Aioli – Aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is a delicious accompaniment to cold or hot grilled vegetables, steamed or boiled artichokes, boiled potatoes, and grilled or baked fish and shellfish.
À la Nage – Cooking à la nage means poaching food, usually seafood, in a court bouillon and serving the court bouillon and the vegetables around the food as part the garniture. When making a courtbouillon to use for cooking à la nage, cut the vegetables in a decorative manner, such as julienne.
Albumen – A synonym for egg white.
Al dente – An Italian expression applied in all western kitchens to pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.” Fresh pasta can never by cooked al dente as it is too soft. The expression is also applied to vegetables thathave been cooked crisp by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying.
Arborio – The name given to some of the best short-grained rices grown in the Po Valley of Italy, and used to prepare risotto.
Aromatics – Plant ingredients, such as herbs and spices, used to enhance the flavor and fragrance of food.
Arrowroot – A fine starch extracted from the rhizomes of plants of the genus Maranta.
Aspic – Aclear jelly made from stock or occasionally from fruit or vegetable juices.
B. Cooking Terms
Bain-marie – A bain-marie is a pan of water that is used to help mixtures such as custards bake evenly and to protect them from the direct heat of the oven or, in some cases, the stove.
Bake – To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usuallyimplies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.
Barbecue – A cooking method involving grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually some sort of rub, marinade, or sauce is brushed on the item before or during cooking.
Basmati – The name of the most deliciously flavored long-grain rice from India.
Baste– To moisten food duringcooking with pan drippings, sauce, or other liquid. Basting prevents foods from drying out.
Baster – A large kitchen syringe used to baste meats with their own gravy, another liquid, or melted fat.
Batter – A mixture of flour and liquid with the addition of flour, eggs, and sometimes fat, used to prepare cakes, muffins, pancakes, crepes, and quick breads. Also applies to frying batters.
Battuto –A combination of chopped raw vegetables for sautéing – typically carrots, celery, onion and/or garlic, and parsley—that is the foundation of many Italian sauces and other dishes.
Bavarian – A type of custard made by folding together whipped cream and a flavorful liquid mixture, usually a crème anglaise flavored with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or a fruit puree.
Béarnaise – A warm, emulsifiedegg and butter sauce similar to hollandaise, but with the addition of white wine, shallots, and tarragon.
Beat – To agitate a mixture with the goal of making it smooth and introducing as much air as possible into it.
Béchamel – A classic white sauce made with whole milk thickened with a white roux, and flavored with aromatic vegetables.
Beurre Blanc – A rich butter sauce made by whiskingbutter into a reduction of white wine, white wine vinegar, and shallots, and sometimes finished with fresh herbs or other seasoning.
Bisque – A soup based on purees of vegetables and/or crustaceans. It is classically thickened with rice and usually finished with cream.
Blanch – A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshedunder cold water, which stops the cooking process. Used to heighten color and flavor, to firm flesh and to loosen skins.
Bocconcini – Fresh Italian mozzarella balls sold in a water or brine solution. Available from delicatessens and supermarkets.
Boil – To cook in water or other liquid heated until bubbling vigorously. Few techniques cause as much confusion as boiling, simmering, and...