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Glossary of Cooking Terms

Recipes sometimes contain terms or language you're not used to.  This list should help clear up some of the common terms in cooking to make sure your meal is prepared just as the chef intended. Before you cook it up, look it up!


Au Jus Natural pan juices that accumulate during the cooking of meat.
Bake To cook by dry air in a preheated oven.
Baste Spoon, brush, or drizzle food during the cooking process with a sauce, pan juice, wine or stock.
Blanch To plunge seafood into boiling water for a brief period of time to bring out the color and flavor, then submerge the seafood into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Boil To heat liquid to 212° F; at this temperature the surface is covered with bubbles.
Braise To brown meat in fat over high heat, then cover and cook slowly in the oven in a small amount of liquid.
Broil To cook with intense heat directly under heat source, which seals in the juices, browns the outside and keeps the food tender.
Brown To quickly cook food in a preheated oven, hot skillet, or under a broiler to brown the outside and seal in the juices.
Deglaze To add liquid to a pan in which food has been cooked, while stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Devein To remove the gray-black vein from the back of a shrimp.
Dredge To coat or dredge with bread crumbs. 
Fillet To cut meat, chicken, or fish from the bone.
Fry To cook food in hot fat in a skillet over high heat until crisp and brown.
Grill To cook on a rack over hot coals or under a broiler in order to seal in juices.
Lard To insert thin strips of fat in meat prior to cooking, to add moistness.
Marinate To tenderize and flavor food in a seasoned liquid.
Pan-Broil To cook on top of stove in a heavy preheated skillet over high heat, pouring off fat or liquid as it accumulates.
Parboil To partially cook in boiling water or broth.
Poach To cook food gently in simmering liquid that does not boil.
Roast To cook food on a rack, uncovered, in a dry oven with no liquid in the pan.
Sauté To cook food in a preheated, very hot skillet over medium-high heat in a small amount of fat. Food should not be stirred while the underside is browning, and should be turned only once in the cooking process.
Sous-Vide French for "under vacuum". To cook food in a vacuum-sealed, plastic bag by placing in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times.
Stir-Fry To cook very thinly sliced food over high heat while keeping the food moving in constant motion to keep it from overcooking.
Truss To secure legs firmly against the body of any poultry, folding wings under akimbo and tying with cooking twine to hold all parts firmly in place. Trussing keeps all parts in place and allows the poultry to roast evenly with less shrinkage.

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