Glossary of Cooking Terms
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A Winter squash with dark green ribbed skin and bright orange flesh. Easy to prepare and excellent if simple baked and topped with butter, brown sugar and a pinch of nutmeg and
Small stuffed crescent shaped pasta. May be filled with meat, cheese, seafood, pesto or a combination of any of these according to taste.
A garlic mayonnaise frequently served with fish or poultry. Delicious with Belgian French fries.
An Italian term meaning "to the tooth." Pasta is cooked tender, but still firm. It's still has a slightly resistance consistency when you bite into it.
A La Mode
Served with ice cream.
A description of a food which is garnished or cooked with toasted or sauteed almonds.
Angel Food Cake
A white cake, tall and light in texture, leavened only by beaten egg whites. Before the invention of the egg beater, making this heavenly delight required a deep platter, a whisk and a very strong arm for whipping the egg whites. The electric mixer has simplified the process.
This Italian term means "before the pasta" and refers to an assortment of Italian appetizers.
French cooking term, used for describing sauced dishes that are topped with bread crumbs, or cheese or both and then broiled until slightly browned. It is often used to describe dishes that are covered or baked in a creamy cheese sauce.
Served in the juice of roasted meat.
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An Italina sauce or dip made of olive oil, butter, garlic & anchovies. Served warm with raw vegetables.
French bread that is shaped into a long thin loaf. Crusty on the outside and very light and chewy on the inside. Baguettes often have large "hole" on the inside resulting from the amount of air that is left in them to ensure the light texture.
To cook food surrounded by dry heat, generally in an oven.
To moisten food with melted butter, pan drippings, marinades, melted fat, or other liquid over food while it cooks. This promotes moistness and a browned surface. Continuous basting adds flavor and prevents meat from drying out and to add flavor.
To make a mixture smooth by whipping or stirring with a spoon, electric mixer, fork, wire whisk, or beater. To stir vigorously with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, hand beater or electric mixer to smooth and lighten a mixture.
A thick cream soup usually made with fish or shellfish.
To scald or parboil food in water or steam. To partially cook an ingredient, usually vegetables, by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes. Often, they are to be plunged into cold water immediately to stop cooking. This makes fruit easier to peel, and reduces strong flavors in some vegetables. To immerse, usually vegetables or fruit, briefly into boiling water so as to inactivate enzymes, loosen skins, or soak away excess salt.
To combine ingredients until smooth and uniform in texture, flavor, and color. To stir, or beat ingredients to form a well combined mixture.
To heat liquid to 212 degrees F. , which causes a constant production of bubbles that rise and break the surface and cannot be "stirred down".
To remove all meat from the bone before cooking.
To cook food slowly in a small amount of liquid, in a tightly covered pan. Food is cooked slowly by first sauteeing in hot fat and then simmering in a small bit of liquid.
To coat in breadcrumbs (or cracker or other dry crumbs).
To prepare a beverage by allowing boiling water to extract flavor and/or color from certain substances.
Food grilled on a skewer.
To cook food using an overhead source of heat.
A light soup made from simmering fish, meat or vegetables in water.
To cook food in butter, oil or fat over a high heat until it becomes "browned" according to cooking directions. Browning ranges from lightly browned to dark golden brown.
A bunch of herbs, usually thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together with a string or in a cheesecloth bag with a string attached which is added to a soup or stew to add flavour but it subsequently removed before serving.
To split meat almost entirely in half with a knife and then spread it apart.
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The process of causing sugar or the natural sugars in food to darken to a golden brown and develop a rich flavor by cooking on a constant heat. To make a mixture of sugar and butter, heat over low heat until brown and coast vegetables or meat according to recipes instructions.
To cut food into small pieces. A knife is normally used, but a food processor can be helpful if you're chopping a large amount of food.
Butter which is clarified by first heating it until it foams, and then, straining through very fine cheesecloth or skimming off the milk solids.
To dip food into egg, bread crumbs, or sauce until completely covered. Also used do describe covering baked goods with frosting or icing.
To refrigerate or let food sit at room temperature until it is no longer warm to the touch.
Coquilles St. Jacques
A dish made of scallops cooked in a creamy wine sauce, topped
with bread crumbs and sometimes cheese. It is traditionally
served in scallop shaped shells, but personal ramekins would
also be suitable.
Koo-LEE, a general term referring to a thick sauce or puree.
Pronounced, KOOS-koos. Couscous is associated with Morocco, but is a staple of the North African cuisine. Couscous is granular semolina (cracked wheat) which can be cooked and served as a porridge, as a type of salad (similar to pasta salad), or served with various fruits. Couscous varies from country to country, Moroccans tend to include saffron, Algerians like to add tomatoes and Tunisians spice theirs up with the hot pepper based harissa sauce.
To beat butter or shortening, either alone or with sugar, until it is light and fluffy. To combine food until soft by beating with a spoon, whisk, or a hand mixer. To beat or blend to the consistency of cream.
Cream Of Tartar
An acid ingredient which stabilizes beaten egg whites. As a rule of thumb, use 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar per egg white or 1 teaspoon per cup of egg whites. For meringues, use 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar for each 2 egg whites.
A light, but rich, hollow pastry puff which may be filled with a sweet filling for dessert or with a savory one such as chicken salad for a main dish. Called a choux pastry after the French word for cabbage, cream puffs do come out of the oven looking like little cabbages.
A cream sauce is but a roux... you can make this to serve over any vegetable. Just chop some onion, sauté in LOTS of butter. When onion is translucent, add milk, then flour, stirring until you get the consistency that you want! No measurements needed, just add milk & flour until you get the thickness & taste you want.
A thick cream used in sauces and soups and as a condiment for fresh fruits. It's easy to make your own at home.
A light, thin, egg-rich pancake. The word is French, but the crepe is so versatile that you'll find it in many other languages. It's A Russian Blini, A Jewish Blintz, A Chinese Egg Roll, A Greek Krep Or A Hungarian Palascinta. Depending on the filling, it can be an appetizer, a main dish or a dessert.
Crepe batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. Letting it rest for an hour or so after mixing allows the flour to absorb moisture and lets the air bubbles dissipate so that the crepe does not have tiny holes. Crepes can be made in advance, stacked, wrapped and refrigerated for a few days, then reheated to serve. For longer storage, double-wrap and freeze.
To press into very fine particles.
To cut meat, poultry or vegetables into pieces. To cut food into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes.
Also known as Comino, Cumin seeds come in three colors: Amber, white and black. Cumin, a dried fruit of the parsley family is available in seed or ground form. It is most commonly used in Curry dishes and Chili dishes.
To congeal milk with heat until solid lumps or curds are formed.
Also known as syneresis or weeping. When egg mixtures such as custards or sauces are cooked too rapidly, the protein becomes over-coagulated and separates from the liquid leaving a mixture resembling fine curds and whey. If curdling has not progressed too far, it may sometimes be reversed by removing the mixture from the heat and stirring or beating vigorously.
To prevent syneresis or curdling, use a low temperature, stir, if appropriate for the recipe, and cool quickly by setting the pan in a bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes.
The term curdling is usually used in connection with a stirred mixture such as custard sauce, while weeping or syneresis are more often used with reference to pie meringues or baked custards.
To work a solid fat such as butter or shortening into dry ingredients. To combine a solid fat such as lard into dry ingredients by using either two knives in a short cutting motion or a pastry blender or even a fork to cut the fat into pieces of a desired size.
A cooked mixture of eggs and milk with sugar and flavoring sometimes added. There are two basic kinds of custard-stirred and baked.
Stirred custard, also known as soft custard, custard sauce or, erroneously, boiled custard, is cooked on top of the range to a creamy, but pourable, consistency. Although some cooks like to cook the mixture in a double boiler over hot water, a heavy saucepan over low heat works as well. Stirred custard is eaten as a pudding or served over cake or fruit.
Baked custard is cooked in a water bath in the oven and has a firm, but, delicate, gel-like consistency. It is a dessert in itself or it may serve as a base for toppings and sauces. Unsweetened baked custard can become a quiche or timbale.
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A small amount less than 1/8 of a teaspoon (Use 1/2 of a 1/8 teaspoon measure).
To cook by completely immersing food in very hot fat.
Add stock, wine or water to the pan after meat has been cooked and removed. When the liquid is added, it loosens the flavor from the pan to make a sauce for the meat.
A small cup of coffee served after dinner.
To cook in a deep pan or skillet containing hot cooking oil. Deep-fried foods are generally completely immersed in the hot oil.
To prepare with spicy seasoning or sauce.
To cut up in uniform pieces. Usually in 1/8 to 1/4 inch squares.
To stir a solid food into a liquid to form a mixture in which the solid food does not remain.
Not an exact measurement but would be equivalent to approximately a heaping spoonful.
To scatter small bits of butter over top of a food. To randomly drop small pieces of an ingredient over food.
To coat a food with flour, bread crumbs, corn meal, sugar or other dry ingredient before or after cooking. Most often done with pot roasts and stew meat before browning.
The juices left from meat which has been roasted.
To sprinkle a food lightly with a dry ingredient.
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Egg Blood Spots Also called meat spots.
Occasionally found on an egg yolk. Contrary to popular opinion, these tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Rather, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots.
Mass candling methods reveal most eggs with blood spots and those eggs are removed but, even with electronic spotters, it is impossible to catch all of them. As an egg ages, the yolk takes up water from the albumen to dilute the blood spot so, in actuality, a blood spot indicates that the egg is fresh. Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are fit to eat. The spot can be removed with the tip of a knife, if you wish.
A beverage of eggs, milk, sugar and flavoring. Rich cream may take the place of part or all of the milk. Spirits are often added at holiday time. Eggnog may be served hot or cold, but it should be prepared as a stirred custard. The name may come from the noggin or small cup in which it was served in earlier days.
Suspension of two liquid ingredients that do not dissolve into each other (oil and water).
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A concentrated source of food energy containing 9 calories per gram. In addition to supplying energy, fat aids in the absorption of certain vitamins, enhances flavor, aroma and mouth-feel of food, and adds satiety to the diet.
Fatty acids, the basic chemical units of fat, are either saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
Saturated fatty acids are found primarily in fats of animal origin (meat and dairy products) and are usually solids at room temperature. Exceptions are some vegetable oils (palm, palm kernel and coconut) which contain large amounts of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fat increases blood cholesterol.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in fats of both plant and animal origin. They tend to decrease blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found primarily in fats of plant origin and in fats of fatty fish. They also tend to decrease blood cholesterol levels.
To change the chemical composition of certain foods through the action of microorganisms. For example, yeast acts on malt to produce beer.
A combination of chives, chervil, tarragon and parsley.
A method of gently mixing ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to cut down through the mixture, move across the bottom of the bowl, and come back up, “folding” some of the mixture from the bottom close to the surface. Using a gentle over and under motion to combine ingredients to prevent loss of air that may result from stirring or beating. To blend a delicate, frothy mixture into a heavier one preferably with a rubber spatula so that none of the lightness or volume is lost. The motion used is one of turning under and bringing up.
European Fondant is not rolled fondant. Fondant originates from "fondre" - to melt and is a soft creamy preparation of sugar, water, and flavoring.
Rolled Fondant is a Canadian term for Sugarpaste, which is a different product.
Uncooked Fondant is made by simply mixing all ingredients together.
From fondre - the French word for "melt," the term "fondue" has several meanings. It is basically a casual dining procedure in which the food is dipped (or even cooked) in a single heated pot at the table.
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Add extra appeal to a finished dish, such as a sprig of parsley or the cherry on top of the sundae.
To cover or coat with sauce, syrup, or egg white. After applying, it hardens and becomes firm adding color and flavor.
Use a grater to rub food, such as vegetables, cheeses and spices, across surface to make fine pieces.
To coat with a thin layer of fat or cooking spray. Usually to keep food (such as bread or cake) from sticking to the pan.
To cut, crush, or force through a chopper so as to produce small bits.
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To become semisolid either through chilling or the addition of gelatin or pectin
Extracted liquid that comes from fruits, vegetables or meats.
To cut food into thin sticks about two inches long. Used most often for salads and sitr-fry dishes.
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To fold and press dough with the heel of the hand until smooth and uniform.
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One of the factors in egg yolk that helps to stabilize emulsions such as mayonnaise, salad dressings and Hollandaise sauce. Lecithin contains a phospholipid, acetycholine, which has been demonstrated to have a profound effect on brain function.
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A process of flavoring food by soaking in a liquid or dry mixture. The liquid is usually called a “marinade.” To soak usually in a highly seasoned oil-acid solution so as to flavor and/or tenderize food.
A soft confection made from sugar, corn syrup, egg white and gelatin.
Has been used for centuries by pastry chefs all over the world. It can be used in baking and for covering and filling cakes. Marzipan looks fabulous for colorful cake decorations and figurines. Marzipan has to have at least 25% almonds otherwise it is considered almond paste.
A thin layer of Marzipan can be used to cover a cake. Colored it can replace the need for frosting. It is also used under Fondant, much like apricot glaze to protect the Fondant from moisture.
In commercial bakeries the almonds are finely grounded by passing them through granite rollers. The finer the almonds the better your results will be.
Marzipan can be softened by adding small amounts of syrup to it, if too soft add additional powdered sugar to it.
To remove all lumps from food with either a fork, a potato masher, or electric beater.
A salad dressing made of eggs, oil vinegar or lemon juice and seasonings. The egg yolk acts as an emulsifying ingredient to keep the oil and the vinegar from separating. In making mayonnaise, remember to add the oil to the egg-liquid mixture very slowly.
To heat a solid food until it becomes liquid or semi-liquid.
A foam of beaten egg white and sugar. Egg foams were used in pastries much earlier, but the name meringue came from a pastry chef named Gasparini in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. In 1720, he created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar from which the simplified meringue evolved. Its fame spread and Marie Antoinette is said to have prepared the sweet with her own hands at the Trianon in France.
To chop food into very small uneven pieces. Used often for garlic or fresh herbs.
To beat or stir foods together until they are incorporated.
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Beaten eggs cooked in a pan and rolled or folded. The ancient Romans supposedly made the first omelet and, because it was sweetened with honey, they called it ovemele (eggs and honey). Some insist this was the origin of the word omelet. Others maintain the word was derived from amelette (Fr.) Meaning blade, describing the long flat shape of an omelet.
Whatever its origin, an omelet can hold or be topped with any food from caviar to leftover meatloaf. The list of filling and topping possibilities is endless, limited only by your imagination and the contents of your refrigerator.
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To cook in a skillet or pan using no fat other than what is needed to prevent sticking.
To partially cook in boiling water. Most parboiled foods require additional cooking.
To dry or roast slightly through exposure to intense heat.
Describes the consistency of gelatin after it has been chilled for a small amount of time. Mixture should resemble the consistency of egg whites.
Marinated hard-cooked eggs. The marinade may be made from vinegar and pickling spices although spicy cider or pickle juice works well, too. The juice from pickled beets is one of the most popular marinades. When sliced, the lovely red color is a pretty contrast to the yolk and white.
(noun) Seed in the center of the flesh of a fruit. (verb) To take the seed out of a piece of fruit or vegetable. (adjective) “Pitted” foods, such as cherries or dates, have had their seed removed.
To cook in a small amount of gently simmering liquid.
An egg-rich, hollow bread baked in small cups or pans. A very hot oven creates the steam inside the batter that pops them to magnificent heights.
To prevent food spoilage by pickling, salting, dehydrated, smoking, or boiling in syrup.
To allow a yeast dough to rise before baking.
A combination of amino acids, some of which are called essential because the human body needs them but can't synthesize them. The human diet must regularly supply protein which contains all of the essential amino acids: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine. They are present in eggs in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the body need, so the egg is often the measuring stick by which other protein foods are measured.
To heat the oven to the temperature needed before using it.
To blend a food into a liquid or heavy paste. To process foods to a smooth mixture. Can be prepared in an electric blender, food processor, food mill or sieve.
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An unsweetened, open-faced custard pie served hot or cold as an entree, appetizer or snack. It requires only a few ingredients-eggs, milk, seasonings and whatever else you might wish to add in the way of chopped vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood or shredded cheese. Quiche can be made in a conventional pie plate or pan or in a special dish called a quiche dish. Quiches are traditionally made in a pastry crust, but crusts made from mashed potatoes, cooked rice or spinach, bread crumbs or cereals are also delicious and do not contain the high fat content of pastry.
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To bring condensed or concentrated food to its original strength by adding water.
To boil liquids briskly, so that the liquid evaporates to thicken (usually) the sauce, making it rich and flavorful.
To cook an uncovered piece of meat, poultry, or vegetables in an oven without adding liquid.
To boil rapidly and continuously.
To make a roux, melt butter over medium heat until it sizzles, sprinkle and equal amount of flour evenly over the pan and stir briskly with a wire whisk. The mixture should be smooth, and beige/yellow in color. Cook about 2 minutes. This mixture is generally used to thicken sauces and soups. It's also used in Cajun dishes, although the roux is often cooked much longer to create a stronger tasting roux.
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Salad Dressing Terms:
Fat Free Salad Dressing
Less that 0.5 grams of fat per serving (average serving is 2 Tablespoons)
Light Salad Dressing
1/3 fewer calories or 50% less fat than regular salad dressing
Low Calorie Salad Dressing
40 calories or less per serving (average serving 2 Tablespoons)
Low Fat Salad Dressing
3 grams or less of fat per serving (average serving 2 Tablespoons)
Reduced Fat Salad Dressing
At least 25% less fat than regular salad dressing
The Mexican word for "sauce," which can signify cooked or fresh mixtures. Salsa cruda is "uncooked salsa"; salsa verde is "green salsa," which is typically based on TOMATILLOS, green CHILES and CILANTRO. A broad selection of salsas - fresh, canned or in jars - is available in supermarkets today. They can range in spiciness from mild to mouth-searing. Fresh salsas are located in a market's refrigerated section. At home, they should be tightly covered and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Unopened cooked salsas can be stored at room temperature for 6 months; once opened, refrigerate them for up to 1 month.
One of several types of bacteria which can cause food poisoning (Salmonellosis) if ingested in large numbers. It is found in the intestinal tract of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, seafood, and people. The bacteria can easily be passed from the intestinal tract to the hands and onto food.
Although the inside of the egg was once considered almost sterile, Salmonella enteritidis (Se) has been found recently inside a small number of eggs (much less than 1%). If an egg does contain Se, the numbers in a freshly laid egg probably will be small and, if the eggs are properly refrigerated, will not multiply enough to cause illness in a healthy person.
The majority of Salmonellosis outbreaks have been attributed to foods other than eggs-chicken, beef, and fish-to human carriers, and through them, utensils and other foods during preparation. Of the outbreaks involving eggs, almost all have occurred in the foodservice sector and have been the result of inadequate refrigeration and insufficient cooking. Se will not grow at temperatures below 40ºF. And is killed at 160ºF., known as the danger zone, are ideal for rapid growth. Illness from Se can be avoided through adequate refrigeration, proper cooking and sanitary kitchen and food handling procedures.
Eggs are a time-honored thickener for sauces, but they fill more than that primary function. Eggs enrich flavor, add color and increase nutritive value. Milk or cream sauces thickened with eggs are used to bind casseroles and meat loaves. When sweetened, such sauces are served with desserts.
Eggs are also used in butter sauces which are emulsions of butter and other liquids. On heating, the egg both thickens and strengthens the emulsion. Hollandaise is the best known sauce of this type.
Other egg sauces include those in which chopped hard-cooked eggs are an ingredient such as Polonaise Sauce.
To cook on a stove in a small amount of oil or butter until tender. To fry without searing. To cook food in a small amount of fat over moderate heat while stirring to prevent it from burning or sticking to the pan. Most often done with onions, mushrooms and other chopped vegetable.
To heat a liquid almost to the boiling point.
To bake with a sauce in a casserole. The food may either be mixed or layered with the sauce.
To cut slits through the outer surface of food before cooking, to tenderize, or to make a decorative pattern. To cut slits partway through the outer surface of foods. Often used with meat.
To brown meat quickly on all sides, with high heat, to seal in the juices.
To make long narrow strips of food with a food processor or a grater.
To remove the outer husk from corn or the shell from oysters, clams, etc.
To pass dry and liquid ingredients through a closely meshed metal utensil so as to separate liquid from solid and fine from course. To pass usually dry ingredients through a fine wire mesh so as to produce a uniform consistency.
To use a sifter or sieve to remove lumps from dry ingredients, such as flour or sugar, and to lighten the mixture by incorporating air into it.
A method of cooking food in liquid that is kept at or just below the boiling point.
To dissolve a thickening agent such as flour or cornstarch in a little cold water before adding it to the hot liquid which is to be thickened.
To cut food into flat pieces of the same size.
The peaks of whipped cream or egg whites which curl or are rounded at the tip after beating when the beaters are slowly raised.
A puffy, delicate, light-as-air creation. Savory or sweet, hot or cold, soufflés are sensational and impressive whether served as a main dish, accompaniment or dessert!
Strictly speaking, a true soufflé consists of a thick white sauce blended with beaten egg yolks and leavened by stiffly beaten whites. It may also contain finely chopped or pureed meats, cheese, seafood or vegetables and is always served hot. Condensed cream soups or quick-cooking tapioca cooked in milk are sometimes substituted for the white sauce. For sweet or dessert soufflés, sugar is added to the sauce.
To thread usually meat and vegetables onto a sharpened rod, as in shish kabobs.
To remove any fat or foam from the surface of liquid. To ladle or spoon off excess fat or scum from the surface of a liquid.
To preserve or cook through continuous exposure to wood smoke for a long time.
Stale bread cubes
To make stale bread cubes for stuffings, remove crusts from a white loaf of unsliced bread. cut into 1 inch cubes, and leave overnight in a bowl, uncovered.
A method of cooking food in the vapor given off by boiling water. To cook with steam by either putting food on a rack above steaming water in a tightly covered pot, or in a double boiler or using a steamer.
To let a food, such as tea, stand in water that is just below boiling, to extract flavor and color.
To cleanse and purify through exposure to intense heat.
To cook slowly in small amount of liquid over a long period of time.
The peaks of whipped cream or egg whites that hold a point after beating when the beaters are slowly raised.
To incorporate ingredients with a spoon to prevent them from sticking during cooking or to cool them after cooking. To combine ingredients with a circular motion until uniform in consistency.
Small pieces of food which are cooked by being rapidly fried in hot oil while stirring constantly. To cook meats and/or vegetables with a constant stirring motion in a small amount of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat.
To pass through a strainer to separate solids from liquids. To pass through a strainer, sieve or cheesecloth so as to break down or remove solids or impurities.
Made by simmering fish, chicken or meat bones in water with added seasonings and then strained to obtain only the liquid.
To fill or pack cavaties especially those of meats, vegetables, pasta and poultry.
Also referred to as Roll-out icing or Pastillage. Sugarpaste - An icing sugar and gum based paste. Easy to mould, shape, color and roll out and you don't have to wait for the sugarpaste to dry before finishing the final decoration on the cake. Also you can add gum to it so that it will dry harder for modelling flowers or sculptures.
Sweet butter is commonly used to describe unsalted butter. In regular recipes, you may use salted butter if you like salt, but in baking it's important to use unsalted or sweet butter when they call for it.
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To heat nuts, seeds, coconut or bread in the oven until they are slightly browned. This will bring out their natural flavor. To brown and crisp usually by means of direct heat.
Using a lifting motion to tumble ingredients together.
To bind liquids and solids to form a thick mixture.
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To beat food rapidly by using a whisk or electric beater, to incorporate air into the mixture. To beat a mixture until air has been thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is light and frothy.
To whip or fluff by using a whisk.
To apply heat so as to cause dehydration and a droopy appearance.
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The thin colored outer peel of a citrus fruit.
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