Cooking Terms

If you’re fairly new to cooking, you might run into some terms, often in French, that you don’t recognize. It’s rarely as complicated as it seems – take a look at these explanations of common cooking techniques.

Bain-marie See Double boil
Blanch Boil or steam something briefly, then cool immediately in cold water.
Blind bake Line pie crust with foil and fill with dry beans or rice before baking in order to keep it from puffing up during the pre-bake. This is necessary when making a pie with an unbaked filling (cream pie) or a pie with a juicy filling that would otherwise get soggy.
Deglaze Add a liquid, such as wine, to a hot pan to remove bits of food from it and incorporate them into the liquid.
Dice Cut into small, uniform cubes.
Double boil A technique for heating or melting delicate products like milk and chocolate – see how to fake a double boiler.
Fold Incorporate something delicate, such as whipped cream or whipped egg whites, so as to avoid losing its fluffiness or breaking it. To fold, slowly scrape your wooden spoon or rubber spatula toward you along the bottom of the bowl so that it picks up the mixture, lift, and turn over. Repeat until everything is just barely mixed in.
High-speed blender Extremely powerful blender that can make much smoother liquids than a tradictional blender, and can also grinding things like nuts and beans into butters and flours – see Vitamix review.
Mince Chop into tiny pieces.
Purée Blend something in order to liquify it.
Reduce Boil a liquid so that it lessens in volume and thickens.
Sauté Fry something, usually onions and/or garlic, in a small amount of oil or butter.
Simmer Boil something over very low heat, so that it only bubbles slightly.
Steam Cook vegetables in a wire or bamboo basket over a small amount of boiling water – see how to fake a steamer.

More Cooking Tips

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