COOKERY TERMS - B
A rich rum or kirsch-soaked Polish yeast cake studded with currants or
raisins. The traditional baba is baked in a tall cylindrical mold but the cake
can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes; called savarin when baked in a
large ring mold.
A Polish sweet yeast bread, traditionally made with rum and studded with
almonds, raisins and orange peel.
A cured / smoked cut of pork carcass that consists of fat interspersed with
strands of meat, available sliced or in a slab.
A dense, chewy, doughnut-shaped roll that is cooked in boiling water, then
A long, thin, cylindrical loaf of French bread with a crisp, brown crust and
chewy interior; traditionally made from flour, salt, water and yeast.
1. A hot-water bath used to gently cook foods. Hot water is placed in a pan
and the food item (such as custard), nestled in a separate container, is set in
the water. This allows gentle cooking without scorching. 2. French term for a
type of double boiler.
Paper or foil pleated cups used to line cupcake or muffin tins.
A Leavening agent containing a combination of baking soda, an acid like
cream of tartar and a moisture-absorber like cornstarch. When mixed with
liquid, it releases carbon dioxide gas that causes baked goods to rise.
BAKING SODA, BICARBONATE OF SODA
A Leavening agent that causes baked goods to rise when combined with an
acid ingredient such as buttermilk or yogurt.
Greek pastry made in layers with thin leaves of phyllo dough, honey, sugar
and chopped nuts.
An Italian vinegar made from white Trebbiano grape juice. It has a dark color
and pungent sweetness from aging in barrels made of wood.
These are the ivory-colored shoots of the bamboo plant. Bamboo shoots have
a tender-crisp texture and sweet flavor. Primarily available in cans and used
in Asian cuisines.
A soft Scottish yeast roll traditionally eaten for breakfast with a flour-tasting
A soft, moist, fine-textured type of raw sugar. If unavailable, dark brown
sugar can be substituted in equal parts.
To cover meats with slices of salt pork.
A small, round grain grown in most of the world. It is pearled to remove
its outer husk. It has a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy flavor and chewy
Ground barley used for baking, however, since it lacks gluten, barley flour
isn’t recommended for yeast breads unless combined with a gluten-containing
flour. An excellent thickener for soups and sauces
An Irish bread, usually containing candied fruit peel and raisins or currants.
Barm brack is typically buttered and served with tea.
Small, oblong pastry tarts made of short crust pastry or puff pastry and baked
A herb commonly used in Italian cooking with a strong sweet flavor. Basil is
used with many dishes but is most commonly paired with tomatoes.
A term used for several varieties of fresh and saltwater spiny-finned fish.
Large mouth, small mouth, sea and striped bass are some of the varieties.
To add moisture, flavor and color to foods by brushing, drizzling or spooning
pan juices or other liquids over the food during cooking.
A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that is thin enough in consistency to require
a pan to encase it.
Thin, oval shaped pasta.
A leaf from the laurel family used as a herb that imparts a lemon-nutmeg
flavor and is usually removed from food after cooking.
Mung and soybean sprouts are very popular in Asian cooking. The crisp,
mild-flavored sprouts add a crunchy texture to salads, and are best eaten raw.
However, they are also a nice addition to stir-fry dishes, but will lose their
crunchiness if cooked longer than 30 seconds. Bean sprouts are available in
most supermarkets, either pre-packaged or in bulk. Select crisp, pale sprouts
with the buds attached; avoid musty-smelling, dark or slimy-looking sprouts.
To mix thoroughly with a spoon, whisk or beaters until smooth and well
A classic white-wine sauce flavored with fresh herbs and shallots, thickened
with egg yolks and usually finished with tarragon or chervil.
BEAU MONDE SEASONING
A commercial combination of herbs.
Basic milk (white) sauce.
A large round, garnet red edible root with an edible leafy green top.
Semisoft Italian cheese having a mild, buttery flavor. Delicious with fruity
wines, it can be served as a dessert cheese, and melts beautifully for use in
casseroles or on pizza.
A large fresh sweet pepper with a mild sweet flavor and available in various
colors, including green, red, white, brown, purple, yellow and orange.
A green spread made with cucumber, cream cheese and mayonnaise.
Fruit with seeds embedded in the pulp. Varieties include blackberries,
raspberries, dewberries, loganberries, salmonberries, youngberries and many
more. Berries should be plump, tender and stored in ventilated containers
A naturally occurring nutrient found in plants and vegetables that acts as an
antioxidant. When consumed, beta carotene is converted into vitamin A.
A sauce for fish which contains browned butter flavored with parsley,
seasonings and vinegar.
Browned butter with lemon juices and seasonings.
A small variety of butterhead lettuce with soft, light green leaves that has a
buttery flavor and texture.
To stir in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream to thicken a sauce
or hot liquid.
A creamy soup made with seafood or poultry.
To cut into pieces which can be easily chewed.
A bitter liquid distilled from roots and herbs, often used in mixed drinks,
served as an aperitif, or as a home remedy for fevers and other illness.
BITTERSWEET OR SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE
This is the chocolate most often called for in cake and cookie recipes (like
A relatively large, dried bean with black skin, cream flesh and a sweet flavor;
also called a turtle bean.
A large shiny, deep purple berry with a sweet flavor. Also known as a
A cooking method popular in Cajun cuisine where seasoned foods are cooked
over high heat in a very hot skillet until charred.
BLANCHE OR BLANCH
To partially cook food (usually vegetables and fruits) by plunging into boiling
water briefly, then into cold water bath to stop the cooking process.
A light soup or stew made without browning the meat first.
To bake a pie crust without the filling.
A Jewish pancake, stuffed and made with egg batter. The thin pancake can be
rolled around a variety of fillings including soft cheeses, fruit or meat mixtures.
A variety of crab found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Named for the
color of its claws and dark blue-green shell, the blue crab has a rich, sweet
flavor and is available in hard- and soft-shell stages.
BLUE (BLEU) CHEESE
A strong, semisoft, blue-veined cheese made from cow’s milk.
A native American berry that has a smooth dark blue skin and a light bluegray
flesh. Usually used for baked goods and jams and jellies.
The main Atlantic variety of tuna; a bluefin can weigh more than 1,000
A member of the cabbage family that has wide, white crunchy stalks with
tender, dark green leaves. Commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
A large, seasoned, cooked sausage made from pork, beef and veal. Usually
served cold in sandwiches. Also known as baloney.
Dessert ice cream.
A sweet made of or dipped into fondant.
A cut of meat from which the bone has been removed or to remove the bone
from a cut of meat.
A cut of meat containing the bone.
From the tuna family, the small bonito rarely exceeds 25 pounds. The fish
is relatively high in fat and is among the most strongly flavored of the
A European herb with blue flowers, downy leaves and a subtle cucumber
flavor. The flowers and leaves can be added to cold drinks or used in salads.
Since the leaves have a slightly hairy texture, they should be finely chopped
before adding to salads. The leaves can also be used to flavor teas and
vegetables, and the flowers are good when candied.
A red or white wine sauce mixed with meat glaze, marrow, lemon juice, finely
minced shallots, parsley, ground pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and other fresh
A rice ring.
Turkish appetizer. Fried or baked, böreks come in many varieties. They are
made from layers of thin wheat dough and may be filled with a sweet or
savory mixture. Cheese is a popular filling.
BOSTON BAKED BEANS
An baked American dish of navy or pea beans, bacon or salt pork, mustard
and brown sugar.
A variety of butterhead lettuce with soft, pliable pale green leaves that have
a buttery texture and flavor and are larger and lighter in color than bibb
A pork- and rice-based, highly seasoned sausage that is common in southern
Louisiana cooking. The term is French for “white pudding”.
Reduced meat stock.
A type of meatball used in the Creole cooking of southern Louisiana.
A group of herbs (usually parsley, thyme and bay leaf) that are tied together
in a bundle or placed in cheese cloth and tied used to flavor soups, stews and
broths. It is removed before serving.
BOURGUIGNONNE, À LA
Meat that is cooked in red wine and served with small mushrooms and white
A French triple cream cheese with a soft texture; made from cow’s milk and
often flavored with herbs, garlic or pepper.
A hybrid of blackberries and raspberries that has a purple-red color and a
A cooking technique where meat is browned in oil or fat and then cooked
(tightly covered) very slowly in liquid. Braising tenderizes and enhances the
flavor of the meat.
The tough, outer covering of several types of grain kernels. It is marketed in
cereal and used as a nutrient supplement.
The seeds of a giant tree in the Brazilian forest; the large, hard fruit of this tree
contains up to 20 seeds, each in its own hard shell. Inside the shell is a creamy,
rich nut that can be roasted or ground or chipped to flavor cookies and
pastries. Brazil nuts do not keep well because of their high oil content.
To coat food with bread or cracker crumbs, flour, cornmeal and a liquid or egg
mixture before cooking.
A large, round fruit with bumpy green skin and bland-tasting, cream-colored
flesh the texture of fresh bread. Breadfruit can be baked, fried or boiled in the
same way as potatoes. It is available fresh in some specialty produce markets,
as well as canned.
Salt-cured, air-dried beef fillet, served thinly sliced as an antipasto.
An all-American pale yellow cheese with a tangy flavor. The flavor and
aroma become stronger as the cheese ages.
Made from cow’s milk, this soft, creamy cheese has a delicate, slightly nutty
flavor. The white rind is also edible. To select brie at its peak of ripeness, look
for one that is plump and springy to the touch. It is acceptable for the rind to
show some brown edges, but ripe brie should be used within a few days.
When brie is past its prime, it will appear gray and have an ammonia smell.
To tie poultry or meat.
A salt water solution used to preserve foods.
Yeast-leavened sponge dough.
A cut of beef (or mutton) taken from the breast section; sold without the bone
and divided into two sections. The flat cut has minimal fat and is usually
more expensive than the more flavorful point cut, which has more fat. Brisket
can be boiled, braised, barbecued, stewed or used to make corned beef, which
requires long, slow cooking.
This deep-green relative of cabbage and cauliflower is made up of tiny
bunches of tightly closed green buds growing from a thick edible stalk. Peak
season is from October through April, but broccoli can be found in
supermarkets year-round. Choose bunches with tightly closed buds, crisp
leaves and deep green, or green with purple tinges (considered the best), in
color. If not being cooked right away, store unwashed broccoli in an airtight
bag in the refrigerator for up to four days. Peel any tough stalks before
cooking. Steam or boil briefly to preserve some of the crispness.
A member of the broccoli family which looks similar to its relative, but has
thinner stalks and is harvested very young. The leaves and young flower
heads can be eaten cooked as spring greens or raw in salads. The stems are
also edible. The flavor is slightly bitter and becomes more so as it matures.
Select young, crisp, leafy stalks (they may have some yellow flowers), and
check the stalks for toughness. Avoid large, woody stalks or yellow, limp
leaves. Also known as broccoli rab, raab, rape, rapini, Italian turnip and
Food cooked on a skewer.
To place directly under or over a heat source while cooking.
BROTH OR STOCK
A flavorful liquid that is the result of cooking vegetables, meat or fish and
other seasoning ingredients in water.
To cook quickly over or under high heat at the beginning or end of meal
preparation, often to enhance flavor, texture and eye appeal.
Whole rice grain with only the very outer husk removed. The bran coating is
left on, giving the rice a tan color and nutlike flavor. Brown rice is higher in
fiber and more nutritious than white rice. However, brown rice is subject to
rancidity because of the bran and has a shelf life of only about six months.
Brown rice also requires a longer cooking time than regular white long-grain
White sugar combined with Molasses. This soft refined sugar come in dark
French term for finely diced vegetables (1/8 inch dice)
Bread that is drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, then heated and served
warm. It can be topped with olives, tomatoes, garlic paste, basil or other
Using a pastry brush, to coat a food such as meat or bread with melted butter
A vegetable of the cabbage family that grows in small cabbage-like heads or
Thin, straight, short, hollow pasta.
Despite common misconceptions, buckwheat is neither a wheat nor a
grain. It is actually the triangular seeds of a plant related to rhubarb. Once
the seeds are hulled and ground they are called groats. Groats (usually
available in fine, medium and coarse grinds) can be cooked in a manner
similar to rice.
A meal where a large array of hot and cold foods are set out on a table and
guests serve themselves.
A kitchen device used to baste various foods; consists of a tapered tube made
of metal or plastic and a rubber bulb at the wider end. Basting liquid is drawn
into the tube by squeezing and releasing the bulb; the liquid pours over the
food when the bulb is squeezed again.
Wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried and crushed. It has a tender,
chewy texture and is used in dishes like Tabbouleh and other Middle Eastern
A Mexican pastry that is fried than sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Flour tortilla filled with cheese, salsa or chile sauce, refried beans and/or beef
To split food such as shrimp or pork chops down the center without cutting
all the way through and then spread open like a butterfly or open book.
Also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce, this salad green has a loosely formed
head and a characteristically sweet flavor.
1. A thick and tangy milk made from fresh, pasteurized skim or lowfat
cow’s milk then cultured with bacteria; also known as “cultured buttermilk”.
2. Traditionally, the liquid remaining after the cream was churned into
A large, pear-shaped squash with a smooth yellow brown skin and orange
flesh with a sweet flavor.
1. A flavor blend of brown sugar and butter, used for cookies, candies, sauces.
2. A hard candy with the flavor of butterscotch.