Note on Vegetarian/Vegan labels

The recipes labeled Vegetarian and/or Vegan may have references to animal products.

The animal products referred to are an optional protein source for omnivores, but not required for the actual recipe.

Common (and not so common) Cooking Terms

I'll add more videos as I find them and more images as I take them.

Common Abbreviations
c: cup
g (or gr): gram
kg: kilogram
L: liter
lb: pound
mg: milligram
mL: milliliter
oz: ounce (may be volume or weight)
pt: pint
tsp: teaspoon
Tbsp (or T): tablespoon
kcal: food calorie


Temperature Terms
If your stove is like mine, you don't have handy labels of "medium", "high", or "medium-low", but instead just have numbers 1-10. But I do use the terms all the time. Here's what I mean when I use those terms.

Warm: 1
Low: 2
Med-Low: 3-4
Medium: 5
Med-High: 6-7
High: 8-9

I never go up to 10 on my stove dial. If you cook over gas, the labels or numbers should be about the same unless you cook over propane. Propane burns at a lower temperature than natural gas and almost everything needs to be turned up a notch.


Common Terms

add: To mix or stir in the ingredients listed in the instructions.
al dente: An Italian phrase meaning "to the tooth," used to describe pasta or other food that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, but which is not soft or overdone.
bake: To cook food in an oven, thereby surrounding it with dry heat.
barbecue: To cook meat directly over a heat source (usually fire or coals); using a grill, spit, or pit. Also, a type of sauce. The history of barbecue
baste: To spoon or brush food as it cooks with melted butter or other fat, meat drippings or liquid such as stock. Video
beat: Stir rapidly in a circular motion. Often done with an electric mixer.
bias-sliced: To slice a food crosswise at a 45-degree angle
blackened: To cook in a cast-iron skillet that's been heated until almost red hot. Food is usually rubbed with spices before being cooked. The extra hot skillet combined with the seasoning rub gives food an extra crispy crust.
blanch: To plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables, lets you easily peel fruits, and slip the skins off nuts. The food does not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved. Video
blend: To mix two or more ingredients together with a spoon, beater or electric blender until combined
boil: Heating a liquid until bubbles break the surface Step-by-step
braise: Meat is browned slowly and thoroughly on all sides, then a small amount of liquid is added to the pan, the pan is covered, and the meat is simmered over very low heat until very tender. Video
broil: To cook food directly under or above the heat source. Food can be broiled in an oven, directly under the gas or electric heat source, or on a barbecue grill, directly over charcoal or other heat source. Video
browning (meat): To cook quickly over high heat, causing the surface of the food to turn brown while the interior stays moist
butterfly: To split a food (such as shrimp or chicken) down the center, cutting almost but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly shape
candied: cooked in sugar or syrup as a method of preserving foods
caramelize: When carbohydrates like sugar are heated to temperatures of 300°F or higher, causing them to turn brown
carve: To cut food, usually meat, into smaller pieces.
casserole: Multiple foods combined and baked slowly, sometimes covered, in the oven
chop: To cut foods into squares, usually about 1/2" in diameter. The squares do not have to be perfectly equal, but should approximate the same size in order to cook evenly. Video
clarify: To clear a cloudy liquid by removing the sediment
coat: Covering food with an outer "coating." It can mean dipping or rolling food (such as chicken) in seasoned bread crumbs or flour. The food can be dipped into beaten eggs before being coated with the dry mixture. Coating food in this manner usually precedes frying. A semiliquid, such as mayonnaise or sauce, can also be used to coat food
combine: To mix two or more ingredients together until they do not separate.
cool: To let food stand at room temperature until it is no longer warm to the touch
core: To remove the fibrous or seedy center from a fruit (such as an apple)
cream (verb): To beat an ingredient or combination of ingredients until the mixture is soft, smooth and "creamy."
crush: To reduce a food to its finest form, such as crumbs, paste or powder
cube: To cut food (such as meat or cheese) into 1/2-inch cubes. Cubes of food are larger than diced or mirepoix. (Meat, cubed image)
cut in: Working solid fats into dry ingredients with two knives or a pastry blender until well mixed. When making pastry, solid shortening, lard, or butter is cut in to a flour mixture until the particles are the size of small peas. Video
divided A single ingredient which will be used in different parts of a recipe (i.e. The recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, but 3/4 cup is used in a batter and 1/4 cup in the sauce)
deep fry: To submerge and cook food in in hot, liquid fat
deglaze: After food (usually meat) has been sautéed and the food and excess fat removed from the pan, deglazing is done by heating a small amount of liquid in the pan and stirring to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. The liquid used is most often wine or stock. The resultant mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.
dice: To cut food into tiny (about 1/8- to 1/4-inch) cubes. Video (Image) 
dilute: To reduce a mixture's strength by adding liquid (usually water)
dissolve: To incorporate a dry ingredient (such as sugar, salt, yeast or gelatin) into a liquid so thoroughly that no grains of the dry ingredient are evident, either by touch or sight
dredge: To lightly coat food to be fried, as with flour, cornmeal or bread crumbs
dust: To lightly coat a food with a powdery ingredient such as flour or confectioners' sugar
firm ball stage (candy): 245°F – 250°F. Drop a little of this candy in cold water and it will form a firm ball, one that won’t flatten when you take it out of the water, but will flatten when squeezed.
fold: Usually egg whites or whipped cream are folded into a heavier mixture, for a souffle, cake, or pie filling. The lighter mixture is placed on top of the heavier mixture, then the two are combined by passing a spatula down through the mixture, across the bottom, and up over the top. This process continues until the mixtures are combined. This traps air into bubbles in the product, allowing baked goods to rise. Video
hard ball stage (candy): 250°F – 266°F. When candy is dropped into cold water it will form a firm ball, one that will only deform under firm pressure.
garnish: A decorative, edible accompaniment to finished dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Garnishes can be placed under, around or on food, depending on the dish
glaze (noun): A thin, glossy coating for both hot and cold foods. A savory glaze might be a reduced meat stock, whereas a sweet glaze could be anything from melted jelly to a chocolate coating
glaze (verb): To coat food with a thin, liquid, sweet or savory mixture that will be smooth and shiny after setting
grate: To reduce a large piece of food to small particles or thin shreds by rubbing it against a coarse, serrated surface, usually on a kitchen utensil called a grater
grill: To prepare food on a grill over hot coals or other heat source. The term barbecue is often used synonymously with grill. Video
grind: To reduce food to small particles. Food can be ground to various degrees — fine, medium and coarse.
hard crack stage (candy): 300°F – 310°F. When candy is dropped into cold water it will form brittle threads in the water, and will crack if you try to mold it
heat: To make warm or hot
julienne: Foods that have been cut into thin, matchstick strips. The food (such as a potato) is first cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. The slices are stacked, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips. The strips may then be cut into whatever length is desired. Video
marinade: A seasoned liquid in which foods such as meat, fish and vegetables are soaked (marinated) in order to absorb flavor and, in some instances, to be tenderized
marinate: To soak a food such as meat, fish or vegetables in a seasoned liquid mixture called a marinade
mash: To crush a food (such as cooked potatoes) into a smooth, evenly textured mixture
meal: 1. The coarsely ground seeds of any edible grain such as oats or corn. 2. Any dry, ground substance such as bone or dried fish meal.
melt: Using heat to convert food (such as butter or chocolate) from a solid to a liquid or semiliquid
mince: To cut food into very small pieces. Minced food is in smaller pieces than chopped food
mix: To combine ingredients evenly with spoon or mixer
moisten: This term is often used in baking recipes to instruct that only enough liquid be added to flour and other dry ingredients to make them damp or moist, but not wet
overnight: 12 hours
pan fry: To cook food in hot fat, which doesn't cover the food, over moderate to high heat.
parboil: To partially cook food by boiling it briefly in water. see also Blanch. Video
pare: see peel
peel: To use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the rind or skin from a fruit or vegetable
pit: To remove the stone or seed of a fruit
poach: To cook food gently in liquid just below the boiling point when the liquid's surface is beginning to show some quivering movement. The amount and temperature of the liquid used depends on the food being poached. Video
pound: To strike repeatedly with some heavy instrument; to beat a food (usually meat) to a uniform thickness
preheat: To bring a pan or oven to the desired temperature before adding food
puree (noun): Any food (usually a fruit or vegetable) that is finely mashed to a smooth, thick consistency
puree (verb): To grind or mash food until it's completely smooth
reduce: To boil a liquid (usually stock, wine or a sauce mixture) rapidly until the volume is reduced by evaporation, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying the flavor. Such a mixture is sometimes referred to as a reduction.
resting: Roasted meats should not be served straight out of the over, but should be allowed to rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil.
rinse: The act of washing lightly
roast (noun): A piece of meat that's large enough to serve more than one person
roast (verb): To oven-cook food in an uncovered pan, a method that usually produces a well-browned exterior and ideally a moist interior
roll: To flatten and spread with a rolling pin
room temperature: A comfortable ambient temperature, generally taken as about 70°F
sauté: To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. Video (Image) 
scald: 1. A cooking technique — often used to retard the souring of milk — whereby a liquid is heated to just below the boiling point. 2. To plunge food such as tomatoes or peaches into boiling water (or to pour boiling water over them), in order to loosen their skin and facilitate peeling. Also referred to as blanch.
sear: To brown meat quickly by subjecting it to very high heat either in a skillet, under a broiler or in a very hot oven. Video
separate eggs: To separate the egg yolk from the egg white.
shell: o remove the shell or tough outer covering of a food such as nuts, eggs, garden peas, etc.
shred: To cut food into narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding disk. Cooked meat can be separated into shreds by pulling it apart with two forks.
sift: To pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so any large pieces can be removed. Sifting also incorporates air to make ingredients (such as confectioners' sugar or flour) lighter.
simmer: To cook food gently in liquid at a temperature (about 185°F) low enough that tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface.
slice: A cross cut 1/8 to 3/8 inch thick. (Image, sliced & halved)
sliced & halved: A cross cut 1/8 to 3/8 inch thick, as above, and then each slice cut in half. (Image)
snip: To cut food (chives for example) into small uniform lengths using kitchen shears or a small pair of scissors
soft ball stage (candy): 235°F – 245°F. When candy is dropped into cold water it will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.
soft crack stage (candy): 270°F – 290°F. When candy is dropped into cold water it will form firm but pliable threads
soft peaks (egg whites): When beating egg whites, a soft peak is reached when the beaters are pulled out of the whites and the peaks that form droop
steam: A method of cooking whereby food is placed on a rack or in a special steamer basket over boiling or simmering water in a covered pan. Video
steep: To soak dry ingredients such as tea leaves, ground coffee, herbs, spices, etc. in liquid (usually hot) until the flavor is infused into the liquid.
stew (noun): Any dish that is prepared by stewing. The term is most often applied to dishes that contain meat, vegetables and a thick soup- like broth resulting from a combination of the stewing liquid and the natural juices of the food being stewed
stew (verb): A method of cooking by which food is barely covered with liquid and simmered slowly for a long period of time in a tightly covered pot.
stiff peaks (egg whites): When beating egg whites, a stiff peak is reached when the beaters are pulled out of the whites and the peaks that form hold their shape
stir: To mix together ingredients before cooking
stir-fry: To quickly fry small pieces of food in a large pan over very high heat while constantly and briskly stirring the food. Video
strain: To pour a liquid or dry ingredient through a sieve, strainer, or cheesecloth to remove undesirable particles
sweat: A technique by which ingredients, particularly vegetables, are cooked in a small amount of fat over low heat. The ingredients are covered directly with a piece of foil or parchment paper, then the pot is tightly covered. With this method, the ingredients soften without browning, and cook in their own juices
tenderize: see pound
thaw: To unfreeze a food item before cooking. Meats should be thawed in the refrigerator
thread stage (candy): 223°F – 235°F. When you drop a little of this candy mix into cold water to cool, it forms a liquid thread that will not ball up.
toast: To heat and brown (bread, for example) by placing in a toaster or an oven or close to a fire
toss:To turn pieces of food over multiple times, thereby mixing the ingredients together. The term is most often applied to salad, where various ingredients and the salad dressing are tossed together, mixing the ingredients and coating them with the dressing.
vinaigrette: A basic oil-and-vinegar combination, generally used to dress salad greens and other cold vegetable, meat or fish dishes. In its simplest form, vinaigrette consists of oil, vinegar (usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar), salt and pepper
whip: To beat ingredients, such as egg whites, cream, etc., thereby incorporating air into them and increasing their volume until they are light and fluffy
whisk (noun): A small culinary instrument made of wire, or the like, for whisking or beating eggs, cream, etc.
whisk (verb): To mix or agitate, with a light, rapid motion (usually using a whisk)
zest: The perfumy outermost skin layer of citrus fruit (usually oranges or lemons). Only the colored portion of the skin (and not the white pith) is considered the zest.

Sources: Epicurious Searchable Food Dictionary,, & Cooking for Dummies

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