To bring a concentrated or condensed food, such as frozen fruit juice, to its original strength by adding water.
To decrease the volume of a liquid by boiling it rapidly to cause evaporation. As the liquid evaporates, it thickens and intensifies in flavor. The resulting richly flavored liquid, called a reduction, can be used as a sauce or as the base of a sauce. When reducing liquids, use the pan size specified in the recipe, as the surface area of the pan affects how quickly the liquid will evaporate.
To force food that has been cooked through a perforated utensil known as a ricer, giving the food a somewhat ricelike shape.
Thin noodles, popular in Asian cooking, that are made from finely ground rice and water. When fried, they puff into light, crisp strands. They can also be soaked to use in stir-fries and soups. Thicker varieties are called rice sticks. Find in Asian markets; substitute vermicelli or capellini for thin rice noodles, linguine or fettuccine for thicker rice sticks.
These round, flat, edible papers, made from the pith of a rice-paper plant, are used for wrapping spring rolls.
A mild-flavored vinegar made from fermented rice. Rice vinegar is interchangeable with rice wine vinegar, which is made from fermented rice wine. Seasoned rice vinegar, with added sugar and salt, can be used in recipes calling for rice vinegar, though you may wish to adjust the seasonings. If you can't find rice vinegar, substitute white vinegar or white wine vinegar.
The skin or outer coating, usually rather thick, of a food.
A large piece of meat or poultry that's usually cooked by roasting. Roasting refers to a dry-heat cooking method used to cook foods, uncovered, in an oven. Tender pieces of meat work best for roasting.
To form a food into a shape. Dough, for instance, can be rolled into ropes or balls. The phrase "roll out" refers to mechanically flattening a food, usually a dough or pastry, with a rolling pin.
A French term that refers to a mixture of flour and a fat cooked to a golden- or rich-brown color and used for a thickening in sauces, soups, and gumbos.
A sauce usually made from finely chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles, and cilantro. It is often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.
From the French word sauter, meaning "to jump." Sauteed food is cooked and stirred in a small amount of fat over fairly high heat in an open, shallow pan. Food cut into uniform size sautes the best.
To heat a liquid, often milk, to a temperature just below the boiling point, when tiny bubbles just begin to appear around the edge of the liquid.
To cut narrow slits, often in a diamond pattern, through the outer surface of a food to decorate it, tenderize it, help it absorb flavor, or allow fat to drain as it cooks.
To use a sharp or blunt instrument to rub the outer coating from a food, such as carrots.
This variety of salt is derived from the evaporation of sea water. Some cooks prefer it over table salt for its clean, salty flavor.
To brown a food, usually meat, quickly on all sides using high heat. This helps seal in the juices and may be done in the oven, under a broiler, or on top of the range.
To separate and remove the membrane of segments of citrus fruits. To section oranges, use a paring knife to remove the peel and white rind. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, cut between one orange section and the membrane, slicing to the center of the fruit. Turn the knife and slide it up the other side of the section along the membrane, cutting outward. Repeat with remaining sections.
A fortified wine that ranges from dry to sweet, and light to dark. Sherry can be enjoyed as a predinner or after-dinner drink, and it is also used in cooking.
A vegetable oil that has been processed into solid form. Shortening commonly is used for baking or frying. Plain and butter-flavor types can be used interchangeably. Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, use within 6 months. Discard if it has an odor or appears discolored.
To push food across a shredding surface to make long, narrow strips. Finely shred means to make long thin strips. A food processor also may be used. Lettuce and cabbage may be shredded by thinly slicing them.
A pungent seasoning made from dried, salted shrimp that's been pounded into a paste. Shrimp paste gives Southeast Asian dishes an authentic, rich flavor. The salty shrimp taste mellows during cooking. In a pinch, substitute anchovy paste, though it's not as boldly flavored.
To remove the shells from seafood, such as oysters and clams, or the husks from corn.
To separate liquids from solids, usually using a sieve.
To put one or more dry ingredients, especially flour or powdered sugar, through a sifter or sieve to remove lumps and incorporate air.
To cook food in a liquid that is kept just below the boiling point; a liquid is simmering when a few bubbles form slowly and burst just before reaching the surface.
A long, narrow metal or wooden stick that can be inserted through pieces of meat or vegetables for grilling. If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before you thread them to prevent burning.
To remove a substance, such as fat or foam, from the surface of a liquid.
A flat, usually thin, piece of food cut from a larger piece. Also the process of cutting flat, thin pieces
To cut food, often fresh herbs or dried fruit, with kitchen shears or scissors into very small, uniform pieces using short, quick strokes.
Made from wheat and buckwheat flours, soba noodles are a favorite Japanese fast food. In a pinch, substitute a narrow whole wheat ribbon pasta, such as linguine.
Made from wheat flour, these dried Japanese noodles are very fine and most often white. In a pinch, substitute angel hair pasta.
French for "sherbet." Sorbets are made from water, sugar, and fruit juice or puree, then churned when freezing. They are different from sherbets in that they don't contain milk.
Made of the liquid pressed from ground soybeans, soymilk can be a good substitute for cow's milk for people who do not consume dairy products. Plain, unfortified soymilk offers high-quality proteins and B vitamins. Substituting soymilk for regular milk is possible in some cases, though the flavor may be affected. Experiment to see what is acceptable to you.
A round pan with high sides and a removable bottom. The bottom is removed by releasing a spring that holds the sides tight around it. This makes it easy to remove food from the pan.
To cook a food in the vapor given off by boiling water.
To allow a food, such as tea, to stand in water that is just below the boiling point in order to extract flavor or color.
To cook food in liquid for a long time until tender, usually in a covered pot. The term also refers to a mixture prepared this way.
To mix ingredients with a spoon or other utensil to combine them, to prevent ingredients from sticking during cooking, or to cool them after cooking.
A method of quickly cooking small pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat while stirring constantly.
The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry, or fish has been simmered with vegetables or herbs. It is similar to broth but is richer and more concentrated. Stock and broth can be used interchangeably; reconstituted bouillon can also be substituted for stock.
A sweetener that's primarily made from sugar beets or sugarcane. Sugar comes in a variety of forms:
Brown sugar: A mix of granulated sugar and molasses. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, and hence, more molasses flavor than light brown sugar (also known as golden brown sugar). Unless otherwise specified, recipes in this cookbook were tested using light brown sugar. In general, either can be used in recipes that call for brown sugar, unless one or the other is specified.
Tip: To help keep brown sugar soft, store it in a heavy plastic bag or a rustproof, airtight container and seal well. If it becomes hard, you can resoften it by emptying the hardened sugar into a rustproof container and placing a piece of soft bread in the container; the sugar will absorb the moisture and soften in a day or two. After the sugar has softened, remove the bread and keep the container tightly closed.
Coarse sugar: Often used for decorating baked goods, coarse sugar (sometimes called pearl sugar) has much larger grains than regular granulated sugar; look for it where cake-decorating supplies are sold.
Granulated sugar: This white, granular, crystalline sugar is what to use when a recipe calls for sugar without specifying a particular type. White sugar is most commonly available in a fine granulation, though superfine (also called ultrafine or castor sugar), a finer grind, is also available. Because superfine sugar dissolves readily, it's ideal for frostings, meringues, and drinks.
Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioner's sugar, this is granulated sugar that has been milled to a fine powder, then mixed with cornstarch to prevent lumping. Sift powdered sugar before using.
Raw sugar: In the United States, true raw sugar is not sold to consumers. Products labeled and sold as raw sugar, such as Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar, have been refined in some way. Cleaned through a steaming process, turbinado sugar is a coarse sugar with a subtle molasses flavor. It is available in many health food stores.
Vanilla sugar: Infused with flavor from a dried vanilla bean, vanilla sugar tastes great stirred into coffee drinks and sprinkled over baked goods. To make vanilla sugar, fill a 1-quart jar with 4 cups sugar. Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and insert both halves into sugar. Secure lid and store in a cool, dry place for several weeks before using. It will keep indefinitely.
A flavoring agent, often used in Middle Eastern cooking, that's made from ground sesame seeds. Look for tahini in specialty food shops or Asian markets.
A dark, thin sauce made from soybeans. Tamari is a slightly thicker, mellower cousin of soy sauce and is used to flavor Asian dishes. In a pinch, substitute soy sauce.
A thick, tart, brown Asian flavoring that comes from the fruit of a tamarind tree.
Food substances used to give a thicker consistency to sauces, gravies, puddings, and soups. Common thickeners include:
Flour and cornstarch: All-purpose flour and cornstarch are starches commonly used to thicken saucy mixtures. Cornstarch produces a more translucent mixture than flour and has twice the thickening power. Before adding one to a hot mixture, stir cold water into a small amount. You can also combine either flour or cornstarch with cold water in a screw-top jar and shake until thoroughly blended. It is critical that the starch-water mixture be free of lumps to prevent lumps in your sauce or gravy.
Quick-cooking tapioca: This is a good choice for foods that are going to be frozen because, unlike flour- and cornstarch-thickened mixtures, frozen tapioca mixtures retain their thickness when reheated.
Tip: When using tapioca as a thickener for crockery cooking and freezer-bound foods, you can avoid its characteristic lumpy texture by grinding the tapioca with a mortar and pestle before adding to the recipe.
The process of browning, crisping, or drying a food by exposing it to heat. Toasting coconut, nuts, and seeds helps develop their flavor. Also the process of exposing bread to heat so it becomes browner, crisper, and drier.
Sometimes referred to as sun-dried tomatoes, these shriveled-looking tomato pieces boast an intense flavor and chewy texture. They're available packed in olive oil or dry. Follow recipe directions for rehydrating dry tomatoes. If no directions are given, cover with boiling water, let stand about 10 minutes or until pliable, then drain well and pat dry. Snip pieces with scissors if necessary. Generally, dry and oil-packed tomatoes can be used interchangeably, though the dry tomatoes will need to be rehydrated, and the oil-packed will need to be drained and rinsed.
A small, thin, flat bread, popular in Mexican cooking, that is made from corn or wheat flour and usually is wrapped around a filling. To warm and soften flour tortillas, wrap a stack of 8 to 10 in foil and heat in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
To mix ingredients lightly by lifting and dropping them using two utensils.
A liquid extract made from the seed of an orchid. Imitation vanilla, an artificial flavoring, makes an inexpensive substitute for vanilla. They can be used interchangeably in our recipes.
White wine that has been fortified and flavored with herbs and spices. Dry vermouth is white and is used as a before-dinner drink or in nonsweet drinks, such as a martini. Sweet vermouth is reddish brown and can be drunk straight or used in sweet mixed drinks. Vermouth often is used as a cooking ingredient.
A sour liquid that is a byproduct of fermentation. Through fermentation the alcohol from grapes, grains, apples, and other sources is changed to acetic acid to create vinegar.
A Japanese horseradish condiment with a distinctive, pale lime-green color and a head-clearing heat (at least if used in significant amounts). Wasabi is available as a paste in a tube or as a fine powder in a small tin or bottle. It's often used to flavor fish.
When liquid separates out of a solid food, such as jellies, custards, and meringues.
To beat a food lightly and rapidly using a wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer in order to incorporate air into the mixture and increase its volume.
Stuffed savory Asian pastries. The wrappers, paper-thin skins used to make wontons, can be found in the produce aisle or in Asian markets. Wonton wrappers are similar to, but smaller than, egg roll skins.
A tiny, single-celled organism that feeds on the sugar in dough, creating carbon dioxide gas that makes dough rise. Three common forms of yeast are:
Active dry yeast: This is the most popular form; these tiny, dehydrated granules are mixed with flour or dissolved in warm water before they're used.
Bread-machine yeast: This highly active yeast was developed especially for use in doughs processed in bread machines.
Quick-rising active dry yeast (sometimes called fast-rising or instant yeast): This is a more active strain of yeast than active dry yeast, and it substantially cuts down on the time it takes for dough to rise. This yeast is usually mixed with the dry ingredients before the warm liquids are added. The recipes in this book were tested using active dry yeast.
The colored outer portion of citrus fruit peel. It is rich in fruit oils and often used as a seasoning. To remove the zest, scrape a grater or fruit zester across the peel; avoid the white membrane beneath the peel because it is bitter.