A Few Terms


PARBOIL - Partially cooking food by heating it briefly in boiling water. This is often done to save time when cooking dense foods, such as cauliflower. Once a food is parboiled, you can finish cooking with a quicker method, such as stir-frying which adds flavor.

DUTCH OVEN - A large pot with a tight-fitting lid.

REDUCE - Boiling a liquid - such as broth or wine - until it cooks down by evaporation, making it thicker and more intensely flavored.

DEGLAZE - Removing the browned bits of food (usually meat) from a pan in which it has been cooking, by pouring in a liquid (usually wine or broth) and stirring. Often the mixture that results from deglazing is used to make a sauce for the meat.

TEMPER - Warming a food (such as eggs) by beating it lightly in a bowl, then briskly whisking in a small amount of hot liquid. Tempering eggs before add them to a sauce will keep them from curdling.

SCALD - Heating a liquid, such a smilk, until just before it boils.

SWEAT - Cooking food (usually a vegetable) without browning it by heating in a small bit of fat over low heat, then covering the pan so the food cooks in its own juices.

ROAST VS BAKE - Both involve cooking food with dry heat, usually in an oven (though roasting can also take place over an open fire). Roasting often refers to cooking that results in the formation of a crisp crust on the food (such as the skin on a turkey or chicken), while baking often does not (cakes and cookies).

DREDGE - Coating a food lightly with flour, bread crumbs, cornmeal or another dry ingredient before frying.

SEAR - Browning meat or fish quickly by cooking it on a very hot skillet or under a broiler, sealing in the meat’s juices.

BRAISE - A long, slow method of cooking that yields very tender, flavorful results. The food, usually meat or vegetables, is first browned in fat, then placed in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and cooked in a small amount of liquid (such as wine or broth) over low heat. Can be done in the oven or on the stovetop.