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The Cooking Inn : Cooking Terminology B

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Single-celled microorganisms that are found in air, food, water, soil, and other living creatures, including humans. "Friendly" bacteria prevent infections and synthesize certain vitamins; others cause disease. See microorganism.

Bain Marie:
Simply a water bath. It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.

Bake Oven:
Commonly called a dutch oven. An iron kettle for fireplace baking, with a rimmed cover to hold burning coals. Modern bake ovens have smooth covers, are often enameled and are used both on stove burners and in ovens.

Baking Powder:
Leavening agent typically found as a double-acting baking powder, because it firstly reacts with liquids and secondly reacts with heat during baking. A good substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder is 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. It is important to check the expiration date on the can as baking powder loses its leavening power over.

Baking Sheet:
A large flat metal rectangle, roughly 10 inches by 15 inches in size, with at least one turned-up edge, used to hold cookies and breads for baking.

Baking Soda:
Leavening agent activated by interacting with an acidic agent. Liquid ingredients such as sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, and lemon juice help baking soda produce the gases which make a batter rise. The batter must be baked as soon as possible after the liquid has interacted with the baking soda to produce the desired results.

Bamboo Shoot:
The young shoot of certain species of the bamboo genera Dendrocalamus and Phyllostachys, sliced, cooked, and eaten as a vegetable, especially in East Asian cuisine.
Canned or fresh.

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Banana Leaf:
Used in Asian, Mexican and South American cooking. Available in packages of 6 1-foot sections.

The most usual modern definition of this is the grilling of meats, chicken or other foods over an open fire, usually made with charcoal briquettes. Such food sometimes is marinated or basted, and always is served with a barbecue sauce. There are many versions of such a sauce, but it is usually based on tomatoes and contains any or all of the following: wine, onions, garlic, herbs, mustard, brown sugar and other seasonings. Be creative and figure out what you like best. Do not be afraid to add peppers, horseradish or even molasses.

Is a culinary term for draping fatty strips of pork over game meat while it cooks. Side pork, salt pork, and bacon are used most often.
Prime candidates for barding are roasted game birds, particularly those that have been skinned rather than plucked. Upland game birds, unlike waterfowl, have little fat under the skin. Even, if turkeys, pheasants, grouse and quail are plucked, barding is recommended. Marinated breast fillets from waterfowl wrapped in bacon and cooked on the grill are incredibly succulent and tasty. Try it with snow geese and you'll find they are as good as Canadas or Whitefronts.
The converse of this is larding, in which long strips of fat are inserted into the cut of meat to keep it moist during cooking.

Basal Metabolic Rate:
The energy required to maintain vital processes in the human body.

Basmati Rice:
Is an aromatic long-grain rice from India and Pakistan. It is considered to be the king of long rice. If Basmati rice is not available, other long-grain rice may be used.

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To moisten foods during cooking with pan drippings or special sauce to add flavor and prevent drying.

Armenian word for eggplant, pronounced "bottle-john.

Bean Curd:
cheeselike food made of curdled soybean milk. Tofu.

Bean Curd Sheets:
Very dry and brittle before soaking, these pale yellow sheets have a shiny surface that gives them a distinctive look. One use is for making egg rolls.

Bean Thread Noodles:
Made from mung bean starch, they look like fishing line when raw. When cooked you'll know why they are also known as silver noodles, cellapone noodles, and glass noodles.

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This is the most notable of all the hollandaise sauce variations. It is made with a wine and vinegar reduction flavored with tarragon. This sauce makes a good companion to grilled meats and fish.

To agitate an ingredient or mixture, using a wooden spoon, fork or whisk, to incorporate air and to make it smooth.

Bechamel Sauce:
This is a white sauce made with milk or cream and thickened with a roux. Bechamel sauce is generally used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone for binding or moistening.

A wooden or metal instrument for beating vegetable pieces or fibers to a pulp; a potato masher.

A pale yellow flour made from ground, dried Chickpeas. Used for doughs, dumplings, noodles or as a thickener for sauces and in batter for deep fried foods.

Beurre Blanc:
An emulsified sauce made of a wine or vinegar reduction blended with softened butter. This may be flavored in many ways, for fish, vegetables, and poultry dishes. This is a very tricky sauce and does not hold for long periods of time. Because of this, modern versions add a touch of cream to stabilize the sauce for longer periods of time.

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Beurre Manie:
A mixture of flour and butter kneaded to a smooth paste. This is then used in small quantities to adjust the thickness of sauces and stews. The sauce must then be boiled briefly to remove the starchy taste of the flour. For this reason, beurre mani is used in situations where only a small quantity is needed. .

A small tin or container such as is used for canned goods.

A rich shellfish soup made with the shells of the animal. The soup is enriched with cream and Cognac and garnished with pieces of the shellfish meat. This name is also used to describe vegetable soups prepared in the same manner as shellfish bisques.

Bitter Melon:
Although bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) looks and is shaped like a cucumber, its crude surface may have given it a complex, causing it to become bitter. When cooked with onions and tomatoes, the bitter taste is tamed and brought into harmony.

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Black Fungus:
Also know in English as wood ears, black fungus is called Ahpogyinaywet, which means old man's ears, in Burma. Always soak the fungus in water for about 30 minutes before cooking; you'll notice that the size increases threefold during this step. Having no definitive taste, black fungus addstexture and color to a dish.

To immerse in rapidly boiling water and allow to cook slightly.

A 6- to 8-quart lidded pot designed with a fitted perforated basket to hold food in boiling water, or with a fitted rack to steam foods. Useful for loosening skins on fruits to be peeled, or for heating foods to be hot packed.

To mix foods together evenly using a spoon, food processor or electric blender.

Lukewarm; close to body temperature, about 98°F. The proper temperature for activating yeast.

Blood Sausage:
Also known as blood pudding and in Ireland as black pudding, this large link sausage is made of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs and oatmeal. Almost black in color, blood sausage is generally sold precooked. It's traditionally sautéed and served with mashed potatoes.

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Frontier slang for the French. bois de vache: dried cow-dung, used for fuel on the treeless plains of the far west.

To cook in a liquid, such as water, stock or milk, at a minimum temperature of 100°C/212°F, when the surface of the liquid will continuously show bubbles.

Cooked in bubbling hot and steaming liquid.

Boiling-Water Canner:
Large standard-sized lidded kettle with jar rack, designed for heat-processing 7 quarts or 8 to 9 pints in boiling water.

Preparation process which removes bones from meat, poultry, game or fish.

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This is a term primarily used to describe a brown sauce that includes shallots and red wine. Some versions of this sauce include slices of bone marrow added at the end of cooking. Fish dishes with this name will be cooked with white Bordeaux wine.

Borscht; Borsch:
Originally from Russia and Poland, borscht is a soup made with fresh beets. It can be prepared using an assortment of vegetables, or with meat and meat stock, or with a combination of both. Borscht can be served hot or cold; it should always be garnished with a dollop of sour cream.

An illness caused by eating toxin produced by growth of Clostridium Botulinum bacteria in moist, low-acid food, containing less than 2 percent oxygen and stored between 40 degrees and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper heat processing destroys this bacterium in canned food. Freezer temperatures inhibit its growth in frozen food. Low moisture controls its growth in dried food. High oxygen controls its growth in fresh foods.

A kind of sausage prepared by stuffing forcemeat made of selected tidbits of a buffalo into the large intestine of the animal and cooked by boiling or frying.

Any broth made by cooking vegetables, poultry, meat or fish in water. The liquid that is strained off after cooking is the bouillon, which can form the base for soups and sauces.

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A bunch of herbs traditionally including fresh parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, etc. Dried Bouquet-garni is bundled in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and fresh is typically tied with string. The herb bundle provides the base flavors to a stew, soup or stock.

A cooking method whereby food, typically raw meat, is first browned in oil, then cooked slowly in a liquid of wine, stock, or water.

A staple article of diet to the Western Indians, often called prairie turnip.

Salt and water solution used for pickling and preserving.

Also called fava bean, horse bean. An annual Old World plant (Vicia faba) in the pea family, having pinnately compound leaves, white flowers with lateral purplish blotches, and long thick pods. The edible seed or green pod of this plant. It is the bean of antiquity.
Crispy fried broadbeans make a great snack.

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Skewer used for grilling chunks of meat, fish and vegetable, over charcoal or under a grill in Europe or under a broiler in the USA.

Preparation method which sears in the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.

Brown Sugar:
Comes in two forms; the more intensely flavored dark brown sugar and the lighter brown sugar, both containing molasses. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses that light brown sugar. To avoid hardening of either sugar, store it in an airtight container. Brown must be sugar packed to measure accurately.

To crush an aromatic food slightly in order to relesse flavor. Most often used for garlic and ginger.

A French finishing method applied to dishes such as cream custards finished with caramelized sugar glaze.

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Bubble and Squeak:
An English dish of equal parts mashed potatoes and chopped cooked cabbage mixed together and fried until well browned. Originally, the dish included chopped boiled beef. The name is said to come from the sounds the potato-cabbage mixture makes as it cooks (some say it's from the sounds one's stomach makes after eating bubble and squeak).

Wheat that has been parcooked and cracked. Key ingredient in tabouli, kibbe, and wheat pilafs. (Also bulghur, burghul)

The stopper in the hole used to drain a cask or keg. The hole itself is the bunghole.

A flour tortilla folded and rolled to completely enclose any of several savory fillings including shredded or chopped meat, refried beans, grated cheese, sour cream, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, etc.

In cooking, to split food (such as shrimp or chicken breasts) down the center, cutting almost but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly shape.

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