Healthy Cooking Skills
To broil or to boil: that is the question! Knowing common cooking terms can improve your healthy cooking skills and turn anyone into a home chef!.
Bake - To cook in the oven. When you bake, food cooks slowly with gentle heat, causing the natural moisture to evaporate slowly and enhancing flavor.
Basting - To brush or spoon liquid, like water, over meat during roasting, this adds flavor and prevents drying out.
Beat- To smooth a mixture by briskly whipping or stirring it up with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, rotary beater or electric mixer.
Blanch- To boil briefly. After 30 seconds in boiling water, plunge the vegetable or other food or into ice water to stop the cooking – great for green beans, asparagus, and broccoli.
Blend- To mix two or more ingredients together to make sure they are equally distributed throughout the mixture.
Boil- To cook food in heated water or other liquid, like water or broths , that is bubbling vigorously.
Braise: To cook food slowly using heat from an oven or stovetop with a little bit of liquid which is usually water or broth. Braising tenderizes the meat, which also gives it great flavor, like in a juicy, tender pot roast.
Broil- To cook food directly under the heat source (in the oven this means only the top burner is on at a very high temperature..
Broth or Stock - A flavorful liquid made by gently cooking meat, seafood or vegetables (and/or their by-products, such as bones and trimming) often with herbs, in liquid (usually water).
Brown -A quick sauté, pan/oven broiling, or grilling method, done either at the beginning or end of meal preparation, often to enhance flavor, texture or eye appeal
Chop- To cut into irregular pieces. Coarsely chopped are bite-sized pieces. Finely chopped are smaller.
Coat- To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs or a batter.
Combine -To blend two or more ingredients into a single mixture.
Dash- A measure approximately equal to 1/16 teaspoon.
Dice- To cut into cubes or square shapes. Fine dice=1/8-inch. Small dice=1/4-inch. Medium dice=1/2-inch.
Marinate- To coat or immerse foods in a liquid or dry rub, to add flavor before cooking and eating.
Mash- To beat or press a food to remove lumps and make a smooth mixture.
Mince - To cut food into tiny irregular pieces. The smallest form of chopped..
Mix -To beat or stir two or more foods together until they are thoroughly combined.
Puree -To mash or sieve food into a thick liquid.
Reduce- To cook liquids down so that some of the water evaporates often causing the remaining mixture to thicken.
Roast- To cook uncovered in the oven.
Sauté- To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or frying pan over direct heat.
Season -To enhance the flavor of foods by adding ingredients like: pepper, oregano, basil, cinnamon and a variety of other herbs, spices, condiments and vinegars.
Shred -To cut or tear into long narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or food processor.
Simmer- A very low boil that cooks food in a liquid at a low enough temperature so that small bubbles begin to break the surface and around the edge of the pot..
Steam -To cook over boiling water in a covered pan, this method keeps foods' shape, texture and nutritional value intact better than methods such as boiling. Best to use a wire basket for this.
Stir-Fry- The fast cooking of small pieces of meat and vegetables over very high heat with continual and rapid stirring.
Toss -To thoroughly combine several ingredients by mixing lightly.
Vinaigrette- Refers to any sauce made with vinegar, oil and seasonings.
Whisk - To mix or fluff by beating; also refers to the utensil used for this action.
Zest (noun) - The thin brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. They contain volatile oils used as a flavoring. Can be grated or in strips.
Zest (verb) - The act of removing the outer part of citrus fruits using a paring knife, grater, microplane or “zester.”
Article copyright © 2011 American Heart Association. This article is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.