Some cooking terms:
We've already discussed some cooking terms in past weeks of this course, so, in this glossary, I'll include ones that we haven't mentioned previously.
Albumen - egg white
Al dente -- literally "to the tooth" in Italian. Dried pasta and some vegetables are best cooked al dente, which means that it is somewhat firm. It is the perfect point between being underdone and too done. If pasta is underdone, it will have a floury taste and be too hard in the center. If it's overdone, it will be too soft and won't have enough texture. The pasta should be firm enough that it requires some chewing (al dente), rather than being mushy and dissolving in the mouth. Likewise, many enjoy vegetables that are cooked just to the point of being tender, yet crispy.
Aspic -- a dish in which foods are set into a clear jelly that is made from stock or occasionally from fruit or vegetable juices; tomato aspic is a popular aspic.
Arrowroot -- is most often used for thickening sauces, fruit pie fillings, and other foods. It is a white powder that is processed from the root of a West Indian or rainforest plant known as arrowroot or Maranta arundinacea. It is an easily digested starch. It does not provide a lot of nutrition. However, some people believe it soothes upset stomachs. Therefore, some people make or buy arrowroot cookies to eat as a digestive aid.
Bain-marie -- this term is used both to describe a method of cooking and the dish used in this method. The method consists placing one dish containing a delicate food -- such as a custard or a flan or chocolate to be melted -- into another dish containing water that is heated just to the simmering point. The dish is a special container that holds the simmering water.
Béchamel – A classic white sauce made with whole milk thickened with a white roux. It is flavored with aromatic vegetables.
Roux -- A mixture of flour and butter used to thicken sauces. It is the starting point for some sauces and gravies.
Bisque -- a rich-tasting soup made of pureed vegetables or shellfish. It is generally thickened with rice and has cream in it.
Boiling -- to cook in water or other liquid that is heated to the point of bubbling or boiling vigorously. A rolling boil is a very fast boil that doesn't slow down even when you stir it. Water boils at 212F at sea level.
Simmer -- cook in liquid kept just at the point of boiling or just below the boiling point. About 185 to 200 degrees F.
Some recipes may require that you boil, simmer, or poach to an exact temperature, and this requirement should be observed. Most cooks, however, can judge by the eye whether a liquid is at a rolling boil, is just at the boiling point, is simmering, or is suitable for poaching. That is fine for discerning how to cook many foods. Most cooks, for example, know how to bring a soup or stew to boiling and, then, keep it simmering for a couple of hours. However, some foods are easily ruined by boiling too vigorously or, conversely, undercooking, so practice and careful attention help the cook avoid many mistakes.
Chop -- to cut into fine, irregular pieces
Chiffonade -- fine shreds made by rolling several herbs or leafy vegetables together and slicing the roll at intervals of about 1/16th to 1/8 of an inch
Dice -- to cut into cubes
Poach -- cook in liquid that is just barely simmering -- about 160 to 180 degrees F
Clarify butter -- to remove the milk solids and water from butter. This is done so that the butter may be used at higher temperatures without scorching. it is also done so that you can use the clarified butter as a dip or sauce for items like seafoods. This can be done by melting the butter slowly in a pan, skimming off the watery foam that rises to the top and pouring the clear butter liquid off of the milk solids, which settle to the bottom. You can buy butter that is already clarified. This is commonly called ghee.
Persillade -- a chopped mixture of parsley and garlic
Prosciutto -- a salt-cured, air-dried ham Italian or Italian-style ham. If it is crudo, it is raw; if it is cotto, it is cooked.
Roulade -- a slice of meat rolled around a stuffing
Pilaf -- a technique for cooking rice in which the rice is sauteed in butter first and, then, simmered in water or broth.
Rice -- a) cereal grain that is the seed of the Oryza sativa plant, which is a member of the grass family
b) to sieve a food so that it becomes the consistency of rice.
Basmati rice -- an aromatic long-grain rice from India
brown rice -- rice from which the chaff has been removed, but which still contains the germ and the bran -- the whole grain form of rice
white rice -- rice from which the germ and the bran have been removed; white rice keeps longer than brown rice, and it has a taste and consistency which many people enjoy. However, it lacks some nutrients that wild rice contains. In cultures which eat a mainly rice based diet, white rice must be supplemented with brown rice in order to provide optimum nutrition and to prevent health problems, such as the disease beriberi.
Long grain rice -- long grains of rice which tend to remain distinct after cooking.
Medium grain rice -- medium length grains of rice. These tend to be sticky after cooking, and they are suitable for Italian risotto, as well as in sweet dishes.
Short grain rice --This is also known as round rice or pearl rice. When cooked, it is moist and sticky.
Superfino -- the finest grade given to the finest Italian risotto rice.
arborio rice -- a rice grown in the Po Valley in Italy.
Parboiled rice -- subjected to a steaming or parboiling process while it is still brown rice. This moves the nutrients from the outer husk into the grain itself. The grains turn from white to yellow and are also less brittle. The rice can then be dried and milled or dried and used as a whole grain rice. Parboiled rice does not stick to a pot when cooked as much as other rice does.
Wild rice -- Wild rice is not truly rice, but like rice, it is the seed of a grass. Wild rice is the brown seed of a northern water grass.
Skim -- to gently lift off unwanted foam or fat from the surface of a stock, broth, soup, or sauce. Also, to separate the fat off the top of milk, so that you end up with a quantity of cream and a quantity of skim milk.
Zest -- The rind or shavings from the rind of a lemon or orange.