Below you will find some common cooking terms and their definitions to help you find your way.
Al dente - vegetables or pasta that have been cooked until just firm to the tooth.
Almond Bark (also known as vanilla flavored candy coating) - made out of vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter and is sold in blocks.
Au Gratin - dishes cooked in a cheese sauce and topped with breadcrumbs.
Au Jus - to serve with the meat's natural juices.
Baste - to brush pan drippings or a marinade over food to keep it moist while cooking.
Beat - combining ingredients by using a hand mixer, a whisk or a spoon.
Blackened - food cooked at a high heat until charred.
Blanch - immersing food quickly into boiling water, then into a bowl of cold water.
Blend - combining ingredients with a spoon, whisk or electric mixer.
Boil - to bring food to the point in which it is bubbling.
Bone - to remove the bones from meat, chicken or fish.
Bouquet garni - herbs tied into a piece of cheesecloth that is used to season the cooking liquid.
Braise - cooking food slowly in a small amount of water and covered tightly.
Brine - heavily salted water used to pickle vegetables or to cure meats.
Brown - to cook food in oil or butter until it develops a brown color.
Caramelize - cooking sugar on a low heat until it takes on a dark brown color.
Chill - to place food in the refrigerator to cool.
Cream - to mix softened ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.
Cube - to cut food into small squares.
Cut in - to mix two ingredients together by using a pastry blender or a fork.
Dash - less than 1/8 a teaspoon of an ingredient.
Dice - to cut food into small cubes, usually smaller than ˝ an inch.
Dress - to remove the internal organs and the head from foods such as fish and chicken or to toss a salad with dressing before serving.
Drippings - the juices that remain in the pan after cooking chicken or meat.
Dust - to sprinkle lightly with flour or sugar.
Dutch Oven - a large, heavy pot used for cooking soups or pot roasts.
Fillet - a piece of fish that has had all the bones removed; to remove all bones from fish.
Fold In - to mix lighter ingredients, like whipped cream or eggs, into a heavier mixture gently so not much air is lost.
Fry - to cook foods in oil or butter.
Garnish - to add to the visual attractiveness of a dish.
Glaze - to coat with a thin syrup usually made of sugar or chocolate.
Juice - to extract the natural juices from fruits and vegetables.
Julienne - to cut food into matchstick-size pieces.
Knead - to work dough until it becomes elastic by pushing, pulling and turning it with your hands.
Lukewarm - when a liquid feels neither hot nor cold, about 95 degrees F.
Marinate - to let food sit in a liquid to season and tenderize.
Meringue - egg whites that have been beaten until stiff with some sugar added.
Mince - to cut into very small pieces.
Pan broil - to cook in a skillet, turning frequently, and draining pan drippings.
Parboil - to boil until almost cooked.
Pare - to remove the peel or skin from a food, usually with a paring knife.
Poach - cooking food in a simmering liquid, such as water or chicken broth.
Proof - to allow a yeast dough to rise before baking.
Puree - to blend food until smooth.
Ramekin - an individual baking dish.
Reduce - bringing a liquid to a rapid boil and allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.
Roast - to bake in an oven without much liquid added to it.
Roulade - a thin slice of meat or chicken rolled around some sort of stuffing.
Roux - flour and some sort of fat, usually butter or oil, that is cooking until it forms a
Sauté - to cook in a skillet with a small amount of oil, usually at a high heat.
Scald - to heat a liquid just below the boiling point.
Sear - cooking foods at a very high heat just to seal in their juices.
Section - to separate citrus fruits into pieces with a paring knife.
Shuck - to remove the papery skins and silks from corn on the cob or to remove the shell from an oyster or clam.
Sift - to mix two or more dry ingredients together through a sifter to remove lumps.
Simmer - to cook in a liquid that is just below the boiling point.
Steam - cooking food above boiling water, usually on a rack.
Stew - to simmer foods for a long period of time in a covered pot.
Stir fry - to cook foods quickly in a small amount of oil at a very high heat and very quickly.
Stock - the liquid that chicken, fish or meat has been cooking in.
Toss - to mix food gently.
Truss - to seal a cavity of a chicken or turkey using string or skewers.
Whip - beating at a high rate of speed, usually with an electric mixer.
White Chocolate - is not really chocolate. It's a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla. There is no chocolate liquor in it, which means there is very little chocolate flavor.
Zest - the outer skin of a citrus fruit.