A la mode - A French term meaning "in the mode of", describing how a dish is prepared. Americanized to mean ice cream with your pie.
al dente - An Italian term, usually referring to pasta, used to describe the texture of slight
resistance when bitten.
Albacore - A variety of tuna fish, with white meat and a high fat content.
Albumen - Egg whites.
alfredo - A rich sauce of butter, cream, grated
parmesan cheese and black pepper most commonly served over fettuccine.
almond paste - Made of ground blanched almonds, sugar and glycerin or other liquid. Almond extract is sometimes added for more intense almond flavor. Almond paste is less sweet and slightly coarser than marzipan.
Applejack - A brandy made from apple cider.
au lait - A French term meaning "with milk."
baste - To brush food as it cooks with butter, meat drippings, or stock. Basting keeps baked or roasted foods moist.
beard to tail - For crustaceans such as shrimp or lobster, once the head and body have been removed what is left is cut "beard to tail" or top to bottom on the underside to extract the meat.
béchamel sauce - A French white sauce made with milk and a roux of butter and flour. A thin sauce is made with 1 tbsp each butter and flour to 1 cup of milk. For medium sauce, use 2 tbsp each, and for a thick sauce, use 3 tbsp each.
beurre blanc - French sauce, meaning "white butter". Made with wine, vinegar, and shallots reduced over heat, into which butter is whisked until the sauce is thick.
bisque - A thick soup made of pureed seafood and cream.
blanch - A cooking technique of placing food into boiling water for a short time, then in cold water to stop cooking.
blend - To mix 2 or more ingredients together with a spoon, whisk, or electric blender until combined.
boiling - To boil refers to heating a liquid until bubbles for and break at the surface, commonly 212 degrees for water at sea level. A rolling boil is one that can't be slowed by stirring.
bouillabaisse - A French seafood stew made with fish and shellfish, onions, tomatoes, white wine, garlic, saffron and herbs. Often served over thick slices of French Bread.
bouillon - A strained broth made by cooking any vegetable, meat, seafood, or poultry in water. Used for soups and sauces.
bouquet - Refers to the fragrance of wine.
bouquet garni - Herbs tied or bagged in cheesecloth and used to flavor soups or broths. They can easily be removed at the end of cooking.
braise - A cooking technique of browning meat, then slow cooking in a tightly covered container with a small amount of liquid.
brown sugar - Granulated or white sugar combined with molasses giving it a soft texture. Dark brown sugar has a heavier molasses flavor and light brown sugar, a more delicate taste.
Bruschetta - Traditionally, this is toasted bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil. Now the bread is more often topped with tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms, or other items.
butterfly - A preparation technique of splitting an item down the center, nearly completely through, so the halves can be opened and laid flat, looking like a butterfly