Definitions

adobo {ah-doh-boh} sauce -Found in Mexican Markets or ethnic section of Supermarket.
Is a spicy, dark red Mexican sauce made from ground chiles, herbs, garlic, tomatoes and vinegar. It is also used as a marinade. Chipotle chiles (dried, smoked jalapeño peppers) are often stewed and packed in adobo sauce
agave - [ah-GAH-vee]
Also called century plant , this family of succulents grows in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America. Though poisonous when raw, agave has a sweet, mild flavor when baked or made into syrup. Certain varieties are used in making the alcoholic beverage tequila.
aioli - [ay-OH-lee]
A strongly flavored garlic mayonnaise from the Provence region of southern France. It's a popular accompaniment for fish, meats and vegetables.
al dente - [al-DEN-tay]
An Italian phrase meaning "to the tooth," used to describe pasta or other food that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, but which is not soft or overdone. 
amandine- [AH-mahn-deen, a-mahn-DEEN]
The French term meaning "garnished with almonds." It's often misspelled "almondine." 

annatto- [uh-NAH-toh]
A derivative of ACHIOTE SEED, commercial annatto paste and powder is used to color butter, margarine, cheese and smoked fish.

arborio rice - [ar-BOH-ree-oh]
The high-starch kernels of this Italian-grown grain are shorter and fatter than any other short-grain rice. Arborio is traditionally used for RISOTTO because its increased starch lends this classic dish its requisite creamy texture. See also  RICE.
aromatic 
Any of various plants, herbs and spices (such as bay leaf, ginger or parsley) that impart a lively fragrance and flavor to food and drink.  Aromatic vegetables commonly are onions, carrots and celery (aka mirepoix), garlic and peppercorns, or lemongrass, ginger and scallions are also aromatics.
arugula - [ah-ROO-guh-lah]
Arugula is a bitterish, aromatic salad green with a peppery mustard flavor. It has long been extremely popular with Italians, but fairly new to Americans. Arugula can be found in specialty produce markets and in some supermarkets. Arugula makes a lively addition to salads, soups and sautéed vegetable dishes. It's a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C.

basmati -  [bahs-MAH-tee] rice
Literally translated as "queen of fragrance," basmati has been grown in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years. Its perfumy, nut-like flavor and aroma can be attributed to the fact that the grain is aged to decrease its moisture content. Basmati is a long-grained rice with a fine texture. It can be found in Indian and Middle Eastern markets and some supermarkets. 
blanch 
To plunge food (usually vegetables and fruits) into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is used to firm the flesh, to loosen skins (as with peaches and tomatoes) and to heighten and set color and flavor (as with vegetables before freezing).
bok choy - [bahk CHOY]
Also called Chinese cabbage bok choy is a mild, versatile vegetable with crunchy white stalks and tender, dark green leaves. Bok choy is available year-round in most supermarkets and It can be used raw in salads, in a stir fry or as a cooked vegetable. Bok choy is related to but not the same as Chinese cabbage.
bouquet garni - [boo-KAY gahr-NEE]
A bunch of herbs (the classic trio being parsley, thyme and bay leaf) that are either tied together or placed in a cheesecloth bag and used to flavor soups, stews and broths. Tying or bagging the herbs allows for their easy removal before the dish is served.
braise- -[BRAYZ]
A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight-fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.
brine 
A strong solution of water and salt used for pickling or preserving foods. A sweetener such as sugar or molasses is sometimes added to brine.
broccoli rabe -  [raab]
A vegetable related to the cabbage and turnip family, the leafy green broccoli rabe has 6- to 9-inch stalks and scattered clusters of tiny broccoli like buds. It's also called rapini. The greens have a pungent, bitter flavor. Italians are particularly fond of broccoli rabe, and cook it in a variety of ways including frying, steaming and braising. It can also be used in soups or salads. Broccoli rabe can be found from fall to spring in markets with specialty produce sections.
broil 
To cook food directly under or above the heat source; food can be broiled in an oven, directly under the gas or electric heat source, or on a barbecue grill, directly over charcoal or other heat source
bulghur wheat; bulgar - [BUHL-guhr]
A nutritious staple in the Middle East, bulghur wheat consists of wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried and crushed. It is often confused with but is not exactly the same as cracked wheat. Bulghur
has a tender, chewy texture and comes in coarse, medium and fine grinds. It makes an excellent wheat PILAF and is delicious in salads (see TABBOULEH).
caramelize - [KEHR-ah-meh-lyz, KAR-ah-meh-lyz]
A cooking process in which sugar is heated until it oxidizes, liquefies, and becomes syrup. The end result is nutty in flavor and golden brown in color.  Caramelization also occurs in fruits and vegetables that have natural sugars. 
cheesecloth
A versatile kitchen helper, this lightweight natural cotton cloth won't fall apart when wet and will not flavor the food it touches. Cheesecloth has a multitude of culinary uses including straining liquids, forming a packet for herbs and spices (as with BOUQUET GARNI) that can be dropped into a soup or stock pot. It comes in both fine and coarse weaves and is available in gourmet shops, supermarkets and the kitchen section of many department stores. 
chiffonade – [shihf-uh-NAHD]
Literally translated, this French phrase means "made of rags." Culinary, it refers to thin strips or shreds of vegetables.
chipotle chile [chih-POHT-lay] - Found in Mexican Markets or ethnic section of Supermarkets
This hot chile is actually a dried, smoked JALAPEÑO. It has a wrinkled, dark brown skin and a smoky, sweet, almost chocolaty flavor. Chipotles can be found dried, pickled and canned in ADOBO SAUCE. Chipotles are generally added to stews and sauces; the pickled variety are often eaten as appetizers.  
cilantro - [sih-LAHN-troh, see-LAHN-troh]
The bright green leaves and stems of the CORIANDER plant. Cilantro (also called Chinese parsley  and coriander ) has a lively, pungent fragrance.  It is widely used in Asian, Caribbean and Mexican cooking and its distinctive flavor lends itself to highly spiced foods. Cilantro can be found year-round in most supermarkets and is generally sold in bunches.  Both the leaves and relatively tender stems can be used in fresh or cooked dishes.
colander - [KAWL-an-der, KUHL-an-der]
Used for draining liquid from solids, the colander is a perforated, bowl-shaped container. It can be metal, plastic or ceramic.
coriander - [KOR-ee-an-der]
Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, coriander is related to the parsley family. It's known for both its seeds and for its dark green, lacy leaves.   Whole coriander seeds are used in pickling and for special drinks, such as mulled wine. Ground seed is used in many baked goods, curry blends, soups, etc. Both forms are commonly available in supermarkets. Coriander leaves are also commonly known as cilantro  and Chinese parsley. Coriander leaves are used widely in the cuisines of India, Mexico, Asia and the Caribbean.
deglaze - [dee-GLAYZ]
After food (usually meat) has been sautéed and the excess fat removed from the pan, deglazing is done by heating a small amount of liquid in the pan and stirring to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. The resultant mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.
divided 
Ingredient will be separated into more than one portion for use at different times in recipe.
dredge - [DREHJ]
To lightly coat food to be fried, as with flour, cornmeal or bread crumbs. This coating helps brown the food. Chicken, for example, might be dredged with flour before frying. 
dutch oven
A large pot or kettle, usually made of cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid so steam cannot readily escape. It's used for moist-cooking methods, such as braising and stewing. 
egg wash
Egg yolk or egg white mixed with a small amount of water or milk. It's brushed over breads, pastry and other baked goods before baking to give them color and gloss.
emulsion - [ih-MUHL-shuhn]
A mixture of one liquid with another with which it cannot normally combine smoothly — oil and water being the classic example. Emulsifying is done by slowly adding one ingredient to another while at the same time mixing rapidly. Emulsified mixtures are usually thick and satiny in texture. Mayonnaise and HOLLANDAISE SAUCE are two of the best-known emulsions. 
Filè powder (ground sassafras leaves) is an important ingredient in the two cuisines of the US-American federal state Louisiana: Creole and Cajun cookery. 
garam masala - [gah-RAHM mah-SAH-lah] - Found in Middle Eastern/Asian Markets
Garam  is the Indian word for "warm" or "hot," and this blend of dry-roasted, ground spices can contain up to 12 different spices.  It can include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, dried chilies, fennel, mace, nutmeg and other spices. Garam masala may be purchased in Indian markets and in the gourmet section of some supermarkets. It's also easily prepared at home, but should be made in small batches to retain its freshness.
grapeseed oil
Extracted from grape seeds, most of this oil comes from France, Italy or Switzerland, with a few sources now in the United States. Some grapeseed oils have a light "grapey" flavor and fragrance but most imported into the United States are on the bland side. Grapeseed oil can be used for salad dressings and, because it has a relatively high SMOKE POINT, it's also good for sautéing. It may be stored at room temperature (70°F or under) or in the refrigerator. Grapeseed oil is available in gourmet food stores and some supermarkets. 
grate
To reduce a large piece of food to small particles or thin shreds by rubbing it against a coarse, serrated surface, usually on a kitchen utensil called a GRATER. Grating food makes it easier to incorporate with other foods.
grill
1. A heavy metal grate that is set over hot coals or other heat source and used to cook foods such as steak or hamburgers.
2. A dish of food usually meat cooked on a grill. grill v.  To prepare food on a grill over hot coals or other heat source. The term barbecue  is often used synonymously with grill.
immersion blender
This handheld BLENDER is tall, narrow and has a rotary blade at one end. It has variable speeds, is entirely portable and may be immersed right into a pot of soup (or other mixture) to puree or chop the contents.
Julienne - [joo-lee-EHN]
To slice into thin strips about the size of matchsticks.  The strips may then be cut into whatever length is desired. Julienne is often used as a garnish.
kamut -[kah-MOOT] - Found in Specialty Markets & Health Food Stores
The name "kamut" comes from the ancient Egyptian word for "wheat." Kamut is a variety of high-protein wheat that has never been hybridized. In the United States, kamut is available only in processed foods. It's used mainly for pastas, puffed cereal and crackers. Because cultivation is limited, kamut products are hard to find, and are generally only available in health-food stores.
kabocha squash [Japanese pumpkin]
It is popular for its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts. An average kabocha weighs 2-3 pounds but can weigh as much as 8 pounds
legumes [lehg-YOOM]
Any of thousands of plant species that have seed pods that split along both sides when ripe. Some of the more common legumes used for human consumption are BEANS, LENTILS, PEANUTS, PEAS and SOYBEANS. When the seeds of a legume are dried, they're referred to as PULSES. The high-protein legumes are a staple throughout the world. They contain some vitamin B, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. 

liquid smoke
Is a substance produced from smoke passed through water. Liquid smoke can be used as a seasoning to add a smokey chargrilled flavor to foods. 
mandoline: [MAHN-duh-lihn; mahn-duh-LEEN]
A compact, hand-operated machine with various adjustable blades for thin to thick slicing and for julienne and French-fry cutting. Mandolines have folding legs and come in both wood- or stainless steel-frame models. They're used to cut firm vegetables and fruits (such as potatoes and apples) with uniformity and precision. On most machines, the food is held in a metal carriage on guides so that fingers aren't in danger.
marinate - [MEHR-ih-nayt]
To soak a food such as meat, fish or vegetables in a seasoned liquid mixture called a MARINADE. The purpose of marinating is for the food to absorb the flavors of the marinade or, as in the case of a tough cut of meat, to tenderize. Because most marinades contain acid ingredients, the marinating should be done in a glass, ceramic or stainless-steel container — never in aluminum.
mirin - [MIHR-ihn]
A low-alcohol, sweet, golden wine made from glutinous rice. Essential to the Japanese cook, mirin adds sweetness and flavor to a variety of dishes, sauces and glazes. It's available in all Japanese markets and the gourmet section of some supermarkets. 
mustard powder
Is simply finely ground mustard seed. 
mustard seeds
Mustard seeds can be stored for up to a year in a dry, dark place and powdered mustard for about six months. Whole seeds are used for pickling, flavoring cooked meats and vegetables and as a source for freshly ground mustard. Powdered mustards and freshly ground seeds are used in sauces, as a seasoning in main dishes and as an ingredient in salad dressings.
orzo - [OHR-zoh]
In Italian this means "barley," but it's actually a tiny, rice-shaped PASTA, slightly smaller than a PINE NUT. Orzo is ideal for soups and wonderful when served as a substitute for rice.
panko - [PAHN-koh]
Bread crumbs used in Japanese cooking for coating fried foods. They're coarser than those normally used in the United States and create a deliciously crunchy crust. Panko can be found in most markets.
parchment paper
A heavy, grease- and moisture-resistant paper with a number of culinary uses including lining baking pans and wrapping foods. Parchment paper is available in gourmet kitchenware stores and many supermarkets. 
parboil
To partially cook food by boiling it briefly in water. This timesaving technique is used in particular for dense foods such as carrots. If parboiled, they can be added at the last minute with quick-cooking ingredients (such as bean sprouts and celery) in preparations such as stir-fry dishes. The parboiling ensures that all the ingredients will complete cooking at the same time.
parcook
To partially cook a food that will be finished later.
pastry brush
A small brush used for applying glazes to breads, pastries, cookies, etc. Pastry brushes can be made of nylon bristles and natural bristles. Natural-bristle brushes are considered best because they're softer and hold more liquid.  The harder nylon bristles will last longer but may melt if accidentally touched to a hot surface.
pilaf - [PEE-lahf, PIH-lahf]
This rice based dish originated in the Middle East and always begins by first browning the rice in butter or oil before cooking it in stock. Pilafs can be variously seasoned and usually contain other ingredients such as chopped cooked vegetables, meats, seafood or poultry. In India they're highly spiced with CURRY. Pilaf can be served as a side dish or main dish.
pith
The soft, white, somewhat bitter, spongy layer that lies between the outer peel and the flesh of a CITRUS FRUIT.
poach
To cook food gently in liquid just below the boiling point when the liquid's surface is beginning to show some quivering movement. The amount and temperature of the liquid used depends on the food being poached. Meats and poultry are usually simmered in stock.  Poaching produces a delicate flavor in foods, while imparting some of the liquid's flavor to the ingredient being poached.
pot liquor; potlikker
The vitamin-rich liquid left after cooking greens, vegetables, meat, etc. This broth is particularly popular in the southern United States and is traditionally served separately with cornbread.
puree; purée - [pyuh-RAY]
n.  Any food (usually a fruit or vegetable) that is finely mashed to a smooth, thick consistency. Purees can be used as a garnish, served as a side dish or added as a thickener to sauces or soups. puree v.  To grind or mash food until it's completely smooth. This can be accomplished by one of several methods including using a food processor or immersion blender.
quinoa [KEEN-wah]
Hailed as the "supergrain of the future," quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. It's considered a complete protein  because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains, and it provides a rich and balanced source of vital nutrients. Quinoa is lighter than but can be used in any way suitable for rice — as part of a main dish, a side dish, in soups, in salads and even in puddings. It's available packaged as a grain, ground into flour and in several forms of pasta. Quinoa can be found in most health-food stores and some supermarkets.
reduce
Culinarily, to boil a liquid rapidly until the volume is reduced by evaporation, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying the flavor. Such a mixture is sometimes referred to as a reduction .
rice vinegar
There are Japanese as well as Chinese rice vinegars, both made from fermented rice, and both slightly milder than most Western vinegars. Chinese rice vinegar comes in three types: white, red, and black.  Japanese rice vinegar is almost colorless. Rice vinegar can be found in Asian markets and most supermarkets. 
rice wine
A sweet, golden wine made from fermenting freshly steamed glutinous rice. Most rice wines are low in alcohol. The most well-known Japanese rice wines are SAKE and MIRIN, while Chinese renditions include Chia Fan, Hsiang Hsueh, Shan Niang and Yen Hung. 

roux [ROO]
A mixture of flour and fat that, after being slowly cooked over low heat, is used to thicken mixtures such as soups and sauces. There are three classic roux — white, blond and brown. The color and flavor is determined by the length of time the mixture is cooked. Both white roux and blond roux are made with butter. The former is cooked just until it begins to turn beige and the latter until pale golden. Both are used to thicken cream and white sauces and light soups. The fuller-flavored brown roux can be made with butter, drippings or pork or beef fat. It's cooked to a deep golden brown and used for rich, dark soups and sauces. CAJUN and CREOLE dishes use a lard-based roux, which is cooked (sometimes for almost an hour) until a beautiful mahogany brown. This dark nutty-flavored base is indispensable for specialties like GUMBO.
saucepan
A round cooking utensil with a relatively long handle and (usually) a tight-fitting cover. The versatile saucepan has a multitude of uses including making soups and sauces, boiling vegetables and other foods, braising and even sautéing. Saucepans come in sizes ranging from 1 pint to 4 quarts. Choose saucepans that are well balanced, with handles that allow the pan to be easily lifted.
Sauté - [saw-TAY] sautéed; sautéing
To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat.
sauté pan
A wide pan with straight or slightly curved sides that are generally a little higher than those of a frying pan. It has a long handle on one side; heavy sauté pans usually have a loop handle on the other side so the pan can be easily lifted. As the name suggests, a sauté pan efficiently browns and cooks meats and a variety of other foods.
sear
To brown meat quickly by subjecting it to very high heat either in a skillet, under a broiler or in a very hot oven. The object of searing is to seal in the meat's juices.
seed - To remove the seeds from foods, such as fruits or vegetables. 
shoyu- [SHOH-yoo] Japanese for SOY SAUCE. Found in Specialty Markets & Health Food Stores. 
shred
To cut food into narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding disk. Cooked meat can be separated into shreds by pulling it apart with two forks.
soba - [SOH-buh] - Found in Asian Markets & Specialty Markets
A Japanese noodle made from buckwheat and wheat flour, which gives it a dark brownish-gray color. Chasoba is a variation of the noodle made with green tea. See also  ASIAN NOODLES
sofrito - [soh-FREE-toh]
1. The Spanish sofrito  is a sauce made by sautéing ANNATTO SEEDS in rendered pork fat. The seeds are removed before chopped onions, green peppers, garlic, pork and various herbs are cooked in the flavored, now-red oil until the ingredients are tender and the mixture is thick. The sauce is used in recipes as needed.
2. The Italian soffrito  is a similar mixture (usually chopped celery, green peppers, onions, garlic and herbs) sautéed in olive oil and used to flavor soups, sauces and meat dishes.
soul food
Though this traditional African-American fare has long been popular in the South, the term itself is relatively new (circa 1960). The expression "soul food" is thought to have derived from the cultural spirit and soul-satisfying flavors of black-American food. Some of the dishes commonly thought of as soul food include HAM HOCKS, GRITS, CHITTERLINGS, BLACK-EYED PEAS and COLLARD GREENS.
spatula - [SPACH-oo-luh]
A flattish, rather narrow kitchen utensil that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the material from which it's made (which includes wood, metal, rubber and plastic), spatulas can be used for a plethora of kitchen tasks. Rigid wood spatulas are good for scraping the sides of pots and turning foods, whereas softer plastic or rubber spatulas are better for stirring ingredients in a curved bowl and folding mixtures together. Flexible metal spatulas — both long and short — are perfect for spreading frosting on cakes. 
tamari - [tuh-MAH-ree]
Similar to but thicker than soy sauce, tamari is also a dark sauce made from soybeans. It has a distinctively mellow flavor and is used primarily as a table condiment, as a dipping sauce or for basting.
tamarind; tamarindo -  [TAM-uh-rihnd] - Found in Ethnic Markets [Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Mexican]
Tamarind is the fruit pod of a tall shade tree native to Asia and northern Africa and widely grown in India. The large (5- to 8-inch-long) pods grow in clusters and contain up to 10 seeds and a dark brown sour-sweet pulp with a flavor reminiscent of lemons, apricots and dates. Tamarind pulp concentrate is popular as a flavoring in East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines much like lemon juice is in Western culture. It's used to season full-flavored foods such as chutneys, curry dishes and pickled fish. Additionally, tamarind is used to make a sweet syrup flavoring soft drinks. It's also an integral ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.  Tamarind can be found in ethnic markets in various forms including jars of concentrated pulp with seeds, canned paste, whole pods dried into "bricks," syrup or powder.

tapenade - [TA-puh-nahd, ta-pen-AHD]
Hailing from France's Provence region, tapenade is a thick paste made from capers, anchovies, ripe olives, olive oil, lemon juice, seasonings and sometimes small pieces of tuna. It's used as a CONDIMENT and served with CRUDITÉS, fish, meat, etc.

vegan - [VEH-guhn]
A type of vegetarian who does not eat any foods (eggs, dairy products, meat, etc.) derived from animal sources.  Vegans do not eat honey. Vegans, by definition, avoid the exploitation of all animals as much as they possibly can.
whisk - [HWIHSK, WIHSK]
Also called a whip , this kitchen utensil consists of a series of looped wires forming a three-dimensional teardrop shape. The wires are joined and held together with a long handle. Whisks are used for whipping ingredients (such as cream, eggs, sauces, etc.), thereby incorporating air into them. They come in different sizes for different tasks and are most often made of stainless steel or tinned steel.
zest
The perfumy outermost skin layer of citrus fruit (usually oranges or lemons), which is removed with the aid of a CITRUS ZESTER, paring knife or VEGETABLE PEELER. Only the colored portion of the skin (and not the white pith) is considered the zest. The aromatic oils in citrus zest are what add so much flavor to food. Zest can be used to flavor raw or cooked and sweet or savory dishes.