Baste: to spoon or pour broth, sauce, or other liquid over food while cooking to prevent dryness or add flavor.
Blacken: to cook Cajun-seasoned foods over a very high heat.
Bread: to coat foods before cooking in bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.
Caramelize: to coat the top of a food with sugar and then broil it quickly until the sugar is melted. Or, to melt sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until it turns into a golden syrup. Caramelizing can also mean melting the sugar in a certain food (onions or beef, for example) to give it a brown color and bring out its slightly sweet flavor.
Deglaze: to add liquid to a skillet in which meat has been cooked, stirring to loosen meat bits and make a broth. The broth can be used to make a sauce.
Dot: to place pieces of butter randomly on top of a food.
Drizzle: to pour a liquid topping in thin, irregular lines over a food.
Dust: to sprinkle a dry ingredient lightly and fairly evenly over a food.
Glaze: to spread a thin coating such as jelly on food, making it appear glossy.
Grease: to coat the surface of a pan with shortening or cooking spray to prevent foods from sticking while they bake. To “grease and flour” is to dust the pan lightly with flour after applying the shortening.
Marinate: to let food stand in a special liquid to flavor it or tenderize it. The liquid is called a marinade.
Purée: to make into a thick liquid, usually by using a blender or food processor.
Reduce: to boil a liquid until some of it evaporates, thus concentrating the flavor.
Roux: a combination of melted butter, flour, and seasonings over heat to use as a thickening base for sauces, gravies, soups, and stews.
Sift: to process dry ingredients through a kitchen sifter or sieve. Sifting adds air to dry ingredients that have been compressed in storage and also removes any lumps.
Skim: to remove fat or foam that has accumulated on the surface of a liquid, usually using a spoon.