Good Cooking's Food & Cooking Dictionary
Cake pan --- Round baking pan with straight sides. It comes in 8", 9" and other sizes.
Calamari --- Plural for squid in Italian.
Caracoles --- Spanish for Snails.
Caramel --- Brunt sugar used for sauces, coloring, flavoring and candy.
Caramelization --- Natural sugars turn brown when exposed to direct heat over a flame, with or without the addition of some oil to aid the process. Onions when fried in butter over high heat causes them to turn brown and have a sweet toasted flavor. Carrots in a roasting pan turn golden with a roast chicken. This process and color change from raw to cooked is carmelization.
Caramelize --- The process of cooking sugar until it begins to color. Also, while slowly cooking some vegetables e.g. onions, root vegetables, the natural sugars are released and the vegetables will caramelize in their own sugars, usually oil is used in the pan to help the process.
Cebolla --- Spanish for Onion.
Cerveza --- Spanish for Beer.
Channa --- Indian for Chick Peas.
Chervil --- A delicate parsley like plant with faint licorice flavors.
Chicory --- A lettuce used for salad and sometimes called curly endive. Also added to coffee in the deep South.
Chiffon --- Usually a pureed filling made light and fluffy with beaten egg whites, gelatin and or whipped cream. Lemon chiffon pie is one example.
Chiffonade --- Lettuces, sorrel, basil leaves and other leafy vegetables cut into julienne strips.
Chinoise --- A very fine conical wire mesh strainer. Using a chinoise removes the small impurities from the liquid that is strained. It is a must in any professional kitchen.
Chop --- To cut into irregular pieces with no set size as a result. Chopping parsley is a good example.
Chou --- French for Cabbage.
Chow-Chow --- A sweet relish of pickles and other vegetables.
Chutney --- A spicy relish made with fruits, spices, sugar and herbs. Usually served with curry.
Cilantro --- Parsley like herb with a basil, mint and green onion flavor, popular in Chinese and Mexican/Latin cuisine
Clarify --- A process of making a liquid clear by adding beaten egg whites, ground meat and tomato, then simmering slowly. The liquid is then strained and the result is consomme. Also---melting butter over medium heat so the milk solids settle to the bottom and impurities float to the top. The foamy top is discarded and pure golden liquid butter is ladled off into a clean container for other cooking uses.
Coat --- Evenly covering food with flour, crumbs, herbs, oil or batter.
Coddle --- To cook slowly and gently in a liquid just below the boiling point. Usually eggs are coddled when making traditional Caesar salad to help them absorb and emulsify evenly with the lemon juice and olive oil. Coddled eggs for breakfast a different than poached as they relatively soft but fully heated through.
Combine --- The mixing of two or more ingredients into a single mixture.
Concasse --- Applying to raw or cooked tomatoes: Peeled, seeded and diced/chopped fine, raw; or then sauteed with minced onions in olive oil, cooked.
Concasser --- To chop coarsely.
Confit --- Slowly cook pieces of meat in their own gently rendered fat until very soft and tender. With seasonings, brandy/wine and sometimes vegetables. Duck and pork are two popular meats to be used in confit. When cooked and cooled the meat is keep submerged in its cooking fat as a preservative and as a seal against oxygen.
Core --- To remove the inedible center of fruits such apples and pears.
Cream --- To beat vegetable shortening, butter, or margarine, with or without sugar, until light and fluffy.
Crimp --- To create a decorative edge on a piecrust, also seal the edges together.
Crisp --- To restore the crunch to vegetables such as celery and lettuce. This can be done with an ice water bath. Stale crackers can be crisped in a medium oven. Also a type of a pan baked dessert made of cooked fruit with a crunchy flour and sugar topping. Apple or peach crisp are examples.
Croquettes --- Chopped seasoned food held together by cream sauce, eggs, flour/breadcrumbs, shaped and then breaded with bread crumbs and deep fried. Crab cakes that are deep fried, not sauteed are really crab croquettes.
Crush --- To reduce a food to small particles, usually using a mortar and pestle, rolling pin or bottom of a pot. To crush crackers you may place them in a double bag and roll a rolling pin over them.
Crystallize --- To form sugar or honey syrups into crystals buy cooking it to hard crack and letting it cool on an oiled surface. The term also describes a sugar coating surrounding a fruit dipped in a egg white and granulated sugar mixture.
Cube --- To cut in even pieces. May be 1/4 inch/ 1/2 inch or 1 inch. Sides must be of even size to be conceded cubed. This is a description used in dicing as an exact dice.
Cull --- The term for a lobster with one claw.
Curd --- Custard-like pie or tart filling made with whole eggs,
sugar, juice and zest of citrus the fruit, usually lemon. May also be the solidified nuggets of milk after citric acid has been added and rennet introduced. The curding process is an important stage in the cheese making process.
Curdle --- Separation of a milk/cream based sauce or the cooking of eggs when over cooked. Sauces look like egg drop soup when curdled.
Cure --- Marinating to preserve an ingredient with salt and/or sugar and spices. Preparing gravlax, marinated salmon, is an example of curing.
Custard --- A mixture of beaten egg, egg yolks, milk, and other ingredients. Which is cooked with gentle heat, often in a water bath. A custard differs from a pudding in that it isn't stirred during the cooking process.
Cut in --- Working butter or vegetable shortening, margarine, into dry ingredients for equal distribution. This is done with the help of a pastry blender and is an important procedure in making flaky pie crusts.
Special thanks to my late mother Julia Rauscher Vyhnanek for
her food knowledge which was the source for many of the definitions.
She was a retired school teacher who was a real "Foodie"! If it
were not for her, I many not have become a Chef.
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