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Cooking definitions and terms beginning with


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Barley - a small, spherical grain grown worldwide and usually pearled to remove its outer husk; the white grain has a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy flavor, chewy texture and high starch content; also known as pearl barley.

Basil - an herb and member of the mint family; has soft, shiny light green leaves, small white flowers and a strong, pungent peppery flavor reminiscent of licorice and cloves (other varieties are available with flavors reminiscent of foods such as cinnamon, garlic, lemon and chocolate); available fresh and dried; also known as sweet basil.

Basmati - an aged, aromatic, thin long-grain rice grown in the Himalayan foothills; has a creamy yellow color, distinctive sweet, nutty aroma and delicate flavor.

Baste - to moisten the food as it cooks by spooning or brushing it at regular intervals with a liquid such as melted fat, meat drippings, fruit juice, sauce or water. This is done to add flavor and color to the food and to prevent drying of the surface.

Batter - a semiliquid mixture containing flour or other starch used to make cakes and breads; gluten development is minimized and the liquid forms the continuous medium in which other ingredients are disbursed; generally contains more fat, sugar and liquids than a dough.

Bavarian Cream - a soft, sweet egg custard mixed with gelatin and whipped cream, then flavored with fruit.

Bay Leaves - a small tree of the laurel family native to Asia; produces firm leaves, which are shiny on top and dull beneath; used as an herb, the leaves impart a lemon-nutmeg flavor and are usually removed from whatever food they are used to flavor before the item is eaten.

Bean Curd - a soybean custard used in Oriental dishes.

Beat - to make a mixture smooth and introduce air by brisk regular motion that lifts mixture over and over. To mix vigorously with a brisk motion with spoon, fork, egg beater, or electric mixer.

Béchamel - One of the "Five Mother Sauces", a French leading sauce made by thickening milk with a white roux and adding seasonings; also known as a cream sauce and white sauce.

Beef - the meat of bovines (ex. cows, steers and bulls) slaughtered when older than 1 year; generally, has a dark red color, rich flavor, interior marbling, external fat and a firm to tender texture.

Beer - a mild alcoholic drink made by boiling malted barley with hops and then fermenting.

Beet - a large bulbous edible root with an edible leafy green top; its color is typically garnet red but can range from pinkish-white to deep red; also know as the garden beet, red beet and beetroot (especially in Great Britain).

Bell Pepper - a large fresh sweet pepper with a bell-like shape, thick juicy flesh, a mild sweet flavor and available in various colors, including green ( the most common), red ( a green bell pepper that has been allowed to ripen), white, brown, purple, yellow and orange; also known as a sweet pepper, sweet bell pepper and green pepper.

Beurre Manie - thickener made by combining 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Form into small balls. A thick, buttery paste will result. Beurre Manie is beaten into the cooking liquid of casseroles or soups of sauces that are too thin, or that are meant to be thickened after the cooking is almost complete.

Bibb Lettuce - a variety of butterhead lettuce with soft, pliable green leaves that have a buttery texture and flavor and are smaller and darker than Boston lettuce leaves; also known as limestone lettuce.

Bind - to cause a mixture to hold together by beating in an egg, sauce, or some other thickening agent.

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