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Cooking Terms, Tips and Measurements

From OCAU Wiki

A collection of Cooking Terms, Tips and Measurements from the this thread on the OCAU Forums.


Cooking Terms

HoldenAngel: I thought that with all of these recipes, there might be some terminology that you might not know about or want to know the meaning of. So I have compiled a quick list of cooking terms for you. Some of them are totally obvious but others might help.

Al Dente: (AL-DEN-TAY) Refers to how pasta is cooked, it is slightly chewy or being tough to the bite.

Au gratin: (OH-GRAH-TAHN) Foods covered with a sauce, sprinkled with cheese or bread crumbs, or both, and baked to a golden brown

Au jus: (OH-JOO-I) Food served with its natural juice

Bake: To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven.

Baste: (BASED) To ladle drippings (the stuff that comes out of the meat when you cook it!) over a piece of meat being cooked as a roast to make it juicy and to prevent dryness

Beat: To lift a mixture with a spoon or an electric mixer to inject air and make the mixture smooth and creamy

Blanch: To scald, make white, to partially cook an item, or to dip vegetables in boiling water in preparation for freezing, canning, or drying

Braise: To cook meat by searing in fat, then simmering in a covered dish in a small amount of liquid or to brown meat or vegetables in hot fat, then to cook slowly in a small amount of liquid

Broil: To cook by exposing the food directly to the heat

Caramelise: Sugar - to heat sugar until it melts and turns a pale brown colour. Onions/garlic: to cook onions in a small amount of oil or butter until they change to a brown colour (the sugars in the onions/garlic actualy turn to caramel). Done over an easy heat and stirred occassionally.

Chop: To cut into small pieces using a knife or other sharp utensil

Cream (as in butter and sugar): a baking technique involving combining butter or margarine and sugar together together to a fluffy consistency. Done by thoroughly beating butter in a bowl, then gradually adding sugar until mixture is fluffy and creamy.

De-glaze: to pour a small amount of liquid into a hot pan in which something has been fried, to clean the pan bottom, especially as for gravy.

Egg wash: brushing the top of a baked item, such as bread, lightly with a beaten egg.

Flambe: (FLARM-BE) Served aflame

Fold: (Nothing to do with computers this time!!)To mix, using a motion beginning vertically down through the mixture, continuing across the bottom of the bowl and ending with an upward and over movement

Knead: (NEED) To place dough on a flat surface and work it, pressing down with your hands, then folding over and over again

Pinch/dash: small, inexact amounts that basically add up to "to taste."

Poach: To cook in water that bubbles only slightly

Reduce: To concentrate a liquid by simmering for a long time

Rise: in bread-making, to leave the dough in a warm place and allow to double in volume.

Rest: in bread-making, to let the dough sit a few minutes before kneading more.

Roux (Roo) - The basis of many sauces, and a good thickening agent for soup. Made but melting 1tbls of butter and adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk. For a thinner consistency, add more milk, for a thicker consistency, add more flour.

Saute: (SAW-TAY) To quickly heat meat or vegetables in fat in an open pan

Scald (as in milk): to heat milk just to the point that steam is rising from it, but not to boiling.

Sear: to quickly brown the outside of meat at a high temperature.

Simmer: To cook liquid just below the boiling point

Whip: To beat rapidly to increase volume and incorporate air


Common Cooking Substitutions

Tori_LeeIf you're out of a particular ingredient, don't give up just yet. Check out this list of substitutions for various ingredients

If you need (You can use)

  • 1 c sugar (3/4 c honey)
  • 1 c brown sugar (1 c granulated sugar + 2 tbsp molasses)
  • 1 c powdered sugar (1 c granulated sugar + 1 tbsp cornstarch, blended)
  • 1 c shortening (1 c butter or margarine)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard (1 tbsp prepared mustard)
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard (1/2 tsp dry mustard + 2 tsp vinegar)
  • 1 c cake flour (1 c minus 2 tbsp regular flour)
  • 1 c buttermilk (2/3 c plain yogurt + 1/3 c milk)
  • 1 c buttermilk (15 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp vinegar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 c wine (sweet) (1/2 c fruit juice)
  • 1/2 c wine (savory) (1/2 c chicken broth)
  • 1 c tomato sauce ( 3/4 c tomato paste + 1 c water)
  • 1 c sour cream (1 c plain yogurt)
  • 1 c orange juice (3 medium oranges)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)

Recipe Conversions

Tori LeeHere's a quick-and-easy way to customize any recipe to yield a certain number of servings or feed a certain number of people:

Step One: Divide the number of servings you want to make by the number of servings the recipe claims to make. The result will be your conversion factor.

Step Two: Multiply the amount of every ingredient in that recipe by your conversion factor.

For example: to make my Extraordinary Mashed Potatoes , which makes 10 servings, you need

  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) potatoes
  • 1/2 lb (226.8 g) butter
  • 1-3/4 c (402 ml) milk

To convert the recipe to yield a smaller amount, e.g. 5 servings, divide 5 (# of servings desired) by 10 (# of servings recipe makes), giving you a conversion factor of 0.5. Thus, your new ingredient amounts are as follows:

  • Potatoes: 1.33 kg *0.5 = 0.665 kg (or 3 lb * 0.5 = 1.5 lb)
  • Butter: 226.8 g * 0.5 = 113.4 g (or 1/2 lb * 0.5 = 1/4 lb)
  • Milk: 402 ml * 0.5 = 201 ml (or 7/4 c * 0.5 = 14/16 or 7/8 c)


Tori_Lee: Because recipes can come from just about anywhere in the world, I'd like to post a list of customary (Imperial) units of measurement and their case you're not familiar with them.  :)


  • tsp = teaspoon
  • tbsp = tablespoon
  • c = cup
  • oz = ounce
  • fl oz = fluid ounce (liquid capacity)
  • pt = pint
  • qt = quart
  • gal = gallon
  • lb = pound

Customary Meaurements

  • 3 tsp = 1 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp = 1 fl oz
  • 8 fl oz = 1 c
  • 2 c = 1 pt
  • 2 pt = 1 qt
  • 4 qt = 1 gal
  • 16 oz = 1 lb

Metric Conversions

  • 1/8 tsp = 0.5 ml
  • 1/4 tsp = 1 ml
  • 1/2 tsp = 2 ml
  • 1 tsp = 5 ml
  • 1 tbsp = 15 ml
  • 1 fl oz = 30 ml
  • 1/4 c = 59 ml
  • 1/3 c = 79 ml
  • 1/2 c = 118 ml
  • 1 c = 225 ml
  • 1 pt = 450 ml
  • 1 qt = 900 ml (usually rounded up to 1 L)
  • 1 gal = 3636.8 ml (usually rou

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