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Do you speak chef? From "al dente" to "zest", we can help you with the As-to-Zs of cooking and baking. Take a look below and you'll be fluent in no time. Bon appetit!

Al dente

To cook pasta until the noodles are firm. (Some would say this is the only way to cook pasta!)

Bake

A method of cooking food in a conventional oven using prolonged, dry heat. Note: if you are using a convection oven, cooking or baking time is often reduced.

Baste

Adding flavor to food by moistening it, basting also helps to prevent food from becoming dry.

Batter

An uncooked mix typically made of dry and liquid ingredients that can be poured into a pan.

Beat

Rapidly stirring a mixture of ingredients until smooth, often using a whisk, electric mixer or spoon.

Blend

Combining multiple ingredients using a whisk, spoon, or machine like a blender.

Boil

To heat water until bubbling and scolding hot.

Broil

To cook on a rack in an oven directly under heat.

Blanche:

To quickly submerge an item in boiling water, before immediately either placing it in an ice bath or under running cold water to halt the cooking process.

Braise:

A two-step cooking method that first sears the food at high temperature, then finishes it in a covered pot at a low temperature with a small amount of liquid.

Butterfly

To cut food, usually meat, fish, or poultry, evenly down the center but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat and grilled, sautéed or stuffed and rolled to be roasted.

Caramelize

To heat an ingredient until it begins to turn golden, often also producing a small syrup.

Chop

To cut food into small pieces.

Combine

To blend or mix ingredients together.

Cool

Let ingredient or cooked food sit to reduce its temperature, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Core

To remove seeds and tougher material from the centre of vegetables and fruits.

Cream

To beat dry and wet ingredients together until they form a light, airy mixture.

Cube

To cut food into small cubes.

Curdling

When a liquid ingredient like milk, begins to separate after being overheated or introduced to an acidic ingredient (e.g. lemon juice).

Cut in

Working a fat or shortening into dry ingredients. This is often done with a tool known as a pastry cutter, but quite literally cutting the mixture with two knives in opposite directions works just as well.

Deglaze

To dissolve the glaze and browned food particles created when food is fried, sautéed or roasted into a sauce by adding a liquid and stirring over high heat.

Dice

To cut food into small, medium or large, uniformly sized cubes.

Dissolve

To mix in a dry ingredient into a liquid until the solid ingredients have disappeared.

Drizzle

To pour a liquid ingredient over food in a thin stream, often in effort to create a zigzag design.

Dry ingredients

Ingredients like flour, baking powder, and sugar that are dry in nature.

Dust

To lightly coat items such as cakes and pastries with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa.

Dredge

To coat an item that’s about to be fried or sautéed in a layer of flour, bread crumbs, or cornmeal.

Fillet (verb)

To debone meat, poultry or fish.

Fillet or filet (noun)

A piece of boneless meat, poultry or fish.

Floured surface

A surface or countertop that has been lightly dusted with flour (often using a sieve) to stop dough from sticking to it when pressed upon it.

Fold

Often needed when combining light ingredients with a heavier mixture, folding uses a tool like a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently mix the ingredients into themselves.

Flake

To break into small pieces.

Flambé

To apply flames to an ingredient.

Glaze

To apply mixtures like jams and sauces to a food, resulting in a glossy sheen.

Grate

To reduce the size of a piece of food into a crumb-like size by rubbing it against a serrated surface (often, a grater).

Grease

Preventing food from sticking to a dish or pan by rubbing its interior with margarine or oil.

Grill

To cook food over direct heat, often on a rack in the oven or an outside barbeque.

Ground

To break ingredients up until in small pieces or powder form.

Icing

To cover a cake with frosting.

Julienne:

To cut food into long thin strips, similar in size and shape to matchsticks.

Kneading

To work dough through with your hands by pressing firmly into it.

Marinate

Soaking food (typically protein) in a flavoured liquid until it takes on its flavor.

Melt

To heat an ingredient until it achieves liquid form.

Mix

To combine multiple ingredients together until they become one.

Mince

To cut food into extremely tiny pieces.

Overhang

To line a tin or baking sheet with a protective layer, such as parchment paper, wax paper, or foil. If the overhang is given a length, it refers to the distance the paper extends from the tin.

Pack

To firmly press an ingredient into a measure. Try filling the measure before pressing it down gently with the back of a spoon.

Peel

To remove the outer layer of a vegetable or fruit with a knife or peeler.

Pinch

The small amount of a substance you can hold between thumb and finger.

Poach

To gently cook in a liquid at a temperature just below boiling point.

Pound

To tenderize meat by hitting it with a heavy kitchen utensil.

Preheat

To heat an oven until the desired temperature is reached.

Pressure cooking

Process of cooking food in a sealed pot which builds up high steam pressure inside, resulting in faster cook times.

Reduce

To boil a liquid down to a smaller volume, typically with a thicker consistency and more concentrated flavour than its former state.

Roast

To cook using the dry heat of an oven.

Scald

To heat a liquid in a pot until bubbles burst at the surface.

Score

To cut lines or slits into a piece of food.

Shred

To cut into slim but long pieces.

Sift

To pass a fine, powdered ingredient through a sieve to incorporate air and rid it of any lumps.

Simmer

To cook in liquid just below the boiling point, where small bubbles appear on the surface of the water.

Slow-cooking

Method of cooking foods under low heat for a long period of time, resulting in more tender textures, especially in tougher cuts of meat.

Steam

To cook using the moisture evaporating from boiling hot water without ever actually placing the food into the liquid.

Stir

To mix in a circular motion with a spoon.

Stir-fry

To quickly stir bite-sized pieces of food into small amount of oil in a wok, frying pan or skillet over high heat.

Sous vide

Cooking method in which vacuum-sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at a very precise, consistent temperature, resulting in more tender, flavourful food.

Wet ingredients

Ingredients like eggs and milk that are wet in nature and often mixed together before being combined with dry ingredients.

Whip

Incorporating air and volume within a food by rapidly mixing it with a whisk or handheld mixer.

Whisk

To beat ingredients (often wet) with a fork or whisk to mix them together with the air.

Zest

The outer part of a citrus fruit, such as lemons. Sometimes referred to as "grated peel".