Aioli – Aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is a delicious accompaniment to cold or hot grilled vegetables, steamed or boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes, and grilled or baked fish and shellfish.
? la Nage – Cooking ? 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. When making a court bouillon to use for cooking ? la nage, cut the vegetables in a decorative manner, such as julienne.
Albumen – A synonym for egg white.
Al dente – An Italian expression applied in all western kitchens to pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.” Fresh pasta can never by cooked al dente as it is too soft. The expression is also applied to vegetables that have been cooked crisp by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying.
Arborio – Risotto recipes The name given to some of the best short-grained rices grown in the Po Valley of Italy, and used to prepare risotto.
Aromatics – Plant ingredients, such as herbs and spices, used to enhance the flavor and fragrance of food.
Arrowroot – A fine starch extracted from the rhizomes of plants of the genus Maranta.
Aspic – A clear jelly made from stock or occasionally from fruit or vegetable juices.
Bain-marie – A bain-marie is 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.
Bake – To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usually implies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.
Barbecue – A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade, or sauce is brushed on the item before or during cooking.
Basmati – The name of the most deliciously flavored long-grain rice from India.
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 flour, 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 saut?ing – 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 flavorful liquid mixture, usually a cr?me anglaise flavored with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or a fruit puree.
B?arnaise – 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.
B?chamel– A classic white sauce made with whole milk thickened with a white roux, and flavored 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.
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 color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.
Bocconcini – Fresh Italian mozzarella balls sold in a water or brine solution. Available from delicatessens and supermarkets.
Boil – To cook in water or other liquid heated until bubbling vigorously. Few techniques cause as much confusion as boiling, simmering, and poaching. Boiling is, in fact, often a technique to be avoided. Most foods—meat and seafood, for example—are poached instead (cooked in liquid held just below the boil so it just shimmers slightly on the surface), because boiling turns them dry or stringy, and it can cause the liquid to become murky or greasy.
Some foods, however, are best cooked at a rolling boil. Rice and pasta cook more quickly and evenly in boiling water. Green vegetables are often cooked uncovered in a large amount of boiling salted water. The large quantity of water prevents the vegetables from lowering the temperature of the water, which would slow their cooking and cause them to lose their bright color. The salt also helps the vegetables retain their green color. As soon as the vegetables are done, immediately drain them in a colander and either plunge them into ice water or quickly rinse them under cold tap water until completely cool. This technique of immediately chilling the drained vegetables so they retain their flavor and color is called refreshing, or sometimes, shocking.
Bouillabaisse – Mediterranean seafood soup.
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.
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.
Braise – To cook in a small amount of liquid (also called stewing or pot roasting). In contract to poaching, in which the food is completely submerged in simmering liquid, braised dishes use a relatively small amount of liquid. Usually, the purpose of braising is to concentrate the food’s flavors 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 saut?ed or deep-fried with flour or a breadcrumb mixture to create a crust.
Brine – A salt, water, and seasoning solution used to preserve foods.
Brioche – The famous flour, egg, and yeast cake of northern France, which is now made in one form or another everywhere.
Brisket – A cut of beef from the lower forequarter, best suited for long-cooking preparations like braising.
Broil – To cook with a direct heat source—usually a gas flame or an electric coil—above the food.
Broth – Broth and stock are interchangeable terms and mean a flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables, often with herbs, in liquid, usually water.
Brown stock – An amber liquid produced by simmering browned bones and meat with vegetables and aromatics.
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.
Buttermilk – A dairy liquid with a slightly sour taste similar to yogurt.
Calvados – Dry, apple-flavored brandy, which is named after a town in the Normandy region of France. Substitute apple cider, brandy, or sweet cooking wine.
Caramelize – The flavor 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 flavor. Meats for stews, for example, are usually browned to caramelize juices that if not caramelized are much less flavorful. Chopped vegetables, especially aromatic ones such as carrots and onions, are often caramelized—sometimes with cubes of meat—in a small amount of fat before liquid is added to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and sauces.
Cassoulet – Consists of partially cooked white beans blended with diverse meats, baked in a deep, round earthenware container.
Cheesecloth – A light, fine mesh gauze used for straining liquids.
Ch?vre – The French word for goat and by extension the cheeses made from goat’s milk.
Chiffonade – The fine ribbons obtained when several leafy vegetables or herbs are tightly rolled into a cigar shape and cut across into 1/16 –to 1/8-inch wide shreds.
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.
Chorizo sausage – A spicy Spanish sausage containing a mixture of pork, pepper, and chilies.
Chowder – A thick soup that usually contains potatoes.
Cioppino Cioppino recipe A fish stew usually made with white wine and tomatoes.
Clarified butter – Because butter contains milk solids which burn at relatively low temperatures, it can’t be used to saut? at the high temperatures required for browning most meats and seafood and some vegetables. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids in butter. You can purchase clarified butter called ghee at most larger grocery stores.
Сoat – 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.
Compote – A dish of fruit cooked in syrup flavored with spices or liqueur.
Compound butter – Whole butter combined with herbs or other seasonings and used to sauce grilled or broiled meats or vegetables.
Consomm? – Broth or stock that has been clarified by simmering it with beaten egg whites, which attract and trap the impurities clouding the broth.
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 stir a fat—usually butter—and sugar together rapidly until the mixture looks white, aerated, and somewhat like stiffly beaten whipped cream. Or, that part of milk, containing 32 to 42 percent of butterfat in emulsion, that rises to its surface after the milk cools to room temperature and stands for several hours.
Cr?me anglaise – Custard sauce or vanilla sauce.
Cr?me brulee – Custard topped with sugar and caramelized under the broiler before serving.
Cr?me fraiche – Heavy cream cultured to give it a thick consistency and a slightly tangy flavor. Substitute sour cream, if necessary.
Cr?me patisserie – Custard made with eggs, flour or other starches, milk, sugar, and flavorings, used to fill and garnish pastries or as the base for puddings, pies, souffl?s, and creams.
Crepe– A thin pancake made with egg batter.
Croute, en – Enclosed in a bread or pastry crust.
Crudit?s – French for a mixture of sliced and shredded vegetables diversely dressed and served as a first course.
Cure – To treat with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar, originally for the purpose of preserving foods by protecting them from bacteria, molds, etc.
Curry – A mixture of spices that may include turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne or other chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, or garlic.
Custard – A liquid mixture that is combined with whole eggs, egg whites, or egg yolks, or a combination, and gently baked until set. Examples of custards are a quiche filling; a cr?me caramel and a cr?me br?l?e.