Sauté, Pan Fry, or Stir Fry
To cook food quickly (for just a few minutes), in a small amount of fat
(oil, butter, etc.), in a sauté pan or wok over direct heat. Foods
that are commonly sautéed include meats, poultry, and vegetables.
To heat a liquid until bubbles break the surface (212 °F at sea
level, lower at altitude). Boiling is a common way to cook foods such as
pasta, sauces, and vegetables.
To cook food gently in liquid at a temperature that is just below the
boiling point so that tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface. Foods
are typically brought to boil over high heat, and then the heat is reduced to
simmer with a lid on the pan/pot to finish the cooking. Foods that are
commonly simmered are sauces, rice and some other grains, and dried beans.
To cook for a short period of time over high heat at the beginning or
end of cooking, often to enhance flavor and texture, and create a nice cooked
look. Browning is usually done on the stovetop, but also may be achieved
in a broiler. Foods that are typically browned include meats, casseroles,
and anything that needs quick melting and crisping on top.
To cook food in an oven, thereby surrounding it with dry heat. To
ensure an accurate cooking temperature, it can be helpful to use an oven
thermometer. Many ovens bake either hotter or cooler than their gauges
read. Foods that are commonly baked include seafood, meats, casseroles,
vegetables, and baked goods (breads, cakes, pies, etc.).
To cook food directly under or above a very hot heat source (~500
°F). Food can be broiled in an oven, directly under the gas or
electric heat source, or on a barbecue grill (known as "char-broiling")
directly over charcoal or gas heat. Foods that are typically broiled
include meats, poultry, and seafood.
To cook directly over a heat source on metal racks or rods or on a
special grill pan. Meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and even some
fruits grill beautifully.