Simple cooking terms to take you from Cook to Chef:

al dente
cooked foods, usually pasta or vegetables that are prepared to be a bit firm to the bite, not soft and mushy.

Aromatic
a food added to a dish to enhance the flavor and aroma, includes herbs and spices as well as some vegetables.

Bouquet Garni
a bundle of seasonings, usually bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and parsley stems tied in a leek leaf or a piece of cheesecloth used to flavor foods cooked in a liquid base. Parsley stems are used instead of leaves because they have terrific flavor and they will never be seen. (Save the leaves for garnish). The bundle is tied in cheesecloth so that it can be removed from the stock.

Broth
a liquid enriched with simmering meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. A broth can be served as a finished dish

Caramelize
the process of cooking sugar until it begins to color. Also, while slowly cooking some vegetables e.g. onions, root vegetables, the natural sugars are released and the vegetables will caramelize in their own sugars.

Dice
to cut food into cubes. The cubes can be small about 1/4 inch, medium about 1/2 inch or large, about 3/4 inch

Herbes de Provence
a European blend of herbs consisting of chervil, tarragon, chives and parsley.

Julienne
to cut into matchstick-sized strips. To julienne, first cut the vegetable into 1/8 inch slices. Then stack the slices and cut them into 1/8 inch strips. Trim them to the desired length.

Kosher salt
a coarse salt that does not contain magnesium carbonate.

Marinade the seasoned liquid used to marinate food. The marinade usually contains herbs, spices, an acid such as wine, vinegar or lemon juice and oil

Marinate
to soak a food usually meat, in a seasoned liquid in order to tenderize and flavor the food.

Mirepoix
a mixture of vegetables, primarily 3 parts onion, 2 parts celery, 1 part carrots and 1 part assorted other vegetable trimmings

Papillote, (en)
a cooking method in which food is wrapped in paper or foil and then heated so that the food steams in its own moisture.

Proofing
checking to make sure that yeast is not dead by combining with warm water and a pinch of sugar. After ten minutes a thick foam should form.

Reduction
as a sauce cooks, moisture is released in the form of steam causing the remaining ingredients to concentrate, thickening the sauce and strengthening the flavors. This process is known as reduction. Many sauces are finished in this manner because it is not necessary to add starches to thicken the sauce. Keep a close eye on the sauce as it reduces until it reaches the desired consistency.

Roux
a cooked mixture of flour and fat used to thicken liquids

Smoke Point
the temperature at which a fat begins to break down and emit smoke.

Steel
a sword shaped tool used to hone or straighten knife blades

Stock
a preparation of simmering bones in water to achieve flavor. Stocks are generally used in the preparation or finishing of other dishes.

Sweat
to cook vegetables and seasonings over low heat in a small amount of fat to release their moisture and flavor.

Verjus
a sour juice made from unripened grapes, used as a substitute for vinegar.

Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A

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