Basic Cooking Lingo

Simmer, Saute and SLice, but not Fry!

Here are some commonly used cooking terms that everyone should know, that is, if you want to be healthy by preparing your own food.

Simmering means heating a liquid to an almost boiling temperature, but not hot enough to form bubbles. You will want to stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

To saute is to cook in oil over heat, such as Round onions and garlic in olive oil. This is a great way to bring out the flavor of these foods before adding them to a dish.

Marinating means soaking a food it in a mixture of spices, oil, and possibly vinegar to make it more tender and full of flavor. It can take between a half hour to days depending on the dish.

Mincing means chopping something into tiny tiny pieces, such as garlic and onions. This works well in dishes that you want to add a hint of flavor in every bite.

Julienne is such a fancified word for cutting a food into long strips. This can be done with many vegetables like carrots and bell peppers. You can buy a  julienne peeler that makes perfect julienne strips, and nobody will be the wiser.

This cooking technique simply means to cut into small pieces. The pieces don’t have to be identical or even the same size, although keeping ingredients uniform is usually visually more appealing, especially for those enjoy plating prettily.

Dicing is like chopping, but the pieces are just smaller. Think carrots in pea soup or the ingredients in salsa. Again, the over all size can vary or be identical like a bowl of twins.

Slicing means cutting completely through a food. This can be cheese, bread, veggies, meat and fruit. If you are slicing a food from its natural grown shape and you end up with perfect circles, then you can call it a Sliced Round food.

To brown a meat or something like onions means to cook until the food is brown. For instance, you can brown the sides of a roast in a pan before roasting in an oven, which tends to bring out the flavor along with sealing in the juices.

To poach is to cook food gently in liquid, usually just under a simmer, at about 190 degrees. Common foods that are poached are chicken breasts and salmon fillets, usually in stock. Fruit is more often poached in an acidic sugar syrup, and eggs are poached in water laced with vinegar — this keeps the eggs in their nice Round shape.

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