Cooking Terms - B|
Bagel - A round, chewy yeast roll with a hole in the middle which is cooked first in boiling water then baked. Though the origin is unclear, it's believed the word bagel is derived from the Yiddish word beygl, which is from the German bügel, meaning a round loaf of bread.
Bananas Foster - A specialty of New Orlean's Brennan's Restaurant, Bananas Foster is a dessert consisting of lengthwise sliced bananas sautéed in a mixture of rum, brown sugar, and banana liquer, then served over ice cream.
Bannock - A traditional Scottish griddle cake usually made from barley, oatmeal or wheat flour. The bannock may also refer to a nineteenth century New England cornmeal cake.
Batter - The uncooked mixture which is the base for most baked goods. It is usually made from a combination of flour, eggs, and liquid, and is thin enough to be stirred. Batter may also be used to dip foods in before frying or baking. Recipe: Chicken-Bacon Tidbits
Basil - A member of the mint family, basil has a flavor similar to bay leaves and oregano, and somewhat minty. It can usually be found fresh or dried. Fresh basil is used to make pesto.
Bay Leaf - An aromatic herb. Bay leaves are added to food during cooking, but removed before serving.
Beaten biscuits - A traditional Southern biscuit, dating back to the 1800s. Beaten biscuits are unlike normal biscuits in that they are hard and stiff. They are made by beating the dough for 30 to 45 minutes with a rolling pin, an old-fashioned beaten biscuit machine, mallet, or other heavy object.
Beau monde seasoning - A combination of herbs sold commercially. See: Ingredient Substitutions
Béchamel Sauce - A white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. Recipe: Basic White Sauce
Beignet - A deep-fried pastry usually dusted with confectioners' sugar. The word beignet is French for "fritter." Beignets are a traditional food item in New Orleans, where they are also called doughnuts.
Benedictine - A green dip or sandwich spread made with cucumber, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sometimes green food coloring. Benedictine is credited to a Louisville, Kentucky caterer.
Biscuit - A small bread made with flour, leavening and fat. In England, the term may be used to describe a cracker or cookie.
Blacken - A method of cooking in which meat or fish is seasoned with a spicy mixture then fried in a hot skillet until blackened on both sides. Recipe: Tom's Blackened Seasoning
Blanche - Blanching is a process in which food is briefly plunged in boiling water for a moment, then immediately transferred to ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching tomatoes or peaches for about 20 seconds makes them easier to peel.
Bouillon - A base for soup and sauces made by cooking vegetables, poultry, meat, or fish in water, then straining. Also known as broth or stock. Recipe: Roasted Turkey Carcass Broth
Bouquet Garni - Sprigs and/or leaves of herbs--usually bay leaves, parsley, and thyme--either tied together or placed in a cheesecloth bag. Bouquet garni is used to flavor broth, soups, and stews.
Braise - Braising involves cooking a food in a little fat to brown--usually on the stove top--then covering and cooking slowly until done. This is particularly suited to less tender cuts of meats. Recipe: Braised Short Ribs
Broil - To cook food directly under or over heat source, usually in the oven under the top broiling element or on the grill. Recipe:Broiled Lemon Chicken
Brown - To cook food quickly at a moderately high heat to brown the surface. May be done on the stove top or under the broiler in the oven.
Butterfly - To cut a food down the center, but not quite through, leaving both halves attached. The food is then spread to resemble a butterfly. Recipe: Autumn Ground Beef Casserole