The Eat Food NOT Money Cookbook

ABC’s

What does that mean?

Bake – To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usually implies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.

Barbecue – A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade, or sauce is brushed on the item before or during cooking.

Baster – A large kitchen syringe used to baste meats with their own gravy, another liquid, or melted fat.

Batter – A mixture of flour and liquid with the addition of flour, eggs, and sometimes fat, used to prepare cakes, muffins, pancakes, crepes, and quick breads. Also applies to frying batters.

Beat – To agitate a mixture with the goal of making it smooth and introducing as much air as possible into it.

Blanch – A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.

Boil – To cook in water or other liquid heated until bubbling vigorously.

Bouillon – French, for broth. Refers to the liquid resulting from simmering meats, vegetables, and aromatics in water until the meats have lost all their nutritional elements to the water and the broth can gel upon cooling.

Braise – To cook in a small amount of liquid (also called stewing or pot roasting). Usually, the purpose of braising is to concentrate the food’s flavors in the surrounding liquid so that it can be made into a sauce, or allowed to reduce so that it coats or is reabsorbed by the foods being braised.

Bread – To coat foods to be sautéed or deep-fried with flour or a breadcrumb mixture to create a crust.

Broth – Broth and stock are interchangeable terms and mean a flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables, often with herbs, in liquid, usually water.

Buttercream – A mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs or custard.

Butterfly – To cut and open out the edges of meat or seafood like a book or the wings of a butterfly.

Cheesecloth – A light, fine mesh gauze used for straining liquids. Also used to hold spices to be boiled in liquids.

Chop – To cut into irregular pieces. Foods can be chopped from very fine (minced) to coarse.

Clarified butter – Because butter contains milk solids which burn at relatively low temperatures, it can’t be used to sauté at the high temperatures required for browning most meats and seafood and some vegetables. Clarifying removes the water and milk solids in butter.

Cream – To stir a fat—usually butter—and sugar together rapidly until the mixture is completely combined.

Deep-fry – To cook completely submerged in hot oil. Deep-frying at the proper temperature, foods absorb little oil and are surprisingly light. But if the oil is too hot, foods will brown too quickly and stay raw in the middle. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the foods will sit in the oil too long and absorb too much oil. You can judge the oil by how certain foods behave. When the oil is too cool for frying, foods sink to the bottom and stay there. In somewhat hotter oil (but still not hot enough) foods sink to the bottom and then slowly rise to the top. The oil is at the proper temperature when the food doesn’t drop all the way to the bottom when it is added and then bobs back to the surface within a second or two. When the oil is too hot, foods immediately float, remaining on the surface, surrounded with bubbles. These are not necessarily hard and fast rules. French fries, for instance, require oil that’s hot enough to immediately surround the potatoes with bubbles.

Dice – To cut into cubes (unlike chopping, which cuts foods into irregular pieces).

Dutch oven – A cast-iron pot used for the preparation of stews, braises, and pot-roasts.

Egg wash – A mixture of egg or egg white, oil, and water brushed over floured items, which are then deep-fried or pan-fried in clarified butter or oil.

Eggs:

Slightly/lightly beaten – Using a wire whisk or a fork, break the yolks but don’t beat any further.

Beaten – Using a wire whisk or a fork, rapidly mix the eggs until the yolks and whites are completely mixed.

Separated – Cold eggs are easier to separate. Gently crack the egg open in the center, either hitting it gently with a knife, or using a counter edge. Hold the egg upright over a bowl and gently pull off the top half of the shell. Gently pour the contents between the two shell halves, allowing the egg whites to pour out in the process, leaving just the yolk in one shell half.

Fritter – Any food coated with a batter or crumbs and deep-fried.

Fry – To cook in a hot fat.

Garnish – To add an interesting and completely edible item to a plate to make it look more attractive; or any such edible item.

Glaze – To give food a shiny surface by brushing it with sauce. For meat, to coat with sauce and then brown in an oven.

Julienne – To cut into long thin matchstick size strips.

Marinade – A mixture of ingredients used to flavor and moisten foods. May be liquid or dry. Liquid marinades are usually acidic based and dry marinades are usually salt based.

Mince – To chop very fine.

Mix – To combine ingredients by hand or with a mixer with the goal of blending them well and uniformly together.

Puree – To strain foods until they are completely smooth.

Roast – The purpose of roasting is to create a golden brown crust on whatever it is we are roasting and, at the same time, make sure the meat, fish, or vegetable properly cooks in the center. When roasting, no liquid such as broth, wine, or water comes in contact with the food—only hot air, or, if the roast is being basted, hot fat.

Sauté – To cook over high heat in a small amount of fat in a sauté pan or skillet.

Sear – To brown the surface of pieces of meats and or fish by submitting them to intense initial heat.

Shred
– To cut into fine strips usually with a grater or food processor. Also refers to pulling meat into thin strips.

Simmer – To maintain the temperature of a liquid just below boiling.

Spring-form pan – A cake pan with a detachable bottom and a clamp on its side that can be released to easily unmold the cake.

Steam – To cook in steam by suspending foods over (not in) boiling water, in a covered pot or steamer.

Stew – A cooking method nearly identical to braising but generally involving smaller pieces of meat, and hence a shorter cooking time. Also, the dish prepared by using this method of preparation.

Stir-fry – Technique of cooking thin slivers of meat, shellfish, and vegetables in hot oil.

Whip – To beat a preparation with the goal of introducing air into it usually done with a wire whisk.

Wok – A round-bottomed pan, usually made of rolled steel, used for virtually all Chinese cooking methods.

Zest – The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. The oils make it ideal for use as a flavoring. Remove the zest with a grater, citrus zester, or vegetable peeler. Be careful to remove only the colored layer, not the bitter-white pith beneath it.

Common Abbreviations

Cup = c or C
Fluid = fl
Gallon = gal
Ounce = oz
Package = pkg
Pint = pt
Teaspoon = tsp or t
Tablespoon = Tbl or Tbs or T
Square = sq
Quart = qt
Pound = lb or #
Milliliter = ml

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