Basic explanations behind the techniques you are using when you cook. Nothing makes you sound cooler than throwing out the word "blanch" at a party.
Chop/dice--Cut with a knife.
Medium dice--Chopping into the size of
Small dice--Chopping to the size of
Large dice/Rough chop--Chopping to the size of
Saute--Move ingredients around in a well-heated pan.
Caramelize--To cook ingredients in a well-heated pan with the goal of releasing sugars naturally found inside; creates a brown color.
Sear--Place an ingredient in an extremely hot pan with the goal of creating color and locking in moisture.
Braise--A two-step process in which first you sear the ingredient and then cover it halfway with liquid and cook at a low temperature.
Blanch--Placing vegetables in rigorous boiling water for up to one minute, normally followed by shocking. The goal is to pre-cook vegetables to help them retain their texture and color.
Shocking--Immediately dipping blanched ingredients into ice water. If ice is not available, alternatively blanched ingredients can be run under cold water.
Roast--Using circulating dry heat to cook food.
Deep fry--Submerging food in oil or fat to cook it.
Pan fry--Using oil or fat to cook food.
Boil--Using water that is aggressively bubbling to cook food.
Reduce--To simmer a liquid until about half of it evaporates with the goal of increasing depth of flavor and perhaps thickness. Usually used for making sauce.
Simmer--Using water that is gently bubbling to cook food.