March 25, 2023

Culinary Terms Defined

culinary termsAt times the culinary terms used in recipes or culinary circles can be a bit confusing. Belowis an abbreviated “culinary dictionary” – some of the more common culinary terms and their definitions.

A la – French term meaning “of the”, so A la Francaise means of the French

Al Dente – Italian term meaning “to the tooth”, refers to the state when pasta is perfectly done, when the teeth sink into it with slight resistance, not too soft or too firm

Baste – To moisten cooking meat with fat, sauce or natural juices

Bouquet Garni – a bundle of herbs that are tied with a string of bound in cheese cloth and added to soups, stews or sauces while cooking, letting the flavor but not the body of the herbs into the recipe

Braise – A method of cooking where fat is used to sauté and then slow cooking with very little moisture completes the process

Caramelize – When white sugar is cooked over a low heat until it forms a golden brown liquid

Chop – Food is cut into uniform sized pieces of varying size, finely chopped to coarsely chopped.

Cubed – Food is cut into squared shapes, approximately ½” in size

Dash – A very small amount, less than 1/8 tsp

Diced – Food cut into small uniform pieces

Devilled – To prepare with spicy seasonings such as cayenne

Dredge – To coat as with flour, bread crumbs or sugar – any dry ingredient

Entrée – Typically refers to the main course of a meal in modern terminology

Fillet – A boneless, skinless cut of meat, fish or poultry

Fold – A method of stirring that mixes ingredients without releasing the air

Garnish – Refers to the process and the food used to give a pleasing appearance to prepared food

Grate – Rubbing a larger piece of food over a surface that has small raised holes to remove particles in small portions

Hors D’oeuvres – One of the most populary culinary terms, this is French for appetizer, small servings of food served hot or cold to begin the meal

culinary termsInfuse – To boil herbs or other flavorings with a liquid, teas are good examples

Julienne – To cut into long thin strips

Knead – Working dough with the hands

Mash – To press or squash ripe or processed foods to make a thick paste

Marbled – When meet is veined with fat, this meat cooks very tender and juicy

Marinade – to rub with spices or to immerse in an herbed acidic bath for the purpose of enhancing flavor or tenderness

Mince – To chop very fine or grind

Pare – To cut away undesirable portions such as rinds or peels

Sauté – To cook or fry quickly in fat

Scald – Pour boiling water over something

Whip – To beat something with the purpose of introducing air, making frothy

culinary terms

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