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Glossary of Cooking Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Adding Oil to wok - It is important to have the oil in the pan or wok preheated before adding any ingredients. Food will absorb too much oil if it is not sizzling when placed in the pan. Notice how the oil moves in the pan before food is added. This is a good indication that it is getting hot.

Adjust - to change the seasonings in a cooked dish by adding salt and pepper, herbs, lemon juice, and so on, after you have tasted the dish and determined that it needs more flavoring.

Aerate - To add air to a liquid or to pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so that large pieces can be broken down or removed. Sifting dry ingredients aerates them while distributing small amounts of chemical leaveners or dry seasoning evenly through the mixture. Use sifters, whips, beaters or forks to aerate.

Al dente - Literally means "to the tooth." An Italian term describing the consistency of pasta cooked to a tender firmness. Usually considered to be pasta cooked "just right."

Albumen - (1) Egg white. (2) An important type of protein found in egg whites, rare beef, milk and some vegetables. It is a vital component of human blood serum.

Aluminium Cookware made from this tough, strong, light metal holds heat well, but has a tendency to react with acids e.g. tomatoes and can give foods an off-taste. For this reason never use aluminum for a recipe which calls for a non-reactive pan. Also, avoid cheap aluminum pots, as they are usually thin and will warp quickly. High quality aluminum pots and pans are often available through restaurant supply houses for a reasonable price. Anodized aluminum is an alternative to pure aluminum. It isn't as reactive, though using it to prepare highly acidic foods still isn't recommended.

Antioxidant - (1) Natural or synthetic substances that prevent or delay the process of oxidation. Some food additives are antioxidants that act as preservatives by retarding deteriorization, rancidity or discoloration caused by oxidation. (2) Compounds found in various foods that reduce premature aging or degenerative disease.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.