This will be the housing place for terms and their definitions. Curious about what I said, or something you read? Hopefully you can find the information here on it. If not, please ask.
Lexicon: the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject.
- Al dente: refers to cooking noodles/grains to the point where they are soft, but still a bit firm, and so, not over cooked.
- Béchamel: this is what is called a “mother sauce.” It’s a basic white sauce that comes from a flour/butter roux and milk.
- Bolognese: the term for a red pasta sauce, originally meaning red sauce with meat.
- Dicing: same as chopping, typically referring to cutting a large item into small pieces.
- Deglaze: this refers to adding a cold liquid to a hot pot that had been used to sauté/sear. The purpose is to break up any pieces that have attached to the bottom of the pan, and is done by scraping with a utensil after pouring the liquid.
- Mincing: dicing but into much finer pieces. There should be not large chunks of anything in mincing.
- Mise en place: French term, often shorthanded as “mise (meez),” referring to the prepared ingredients that you need to make the meal. E.g. the cut onion, chopped garlic, and spices, arranged for quick access and use.
- Oven-finishing: this is referring to putting meat into a very hot oven in order to cook the meat better through the center, typically after a quick pan sear. This is a common practice with steak when a grill is not available.
- Reducing: this is the process of adding a liquid to whatever you are cooking, and cooking it on high heat in order to let some of the water evaporate, leaving behind some flavor profile. Often mentioned when adding wine, leaving behind the tannin in the wine.
- Sauté: refers to high heat cooking of vegetables in a pot/pan in an oil. This is done in order to maximize the flavor profile of the ingredients.
- Sear: this is the process of adding a piece of meat into a pan with hot oil, in order to quickly cook the exterior of the piece of meat. It typically acts as a ‘seal’ for meat in order to hold as much of the juice in. It also helps to build a crust on certain cuts of meat, making a layer of flavor on the exterior.
- Sweating: less intensive cooking than sautéing, that is much faster in process, but leads out less flavor from the ingredients.