Al Dente : Pasta that is cooked al dente and has a slight bite to it. ( Because no one wants soggy pasta!) The etymology is Italian "to the tooth."
Braise: Braised food is first browned in a small amount of fat and then simmered over low heat in a small amount of liquid. The liquid should partially cover the food but not totally cover it. Cooking a pot roast or pork chops are two examples of braising.
Brown: Heat a small amount of fat in a skillet or pan. Add the food and cook on both sides until brown in color. Browning adds color and flavor to the dish. Common foods that are browned during cooking include fried chicken, steaks, pot roast and fried potatoes. To fry or sauté are other terms used for browning.
Julienne: To cut food into even-sized matchsticks. Vegetables are typically cut in this fashion.
Proof: Proofing means to allow yeast bread to rise. It also means to test to see if yeast is still viable. To proof yeast, add a teaspoon yeast to a bit of water and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes and if the mixture bubbles, smells yeasty, it is good to use for baking.
Zest: The outer part of citrus fruit, removed with a scraper or grater.
Deglazing: When a piece of meat is pan-seared to form a delicious crust, there are often bits of crusty, flavorful meat and meat juices left in the pan. Deglazing is the process of adding liquid to the pan such as wine, or chicken/beef broth or stock, then stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the browned bits. Once this is accomplished -- usually in a matter of seconds -- the mixture can be used as a starting point for a delicious gravy or sauce.
Blanching : A cooking process wherein the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process.
Poaching: A type of moist heat cooking technique that involves having an item cooked by submerging it in liquid, such as water, milk, stock, or wine. Poaching is differentiated from the other "moist heat" cooking methods, such as simmering and boiling, in that it uses a relatively low temperature (about 160–180 °F (71–82 °C). This temperature range makes it particularly suitable for delicate food, such as eggs, poultry, fish and fruit, which might easily fall apart or dry out using other cooking methods.
Dredging: A cooking technique used to coat wet or moist foods with a dry ingredient prior to cooking. Also referred to as breading, it means to dip food such as poultry, fish, or meat in flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs to help preserve moisture during cooking.
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