Al dente – firm, not soft or mushy; to the bite.

Bake – to cook by freely circulating dry air around the food in a pan. Done in an oven.

Baste – to keep food moist during cooking by spooning, brushing, or drizzling with a broth or sauce. America’s Test Kitchen recently nixed this process in a story about basting a turkey.

Beat – to mix ingredients rapidly so that air is incorporated, resulting in a smooth creamy mixture.

Blanch – to dip very briefly in boiling water to help remove skins or peels.

Blend – to combine ingredients together to a desired consistency

Boil – to cook in water (or other liquid) that is bubbling rapidly.

Broil – to cook with intense direct heat either on a grill or under a broiler.

Brown – to cook food quickly in a preheated oven, broiler, or skillet to brown the outside.

Clarified butter (ghee) – purified butterfat with water and milk solids removed by heating.

Chop – to cut into pieces.

Cream – to mix a softened ingredient, like butter, alone or with another ingredient, like sugar, till completely blended and soft.

Cut-in – to combine butter or shortening with dry ingredients, usually flours, with two knives, a pastry blender, or your hands, till it resembles coarse meal.

Dice – to cut into small pieces 1/4″ x 1/4″

Fold – to incorporate one ingredient into another without stirring or beating but instead by gently lifting from underneath with a rubber spatula.

Fry – to cook in hot fat.

Garnish – to decorate food with fresh herbs, edible flowers, etc. to enhance the look of the dish.

Grease – to lightly coat a pan with some fat to prevent foods from sticking.

Gelatinization – the process by which starch granules absorb water and swell.

Marinate – to flavor food by placing it in a seasoned liquid, usually composed of some combination of vinegar, lemon juice, wine, oil, herbs, spices.

Mince – to cut into very tiny pieces 1/8″ x 1/8″

Mix – to stir ingredients together with a spoon or fork.

Pare – to use a thin knife to remove skin or peel from fruits and vegetables.

Pinch – the amount of a dry ingredient you can hold between your thumb and finger.

Smash (as in ‘smashed’ garlic) – remove the skin from the garlic clove by tapping with a hammer, it then peels off easily. Place the peeled clove(s) between the sides of a folded piece of waxed paper and pound with the hammer on a cutting board until it is completely smashed.

Toast (not in a toaster) – this if for seeds and small grains. Heat a heavy dry skillet, add the seeds or grains, up to about ½ cup at a time, toast, stirring almost constantly or they will burn. They are toasted when they turn color and give off a wonderful aroma.