Sunday Dinners Thru The Week Cookbook




Whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice, knowing and understanding basic cooking terminology will make more efficient use of your kitchen.  Here‘s is a collection of cook-ing terms commonly used when cooking.


Baste               To moisten foods during cooking with pan drippings or a special

                        sauce to add flavor and to prevent drying.


Beat                To make a mixture smooth by adding air with a brisk whipping or   

                        stirring motion, using a spoon or an electric mixer.


Blanch            To precook in boiling water or steam to prepare foods for canning or

                        freezing, or to loosen their skins.


Blend              To process food in an electric blender.  Or, to thoroughly combine two

                        or more ingredients by hand with a stirring motion to make a smooth

                        and uniform mixture.


Boil                 To cook in liquid at boiling temperature (212 degree or 100 C

                        degree at sea level) where bubbles rise to the surface and break.  For a

                        full rolling boil, bubbles form rapidly throughout the mixture.


Bouillon          A clear soup made by cooking meat, usually beef, together with

                        vegetables and seasonings, and then straining the resulting stock.  It

                        can also be prepared from bouillon granules or bouillon cubes.


Bouquet garni A combination of several herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and bay leaf,

                          either tied in a bunch or put in a small cheesecloth bag and added to

                          stews, soups, and sauces.  It can easily be removed at any stage in the



Braise             To cook slowly with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan

                         on top of the range or in the oven.


Bread              To coat with bread crumbs before cooking.


Brine                A strong salt water solution used to allow food to stand to add salt

                         for several hours or over night.


Broil                To cook by direct heat under a broiler in an electric or gas range.


Broth              Any clear soup, usually made with meat or fish stock.


Butterfly         To split foods such as shrimp and steak through the middle without

                         completely separating sections and then spreading the sections to 

                         resemble a butterfly.


Can                 To preserve food by sealing it in airtight containers.  The food is

                         processed either in a water bath or pressure canner.


Candy             To cook in sugar or syrup, when applied to sweet potatoes and

                         carrots.  For fruit or fruit peel, to cook in heavy syrup till

                         translucent and well coated.


Caramelize     To melt sugar slowly over low heat until it becomes brown in color.


Chop               To cut into pieces about the size of peas with a knife, chopper,

                         blender, or food processor.


Clarify            To make liquids clear by filtering, such as stock or broth, or butter.


Coat                To evenly cover food with crumbs, flour, or a batter.


Coddle            To cook food in water just below the boiling point, as in coddled eggs.


Cool                To remove from heat and let stand at room temperature.  When a

                         recipe says, “cool quickly,” the food should be chilled or set in a bowl

                         of ice water to quickly reduce its temperature.


Cream               To beat a mixture with a spoon or electric mixer till it becomes soft

                         and smooth.  When applies to combining shortening and sugar, the

                         mixture is beaten till light and fluffy, depending on the proportion of

                         sugar to shortening.


Crisp-tender   To cook food to the stage where it is tender but still crisp.


Cube                To cut into pieces that are the same size on each side-at least ½ inch.


Cut in              To mix shortening with dry ingredients using a pastry blender or

                         two knives.


Dice                 To cut food into small cubes of uniform size and shape-between 1/8

                         and ¼ inch.


Dollop             To add a small amount, such as a scoop or spoonful, of a semi-liquid

Dot                  To distribute small bits of food over another food, such as dotting an

                         apple pie with butter before baking.


Dust                To sprinkle foods lightly with sugar, flour, etc.


Fillet                To cut lean meat or fish into pieces without bones.


Finely shred   To rub food across a fine shredding surface to form very narrow



Flake               To break food lightly into small pieces.


Flute               To make small decorative impressions in food.  Piecrusts are fluted

                         by pressing the pastry edge into various shapes.


Fold                To add ingredients gently to a mixture.  Using a spatula, cut down

                         through the mixture; cut across the bottom of the bowl, and then up

                         and over, close to the surface.  Turn the bowl frequently for even



Freeze             To reduce the temperature of foods so that the liquid content  

                         becomes solidifies.


Fry                  To cook in hot fat (cooking oil).  To panfry, cook food in a small

                         amount of fat.  To

                         deep-fat fry, cook the food immersed in a large amount of fat.


Garnish          To decorate the served dish with small pieces of food that have

                         distinctive texture or color such as parsley.


Glaze              To brush a mixture on food to give it a glossy appearance or a hard



Grate              To rub food across a grating surface that separates the food into very

                         fine particles.


Grill                To cook food over hot coals.


Grind              To use a food grinder to cut a food into very fine particles.

Juliene            To cut vegetables, fruits, or meats into match like strips.


Knead             To work dough with the heel of your hand in a pressing and folding



Marinate        To allow a food to stand in a liquid to add flavor.


Mince              To chop food into very small, irregularly shapes pieces.


Mull                To heat beverages such as red wine and cider with spices and sugar.


Panbroil         To cook uncovered, removing fat as it accumulates.


Panfry             To cook food in a small amount of hot fat.

Partially set    To chill gelatin mixture to the point in setting when the consistency

                         resembles raw egg whites.


Peel                 To remove the outer layer or skin from a fruit or vegetable.


Pickle              A solution made of vinegar, spices, and other seasonings to preserve

                         or flavor meat, fish, vegetables, etc. 


Pit                   To remove the seed from a piece of fruit.


Poach              To cook food in hot liquid, being careful that the food holds its shape

                         while cooking.


Precook          To cook food partially or completely before the final cooking or



Preserve           To prepare meat, fruits, vegetables, etc. for future use by soaking in

                          a brine, dehydrating, curing, smoking, canning, or freezing.


Puree              To use a blender, food processor, or food mill to convert a food into a

                          liquid or heavy paste.


Reduce           To rapidly boil a mixture to evaporate liquid so that the mixture

                          becomes thicker.


Render           To separate solid fat such suet of lard from meat tissue by melting.


Roast              To cook a meat, uncovered, in the oven. 

Sauté               To brown or cook food in a small amount of hot fat.


Scald               To bring food to a temperature just below boiling so that tiny

                          bubbles form at the edges of the pan.


Scallop            To bake food, usually in a casserole, with a sauce or other liquid.


Score               To cut narrow grooves or slits partway through the outer surface of a



Shred              To rub food on a shredder to form long, narrow pieces.


Sift                  To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter to

                         incorporate air and break up lumps.


Simmer           To cook food in liquid over low heat at a temperature of 185 degree

                        (85 C.) to 210 degree (99 C) where bubbles reaching the surface.


Steam              To cook food in steam.  A small amount of boiling water is used, and

                         more water is added during steaming if necessary.


Steep               To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by

                         leaving it in liquid just below the boiling point.


Sterilize           To destroy microorganisms by boiling, dry heating, or steaming.


Stew                To simmer food slowly in a small amount of liquid.


Stiff peaks      To beat egg whites till peaks stand up straight when the beaters are

                        lifted from the mixer bowl, but are still moist and glossy.


Stir                  To mix ingredients with a spoon in a circular or figure-eight motion

                         till well combines.


Stir-fry           To cook food quickly in a small amount of hot fat, stirring constantly.


Suet                 A hard fat that comes from the loins and around the kidneys of sheep

                         and beef.


Toss                To mix ingredients by lifting and dropping with a spoon or fork.

Whip               To beat food lightly and rapidly, incorporating air into the mixture to

                        make it light and to increase its volume.



        Fresh lemon juice will remove onion scents from hands.


        Instant potatoes are a good stew thickener.


        When cooking vegetables that grow above ground, the rule of thumb is to boil them without a cover.


        To cut down on odors when cooking cabbage, cauliflower, etc…, add a little vinegar to the cooking water.


        To avoid tears when cutting onions, try cutting them under cold running water or briefly placing them in the freezer before cutting.


        Egg shells can be easily removed from hard-boil eggs if they are quickly rinsed in cold water after they are boiled.


        When preparing a casserole, make an additional batch to freeze.  It makes a great emergency meal to serve unexpected guests. 


        A few drop of cooking oil added to simmering rice will keep the grains separately.


        When freezing foods, label each container with its contents and the date it was put into the freezer.  Always use frozen cooked foods within one to three months.


        Use little oil when preparing sauces and marinades for red meats.  Fat from the meat will render out during cooking and will provide plenty of flavor. 


        Marinate meat in a plastic bag is a cinch but, turn and rearrange several times.


        It’s easier to thinly slice meat if it’s partially frozen.


        Cut meats across the grain; it will be to eat and have a better appearance.


        Thaw all meats in the refrigerator for maximum safety.



        Refrigerator poultry promptly after purchasing.  Keep it in the coldest section of your refrigerator for up to two days.  Freezer poultry for longer storage.  Never leave poultry at room temperature for more then two hours.


        Lemon juice rubbed on fish before cooking will enhance the flavor and help keep a good color.

        Lemon juice added to water before placing fresh cut fruits will keep them from turning color and will maintain flavor and color.


        Over-ripe banana can be peeled and frozen in a plastic container until it’s time to bake bread or cake. 


        To make self-rising flour, mix 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder, and store in a tightly covered container. 


        When in doubt, always sift flour before measuring.


        When baking bread, you get a finer texture if you use milk.  Water makes coarser bread.


        If your biscuits are dry, it could be from too much handling, or the oven temperature may not have been hot enough.


        Nut breads are better if stored 24 hours before serving.


        To make bread crumbs, toast the bread (slices or loaf) and chop in a blender or food processors.


        Cracked eggs should not be used because they may contain bacteria.


        The freshness of eggs can be tested by placing them in a large bowl of cold water, if they float, do not use them. 


        Dusting your cake pan with flour by filling an empty glass salt shaker with flour will make it much easier. 


        Eggs whites need to be at room temperature for greater volume when whipped, especially when making meringue.


        Keep strawberries fresh for up to ten days by refrigerating them unwashed in an airtight container between layers of paper towels.

        When cutting butter into flour for pastry dough, the processor is easier if you cut the butter into small pieces before adding it to the flour.


        To keep the cake plate clean while frosting, slide 6-inch strips of waxed paper under each side of the cake.  Once the cake is frosted and the frosting is set, gently pull the strips away leaving a clean plate.


        For a professional silky, molten look to your cake, frost your cake as usual, then use a hair dryer to blow-dry the surface until the frosting slightly melts.


        To ensure that you have equal amounts of batter in each pan when making a layers cake, use a kitchen scale to measure the weight. 


        Tin coffee cans make excellent freezer containers for cookies.


        Dipping strawberries in chocolate? Stick toothpicks into the stem end of the berry.  Coat the berries with chocolate, shaking off any excess.  Turn the berries upside down and stick the toothpick into a block of Styrofoam until the chocolate is set.  The finished berries will have chocolate with no flat spots. 


        Add uncooked rice to the salt shaker to keep the salt free-flowing.


        To ripen tomatoes, put them in a brown paper bag in a dark pantry and they will ripen.


        Do not use metal bowls when mixing salads, use wood, glass or china.


        A few drops of lemon juice in the water will whiten boiled potatoes.


        To slices meat into thin strips, as for stir-fry dishes, partially freeze it so it will slice more easily.


        A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast.  The bone carries the heat to the inside more quickly.


        For a juicier hamburger, add cold water to the beef before grilling (1/2 cup to 1 pound off meat).

        To freeze meatballs, place them on a cookie sheet until frozen.  Place in plastic bags.  They will stay separated so that you may remove as many as you want.


        When boiling corn, add a little sugar to the water instead of salt.  Salt will toughen the corn.


        If you over salt gravy, stir in some instant mashed potatoes and add a little more liquid in order to offset the thickening. 


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