rapidly, around 212°F (100°C).

Bouquet Garni A combination of fresh herbs tied together, used for flavouring.

Braise (1) To cook covered in a small amount of liquid, usually after browning first – some food items do not require previous browning, such as certain vegetables.

Broil To cook with radiant heat from above.

Brunoise To cut, and sometimes garnish, into very small dice (1/8 inch/3 mm).

 

C

 

Caramelization The browning of sugars cause by heat.  This can be regular sugar, as well as sugars found in meats, vegetables and fruits.

Carry-Over Cooking The rise in temperature inside meats after it is removed from where it is being cooked (e.g. oven, grill, pan, etc.).

Chiffinade Cut into fine shreds, usually said of leafy vegetables and herbs.

Chop To cut into irregularly shaped pieces.

Clarified Butter Purified butter fat, with milk solids and water removed.

Court Bouillon Water usually used to cook fish, which contains seasonings, herbs, aromatics, and, usually, an acid.

Cross-Contamination The transfer of bacteria to food from another food or from equipment or work surfaces which are contaminated.

 

D

 

Deep-Fry To cook submerged in hot fat.

Deglaze To swirl a liquid in a pan or pot to dissolve cooked particles or food remaining on the bottom.

Dry-Heat Cooking Method A method in which heat is conducted to foods without the use of moisture.

 

E

 

Emulsion A uniform mixture of two unmixable liquids.

 

F

 

Fry To cook in hot fat.

 

G

 

Garnish (1) Decorative edible item used to ornament or enhance the eye appeal of another food item.  (2) To add a decorative item to food.

Gastrique A mixture of caramelized sugar and vinegar, used to flavour a sauce.

Glaze (1) A stock that is reduced until it coats the back of a spoon.  (2) A shiny coating, such as syrup, applied to food.  (3) To make a food shiny or glossy by coating is with a glaze or by browning it under the broiler or in a hot oven.

Griddle To cook on a flat, solid cooking surface called a griddle.

Grill To cook on an open grid over a heat source.

 

H

 

Hash (1) To chop.  (2) A dish made of chopped food.

Herbs The leaves of certain plants, used in flavouring.

 

J

 

Julienne (1) Cut into small, thin strips, about 1/8 X 1/8 X 2 ½ inches / 3 mm X 3 mm X 6 ½ mm.  (2) Garnished with food cut this way.

Jus Unthickened juices from a roast.

Jus Lié Thickened juices from a roast.

 

L

 

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian Referring to a vegetarian diet, or person who follows that diet, that includes dairy products and eggs.

Lacto-Vegetarian Referring to a vegetarian diet, or person who follows that diet, that includes milk and other dairy products.

Liaison A binding agent, usually made of cream and egg yolks, used to thicken sauces and soups.

M

 

Marbling Referring to the fat deposited within muscle tissue.

Marinate To soak food in a seasoned liquid.

Mesclun A mixture of tender baby lettuces.

Mince To chop into very fine pieces.

Mirepoix A mixture of rough-cut or diced vegetables, herbs and, spices, used for flavorings.  The most common one being a mix of diced/cut onion, carrot and celery.

Mise en Place French term meaning “everything in place”.  The setup for food production.  All the preparations and organization that must be made before actual production can begin.

Moist-Heat Cooking Methods Methods in which heat is conducted to foods by steam, water or other liquids.

 

O

 

Organic Grown or raised without chemical growth enhancers or medications or, for plants, without artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

 

P

 

Pan Gravy A type of sauce made with the pan drippings of the meat or poultry it is served with.

Pan-Broil To cook undercovered in a sauté pan or skillet without fat.

Pan-Fry To cook in a moderate amount of fat in an uncovered pan.

(en) Papillote To cook wrapped in paper or foil so that the food is steamed in its own moisture.

Parboil Cooking partially in a boiling or simmering liquid.

Parcook To partially cook by any method.

Parfait A dessert, or sometimes a breakfast/brunch item, consisting of alternating layers such as ice cream, fruit, syrup, yoghurt, cereal, etc. in a tall, narrow glass.

Pesco-Vegetarian Referring to a vegetarian diet, or person who follows that diet, that includes fish.

Poach To cook gently in water or any other liquid, or mixture of, that is hot but not actually bubbling, about 160° to 180°F (71° to 82°C).

Pot Roast To cook a large cut of meat by braising.

Purée (1) A food product that has been mashed or strained to a smooth pulp.

 

R

 

Reduce To cook by simmering or boiling until quantity is decreased, often done to concentrate flavours and sometimes to thicken them.

Reduction (1) A liquid concentrated by cooking it to evaporate part of the water.  (2) The process for making such a concentrated liquid.

Relish A type of appetizer or condiment consisting of raw or pickled vegetables.

Roast To cook foods by surrounding them with hot, dry air, in an over or on a spit over an open fire.

Roux A cooked mixture of equal parts of flour an fat, usually by weight.

 

S

 

Sachet A mixture of spices and herbs tied usually in a cheesecloth bag.

Sauce A flavourful liquid, usually thickened, that is used to season, flavour, and enhance other foods.

Sauté To quickly cook in a pan using a small amount of fat.

Sear To brown the surface of a food quickly at high temperature, can be done using different sources (e.g. a pan, a grill, a griddle, an oven, etc.).

Shred To cut into thin yet irregular strips, either with the coarse blade of a grater or with a knife.

Simmer To cook in water or other liquids that are bubbling gently, around 185° to 200°F (85° to 93°C).

Slurry A thickener consisting of a mixture of raw starch and a cold liquid.

Spice Any part of a plant, other than the leaves, used in flavouring foods (e.g. bark, seeds, stems, pods, etc.).

Steam To cook by direct contact with steam.

Stew (1) To simmer a food or foods in a small amount of liquid that is usually served with the food as a sauce.  (2) A dish cooked by stewing, usually cooked all together.

Stock A clear, thin (unthickened) liquid flavoured with soluble substances extracted from meat, poultry, and fish, and their bones, and from vegetables and seasonings.

Sweat To cook in a small amount of fat over low heat, sometimes covered.

 

T

 

Temper To raise the temperature of a cold liquid gradually by slowly stirring in a hot liquid.

 

V

 

Vegan Referring to a vegetarian diet, or person who follows that diet, that omits all animal products, including dairy products and eggs.

Vinaigrette Dressing or sauce made of oil, an acid (e.g. vinegar, citrus juice, etc.), and flavouring ingredients.

 

Z

 

Zest (1) The coloured part of the peel of citrus fruits.  (2) The action to obtain that coloured part of  the peel of citrus fruits with a knife, a grater, or a zester.

GLOSSARY OF FOOD TERMS

© 2016 by Abraham Wornovitzky for On My Table Today