A friend of mine informed me that a few of the terms within some of my posts are a little beyond the novice cook, and suggested i make a glossary for a reference point from here on out, which i thought was an EXCELLENT idea! So, here goes. Most of these definitions are adapted from the Ninth Edition of The Professional Chef.
AL DENTE – literal translation is “to the tooth” when an item is cooked until tender but still firm, such as pasta.
JULIENNE – cutting vegetables into small matchstick sized pieces
AMANDINE – Garnish with almonds
BAIN-MARIE – (double boiler) French term for cooking goods gently in a container surrounded by simmering water
BLIND BAKE – to partially or completely bake an unfilled pastry crust by lining it with parchment paper and filling with weights that are removed after baking, such as uncooked beans
BASTE – To moisten food during cooking with pan drippings or sauce. Prevents cooked ingredients from drying out, and, depending on the sauce, will nicely glaze the basted ingredients.
BATON/BATONETTE – a large julliene
BEURRE BLANC – Literally “white butter.” Emulsification sauce made with a reduction of white wine and sometimes cream, thickened with whole butter.
BEURRE NOISETTE – Litererally “hazelnut butter.” Whole butter that has been heated unil deep amber in color
BISQUE – Soup based on crustaceans or a vegetable puree. C;assically thickened with rice and usually finished with cream
BLANCH – To cook an item briefly in boiling water or hot fat before finishing or storing. Preserves color, lessens strong flavors and aids in removing the peels of some fruits and vegetables.
BLANQUETTE – A white stew usually of veal, but can be chicken or lamb, with white onions and mushrooms.
CARAMELIZATION – The process of browning sugar in the presence of heat. Caramelization of sugars occur between 320 and 360 degrees Fahrenheit
CHIFFONADE – Fine shreds of leafy vegetables or herbs; often used as a garnish
CHINOIS – A conical sieve with fine wire mesh, used to strain foods.
CLARIFIED BUTTER – Butter from which the milk solids and water have been removed, leaving pure butterfat. Has a higher smoke point than whole butter but less intense flavor.
COMPOTE – A dish of fresh or dried fruit cooked in syrup, flavored with spices or liqueur.
COMPOUND BUTTER – Butter combined with herbs or other seasonings.
CONFIT – Meat (usually goose, duck or pork) cooked gently and preserved in its own fat.
COULIS – A thick puree of vegetables or fruit, served hot or cold.
COURT BOUILLION – Literally “short broth.” An aromatic vegetable broth that includes an acidic ingredient such as wine or vinegar, most commonly used for poaching fish.
DREDGE – To coat food with a dry ingredient such as flour of bread crumbs prior to frying or sautéing
EMULSION – A mixture of two or more liquids, one being a fat or oil and the other being water based, so that tiny globules of one are suspended in the other, such as vinaigrettes.
ETOUFFEE – Literally “smothered.” Refers to food cooked by a method similar to braising, except that items are cooked with little or no added liquid in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Also, a Cajun dish made with a dark roux, crayfish, vegetables, and seasonings, served over a bed of white rice. Similar to jambalaya.
FOIE GRAS – The fattened liver of a duck or goose that has been force-fed over a four- to five-month period.
FOLD – To gently combine ingredients so as not to release trapped air bubbles.
FOND – French term for stock. Also, the pan drippings remaining after sautéing or tasting food, often deglazed and used as a base for sauces.
GARNISH – An edible decoration or accompaniment to a dish
HOLLANDAISE – A classic emulsion sauce made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and melted butter, flavored with lemon juice.
MARBLING – The intramuscular fat found in meat that makes it tender and juicy.
MAYONNAISE – A cold emulsion of oil, egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings, used as a dressing, spread, or base for additional sauces.
MINCE – To chop into very small pieces.
MIREPOIX – A combination of chopped aromatic vegetables (usually two part onion, one part carrot and one part celery) used to flavor stocks, soups, braises, and stews.
PARCOOK/PARBOIL – to partially cook an item before storing or finishing.
PINCE – Refers to an item, usually a tomato product, caramelized by sautéing
PUREE – To process food by mashing, straining, or chopping it very finely in order to make a smooth paste. Also, a product of this technique
REDUCE – To decrease the volume of a liquid by simmering or boil in. Used to provide a thicker consistency and/or concentrate flavors.
RISOTTO – Rice sauteed briefly in butter with onions and possibly other aromatics, then combined with stock, which is added in several small additions and stirred constantly to produce a creamy texture with grains that are still al dente.
ROUX – An prepared mixture containing equal parts of flour and fat (usually butter), used to thicken liquids. Roux is cooked to varying degrees (white, blond, brown, or dark), Depending on its intended use. The darker the roux, the less thickening power it has but the fuller the taste.
SIMMER – To maintain the temperature of a liquid just below boiling.
SIMPLE SYRUP – A mixture of water and sugar (with additional flavorings or aromatics as desired), heated until the sugar dissolves.
SMOKE POINT – The temperature at which a fat begins to break down and smoke when heated.
STABILIZER – An ingredient (usually a protein or plant product; such as egg yolks, cream or mustard) added to an emulsion to prevent it from separating.
STOCK – A flavorful liquid prepared by simmering meat bones, poultry bones, seafood bones. and/or vegetables in water with aromatics until their flavor is extracted. Used as a base for soups, sauces, and other preparations.
SWEAT – To cook an item, usually vegetables, in a covered pan in a small amount of fat until it softens and releases moisture but does not brown.
ZEST – The thin, brightly colored outer part of a citrus rind. It contains volatile oils, making it ideal for use as a flavoring.
Hope this helps!