Food Dictionary

A la mode
Served with or in the fashion of. Desserts served a la mode are served with ice cream; meats served a la mode are braised with vegetables and served with gravy.
Abaisse
A piece of dough rolled to a required size.
Abalone
This gastropod can be found along the coasts of California, Mexico and Japan. The edible portion is the "adductor muscle" (false foot) by which it clings to rocks. Its iridescent ear-shaped shell is the source of mother-of-pearl.
Abattis
Winglets, giblets of poultry.
Absorbent paper
Paper towel.
Acerola
A cherry-like fruit from a small tree in the West Indies and adjacent areas. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Also called "Barbados cherry" and "Puerto Rican cherry."
Achar
Very spicy relish from the cuisine of India and the Caribbean Islands. Achar may be made from fruits and vegetables.
Achiote
Dried brick red seeds of the annatto tree, used as a seasoning and to give food a deep red color. Achiote is used to add a yellowish-orange color to dishes, especially arroz con pollo. Substitute a little turmeric, paprika or saffron in a recipe if achiote is unavailable.
Achiote paste
Ground seeds of the large and shady annatto tree; earthy flavor with a hint of iodine; used as a coloring agent and commercially to color Cheddar cheeses and butter; used in slow-cooked sauces and stews.
Acid
A substance having a sour or sharp flavor. Most foods are somewhat acidic. Foods generally referred to as acidic include citrus juice, vinegar, and wine. Degree of acidity is measured on the pH scale; acids have a pH of less than 7.
Acidophilus Milk
Milk that has had lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria added to it. Many experts believe that this addition of bacteria helps restore or maintain "nature's balance" in the digestive tract.
Acidulated water
Water to which an acid substance such as lemon juice or wine vinegar is added. Once peeled, vegetables such as celeriac, globe artichokes or salsify are immersed in it to stop them discolouring.
Ackee
A bright red tropical fruit ("blighia sapida") that features a soft, creamy white flesh. Captain Bligh brought the fruit from West Africa to Jamaica in 1793. Certain parts of the fruit are toxic when under-ripe.
Acorn
Fruit of the oak tree. This nut may be eaten raw, roasted, or baked. It can be chopped to the size of coffee beans, roasted until brown, ground, mixed with a small amount of butter, and prepared as a coffee substitute.
Acorn Squash
An oval winter squash with a ribbed, dark green skin and slightly sweet orange flesh. May be eaten baked or directly from the shell. The word squash comes from the Massachusetts Indian word "asquash," meaning "eaten green."
Additives
Products that are added to meat to produce a certain flavor or result. Anything added to a meat or poultry product other than meat, poultry, or meat and poultry by products.
Adobado
In Texas, a sour marinade paste made with chiles, herbs and vinegar; in New Mexico and El Paso, a marinade for pork made with red New Mexican chiles, Mexican oregano and garlic.
Adobo
Piquant sauce or paste used as a seasoning for meats, seafood or poultry. It includes chiles, tomato, vinegar and spices; adobo may also be used for pickling.
Adulterated food
Food that has been contaminated to the point that it is considered unfit for human consumption.
Aduski beans
A small (one-quarter inch long or so), oval, brown or reddish-brown dried bean. This is an Asian bean usually made into flour, sprouted or used in desserts. Its slightly sweet flavor makes it an odd choice for a dinner bean.
Aerobic Bacteria
Bacteria that requires the presence of oxygen to function.
Agar
A tasteless dried seaweed that is used as a thickening agent. Sold in blocks, powder, or stands. Agar can be used in place of gelatin, but less is required. Also called "kanten" and "Japanese Gelatin."
Agave
Agave americana; botanical name for the maguey cactus from which tequila, mescal and pulque are made.
Aging
As applies to hams - After curing and salt equalization are completed, hams are hung in an area protected from insects and has good air exchange. Temperatures should be 70-90° and humidity at 50- 60%. Hams can be aged for 6 months. The aging process imparts a flavor due to the enzyme activity in the ham. As applies to tenderizing meat - Meat is normally required to age for a period of up to three weeks in order for it to be commercially acceptable for human consumption according to generally accepted standards of tenderness and quality. During the aging process, the connective tissues and the meat are generally affected by the natural enzyme or bacteria action of the meat, thereby improving the tenderness and edibility. Several methods are employed to reduce the aging period and to increase the degree of tenderness. One of these is the regulated application of heat, light, or both of these, to the meat which speeds up the natural enzyme or bacteria action.
Agnolotti
The name for a dish of small half moon-shaped pasta shells filled (usually) with tortellini stuffing. It is boiled and served in a broth or in a sauce.
Aguacates
Avocados; alligator pear; name comes from the Aztec word "ahuacacuahatle," meaning "testicle tree" (avocados grow in pairs).
Ahi
These tuna reach about 300 pounds in weight. They feature a pale pink flesh that is relatively mild. Also called "Yellowfin tuna."
Aiguillette
Long, thin slices of poultry breast or some other meats or fish.
Aioli
Sauce - a cold egg and oil emulsion with olive oil and garlic. Many variations of this sauce are made. Basically is a garlic mayonnaise.
Airtights
Canned goods; term common used in the old West.
Aji dulce
sweet chile pepper.
Aku
This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "Katsuo."
Akule
This marine fish, found near Hawaii, is normally served salted and dried. Also known as "Bigeye Scad."
Al Dente
An Italian phrase used to describe the texture of pasta, rice and vegetables as tender or soft on the outside but still firm to the bite within.
Al Pastor
A term used in Spanish and Italian referring to a dish cooked in the style of shepherd cooking, usually vertically over a grill or spit.
Alaskan Cod
This saltwater fish, which is not a true cod, has a soft textured flesh and a mild flavor. Its high fat content makes it a good fish for smoking. Also called "Sablefish."
Albacore
A highly prized, mild-flavored tuna that weighs between 10 and 60 pounds. This high-fat fish is the only tuna that can honestly be called "white." It is the most expensive variety of canned tuna.
Albert
a French hot horseradish sauce.
Albondigas
Meatballs. Made of chicken, shrimp, beef or pork; usually used as a garnish for broth soups or served in tomato sauce as an appetizer or light entree.
Albumen
The white of an egg.
Ale
An alcoholic beverage that is brewed from malts and hops. It is generally stronger than beer and varies in color from light to dark amber. Because of the hops, ale is normally more bitter in taste than beer.
Alewife
One of the most popular members of the herring family, the alewife is anadromous (it spawns in fresh water). This fish provides high-fat flesh with a fine, soft, texture.
Alfalfa
One of the world's most important forage plants. It is widely cultivated and is increasing in popularity for human consumption due to its promotion as a dietary supplement. The seeds are often sprouted much like mung beans.
Alfredo sauce
A pasta sauce originally consisting of butter, cream, and the finest parmesan cheese available. Modern versions add garlic, peas, and less expensive parmesan. All of these will make fine sauces, but nothing can compare to the original version.
All-Purpose Flour
Half cake flour, half bread flour. Suitable for all applications.
Allemande
A rich cream sauce made of Veloute (usually veal), a liaison of egg yolks and lemon juice.
Alligator
A large aquatic reptile that grows up to 19 feet in length. The meat is generally only available in its native regions--Louisiana and the Gulf States. Alligators feature meat ranging from white to dark--mild to strongly flavored.
Allspice
An aromatic spice, also called Jamaica pepper or pimento, from the dried berry of the West Indian allspice tree. The berry is the size of a pea and, when ground, has the aroma and taste of a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. It is used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Almond
Nuts that can be bought as skin-on, blanched, whole, halved, flaked, chopped or ground. Used in sweet or savoury dishes, especially those with an Arabic influence. There are two main types of almonds - sweet and bitter. The flavour of sweet almonds is delicate and slightly sweet. They're readily available and, unless otherwise indicated, are the variety used in recipes. Bitter almonds are more strongly flavoured and contain traces of lethal prussic acid when raw. Processed bitter almonds are used to flavor extracts and liqueurs.
Almond extract
An intense flavoring made from bitter-almond oil, usually combined with ethyl alcohol. Keeps indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place.
Almond paste
A sweet paste made from finely ground blanched almonds mixed with confectioners' (powdered) sugar and enough glucose or syrup to bind it together.
Amaranth
Amaranth was a sacred food of the Aztecs and, in Asia, varieties of Amaranthus tricolor have been grown as a green vegetable since the beginning of recorded history. It is a tall plant with broad leaves that produces many thousands of tiny seeds. Both leaves and seeds are edible. The greens have a good, slightly sweet flavour and can be used both cooked and in salads. The seeds are used as a cereal or can be ground into flour. Amaranth seeds and flour can be found in health-food shops as well as in some Caribbean and Asian shops.
Amaretti
Small Italian macaroon biscuits. Some are made using ground sweet and bitter almonds, baked with egg and sugar, others from ground apricot kernels. They are a popular after-dinner treat, served with sweet wine and/or liqueurs. They can be used as a base for trifles and tiramisu. Amarettini are the miniature version.
Amaretto
A liqueur with the flavor of almonds (although it is often made from the kernels of apricot pits). The original amaretto liqueur came from Italy.
Amberjack
A lean, mild fish found along the South Atlantic coast. Difficult to find in markets; usually sold whole.
Ambrosia
"Ambrosia" means "immortality" and was the food of the gods on Mount Olympus. Today, it refers to a dessert of chilled fruit mixed with coconut. The fruits used are normally oranges and bananas.
Amchoor
Sour, unripe mangoes that are dried and sold in slices and powder. Their primary use is in Indian cooking, giving foods a sweet and sour flavor.
Americaine
A French sauce or garnish containing lobster meat.
American Buffalo
American Buffalos are presently raised on game farms. The meat is very tender and tastes quite a bit like lean beef. It has no pronounced gamey flavor. Also called "bison."
Anaheim chiles
New Mexican chiles; very few, if any, Anaheim chiles are grown near Anaheim, California now; mildly hot peppers; slim, ranging between five and eight inches long and sometimes twisted in appearance; not normally stuffed because their flesh is thin; dried and tied in strings (ristras), or ground and blended in commercial chili powder mixtures; may be purchased in cans labeled as mild green chiles.
Anaheim pepper, fresh
Slightly hot light-green pepper. Found in most supermarkets. There is also a Red Anaheim pepper. These are usually fond dried. Do not substitute the dried for the fresh.
Anasazi beans
Named after the ancient ones, ancestors of the southwestern Native Americans, this is one of the oldest varieties; developed by forebears of the Pueblo Indians in what is now New Mexico, these beans have a variegated cranberry and white coloring that adds color to bean dishes and salads.
Ancho chile
Wide, broad; ripened, dried poblano chile; wrinkled and dark reddish brown color, measuring about 5 inches long and 3 inches across the shoulders; most often used in sauces and stews; sometimes ground into a powder for use in chilis and spice rubs; pasilla chiles may be substituted. This relatively mild dried chile pepper is a deep reddish brown in color. In its fresh green state, it is known as a poblano.
Anchoiade
A dip made of pureed anchovies mixed with garlic and olive oil. Raw vegetables and bread are served with this dip.
Anchovies
Small, silvery fish that are usually cured with salt. Many are then tightly packed with oil in flat two-ounce tins, but salt-cured anchovies are also available. These should be rinsed, and may need to be filleted before using.
Anchovy
An oily fish related to the herring, anchovy fillets are covered in salt for anything between a month and a year; use sparingly as their saltiness goes a long way.
Anchovy essence
A natural juice concentrate from the anchovy.
Anchovy fillets, sweet pickled
Available in Scandinavian markets.
Andouille
A spicy smoked sausage made with pork and garlic, used especially in Cajun cooking.
Angel Hair
In Italian, this fine spaghetti is called capelli d'angelo. Goes best with light, delicate sauces. Cooks in six minutes.
Angelica
A biennial herb used mainly in dessert cooking but which can also be steamed and eaten as a vegetable. Frequently used to add to fruit when cooking to reduce the need for sugar; used in jams and preserves. Candied angelica is commonly used in cake and dessert decoration.
Angler Fish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster." Also called "Monkfish," and "goose-fish."
Anise
A small annual plant from the parsley family was used as far back as 1500 B.C. The leaves and the seeds have a distinctive sweet licorice flavor. Used to flavor a number of confections and savory dishes.
Aniseed
Crescent-shaped seeds which are a member of the parsley family; used in both sweet and savory dishes; impart a strong licorice flavor and a lightly sweet tone to food.
Anisette
A very sweet clear liqueur made with anise seeds. The taste is that of licorice.
Anna potatoes
The name for a potato pancake made of thin slices of potato which are assembled in concentric circles and cooked with liberal amounts of butter. The cake is then baked until crisp and golden brown.
Annatto Seeds
Also known as 'achiote seeds', commonly used in South American cooking. The flavour of this spice is favoured less than its colouring properties. Commercially produced, annatto is used to give colour to cheese such as Cheshire and Leicester and also smoked fish such as mackerel and kippers.
Antelope
A large, deer-like animal that inhabits Asia, Africa, and Europe. Their meat is called "venison" and may be cooked by roasting. Plenty of fat is recommended to prevent the meat from becoming too dry.
Anticuchos
Marinated and grilled beef hearts.
Antioxidant
A substance that retards oxidation. Antioxidants are added to meat and poultry products to prevent or slow oxidative rancidity of fats that causes browning. Used with fresh meats.
Antipasto
The Italian word, meaning 'before pasta', for hot or cold starters or hors d'oeuvres. A mixture of antipasti could include cheese, smoked meats, salamis, olives, fish and marinated vegetables.
Aperitif
A French term referring to a light alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Examples include drinks based on wine (eg vermouth) or alcohol (eg anise, bitters) and certain spirits and liqueurs.
Appetizer
A food or drink served usually before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Any small or bite-size food served before a meal, also called hors d'oevres.
Apple
Cultivated in temperate zones throughout the world for at least 3,000 years, there are now thousands of varieties of this popular member of the rose family.
Applejack
A brandy made from apple cider which, in the United States, must spend a minimum of two years in wooden casks before being bottled. It ranges from 80 to 100 proof in strength.
Apricot
A relative of the peach, this fruit has been grown in China since 2,000 B.C. 90% of the American crop comes from California. Select plump, relatively firm fruit with a uniform color.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Oil produced from the kernels of the apricot pit. Like bitter almonds, apricot kernels are poisonous until roasted.
Arbol pepper
Skinny, small, hot; red or green when fresh; reddish brown dried; adds heat and flavor to tomato and tomatillo salsas.
Arborio Rice
One of the Italian medium-grain rices used to make risotto. It absorbs a lot of cooking liquid yet still retains a good bite in texture. Once grown only in Italy, Arborio has become so popular it is now being cultivated in California and Texas.
Arbroath smokie
A whole smoked haddock with the backbone still inside. Good for poaching, grilling, fishcakes and pies, kedgeree and soup.
Arctic Bonito
This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "katsuo" and the Hawaiians call it "aku."
Argan oil
Oil from the Argan tree which is indigenous to Morocco. It is related to the olive but has a distinct flavour of its own.
Arm steak
A steak cut from the chuck which require rather long slow cooking.
Armadillo
A game animal indigenous to the Southwest, it has a flavor comparable to duck.
Aromatic
A vegetable, herb, or spice that gives food a lively fragrance and flavor. In classic cooking, a reference to "aromatics" most often means onions, carrot and celery.
Aromatic Rice
A broad term for a group of mostly long-grain rices with a pronounced nutty aroma. Basmati, Texmati, Wild Pecan and Jasmine are all aromatic rices.
Arracheras
The word used in Mexico for fajitas, or skirt steak.
Arrowhead
A Chinese water plant with arrowhead-shaped leaves. The starchy roots can be thin sliced, lightly fried, and used in various Chinese dishes. The roots can also be powdered like arrowroot.
Arrowroot
A flavourless starch extract of the maranta root, ideally used for thickening sauces, juices and syrups; when heated the starch turns to jelly and so thickens the liquid.
Artichoke
Three different, unrelated plants are all known by this name. The globe artichoke is related to the thistle - its leaves and the bottom part of the flower, called the heart, are eaten. Boil the vegetable to serve as a first course. Dip each leaf into melted butter, mayonnaise or a vinaigrette and scrape of the soft fleshy base with your teeth. When you get to the centre, pull or slice off the hairy 'choke' and then eat the base, the heart or fond, with the remaining sauce. The Jerusalem artichoke belongs to the sunflower family and it is the plant's underground tubers that are eaten. They are rather knobbly and irregular in shape, with a pale brown or purply-red skin. Scrub them and boil or steam until tender and then peel. If a recipe calls for peeled Jerusalem artichokes, peel them and drop into acidulated water until ready to use. The Chinese artichoke is a perennial herb in the mint family, grown for its edible tuberous underground stems. It has a sweet, nutty taste, similar to the Jerusalem artichoke.
Artichoke Heart
The tender center of the globe artichoke.
Artificial sweeteners
Numerous kinds and brands on the market. Available in liquid, granular, and tablet forms. Follow label instructions carefully. Not a good substitute for sugar in baked recipes. They may be stored indefinitely if kept tightly closed at room temperature.
Artisanal cheese
Made by hand, in small quantities, with respect for cheese-making traditions; frequently farmstead, but sometimes using others' known herds.
Arugula
This slightly bitter, aromatic salad green (also called "rocket," "Rugula," and "Rucolo") has a peppery mustard flavor. Look for bright green, fresh-looking leaves. Makes a lively addition to salads, soups, and sauteed vegetables.
Asadero
Rubbery white cheese originally made only in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Michoacan, it is now made in the United States; a cooked cheese made from equal portions of fresh and sour milk; frequently sold braided; it melts in gooey strings; also called Chihuahua, Mennonite or Oaxaca cheese; Monterey Jack or Longhorn Cheddar may be substituted.
Asafetida
A gummy resin derived from a special plant. Also comes in powder form. Used as a flavoring or spice in Persian and Indian cooking or as a condiment to be sprinkled over food after it has been cooked. It has a bitter taste and a pungent aroma similar to garlic and truffles.
Asafoetida
An extremely pungent spice extracted from a plant of the giant fennel family, commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. In fact, asafoetida's dung-like smell is quite off-putting (the Germans call it Teufelsdreck or devil's dung), but if you can overcome the stink, which disappears in the cooking process, the smallest amount of it transforms vegetable dishes, meat stews and fish.
Ascorbic-acid mixture for fruit
A crystalline or powdered mixture containing vitamin C and sugar. It is used to prevent darkening of fruits and vegetables after peeling.
Asiago cheese
This semi-firm cheese has a rich, nutty flavor. Made from whole or part-skim cow's milk. Young Asiago cheese is used as a table cheese. After it has aged for over a year, it is suitable for grating.
Asparagus
This vegetable is a member of the lily family. Normally green with purple-tinged tips. Europeans prefer white asparagus which is grown underground to prevent greening. Choose bright green or pale ivory stalks with tight tips.
Asparagus Bean
A pencil-thin legume from the black-eye pea family that looks like a very long green bean. These beans can grow a yard long, but are usually picked at 18" or less. These beans are slightly less sweet and crispy as the green bean.
Aspartame
A sugar substitute that is said to be 180 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame, which is synthesized from tow amino acids, breaks down and loses its sweetness when it is heated.
Aspic
Aspic is the transparent jelly in which cold fish, poultry and meat are sometimes served. It is used as a garnish to glaze and protect fish and other foods from drying out (the clear aspic allows any decoration to be seen); and to set savoury foods in a mould. It can also be mixed with bechamel, cream or mayonnaise to make a chaudfroid sauce to coat cold pieces of chicken, fish and so on.
Atole
Pre-Columbian drink made from corn; corn gruel; made by boiling ground dry-roasted corn and water; traditionally served with tamales; may be flavored with chocolate, nuts or cinnamon and other spices and sweetened with sugar for a breakfast drink; sometimes blended with chiles to make a savory dish.
Au gratin
A French phrase that refers to food that is topped with grated cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with bits of butter. This food is then broiled until brown and crisp.
Au jus
The French phrase that refers to meat served in its own natural juices.
Aubergine
The most common type of aubergine, also known as eggplant, is fairly large, an elongated oval shape and purple in colour. Others are white, mauve and green, some even striped. Aubergines are available for most of the year. Look for a firm, bright, shiny skin and a green, fresh-looking stalk end. The flesh inside is white and spongy but it browns when cut. Salting them is meant to remove their bitterness, but varieties sold these days are less bitter than they used to be (although salting does make them absorb less of the oil in which they're cooked). Aubergines are common in Greek and Turkish cooking: dishes such as moussaka and imam bayildi (stuffed aubergines). They can also be used in vegetable stews such as ratatouille or on their own, sliced and fried or grilled.
Aurore
A term associated with a pink cream sauce, colored with paprika or that have tomato puree or concasse added to it.
Avocado
A rich fruit known for its lush, buttery texture and mild, nutty flavor. Comes from the Nahuatl word for "testicle," perhaps for its shape. 80% of the U.S. crop comes from California. Avocados are the chief ingredient in "guacamole."
Awa
An important food fish of the Indo-Pacific region that offers a tender, white flesh. Hawaiians use Awa for making fish cakes and sashimi. Also called "Milkfish."
Azafran
Used as a substitute for saffron; lacks flavor and is used only for color.
Baba
a French or Italian small sweet cake made from enriched yeast dough, often flavored with candied fruits and soaked with a rum or Kirschwasser syrup after baking. This dough is also used to make the larger savarin.
Baba ghanoush
A Middle Eastern specialty that is a mixture of roasted eggplant, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Served as either a dip or a spread. Traditionally garnished with pomegranate seeds and mint.
Backstrap
Tenderloin steak.
Bacon
A smoked and cured product made from the meat taken from the back, sides, and belly of pigs. Fat, which gives bacon its sweet flavor and tender crispness should be half to two-thirds of the total weight.
Bacon (slab)
bacon in a chunk. You must slice it by hand (and may want to remove the rind first). Slab bacon is often the only way to find top-quality bacon.
Bacon rashers
Canadian bacon or ham.
Baekenhofe
an Alsatian stew made of pork, lamb, and beef layered with potatoes and onions. The meat is first marinated in wine and herbs for a minimum of 24 hours, then assembled and baked in a paste sealed casserole until the meat is buttery tender. The juices are reduced and the top is browned under the broiler. Crisp bacon and fried leeks are used to garnish this dish.
Bagel
a hard, glazed, doughnut- shaped roll.
Bagna Cauda
A dip for raw vegetables made from butter, anchovies, garlic and oil.
Baguette
A long, narrow loaf of French bread, usually with a crispy brown crust and a soft, but chewy interior.
Bain-marie
A metal "bath" half-filled with water which protects a dish requiring gentle heat from the fierce heat of the oven or over which you can melt ingredients (eg chocolate) without burning them.
Bake
To cook using dry heat by placing foods in an oven (covered or uncovered, whatever your choice), under coals, or on a heated stone..
Baked Alaska
A dessert made of a layer of sponge topped with ice-cream, all of which is then coated in a layer of meringue. Bake the Alaska quickly (about 5 minutes) in a very hot oven until the outside is golden-brown. The meringue insulates the ice-cream and stops it melting.
Baking potato
This term refers to Idaho and russet potatoes, the big potatoes with rough, brown skin and numerous eyes. These potatoes are low in moisture and high in starch, which makes them ideal for baking. They also make good mashed potatoes and French fries.
Baking powder
A raising agent used in cakes, biscuits and breads. Commercial baking powder contains bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid with a dried starch or flour to absorb any moisture during storage. It has only a limited shelf life. Make your own by combining 15ml/1tbsp bicarbonate of soda with 30ml/2tbsp cream of tartar. Measure carefully as too much or too little can upset a recipe’s balance.
Baking soda
Baking soda ("bicarbonate of soda") is a leavener used in baked goods. When mixed with an acid ingredient (such as butter-milk, yogurt, or molasses), baking soda produces carbon dioxide bubbles that make the dough rise.
Baking tray
Cookie sheet.
Baklava
This popular Greek and Turkish pastry is made from layers of filo pastry, nuts, and honey. A spiced lemon-honey syrup is poured over the pastry after it’s baked and left to soak into the layers.
Ballottine
A pate-like dish in which forcemeat is stuffed back into the boneless carcass from which the forcemeat was made. This may include fish, poultry, game birds, or even some cuts of meat. The mixture is wrapped in muslin and poached or braised. These dishes may be served hot or cold.
Balsam Pear
Not a pear at all, but the fruit of a tropical climbing herb in Africa and Asia. It is similar to a cucumber and is used as a vegetable in meat dishes, fish dishes, and in soups. Also called "bitter melon" or "bitter gourd."
Balsamic vinegar
A dark brown vinegar from Modena, Italy, made from reduced grape juice aged in wooden casks. The best quality product can be over 100 years old but is more commonly sold at 3 to 4 years of age.
Bamboo leaves
Used in Asian cooking to wrap ingredients for steaming. They need to be reconstituted before use.
Bamboo shoots
The tender-crisp, ivory colored shoot of a particular edible species of bamboo. The shoots are cut as soon as they appear above ground while they are still young and tender. Fresh shoots, tender and ivory-colored occasionally turn up in Asian markets, but rarely. The canned ones are tasteless but provide a decent crunch. found in Asian markets and many supermarkets.
Banana
The world's most popular fruit. The most common U.S. variety is the yellow Cavendish. They are picked green and develop better flavor when ripened off the bush. Two sweeter varieties are the red banana and the dwarf or finger banana.
Banana pepper
Fresh, can be mild or slightly hot; roast on the grill to eat or use to season tacos.
Bangers
British colloquial term for sausages. "Bangers and Mash" are sausages and mashed potatoes.
Bara brith
A traditional cake-like fruit bread from Wales.
Barbados Cherry
A cherry-like fruit from a small tree in the West Indies and adjacent areas. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Also called "acerola" and "Puerto Rican cherry."
Barbary duck
Bred in large quantities in France, Barbary duck is less fatty than the common duck. It requires careful basting when cooking so that it doesn’t dry out.
Barbecue Sauce
A sauce used to baste barbecued meat. Also used as an accompaniment to the meat after it is cooked. Traditionally made with tomatoes, onions, mustard, garlic, brown sugar, and vinegar. Beer or wine is also a popular ingredient.
Barding
The practice of wrapping lean cuts of meat to be with thin slices of back fat. The converse of this is larding, in which long strips of fat are inserted into the cut of meat to keep it moist during cooking.
Barley
A hardy grain that dates back to the Stone Age. Used in cereals, breads, and soups. Hulled barley has the outer husk removed and is the most nutritious form of barley.
Baron (of beef or lamb)
The two legs and saddle cooked as a unit.
Barquette
A small oval shaped pastry shell with either sweet or savory fillings.
Barracuda
A pike-like sea fish with long pointed jaws filled with razor-sharp teeth. It is a firm-textured fish with moderate fat content. The type most commonly found in the U.S. is the Pacific barracuda (also called the California barracuda).
Basella
An edible leaf from a tropical plant that is cultivated in certain parts of France. Basella may be prepared in any manner appropriate for spinach. Also called "vine spinach."
Basil
An herb with a pungent flavor described as a cross between licorice and cloves. The ancient Greeks called this member of the mint family the "royal herb." Most varieties have green leaves, but one variety, the opal basil, is purple.
Basmati Rice
Basmati is an Indian rice with very small but long grains, with a distinctive flavour. It should be rinsed before cooking.
Basquaise
Food prepared in the style of Basque which often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.
Bass
A white sea fish with three varieties - silver, sea and striped - sold as steaks and fillets. Can be barbecued, grilled, steamed, poached or baked. Good with strong flavourings.
Baste
To moisten and improve the flavor of foods (usually meats) by brushing on, drizzling or spooning over pan drippings, fruit juices, sauces, etc.
Basting
The process of spooning stock or fat over meat at intervals to prevent it drying out during roasting.
Batarde
A French butter sauce made with egg yolks.
Batter
A flour-liquid mixture that is thin enough to pour. One example is pancake batter.
Batterie de cuisine
An expression, commonly used by top chefs, to describe the essential equipment every good cook needs for the preparation of food in the kitchen.
Bavarian cream
A cream made with pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and stabilized with gelatin. This cream may then be poured into molds, or used as a filling for cakes or pastries. Bavarian cream is often flavored with fruit purees or alcohol.
Bay boletes or boletus
This wild mushroom is often found in areas where conifers grow. A member of the ‘cep’ family (cep in France, porcini in Italy), it is a robust and meaty mushroom that dries well. Often used in risottos or omelettes or simply fried with a little garlic.
Bay leaf
Also called laurel leaf or bay laurel, this aromatic herb is native to the Mediterranean. Turkish bay leaves are milder than the California variety. Used to flavor soups, vegetables, and meats. Normally removed before serving.
Bay leaves
An evergreen shrub, cultivated for ornament and for its aromatic leaves. Bay leaves are one of the most commonly used culinary herbs: a leaf is always incorporated in a bouquet garni and is good for casseroles, stews and pickling. Bay doesn’t lose anything through being dried.
Bean curd
Cheese-like product made from soybean milk. Buy fresh in cakes in most supermarkets. Can be found in cans also but the flavor is far inferior.
Bean sauce
A soybean condiment that is an essential ingredient in stir-fries. It is labeled either "whole bean sauce" or "ground bean sauce," which tends to be saltier. Available in Asian markets and many supermarkets.
Bean sprouts
The crisp, tender sprouts of various germinated beans. Mung bean sprouts, used often in Chinese cooking, are the most popular. However, other seeds and beans, such as alfalfa seeds, soybeans, and wheat beans are also sprouted.
Bean Threads
A form of translucent Chinese noodle. These are not true noodles, but are made from the starch of mung beans. Also called "cellophane noodles."
Beans
There are many varieties of bean; they can be divided into two main groups: those with edible pods (green beans), including the French bean and the runner bean, and those of which only the seeds are eaten, such as haricot beans.
Bear
A large, partly carnivorous quadruped found in America, the Arctic, and in Europe. Bear steaks should be cooked like beef, except that they are generally marinated for a couple of days in oil and vinegar or wine to help tenderize the meat.
Bear sign or bear claw
Fried pastry similar to the modern doughnut.
Bearnaise
This is the most notable of all the hollandaise sauce variations. It is made with a wine and vinegar reduction, egg yolks, butter and flavored with tarragon or other herbs. This sauce makes a good companion to grilled meats and fish.
Bearnaise Sauce
A classic French sauce made with a reduction of vinegar, white wine, tarragon, black peppercorns and shallot. It is finished with egg yolks and butter. It is good served with any plain meat or fish.
Beating
Process of mixing food to introduce air and make it lighter or fluffier. Tools utilized to beat an ingredient or mixture include a wooden spoon, hand whisk or electric mixer.
Beaver
A semi-aquatic animal of the rodent family. The tail is considered the best part to eat. Care must be taken when skinning to avoid severing the musk gland, which will permeate the entire flesh when cut.
Bechamel sauce
A white sauce given extra flavour by infusing the milk with carrot, onion, celery, black peppercorns, blade mace and bay leaf for 30 minutes. Bechamel is the base for many other sauces and was named after its inventor, Louis XIV's steward Louis de Bechamel.
Beechnut
The small, triangular fruit of the beech tree that has been used since prehistoric times. The flavor has been described as a cross between a hazelnut and a chestnut. Usually roasted before serving. Used in breads and pressed for oil.
Beef
The meat from cows, steers (males castrated when very young), heifers (females that have never borne a calf) and bulls under 2 years old. The eight USDA grades are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner.
Beef fillet (filet mignon)
This tender but expensive boneless cut of meat comes from the small end of the tenderloin. It should be cooked quickly by frilling or sauteing. Not an overly flavorful cut of meat.
Beef stock
Real beef stock is superior to any. But consomme or bouillon (mostly salt) may be substituted in a pinch.
Beef Tartare
A dish of coarsely ground beef. The meat is normally high-quality, lean, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and seasonings. Beef tartar is often served with a raw egg placed on top, along with capers, parsley, and onions.
Beefalo
A cross between the American bison (commonly called buffalo) and cattle, the beef strain being dominant. The dark red meat of beefalo is very lean and has a somewhat stronger flavor than beef.
Beer
A low-alcohol beverage brewed from malted barley and cereals (such as corn or rye) mixed with yeast (for fermentation) and flavored with hops. Since about 90% of beer is water, the water used in very important to the taste of the beer.
Beerwurst
A German cooked sausage with a garlic flavor and a dark red color. Normally used as lunch meat. Also know as "Bierwurst."
Beet
A firm, round-rooted vegetable with nutritious leafy greens. Commonly known as the garden beet. In addition to the garden beet, are the spinach or leaf beet ("Swiss chard"), the sugar beet, and the mangold, which is used mostly for fodder.
Beignet
A French or Creole version of doughnuts. Dough or batter is deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar or glazed with a flavored syrup.
Bell peppers
Also known as sweet peppers, bell peppers are "mature" when they turn bright green, but they are not yet ripe; their flavor is sharp, even acrid at this point. If picked after they have changed to red, yellow, or orange their flavor will have mellowed considerably.
Belle Helene
Best known as the name of a dessert with poached pears, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It is also a term used in French cookery as a name for a garnish to grilled meat dishes.
Belly-Fish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster." Also called "angler fish," "monkfish," and "goosefish."
Benedictine
A sweet liqueur named after the Benedictine monks of Normandy who first created it in the 16th century. This liqueur is based on cognac and flavored with various aromatics, fruit peels, and herbs.
Bercy
A French sauce with white wine and shallots as a base.
Berliner-Style Sausage
Cooked, smoked sausage -- Made of cured, coarsely ground pork and some mildly cured, finely chopped beef; contains no seasoning other than sugar and salt; available in rolls or packaged slices.
Bermuda onion
This big, sweet, ivory-colored onion truly does not come from Bermuda. A sweet, crisp topping for sandwiches, this onion is also a good choice for everyday cooking. Bermudas have a shorter shelf life than the basic yellow onion. Also called Spanish onion.
Besan
Used in East Indian cooking, besan is a pale yellow flour made from ground, dried chickpeas. This nutritious, high-protein flour is used for myriad preparations including doughs, dumplings, noodles, a thickener for sauces and in batter for deep-fried foods. Besan, also known as gram flour can be found in Indian or Asian markets. Store, wrapped airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Betty
a baked dessert dating to Colonial America, It is a baked pudding made with layers of spiced sweetened fruit (usually apples) and buttered bread crumbs. Apple Brown Betty is made with brown sugar and sliced apples.
Beurre Blanc
An emulsified sauce made of a wine or vinegar reduction blended with softened butter. This may be flavored in many ways, for fish, vegetables, and poultry dishes. This is a very tricky sauce and does not hold for long periods of time. Because of this, modern versions add a touch of cream to stabilize the sauce for longer periods of time.
Beurre Manie
French for ‘kneaded butter’, beurre manie is a paste of flour and softened butter, usually in equal parts, used to thicken sauces and stews.
Beurre Noir
A tart sauce made with browned butter mixed with vinegar.
Bibb Lettuce
A type of butterhead lettuce with soft, loose, tender whitish-green leaves and a mild flavor. Other butterhead lettuce varieties include "Boston" and "buttercrunch."
Bigarade
A sauce, usually served with duck, which includes orange juice and orange rind.
Binder
An additive used to improve the binding properties of lean meat or poultry or meat and/or poultry mixtures. Binders have strong affinity for water, therefore misuse binders may cause the product to be adulterated with excess water.
Binding
A method of preparation that adds eggs, cream, melted fat or roux to a dry mixture in order to hold it together and keep the mixture from separating.
Bird’s eye chillies
A general term for tiny chillies which are extremely pungent and spicy. Sometimes used to describe Thai chillies which are, paradoxically, Mexican in origin.
Birria
Spanish name given to a dish of seasoned meat, then barbecued or steamed.
Biscochitos
Crispy anise-flavored cookies native to New Mexico; cut into stars or other decorative shapes and traditionally served at Christmas.
Biscotti
Twice-baked Italian biscuits flavoured with aniseed, chocolate or almonds. These hard, crunchy biscuits are ideal for dipping in dessert wine or coffee.
Biscuit
1. A small cake of shortened bread leavened with baking powder or soda. 2. Chiefly British. a. A thin, crisp cracker. b. A cookie.
Bison
Also know as the "American Buffalo," bison is presently raised on game farms. The meat is very tender and tastes quite a bit like lean beef. It has no pronounced gamey flavor.
Bisque
A rich, creamy soup, usually made with shellfish.
Bistella
See Pastilla for a definition.
Bitter Melon
The fruit of a tropical climbing herb in Africa and Asia. It is similar to a cucumber and is used as a vegetable in meat dishes, fish dishes, and in soups. Also called "Balsam pear" or "bitter gourd."
Bitters
A liquid combination of cloves, cinnamon, quinine, nutmeg, rum, dried fruits, and other root and herbal extracts. Primarily used in cocktails.
Bittersweet chocolate
Often used in cake and cookie recipes. Bittersweet or semisweet chocolates are often used interchangeably, although bittersweet generally has more chocolate liquor, a paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans. Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor while finer bittersweet chocolates contain 50% or more chocolate liquor. Both chocolates have a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of cocoa beans to dairy products. Sugar, vanilla extract, and cocoa butter are added to the chocolate liquor to create an even richer chocolate flavor.
Blachan
A pungent shrimp paste used in very small amounts as seasoning in Thai soups and curries.
Black (turtle) bean (frijoles negros)
Native of the Yucatan; satiny black on the exterior, creamy white inside, with a hearty, almost smoky flavor; commonly used in soups and low-fat sauces, side dishes, salads and pureed; cooked beans can be rinsed and added to salsas for visual interest. This multipurpose dried bean is medium-sized (up to one-half inch long), round to almost square, and deep black with a white line and interior.
Black Beans
Also known as "turtle beans" or "black turtle beans," these beans have black skin, cream-colored flesh, and a sweet flavor that forms the base for black bean soup.
Black bream
The black bream is a dark grey sea fish with tough scales that need to be removed before cooking; relatively inexpensive, it is delicious either as fillets, stuffed or baked.
Black butter
A classic accompaniment to fish, particularly skate and plaice. Made by browning butter in a pan and adding lemon juice and parsley.
Black Cod
This saltwater fish, which is not a true cod, has a soft textured flesh and a mild flavor. Its high fat content makes it a good fish for smoking. Also called "sablefish."
Black pepper
The pepper plant is a climbing vine, native to India, Java and the Sunda Islands. The fruits ripen from green to red and finally to brown. Black pepper is whole red peppercorns, sold dried. They can be used whole, crushed or ground to add heat and flavour to a dish. Freshly ground peppercorns have much more flavour than bought ready-ground pepper.
Black potatoes
Varieties of potato with deep purple flesh which are known individually as Purple Congo potatoes, Blue Salad potatoes or Truffe de Chine.
Black Pudding
This large link sausage is made of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs, and oatmeal. It is generally sold precooked. Also known as "blood sausage."
Black Radish
A large plant thought to be of Oriental origin. These plants are grown chiefly for their pungent peppery root, which can get up to 2 pounds or more. This radish is popular in Germany and in the East.
Black rice
Milled rice is white in appearance, but the outer bran layer can be brown, red or black. Raw black rice appears charred and, when cooked, appears much like the color of blackberries. There are many varieties of black rice from China, Thailand and Indonesia.
Black Russian
a. Large, full-flavoured tomato with dark purply-black skin. Good for slicing, in salads, stuffing and baking with garlic and parsley.
b. A cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur and ice.
Black Salsify
Also called "Scorzonera," this is a black-skinned variety of salsify. Most varieties of this vegetable are grayish or pale golden in color.
Black Turtle Beans
Also known as "black beans," these beans have black skin, cream-colored flesh, and a sweet flavor that forms the base for black bean soup.
Black Walnut
A highly fat walnut that is better used with other foods than out-of-hand. Used in cakes, confections, and ice cream.
Black-eyed peas
A small beige bean of the legume family with a round black "eye" located at its inner curve. This bean is popular, particularly in the south. Also called the "cowpea." Varieties with yellow "eyes" are called "yellow-eyed peas."
Blackberry
Also called "bramble," these are the largest of the wild berries, up to 1 inch long when mature. Look for plump, deep colored berries without hulls. (If hulls are present, the berries were picked too early and will be tart.)
Blackfish
A lean, delicately flavored Pacific Ocean fish that is popular in Chinese cookery. Also called "Black Trout" and "Chinese Steelhead."
Blackstrap Molasses
Thick, black syrup, produced from sugar cane. In the UK and Australia, simply known as molasses. It produces a bitter flavor.
Blanch
To plunge food, such as vegetables, into and out of boiling water for just a few seconds or minutes, to allow the minimum time for cooking; this preserves colour and texture and lessens strong flavours, and can also loosen the skins of nuts or tomatoes before skinning.
Blancmange
A simple stove-top pudding made with milk, sugar, and vanilla, thickened with cornstarch.
Blanquette
A stew or white meat (veal, lamb or poultry) cooked in white stock or water with aromatic flavourings. A sauce is made with the liquor left over after cooking. Blanquettes are also made with fish and vegetables.
Bleach
To make white or colorless by means of chemicals or the sun's rays.
Blender
Electric liquefier with a glass or plastic container into which ingredients are added. A set of rotary blades is attached to the base of the vessel and rapidly reduces most ingredients to a smooth, or blended, consistency.
Blending
Preparation method that combines ingredients with a spoon, beater or liquefier to achieve a uniform mixture.
Blind baking
A method of preparing a pastry case before adding the filling to prevent the bottom becoming soggy and undercooked. The pastry is baked with a lining and beans before it is filled.
Blintz
A very thin pancake that is rolled up to encase either sweet or savory fillings. The most common fillings are cottage or ricotta cheese, fruits, and meat mixtures. Often sauteed and served with sour cream.
Blood Sausage
Also known as "blood pudding" and "black pudding" in Ireland. This large link sausage is made of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs, and oatmeal. It is generally sold precooked.
Bloody Mary
Invented by Pete Petiot at Harry's Bar in Paris, 1921. This drink contains vodka, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and V 8, tomato juice, or cocktail juice.
Blue cheese
This type of cheese has been treated with molds that form blue or green veins that give it its characteristic flavor. Blue cheeses, including Danablu, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton, tend to increase in flavor and aroma with age.
Blue corn
A variety of corn with blue-gray kernels; indigenous to the Southwest and originally grown by Pueblo Indians; dried and ground blue corn is more flavorful than yellow cornmeal.
Blue Crab
Named after its blue claws and dark blue-green shell, this crab is found along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. It is sold in both its soft and hard-shell stages. The "soft-shell crab" is simply a blue crab caught just after molting.
Blueberry
The blue-black berries of this plant are smooth-skinned, round, juicy, and sweet. Look for firm, uniformly sized blueberries that are indigo blue with a silvery frost.
Bluefin Tuna
Regarded as the highest grade tuna; used in top-class restaurants for sashimi and sushi.
Bluefish
A fatty, fine-textured fish that is also known as "bulldog of the ocean" because of its tenacity. Found in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Discard the dark oily strip that runs down its center to prevent a strong, fishy flavor.
Bluegill
One of a large number of North American freshwater fish closely related to the perch. Known for their bright, sunny colors, bluegill are also known as "sunfish."
Boar
An uncastrated male swine. In culinary terms, it is the male of a wild boar species found in Europe, Asia, North Africa and the U.S. Young boar is the best eating and is often prepared roasted, grilled, braised, or smoked like ham.
Bobwhite
A small game bird of the partridge family that resembles a small, plump chicken. The flesh is white and delicately flavored. Most of these birds are raised on bird farms today. Known also as "quail."
Bockwurst
A German ground-veal sausage that is flavored with chopped parsley and chives. This sausage is normally sold raw. Bockwurst is traditionally served with bock beer, particularly during the Bavarian bock beer festivals.
Boiling
Preparation method which cooks a liquid at a temperature of 212F or 100C.
Bok Choy
Also called Chinese cabbage, this variety of cabbage has crinkly, thick veined leaves which are thin, crisp, and delicately mild. Choose firm, tightly packed heads with crisp, green-tipped leaves. It is best suited to brief stir-frying or steaming to keep its mild flavour.
Boletus
A family of wild mushrooms known for their rich taste and meaty texture. Porcinis and cepes are two members of this family of mushroom.
Bolillos
Mexican hard rolls which are similar to French bread; also a short rolling pin 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches or more long which rolls tortillas to a uniform thickness.
Bollito
A boiling bean native to the Southwest; an ancestor of the pinto bean; takes a bit longer to cook; often used in broth-style side dishes of Mexican cuisine.
Bollito Misto
Italian dish of pieces of meat boiled in stock, including chicken, ox tongue, pigs’ trotters. Served on New Year’s Eve in northern Italy with lentils and preserved, candied fruit. The meat represents good health, the lentils wealth and the fruit good spirits.
Bologna
Also known as "baloney." This is a highly seasoned sausage meat that takes its name from the Italian city of Bologna. True Italian sausage is called "mortadella."
Bolognaise
A term that applies to several dishes inspired by Italian cookery from the Bologna region. Bolognaise sauce is a thick sauce based on various vegetables and meats.
Bolognese sauce
Ragu bolognese, also known simply as ragu, is the all-purpose thick Italian sauce made from minced beef and tomatoes. It can form the basis of lasagne or be served with spaghetti.
Bombay duck
Dried fish from India and Bangladesh, crumbled over stews and curries.
Bombe
A rich dessert containing cream or custard mixtures arranged and frozen in a mold.
Bonbel Cheese
A mild-flavored semi-soft cheese sold in small paraffin-coated rounds. It is pale cream in color. Its smooth, buttery texture makes it popular with fruit, sandwiches, and salads.
Boniato
Also called batata, this is a popular tuber in both Latin America and Asia. The blotchy skin may be purplish or reddish, and the inside is white or creamy and slightly mealy when cooked. It tastes like a cross between white and sweet potatoes, and can be treated like either. The flavor somewhat suggests roasted chestnuts.
Boning
Preparation process which removes bones from meat, poultry, game or fish.
Bonito
Large fish from the same family as tuna and mackerel. Bonito is an oily fish and is prepared in the same way as tuna.
Bonito flakes
The dried flakes of a dark, full-flavored fish, used in the Japanese soup stock dashi, which is among the simplest stocks to make. Bonito flakes are available in Asian markets.
Bonne femme
Cooked home-style; often with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Borage
This European herb has a flavor similar to that of cucumber. Both the flowers and leaves are used in salads. The leaves are also used to flavor teas and vegetables.
Bordelaise
This is a term primarily used to describe a dark brown sauce that includes shallots and red wine, vegetables, and garlic. Some versions of this sauce include slices of bone marrow added at the end of cooking. Fish dishes with this name will be cooked with white Bordeaux wine.
Borecole
A non-heading member of the cabbage family. Also called "kale." Cultivated for over 2,000 years, this vegetable can be prepared and eaten in much the same way as spinach.
Borlotti beans
A large, plump bean, pinkish brown in colour with reddish brown streaks; rarely found fresh in this country but readily available dried, it is widely used in Italian cooking.
Borscht
Also known as "borsch." This is a beet soup. It is prepared with beets and an assortment of vegetables with meat and/or meat stock. It is served hot or cold and is often garnished with a dollop of sour cream.
Boston lettuce
Part of the butterhead family, this simple lettuce sports soft but fairly well-defined heads with lots of loose outer leaves. The bland tenderness mingles nicely with some bitter loose leaf and super-crisp romaine.
Botanas
Plugs; stoppers; appetizers served with drinks.
Boterhamworst
Cooked, smoked sausage -- Dutch-style sausage made of veal and pork, finely chopped and blended with coarsely chopped pork fat and seasonings.
Bottle Gourd
A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called "white-flowered gourd" and "Calabash gourd." This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.
Bouchee
A small round puff pastry shell baked blind used for sweet or savory fillings.
Boudin
Acadian pork blood sausage, highly seasoned and containing rice. The proportion of blood to rice produces "white" or "red" boudin. It originated among the Bayou communities. Smooth sausages of two types. Boudin blanc contain veal, pork, and chicken. Boudin noir are made with blood and rice or potatoes. The latter type are popular in European and Creole cooking.
Bouillabaisse
Stew made of a variety of fish, saffron and tomatoes, traditionally associated with the Provence region of France, especially Marseilles. There are many 'authentic' recipes for bouillabaisse.
Bouilli
Meat used to prepare soup which is then served as a separate course.
Bouillon
A flavor-concentrated powder of dehydrated beef, chicken or vegetable stock. Dehydrated bouillon must be dissolved in a hot liquid before using.
Boule
A ball-shaped loaf of bread that's baked without a pan in the oven.
Bouquet garni
A small bunch of herbs, classically bay leaves, parsley stalks and thyme, wrapped in a leek leaf or piece of celery and tied with string; ideal for flavouring soups, stews and stocks during cooking and removed before serving.
Bourbon
Named after Bourbon county, Kentucky. Straight bourbon is distilled from a mash of at least 51% corn; blended bourbon contains at least 51% straight bourbon; sour mash is made by adding some of the old mash to ferment each new batch.
Bourrride
Another fish stew from southern France. Here the broth, in which large pieces of fish are poached, is strained and thickened with aioli. The two are then served together in shallow bowls with bread or croutons.
Boysenberry
Created by horticulturist Rudolph Boysen in 1923 by crossing a raspberry, blackberry, and a loganberry. It is shaped like a large raspberry and has a rich sweet-tart flavor.
Brains
Gourmets say that sheep's brains are best, followed by calves, then pigs. Often boiled with salted water and a dash of vinegar, then reheated with butter and capers or deep fried in egg and bread crumb batter.
Braising
A method of cooking foods (most often used for meats) by quickly browning in oil and then cooking slowly in liquid (wine, stock, etc) in a covered pot .
Bramble
These are the largest of the wild berries, up to 1" long when mature. Look for plump, deep colored berries without hulls. (If hulls are present, the berries were picked too early and will be tart.) More commonly known as "blueberry."
Bran
The outer layer of grains such as wheat or oats. This outer layer is normally removed during the milling process. Bran is a good source of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber.
Brandade
A puree of salt cod mixed with olive oil and potatoes. Another version of brandade is covered with Gruyere cheese and browned in the oven. Both are served with croutons.
Brandy
A liquor distilled from wine or other fermented fruit juice. Brandies are aged in wood, which contributes to the flavor. The finest brandies are called "cognacs."
Bratwurst
A German sausage made of pork and veal and seasoned with ginger, nutmeg, and coriander or caraway. Each German district has its own special variety of this sausage. Also called "brotwurst."
Braunschweiger
A smoked German liver sausage made with eggs and milk. It is soft enough to spread and is usually served at room temperature.
Brazil Nut
A large nut with a very hard shell, cultivated in Brazil and Paraguay. The white kernel is very nutritious with a high fat content and can be eaten raw or used in cooking in the same way as coconut.
Bread
To dip foods into a liquid (beaten eggs, milk, etc) then coat food with bread crumbs.
Bread crumbs
There are two kinds of bread crumbs - fresh and dry. They should not be used interchangeably. Fresh crumbs can be made in a food processor or blender/ Dried bread crumbs are lightly browned and may be plain or flavored. They can be bought or made from good quality stale bread.
Bread Flour
A high gluten flour made from hard wheat. Perfect for yeast breads.
Breadfruit
This fruit is native to the Pacific. The fruit is up to ten inches in diameter and it has a bumpy green skin and a bland cream-colored center. Breadfruit can be baked, grilled, fried, or boiled, and served as a sweet or savory dish.
Breadnut Tree Seeds
The seeds of a tree from the mulberry family that is grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. These seeds are boiled, ground into flour and made into bread. Also called "Jamaican breadnut" and "Ramons."
Breads
Any type of yeast or quick breads
Bresaola
A cured and dried beef filet from Italy with a more delicate texture but stronger flavor than that of prosciutto. A Swiss version of this is called bundnerfleisch. This style is pressed into a rectangular shape and has a bit drier texture than bresaola. Both are served thinly sliced with bread and fruit or pickled vegetables.
Bretonne
An Espagnole sauce with onions.
Brick Cheese
This pale yellow semi-soft cheese comes from Wisconsin and is brick shaped. When young, it has a mild flavor; as it ages, however, it becomes almost as strong as Limburger cheese.
Brie Cheese
This cheese has an edible white rind and a cream-colored, buttery soft inside that should ooze when ripe. French brie is considered the world's best. Made from whole or skim milk.
Brine
Salt and water solution used for pickling and preserving.
Brioche
A slightly sweet, French yeast bread, rich with butter and eggs. The traditional shape has a fluted bottom and a topknot and is made in a special mould. Good as a sweet bread or served with cheese or pate.
Brisket
Cut of beef from the belly, used for slow roasting, casseroles, stews or mince.
Broad Bean
Also known as the "fava bean," "faba bean," and "horse bean." This bean looks like a very large lima bean. The pod is inedible unless the plant is very young. Avoid pods bulging with beans as this is an indication of age.
Broccoli
This vegetable is related to the cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. It is a deep green vegetable that comes in tight clusters of tiny buds that sit on stout edible stems.
Broccoli raab
Broccoli raab, or rape, is more bitter, and has more stems and leaves than head broccoli, which has more florets. It can be found from fall to spring in markets with specialty produce sections, and can be used in any broccoli recipe.
Brochette
Cubes of meat or fish and vegetables threaded on to a skewer and then grilled or barbecued.
Broil
Using intense heat to cook food (usually meats) by placing it directly under a broiler or on a grill. This is a low-fat way to cook as the fat drips away.
Broilers
Also called fryers or broiler-fryers, these are young chickens weighing from 1 1/2 to 4 pounds. They can be broiled, sauteed, fried, roasted, and braised.
Broth
Liquid in which meat, poultry or vegetables have been simmered. Closely related to stock.
Brown
To cook food quickly (usually meats) over high heat by either frying or broiling until the surface browns sealing in all the succulent juices
Brown beans
Smaller and rounder than American beans, these are used in Scandinavian dishes. found in specialty stores or Scandinavian markets.
Brown Rice
This is the entire rice grain minus only the inedible husk. The nutritious, high-fiber bran coating gives it its distinctive light tan color and nut-like flavor. The presence of the bran means a shorter shelf life (about 6 months).
Brown sugar
White sugar combined with molasses. The darker the brown sugar, the more molasses that is used.
Browned flour
Wheat flour browned in an oven or skillet; favored by Mexican and pioneer cooks for gravies and stews.
Brownie
A dense, chewey cake, usually made with chocolate in a large tin and cut into squares.
Browning
Preparation method, usually in a skillet or pot on the stove top, which sears in the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.
Brulee
Finishing method applied to dishes such as cream custards finished with caramelized sugar glaze. Can be done with a torch or under the broiler.
Brunoise
A very fine dice usually applied to vegetables.
Bruschetta
Italian bread, sliced and grilled or toasted then brushed with garlic and olive oil. Served as a starter or snack with a variety of toppings. A French baguette would make a good alternative.
Brussels sprouts
This vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and, in fact, looks like miniature heads of cabbage. The smaller spouts are more tender. Storing Brussels sprouts too long will produce a strong flavor.
Brut
This is a term that refers to the driest champagnes. Brut champagnes are even drier than formulations labeled "extra dry."
Bucatini
Long, narrow tubes of pasta usually served with a hearty meat sauce.
Buckwheat
A type of grain used extensively in eastern European cooking. Buckwheat flour is traditionally used to make blinis - small pancakes eaten with caviar.
Buckwheat Groats
Also known as "Kasha." Buckwheat groats are the hulled, crushed kernels of buckwheat. Normally cooked like rice and is available in coarse, medium, and fine grains.
Buffalo
Also know as the "bison," buffalo is presently raised on game farms. Buffalo meat is very tender and tastes somewhat like lean beef. It has no pronounced gamey flavor.
Buffalo Fish
This freshwater fish, which belongs to the sucker family, is similar to carp. It offers a coarse but sweet, low-fat flesh that lends itself to a variety of cooking methods.
Buffet
A vast array of hot and cold foods, often elaborately garnished.
Bulghur
A nutritious staple in the Middle East, bulghur consists of wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried, and crushed. It has a tender, chewy texture and can be made into a pilaf. It is sometimes confused with "cracked wheat."
Bulgur wheat
Processed wheat made from the whole kernel that has been cooked and dried, used a lot in Middle Eastern dishes. Most commonly used in breads and tabbouleh salad. Three grinds; fine, medium, and coarse. Find in fancy supermarkets or gourmet stores.
Bullhead
A small, freshwater catfish that usually weighs in at under a pound. Its flesh is lean and mild in flavor.
Bullock's Heart
Also called "Custard Apple," this tropical fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.
Bundles
A measured unit of casings ready for sale in salted, pre-flushed, or tubed form; bundles will be either hog casings or sheep casings consisting of 91 meters (100 yards).
Bundt cake
A ring-shaped cake baked in a tube pan that has fluted sides.
Bunuelo
A thin, deep-fried Mexican pastry. It is normally sprinkled with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Burbot
A freshwater cod with a lean white flesh and a delicate flavor. It is normally poached, baked, broiled or sautéed.
Burdock
This slender root vegetable has brown skin and grayish white flesh. Used in soups as well as with vegetables and meats. Known by the Japanese as "Gobo."
Burger
1. A sandwich consisting of a bun, a cooked beef patty, and often other ingredients such as cheese, onion slices, lettuce, or condiments. Often used in combination: a cheeseburger. 2. A similar sandwich with a nonbeef filling. Often used in combination: a crab burger; a tofu burger.
Burgundy
One of the most famous wine growing regions in France (and therefore in the world). Burgundy wines tend to be more robust and full bodied than bordeaux wines.
Burrito
Burros (Arizona) and burritos (New Mexico and Texas) Flour tortillas stuffed with meats, beans, cheeses and chile sauces or any combination thereof.
Bush Nut
More commonly known as the "Macadamia nut." This is a small, round, brown nut with a buttery, slightly sweet flavor and a high fat content. Used in a variety of dishes.
Butcher's knots
Butcher's knots are slip knots that make it possible to tighten and loosen string as needed when rolling a boned roast.
Butter
This product is made by churning cream until is reaches a semi-solid state. By U.S. law, butter must be at least 80% butter-fat. The USDA grades butter quality based on flavor, body, texture, color and salt. The grades are AA, A, B, C.
Butterbean
A pale green, plump-bodied bean with a slight kidney-shaped curve. Baby limas are smaller and milder than the Fordhook variety (which are not mature baby limas). More commonly known as the "lima bean."
Butterfish
This small, high-fat fish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. Found off the coast of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is also called the "dollarfish," "Pacific pompano," and "pomfret."
Buttermilk
Buttermilk is the liquid that is left over when milk is churned to butter. It has a sour taste and is often used in scones and soda breads. It can also be used to replace milk for a healthier milkshake.
Butternut
This is the seed of a giant tree that grows in the Amazon jungle. The kernel of this nut is white, rich, and high in fat. Also known as "Brazil nut."
Butternut Squash
Large winter squash that looks like a pear-shaped baseball bat. This vegetable weights about 2 to 3 pounds and has a sweet orange flesh. Used in breads, stews, soups, muffins, and puddings.
Butterscotch
Butterscotch flavor is a blend of butter and brown sugar.
Button mushroom
This is the standard, white, cultivated mushroom. Button mushrooms work well in concert with "wild mushrooms," which are more intensely flavored, but also more expensive.
Cabanossi
A salami-type sausage popular in Southern Europe.
Cabbage
Cabbage comes in many forms: flat, conical, or round shapes and leaves that are compact, loose, curly, or flat. The most popular U.S. cabbage varieties are round, have waxy leaves, are heavy for their size, and vary from white to red.
Cabbage Turnip
This vegetable is a member of the cabbage family. Popular in Europe, the cabbage turnip's bulb tastes like a sweet turnip. Eaten steamed, in soups, and in stews. Also called the "kohlrabi."
Cabernet-Sauvignon
A superior red-wine grape cultivated in France and California. This small, thin-skinned black grapes are used to produce the fine clarets of France and Cabernets of California.
Cabrito
Unweaned goat; suckling goat; kid goat; usually split and spit roasted whole; considered a delicacy in Mexico and the Southwest; a favorite dish in northern Mexico, especially at Easter.
Cacciatore
The Italian word for "hunter." Refers to food prepared "hunter-style." That is, with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, various herbs, and sometimes wine. Chicken cacciatore is the most popular type of cacciatore.
Cactus
The pads and fruits of the Opuntia cactus are cooked and eaten.
Cactus paddle
In the southwest and Mexico, the large, flat, fleshy, oval green pads of the nopal cactus are prepared as a vegetable. When cooked, pieces have the color and translucence of cooked bell pepper, but they are also viscid, like okra. The flavor is something between a bell pepper and artichoke or asparagus or okra.
Cafe Brulot
Spices and other ingredients flamed with brandy or some other spirits to which hot coffee is added.
Caffeine
A slightly bitter alkaloid found in coffee, tea, and many other foods and beverages. Caffeine is stimulating to the heart and nervous system. It is toxic in large doses.
Caimit
The purple, white, green, yellow, or rose-colored fruit of a West Indian tree. When cut open, the seeds are disposed into the shape of a star. Also called "star apple."
Cajun
A form of cooking that is a combination of French and Southern cuisines uses a dark roux and animal (usually pork) fat. Creole cooking emphasizes the use of butter and cream. Cajun food is very spicy and makes good use of file powder.
Cake cooler
Wire rack.
Cake Flour
A high starch flour made from soft wheat. Ideal for baking.
Cake tin
Baking pan.
Cal
dolomitic lime; slaked lime; mineral added to corn when making nixtamal masa to loosen the kernels' skins.
Calabash
A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called "bottle gourd" and "white-flowered gourd." This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.
Calabaza
This pumpkin-like winter squash, usually sold in slices or hunks in markets catering to Central and South Americans. Also known as West Indian pumpkin, calabaza is quite frequently better than pumpkin when cooked in the same way.
Calamari
This ten-armed cephalopod, commonly known as "squid," is related to the octopus. They vary in size from 1 inch to 80 feet in length. The meat is firm and chewy, with a somewhat sweet flavor. Over-cooking can lead to a rubbery texture.
Calamata olives
Purple-black Greek olives of generally high quality. Also spelled kalamata olives.
Caldo Verde
A Portuguese soup made from a sharp flavored cabbage, potatoes, broth, and olive oil. Sausage is then cooked in the soup.
Calico Bass
One of a large number of North American freshwater fish closely related to the perch. Known for their bright, sunny colors, calico bass are also known as "sunfish."
Caliente
This is the Spanish word for "hot," and it refers to temperature. "Picante" means "pepper hot."
California Sheepshead
A saltwater fish belonging to the wrasse family. Also called "sheepshead," "fathead," and "redhead." Its meat is white, tender, and lean.
Calvados
A dry spirit made from distilled cider, made in Normandy, northern France.
Calzone
A stuffed pizza, folded over and baked, like a Cornish pasty. A calzone is usually made as a single serving.
Camembert Cheese
This cow's milk cheese has a white, downy rind and a smooth creamy inside. When ripe, the cheese should ooze thickly. When overripe, it is bitter and rank.
Canadian bacon
A lean, smoked meat that is closer to ham than to bacon. It comes from the lean tender eye of the loin, located in the middle of the back. It is called "back bacon" in Canada.
Canape
Plain or toasted bread or crackers topped with a savory mixture. Usually served as appetizers, with cocktails, snacks or for lunch. They may be served hot or cold, they are often elaborately garnished.
Candied
Cooked in sugar or syrup until transparent and well-coated.
Candlefish
A rich and oily mild-flavored fish. This variety of smelt is so named because Indians sometimes run a wick through their high-fat flesh and use them for candles. Also known as the "Eulachon."
Candy thermometer
Cooking tool comprised of a large glass mercury thermometer that measures temperatures from about 40F to 400F. A frame or clip allows it to stand or hang in a pan during cooking for accurate temperature measurement.
Cane syrup
Thick, extremely sweet syrup made from the sugar cane. Used in Caribbean and Creole cooking.
Canned cowboy
Canned milk - a term from the American West.
Cannellini beans
Large, creamy white bean often included in Italian cooking. Also known as Northern beans, this legume makes an excellent vegetarian substitute for both fish and chicken due to its rich texture.
Cannelloni
Large tubular-shaped noodles usually served stuffed. An Italian dish made of sheets or tubes of pasta filled with meat, cheese or fish, sauced and baked au gratin. Variations of this use thin pancakes, called crespelle, which are similar to crepes and are filled and cooked in the same manner as the pasta.
Cannoli
A crisp pastry tube filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and candied fruit. Cinnamon and vanilla are common flavorings for this cheese mixture.
Canola oil
This is the market name for "rapeseed oil," Canada's most widely used oil. Also called lear oil, for "low erucic acid rapeseed" oil. Canola oil is lowest in saturated fat of any oil. Canola oil is 6% saturated fat; palm oil is 79%.
Cantaloupe
True cantaloupes are European and are not exported to the U.S. North American "cantaloupes" are actually muskmelons. The light orange flesh is mild, sweet, and very juicy.
Cantonese
A type of Chinese cuisine that is famous for its meat roasting and grilling, fried rice, bird's nest soup, and shark fin soup.
Capacolla
Prepared meat -- Italian origin; boneless pork shoulder butt seasoned with ground red hot or sweet peppers, paprika, salt and sugar; mildly cured and air dried.
Cape Gooseberry
Also known as physalis. A small, smooth round fruit wrapped in its own papery case that resembles a Chinese lantern. Physalis can be unwrapped and eaten as is or dipped in melted chocolate and served after dinner with coffee. They make excellent jams, jellies and purees. Also called "ground cherry," this fruit has a bitter-sweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.
Capers
The pickled flower buds of a shrub native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Capers are usually packed in brine but can also be preserved in salt. They should be rinsed before use to remove excess salt. Their pungent flavour adds piquancy to many sauces and condiments (eg tartare sauce), and they can be used as a garnish for meat and vegetable dishes and in tapenade.
Capicolla
A coarse Italian pork sausage. Usually highly seasoned, this sausage is served cold, thinly sliced, as for prosciutto.
Capirotada
Bread pudding. Usually served during Lent and Holy Week (Easter).
Capocollo
An Italian sausage made from pork shoulder and flavored with sweet red peppers. It is pressed (rather than chopped), put into casings, and air dried. It is a specialty of the Parma region of Italy.
Capon
A castrated cockerel fattened for eating. It is no longer legal to produce capons in the UK.
Caponata
Best known as a spread or cold salad containing eggplant, celery, tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts seasoned with vinegar and olive oil. Modern variations will add other vegetables such as zucchini and season it with fresh herbs.
Capons
Castrated cocks, weighing 6 to 7 pounds or more, these birds are especially desirable for roasting when a large bird is in order.
Cappuccino
An Italian coffee made by topping espresso with the creamy foam from steamed milk. Often dusted with cinnamon or sweetened cocoa powder.
Capsicum
The generic name for the pepper family which includes the large, sweet, mild peppers (red, green and yellow) as well as any of the hundreds of hot chilli peppers. Capsaicin is the chemical compound in chillies that gives them their heat and fieriness.
Carambola
Star fruit. Originally from Indonesia, this is one of the most recent tropical imports, now grown in Florida and found in most supermarkets. It has yellow, near-translucent skin (which is tough but edible), and slices take the shape of a star. Best eaten raw, but also takes well to grilling.
Caramel
Caramel is a mixture produced when sugar has been cooked until it melts to become a thick clear liquid ranging in color from gold to brown. Caramel is used to flavor soups, stocks, desserts, and sauces.
Caramelise
The process of either heating sugar to a point when it melts and resets as a hard glaze, as on the top of a creme brulee, or cooking small or cut fruit or vegetables in water and sugar until they become brown and glazed.
Caraway seed
The aromatic seed of an herb in the parsley family with a flavor described as a cross between aniseed and fennel. Used to flavor cheese, breads, cakes, stews, meats, vegetables and the liqueur "Kummel."
Carbonade
Braised or grilled, or sometimes stewed meat.
Carbonara
An Italian term that refers to a pasta dish of spaghetti or other noodles with a sauce of cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and bits of bacon. Fresh green peas are sometimes used to add flavor and color.
Cardamom
An aromatic spice from south-western India. Cardamom seeds are contained in small pods about the size of a cranberry. The spice has a pungent aroma and a warm, spicy-sweet flavour and is widely used in Scandinavian and east Indian cooking. Cardamom can be bought in the pod or ground but, as the ground seeds soon lose their flavour, it is preferable to use the pods, either removing the seeds and grinding them or grinding the whole pod, quickly done with a pestle and mortar. If using cardamom to flavour dishes such as stews and curries, lightly crush the whole pod and add it to the mixture: the shell will disintegrate while the dish cooks. Be frugal when using cardamom - a little goes a long way.
Cardinal
Fish dishes which have sauces made with lobster fumet and are garnished with lobster meat.
Cardoon
A large stalky vegetable, related to the artichoke, the cardoon is very popular in France, Italy and Spain. Cardoons can be found from midwinter to early spring. Look for stalks that are firm and have a silvery grey-green colour. To prepare, remove tough outer ribs, cut the inner ribs into 8cm/3in slices and soak in acidulated water to prevent browning. Cardoons can be boiled, braised or baked. Pre-cooking for about 30 minutes in boiling water is suggested in many recipes. Though high in sodium, cardoons are a good source of potassium, calcium and iron. They were very popular with the Victorians.
Caribe chiles
Flaked red chiles.
Caribou
Any of several large North American deer which are related to Old World reindeer. Caribou meat is called "venison." Antelope, elk, deer, moose, and reindeer meat are also classified as venison, the most popular large animal game meat.
Carissa
This scarlet fruit of a South African shrub is an oval berry about 2 inches long. This fruit is used in pies, jellies, and preserves. Also called "Natal plum."
Carne adovada
Meat cured in red chile sauce. Traditional New Mexican dish.
Carnitas
Little pieces of meat; small chunks of pork which have been seasoned, slow-cooked, and fried crisp in their own fat; it is a traditional taco and enchilada filling.
Carob
The fruits of this evergreen tree, native to the Middle East, grow in pods about 20cm/8in long and ripen from green to brown. They contain hard, brown seeds. In the Middle East, the sweet pods are chewed raw, and are used as animal feed. Carob beans are also ground and used as a healthier alternative to chocolate and coffee as they contain no caffeine or oxalic acid, and only half the fat of cocoa. The flavour is sweet and treacly, so is excellent in baking.
Carp
This freshwater fish ranges from 2 to 7 pounds and has a lean white flesh. It is the primary ingredient for the Jewish dish called "gefilte fish."
Carpaccio
An Italian dish, served as a starter, of very thin shavings of raw beef fillet, served cold with olive oil and lemon juice or with a mayonnaise or mustard sauce. The dish is often topped with capers and sometimes onions.
Carrot
This member of the parsley family has long green foliage and an edible orange root. This very popular vegetable has been cultivated for over 2,000 years.
Casaba Melon
This member of the muskmelon family has cream-colored flesh, is extremely juicy, and has a mild cucumber-like flavor.
Cascabel chiles
Little rattler; jingle bells; sleigh bells; small, round, hot chiles that rattle when shaken; measure about 1 1/2 to 2 inches across and have smooth skins; woodsy chile with tones of hazelnut, citrus and tobacco, gives off a wonderful aroma when roasted; great in stews, soups, salsas, salad dressing and vinaigrettes; blend well with apples, pears and other fruits and with spices such as star anise, canela and cinnamon; arbol chiles may be substituted.
Cashew
The fruit of the cashew tree, originally from South America but widely cultivated in India and other tropical countries since the 16th century. The nut contains a smooth creamy-white kidney-shaped kernel that is rich in vitamin A and has a high fat content. In Europe cashews are usually eaten dried, roasted and salted as a snack or in salads.
Casing
There are many types of casing. Natural casing are made from intestines of sheep, hogs or beef and are edible. Fibrous and plastic casings are manufactured and cannot be eaten. Collagen casings are manufactured from corium layer of split beef hides, a natural product and are edible. Cloth casing are made of muslin and are not edible.
Cassava
The cassava is a root with a crisp white flesh. There are two main categories of cassava: sweet and bitter. Bitter cassavas are toxic until cooked. Cassava is used to make "cassreep" and "tapioca."
Casserole
(from the French for 'stew pan') is a dish consisting of tough cuts of meat, poultry or game stewed in liquid with vegetables and flavourings. Vegetarian versions also exist. The pot to be used, called a casserole dish or just casserole, has a tight-fitting lid, and is placed in an oven or on the hob. The culinary term en casserole (also from French) means 'served in the vessel used for cooking'. Hot dish is a Midwestern (and particularly Minnesotan) term for a casserole-like main course; it is one of the quintessential foods of that region.
Cassoulet
A dish from southwest France consisting of white beans and an assortment of meats like confit, lamb, pork, and Toulouse sausage. The dish is enriched with large amounts of duck fat and is baked until the top is brown and crispy. Variations of this dish include seafood and lentils. This dish is very substantial and needs nothing else to be served with it but a bitter green salad to cut through the richness.
Castor/Caster sugar
A very fine granulated sugar. Similar to U.S. superfine sugar.
Catfish
This fish is firm, low in fat, and has a mild flavor. Most catfish are fresh water varieties, but there is a salt water variety that called the "hogfish." The channel catfish is considered the best for eating.
Catsup, Ketchup
A thick, spicy sauce with vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Catsup usually has a tomato foundation, but gourmet markets often carry condiments with a base of anything from walnuts to mangos. Also called "ketchup."
Caul Fat
The lacy fatty membrane encasing the internal organs of an animal, pork caul is often used for wrapping faggots or pates.
Cauliflower
This member of the cabbage family is composed of bunches of tiny creamy white florets on stalks of the same color. The entire white portion--called the curd--is edible.
Caviar
These are the eggs of sturgeon that have been salted and cured. Grading for caviar is determined by the size and color of the roe and the species of the sturgeon. Beluga caviar, which is the most expensive of the three types of caviar, are dark gray in color and are the largest eggs. Ossetra caviar are light to medium brown and are smaller grains than beluga. Sevruga caviar are the smallest grains, the firmest in texture and are also gray in color. Pressed caviar is made of softer, lower quality eggs and have a stronger, fishier flavor. The term malossol is used to describe the amount of salt used in the initial curing process. The roe from other fish such as salmon, lumpfish, and whitefish are not considered caviar, regardless of their label. They should be addressed as roe. Caviar should be served as simply as possible. Traditional accompaniments, inspired by the Russians, are sour cream, blinis, and ice cold vodka. Lemon and minced onion are often served with caviar, but their flavors will only detract from the pure delicate flavor of the caviar.
Cavolo nero
An Italian cabbage with dark green leaves that have a strong flavour. It can be used as in all cabbage recipes but it is particularly favoured used as a vegetable in soups or fried in olive oil with garlic and chillies.
Cayenne
Cayenne pepper is used to describe almost any hot, finely ground red chile pepper, but it was named after several tropical varieties that originated in Cayenne in French Guiana. A dried chile, they is also known as ginnie peppers; 3 to 8 inches long and slender, measuring about 1/2 inch across; fiery chiles that can be used in soups and stews, but are most commonly ground and used as a seasoning; chiles de arbol are closely related and may be substituted.
Cazuelas
glazed or unglazed Mexican casserole-style dishes; ideal for long, slow cooking, either in the oven or on top of the stove; can also be used as serving dishes.
Ceci
The round irregularly shaped buff-colored legumes with a firm texture and a mild nut-like flavor. Also called "chick-peas" and "garbanzo beans." Used in salads, soups, and stews.
Celeriac
A large root vegetable with a taste of celery, celeriac is sold without its leaves. It is available from mid-September to the end of April. To prepare, peel like potato, rinse and keep in acidulated water until ready to use. It can be mashed, roasted, boiled, steamed or made into soup. Shredded, lanched for a few minutes in boiling water and then cooled, it can be served as a salad with a vinaigrette or piquant dressing.
Celery
One of the most popular vegetables in the Western world. This plant grows in bunches of leaved ribs surrounding a tender heart. Eaten raw and used in soups, stews, and casseroles.
Celery Salt
A seasoning composed of celery seed and salt.
Celery Seed
The seed of the wild celery called "lovage," most of which is grown in India. Because of its strong flavor, it should be used sparingly. Used in soups, salads, and meat dishes.
Cellophane Noodle
A form of translucent Chinese noodle. These are not true noodles, but are made from the starch of mung beans. Also called "bean threads."
Celtuse
A variety of lettuce that exhibits characteristics of both celery and lettuce. Celtuse can be eaten raw or cooked.
Cepes
A wild mushroom of the boletus family known for their full flavor and meaty texture.
Cervelat
Semi-dry sausage -- General classification for mildly seasoned smoked, semi-dry sausages. Popularly termed "Summer Sausage". Farmer Cervelat contains equal parts of coarsely chopped pork and beef; cured, dried and delicately seasoned, without garlic. Goettinger Cervelat is a high quality dry, hard sausage; pork and beef; delightfully spiced. Goteborg Cervelat is made of coarsely chopped pork and beef; heavily smoked, seasoning is salty and somewhat sweet from the spice, cardamon; of Swedish origin. Gothaer is a cervelat of German origin; made only of very lean pork, finely chopped and cured. Holsteiner Cervelat is similar to farmer cervelat, but packed in a ring-shaped style. Landjaeger Cervelat is a semi-dry sausage of Swiss origin; beef and pork; heavily smoked with a black, wrinkled appearance; in links the size of large franks, but pressed flat. Thuringer Cervelat is a popular semi-dry sausage made of beef and ham or pork fat; distinctive tangy flavor; mildly spiced.
Ceviche
A South American dish of raw white fish, marinated and 'cooked' in lemon or lime juice. It is served with sweet limes, raw onion rings, tomatoes and boiled sweetcorn.
Chablis
An elegant dry wine grown in the Chablis district of northern Burgundy (France). Chablis is clear and pale in color. It is made from the Chardonnay grape and is extremely dry and has a "flinty" taste similar to champagne.
Chai
The Indian name for tea, often served with milk and sugar.
Chalupas
Fried corn tortillas in the shape of a boat or basket containing shredded chicken or beans topped with salsa, guacamole or cheese.
Chamomile
An aromatic flower that is dried and used to flavor chamomile tea. This tea is purported to be a soothing drink. Also spelled "camomile."
Champagne
A popular bubbling wine from the Champagne region of France. Bubbling wine is called "spumante" in Italy, "Seki" in Germany, and "vin mousseux" in other regions of France. Americans unashamedly call their bubbling wines "champagne."
Chanterelle
A wild mushroom with a golden color and a funnel-shaped cap. The whole mushroom is edible and is savored for its exquisite flavor and firm texture when cooked.
Chantilly
Sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla. The term may also be used to describe sauces that have had whipped cream folded into them. This includes both sweet and savory sauces.
Chapati
A whole wheat Indian flatbread that can be grilled or fried.
Charcuterie
The generic term used to refer to products based on pork meat or offal, including cured and cooked meats, fresh and smoked sausages, pates, black puddings, salamis. The word is also used for the shop where this type of product is sold.
Chard
A type of beet that doesn't develop the swollen, fleshy roots of ordinary beets. This vegetable is grown for its large leaves which are used much like other green vegetables. Also called "Swiss chard."
Chardonnay
The wine from the Chardonnay grape, which is grown chiefly in France and California. This is one of the grapes used in making fine French champagnes and white burgundies.
Charlie Taylor
a butter substitute of sorghum and bacon grease.
Charlotte
Small, waxy, yellow-fleshed potato, good for use in salads.
Charlotte mould
A plain mold for charlottes and other desserts, sometimes used for molded gelatin-based salads.
Charmoula
A sauce and marinade used in Middle Eastern cooking made of stewed onions flavored with vinegar, honey and a spice mixture called "rasel hanout". This is a complex spice mixture containing cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cumin and sometimes paprika and coriander. This sauce is used on meat and fish and can even be adjusted to make a unique vinaigrette.
Chartreuse
An aromatic liqueur that was originally made by the monks of La Grande Chartruese monastery in France. The yellow variety, colored with saffron, is lighter and sweeter than the green type, which is higher in alcohol content.
Chasseur
A sauce made with wine, mushrooms and shallots.
Chateaubriand Steak
A very fillet of beef, exceedingly tender and juicy, cut laterally from the heart of the tenderloin, grilled or sauteed and simply sauced. Many restaurants claim their chateaubriand to be the head of the tenderloin, cut for two, which is roasted and carved tableside.
Chaud-Froid
Meat or fish that has been poached or roasted, chilled and served cold, masked with a thick sauce and glazed with aspic. The whole preparation was once quite popular and used consistently on elaborate buffets. Modern tastes have moved away from this style of food, opting for cleaner, less adulterated flavors.
Chayote
This gourd-like fruit has a bland white flesh. Chayotes can be prepared in any way suitable for summer squash. It is a good source of potassium.
Cheddar
Cheese which is mild in flavor and melts easily, it is a favorite in many Southwestern dishes; Longhorn cheese is a very good substitute, and it is usually a little less expensive.
Cheese
Most cheeses derive from milk (usually cow, sheep or goat), jolted by a "startar" culture, then thickened by the addition of rennet (animal or vegetable) until it separates into curds (semi-solids) and whey (liquid).
Cheesecake
A creamy dessert made by creaming cheese.
Chenin Blanc
A grape of French origin that produces excellent white wines. It has proven itself highly productive in California.
Cherimoya
This large tropical fruit tastes like a cross between a pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.
Cherry
There are two main types of cherries: sweet and sour. The sweet varieties include Bing, Lambert, Tartarian, and Royal Ann (from which Maraschino cherries are made). The sour types include Early Richmond, Montemorency, English Merello.
Cherry Tomatoes
Miniature sweet tomatoes available in colors of red, orange and yellow. Store cherry tomatoes in the same way as full-size tomatoes, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Chervil
A mild, aromatic herb of the parsley family. It can be used like parsley, although its delicate flavor is diminished when boiled.
Cheshire Cheese
A rich, cow's milk cheese that originated in Cheshire county England. This cheese is semi-firm, mild, and has a tangy cheddar flavor. The blue Cheshire has a golden interior veined with blue.
Chestnut
This nut of the chestnut tree was once abundant in America, but most were killed by a fungus at the turn of the century. The many varieties of chestnuts can be boiled, candied, dried, preserved, pureed, roasted, or ground into flour.
Chevre
The French word for 'goat' has come to be used to refer to goat’s cheese. Chevres can vary in maturity (and strength of flavour) and range in texture from moist and creamy to dry and semi-firm. They come in a variety of shapes including cylinders, discs, cones and pyramids, and are often coated in edible ash or leaves, herbs or pepper.
Chia Seeds
Seeds from a plant of the mint family that grows in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. These seeds are used as food and brewed to make a beverage commonly called "chia."
Chianti
A sturdy dry red Italian wine that is was packaged in a strawcovered bottle (now more commonly in a Bordeaux-type bottle). The word "Riserva" on the label indicates a superior Chianti that it has been aged in oak for at least 3 years.
Chiboust
A custard made originally as the filling for the gateaux Saint-Honor, consisting of pastry cream lightened with Italian meringue and stabilized with gelatin.
Chicharron
Crispy fried pigskin used in Mexican cooking for salads, fillings and snacks.
Chick-Pea
The round irregularly shaped buff-colored legumes with a firm texture and a mild nut-like flavor. Also called "garbanzo beans" and "ceci." Used in salads, soups, and stews.
Chicken
This bird, taken from the jungles of southeastern Asia around 1400 B.C., has become a popular food fowl throughout the world. Boiler-fryers are 2.5 months old; roasters are 8 months old; stewing chickens are 10 to 18 months old.
Chicken Maryland
In Australia refers to chicken leg with both thigh and drumstick attached. In the US, refers to any parts of chicken, crumbed, browned in hot fat, baked and served with cream gravy.
Chicken steak
A small, very tender and flavorful steak cut from the shoulder blade.
Chicken stock
A chicken soup or stock made from chicken backs and necks, carrots, yellow onions, celery and salt and pepper and allowed to simmer for at least an hour. Then strained.
Chickpeas
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are nutty-tasting, relatively large legumes.
Chicon
The correct term to describe a single bulb of chicory.
Chicories
These are sharp crunchy greens (closely related to endives) that vary wildly in appearance, but much less so in taste and texture. Tight-headed, bright red radicchio; long, green, leafy radicchio; lettuce-looking escarole; and lacy frilly frisee are all crunchy and feature a stark bitterness tamed by cooking or smoothed by olive oil.
Chicory
An endive relative with curly, slightly bitter leaves that are used in salads or cooked as greens. "Radicchio" is the red-leafed Italian chicory. "Succory," a coffee substitute, comes from the roasted, ground chicory roots.
Chicos
Corn kernels that are roasted, steamed in a horno, then dried; they are not treated with lime; may be cooked for hours to serve as a vegetable, or ground into harinella, which may be used interchangeably with Masa Harina®.
Chiffonade
Thin strips or shreds of vegetables (classically, sorrel and lettuce), either lightly sauteed or used raw to garnish soups.
Chihuahua
Queso menonita. Cheese which is white and creamy; was created by Mennonites in Mexico, and they still produce the finest version, queso menonita; has a slightly spongy texture and a buttery flavor; melts easily; Muenster or a mild white Cheddar can be substituted.
Chikuwa
A variety of Japanese fish paste cake.
Chilaca chile
fresh pasilla chiles; long, thin and dark green.
Chilaquiles
A family-style casserole of tortilla strips, salsa, meat and/or cheese, most often served for breakfast; it is very difficult to find in restaurants. This is a highly seasoned dish, often served as a brunch or lunch dish with eggs or grilled meats.
Chile ancho
wide chile pepper; refers to the broad, flat heart-shaped dried pod; in its fresh green form is known as poblano chile.
Chile caribe
red chile paste made from crushed or ground red chiles, garlic and water; liquid fire.
Chile Colorado
red chile; usually refers to ancho or New Mexico dried chiles or the stew made with them.
Chile paste
Sometimes labeled "chili-garlic paste." This hot condiment is made with chiles, salt and garlic. it is available in Asian markets and many supermarkets, and will keep almost indefinitely if refrigerated.
Chile pequin
Chilipiquin; chiltepin; chili tepins. Small, dried, quite hot red chiles; common names are bird pepper, chile bravo and chile mosquito; the size and shape of a cranberry; range in color from immature green to orange to very ripe brick red; grows wild in southerly regions of the Southwest; cayenne powder or hot red chile powder may be substituted.
Chile powder
Ground, dried red chiles.
Chile, hot pepper
The plants or pods of the Capsicum genus.
Chiles de arbol
Treelike; chile de arbol; small, thin, 2 to 3 inch long (including the stems), very hot dried chile; usually ground into a powder for use in chile sauces; go well with tomatoes, tomatillos, citrus, and herbs such as rosemary and oregano; common Mexican names are pico de pajaro (bird's beak) and cola de rata (rat's tail).
Chilhuacle
a chile found almost exclusively in Oaxaca; one of the main ingredients of Oaxaca's renowned mole negro; the chiles are very expensive.
Chili con carne
"Chili with meat," this dish is a mixture of diced or ground beef and chiles or chili powder (or both). It originated in the Lone Star State and Texans, who commonly refer to it as "a bowl of red." They consider it a crime to add beans to the mixture. In many parts of the country, however, beans are used, and the dish is called "chili con carne with beans."
Chili Pepper
Any of over 200 varieties of hot pepper. They vary from mild to blistering hot and make very powerful seasonings.
Chili powder
A seasoning mixture of dried chilies, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, and cloves.
Chili rellenos
A Mexican dish consisting of a batter-fried, cheese stuffed, poblano chili pepper.
Chili sauce
A spicy condiment composed of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, green peppers, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Chilli
Chilli peppers are much smaller than sweet peppers and can be green, yellow, orange, red or black. The seeds and flesh are extremely hot and should be used sparingly. Removing the seeds lessens the heat of the chilli. It is very important to avoid contact with the eyes or any sensitive skin - even washing the hands after preparing chillis may not be enough to remove all the capsaicin, the volatile oil in the fruit that gives it its hot taste. There are many different varieties of chilli, including bird's eye, chipolte, habanero and Scotch bonnet.
Chilling
Process of cooling prepared or partially prepared food, without freezing it, in a refrigerator.
Chilorio
Cooked and shredded meat, fried with a paste of ground chiles and other seasoning.
Chiltepins
Small, round, wild chile that grows in Arizona; in Texas there is a wild variety called chilipiquin.
Chimichanga
Stuffed burro fried in deep fat, then topped with cheese, guacamole and chile sauce; found almost exclusively in Arizona.
Chinese cabbage
Also called bok choy, Napa cabbage, chinese celery cabbage, wong bok, and Peking cabbage. Has crinkly, thick veined leaves which are thin, crisp, and mild. Choose firm, tightly packed heads with crisp, green-tipped leaves.
Chinese Cellophane Noodles
Also known as slippery noodles or bean threads, these noodles are made from the starch of mung beans, a.k.a. "sprouts" to most of us. Dried they're translucent, but softened in hot water and cooked they become gelatinous and transparent. Although they don't have much taste on their own they do have a knack for picking up the flavors other ingredients they're mingled amongst. To cook: soften in hot water for 15 minutes, then boil or stir fry for 1 minute. Or deep-fry briefly in hot oil until puffed and lightly golden and use to garnish anything from quirky Asian-inspired appetizers to salads.
Chinese Date
A leathery skinned, olive-sized fruit that ranges from red, to off-white, to black, depending on the variety. It has a rather dry flesh that tastes somewhat like a prune. Also known as "Chinese Jujube" and "Red Date."
Chinese Fungus
A fungus that resembles a human ear. It is found almost exclusively on dead elder tree branches. Used in many Chinese dishes. Normally dried before use. Also know as "Jew's Ear."
Chinese Gooseberry
A fruit containing a brilliant green flesh with tiny, edible black seeds. It has a unique tart-sweet taste. Also known as the "kiwi fruit."
Chinese Mushroom
Find in Oriental markets. Soak in water before cooking. Trim the stems and save for making soup.
Chinese parsley
A plant native to the Mediterranean and the Orient. It is related to the parsley family and is valued for both its leaves and its seeds--both of whose flavors bear no resemblance to each other.
Chinese Parsley Leaves
This pungent herb, also called "cilantro" and "coriander," is used in highly seasoned foods. Although it is purported to be one of the world's most popular herbs, Americans and Europeans find it to be an acquired taste.
Chinese Parsley Seed
The seed of the Chinese parsley, also called "cilantro" and "coriander." They are mild and have an aroma similar to a cross among lemon, sage, and caraway. Used in baking, curry blends, pickling, special drinks, and soups.
Chinese Radish
This radish has a sweet flavor and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Used raw, in salads, in stir-fries, and as a garnish. Also called "Oriental radish" and "Daikon," which means "big root" in Japanese.
Chinese Watermelon
The melon-like fruit of a tropical Asian vine belonging to the gourd family. Also called "white gourd."
Chinese Yam
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Yam Bean Tuber."
Chining
Meat carving process whereby the backbone is separated from the ribs in a join to make carving easier.
Chinois
A conical strainer with a handle, used for soups and sauces.
Chinook Salmon
Considered the finest Pacific salmon. This high-fat, soft textured fish can reach up to 120 pounds. Also called the "king salmon."
Chip wagon
A wagon which carried campfire "prairie coal."
Chipolte
A mild, smoky, dried chilli commonly used in Mexican and south-west American cookery.
Chipotle chiles
Chiles that take their name from the Aztec words for chile and smoke; a term for any smoked chile; normally a smoked, dried jalapeno with a wrinkled appearance, similar to a dried mushroom; some chipotles are pickled and canned in adobo sauce; go well with orange and other citrus flavors, balsamic and sherry vinegars, and herbs such as cilantro and basil; moritas, smoked serranos, may be substituted. These chiles are extremely hot and caution should be taken when using them in cooking.
Chipped beef
Wafer-thin slices of salted and smoked, dried beef; usually packed in small jars and were once an American staple. Chipped beef is also referred to simply as dried beef. SOS is military slang used for creamed chipped beef served on toast.
Chitterlings
The small intestines of animals, usually pigs. They are cleaned, simmered, then served with a sauce or used as a sausage casing. Chitterlings are also added to soups or battered and fried.
Chive
Related to the onion and leek, this fragrant herb has slender, vivid green, hollow stems. Chives have a mild onion flavor and are available fresh year-round. They are a good source of vitamin A and also contain a fair amount of potassium and calcium.
Chocolate
A preparation made from cocoa seeds that have been roasted, husked, and ground. Chocolate today is often sweetened and flavored with vanilla. Aztec king Montezuma drank 50 goblets a day in the belief that it was an aphrodisiac.
Chocolate sauce
Chocolate syrup to which milk, cream, and/or butter has been added, making it richer and thicker than the syrup.
Chocolate syrup
Sweetened liquid chocolate. use as topping for desserts or as an ingredient in beverages.
Chongos
Dessert of cooked milk curds.
Chop
To cut food either into small chucks (finely chopped) or large chunks (coarsely chopped).
Chopped Ham
Cooked meat specialty -- Firm loaf made of ground, chipped or cubed cured pork; ham-like in color and flavor.
Chorizo
Used in Spanish and Mexican cookery, chorizos are fresh sausages or dried salamis of pork, flavoured with paprika and sometimes garlic. Chorizo can be used in cooking or sliced for eating. Fresh chorizo sausages can be smoked or unsmoked and are delicious fried or grilled whole or skinned and crumbled into stews.
Choron
A variation of Bearnaise sauce with tomato puree or concasse added.
Choucroute
An Alsatian specialty consisting of sauerkraut that is simmered with assorted fresh and smoked meats and sausages. This is a grand dish served on huge platters so that diners may witness all of the components displayed at one time. The kraut is first washed, then seasoned with garlic, caraway seeds, and white wine. The meats are layered in the casserole with the kraut and cooked until all the meat is tender and the flavors have blended together. Pork sausages, smoked pork shanks and shoulders, and fresh pork loin are all used. A variation of this, though not actually called a choucroute, is a whole pheasant cooked in sauerkraut with champagne. There are other recipes that consist of solely fish in with the sauerkraut. This can be quite delicious if properly prepared.
Choux pastry
A very light, double-cooked pastry usually used for sweets such as cakes and buns.
Chowchow
A mustard-flavored relish of vegetables and pickles. Chowchow is believed to have been brought to America by Chinese railroad workers.
Chowder
A thick, chunky seafood soup from North America, of which clam chowder is the best known.
Chub
One of the most prized whitefish found in the Great Lakes and in Canada. May be prepared in any manner suitable for salmon. Also called "?Lake Herring" and "Cisco."
Chuck
A cut of beef from the region of the shoulder, neck, and upper back, slightly tough. Thus best used for braising and stewing, or for grinding into hamburger. Cowboy's word for any food.
Chuck and Blade
Cut of beef from the shoulder, ideal for casseroles and stews.
Chuck wagon
kitchen on wheels used on the range.
Chuck wagon chicken
bacon; also called Kansas City fish.
Chum Salmon
This, the smallest and most delicate flavored of the salmons, has the lightest color and the lowest fat content of the various salmon varieties. Also called the "dog salmon."
Chump
Cut of either lamb or pork taken from the lower back. Sold as chops and steaks, ideal for grilling and barbecues.
Churros
Deep-fried cakes named for the shaggy, long-haired Mexican sheep they resemble.
Chutney
From the East Indian word chatni, this spicy relish contains fruit or vegetables, vinegar, sugar and spices. It can range in texture from chunky to smooth and in degrees of spiciness from mild to hot. Chutney is a delicious accompaniment to curried dishes. The sweeter chutneys also make interesting bread spreads and are delicious served with cheese.
Ciabatta
A loaf of moist aerated Italian bread made with olive oil.
Cider
A drink almost always made from pressed apples. To many people, but not all, it is alcoholic. In the US usage is typically that "cider" is not alcoholic and "hard cider" is.
Cilantro
The American term for coriander.
Cilantro Leaves
This pungent herb, also called "Chinese parsley" and "coriander," is used in highly seasoned foods. Although it is purported to be one of the world's most popular herbs, Americans and Europeans find it to be an acquired taste.
Cilantro Seed
The seed of the Chinese parsley, also called "Chinese parsley" and "coriander." They are mild and have an aroma similar to a cross among sage, and caraway. Used in baking, curry blends, pickling, special drinks, and soups.
Cinnamon
This warm, sweet spice comes from the bark of several tropical trees. The bark is removed, dried and rolled up to make a tube. Cinnamon is sold dry as sticks but also often as a powder. Used in baking and with fruit but can be added to savoury dishes.
Cinnamon roll
A cinnamon roll (also cinnamon bun) is a type of pastry found commonly in North America. It consists of dough onto which cinnamon and sometimes raisins are sprinkled; the dough is then rolled, cut and baked. Cinnamon buns are frequently served with icing of some sort. The size of a cinnamon bun varies from place to place; most vendors supply a smaller size about 5cm in diameter and a larger size about 10cm to a side.
Cioppino
A rich fish stew from San Francisco made with shrimp, clams, mussels, crabs, and any available fish. The broth is flavored with tomato, white wine, garlic, and chile flakes. This stew needs no other courses served but a simple green salad and a lot of sourdough bread.
Cisco
One of the most prized whitefish found in the Great Lakes and in Canada. May be prepared in any manner suitable for salmon. Also called "lake herring" and "chub."
Citric Acid
Used to add a tangy or fermented taste to sausages. Lowers the pH of sausage. Also used to preserves color of fresh sausage during storage.
Citron
A semitropical fruit that resembles a six-to-nine inch long lemon. Because the pulp is very sour, it is unsuitable for eating. The extremely thick peel, however, is candied and used in baking.
Citrus
A large family of fruits that include grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, shaddocks, tangerines, and kumquats.
Civet
A French stew usually containing game, though duck and goose are used. The meat is marinated in red wine for long periods of time, then stewed with pearl onions and bacon. The sauce was once thickened with blood, but that is a method not used much anymore.
Clabber
Milk which has soured to the point where it is thick and curdy but not separated.
Clafouti
A dessert of fruit, originally cherries, covered with a thick batter and baked until puffy. The dessert can be served hot or cold.
Clam
These bivalve mollusks come in two varieties. Hard-shell clams include littleneck, cherrystone, and chowder clams. The soft-shelled clams, such as steamer, razor, and geoduck clams, have thin brittle shells that can't completely close.
Clarified butter
Butter cleared of its water content through heating and then straining. It can then be cooked to higher temperatures without fear of burning.
Clarify
To clear fats by heating and filtering; to clear consommes and jellies with beaten egg white.
Clay pot cooking
Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. This technique has a long history, streching back at least to ancient Roman times. Typically, an unglazed clay pot is submerged for 15 to 30 minutes to absorb water before cooking, then filled with the food and placed into an oven. The walls of the pot help to diffuse the heat, and as the pot warms it releases the water as steam.
Clingstone
A term that refers to a fruit with a pit to which the flesh clings tenaciously. The best known fruits of this type are "cling peaches" or "clingstone peaches." The term with the opposite meaning is "freestone."
Clotted Cream
Thick, baked cream, traditionally from Devon and Cornwall. Served with scones or desserts or made into ice-cream.
Cloud Ear/Tree Ear
Thin, brownish-black mushrooms with a subtle, woodsy taste; A good addition to stir-fries. Available in dried form in Asian markets and may supermarkets. They become ear-shaped and five times as big when soaked in warm water. Tree ears are the larger variety; an albino type is called silver ears. May be sold under the name "wood ear mushrooms."
Clove
This spice is the dried, unopened flower bud of the tropical evergreen clove tree. Used both for savoury stews and roasts as well as with fruits.
Club Steak
A rib steak from the top portion of the short loin. The higher the rib, the larger the steak. Size depends on thickness of cut also, and may serve one or two; very tender and juicy.
Cobbler
Cobbler is a traditional American baked dish, usually a dessert. It consists of a filling which is placed in a large baking dish, such as a Dutch oven, which is covered by a layer of pastry as a crust. The result is then baked. Cobblers are generally filled with fresh fruit, most commonly apples, peaches, and cherries. They can also be filled with meat and vegetables to be served as a main course. A cobbler is similar to a pie, but lacks the bottom crust.
Cobnut
This nut is also known as the "hazelnut" or "filbert." Used whole, chopped, and ground in baking, candies, desserts, and salads.
Cochineal
Small red bug crushed to make red food coloring.
Cock-a-Leekie
A thick Scottish soup made with chicken, leeks, and barley. Modern versions have lightened up this soup by using a chicken broth garnished with leeks and barley.
Cocktail Onion
Tiny pearl onions that are mild-flavored and about the size of a marble. Used as a garnish in certain cocktails.
Cocktail Sauce
A combination of catsup or chili sauce with prepared horseradish, lemon juice, and hot red pepper seasoning. Used with seafood and as a condiment for hors d'oeuvres.
Cocoa
The fruit of the cocoa plant. These beans are fermented, dried, roasted, cracked, and ground. After extracting half the fat, it is again dried into unsweetened cocoa. "Dutch cocoa" is treated with alkali to neutralize acidity.
Cocoa Butter
The natural, cream-colored vegetable fat extracted during the process of making chocolate and cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder
The dried powder formed from chocolate liquor after the cocoa butter has been removed. This mixture is then dried and ground into a fine powder. Dutch process cocoa has been treated with alkali to give a darker appearance and less bitter taste. Instant cocoa has sugar, milk solids, and other flavorings and emulsifiers added to it which aides it to dissolve more readily.
Coconut
The fruit of the coconut palm, the coconut has a very hard woody shell covered with a thick, hairy husk. The shell is lined with a firm white pulp and the hollow centre contains a sweet milky-white liquid which makes a refreshing drink. The pulp is rich in fat. In western countries coconut is mostly used in desiccated (shredded) form in baking, confectionery and ices. In Indian, Indonesian, African and South American cooking, the pulp is used fresh or dried in chicken, beef or shellfish stews.
Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is made by combining one part water and four parts shredded fresh or desiccated coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The coconut is then discarded. Used in recipes, particularly those in curried dishes.
Coconut milk
Coconut milk is made by combining equal parts water and shredded fresh or desiccated coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The coconut is then discarded. Used in recipes, particularly those in curried dishes.
Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is made by pressing the coconut meat ("copra"). Used in frying and as an ingredient in many packaged goods. Because this oil is high in saturated fats, many food makers are replacing it with more costly unsaturated oils.
Coconut Water
The opaque white liquid in the unripened coconut that serves as a beverage for those living near the coconut palm.
Cocotte
A small, straight sided metal, earthenware or porcelain baking dish with a cover, used for cooking eggs (in a pan of hot water) in the oven.
Cod
Popular white sea fish with flaky flesh, available fresh or frozen, whole or as steaks and fillets. It is a resident of northern seas, but is in danger of being over-fished. Can be poached, baked, fried, or grilled and served with or without sauce.
Cod Liver Oil
A valuable, vitamin-rich oil produced from the liver of the saltwater cod fish.
Coddle
To cook food slowly in water keeping the water just below boiling.
Coddled eggs
Eggs which have been placed in rapidly boiling water and at once allowed to stand undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes, in the cooling water; results in the whites and the yolks having the same degree of jellied firmness.
Coeur a la Creme
Meaning "the heart of the cream", this is a soft cheese dessert where the mixture is drained in a mold to help it set. The cheese is then turned out onto a platter and served with fruit and bread. Alternate versions use mixtures of ricotta and cream cheese and flavored with liquor and citrus juice. This is then molded and served with a berry coulis.
Coffee
A coffee bean beverage. Believed to have originated in Ethiopia, but Brazil and Columbia are the two largest producers today. American roast ("regular roast") beans are medium-roasted, resulting in the moderate brew favored by Americans.
Coffeecake
A cake or sweetened bread, often containing nuts or raisins.
Cognac
A fine brandy produced in and around the town of Cognac in western France.
Coho Salmon
This high-fat variety of salmon provides a firm-textured, pink to orange-red flesh. Also called the "silver salmon."
Cointreau
a clear, mildly bitter, brandy based liqueur, flavored with the peel of sour and sweet oranges from Curacao and Spain. It is considered to be a high quality Triple Sec.
Cojack
American cheese that blends Colby Cheddar and Monterey Jack.
Colache
Stew made of squash and other vegetables.
Colander
Cooking utensil comprised of perforated metal or plastic and shaped as a basket. Primarily used for draining away spent or reserved liquids.
Colby Cheese
A mild, whole-milk cheddar cheese with a softer, more open texture than regular cheddar. Because it is a high-moisture cheese, it doesn't keep as well as many other cheeses.
Cold Duck
A pink sparking wine--originally from Germany--that is a combination of sparkling Burgundy, champagne, and sugar. This very sweet wine is often made from less expensive grapes.
Cold Smoking
Smoking meats or fish at low temperature for a long period of time. The temperature should be under 100 degrees.
Cole
A non-heading member of the cabbage family. Also called "kale." Cultivated for over 2,000 years, this vegetable can be prepared and eaten in much the same way as spinach.
Cole Slaw
A salad composed of shredded red or white cabbage and mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other type of dressing. Chopped onion, celery, peppers, pickles, bacon, nuts, and herbs are also sometimes added.
Colewart
A non-heading member of the cabbage family. Also called "kale." Cultivated for over 2,000 years, this vegetable can be prepared and eaten in much the same way as spinach.
Collagen Casing
An edible casing made from the corium layer of split beef hides.
Collar
Cut of pork from the neck which is sold as chops or diced and minced. Good for casseroles and stews.
Collard greens
One of a variety of "greens" with a firm leaf and sharp flavor somewhere between cabbage or kale and turnip greens, fellow members of the mustard family. Depending on their age, they can be mild and sweet or mustardy. Collards do not form a head but grow on stalks that are too tough to eat.
Collards
A variety of cabbage that doesn't form a head, but grows in a loose rosette at the top of a tall stem. Tastes like a cross between cabbage and kale, which is a close relative. Also called "collard greens."
Collop
A piece of meat tenderized by beating or slicing thinly.
Colombard
A productive French grape that produces a dry and full-bodied good quality white wine. Also grown in California.
Colombo
A West Indian stew seasoned with a spice mixture of the same name. This is similar to curry powder, containing coriander, chiles, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and garlic. The stew may contain pork, chicken, or fish. Vegetables are cooked in the stew and rice and beans are served on the side.
Comal
Flat iron griddle for cooking tortillas.
Comminuted
Ground meat, poultry, meat byproducts, or poultry byproducts; finely comminuted meat, poultry, meat by- products or poultry by-products are often referred to as emulsified.
Compote
Dried and fresh fruit cooked with sugar to a jam like consistency, brief enough to allow the fruit to retain their individual identity. A deep bowl, often stemmed, from which such desserts and other foods are served.
Compound butter
Butter creamed with herbs, spices, garlic, wine, or whatever you wish. Perfect for finishing sauces or jazzing up just about any grilled or broiled foods.
Conch
These "univalve" mollusks (their shells do not open and close) can be as large as a foot long. Also called whelk. The only preparation before cooking is cutting off the operculum, the shell-like covering that protects the meat.
Conchas
Mexican sweet-topped buns; named for the seashell design drawn in the topping.
Conchiglie
Large shell shaped pasta noodles. These are often stuffed and baked au gratin. Small shells are called conchigliette.
Conde
Dessert made with rice; pastry biscuits topped with icing and glazed in the oven.
Condensed milk
Evaporated milk to which a lot of sugar has been added
Condiment
A substance, such as a relish, vinegar, or spice, used to flavor or complement food. A savory, piquant, spicy or salty accompaniment to food, such as a relish, sauce, mixture of spices and so on. Ketchup and mustard are two of the most popular condiments.
Confectioners' sugar
A refined finely-powdered sugar, often used in frostings.
Confectionery
1. Candies and other confections considered as a group. 2. The skill or occupation of a confectioner. 3. A confectioner's shop.
Confit
This is a preparation for meat to preserve it for long periods of time when fresh meat would be scarce. The meat is first salted to remove moisture. It is then cooked at the lowest of simmers, submerged in fat, until the meat is buttery tender. After the meat is cooled, it is stored in crocks and covered with the fat to prevent exposure to air. The whole crock is stored to help age the meat. During this aging period the meat develops a new flavor, completely different from its original state. When ready to eat, the meat is fried in a skillet or grilled until the skin is crisp and the meat is warmed through. Duck confit was once served with potatoes fried in the same duck fat as the confit. This practice is less popular now, but good companions to the confit are lentils or bitter green salads to balance the richness of the meat. Fatty meats such as duck, goose, and pork work best in confit. Confit is an indispensable component in cassoulet.
Conserve
Whole fruit preserved by boiling with sugar and used like jam.
Consomme
A very rich meat or chicken stock (bouillon) which has been clarified, usually with egg white; also a clear bouillon which will jell when cold.
Converted Rice
Rice that has had the unhulled grain soaked, pressure steamed, and dried prior to milling. This infuses some of the bran's nutrients into the kernel and gelatinizes the starch in the grain to produce a "non-sticky" cooked rice.
Cooked Ham
Prepared meat -- Most prepared ham is steam or water cooked and therefore is generally known as "boiled ham;" cured, molded and fully cooked; sold whole or sliced and packaged.
Cooked, pressed cheese
Curd cooked before pressing (parmigiano reggiano, gouda, gruyere).
Cookie
A small, usually flat and crisp cake made from sweetened dough. Cookies are eaten on their own as a snack or dessert. When crushed, mixed with melted margarine or butter, and pressed into a pan, they make flavorful crusts for pies. Spicy gingersnaps, rich chocolate wafers, classic vanilla wafers, and whole-grain graham crackers, the varieties most frequently used for crusts, are sold in packages in grocery stores.
Cooking Banana
The fruit of a large tropical herb that belongs to the banana family, but are larger, starchier, and not as sweet. It has a squash-like flavor and is used much like a potato. Also called the "baking banana" and "plantain."
Cooking Wine
Generally a wine that should not be used as a beverage. Some experts recommend only using wines that you would drink as a cooking wine.
Coppa
The loin or shoulder of pork that is cured, cooked and dried. It is served thinly sliced for antipasto or on sandwiches or pizza.
Coquito
tropical eggnog.
Cordial
A synonym for liqueur. In Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia, a thick syrup (which may or may not contain real fruit) which is diluted to give a non-alcoholic fruit drink.
Cordon Bleu
French for "blue ribbon." A dish in which a thin scallop (usually chicken or veal) is topped with a thin slice of prosciutto and Gruyere cheese, then with another meat scallop. This is then breaded and sauteed until brown.
Coriander
Coriander is the world's most commonly used herb, in spite of the fact that the name comes from the Greek, koris, meaning a bug. Native to southern Europe and the Middle East, the plant is now available worldwide. Both the fresh leaves and seeds are used. The herb has a fresh taste, similar to orange, and is an important ingredient in curry.
Coriander Leaves
This pungent herb, also called "cilantro" and "Chinese parsley," is used in highly seasoned foods. Although it is purported to be one of the world's most popular herbs, Americans and Europeans find it to be an acquired taste.
Coriander Seeds
The seed of the coriander herb. They are mild and have an aroma similar to a cross between lemon, sage, and caraway. Used in baked goods, curry blends, pickling, special drinks, and soups.
Corn
This cereal grain was brought from the American Indians to Europe by the early colonists. As soon as it is picked, the corn's sugar begins to convert into starch. For this reason, the corn should be eaten very soon after it is picked.
Corn Dog
A frankfurter or other sausage that has been dipped into a heavy cornbread batter, impaled onto a smooth round stick, then deep-fried and often served with mustard. Created in 1942 by Neil Fletcher for the Texas State Fair.
Corn Flour
Finely ground cornmeal. It is available in white or yellow varieties (from white and yellow corn). Corn flour is milled from the entire kernel; cornstarch is milled from the endosperm portion of the kernel.
Corn Grits
Coarsely ground corn that is available in coarse, medium, and fine grains. Grits can be cooked in milk or in water, normally by boiling. Usually served as a cereal or as a hot side dish. Sometimes called "Groats."
Corn husks
Dried corn husks, softened by soaking, and used to wrap food before it is cooked (such as tamales); will keep indefinitely, but should be used within a day or two of being rehydrated.
Corn Oil
A nonhydrogenated oil derived from the kernel of corn. The refined product is tasteless and odorless. Used in U.S. for salad dressings, frying, and as a shortening in baking.
Corn syrup
A common ingredient in the US made by adding enzymes to corn starch, turning it into syrup of dextrose, maltose and/or glucose. It comes in two flavours - dark and light. Light corn syrup is very sweet like golden syrup while dark corn syrup has a molasses flavour.
Corn Syrup Solids
Corn syrup solids are also useful in sausage making as they have excellent binding qualities when sausage is being cured at low temperatures. They are especially important to the semidry or dry-cure process, as they not only add flavor, but help to support the fermentation process. Corn syrup solids help to hold the color of the meat, which is especially important commercially. Fluorescent lights in the meat markets tend to bleach out meat, but corn syrup solids help to hold the cured color for longer periods of time.
Cornbread
Bread made from cornmeal flour, the product of ground, dried maize; in Italy the same golden cornmeal is known as polenta.
Corned beef
Beef brisket (or round) cured in a seasoned brine. Old-fashioned corned beef is grayish-pink and is very salty; the newer style is bright reddish and less salty. Most corned beef today is free of nitrites (alleged carcinogens).
Cornflour
Cornflour is the starch extracted from maize which is soaked and ground to separate the germ and the bran. It contains no gluten. A fine white powder with no taste, it is used to thicken sauces. It cuts down the need for fat as, unlike other flours, it blends to a smooth cream with liquid. To use, blend with double the amount of cold liquid to cornflour and stir into sauce to be thickened. Keep stirring while the sauce comes to the boil, and it will clear and thicken.
Cornichon
Crisp little pickles, intensely sour, traditionally paired with pates.
Cornish Game Hen
Also called "Rock Cornish game hen." This is a hybrid of Cornish and White Rock chickens. These miniature chickens are about 4 to 6 weeks old and weigh about 2.5 pounds... usually enough for one serving.
Cornmeal
Coarsely ground corn. Nowadays, the corn is ground after removing the hull and germ. Although this lowers its vitamin A content, this formula keeps better because of its lower fat content.
Cornstarch
Cornstarch is produced by milling the endosperm portion of the corn kernel. Used as a thickener in sauces, gravies, and puddings.
Cos Lettuce
Also called "Romaine," this variety of lettuce is long and cylindrical. Its broad, crisp leaves are used in Caesar salads.
Cotechino
A fresh pork sausage with a very fine consistency and delicate flavor. It contains a small amount of ground pork rind, coteca in Italian, thus giving it the name. It is a large sausage, about 3 x 9 inches, used in stews and Pasta e Fagioli.
Cotija (anejo)
Aged cheese with dry, crumbly texture; has a salty, sharp flavor; does not melt, so it is used mainly for toppings for tacos, beans and enchiladas; is added to the dish just before serving; feta cheese may be substituted, but drain and blot with paper towels before you crumble it.
Cottage Cheese
A fresh cheese made from whole, part-skimmed, or skimmed pasteurized cow's milk. If cottage cheese, which is very moist, is left to drain longer, "pot cheese" is formed. Draining longer still produces "farmer cheese."
Cottonseed Oil
A widely used vegetable oil that is--like olive oil and peanut oil--high in monounsaturated fat. Cottonseed oil is used in some margarines and salad dressings and is often mixed with other oils to create vegetable oil products.
Coulibiac
A Russian pie made with alternating layers of salmon, hard cooked eggs, rice, mushroom duxelle, and vesiga. Vesiga is the spinal marrow of sturgeon and has all but disappeared from commercial markets. The dough used to wrap the pie can be pate brisee, puff pastry, or brioche dough. Crepes are often layered in the bottom of the pie.
Coulis
Smooth, thick fruit or vegetable sauce eg apricot, raspberry, red pepper. It may be used to enhance the flavour of a sauce or may itself be used as a sauce.
Court Bouillon
A well-seasoned cooking liquor, sometimes made with broth, used to poach fish and shellfish. Court-bouillons mainly consist of wine, water, herbs, and onion. Vinegar is sometimes added to the bouillon to help set the fish and enhance its white color. Truite au bleu is a perfect example of this technique. Court bouillon is also a thick fish stew or soup served over rice in Cajun/Creole cuisine.
Couscous
Using the same flour that goes into pasta, couscous is made by rolling and coating durum or hard wheat semolina grains in fine wheat flour, and is a staple ingredient in North Africa. Couscous is also the name of a dish in which the grains are steamed together with a spiced stew of vegetables and/or sometimes meat or chicken.
Cover Pickle
A liquid brine, cure, or vinegar solution that covers submerged pieces of meat or poultry.
Cow grease
Cowboy term for real butter.
Cow's Milk
Most U.S. milk is pasteurized, meaning that potentially harmful microorganisms have been destroyed. Although cow's milk is the most popular, animals such as camels, goats, llamas, reindeer, sheep, and water buffalo also provide milk.
Cowpea
A small beige bean of the legume family with a round black "eye" located at its inner curve. This bean is popular, particularly in the south. Also called the "black-eyed pea." Varieties with yellow "eyes" are called "yellow-eyed peas."
Crab
Any of a large variety of 10-legged crustaceans (shelled animals). There are freshwater and salt water varieties. It is the second most popular shellfish. (Shrimp is the most popular.)
Crab apple
The small fruit of the wild apple tree that has more core than flesh. Crab apples are sour to taste when eaten raw and so are best used to make a sweet jelly for scones and brioches or as a condiment for roasted meats and game.
Cracklings (Cracklins)
The crispy residue of skin, usually of pork, remaining after the fat is rendered. Or the rind left when most of the fat of a roast has been melted off. Commonly made from pork, duck, and goose it is used in salads, stuffing, and seasonings.
Cranberry
A bright red berry of the heath family. About 70% of the crop comes from the Cape Cod area. Because of their tartness, they are often combined with other fruits and used in chutneys, pies, and other desserts.
Cranberry bean
Also known as "Roman beans," these beans are buff-colored with reddish streaks. Used at add interest and visual appeal to salads and dishes like succotash.
Crappie
One of a large number of North American freshwater fish closely related to the perch. Known for their bright, sunny colors, crappie are also known as "sunfish."
Crayfish
Also called "Crawfish" and "crawdads." Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look like tiny lobsters. Crayfish can be prepared in any manner appropriate to a lobster.
Cream
The rich, fatty part of whole milk that rises to the top and which can be separated from the milk. The longer sweet cream stands, the thicker it will be.
Cream cheese
A mildly tangy, creamy, spreadable cow's milk cheese. It was developed in 1872 and by law it must contain at least 33% butterfat and no more than 55% moisture. Cream cheese is often combined with herbs, spices or fruit.
Cream Nut
This is the seed of a giant tree that grows in the Amazon jungle. The kernel of this nut is white, rich, and high in fat. Also known as "Brazil nut."
Cream of coconut
thick sweetened "milk" extracted from coconut flesh and used in desserts and drinks such as pina colada; Coco Lopez is the most widely available brand.
Cream of tartar
A natural fruit acid in the form of a fine white powder derived from a crystalline deposit found inside wine barrels. Used as the acid in some baking sodas. Also used in frostings, candies, and as an egg white stabilizer.
Creme Anglaise
This is the French term for custard cream, made with sugar, egg yolks and milk flavoured with vanilla.
Creme Brulee
A dessert made from an egg custard with a hard caramel topping.
Creme Caramel
Like the Spanish flan, this is a baked custard that is flavored with caramel. When the dish is inverted, the caramel creates a sauce for the dessert.
Creme de Menthe
This mint-flavored liqueur is available clear ("white") and green. The green variety gives the Grasshopper cocktail its distinctive color.
Creme Fraiche
A French cream made from pasteurised cows' milk to which a lactic bacteria culture has been added. This thickens the cream and gives it a distinctive sharp flavour. Richer than soured cream, it can be used to lace soups, sauces and stews or it can be spooned over puddings and stirred into sweet dishes. It is not, however, suitable for whipping.
Creme Patisserie
This is a thick pastry cream made of milk, eggs, and flour. Other versions of this use all or a portion of cornstarch.
Cremini
This domesticated brown mushroom has much better flavor than button mushrooms, but is usually more expensive as a result.
Crenshaw
This hybrid muskmelon is considered one of the most succulent of melons. They weigh in at between 5 and 9 pounds.
Creole
A style of cooking that features a spicy sauce or dish made especially with tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, and seasoning. Creole cuisine is often served over rice.
Creosote
desert bush used as medicine and for tea.
Crepaze
A cake made of crepes layered with vegetables, cheese, or ham. The cake is then baked to blend the flavors and help set it so that it may be cut into wedges.
Crepe
The French word for "pancake." Available in various flavors and filled with savory or dessert fillings.
Crepinette
A small sausage patty wrapped in caul fat. They are filled with ground pork, veal, or poultry and fried or grilled. Some are shaped into balls. You may also use cooked meat or vegetables to flavor a forcemeat in the crepinette.
Crespelle
An Italian pancake, similar to a crepe, used in place of pasta in preparations of dishes like manicotti and cannelloni.
Cress
Any of various plants belonging to the mustard family, especially the watercress, which has a pungent-tasting leaf. Used for salads and as a garnish.
Crimini
Firm, dense consistency mushroom; earthy flavor. Best used stuffed with herbs and nuts.
Crimping
Process of making a decorative border on pie crusts; gashing fresh skate, then soaking it in cold water and vinegar before cooking, in order to firm the flesh.
Croaker
Any of a variety of fish named for the peculiar drumming or deep croaking noise they make. These fish are firm and low in fat. The croaker family includes the black croaker, black drum, hardhead, kingfish, and redfish.
Crock-pot
In food preparation, a crock-pot (also crock pot) is the name given by some manufacturers to their brands of slow cookers. It is a trademarked term in many countries, but is often used generically. When used to refer to the trademarked brand of cooker, both words are capitalized. This type of slow cooker consists of a pot (typically 10" (25 cm) across and similarly high) made of fired clay and usually glazed, surrounded by a housing, usually metal, containing a thermostatically controlled electric heating element. The ceramic pot, often referred to as a crock, acts as both a cooking container and a heat reservoir. Many crockpots have two settings for power. Crockpots have loosely fitting lids (often of glass or similar material) to retain moisture and heat.
Croissant
A rich crescent-shaped flaky roll whose dough includes some puff paste.
Crookneck Squash
Any of several varieties of summer squash with a long curved neck and a bulbous base. The creamy-white flesh has a mild flavor.
Croque-Monsieur
The French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with Gruyere cheese.
Croquembouche
Means "crunch in the mouth." A grand dessert made up of cream puffs that are dipped in caramel and assembled into a large pyramid shape. The whole dessert is then brushed with more caramel and elaborately decorated. Nougat cut into decorative shapes adorns the croquembourhe. Guests pluck off the puffs with their fingers.
Croquette
A mixture of minced meats or vegetables, a thick white sauce and seasonings that is formed into small cylinders, ovals or rounds, dipped in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until crisp and brown.
Crostini
Traditionally a festive Italian appetiser. Baguette-style bread is thinly sliced and lightly toasted and then topped, usually with a moist spreadable pate made from a variety of ingredients such as mushrooms, chicken livers, capers, garlic and ham. In addition to bread, fried squares of polenta can be used.
Croustade
A light pastry shell.
Croutes
Pastry covering meat, fish and vegetables; slices of bread or brioche, spread with butter or sauce, and baked until crisp.
Crouton
A small piece of bread--often cubed--that has been either sauteed or baked. Used in soups, salads, and other dishes. Croutons are available plain or seasoned with herbs and/or cheeses.
Crown roast
A ring of rib chops, usually lamb or pork, which is roasted in one piece, the center filled with a mixture of chopped meat and vegetables.
Crudites
Raw vegetables, thinly sliced or grated, served as a starter or, with a dip, as a snack. Crudites include carrots, celeriac, cucumber, sweet peppers, red cabbage, celery, fennel, tomatoes, mushrooms and radishes. A plate of crudites may also include hard-boiled egg in mayonnaise.
Crullers
Pastry strips or twists, fried in deep fat.
Crumpet
Small yeast-raised breads that are about the size of English Muffins. They are "baked" on the stovetop in special metal "crumpet rings."
Crystallized ginger
Crystallized ginger is candied ginger; it has been cooked in a sugar syrup and coated with a coarse sugar. Available in Asian markets and specialty food shops.
Cubanelle chile pepper
A fresh mild and slightly sweet light green to yellow chile, measuring 4 to 5 inches long. Very close in flavor to a real Hungarian pepper. Found in good supermarkets or in Caribbean markets. May substitute with fresh green Anaheim pepper, but these are a bit hotter. Good for roasting and cutting into rajas, dicing and using raw in colorful salsas and pickling for escabeches; Anaheims may be substituted if unavailable.
Cube
To cut foods into uniform 1/2" to 1" cubes.
Cube steak
A beef cut, usually top round or top sirloin, which is tenderized by a "cubing" process involving a pounding with a special mallet or being run through a "cubing" machine.
Cucumber
A long, green, cylinder-shaped member of the gourd family with edible seeds surrounded by mild, crisp flesh. Used for making pickles and usually eaten raw. Cucumbers have been cultivated for thousands of years.
Culatello
The heart of the prosciutto.
Cultured Butter
Cultured butter is butter churned from cultured cream (cream fraiche). Most butter produced in the U.S. before 1920 was cultured butter, but in the 20's, the U.S. Government guaranteed the sale of every pound of butter produced, so quality became a non-issue and sweet cream butter prevailed.
Cumberland Sauce
Cold sauce made from port, orange and lemon juice and redcurrant jelly, traditionally served with hot or cold ham, sausages and pate.
Cumin
This spice is a member of the parsley family and dates back to the Old Testament. Also called "cumino." Its nutty-flavored seeds are used to make curries, chili powders, and Kummel liqueur.
Curacoa
This is an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peel of bitter oranges grown on the Caribbean island of Curacao.
Curd
When milk coagulates, it separates into two parts--the curds and the whey. The curd is the semisolid formed by this separation. Cheese is made from the curd. The whey is the watery liquid.
Curdle
Process which causes fresh milk or a sauce to separate into solids and liquids by overheating or by adding acid; common cooking error whereby the addition of creamed butter and sugar in a cake recipe is separated due to adding eggs too quickly.
Cure
To add salt or salt brine and nitrite and/or nitrate, with or without sugar and other ingredients, to a meat or poultry product. The process of preserving meat using nitrite and nitrate. This process has its own characteristic flavor and helps retain the pink color of the meat. When properly cured, meat is protected from spoiling to a certain extent.
Cured, Comminuted Products
Products consisting of coarsely or finely ground meat and/or poultry and cure ingredients mixed together (bologna, turkey salami, pepperoni, pepper loaf, etc. ).
Cured, Dry Products
Products that have dry or powdered cure ingredients directly applied to the surface of the meat or poultry ( ham, pork shoulder, pork belly, etc. ).
Cured, Pickled Products
Products that are pumped or massaged ( tumbled ) with, or immersed in, a pickle solution of cure ingredients ( ham, corned beef, poultry breasts, etc. ).
Curing salt
A salt that has nitrates added and is used as a preservative in sausage making. Available in some supermarkets and specialty markets.
Currant
This fruit is a tiny berry from the gooseberry family. There are black, red, and white currants. Black ones are used in syrups and liqueurs; red and white ones are eaten and used in some preserves and sauces.
Curry
From the southern Indian word kari , meaning 'sauce', comes this catch-all term, used to refer to any number of hot, spicy, sauce-based dishes of east Indian origin. Curries are nowadays categorised as mild, hot and very hot. Curries from south and east Asia require different seasoning to Indian curries. Thai curry pastes tend to be hotter and more fragrant, and are flavoured with chillies.
Cusk
A large saltwater fish related to the cod. It has a firm, lean flesh. Also called "tusk" or "torsk."
Custard
A sweet sauce, usually quite thick, made from milk, egg yolks, sugar and cornflour. Often used to accompany sweet dishes, the custard may be flavoured, or may be chilled and served semi-solid.
Custard Apple
Also called "Cherimoya" and "Bullock's Heart," this tropical fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.
Cut in
To mix butter, shortening, etc., into dry ingredients by using a pastry blender or two knives.
Cutlet
A tender, thin, boneless cut of meat; it could be part of a chicken or turkey breast, or veal, lamb, or pork, usually taken from the leg. Also used for minced meats shaped like chops.
Cuttlefish
A relative of the squid and octopus, the cuttlefish has ten arms that can reach up to 16 inches in length. "Sarume," which is available in ethnic stores, is cuttlefish that has been seasoned and roasted.
Dab
This flatfish is variety of flounder that features a sweet, firm flesh.
Dacquoise
A cake made of nut meringues layered with whipped cream or buttercream. The nut meringue disks are also referred to as dacquoise.
Daikon Radish
From the Japanese words dai (large) and kon (root). A large, long, white tubular radish with a sweet, fresh flavor. Eaten in many Asian cultures. Can be as fat as a football but is usually 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Use raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cook in a variety of ways including stir-fry. Found in Oriental markets and some supermarkets.
Daiquiri
A cocktail prepared with rum, lime, and sugar. Daiquiris are also made with fruit. Frozen daiquiris are made by adding crushed ice and fruit chunks and pureeing them in a blender.
Dal
This is the Indian term for all varieties of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. There are many different varieties of dal, all of which have a specific use in Indian cooking.
Danbo Cheese
A Swiss-style cheese with red or yellow wax rind and a pale yellow interior. Danbo has a mild sweet taste, firm texture, and is dotted with holes. Available in regular and lowfat varieties.
Dandelion
Commonly considered a weed, dandelions provide excellent salad leaves when young (larger, older leaves become bitter). The flowers can add a vibrant colour to a dish. In some parts of Europe, cultivated varieties are available that have longer, more tender leaves. These are available from specialist herb growers in the UK. Wild varieties should be picked early in the year when the leaves are small and sweet. Take care, as they may have been chemically sprayed.
Danish Pastry
This butter-rich pastry begins as yeast dough that is rolled out, buttered, folded, then rolled out several more times. Danish is often filled with fruit, cream cheese, and/or nuts.
Dariole
A small steep-sided cylindrical mould - or whatever has been cooked in such a mould, usually small pastries, cheese flans, individual babas etc.
Dark Soy sauce
Used in dishes in which you want to color the meat and sweeten the flavor with caramel sugar. Most common soy sauce.
Dash
A very small quantity measuring three drops to 1/4 teaspoon.
Dasheen
A variety of taro that is grown in the southern states. It is a high-starch tuber. Although acrid in the raw state, it has a nut-like flavor when cooked. Taro can be boiled, fried, baked, and used in soup.
Dasheen Leaf
The large "elephant ear" leaves of the dasheen (a variety of "taro") that are edible when young.
Dashi Stock
A broth that is a basic ingredient in Japanese cooking. The stock is made from dried seaweed or from dried tuna shavings. Instant dashi stock is also available. A Japanese fish stock made with dried bonito and kombu seaweed. This is used for soups, sauces, and marinades.
Date
The stoned fruit of the palm tree, eaten either fresh or dried and sold in their clusters or in boxes. Dates are rich in sugar and also contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins B and B2. Often eaten raw as a sweet snack, they can also be chopped and added to cakes and biscuits. North African cuisine makes varied use of dates, notably in tagines, sweet couscous, and curry-flavoured dishes.
Daube
A method of braising meat, certain vegetables and some fish. Meat cooked en daube is braised in red-wine stock, well seasoned with herbs. A daube usually refers to a piece of beef cooked this way.
Dauphine
The name for little puffs made of potato puree, that are mixed with choux paste and deep fried.
Dauphinoise
(a la). Baked in a slow oven with cream and garlic. A gratin dauphinois is a dish of potatoes cooked in such a way.
Deba knife
The deba knife cuts thinner slices than any other knife. Its super-sharpness makes it ideal for juliennes and for cutting herbs without destroying their fragile membranes. You can find a deba knife wherever gourmet kitchen products are sold.
Deep fat
Hot fat or oil which is deep enough to cover food during frying. Ensure that you put oil into a deep enough pot or deep fryer to prevent burning yourself.
Deep Fry
To cook food by placing in enough hot oil cover the food completely
Deglaze
To heat wine, stock or other liquid together with the cooking juices and sediment left in the pan after roasting or sauteing in order to make a sauce or gravy.
Delmonico steak
Sometimes called a shell steak; a tender cut from the short loin.
Demerara sugar
A pale-coloured and mild-tasting raw cane sugar named after its place of origin in Guyana.
Demi-Glace
A rich brown sauce comprised of espagnole sauce, which is further enriched with veal stock and wine and reduced to proper consistency. This is a very long procedure and requires constant skimming. A quick version of this involves reducing brown veal stock to which has been added mirepoix, tomato paste, wine, and brown roux. The latter recipe saves time, but never reaches the intensity of flavor as does the former method. Due to the quantity and length of time required to prepare it, it is not usually made in the home. However it is available for home gourmands.
Demitasse
A small cup ("half cup") of black coffee, usually served after dinner.
Descaling fish
Removing the scales from a fish, which is best done by first cutting off the fins and then, holding on to the tail, scraping away the scales in an upwards motion with the back of a knife, working towards the head, and followed by rinsing.
Deviled
Highly seasoned, often containing mustard; frequently topped with bread crumbs and grilled.
Deviled Ham
Cooked canned meat specialty. Whole hams are finely ground and seasoned. Popular as a spread or a base for dips.
Dewberry
A trailing-vine variety of blackberry.
Dextrose
Dextrose is a sweetener, but is only 70% as sweet as regular sugar. It is used in processing semi-dry cured and dry-cured products. Powdered dextrose is an ideal nutrient for lactic acid organisms that assist fermentation and give us the desired tang of flavor. Dextrose is heavier than meat and forces itself into the cells of the meat.
Dextrous Sugar
This type of sugar is produced from grape or corn sugar. Also called "grape sugar" or "corn sugar."
Diable Sauce
A meat and poultry sauce that is composed of a basic brown sauce with wine, vinegar, shallots, and red or black pepper.
Diane
A peppery sauce flavored with game essence, with added butter and cream.
Dice
To cut into small cubes (smaller than 1/2 inch).
Dijon
Originally from Dijon, France, this pale variety of mustard is known for its sharp, clean flavor that can range from mild to hot. It is made from brown mustard seeds, white wine, unfermented grape juice and a variety of seasonings.
Dijonnaise
This is a name given to dishes that contain mustard or are served with a sauce that contains mustard.
Dill
A hardy, aromatic herb that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Marketed in two forms: dill weed, which is the dried leaves; and dill seed, the dried seeds of the herb. Dill was a symbol of good luck for first-century Romans.
Dim Sum
Small steamed or deep-fried dumplings with various fillings served as a starter at a Chinese meal.
Dips
Type of appetizer made of a creamy mixture into which vegetables, chips, etc. are dipped
Dishcloth Gourd
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. Also called the "Loofah," "rag gourd," and "vegetable sponge." The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge.
Distillation
The process of separating the components in a liquid by heating it to its vapor point, then condensing the vapor into a purified and/or concentrated form.
Ditalini
Diagonally cut thick tubular noodles, 2 to 4 inches long. Short pasta tubes.
Divinity
A fluffy, creamy candy made from sugar, corn syrup, and beaten egg whites. Nuts, chocolate, and other flavorings are often added to the mixture.
Dock
Any of several varieties of the hardy perennial herb from the perennial herb from the buckwheat family. The most strongly flavored variety is "sour dock." The mildest form is "dock sorrel," also known as "herb patience dock."
Dogfish
Also known as cape shark. Fillets are longer, more narrow, and sturdier than those of any other white-fleshed fish. Can be substituted in recipes that call for less tender fillets. This is the fish most frequently used in England's fish and chips.
Dollarfish
This small, high-fat fish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. Found off the coast of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is also called the "butterfish."
Dolma
A cold hors d oeuvre made of grape leaves stuffed with cooked rice, lamb, and onion. They are marinated with olive oil and lemon. Vegetarian versions of this are also made.
Dolphin Fish
Also called "Mahi Mahi" and "Dorado." Although this fish is a dolphin, it is not a mammal. To avoid confusion, the Hawaiian name "Mahi Mahi" is becoming prevalent. This fish is moderately fat with firm, flavorful flesh.
Domestic Turbot
A highly prized flatfish with a lean, firm white flesh and a mild flavor. Turbot is also the market name for several varieties of flounder fished from Pacific waters.
Dory or John Dory
Found in European waters, this white-fleshed sea fish, also known as St Peter's fish, is an odd-looking creature with an oval, flat body and a large, spiny head. The flesh is delicate and mild and can be cooked in a variety of ways including grilling, sauteing and poaching.
Double boiler
A cooking method consisting of two saucepans fitting together so that the contents of the upper pan can be cooked or heated by boiling water in the lower one.
Double cream
Double cream is 48 per cent fat and is the most versatile cream as it withstands boiling, whips and freezes well. In the US it is known as heavy cream.
Dough
Dough is a mixture of four, liquid, and usually a leavening agent (such as eggs or yeast), which is stiff but pliable. The primary difference between dough and batter is the consistency - Dough is thicker and must be molded by hand, while batter is semi-liquid, thus spooned or poured.
Dough keg
An old Western term for the wooden barrel which held the sourdough starter.
Dover sole
A flat sea fish found in coastal waters from Denmark to the Mediterranean, Dover sole is best cooked whole, though fillets can be bought. Can be grilled, fried or poached and is ideal for combining with other foods and sauces.
Dragon's Eye
A small, round fruit with a thin brown shell. Its flesh is soft, white, juicy, and surrounds one large black seed. Used as a snack, in oriental soups, desserts, and some sweet-and-sour dishes. Also called "Longan."
Drambuie
This Scotch-based liqueur is sweetened with honey and flavored with a variety of herbs.
Dredge
To coat food with flour, bread crumbs, etc.
Dress
To pluck, draw and truss poultry or game; to arrange or garnish a cooked dish; to prepare cooked shellfish in their shells.
Dressing
1. A sauce-usually cold-used to coat or top salads and some cold vegetable, fish and meat dishes. 2. A mixture used to stuff poultry, fish, meat and some vegetables. It can be cooked separately or in the food in which it is stuffed. Dressings (also called stuffings) are usually well seasoned and based on bread crumbs or cubes though rice, potatoes and other foods are also used.
Dried Beef
Prepared meat -- Also known as "chipped"; long cured product made from beef round; cured, smoked, dehydrated and thinly sliced.
Dried European Mushroom
Cepe, boletus, or porcini. Keep in a tightly sealed jar in your refrigerator. Will keep about 1 year.
Dried fruit
When it is dried, fruit becomes very concentrated in nutrients and fiber, which is why a standard serving is quite small. Just a quarter-cup (a scant handful) of dried fruit counts as a serving, yet it contains the same amount of fiber found in a whole piece of fruit or a half-cup of diced fruit – about two or three grams. Because dried fruit is so portable, it makes an excellent snack. The trick is to watch your portions, because calories are concentrated and they can add up quickly. One serving of most dried fruit contains 50 to 80 calories. That's a great bargain, because it provides more nutrients and will probably satisfy your hunger longer than a cookie with 100 calories or a low-fat granola bar containing 150 calories.
Drippings
Fat and juices drawn and left from meat or poultry as it cooks.
Dropping consistency
The consistency required of cake mixes where the mixture reluctantly falls off the spoon.
Drum
Any of a variety of fish named for the drumming or deep croaking noise they make. These fish are firm and low in fat. The drum family include the black croaker, black drum, hardhead, kingfish, and queenfish.
Dry Aging
A process usually referring to beef. This process not only adds flavor but tenderizes the beef through enzyme action. Maximum flavor and tenderness is achieved in 21 days.
Dry Cure
The application of curing salts directly to the meat surface by rubbing thoroughly. Water or liquids are not used.
Dry Salt Cured Products
Products that have had a pickle solution of cure ingredients directly pumped into the muscle tissue ( not through the circulatory system) before having the dry or powdered cure ingredients applied to the surface of the meat or poultry. The meat and poultry may not be immersed in the pickle solution. To facilitate the penetration of salt, the meat or poultry may be momentarily moistened just before being covered with the dry curing ingredients.
Dublin Bay prawn
Also known as langoustine, Norway lobster and scampi, available fresh or frozen, in and out of their shells. Cook by boiling or grilling, if fresh.
Duchess
The name for potato puree that is enriched with cream, then piped into decorative shapes and browned in the oven. They are often piped around the rim of a platter onto which a roast or whole fish may be served.
Duck
Any of a variety of species of wild or domestic web-footed birds. Broilers and fryers are under 8 weeks old, roasters are no more than 16 weeks old. Duck is generally higher in fat than other domestic birds.
Duck Sauce
A thick, sweet and sour condiment made from plums, apricots, sugar and seasonings. Often served with duck, pork, or spareribs.
Dumpling
Savory dumplings are small or large mounds of dough that are usually dropped into a liquid mixture (such as soup or stew) and cooked until done, Some are stuffed with meat or cheese mixture. Dessert dumplings most often consist of a fruit mixture encased in a sweet pastry dough and baked, They're usually served with a sauce. Some sweet dumplings are poached in a sweet sauce and served with cream.
Durian
A large, green, spiky, south-east Asian fruit about the size of a football. To all but its fans, the durian has a nauseating smell — in fact its transport has been outlawed by many airlines. The creamy, slightly sweet flesh, however, has an exquisitely rich, custardy texture.
Dust
To sprinkle lightly with sugar or flour.
Dutch oven
A heavy cooking pot, usually of cast iron or enamel-on-iron, with a heavy cover.
Dutch process cocoa powder
Treated with an alkali to neutralize its naturally acidic taste, making it a little more mellow than American cocoa powder; intense flavor.
Duxelle
Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. When cooked dry, duxelle make a good filling for omelets, fish, and meat. They may also be moistened with wine or broth and served as a sauce. Duxelle are also flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira. Duxelles is used as a stuffing or garnish and in the preparation of various dishes called a la duxelles. Traditionally used in Beef Wellington.
Eatin' irons
An old Western term for utensils; fork, spoon and knife.
Eau de framboise
A raspberry brandy or spirit. As well as a drink, eau de framboise is often used in cooking to flavour sweet and savoury dishes.
Eclair
A small finger-shaped bun made of puff paste with a glace icing, filled with custard or whipped cream.
Edam Cheese
This mellow, savory Holland cheese has a pale yellow interior and a paraffin coating. Made from part-skimmed cow's milk, it is Holland's second most exported cheese ("Gouda" is number one).
Eel
A long snake-like fish with smooth scaleless skin and a rich, sweet, and firm flesh. Eels, which are considered a fatty fish, are very popular in Europe and Japan.
Effiler
To remove the fibrous string from a string bean; to thinly slice almonds.
Egg
Most eggs come from hens, but duck, goose, and quail eggs are also available. Eggs should be refrigerated in the original container, large end up. Because the yolk is high in cholesterol, imitation eggs come from egg whites and additives.
Egg Noodles
Well-stocked Asian markets usually offer a selection of dried and fresh egg noodles, both thin and thick. Although they are often neon yellow, some of the dried varieties are made without eggs. If you can't find Chinese egg noodles, substitute fresh or dried Italian pasta. To cook egg noodles boil fresh noodles for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried noodles 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.
Egg roll
Usually served as an appetizer, this small, deep-fried Chinese pastry is filled with minced or shredded vegetable and often meat. Egg roll skins are available in Asian markets and most large supermarkets.
Egg thread
Lightly beaten eggs that are poured slowly into a hot broth, creating irregular shaped threads used to garnish soups.
Egg White Powder
Spray dried egg albumen, which can be used in most recipes requiring egg white. It produces an exceptionally high volume, stable egg white foam for use in angel food cakes, chiffon pies, meringues, and divinity. Use egg white powder for uncooked foods such as marzipan and buttercream icing, or foods which are lightly cooked (pie meringues), without the worries associated with fresh egg white, because it is heat treated to meet USDA standards for being salmonella negative.
Egg Yolk
This part of the egg contains all of the fat in an egg. Yolks are a good source of protein, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, choline, and phosphorus. The egg white is a good source of protein and riboflavin.
Eggnog
A traditional Christmas beverage, eggnog is a smooth, cold drink containing beaten raw eggs, sugar, milk or cream, and flavoring. Brandy, rum, or whiskey is often added.
Eggplant
Another name for aubergine.
Eggwash
Beaten egg mixed with water and a little salt, used for glazing pastry or bread.
Elderberry
The purple-black fruit of the elder tree. Used to make jams, jellies, and the famous homemade elderberry wine--a spicy brew that can become as potent as its maker desires.
Elephant garlic
Elephant garlic is not true garlic but a form of leek. Its white- or purple-skinned cloves are the size of Brazil nuts, and their flavor mild enough to not require cooking. Peel the cloves as you would an onion and use as you would garlic.
Elk
A large member of the deer family. Elk meat is called "venison." Antelope, caribou, elk, deer, moose and reindeer meat is also classified as venison, the most popular large animal game meat in the U.S.
Emmental cheese
Named for Switzerland's Emmental valley, this mellow, sweet but nutty cheese is the best Swiss cheese you can buy. It has big holes and a natural, light-brown rind.
Empanada
Large rectangular pies of olive-oil pastry with meat or fish filling, served as tapas in Spain. The classic empanada comes from Galicia in north-west Spain and is made with chicken, onions and peppers.
Empanaditas
Tiny turnovers; traditional New Mexican Christmas food when filled with a Southwestern version of mincemeat.
Emulsify
To combine fats such as butter or oil with vinegar or citric juices into a smooth and even blend using an emulsifier such as an egg yolk which binds to each set of ingredients and prevents them from separating. Hollandaise is a classic emulsified sauce.
Emulsion
A mixture of two or more liquids that don't easily combine, such as oil and vinegar.
Encebollada
A dish, often meat, covered with cooked onions.
Endive
This salad green is related to the chicory. Belgian endives are grown in darkness and never turn green. Curly endive has curly leaves and a slightly biter taste. Escarole is the mildest variety of endive.
English chop
A double-rib lamb chop.
English Walnut
Also called the "Persian walnut," this nut is widely available and features a plump, crispy meat.
Enoki
A slender Asian mushroom sold in small packages; good raw in salads or cooked as a garnish. To use, just trim off the spongy base and separate the strands.
Enriched
Resupplied with vitamins and minerals lost or diminished during processing of food.
Entrecote
Boneless beefsteak cut from the sirloin, also known as a sirloin steak.
Entree
a. The main dish of a meal. b. A dish served in formal dining immediately before the main course or between two principal courses. In America, the term entree refers to the main course of a meal. In parts of Europe, it refers to the dish served between the fish and meat courses during formal dinners.
Epazote
Strong, bitter perennial herb used primarily to flavor beans; also known as Mexican tea, stinkweed, pigweed, wormseed or goosefoot; occasionally mistaken for lamb's lettuce; grows wild in the United States and Mexico; flavor is intense, reminiscent of eucalyptus; used for tea, stews, soups, green pipians and moles; cooked with all types of beans to reduce their gaseous qualities.
Escabeche
A spicy cold marinade (of olive oil, vinegar and herbs) that originated in Spain and is used for preserving cooked foods. It is mostly used for small cooked fish which are de-headed, fried or lightly browned and then marinated for 24 hours. The fish en escabeche are served as an hors d'oeuvre.
Escalope
Thin slice of meat, often beaten thinner for quick cooking. The classic method of preparing veal escalopes is to coat them with breadcrumbs. Americans call this cut a "scallop."
Escargot
An edible snail. It is the common name for the land gastropod mollusk. The edible snails of France have a single shell that is tan and white, and 1 to 2 inches diameter.
Escarole
Escarole is a variety of endive with broad, slightly curved leaves. It has a milder flavor than Belgian or curly endive.
Espagnole
(a la). a l'espagnole is the name given to several ways of preparing food inspired by Spanish cuisine. The main ingredients are tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and garlic, usually fried in olive oil.
Espagnole Sauce
This is the foundation of all of the brown sauces. A number of modifications have been made of this sauce since its conception. The sauce is now made of a rich brown veal stock thickened with a brown roux. The sauce is then simmered with a mirepoix, bouquet garni, and wine. The long, slow cooking help to purify and concentrate its flavor. It is finally strained through very fine muslin. Demi-glace and glace de viande are all structured around a fine espagnole sauce.
Espresso
This thick, strong coffee is made from French or Italian roast - beans with a shiny, dark oily surface.
Essence
Extract. While the words may be used interchangeably US-Great Britain, all essences are extracts, but extracts are not all essences. A stock is a water extract of food. Other solvents (edible) may be oil, ethyl alcohol, as in wine or whiskey, or water. Wine and beer are vegetable or fruit stocks. A common oil extract is of cayenne pepper, used in Asian cooking (yulada). Oils and water essences are becoming popular as sauce substitutes. A common water essence is vegetable stock. A broth is more concentrated, as in beef broth, or bouillon. Beef tea is shin beef cubes and water sealed in a jar and cooked in a water bath for 12 to 24 hours. Most common are alcohol extracts, like vanilla. Not possible to have a water extract of vanilla (natural bean) but vanillin (chemical synth) is water solution. There are also emulsions lemon pulp and lemon oil and purees (often made with sugar) Oils, such as orange or lemon rind (zest) oil, may be extracted by storing in sugar in seal ed container. Distilled oils are not extracts or essences. Attar of rose (for perfume) is lard extracted rose petal oil.
Estouffade
A beef stew made with red wine.
Eulachon
A rich and oily mild-flavored variety of smelt fish. The eulachon is also called the "candlefish" because Indians sometimes run a wick through their high-fat flesh and use them for candles.
European Turbot
A highly prized flatfish found in European waters. This fish has a lean, firm white flesh and a mild flavor. Turbot is also the market name for several varieties of flounder fished from Pacific waters.
Evaporated milk
Unsweetened milk concentrated by partial evaporation.
Extender
An additive that increases the weight and changes the texture of meat and poultry products, e.g., cereal, starches, etc.
Faggot
A stalk of celery tied with parsley, bay leaf and thyme. Used in cooking soups, then discarded; Small savory cake made of pork offal, onion and bread, then baked.
Fajitas
Skirt steak that has been marinated in a mixture of oil, lime juice, red pepper and garlic for at least 24 hours before being grilled. The cooked meat is cut into strips that are then usually wrapped (BUMTO-Style) in warm Tortillas, accompanied by a variety of garnishes including grilled onions and sweet peppers, Guacamole, Refried Beans and Salsa. A dish consisting of strips of marinated meat, poultry, or vegetables that are grilled over an open fire and served in a tortilla, usually with spicy condiments.
Falafel
Middle Eastern street food of spiced chickpea fritters, often served in warm pitta bread.
Farfalle
Pasta shaped like bow-ties or butterflies.
Farina
A bland-tasting flour or meal made for cereal grains that can be cooked to create a hot breakfast cereal. Farina is cream colored, rich in protein, and easy to digest.
Farmer Cheese
This mild, slightly tangy cheese is a form of cottage cheese from which most of the liquid has been pressed. Also called baker's or pot cheese; dry-cured cottage cheese may be substituted.
Farmstead cheese
Made by using only the milk from the cheese-maker's own herds.
Fathead
A saltwater fish belonging to the wrasse family. Also called "California sheepshead." Its meat is white, tender, and lean.
Fava Bean
This bean looks like a very large lima bean. The pod is inedible unless the plant is very young. Avoid pods bulging with beans as this is an indication of age. Also known as the "broad bean."
Feed bag
Ranch eating place; also mess house or nose bag.
Feijoa
This small, egg-shaped fruit is native to South America. It provides a very fragrant, cream-colored flesh with a jelly-like center.
Feijoada
A Brazilian dish very similar to cassoulet, made with black beans. Sausage, bacon, ham, and various cuts of pork cooked in with the beans. The traditional accompaniments are plain white rice, cooked greens, fresh orange slices, and a very hot sauce, similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca. Toasted cassava flour is used as a condiment, to be added by each diner.
Fen Berry
Another name for a small variety of cranberry - also known as cram-berry, crawberry, moss-millions, sow-berry, sour-berry, marsh wort, bog-berry and swamp red-berry. It is found in many English recipes.
Fennel
There are two main types of this aromatic plant, both with pale green, celery-like stems and bright green, feathery foliage. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, has a broad, bulbous base with a mild aniseed flavour and is treated like a vegetable. Both the base and stems can be eaten raw in salads or cooked by braising or roasting. Common fennel is a herb. Its greenish-brown seeds and leaves both have a strong aniseed flavour that complements fish, especially oily varieties such as mackerel or herring.
Fennel Seed
The seed of the common fennel plant. Available whole or ground. Used in sweet and savory foods, and as a flavoring agent in many liqueurs.
Fenugreek
An aromatic Mediterranean plant that produces long pods containing oblong, brownish seeds. These have a slightly bitter taste and are roasted and ground and used as a flavouring in curries.
Fenugreek Seed
Come from the fenugreek plant, a member of the pea family. The seeds are pleasantly bitter and somewhat sweet. Used in curry powders, chutneys, spice blends, and teas.
Fermented black beans
This pungent Chinese specialty consists of small black soybeans preserved in salt and sold in covered jars or plastic bags. Available in Asian markets, sometimes under the name "salty black beans." They will keep indefinitely.
Fermento
A dairy based, controlled fermentation product in powdered form. It is the key to making high quality semi-dry sausage with the traditional tangy flavors and is used in summer sausage, pepperoni, thuringer, etc. Accepted levels range from 1% to 6% depending on the desired result. The more fermento used the higher the tang. Use fermento only in the production of semi-dry products. Fermento eliminates the curing times necessary for the fermentation process to take place.
Feta cheese
A creamy white Greek cheese traditionally made from ewes' milk or ewes' and goats' milk mixed (but now sometimes made using cows' milk), and preserved in brine or oil. In Greek cooking, feta is used mostly for gratins and pastries. It is also crumbled over the top of mixed salads and can be cut into cubes and served as a snack with olives and crusty bread.
Fettuccine
Long flat pasta, similar to tagliatelle.
Fiddlehead ferns
A barely emerged, tightly coiled (hence the name) shoot of the ostrich fern. Their flavor is reminiscent of asparagus and artichoke- some say with a touch of green beans. Available only in spring, and locally - they will not ship.
Field Peas
A variety of green or yellow pea that is grown to be dried. "Split peas" are field peas that have been dried and split along the natural seam. Field peas normally do not require pre-soaking.
Filbert
This nut is also known as the "hazelnut" or "cobnut." Used whole, chopped, and ground in baking, candies, desserts, and salads.
File powder
A powder made of dried sassafras leaves which has a glutinous quality and gives to certain dishes (as gumbos) a delicate flavor and thickening.
Filet
(or fillet) A piece of meat, fish or poultry which is boneless or has had all the bones removed.
Filet mignon
An expensive and very tender cut of beef that is taken from the small end of Tenderloin.
Filo pastry
Thin sheets of pastry commonly used in Greek, eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines. As the sheets are very thin, working quickly to prevent drying out is essential and fillings, sweet or savoury, should be almost cooked before use as the pastry only requires a short cooking time.
Financier
A small cake or cookie that is made with ground nuts and whipped egg whites. These are soft like sponge cake, and have a rich flavor of nuts.
Fines Herbes
A mixture of chopped aromatic herbs used in French cooking, particularly in egg dishes, sauces, salads and soups. A classic combination is chopped chervil, tarragon, parsley and chives.
Finnan Haddie
A world-famous smoked haddock from Scotland.
Finnochio
A variety of fennel that is eaten raw and in salads. Also called "Florence fennel."
Firkin
The sourdough container on a chuck wagon; also dough keg.
Fish Cakes
Japanese. Fish paste molded into cakelike shapes and grilled or deep fried. Available frozen in Japanese markets.
Fish Sauce
A condiment made from fermented anchovies, salt and water. Common in Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai cooking. The Cambodian version nam pla, is considered the finest, and has the richest flavor. The Vietnamese variety, nuoc mam, most widely available, is milder. The different varieties are interchangeable. Available in Oriental, Asian and some supermarkets.
Five spice powder
A pungent mixture of five spices commonly used in Chinese cookery; it is made up of star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorns.
Flageolet
These immature kidney beans harvested before maturity are medium in size (about one-half inch long), kidney shaped, and a pale green. Quick-cooking and very fresh-tasting, the classic treatment features cream and herbs.
Flake
To break food into small pieces, usually done with a fork
Flaky pastry
A pastry made in layers that become flakier towards the outside when cooked. It's a heavier pastry than puff pastry, but easier to make. Usually used for savoury pies.
Flambe
Served flaming, accomplished by pouring spirits over food and igniting them.
Flameproof
Cookware that can be used directly on a burner or under a broiler without damage.
Flan
Open pie containing sweet or savoury filling in a custard of eggs and cream.
Flan ring
A metal pan for baking tarts, with low sides and a detachable side ring.
Flank steak
The triangular-shaped muscle from the underside of a flank of beef; when broiled, served rare and sliced thin, as horizontally as possible, this is tender and juicy, and is called London Broil. Flank steak is also served with a stuffing, rolled and baked.
Flat-Iron Steak
Beef shoulder top blade cut.
Flatfish
Fish that have a flat body with both eyes located on the upper side. Flatfish swim "sideways" and include "flounder," "halibut," and "sole."
Flautas
Filled, tightly rolled, and deep-fried enchiladas.
Flaxseed
The seed of the flax, a slender, erect, annual plant that is cultivated for its fiber and its seeds. The fiber is used to make linen yarn. The seeds are used to make linseed oil.
Fleuron
A small crescent shaped pastry made of puff dough that is used to garnish fish dishes and soups.
Fleurs de sel
Fleurs de sel is a moist salt from France
Florentine
a. Dish containing spinach, eg eggs Florentine.
b. Small biscuit of nuts and dried fruit covered with chocolate on one side.
Florets
Florets are the small, individual flower stems that make up the heads of vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
Flounder
A fine-textured flatfish prized for its delicate flavor. Some of the more popular varieties include "Fab," "English Sole," and "Plaice."
Flour
Finely ground cereal, such as wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice and maize (corn). In Britain, the word 'flour' usually refers to flour produced from wheat. Wheat flour contains gluten, a protein that forms an elastic network that helps contain the gases that make mixtures (such as doughs and batters) rise as they bake. Different types of flour are needed for different products. Bread flour, or strong flour, for example, has a high protein content and good gluten strength. Plain household flour is usually a soft flour and is best for cakes and pastries. Self-raising flour has a standard amount of raising agent already added to it. Varying degrees of processing in the milling of the grain give wholewheat, brown and white types of flour. Spelt flour is made from an ancestor of our wheat and, although it does contain a small amount of gluten, some people who are intolerant to wheat flour can cope with it.
FLP
FLP was a curing salt sold to locker plants; FLP is an acronym 'For Locker Plants'. The product has been discontinued. Modern Cure, Praque Power or Instra Cure is now used in sausage-making and any recipe calling for FLP salt is likely to be very old. Sugar cures such as Mortons or Zachs are used in curing hams, bacon, and turkeys and for corning beef. If you hear the term "FLP" used by others it was because this is the term they learned from old timers or from old recipes.
Fluff-duff
Ranch term for fancy foods such as cakes or puddings.
Flute
To make decorative indentations, as on the rim of a pie crust.
Flying Fish
This fish, a delicacy in the West Indies and Japan, gains speed underwater then leaves the water except for the lower lobe of its tail. It then vigorously beats its tail, extends its ventral fins and can fly a 1,000 feet or more.
Focaccia
Italian olive-oil bread, large and flat, often flavoured with herbs, sometimes with a filling of ham or cheese.
Foie Gras
Literally French for 'fat liver', but usually used to refer to the rich pate made from the liver of ducks and geese that have been force-fed and fattened until their livers become enlarged. It is a great French delicacy - and very expensive. After preparation, the livers are marinated in armagnac, port or madeira, depending on the chef's recipe. They are then stuffed with black truffle, pressed into a terrine, sprinkled with salt and sealed. The dish is baked in a bain-marie and then chilled. The flavour is rich and the texture silky smooth. Foie gras is usually served in thin slices at the start of a meal with a sweet wine. It is also available in tins.
Fold
To combine two ingredients, usually a heavier ingredient (whipping cream) with a lighter ingredient, (egg white). Using a rubber spatula, lift the heavier mixture from the bottom and blend with the lighter mixture on top..
Fon Goot
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Jicama."
Fond
The French word for stock - the flavoured liquid base used for making a sauce, stew or braised dish.
Fondant
a. Soft-textured sweet made of flavoured icing.
b. Fondant potatoes are sauteed potatoes, crisp on the outside and melting in the middle.
Fondue
A Swiss dish of melted cheese served at the table in a pan; each person dips pieces of bread into it and then eats them. Other varieties of fondue include fondue bourguignonne in which cubes of beef are dipped in hot oil at the table until cooked, and then eaten with dips and sauces; and chocolate fondue served with fruit and biscuits.
Fonduta
An Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.
Fontina
Semi-soft Italian cow's-milk cheese, which is easily melted. When matured, fontina can be grated and used like Parmesan.
Fontina Cheese
An Italian cheese that is semi-soft to firm, made from cow's milk or sheep's milk.
Fool
Cold dessert consisting of fruit puree and whipped cream.
Forcemeat
A rich, highly seasoned paste containing meat or fish, herbs and vegetables finely minced and pounded, used as a stuffing or garnish.
Forestiera Sauce
A French sauce containing sliced sauteed mushrooms added to a base made from demiglace flavored with sherry.
Formaggio
An Italian cheese.
Fortified
Supplied with more vitamins and minerals than were present in the natural state.
Fortune Cookie
This Chinese-American invention is a plain, griddle-baked wafer which is wrapped around a strip of paper and allowed to cool. The paper provides a written "fortune."
Fougasse
A flatbread from France that was once served sweetened with sugar and orange water. It is now more commonly seen as a bread eaten with savory dishes. In this case, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs or salt before baking.
Foyot
This is a variation of a bearnaise sauce with the addition of a well reduced meat glaze.
Fractioned
To separate chemically into fractions by distillation, crystallization, etc.
Fragrant rice
An aromatic long-grain rice favoured in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. For more information about rice, visit our store cupboard.
Frangipane
A pastry cream used when preparing various desserts, sweets, cakes and pancakes. It is made with milk, sugar, flour, eggs and butter mixed with either crushed macaroons or with ground almonds.
Frankfurters
Cooked, smoked sausage -- Originated in Frankfurt, Germany; combination of beef and pork or all beef which is cured, smoked and cooked; seasonings may include coriander, garlic, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, sugar and white pepper; fully cooked but usually served hot; terms "frankfurter," "wiener" and "hot dog" often used interchangeably; sizes range from big dinner frankfurters to tiny cocktail size; may be skinless or with natural casings.
Frappe
Sweetened fruit juices frozen until semi-hard, then chilled.
Free-range chicken or turkey
In theory, these birds are much better than the standard. They're fed differently, given fewer drugs, and have more room to roam. However, the quality is inconsistent and the price often outrageously expensive.
Freestone
A term that refers to a fruit with a pit to which the flesh does not cling. The opposite term is called "clingstone."
Freeze-Dry
To subject foods to quick-freezing followed by drying under high vacuum at low temperature. This process helps foods keep for long periods at normal room temperatures.
Freezing
Process whereby food is solidified or preserved through chilling and storing it at 0C or 32F degrees.
French Bean
Any young, green, string bean that can be eaten whole (including the pod).
French chop
A rib lamb chop.
French dressing
Also known as vinaigrette. A cold sauce used for dressing salads, made from a mixture of olive oil, wine vinegar, pepper and salt to which various flavourings can be added.
French Fries
Raw potatoes that have been cut into strips, soaked in water, then deep fried until golden brown.
French fry
To cook in hot fat which entirely covers the food, often in a special wire basket.
Frescadilla
Plum-sized, bright green fruit, covered with a light green papery husk; they have a citrus-like, acidic flavor; taste best when they are brilliant green in color; often called green tomatoes, they are more closely related to the kiwi fruit than to tomatoes, and are members of the gooseberry family. Also a member of the nightshade family; originally eaten by the Aztecs; the best substitute is small green tomatoes. If using fresh, remove the papery husks. Canned are a good substitute, but rinse well before using.
Fresh cheese
Unripened or slightly ripened curds (ricotta, farmer, cottage, mascarpone).
Fresh Pork Sausage
Fresh sausage -- Made only from selected fresh pork; seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, and rubbed sage, or other spices; sold in links, packaged patties or bulk; thorough cooking is required.
Fresno chile
A fresh chile; similar in size and appearance to a ripe jalapeno; bright red and thick-fleshed; great in salsas and ceviches; usually available only in the fall; substitute ripe jalapenos if unavailable.
Fricadillee
Meat balls, made with minced pork and veal, spices, white bread crumbs, cream and egg, then poached in stock or shallow-fried in a pan.
Fricassee
A white stew made from poultry and other white meat. The meat is just turned in fat but not browned before being cooked in a white sauce. A fricassee is usally cooked with cream and garnished with small glazed onions and lightly cooked mushrooms.
Fritada
Stew usually made with goat meat, which always contains some animal blood.
Frittata
An Italian omelette with a variety of fillings, eg potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin, ham, cheese. Unlike a French omelette, the ingredients are mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside them. The frittata is cut into wedges and eaten hot or cold. Similar to a Spanish omelette.
Fritter
Piece of raw or cooked meat, fish, fruit or vegetable coated in batter and deep-fried until crisp, golden and cooked through.
Fritto Misto
An Italian dish (meaning literally 'fried mixture') of a variety of deep-fried meats and vegetables including lamb, rabbit, veal, sausage, liver, courgettes, carrots, aubergine, fennel and tomatoes. Fruit, such as apples and peaches, may be added too. Fritto misto di mare is a selection of deep-fried fish and seafood.
Frizzes
Dry sausage -- Cured lean pork, chopped coarsely and a small quantity of cured lean beef; highly spiced. Some varieties made with hot spices, some with sweet spices.
Frog's Legs
The tender, faintly sweet white meat from the hind legs of frogs. Because of their delicate flavor, they should be cooked briefly without too many seasonings.
Frogfish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Also called "angler fish," "monkfish," or "goosefish."
Fromage
A French cheese.
Fromage frais
A fresh, low-fat curd cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk which can be used in cooking or in desserts.
Frost
to coat a cake or petit fours with an icing; to dip the rim of a glass in egg white and caster sugar and then chill in a refrigerator until set; to dip the rim of a glass in lemon juice and coat with salt, then chill in the freezer.
Fructose
A natural byproduct of fruits and honey. More water-soluble than glucose and sweeter than sucrose with half the calories. Can be used by diabetics.
Fruit paste
A firm, but gelatinous, sweet paste of a fruit such as mango, papaya or guava, eaten for dessert.
Fruit pectin
A substance found naturally in fruits such as apples, quince, and all citrus fruits. Pectin's ability to gel liquids makes it a key ingredient in jelly and jam making. Pectin from citrus fruit is refined is refined and bottled or powered. You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid form, or use high pectin fruits in the recipe. Do not substitute one for the other.
Fruit Sweetener
If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup fruit sweetener, substitute 1/4 cup concentrated apple juice plus 1/4 cup granulated fructose. Granulated fructose can be found among the dietary foods or sugars in the supermarket.
Fruitcake
A traditional winter holiday cake of candied fruit, fruit rinds, nuts, and spice. Fruitcakes are often soaked in some sort of liquor or brandy.
Fry
To cook food in hot fat over medium to high heat
Fry bread
Indian fried bread; flat discs of dough that are deep-fried and topped with honey or refried beans; usually found in Arizona and New Mexico.
Fudge
A creamy, semi soft candy most often made with sugar, butter or cream, corn syrup and various flavorings The most popular fudge flavor is chocolate, though maple (made with maple syrup), butterscotch (made with brown sugar or dark corn syrup) and vanilla are also favorites. Fudge can be plain and perfectly smooth or it may contain other ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chips, candied or dried fruit, etc. It may be cooked or uncooked, but both styles must be allowed to set before cutting.
Fugu
Swellfish; globefish; blowfish; ballonfish; puffer (japanese). Fugu is caught in winter only, and it is eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or fugu-sashi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed to prepare this fish in Japan, since it contains a deadly poison.
Ful
An Egyptian dried bean. Available in specialty food shops. The best are the small variety.
Fumet
A strong-flavoured cooking liquor used for flavouring sauces; fumet usually refers to concentrated mushroom and fish stocks. For meat, poultry and game stocks, the word fond is used.
Fungi
Mushrooms.
Fusilli
Spiral-shaped pasta.
Fuyu
Salted and fermented tofu (soybean curd cake).
Galangal
Galangal is a member of the ginger family, widely used in south-east Asian cuisine, particularly Thai cookery, being an important component in Thai curry pastes. It is also widely used medicinally as an aid to digestion and for respiratory problems.
Galantine
A pate-like dish made of the skin of a small animal, most often chicken or duck, which is stuffed with a forcemeat of this animal. Additional strips of meat, blanched vegetables, and truffles are also layered with the forcemeat. This is then wrapped or tied and poached in broth. Galantine are always served cold with their aspic, whereas ballottines may be hot or cold. These terms are often used interchangeably.
Galette
Pancake, usually sweet, made of batters, doughs, or potatoes. Brioche-type dough or puff pastry are often used. Small short butter cookies were once also called galettes. The term has now been stretched to include preparations made of vegetables or fish. Different from a croquette, these cakes are not breaded.
Gambrel
The flexor tendon behind the the cannon bone or Achilles tendon above the hock.
Game
Usually considered meat taken from animals found in the wild
Garam Masala
A mixture of ground spices used as a base for Indian dishes; the proportion of spices changes according to the dish being cooked but the basic ingredients are cumin, coriander and turmeric, and many others depending on whether the dish includes meat, vegetables or fish.
Garbanzo Bean
The round irregularly shaped buff-colored legumes with a firm texture and a mild nut-like flavor. Also called "chick-peas" and "ceci." Used in salads, soups, and stews. Very popular legume utilized in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine.
Garbanzo flour
Flour ground from dried garbanzo beans. Also called ceci flour. Found in delicatessens, Italian specialty shops, health food stores and some supermarkets.
Garbanzos
Chickpeas; originally from Spain; round, beige beans with a nutty flavor.
Garlic
Probably native to Central Asia, garlic is a member of the same family as leeks and onions. There are many varieties of differing size, pungency and colour. The bulb or 'head' of garlic is formed of 12-16 bulblets, commonly called 'cloves'. The most widely used variety has a white/grey skin and is grown in southern France. Garlic is used to flavour many types of dishes and, for real lovers of its taste, can be roasted whole and served as a vegetable.
Garlic and Red Chili Paste
Very hot Chinese sauce made of red peppers and garlic. Good condiment for other Asian cuisines as well. Found in Oriental markets some finer supermarkets or substitute garlic and Tabasco.
Garlic chives
Light green in color, long thin stalks with a small bud on the tip. Find fresh is some Asian markets.
Garnacha
Round antojito of tortilla dough; tartlets of fried masa filled with black bean paste and ground beef, covered with tomato sauce, and sprinkled with cheese; usually served as an appetizer.
Garnish
edible ornaments to enhance the appearance of food
Gazpacho
Originally a peasant bread soup flavoured with olive oil, garlic and vinegar and any vegetables growing in the vegetable patch. In winter the soup could be eaten hot and in summer cold. The modern version of this Spanish soup is more like a cold tomato soup, almost like a salad, but still with the essential flavours of olive oil, garlic and vinegar.
Gefilte Fish
This popular Jewish dish consists of ground fish mixed with eggs, matzo meal, and seasonings that have been formed into balls or patties then simmered in vegetable or fish stock. The fish used is usually carp, pike, or whitefish.
Gelatin, gelatine
A protein produced from animals, used to gel liquids. It is odorless, flavorless, and colorless. It is found in granular and sheet form. It is found available also in fruit flavored form. Fruit flavor gelatin has sugar and flavors added.
Gelato
An Italian frozen dessert made of whole milk and eggs. This gives richness without flavors becoming masked by the fat from cream. The flavors are very intense and the texture is soft and silky.
Gem
A muffin.
Gem irons
Cast iron muffin pans.
Genevoise
A sauce for fish made from a special white roux.
Genoise
1. A very rich sponge cake made with eggs and butter. This may be eaten as is with whipped cream or fruit, but also used as the foundation for many other cake preparations. 2. A cold mayonnaise sauce made with nuts and cream.
Gewurztraminer
An excellent white-wine grape that is grown in Germany and California. It is pink and yields a spicy, heavily perfumed, soft wine. "Gewurz" means "spice" in German.
Ghee
A form of clarified butter used in Indian cookery. The clarified butter (slowly melted, thereby separating the milk solids, which sink to the bottom of the pan, from the golden liquid on the surface) is simmered until all the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramel-like flavour and aroma. This extra step gives ghee a longer life and much higher burning point, making it practical for a number of sauteing and frying uses.
Gherkin
The young fruit of a small variety of dark green cucumbers grown especially for pickling. The French call this pickle "cornichons."
Gianduia
a classic Italian combination of chocolate and hazelnuts.
Giblet
"Giblets" usually refers to the heart, liver, gizzard, and sometimes the neck of poultry. All of these except for the liver are normally used to flavor stocks, soups, and gravies.
Gibson
This drink is identical to the Martini, which is made with gin and vermouth, except that it is garnished with a white cocktail onion. This drink was named after the illustrator Charles Gibson, the creator of the famous "Gibson Girl."
Gill
Liquid measure equal to 1/4 pint.
Gimlet
A cocktail composed of sugar syrup, lime juice, vodka (or gin) and sometimes soda water.
Gin
An unaged liquor using of distillates from barley, corn, or rye, and juniper berries. London dry gin is colorless. Hollands gin is a Dutch gin that tastes very different from other gins because of its large proportion of barley malt.
Ginger
A tropical plant cultivated for its root. The flavor is peppery and sweet, the odor is spicy. Used to flavor candy, soups, meat, poultry, curries, gingerbread, and cakes. Also the chief flavoring agent for ginger ale.
Ginkgo Nut
A delicately sweet nut from the heart of the inedible fruit of the maidenhair tree. Particularly popular in oriental cooking.
Ginseng
The Chinese name for this sweet licorice-flavored root means "human-shaped root." Often used in teas, ginseng has been credited over the centuries for being everything from a restorative to an aphrodisiac.
Gjetost Cheese
A Norwegian cheese made from goat's and cow's milk whey. The brown color and sweetness are the result of slow cooking the milk until its colors caramelize. Scandinavia's "Mysost" cheese is made using cow's milk only.
Glace
A highly reduced stock used as an essence in flavoring sauces and enriching soups and stews. Veal glace is used for all meat preparations and stands up the best to the long reduction required. Fish and shellfish glaces are used, but their flavor can become dirty tasting and bitter from too long of a reduction.
Glaze
To coat with a food with a thin liquid, such as aspic, jelly, egg wash or chocolate topping, that will be smooth and shiny after setting.
Globe artichoke
The globe artichoke is related to the thistle - its leaves and the bottom part of the flower, called the heart, are eaten. Boil the vegetable to serve as a first course. Dip each leaf into melted butter, mayonnaise or a vinaigrette and scrape of the soft fleshy base with your teeth. When you get to the centre, pull or slice off the hairy ‘choke’ and then eat the base, the heart or fond, with the remaining sauce. See also artichoke, for information about Jerusalem and Chinese artichokes.
Glucose
Glucose is a sugar. The most common form of this sugar is called "dextroglucose"--commonly referred to as "dextrose." Corn syrup is a form of glucose made from cornstarch.
Gluten
A protein in flour which, when mixed with water, gives the dough elasticity and strength.
Glutinous Rice
Also called "pearl rice," this rice is actually gluten-free. It is the preferred variety in the Orient because it is sticky and therefore easily handled with chop sticks.
Gnocchi
Small Italian dumplings made of flour, semolina, potato or choux pastry. They are usually poached and then cooked au gratin (with grated cheese) in the oven and served as a hot starter.
Goa Bean
A fast-growing, high-protein legume. Also called the "winged bean." This bean is entirely edible, including the shoots, flower, roots, leaves, pods, and seeds. Tastes somewhat like a cross between the cranberry bean and the green bean.
Goat
Goat meat has been eaten in other countries for centuries, but it never got very popular in the U.S. Most goat meat comes from kids--goats under 6 months old. Kid meat is as tender and delicate as lamb.
Goat cheese
Also packaged as "chevre," goat's milk cheese is pure white with a distinctive tart flavor. It can range from creamy and moist to dry and semi-firm, and is packaged in a wide variety of shapes, from cylinders to discs.
Goat's Milk
Goat's milk can often be found canned in supermarkets. Fresh goat's milk is sometimes available in health food stores. This milk is often made into goat cheese, which is better known as "chevre."
Goatfish
Goatfish is so named because of its two long "whiskers" that resemble a goat's whiskers. The meat is firm and lean. This fish is normally available only on the East Coast and through the Florida Keys.
Gobo
This slender root vegetable has brown skin and grayish white flesh. Used in soups as well as with vegetables and meats. Also known as "burdock."
Goetta
Cooked meat specialty -- Fully cooked sausage of German origin similar to scrapple; made with ground pork and/or beef, oats, herbs and spices; available in rolls and slab form.
Golden beets
Yellow ocher-colored beets. Sweeter vegetable than red beet varieties.
Golden Cadillac
A creamy, gold-colored cocktail made from Galliano, white Creme de Cacao, and heavy cream.
Gonch
Hook used to lift lids from Dutch ovens.
Goose
Any of many species of fatty, web-footed wild or domesticated birds that are larger than ducks. The female is the "goose," the male is called the "gander." Roasted goose is traditional holiday fare in many European countries.
Gooseberry
Large tart berries used in jams, jellies, pies and desserts. The English and French use this berry to make gooseberry sauce for use with boiled or baked mackerel.
Goosefish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Also called "angler fish," and "monkfish."
Gorditas
Little fat ones; corn flour patties, usually slit, then stuffed; often found unslit, with the filling served on top or between two of them.
Gorgonzola
An Italian cow's milk cheese, pale in colour and streaked with blue. It has a distinct smell and can be mild, strong or sharp in flavour depending on its maturity.
Gouda Cheese
This is Holland's number one exported cheese. It is mild and has a nut-like flavor that is similar to Holland's number two exported cheese, edam. Some goudas are flavored with cumin or herbs. Available in both young and aged varieties.
Gougere
A savory pastry made of choux paste flavored with cheese. This may be made in individual puffs or piped into a ring of puffs, which is served with a pool of sauce in the center of the ring.
Goulash
A Hungarian soup/stew made with beef and liberally seasoned with paprika. Some versions add gremolata at the very end of cooking or sprinkled over the top.
Gram flour
A flour made from ground chickpeas. It is pale yellow and powdery and has an earthy flavour best suited to savoury dishes. Gram flour contains no gluten. It is widely used in Indian cookery.
Granadilla
An exotic fruit belonging to the passion fruit family, granadillas are twice the size of passion fruit with a smooth, fragile orange skin and a mild sweet pulp inside.
Granita
An Italian sorbet made of a lightly sweetened syrup flavoured with coffee or liqueur. It is served between courses or as a refreshment.
Granola
A food composed of grains (mostly oats), nuts and dried fruits.
Granulated sugar
This is the basic, refined "white sugar" for daily use and most baking.
Grape
Any of thousands of varieties of edible berries that grow in clusters. "Slip-skin" varieties have skins that slip off easily. Table grapes are eaten out-of-hand. Grapes used for wines are highly acid and generally too tart to eat.
Grape Leaves
The large green leaves of grapevines. These leaves are often used in the Middle East to wrap foods, such as "dolmas," for cooking. Also called "vine leaves."
Grapefruit
So named because they grow in grape-like clusters. These large citrus fruits are grown in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. They are available in both seeded and seedless varieties.
Grapeseed Oil
Oil derived from the seeds of grapes. Used in salad dressings and for sauteing.
Grasshopper
A sweet after-dinner cocktail made with cream, Creme de Menthe, and white Creme de Cacao.
Grate
To shred hard food by rubbing it against a grater.
Grater
A kitchen utensil with different sized sharp-edged holes, for rubbing off small particles of any hard food..
Gratin
A gratin is any dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with bits of butter, then heated in the oven or under the grill until brown and crispy. The terms au gratin or gratine refer to any dish prepared in this way. Special round or oval gratin pans and dishes are ovenproof and shallow, which increases a dish's surface area, thereby ensuring a larger crispy portion for each serving.
Gravad Lax
Whole salmon fillets that have been cured with salt, sugar, and pepper, then flavored with dill. The salmon is then sliced paper thin and served with pumpernickel bread, sour cream, capers, onion, and lemon. Other spellings for this are gravadlax and gravlax.
Gravlaks
A Scandanavian speciality where the freshest raw salmon is cured in a mixture of sugar, salt, pepper and fresh dill. True gravadlax should be left to marinate at a temperature of between 3 and 4C for three to four days. It is often served with a dill and mustard dressing.
Gravy
A sauce made from meat juices, usually combined with a liquid such as chicken or beef stock, wine or milk and thickened with flour, cornflour or some other thickening agent. A gravy may also be the simple juices left in the pan after meat, poultry or fish has been cooked.
Grease
To prevent foods from sticking by lightly coating a pan with butter, shortening, cooking spray, etc.
Greaseproof paper
wax or waxed paper.
Greasy sack outfit
Used packouts on mules instead of a chuck wagon.
Great Northern Bean
A very large white bean with a distinctive, delicate flavor. Popular in the Midwest for baked bean dishes. Can be substituted for any variety of white beans for most recipes.
Grecque
(a la). a la grecque means with the addition of a dressing of tomatoes, fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. It usually refers to a dish of cooked vegetables, served cold as a salad or hors d'oeuvre, as in mushrooms a la grecque.
Green and red leaf lettuce
These basic salad greens are distinctive, pleasantly biter loose leaf, bunching, or cutting lettuces.
Green beans
These may be one of any number of beans that are eaten fresh, such as string bean, the thin haricot vert, the yard long bean, the wax or yellow bean, and the romano. All can be eaten raw, briefly cooked, so they remain crunchy, or cooked to complete tenderness. Buy beans that snap rather than fold when you bend them.
Green onions
Long green herb, like a large chive. Also known commonly in some parts of the world as a scallions.
Green Pea
A small, round green vegetable from the legume family. Also known as the garden pea. Unlike snow peas, which are eaten pod and all, green peas are eaten without the pod. Used by the Greeks and Romans long before Christian times.
Greens
A variety of vegetables are classified as greens, broccoli raab, kale, mustard or turnip greens, spinach, collards, chard, dandelions, escarole, and so on. Look for bright, crisp, firm leaves with no wilting, dry, or yellowing leaves.
Gremolata
Italian garnish of raw, finely chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest. Sprinkled over slow-cooked braised meats, especially osso bucco.
Grenadine
A brilliant scarlet non-alcoholic syrup made from the juice of pomegranates. Used to color and flavor drinks and desserts. Called grenadine because was originally available only from the island of Grenada in the Caribbean.
Griddle
A flat cast-iron pan traditionally used for breads and scones. More recently griddles have a ridged surface and are used, lightly oiled, for cooking vegetables, meat and fish.
Grill
To cook food on a rack over hot coals or other heat source
Grillade
An individual serving of round steak, usually top round, and usually broiled.
Grind
To transform food into pieces ranging from small (fine grind) to large (coarse grind) using a food processor or grinder.
Grinding Knife
The 4 sided flat device used with the grinding plate to cut the meat in a grinder or chopper.
Grissini
Bread sticks.
Grits
"Grits" refers to any coarsely ground grain such as corn, oats, or rice. Today, most "grits" are hominy grits. Grits are available in coarse, medium, and fine grinds.
Groats
The dried kernels of wheat or oats.
Ground Allspice
Comes from the pea-sized berry of the evergreen pimiento tree, native to the West Indies and South America. Named "allspice" because it tastes somewhat like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Ground beef
Simply beef that has been finely chopped, ground beef is sold fresh or frozen. The USDA recommends cooking to the well done stage (165°F).
Ground Beef, Extra Lean
Also called "ground round" or "ground sirloin", this type of ground beef contains approximately 11% fat.
Ground Beef, Lean
Also called "ground chuck." The fat content is approximately 15% to 20%. This form of ground beef is flavorful, yet doesn't shrink excessively--it's the favorite choice for making hamburgers.
Ground Beef, Regular
This form of ground beef is usually made from the lower cost cuts such as brisket or shank. The fat content is up to 30%.
Ground Cherry
Also known as "cape gooseberry," this fruit has a bittersweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.
Ground Husk Tomato
A small fruit, also called the "Tomatillo," that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.
Ground Mace
Mace is a spice made from the membrane that covers the nutmeg seed. Tastes like a stronger, more aromatic version of nutmeg.
Ground Pepper
The result of grinding peppercorns, the berries of the pepper plant. Ground pepper is the world's most popular spice. (Salt is not a spice--it's a mineral.) Ground pepper stimulates gastric juices and aids in digestion.
Ground red chiles
When finely ground from dried red chiles, it is pure chile powder, which is different from blended chili powder.
Groundnut
Also known as a peanut. This edible nut is the seed of a member of the pea family, not a true nut. The pods mature underground and each contain 2-4 seeds. Groundnuts can be roasted, salted and eaten whole or used in cooked dishes. Peanut or groundnut oil is widely used in cooking and margarine manufacture.
Grouper
This true sea bass, found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, has a lean firm flesh. Its skin has a strong flavor and should be removed prior to cooking. Groupers have the ability to change to the color of their surroundings.
Grouse
A small, low-fat game bird. Quality birds should have no odor.
Grunt
Ranch term for dough pudding.
Gruyere
A moderate-fat cow milk cheese with a rich, sweet, nutty flavor that is prized for both out-of-hand eating and cooking. It is usually aged for 10 to 12 months and has a golden brown rind and a firm, pale-yellow interior with well-spaced medium-size holes. Tastes like Swiss, except a bit sharper.
Guacamole
A Mexican dish of mashed avocado mixed with lemon or lime juice and various seasonings (usually chili powder and red pepper). Sometimes finely chopped tomato, onion and coriander are added. Guacamole can be used as a dip, sauce, topping or side dish. If making in advance, cover well as guacamole will discolour.
Guajillo chiles
Also known as chili gauque; fresh guajillo chiles are known as mirasol chiles; medium-hot Mexican orange-red chiles; skinny and about four to six inches long; used in stews, soups, sauces; go well with chicken and pork dishes, blackberry and apple flavors, and grassy herbs such as marjoram and thyme; New Mexico chiles may be substituted.
Guanabana
The large, dark-green, slightly acidic and pulpy flesh of the fruit of a small West Indies tree called the "soursop." Not surprisingly, this fruit is also called "soursop."
Guava
A sweet, aromatic tropical fruit from the myrtle family. Used in jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, and beverages. Can also be eaten out of hand.
Guero chiles
A fresh chile; blond or light skinned; a generic term applied to a variety of yellow chiles; generally refers to long tapered varieties such as banana peppers, Hungarian wax chiles and Santa Fe grandes; mildly sweet to slightly hot, with a waxy but tart texture; used in yellow moles, salads, salsas and escabeches.
Guinea Fowl
Traditionally a game bird but now domesticated and available all year round, the guinea fowl has a flavour between that of chicken and pheasant. A young bird has tasty flesh, though it's drier than chicken, and has a tendency to dry out when roasted unless basted frequently. When older, it is a good bird to casserole as this helps keep the flesh moist - try casseroling in red wine with chestnuts.
Gumbo
A thick, gelatinous, soupy stew from Louisiana thickened with okra. Made with chicken, fish, pork, turkey or seafood, it is typically spicy in flavour, as is all Cajun cooking.
Gumbo File
A seasoning and thickening agent made from the young leaves of the sassafras tree. Originated from the Choctaw Indians who lived in Louisiana prior to the settlers' arrival. Used to make the creole specialty "gumbo."
Gut robber
In Western United States lingo, the cook; also known as bean master or biscuit roller.
Gyros
A blend of lamb, beef and seasonings, seared and stuffed in a pita topped with diced tomatoes, onions and tzatziki, a savory yogurt sauce loaded with garlic and cucumbers.
Habanero chile
A dried chile; Havana-like; small orange or red chiles from the Caribbean and Yucatan; originally from Havana, Cuba; they are the hottest peppers in the world, about 40 times hotter than a jalapeno; they are lantern shaped (resembling a tam or bonnet), pungent and fruity, with an apricot-like aroma; has tones of coconut and papaya; other names include Scot's Bonnet or Scotch Bonnet; jalapenos or serranos may be substituted.
Haddock
White sea fish similar to cod, with flaky flesh, available fresh or frozen, whole or as steaks and fillets. Can be poached, baked, fried, smoked or grilled and served with or without sauce.
Haggis
Scottish dish of a sheep’s stomach stuffed with offal, oatmeal, suet and seasonings. Traditionally served with mashed swede ('bashed neeps') and potatoes on Burns’ Night (which celebrates the birthday of Scottish poet Robbie Burns on 25th January).
Hake
Various members of the cod family are known as hake and are available fresh or frozen, whole or as steaks and fillets. Mild, subtle flavour suitable for frying, poaching and in soups.
Half Smokes
"Half smokes" is a old term referring to the smoking but not cooking of sausage. The sausage is cool smoked for a while for color and flavor but not long enough or hot enough to be cooked or done. To eat you must cook the sausage by hot water or by frying until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Water at a simmering 180-190 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or pan frying will do this. Kielbasa, Thuringer, Bratwurst and some frankfurters can be processed this way
Half-and-Half
This combination of equal parts cream and milk cannot be whipped, and has between ten and fifteen percent milk fat. Although it can be substituted for cream in some recipes, it is mostly used on cereal and in coffee.
Halibut
Flat sea fish available mostly in steaks, fillets and cutlets. Its firm white flesh is greatly valued; probably best prepared with a sauce.
Halvah
A middle East confection made from ground sesame seeds and honey. Sometimes prepared with chopped, dried fruit and pistachios.
Ham
The hind leg of a hog. The taste of ham is affected by the age and breed of the hog, as well as by the food that the hog was fed. The unprocessed meat is called "fresh ham," but most ham is cured.
Ham and Cheese Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Loaf made of ground ham with cubes of firm cheese.
Ham hock
Cut from the hog's lower leg, often smoked or cured. Great in bean soups and other slow-cooked soups and stews, where they lend rich, smoky flavors.
Hamburg Parsley
A parsley subspecies grown for its beige carrot-like root which tastes somewhat like a cross between a carrot and celery. Used in stews and soups. Also eaten as a vegetable. Also called "parsley root."
Hamburger
Ground beef formed into a patty for use in a hamburger sandwich. The best type of ground beef to use for this purpose is lean ground beef, which contains about 15% to 20% fat.
Hanging
Suspending meat or game in a cool, dry place until it is tender.
Hangtown fry
Gold rush-style fried oysters.
Hard cheese
Cooked, pressed and long-aged (parmigiano reggiano, pecorino)
Hard sauce
A sweet white sauce made with butter, sugar and lemon juice, chilled until thick, served as a dessert topping.
Hardtack
hard biscuit or bread made with flour and water only.
Haricot
A generic term for all New World beans, which includes almost everything; kidney, pinto, navy, pea, Great Northern, anasazi, cannellini, flageolets, appaloosa, and more.
Haricots vert
Very small and slender green bean [syn: haricot vert, French bean]
Harissa
This north African hot paste, usually served with couscous, is a fiery mixture of chillies, garlic, cumin, coriander, mint and oil.
Hartshorn
a source of ammonia used in baking cookies or, as "salt of hartshorn," as smelling salts. Once the word meant literally the ground horn of a hart's (male deer's) antlers, but ammonium carbonate was later used as a substitute, which also went by the name of "salt of hartshorn." it is available in American pharmacies. It is also an old-time leavening agent, and is used occasionally in making cookies. It is also the ingredient in some homemade pesticides.
Harvey Wallbanger
A sweet cocktail made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano (an anise-flavored liqueur).
Hash
From the French hatcher, which means "to chop," hash is a dish of chopped meat, usually roast beef or corned beef, combined with vegetables and seasonings and sauteed until lightly browned. It is frequently served with a sauce or gravy.
Hatch chiles
A fresh chile; close relative of the New Mexico green chile.
Haunch
Hindquarters; ham.
Havarti Cheese
A semi-soft, mild, yet tangy pale yellow cheese similar to "Tilsit." Named after "Havarti," the Danish experimental farm where this cheese was developed.
Hazelnut
A hard-shelled nut with an oval or round kernel, high in dietary fibre, also known as cob nut. Used whole, grated or ground to flavour savoury and sweet dishes.
Hazelnut Oil
This fragrant full-flavored oil is pressed from hazelnuts and takes on the flavor of roasted nuts. The nuts are often toasted for a browner color and better flavor. The nuts are never blanched.
Head Cheese
This is not a cheese, but a sausage made from the edible parts of a calf's or pig's head that are combined with a gelatinous meat broth. Ingredients include cheeks, snouts, underlips and sometimes brains, hearts, tongues, and feet.
Heart
The heart of most animals and birds are used in cooking. Some say that the best hearts are calf's or lamb's hearts. Hearts are sometimes stuffed with breadcrumbs and herbs or used in making gravies.
Heart Nut
A kidney-shaped nut that grows on the outside of the cashew apple at its base. The shell is highly toxic. These nuts have a sweet buttery flavor and contain about 48% fat. More commonly known as "cashew nuts."
Hearts of palm
The edible inside portion of the stem of the cabbage palm tree. They are slender, ivory-colored, and have a delicate flavor reminiscent of artichoke.
Heavy cream
Heavy cream is the American term for double cream (48 per cent fat, the most versatile cream as it withstands boiling, whips and freezes well).
Herbaceous
A term used in describing the aroma of herbs in the following wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabarnet Sauvignons, and Merlots.
Herbes de Provence
A mixture of heady herbs from the south of France made up of any combination of thyme, oregano, marjoram, bay, basil, rosemary and hyssop. The Mediterranean flavour of these herbs is essential to flavour meat, poultry, game and vegetables and especially tomato-based and grilled dishes.
Herbs
Culinary herbs, which are available fresh or dried, include basil, bay leaf, chervil, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon and thyme. Used for their aromatic properties, flavor and texture.
Hermitage
A French appellation located in northern Rhone. Its highly regarded red wines, made from Syrah grapes, and white wines, made from Marsanne and Rousanne, are the epitome of a world class wine.
Herring
An oil-rich fish usually sold whole. Can be poached, fried or grilled as well as pickled, marinated, salted and smoked.
Hibachi
Small, portable charcoal grill.
Hibiscus blossoms
Also called sorrel blossoms, these make a delicious iced tea. Find in Latin and Caribbean markets. Jamaica is the Spanish name; the blossoms of this tropical plant provide a brilliant color and an intense blackberry and dried cherry flavor to cocktails, marinades and vinaigrettes; Jamaica is also a beverage made from this blossom.
Hickory Nut
An extremely hard-shelled, high-fat nut used in cakes, cookies, sweet breads, and candies. They are also suitable in recipes calling for pecans.
High-altitude baking
At altitudes above 5,000 feet, batters and doughs behave differently from the way they do at sea level. You may compensate for the lower atmospheric pressure in several ways. Increase oven temperature by 25°F. Shorten rising time for yeast doughs, letting your eye or the finger poking method be your guide. In batters containing baking powder, reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon called for; do not change the amount of baking soda. In batters containing beaten egg whites, underbeat the egg whites somewhat. For more information about high-altitude cooking, consult the home economics department of your state university.
Highball
A cocktail composed of whiskey and soda water or plain water. It is most often served over ice in a tall glass.
Hijiki
A form of dried seaweed. Found in Japanese markets.
Hiritake Mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Also known as "oyster mushroom."
Hock
A joint in the hind leg; British term for Rhine wines derived from the German wine town of Hochhheim.
Hoe cakes
Corn cakes cooked on a hoe. Also known as johnny cakes - pancakes made with cornmeal.
Hog Maws
A pig's stomach, often stuffed with a sausage mixture, simmered, then baked.
Hog Plum
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, average an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called "yellow mombin."
Hog side
Salt pork used in cooking and some baking; also called Old Ned.
Hoisin Sauce
A thick, reddish-brown sweet and spicy sauce, widely used in Chinese cooking. It's a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chilli peppers and various spices. Hoisin sauce is mainly used as a table condiment and as a flavouring for meat, poultry and shellfish dishes.
Hollandaise
Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolks, a vinegar reduction and hot melted butter. It is the basic sauce from which other sauces, such as bearnaise and mousseline, are made. It is served with fish cooked in a court-bouillon, or with boiled or steamed vegetables.
Holy Trinity of chiles
ancho, mulato and pasilla.
Hominy
Dried white or yellow corn kernels with their hulls and germ removed. Also called "samp." Ground hominy is called "grits." This popular staple in the South and Southwest came to us from the Algonquin Indians.
Homogenize
To create an emulsion by reducing all the particles to the same size. In milk and salad dressings, for instance, all the fat globules are mechanically broken down until they are evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
Honey
Naturally sweet, viscous liquid produced by bees. Used as a sweetener to replace sugar in sweets, drinks and baking. Can also be used as a glaze for roasts.
Honey Loaf
Cooked meat specialty --Meat mixture similar to franks and bologna; contains about equal parts of pork and beef. Flavorings include honey, spices and sometimes pickles and/or pimentos.
Honeydew
Melons related to cantaloupes, casaba and Persian melons. Honeydew melons are used to accompany meat, seafood, and cheese. They are also used in salads, desserts, and fruit soups.
Horn of Plenty Mushroom
This is a wild mushroom with a hollow, funnel-shaped cap and is dark gray or black in color. Because of this, it also has the name etrumpet of deathe. This mushroom is somewhat stringy, but has a robust flavor and may be used to flavor sauces, soups, or any other mushroom preparation.
Horse Bean
This bean looks like a very large lima bean. The pod is inedible unless the plant is very young. Avoid pods bulging with beans as this is an indication of age. Also known as the "broad bean."
Horse Meat
Taboo for Jews, horse meat is eaten in many parts of the world, particularly France and Belgium. The flesh is on the sweet side and can be mistaken for beef if flavored with garlic or some other strong herb. May be cooked like beef.
Horseradish
A perennial plant originating in eastern Europe, horseradish is cultivated for its tough, twisted root. Once peeled, this is grated and mixed with cream and other ingredients to provide a hot-flavoured sauce to accompany roast beef or fish such as trout. Care must be taken when grating as the vapours can make the eyes sting.
Hot Cross Buns
Sweet yeast buns with currants, slashed crosswise before baking, then glazed as they come from the oven.
Hot Smoking
Using smoke to flavor meat or fish while cooking at temperatures over 250 degrees.
Hot water crust pastry
A heavy dough pastry made of flour, water and lard, bound together by heating. It can be moulded, when still warm, for pork, ham and raised game pies.
Hot-pot
Mutton and vegetable stew.
Hotte
Grape picking basket worn on the backs of French grape pickers. It is traditionally made of wood, but today can be found made of metal or plastic.
Hubbard Squash
A large winter squash of American origin. Often mashed and mixed with butter and seasonings. Also used in casseroles, muffins, and pies.
Huitlacoche
Corn fungus delicacy; sleepy excrement (Aztec); common in central Mexico; during the rainy season, a fungus develops between the husks and the ripe kernels where the kernels will blacken, contort and swell to form this musty fungus; valued for centuries in Mexico; has an earthy and distinct taste finally similar to mushrooms or truffles; lends a black hue and resonant aroma to stuffings for empanadas, tamales and quesadillas; makes distinctive sauces; usually sold cut from the cob and frozen; needs cooking to release flavor and aroma; often sauteed with roasted garlic and onions, and either fresh marjoram, oregano or epazote, then simmered with a little water or stock; harvested during the rainy season, usually late spring to early fall.
Hull
To remove the outer covering, or pull out the stem (the green calyx) and leafy top portion, of berries, especially strawberries.
Human Milk
Human breast milk is about 20 calories per ounce. It is about 40% carbohydrate, 50% fat, and 10% protein. Human milk contains certain protein immune substances that are lacking in cow's milk and infant formulas.
Hummus
A puree or dip of crushed cooked chickpeas flavoured with tahini (pounded sesame seeds), oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Hunza apricots
Very sweet and scented apricots that come from the Hunza valley in Pakistan.
Hyacinth Bean
An Old World vine of the legume family. The beans are black or white and are contained in a papery, beaked pod.
Hydrogenate
The process of hardening an unsaturated oil into a semisolid by transforming it into a saturated fat.
Hygrometer
A device used to measure the humidity.
Hyssop
An aromatic perennial herb from the Mediterranean region. During the Middle Ages it was popular as a flavouring for soups and stuffings but now its main use is in the distillation of liqueurs, such as Chartreuse. However, the young leaves can be used in cooking to aid digestion of fatty or rich foods, eg as a seasoning for oily fish or to flavour stuffings.
Ibarra chocolate
The traditional Mexican chocolate; contains cinnamon, ground almonds and sugar; the modern version of an Aztec chocolate drink that sometimes contained chiles; ideal for making hot chocolate, but should not be substituted for regular chocolate in most other recipes; there are a few dessert recipes which call for Ibarra chocolate; can be purchased in most grocery stores throughout the Southwest.
Ice Cream
America's most popular dessert, a frozen food made from milk products, sweeteners, and flavorings. The first ice cream was served by King Charles I, around 1640. He ordered the cook to keep the recipe a secret forever. He didn't.
Ice Milk
This dessert is made much the same way as ice cream, but with less milk fat.
Iceberg Lettuce
The most popular variety of lettuce. Although less flavorful and less nutritious as the other varieties, it costs less, is easier to shred, and keeps longer than other varieties.
Icing
Sweet coating for cakes and pasties - most often sugar-based and flavored.
Ile flottante
A very light dessert made from egg whites and sugar, cooked in a bain-marie, and served on a custard cream. The name means 'floating island'.
Imam bayildi
A Turkish dish of stuffed aubergines whose name neams 'the imam fainted'. According to legend, a certain imam or priest was so moved by the fragrant smell of the dish that he fainted from sheer joy. The stuffing is made with a mixture of aubergine pulp, onions and tomato.
Imbu
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, averages an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called "yellow mombin."
Indian cress
Nasturtium leaves and flowers, used in salads.
Indian meal
Yellow cornmeal.
Infuse
To extract the flavour from herbs, spices, tea or coffee either by pouring on boiling water and allowing the water to take on the flavours before drinking hot, or by bringing the mixture to the boil and allowing it to cool.
Infusion
The flavor that is extracted from any ingredient such as tea leaves, herbs or fruit by steeping them in a liquid such as water, oil or vinegar.
Involtini
Thin slices of meat or fish which are stuffed and rolled. They may then be sauteed, grilled or baked.
Iodize
To combine or impregnate with iodine. Iodine is a chemical element that is used to help prevent thyroid disorders.
Iodized Salt
Table salt to which sodium iodine has been added. This additive is a preventative for hyperthyroidism ("goiter").
Iplermagronen
Swiss specialty of macaroni, potatoes, onions, cheese and cream.
Iraqi Cuisine
Iraqi food is rich and diverse, incorporating spices typical of Arabic cooking, such as saffron and mint. The preferred meats in Iraq are lamb, beef, goat, mutton and poultry; Muslims do not eat pork or pork products. As in other Middle Eastern countries, Iraqi meat dishes often combine vegetables and rice. Iraqui popular main courses include kebabs, which are skewered chunks of grilled meat; quzi, roasted and stuffed lamb; and kubba, which is minced meat with nuts, raisins and spices. Masgouf is a special dish made from fish that live in the Tigres river. Another popular dish is tripe, a dish made of cow's stomach. Most meals are accompanied by flat rounds of bread (samoons). For dessert, people enjoy some of Iraq's local fruits, rice pudding, Turkish Delight, sesame cookies, or baklava, a pastry made with honey and pistachios layered between filo sheets. The most widely consumed drinks in Iraq are coffee and tea. Arabic coffee is famous for its strong flavor. In Iraq, people brew their coffee thick and bitter, and serve it black. Tea is usually served in small glasses and drunk sweetened, without milk. Fruit juices and soft drinks are also popular.
Irish coffee
A drink made from black coffee, sugar and Irish whiskey, topped with fresh cream.
Irish Soda Bread
A classic Irish quickbread that uses baking soda as its leavener. This bread is often made with buttermilk and is sprinkled with currants and caraway seeds.
Irish stew
A stew including mutton and vegetables.
Isinglass
Gelatin made from fish viscera.
Italian sausage
A popular pizza topping consisting of pork flavored with garlic and fennel. Available in sweet and hot styles, the latter of which contains hot peppers.
Italian Style Pork Sausage
Fresh sausage -- Fresh pork sausage, highly seasoned; cook thoroughly before use.
Jack Bean Seed
Also known as "horse bean seed." This bean looks like a very large lima bean. The pod is inedible unless the plant is very young. Avoid pods bulging with beans as this is an indication of age.
Jackfruit
A large fruit related to the fig and the breadfruit. This fruit, indigenous to Africa, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, which weighs up to 100 pounds, is used in desserts.
Jackrabbit
A hare native to North America; originally called "jackass rabbit" because of its long ears; five-pound jackrabbits are about one year old and are best for roasting; the meat is dark, rich and more gamey than rabbit.
Jalapeno cheese
Asadero cheese blended and molded with jalapeno chiles; jalapeno jack may be substituted.
Jalapeno peppers
The dark green jalapeno is the unripe version of the red which often ships with white veins on the outer skin. This does not affect the flavor or quality. They are about 3 inches long, with a rounded tip. They ripen to red and range from hot to very hot, the smallest being the hottest; they take their name from Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz, Mexico; sold fresh, canned or pickled; when dried and smoked, they are called chipotle peppers. Delicious when roasted, stewed or pickled; both are a delight stuffed with cheese or peanut butter and grilled. Jalapeno Poppers became popular in the 90s. Heat ranges from hot to very hot.
Jam
Thick syrupy mixture of fruit and sugar.
Jamaican Breadnut
The seeds of a tree from the mulberry family that is grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. These seeds are boiled, ground into flour and made into bread. Also called "Ramons."
Jambalaya
A spicy Cajun rice dish from Louisiana with ham, sausage, chillies and tomatoes.
Jamberry
A small fruit, also called the "tomatillo," that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.
Jambolan
An olive-sized fruit of a tropical evergreen that is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia to the Philippines. The several varieties vary in sweetness and range from white to dark purple. Also called the "Java plum."
Japanese fish sauce
A powerful sauce, made of small fermented fish, used sparingly as a flavouring and as a condiment.
Japanese Gelatin
A tasteless dried seaweed that is used as a thickening agent. Sold in blocks, powder, or stands. Agar can be used in place of gelatin, but less is required. Also called "agar" and "kanten."
Japanese Horseradish
A horseradish that is dried, powdered, and made into a pale green paste with an extremely potent flavor. Often mixed with soy sauce and served with sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese specialties. Also called "wasabi."
Japanese Medlar
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes. Also called "loquat" and "Japanese Plum."
Japanese Plum
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes. Also called "loquat" and "Japanese Medlar."
Japanese Soba Noodles
The brownish buckwheat soba noodles from Japan are becoming more popular as their beguiling nutty flavor and nutritional value engage the attention of Western cooks. Rich in protein and fiber, they are most commonly served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in soups. Soba noodles are extraordinarily versatile and lend themselves to salads and stir-fried dishes as well. You can find soba noodles flavored with green tea, lemon zest, or black sesame seeds. For the best-quality check out the Japanese brands. To cook boil fresh noodles 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or dried ones 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.
Japanese Soy sauce
Chinese soy is very different from Japanese. Japanese soys contain much more wheat flour and sugar. Buy in larger quantities in a Japanese market. It is cheaper that way and it will keep well if kept sealed.
Japanese White Radish
This radish has a sweet flavor and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Used raw, in salads, in stir-fries, and as a garnish. Also called "Daikon."
Jardiniere
A French term that refers to dishes garnished with vegetables.
Jarlsberg cheese
A mild semi-firm Swiss-style cheese from Norway with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Jasmine rice
Fragrant long grain rice from Thailand that is distinctly aromatic when cooked. The length of each grain is four to five times its width.
Java Plum
An olive-sized fruit of a tropical evergreen that is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia to the Philippines. The several varieties vary in sweetness and range from white to dark purple. Related to the rose apple and the pitanga.
Javelina
Collared peccary; small wild pig found in the Southwest.
Jellied Beef Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Cooked beef, shredded and molded with gelatin, and cooked in loaf or roll. Also available are Jellied Tongue, Jellied Corned Beef and Jellied Veal Loaf.
Jellied Corned Beef
Cooked meat specialty, made from precooked, lean corned beef which is shredded and mixed with pure gelatin, formed into a loaf and cooked.
Jellyroll
A thin sheet of sponge cake layered with jelly and then rolled up.
Jerky
Meat that is cut into long, narrow, strips then dried. Beef is the most commonly used meat for jerky. Also known as "Jerked Meat."
Jerusalem Artichoke
Not to be confused with the globe artichoke, the Jerusalem artichoke belongs to the sunflower family and it is the plant’s underground tubers that are eaten. They are rather knobbly and irregular in shape, with a pale brown or purply-red skin. Scrub them and boil or steam until tender and then peel. If a recipe calls for peeled Jerusalem artichokes, peel them and drop into acidulated water until ready to use. Can be used as a main ingredient or side serving. Often baked and cooked in soups.
Jew's Ear
A fungus that resembles a human ear. It is found almost exclusively on dead elder tree branches. Used in many Chinese dishes and is also know as "Chinese fungus." Normally dried before use.
Jicama
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Mexican potato."
Jobo
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, averages an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called "yellow mombin."
Jocoque
Mexican sour cream that has equal or less fat content than American sour cream. Also referred to as salted buttermilk, although thicker. Its flavors range from mildly tangy to refreshingly sharp.
John Dory
Found in European waters, this white-fleshed sea fish, also known as St Peter's fish, is an odd-looking creature with an oval, flat body and a large, spiny head. The flesh is delicate and mild and can be cooked in a variety of ways including grilling, sauteing and poaching.
Joint
Prime cut of meat for roasting; to divide meat, game or poultry into individual pieces.
Jugged
Meat or wild game dishes, such as jugged hare, which is stewed in a covered pot.
Jujube
A small, hard, gelatinous candy with a fruit-flavor. Also refers to a Chinese jujube, a red, olive-sized fruit with a leathery skin with a prune-like flavor.
Julienne
Vegetables or citrus zest shredded or cut into thin matchsticks. The julienne is cooked in butter in a covered pan until quite soft and then used as a garnish, especially for soups and consommes. Raw vegetables to be served as an hors d'oeuvre can also be cut as a julienne.
Juniper berries
The darkish berries of the juniper tree provide the main flavouring for gin. These spicy, aromatic berries are also used, fresh or dried, crushed or whole, to flavour casseroles, marinades and stuffings, and complement pork, rabbit and beef, especially pork pates. They can also be used in sweet dishes such as fruit cake.
Jus
This French word is roughly the equivalent of 'juice', but it has more specific meanings in French cookery: a. the unthickened juices from a piece of roast meat
b. the juice squeezed from raw vegetables or fruit
Kaffir lime leaves
Dried leaves from the Kaffir lime tree. Pale green in color, resembling a bay leaf. Purchase in packages in Oriental markets.
Kahlua
A sweet coffee liqueur imported from Mexico.
Kalakukko
A Finnish dish of bread filled with fish.
Kale
A non-heading member of the cabbage family. Cultivated for over 2,000 years, this vegetable can be prepared and eaten in much the same way as spinach.
Kamoboko
A variety of Japanese fish paste cake.
Kampyo
Japanese gourd shavings that are a popular stuffing for sushi. Find in Japanese markets.
Kamut
A variety of high-protein wheat that hasn't yet been hybridized. Kamut kernels are two-to-three times larger than most wheat and provides a higher nutritional value.
Kanpyo
Strips of dried gourd, popular in Japan. The strips are soaked in water to soften before they are used in sushi, soups, and broths.
Kanten
A tasteless dried seaweed that is used as a thickening agent. Sold in blocks, powder, or stands. Agar can be used in place of gelatin, but less is required. Also called "agar" and "Japanese Gelatin."
Kasha
Also known as "buckwheat groats." Kasha is the hulled, crushed kernels of buckwheat. Normally cooked like rice and is available in coarse, medium, and fine grains.
Katsuo
This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. "Katsuo" is the Japanese name for this fish. The Hawaiians call it "aku."
Katuray
The edible flower of a tree native to the South Pacific and parts of Asia. Especially popular as a food in the Philippines. Also called "Sesbania Flower."
Kebab
A dish of small pieces of meat or vegetables threaded on skewers and cooked over coals or a grill. Usually associated with Middle Eastern cookery.
Kedgeree
Traditional British breakfast dish, originally from India, mainly consisting of rice, cooked flaked fish and hard-boiled eggs. The fish is usually smoked haddock.
Kefir
A fermented milk drink similar to a lassi, flavored with salt or spices. Where available, kefir is made with camel milk. The word "kefir" is derived from the Turkish word keif, which loosely translates to; good-feeling, feeling of well-being or feeling-good. Kefir is a refreshing probiotic cultured-milk beverage, which is believed to originate in the Northern Caucasus Mountains many centuries ago. Kefir has a uniform thick creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma of fresh yeast. Kefir also has a slight naturally carbonated effervescent "zest". To round this all off, kefir may contain between 0.08 to 2 % alcohol. Many aromatic compounds contribute to kefir's unique flavor and distinctive pleasant aroma.
Kelp
A long, dark brown to grayish-black algae which is harvested, sun-dried, then folded into sheets. A popular ingredient in Japanese cookery. Sometimes pickled and used as a condiment.
Ketchup
A thick, slightly sweet sauce, with one flavour predominating, often used as a cold accompaniment to meals. The best known type is tomato.
Ketjap manis or kecap manis
Similar to soy sauce but sweeter, this extremely rich, dark and thick sauce is used in marinades or as a condiment in Indonesian cooking. The sweetness comes from palm sugar and other flavourings include garlic and star anise.
Key limes
Small, yellow-green limes that are tarter in flavor than the more common Persian limes. They are most famous for their role in key lime pie, the tangy custard pie made with a meringue topping. Key limes are often hard to find.
Kidney
The kidneys are a pair of glandular organs in the abdominal cavities of mammals and reptiles. Calf's and lamb's kidneys are amongst the most delicate. Pig's kidneys are larger and coarser and make good pâtés.
Kidney bean
A popular, firm bean with a dark red skin and a full-bodied flavor. Considered the world's second most important bean (behind the soybean). Popular in "chili con carne" (chili with meat), soups, and salads.
Kielbasa
A highly seasoned smoked sausage of Polish origin made from pork and (sometimes) beef. It is flavored with garlic and other spices. Can be served cold or hot.
Killing the Onion
A Turkish technique for taming onions is described as "killing" the onion: soaking it in salted water to draw out some of its harshness.
Kimchi (kimchee)
The fiery cabbage-based staple of Korea, heavily seasoned with garlic and chile.
King Crab
A giant crab that can grow up to 10 feet, claw-to-claw. It has snowy white meat edged in red. Because their numbers are rapidly decreasing, the catch is rigidly quota-controlled.
King Salmon
Considered the finest Pacific salmon. This high-fat, soft textured fish can reach up to 120 pounds. Also called the "Chinook Salmon."
Kingfish
Any of several varieties of drum found along the Atlantic coast.
Kipper
Salted, smoked herring.
Kippered Snack
Herring that is split, cured by salting, drying, and cold-smoking. Also called "Kippered Herring" and "Kippers."
Kirsh
A clear form of brandy that is distilled from cherry juice and pits. "Kirsh" means "cherry" in German. Kirsh is used in fondues and Cherries Jubilee.
Kitchen Bouquet
Brand name for a bottled seasoning used to flavor and color gravy. It is also known as "baker's caramel (burnt sugar caramel)" or "blackjack." You can make your own by combining 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Gradually add 1 cup boiling water; continue cooking until it becomes syrupy (about 15 minutes).
Kitchen paper
Paper towel.
Kiwano
An exotic fruit, also known as horned cucumber or jelly melon, with a spikey orange skin. The kiwano's pulp is a pale yellow-green colour and jellylike in texture with a sweet-tart flavour reminiscent of bananas and cucumbers.
Kiwi
The kiwi fruit is originally from China, but is now widely grown in all moderate climates. Its stark green color makes it a popular garnish, but it is a pleasant tasting fruit on its own. It has a unique tart-sweet taste. Also known as the "Chinese gooseberry."
Knackwurst
A smoked and cooked sausage made from beef and/or pork. It is shorter and larger in diameter than a frank and is strongly seasoned with garlic.
Knead
To work and stretch dough either by hand or an electric dough hook. The process makes the mixture smoother and softer or more elastic and evenly incorporates air or additional ingredients at the same time.
Knish
A Jewish potato pancake that is deep-fried or baked. Sometimes meat (primarily beef) or other ingredients are encased in its outer dough.
Kohlrabi
Pale green or purple coloured bulb-shaped vegetable of the cabbage family. It cooks like a turnip and is said to taste of asparagus. Popular in German cookery.
Kolbassy
A highly seasoned smoked sausage of Polish origin made from pork and (sometimes) beef. It is flavored with garlic and other spices. Can be served cold or hot. Also called "polish sausage" or "Kielbassa."
Kombu (Konbu)
A large edible seaweed used in Japanese cooking.
Kome-Kogi
Miso made from rice.
Korean Buckwheat Noodles
One of the most popular varieties of noodles among the Koreans are the brownish noodles known as "naengmyon" which are sold dried. They are made with buckwheat flour and potato starch and are slightly chewier than soba noodles. To prepare buckwheat noodles boil for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Naengmyon are mostly used in soups.
Korean Pickling Salt
A coarse salt used in making Korean delicacies like Kimchee. Substitute kosher salt if necessary.
Kosher
Derived from the Hebrew word "kasher," which means "proper" or "pure." Kosher foods conform to strict Jewish biblical laws pertaining to the type of food eaten, the kinds of foods combined in one meal, and how an animal is killed.
Kosher salt
Coarse salt used for pickling.
Koulibiac
A Russian pie filled with fish, vegetables, rice and hard-boiled eggs. European cooks have adapted and varied the recipe in many ways, making it with brioche dough or puff pastry and filling it with rice, chicken and mushrooms or with salmon, onions, parsley and shallots.
Koyodofu
Dried tofu (soybean curd cake).
Kugelhopf
A yeast cake from Alsace baked in a large crown-like earthenware dish. It is similar to brioche, though less rich, and flavored with currants or golden raisins and almonds. This is mainly eaten for breakfast.
Kummel
A sweet, clear liqueur that has been flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel.
Kumquat
Small citrus fruit originating in central China but now cultivated in the Far East, Australia and America. Kumquats can be eaten whole - including the skin - or used for pickling and preserves. They are particularly good in stuffings for poultry.
Lactose
Also called "milk sugar," lactose is that sugar that occurs naturally in milk. It is less sweet than any of the other sugars. Used in baby formulas and candies.
Ladies' fingers
An alternative name (because of its appearance) for okra, an ingredient that is widely used in Indian, Caribbean and southern US cookery where it is an essential ingredient of gumbo. A long green pod, full of seeds, the okra exudes a sticky juice in cooking which thickens stews and braised dishes.
Ladyfingers
Known in Italy as "savoiardi." Sweet, light, delicate sponge cake roughly shaped like a rather large, fat finger. It's used as an accompaniment to ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Ladyfingers are also employed as an integral part of some desserts, including Charlottes. Ladyfingers can be made at home or purchased in bakeries or supermarkets. According to the Parisian cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, leftover sponge cake, brioche, or genoise cake may be used in place of ladyfingers. They advise cooks to be careful, for ladyfinger batter is very fragile. They recommend folding the flour and yolks in very carefully into the meringue so that the whites don't lose their volume. Ladyfingers may be stored up to a week in an airtight container. They may also be frozen to extend their useful life.
Lagniappe
An old Creole word for "something extra." Soup meat is the lagniappe from vegetable soup preparation.
Lahvosh
A round, flat, crispbread that ranges from about 6 to 14 inches in diameter. Also known as "Armenian Cracker Bread."
Lake Herring
One of the most prized whitefish found in the Great Lakes and in Canada. May be prepared in any manner suitable for salmon. Also called "cisco" and "chub."
Lamb
A sheep under 1 year old. "Baby lamb" in slaughtered at between 6 - 8 weeks of age, "spring lamb" at 3 - 5 months, "regular lamb" at under one year. Lamb over 1 year old is "mutton" and is less tender and has a stronger flavor than lamb.
Land cress
Land cress, curly cress, broadleaf cress and upland cress are all quick-growing, delicate textured greens that have the sharp, peppery flavor of watercress. Great in salads and sandwiches or paired with delicate vegetables such as beets or potatoes.
Langouste
Spiny lobster, differentiating from Maine lobsters in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.
Langoustine
Another name for the Dublin Bay prawn, also known as Norway lobster and scampi, available fresh or frozen, in and out of their shells. Cook by boiling or grilling, if fresh.
Lard
Rendered and clarified pork fat, lard is a fine white fat which is less used these days because of its high animal-fat content. It is used particularly for slow cooking but also for deep-frying and for making pastry.
Larding
To introduce fat to lean meat by threading slivers of bacon or salt pork through it. Or to thread vegetables into the meat. Larding with vegetables gives the meat a contrast of color plus the addition of flavor. This practice is not used as often now because of the higher quality of meat available.
Lardons
Lardons are small, chunky strips of fat bacon or pork fat (smoked or unsmoked) used to flavour dishes such as quiches or salads or they can be sweated with onions as a base for soup.
Larrup
molasses; also called blackstrap.
Lasagna
A wide, flat pasta noodle with a ruffled or plain edge. The dish called lasagne is usually prepared with alternate layers of bolognese sauce, pasta and bechamel sauce, topped with grated parmesan cheese and baked in the oven until browned. A meat is sometimes included. The plural of "lasagna" is "lasagne."
Lassi
A traditional Indian drink that used to be made from buttermilk poured into earthenware crocks, with salt added to combat dehydration in the hot climate. It is now made from thin yogurt, with salt or sugar. To make your own, dilute plain yogurt, with water or milk, add salt or sugar to taste, then blend vigorously with crushed ice.
Lattice topping
A topping consisting of strips of dough crisscrossed atop a pie.
Laurel
Tree on which bay leaves are grown; used as a seasoning in many dishes, the leaves should always be removed before serving.
Laver
A very nutritious seaweed that is normally sold in tissue-thin sheets. It has a tangy, sweet flavor and a dark purple color. Used in soups or deep-fried as an appetizer.
Leaven
Adding a leaving agent such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda to ingredients in order to allow either dough or batter to rise.
Leavening agent
An ingredient that causes dough or batter to rise, lightening its texture and increasing its volume, such as beaten eggs or egg whites, baking powder, baking soda and yeast.
Lebanon Bologna
Semi-dry sausage -- Originated in Lebanon, Pennsylvania; made of coarsely chopped beef; heavily smoked; has a tart, tangy taste; dark surface appearance.
Leeks
Leeks look like very large green onions (scallion) in the produce section. The leek is related to both garlic and the onion even though its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle. Because they are so sweet, leeks are often cooked and served as a side vegetable. Wash carefully to remove the dirt between the layers. Look for leeks with lots of white.
Lefse
A thin, flat potato pancake, about the consistency of a tortilla and cooked by similar method. Very mild, starchy, slightly sweet taste. Lefse is enhanced by the addition of peanut butter, brown sugar or lutefisk.
Lemon
Very sharp, acidic citrus fruit rich in vitamin C but with a low sugar content. Used mainly for its juice to flavour drinks, sweet and savoury dishes and as an accompaniment to fish. The aromatic zest or outer rind contains essential oils and is also used as a flavouring. Remove it by grating, using a potato peeler or a zester; take care not to remove any pith with the zest, as it is very bitter.
Lemon balm
As its name suggests, this leafy, green herb has a lemon flavour and fragrance, lending itself well to fish, poultry and vegetables as well as salads, stuffings and drinks.
Lemon grass
A main ingredient in Thai and south-east Asian cuisines, lemon grass is a root that can be used fresh, dried or powdered to impart its lemon flavour to sweet or savoury dishes.
Lemon sole
Lemon sole is in fact a flounder. Flounders can be bought as fillets or whole and cooked by grilling, frying or serving with a sauce.
Lemon verbena
Fragrant, sweet, lemony herb that makes a good tea and adds delicate flavor to custards and similar desserts.
Lemon zest
The outer part of the lemon skin (yellow part of the peel only), grated fine and used as a flavoring agent or garnish.
Lemonade
A popular beverage made of lemon juice, sugar, and water.
Lentils
Flat and round, lentils are the fastest cooking of all dried beans. The three major varieties are Le Puy, the most intensely flavored lentil; common green or brown lentils; and yellow or red lentils, which are popular in Indian cooking- particularly Dal.
Lettuce
There are several hundred varieties of lettuce. The four most general classifications include "butterhead," "crisphead," "leaf," and "Romaine." The darker green outer leaves contain the most vitamins.
Liaison
The process of thickening a sauce, soup or stew. This includes all rouxs, starch and water mixtures (slurries), beurre marni and egg yolks with or without cream. Egg yolks must be tempered with hot liquid before adding to the liquid in order to prevent curdling.
Lick
molasses; also called blackstrap or larrup.
Licorice
A plant whose root provides an extract that has long been used to flavor confections and medicines. "Licorice" also refers to candy that has been flavored with licorice extract.
Light Soy sauce
To be used when you don't want to color a dish with caramel coloring, which is what dark soy contains. Do not confuse this with "Lite" soy sauce.
Lighter Bake
made by Sunsweet - a 100% fat- and cholesterol-free baking ingredient that replaces butter, margarine, oil or shortening in scratch recipes and packaged mixes. Made from a blend of dried plums and apples, this new fat "imposter" creates moist, chewy baked goods that are lower in fat. Lighter Bake is located in the cooking oil or baking ingredients section of supermarkets nationwide.
Lightnin' bread
Quick breads leavened with baking soda or baking powder.
Lima Bean
A pale green, plump-bodied bean with a slight kidney-shaped curve. Baby limas are smaller and milder than the Fordhook variety (which are not mature baby limas). The popular combination of lima beans and corn is called "succotash."
Limburger Cheese
A highly aromatic whole cow's milk cheese with a cream-colored interior and a light grayish brown surface. It originated in Belgium but most of it is imported from Germany. Most consider it an acquired taste.
Lime
This small, green citrus fruit is used mainly for its juice, added to cooked dishes (especially in Asian cuisine) and to drinks.

Lime leaves

The leaves of a wild lime tree which appear as double leaves joined tip to end and have a spicy, lemon flavour; the leaves give a distinctive citrus scent to soups and curries of Thai and Indonesian cooking.

Limoncello
Lemon liqueur. A digestif made only in Italy along the Amalfi Coast and on the islands of Ischia and Capri.
Limousin Beef
A breed of cattle which is naturally lower in fat and cholesterol. These cattle were brought to the United States from France around 1930.
Lingcod
A North American Pacific coast fish with a mildly sweet flavor and a firm, lean texture.
Lingonberry
Lingonberries are a dark red soft fruit, traditionally used in Swedish cooking.
Linguica
Uncooked, smoked sausage -- Portuguese sausage made from coarsely ground pork butts, seasoned with garlic, cumin seeds and cinnamon, cured in vinegar pickling liquid before stuffing; smoked; also called Longanzia.
Linguine
A flattened spaghetti-like pasta.
Linseed Oil, Edible
An oil pressed from flaxseed.
Linzertorte
An Austrian pastry comprised of a short crust dough flavored with ground almonds and hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest. This is then spread with raspberry jam and topped with a cross-hatch of dough. Almond paste is sometimes layered underneath the raspberry jam. Other versions of this use fresh cranberries or apricots in the filling.
Liqueur
Sweet alcoholic beverages flavored with fruits, herbs or spices, usually served after dinner. Some, such as Amaretto and Grand Marnier, are useful as flavorings in desserts.
Liquid Smoke
Find in the condiment section of supermarkets.
Litchi
This fruit is used in salads and as a dessert. It has a creamy white flesh that is juicy and sweet. The litchi has been cultivated in China for over 2,000 years. Dried litchis are eaten like nuts. Also called the "lychee nut."
Littleneck clams
There are essentially two types of clams - the softshell (or steamer) and the hardshell (or quahog). Littlenecks are the smallest of the hardshells.
Liver
This nutritious organ meat filters toxins from the blood. Select the youngest liver you can find. Poultry generally offers the mildest flavored and most tender livers; pork has the strongest and toughest liver of those commonly available.
Liver Cheese or Liver Loaf
Cooked sausage, sometimes called liver pudding -- Ingredients and processing similar to liver sausage but with slight alteration to achieve more body for slicing. Molded in sandwich-size brick shape.
Liver Sausage, Liverwurst
Cooked sausage -- Finely ground, selected pork and livers; seasoned with onions and spices; may also be smoked after cooking or may include smoked meat such as bacon.
Liverwurst
German for "liver sausage." Liverwurst is a ready-to-eat sausage of at least 30% ground pork liver plus other meats combined with spices and seasonings. The most famous liverwurst is called "Braunschweiger."
Livornaise
A sauce made with olive oil, egg yolks and anchovy paste.
Lobster
A sea crustacean related to the crayfish, crawfish and crab and found in cold seas. It is the largest, most sought-after shellfish and is usually sold whole. Lobster is best cooked simply by boiling, steaming or grilling.
Lobster mushroom
A wild mushroom that has a firm texture and a red and orange color like lobster shells.
Loganberry
A cross between the blackberry and raspberry. It has a less subtle flavour than the raspberry and can be quite tart, so needs plenty of sugar when used in desserts.
Loin
Cut of either pork or lamb which is taken from the back. Sold as a roasting joint, with or without bones, as well as chops and steaks which are good for grilling and barbecues.
Lola (Lolita)
Dry sausage -- Italian origin; made of mildly seasoned pork; contains garlic.
London Broil
A flank steak that has been cut into large pieces, tenderized by marinating, broiled or grilled, then sliced into thin strips across the grain before it is served.
Long Island Tea
An alcoholic beverage consisting of gin, vodka, cola and lemon. Tequila is sometimes also used.
Longan
A small, round fruit with a thin brown shell. Its flesh is soft, white, juicy, and surrounds one large black seed. Used as a snack, in oriental soups, desserts, and some sweet-and-sour dishes.
Longbean
A pencil-thin legume from the black-eye pea family that looks like a very long green bean. These beans can grow a yard long, but are usually picked at 18" or less. These beans are slightly less sweet and crispy as the green bean.
Longhorn cheese
Mild Cheddar cheese produced in the United States; any mild Cheddar can be substituted.
Loofah
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge. Also called "vegetable sponge" and "sponge gourd."
Looseleaf Lettuce
Looseleaf lettuce varieties include "greenleaf," "oakleaf," and "redleaf." These varieties of lettuce offer large loose heads of crisp, delicately flavored leaves. More perishable than iceberg or romaine.
Lop Chong
Sweet pork sausage.
Loquat
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes.
Lotte
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster." Also called "angler fish," "monkfish," and "goosefish."
Lotus
The lotus is a water lily whose leaves, root, and seeds are used in oriental cooking. The root can be used as a vegetable. The seeds are used in desserts.
Lotus leaves
Very large leaves that, after reconstituting, can be used as wrappers in Asian cuisine.
Lovage
Also known as sea parsley, the leaves and stem of the lovage plant add an intense celery flavour to soups, stews and stocks or pork and poultry dishes, as well as enhancing any potato dishes.
Lox
Smoked, oiled salmon.
Lumpia
This Philippine version of the Egg Roll consists of a lumpia wrapper (a thin skin made of flour or cornstarch, eggs and water) wrapped around a filling and fried. Sometimes a lettuce leaf is used to enfold the filling mixture, in which case lumpia is not fried. The filling can be made of chopped raw or cooked vegetables, meat or a combination of the two. Lumpia can be served as an appetizer or side dish.
Luncheon Meat
Cooked meat specialty -- Chopped Pork, ham and/or beef, tastily seasoned and ready to serve. Available in loaves, canned or sliced in vacuum packages, sliced.
Lupine
This flat, yellow bean native to the Mediterranean basin, has been cultivated since ancient times. A three-hour soaking in water removes a bitter taste. Occasionally eaten roasted as a snack.
Lutefisk
Fish dish of dried cod, cured in lye, then reconstituted by boiling. Traditionally served with clarified butter or in white sauce and served with lefse. In its finest form, lutefisk has a delicately mild buttery flavor and flaky consistency. In its not-so-fine form, it is reminiscent of fish-flavored gelatin.
Lychee
A fruit that originated in China and which is now grown in the Far East and the West Indies. It is about the size of a small plum and has a thin, hard rough shell that is easily removed. The white, juicy flesh surrounds a large dark-brown stone. In Europe, fresh lychees are available from November to January, but they are probably most often sold tinned, preserved in sugar syrup.
Lyonnaise
(a la). a la lyonnaise describes various dishes, usually sauteed, characterised by the use of chopped onions, cooked in butter until golden and often finished off with vinegar and sprinkled with chopped parsley. Lyonnaise sauce is a classic French sauce made with onions and white wine, then strained and served with meat or poultry.
Lyonnaise Sauce
A classic French sauce preparation made with sauteed onions, white wine and demi-glace. The sauce is strained before being served with meats and sometime poultry.
Lyons Sausage
Dry sausage -- An all-pork sausage with finely diced fat; of French origin; seasoned with spices and garlic; cured and air dried.
Macadamia
A relatively expensive nut that is native to Australia. Its white kernel has a taste reminiscent of coconut. In Asia it is used in curries and stews; in the United States it is a flavouring for ices and cakes. Also known as "bush nut."
Macaire
A potato pancake made with seasoned potato puree.
Macaroni
A noodle made from semolina and water. Most are tube-shaped, but twists and ribbons are available too. Popular tube shapes are: elbow (short, curved), mostaccioli (large, diagonally cut), rigatoni (short, grooved), ziti (long, thin).
Macaroni and Cheese Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Made of finely ground pork and beef with generous quantities of Cheddar cheese and macaroni distributed throughout.
Macaroon
A small biscuit or cake, crunchy outside and soft inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Macaroons are sometimes flavoured with coffeee, chocolate, nuts, fruit etc.
Mace
A spice derived from the outer layer of nutmeg, mace is sold either in blades or ground. It adds a mild nutmeg flavour to soups and sauces as well as sausages, pates and fish dishes.
Macedoine
A mixture of fruit or vegetables. Vegetable macedoine are cut into small dice and used as a garnish to meats. Fruit macedoine are cut in larger pieces and often marinated in sugar syrup with liqueur.
Macerate
To soak raw, dried or preserved fruit or vegetables in liquid (usually alcohol, liqueur, wine, brandy or sugar syrup) to soften or take away bitterness and so that they absorb the flavour of the liquid. Dried fruits for winter compotes are often treated this way.
Mache
A wild lettuce with small round leaves that may be used for salads or cooked and used as you would spinach. The taste is a little less pronounced than spinach. Mache grows wild, and can be found in the fall. It is cultivated in France, Italy, and the US from September to April. It is also known as lamb's lettuce and field salad.
Mackerel
A firm-fleshed oil-rich fish, usually sold whole. Can be grilled, fried, barbecued or poached. It also suits being pickled, marinated, salted and smoked.
Mackerel, King
Also called the "kingfish," this is the most popular variety of mackerel. This fish has a firm, high-fat flesh with a savory flavor.
Mackerel, Pacific
Also called the "chub," this species of Pacific mackerel is also found in the Mediterranean. Like other mackerels, this fish is fatty and has a strong flavor.
Madeira
Madeira is a fortified wine that comes from the island of the same name. Drunk as an aperitif, especially served chilled, but also used in cooking where it is similar to a dry sherry.
Madeleine
French scallop-shaped cake, made with sugar, flour, melted butter and eggs, often flavoured with lemon or almonds.
Magret
The breast meat from a mallard or Barbary duck. These ducks are specially raised for foie gras. Their breasts are large and have a much thinner layer of fat than do the Peking or Long Island duckling.
Maguey
Cactus plant (Agave americana) from which tequila, mescal and pulque are made.
Mahi Mahi
Also called "dolphin fish." Although this fish is a dolphin, it is not a mammal. To avoid this confusion, the Hawaiian name "Mahi Mahi" is becoming prevalent. This fish is moderately fat with firm, flavorful flesh. Mahi-mahi is a great alternative to swordfish.
Mai Tai
An alcoholic beverage made from light and dark rums, orgeat syrup, curacao, and orange and lime juices. In Tahitian, "Mai Tai" means "out of this world."
Main Dish
The main food to be eaten, most often at dinner accompanied by one or more side dishes.
Mako shark
Fairly inexpensive fish with ivory-pink flesh that resembles swordfish in color and texture (but not in appearance). Other available shark includes dusky, black tip, silky, lemon, bull, tiger, or hammerhead shark.
Malanga
A tuber sold in all Latin American markets and some supermarkets; you might find it under the name "yautia." Raw, it has the texture of jimica, but it is not eaten raw. It's best boiled, fried, or included in stews - in short treated exactly as a potato. Peel and trim before cooking.
Maldon salt
An exceptional sea salt which comes from the Maldon area of Essex. Sea salt is produced as the sea washes over rocks and then recedes with the tide, leaving pools of water. The sun evaporates the water and leaves the salt in the form of crystals that can be used in cooking or preserving, as whole crystals or ground.
Malt
A powder made by germinating, drying, and grinding grains. Enzymes are added during the process to partially convert the starch to sugar. This creates the sweet-tasting malt used in brewing, distilling, yeast-making, and vinegar.
Mame-Kogi
Miso made from soy beans.
Manchego
A Spanish cheese made from ewe's milk which originated in La Mancha. The cheese is very fatty and firm to the touch.
Mandarin
A cooking style which, in Chinese, means "Chinese official." Mandarin cooking is an aristocratic cuisine that takes the very finest elements from all the Chinese regions.
Mandarin Orange
A category of thin-skinned citrus fruit that includes several varieties. The most common variety sold in the U.S. is the "tangerine." It has a delicate, somewhat spicy tart.
Mandoline
The original food processor, and still highly useful, the mandoline is the easiest way to cut thin slices of vegetables.
Mango
The fruit of the tropical mango tree. The flesh is very juicy and pleasantly acid. Used in snacks, jams, jellies, and desserts. Green mangos are used to make pickles and chutney.
Mangosteen
A tropical fruit from south-east Asia, the mangosteen is the size of a small peach with a leathery skin which, when peeled away, reveals five sweetly scented white segments.
Manhattan
An alcoholic beverage made with bourbon or blended whiskey mixed with sweet vermouth and garnished with a maraschino cherry.
Manicotti
A tube-shaped pasta noodle approximately 4 inches long by 1 inch in diameter. Normally stuffed with a cheese or meat mixture, covered with a sauce, then baked before serving.
Manioc
A root with a crisp white flesh. There are two main categories of manioc: sweet and bitter. Bitter maniocs are toxic until cooked. Manioc is used to make "cassreep" and "tapioca." Also called "cassava."
Maple sugar
Sugar made from the sap of the sugar maple. It is sold loose or pressed into cakes or decorative molds.
Maple syrup
The boiled-down sap of the maple tree, this syrup is very popular in the United States and Canada. It is expensive; cheaper varieties are made from a mixture of maple syrup mixed with cane syrup.
Marchand de vin
A dark brown sauce made with meat and wine.
Marengo
A chicken or veal dish made with white wine, tomato and garlic. Chicken Marengo is said to have been served to Napoleon after his battle at the Italian town of the same name in 1800.
Margarine
Margarine was invented in the 1860s by a French chemist as a cheap replacement for butter. Nowadays it is bought as a product in its own right, frequently in the belief that it is a healthier option than butter. There are many types available using different fats and with differing flavours and uses. Some are purely vegetable-based, containing no animal products at all, and are labelled dairy-free or vegan. Others contain a mixture of animal and vegetable fats. Some are designed for spreading, and others are hard and designed for baking. All margarine contains as much fat as butter, but some are lower in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Margarita
An alcoholic beverage containing tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. A frozen margarita is blended with ice cubes.
Marguery
A Hollandaise sauce made with shellfish essence and wine.
Marinade
A highly seasoned liquid in which foods are soaked. Marinating foods permits them to absorb the flavor of the marinade. Most marinades contain a acid of some sort (lemon juice, vinegar, wine) which aid in tenderizing meats.
Marinara
A highly seasoned Italian tomato sauce used with pasta and some meats. Marinara is made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and oregano.
Marinate
To steep fish, meat or vegetables in a flavoured liquid (the marinade) usually containing oil, wine or lemon juice, herbs and spices, in order to tenderise and add flavour.
Mariniere
(a la). A method of preparing shellfish or other seafood, especially mussels, by cooking them in white wine, usually with onions or shallots.
Marjoram
A culinary herb from the mint family with a mild, sweet sagelike flavor. Used to flavor meats and stews.
Marlin
Sport-fishermen of big-game fishing find catching the great marlin a challenge. Found in the waters off Hawaii, Florida, Venezuela and Australia, marlin is available in other parts of the world sold as steaks. These are best cooked under the grill, on a barbecue or as kebabs.
Marmalade
A preserve of citrus fruits (most commonly oranges) and sugar.
Marmalade Plum
Fruit of a tree, native to Mexico and Central America, also called the "marmalade tree" or "sapote." It offers a sweet, edible fruit.
Marmite
A rich meat soup or stock; an earthenware stock pot.
Marrons
Chestnuts.
Marrow
Bone substance and gut eaten by Native Americans and pioneers.
Marrow Bean
A type of white bean that is generally dried before use.
Marrow Squash
Also known as "vegetable marrow," this oval squash-like gourd, which is related to the zucchini, has a bland flavor and is often stuffed with a meat filling.
Marsala
This is Italy's most famous fortified wine. It features a rich, smoky flavor that ranges from sweet to dry. Sweet Marsala is used as a dessert wine. Dry Marsala is often used as an apertif (a light, alcoholic drink appetizer).
Marshmallow
An American confection made from sugar gelatin, corn syrup, gum arabic, and flavoring. Some add egg whites for additional fluffiness. Marshmallows used to be made from the sweetened extract of the roots of the marshmallow plant.
Martini
An alcoholic beverage made with gin and vermouth, then garnished with a green olive or a lemon twist. A "dry" martini contains less vermouth. A "vodka martini" uses vodka instead of gin.
Marzipan
Thick paste made from ground almonds, sugar and egg whites that is used in making cakes and pastries, especially as a topping for Simnel cake or as a base for the icing on a Christmas or wedding cake. It can be coloured and flavoured and used to make petits fours. It can be also be moulded into the shapes of fruits, vegetables etc.
Masa
Dough of ground dried corn and flour; usually refers to ground nixtamal; instant corn flour tortilla mix; cornmeal dough made from dried corn kernels that have been softened in a lime solution, then ground; fresh frozen masa is available in supermarkets throughout the Southwest; comes finely ground in a dehydrated form and can be used to make tortillas and tamales.
Mascarpone Cheese
Soft and delicate Italian cream-enriched cow's milk cheese with a high butter fat content. Sometimes blended with other flavors or sweetened with fruit.
Mask
To cover completely, as with mayonnaise, jelly, ganache, aspic, etc.
Mastic
a resin that gives a sour flavor to dishes. A shrub rarely growing higher than 12 feet, much branched, and found freely scattered over the Mediterranean region, in Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey, the Canary Islands, and Tropical Africa. The best Mastic occurs in roundish tears about the size of a small pea, or in flattened, irregular pear-shape, or oblong pieces covered with a whitish powder. They are pale yellow in color, which darkens with age. The odor is agreeable and the taste mild and resinous, and when chewed it becomes soft, so that it can easily be masticated. This characteristic enables it to be distinguished from a resin called Sanderach, which it resembles, but which when bitten breaks to powder.
Mata pepper
Small; when fresh, extremely hot; use in fresh sauces or stir-fry into oil before adding vegetables; add to shaker jar with vinegar to make hot sauce.
Matafan
A thick pancake eaten sweet as a snack, or savory as an accompaniment to cheese. They are also made with bacon, spinach, and potatoes.
Matai
The nut-like kernel of a water plant that grows in southeast Asia. The flesh is white, crunchy, crisp, juicy and a somewhat sweet nutty flavor. More commonly known as "water chestnut."
Matelote
A fish stew made with wine. The Alsatian version of this dish is made with freshwater fish, Riesling wine, and thickened with cream and egg yolks. The Normandy version includes seafood and is flavored with cider and Calvados. These stews are normally embellished with pearl onions and mushrooms. Also, asauce made with court bouillon and red wine.
Matjes herring
A reddish herring that has been skinned and filleted before being cured in a spiced sugar-vinegar brine.
Matzo
A thin, crisp, unleavened bread that is traditionally eaten during the Jewish Passover. Tradition dictates that matzos be made only with water and flour, but moderns include certain flavors, such as onion.
Mayonnaise
A thick, creamy, cold sauce made by beating oil and egg yolks, usually with some wine vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard. Used to dress salads or mixed with other ingredients.
Meat
The part of the muscle of any cattle, sheep, swine, or goat that is skeletal or that is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus with or without the accompanying and overlying fat, and the portions of bone, skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels which normally accompany the muscle tissue and which are not separated from it in the process of dressing.
Meat tenderizer
Most chemical meat tenderizers are a powder composed chiefly of "papain," an enzyme extracted from papayas. This enzyme is effective in breaking down the meat fibers.
Meatball
Chopped meat formed into balls and cooked. Additional ingredients are sometimes added to the meat.
Megrim
Flat fish from the brill and turbot family.
Melba
The name given to various dishes dedicated to Dame Nellie Melba, the famous 19th-century Australian opera singer. The best known is peach Melba, created by Escoffier when he was chef at the Savoy in London. The original was an elaborate dish of a swan of ice with peaches on top on a bed of ice-cream and topped with spun sugar. Today, the dessert consists of peach halves on a bed of vanilla ice-cream and coated with raspberry puree.
Melba Toast
This accompaniment to soups and salads is a very thin, dry toast. Created by Auguste Escoffier for opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
Melon
There are three kinds of melons (aside from watermelon, a different species entirely). Small melons with ridged skin, such as the charentais, more common in Europe; and those with a meshed rind, such as cantaloupe; and those with a smooth rind, like the honeydew. When looking for ripe melons, an appetizing smell is a good sign. Shake the melon. Loose seeds are a fairly good indication of ripeness. Squeeze the ends, especially the one opposite the stem; it should be fairly tender, almost soft.
Menudo
Tripe and cow's foot soup or stew; fiery Mexican "hangover cure," traditionally eaten on Saturday and Sunday; traditional dish for New Year's Day; normally served with lime wedges, oregano, red pepper flakes and hot tortillas.
Meringue
A very light sweet confection made from stiffly whipped egg whites and sugar. When baked it becomes hard on the surface but remains soft inside. Used to cover pies and tarts or on its own with fruit.
Mesclun
A mixture of young shoots and leaves used in a salad. Mesclun usually contains various types of wild and cultivated chicory, lamb's lettuce and dandelion but may also include rocket, chervil, purslane and oak leaf lettuce.
Mesophilic
Cheesemaking term which describes the temperature at which the culture thrives. From the Greek words meso - meaning intermediate - and philic - which means loving. Mesophilic cultures thrive around room temperatures.These terms describes at the temperature the culture thrives at. Mesophilic (from the Greek words meso - meaning intermediate and philic - which means loving) cultures thrive around room temperatures. Mesophilic cultures require a temperature than thermophilic cultures.
Mesquite
A hardwood tree indigenous to the American Southwest. Mesquite it used in barbecuing and smoking foods. It imparts a slightly sweet flavor to the meats.
Metate
Old Native American utensil, made of volcanic rock; used for grinding corn, mesquite beans, etc.
Mettwurst
Uncooked, smoked sausage -- Cured beef and pork, ground and lightly spiced with allspice, ginger, mustard and coriander, smooth; spread-able consistency; cook before serving.
Meuniere
(a la). A method of cooking that can be used for all types of fish. The fish is coated in seasoned flour, fried in butter and served with some more melted butter with the addition of a squeeze of lemon juice and a few freshly chopped herbs. Traditionally, whole trout and fillets of sole are cooked in this manner.
Mexican chocolate
A mixture of chocolate, almonds, sugar and sometimes cinnamon and vanilla, ground together and formed into octagonal tablets; Ibarra is the most common brand in the United States; can be used in desserts, chocolate beverages and some mole sauces; the best substitute is to add a dash of cinnamon to bittersweet chocolate.
Mexican Garlic
Mexican garlic has a dark pink-blue hue to the husk and is sharper than white garlic; usually mashed or roasted for Southwestern cooking.
Mexican mint marigold
Also known as "sweet mace"; flavor of the leaves is similar to tarragon with a subtle anise flavor; both the leaves and petals can be used in sauces and relishes and as a garnish.
Mexican oregano
Much larger leaves and a different appearance from the oregano most commonly found in the United States; almost always sold dried in the United States; used in many traditional recipes for red sauces, moles and stews; should be toasted slightly before using to enhance the flavor.
Mexican Potato
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Jicama."
Mexican strawberries
Cowboy term for red beans.
Migas
A dish made of eggs scrambled with chorizo, tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, cheese and chiles, it is normally eaten for breakfast.
Mignon, Migonette
This is a term used to describe coarsely ground pepper used for au poivre preparations and in bouquet garni. This is also used to describe small round pieces of meat or poultry.
Milanese
Foods that are dipped in egg and bread crumbs, sometimes parmesan cheese, and fried in butter.
Mild chiles
New Mexico or Anaheim chiles.
Milk chocolate
Most popular form of eating chocolate in the United States due to its mild, mellow flavor. It has only 10% chocolate liquor and usually contains about 12% milk solids. Milk chocolate has a less robust flavor than sweet or semi-sweet chocolates.
Milkfish
An important food fish of the Indo-Pacific region that offers a tender, white flesh. Hawaiians use milkfish for making fish cakes and sashimi. Also called "awa."
Milkshake
An American beverage consisting blended milk, ice cream, and flavorings.
Mille-feuille
Pastry made of thin layers of puff pastry, whipped cream and jam or some other filling such as fresh fruit. Mille-feuilles are usually small rectangular pastries but can also be made as large gateaux. Literally means 'a thousand leaves'.
Millet
A bland flavored cereal grass used chiefly for forage in the U.S., but as a staple for one-third of the world's population. Millet can be boiled and used to make a hot cereal pilaf or ground and used as flour.
Mince
To finely chop food, resulting in tiny pieces.
Minced Luncheon Specialty
Sandwich spread; cooked meat specialty -- Made of lean beef and pork trimmings; cured; finely ground, spiced.
Mincemeat
A spicy preserve in English cookery that consists of a mixture of dried fruit, apple, suet, candied fruit and spices, steeped in rum or brandy. It is the traditional filling for individual mince pies, served warm at Christmas.
Minestrone
A thick Italian soup containing a mixture of vegetables and pasta or rice.
Mint
The two most popular types of the over 30 varieties of mint are peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint is more pungent. Mint is used in both savory and sweet dishes.
Mint Julep
A cocktail composed of fresh mint, bourbon, and crushed ice. Traditionally served in an iced pewter or silver mug at the running of the Kentucky Derby.
Mint sauce
A thin sauce made from chopped mint, vinegar and sugar, traditionally served in England as an accompaniment to roast lamb.
Minute steak
A tender and juicy very thin steak cut from the top round, which can be quickly sauteed, broiled or pan-broiled.
Mirabelle
Small yellow plum, used as tart filling; a liqueur made from small yellow plums.
Mirasol chiles
Mirasol means looking at the sun; also called chile travieso, or naughty chile; the dried pods are used like dried red New Mexican chiles in corn dishes, meat dishes, sauces and stews; when fresh and green, it can be substituted for the serrano chile mochomos - cooked or roasted meat, shredded and fried crisp.
Mirepoix
A mixture of diced vegetables, usually onion, leek, carrot and celery, that are sauteed in butter to form a base for many sauces, soups and stews.
Mirin
Mirin is sweetened sake (rice wine) used in Japanese cooking, especially for sauces.
Mirliton (vegetable pear)
A vegetable resembling a pale green squash. Mirlitons are also referred to as vegetable pears or chayote squash. You can find them on vines growing in Louisiana back yards. Their delicate flavor generally absorbs the taste of other foods they come in contact with. They are also used as an ingredient in Caribbean as well as Latin and Southwestern American dishes.
Miso
A paste made from soya beans, used in Japanese cookery. Popular when made into soup.
Mix
To combine ingredients until smooth and evenly distributed.
Mocha
A strong, slightly bitter coffee that originally referred only to a very fine coffee grown in Arabia and shipped from Yemen's port of Mocha. Mocha also refers, nowadays, to a hot coffee-and-chocolate beverage.
Mochi
A sweet, short-grained, Glutinous rice with a very high starch content that is used to make rice cakes.
Mojo
A spicy, rich sauce consisting of nuts, seeds, spices, chocolate, and peppers.
Molasses
A thick, dark, heavy syrup that is a by-product of sugar refining. It is far less sweet than syrup or honey and the darker the molasses, the less sugar it contains. Molasses has a slightly bitter flavour that is favoured in traditional North American recipes such as Boston baked beans and it also goes into the making of rich fruit cakes, gingerbread and treacle toffee.
Mole
A rich, dark reddish-brown Mexican sauce that is often served over poultry. Mole contains onion, garlic, chili peppers, ground seeds, and a small amount of Mexican chocolate.
Molinillo
A wooden whisk used to whip hot chocolate; the handle is rolled between the palms of the hands, whipping the mixture until it is frothy.
Molletes
Yeast rolls flavored with anise; toasted open-faced sandwich filled with refried beans and cheese.
Monk's beard
A vegetable grown in Tuscany, Italy, monk's beard is in season for only five weeks of the year. Similar in appearance to samphire, it is best prepared by light steaming and served with lemon or olive oil. It can also be added to risotto.
Monkfish
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor similar to lobster. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster." Also called "Angler," "Lotte," "Belly-Fish," "frogfish," "Sea Devil," and "Goosefish."
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Additive made from sodium salt crystals and used to enhance the flavour of foods, especially in Oriental cuisine. MSG is much used by commercial manufacturers of foods such as soups and sauces. It has a unique taste, different to sweet, sour, bitter and salty, called umami. Some people have reactions to MSG that cause them to suffer from a variety of symptoms including dizziness, headache, flushing and burning sensations.
Mont blanc
A rich dessert of chestnut puree and whipped cream.
Monterey Jack Cheese
This semi-soft buttery ivory cheese is made from whole, partly skim, and skim milk. It hails from Monterey, California and is also called "California Jack" or "Jack." Somes contain jalapenos and other flavorings.
Montmorency
A sauce made with cherries; also, a garnish made with artichoke hearts.
Moochim
A Korean-style dried fish with soy sauce.
Mooli
Long white Japanese vegetable of the radish family. Also known as daikon, it is mild and crunchy and good in salads. Unlike other radishes it is as good cooked as raw.
Moose
A large member of the deer family with enormous palmate antlers. Moose meat is called "venison." Antelope, caribou, elk, deer, and reindeer meat is also classified as venison, the most popular large animal game meat in the U.S.
Mora and morita pepper
Dried red jalapeno, two or three inches long, red-brown; smoked flavor; medium hot; used in salsas, soups, etc. (Moritas are smaller.)
Morel
Morels are a highly prized wild fungus. They grow in dry, sandy areas and have a sponge-like cap so it is important to wash them well to get rid of any grit. They are often used dried and are excellent in all mushroom dishes and as additions to stews and casseroles.
Morello cherries
Pie cherries.
Mornay Sauce
A bechamel sauce enriched with egg yolks and flavoured with grated Gruyere cheese. It is used to coat dishes to be glazed under the grill or browned in the oven, including poached eggs, fish, shellfish, vegetables.
Mortadella
A large, lightly smoked Italian sausage flavoured with myrtle berries and studded with pistachios or green olives.
Mortadella, German-Style
Cooked meat specialty -- High grade, finely chopped bologna with cubes of fat pork and pistachio nuts added; smoked at high temperature.
Mortadella, Italian-style
Semi-dry sausage -- Italian-style sausage composed of very finely chopped, cured pork and beef with added cubes of white fat; delicately spiced with garlic and anise; smoked at high temperature; air dried.
Mostaccioli
A large, 2-inch macaroni tube cut on the diagonal. This noodle is available with both a ridged or a plain surface.
Moth Bean
A low, trailing Indian plant of the legume family. The edible beans are mottled grayish-yellow.
Moules mariniere
Mussels prepared a la mariniere, ie by cooking in white wine with chopped shallots, parsley, thyme and a bay leaf.
Mountain oysters
Roasted calf testes eaten as a between-meal snack.
Moussaka
A dish from Greece, Turkey and the Balkans, made of layers of lamb, slices of aubergine, potatoes and onions and covered with white sauce and cheese.
Mousse
A name describing either a sweet or savoury dish which is light and creamy. Sweet versions are made with beaten egg whites, savoury mousses use gelatine.
Mousseline
These are fine purees or forcemeats that have been lightened with whipped cream. The term is also used to describe a hollandaise sauce which has unsweetened whipped cream folded into it.
Mousseron mushroom
A wild mushroom with an off-white to beige color. The flavor is full-bodied and the texture is fleshy like bolets.
Mozzarella
An Italian fresh or unripened cheese made from the milk of the water-buffalo and sold swimming in whey; fans often prefer its soft sponge-like texture and mild creamy flavour to the alternative cow’s milk mozzarella which can be more rubbery and less flavoursome.
Muenster Cheese
The American of this has a light yellow interior and a bland taste that is different from the European originals, which are yellow, semi-soft and have flavors ranging from mild (when young) to very assertive (when aged).
Muesli
The German word for "mixture." Muesli was developed as a health food by a Swiss nutritionist near the end of the 19th century. Now a popular type of cereal. Often labeled "granola."
Mugi-Kogi
Miso made from wheat.
Mugwort
A dried green herb that rich in iron and calcium.
Mulato chile
A dried chile; in Mexican cooking it refers to the chile mulato, a dark black-brown dried chile famous for its use in Mole Poblano; tastes of licorice, chocolate and dried fruit; used in many dark moles; if unavailable, use anchos or pasillas.
Mulberry
A berry resembling a blackberry that comes in white, red and black varieties. Their flavor is sweet and somewhat bland. The leaves of the white mulberry are used in silkworm cultivation.
Mullangi
A type of radish with a sweet flavor and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Used raw, in salads, in stir-fries, and as a garnish. Also called "Oriental radish."
Mullet
This term is used to describe several families of important food fish. In general, they are saltwater fish with a moderate to high fat content and flesh that is tender, white, and firm textured. They have a sweet, nut-like flavor.
Mulligatawny
A spicy soup originally from India, adopted by the British and especially popular in Australia. It is a chicken consomme with stewed vegetables, highly seasoned with curry and spices.
Mung beans
A versatile tiny (about one-eighth inch in diameter), dried bean is common throughout Asia. The bean or pea is also the source of bean sprouts, also used to make bean-thread noodles.
Muscatel
A strong sweet wine made from the muscat grape. It is a rich, sweet dessert wine. Muscatel can be amber, golden, red, white. It is sometimes sparkling.
Mushroom
There are thousands of varieties of this fleshy fungus. The cultivated mushroom is commonly available, but other wild varieties include cepe, chanterelle, enokitake, morel, puffball, and shiitake. Many wild mushrooms are poisonous.
Music roots
sweet potatoes; so called because of the gaseous effect.
Muskellunge
A freshwater pike that averages between 10 and 30 pounds. Some specimens, however have reached 60 pounds and up to six feet in length. Muskellunge offers a lean, firm, low-fat flesh.
Muskmelon
Muskmelons are called "cantaloupes" in North America, but they are not actually cantaloupes. True cantaloupes are European and are not exported to the U.S. The light orange flesh is mild, sweet, and very juicy.
Muskrat
Also known as a "marsh rabbit" and "musquash," this animal is a large, aquatic, North American rodent with a red, gamey flesh. Muskrat has a lot of bones, but it makes a good stew.
Mussel
A bivalve mollusk with worldwide distribution. There are salt and freshwater varieties. The thin shell means there is more meat compared to the same weight of clams or oysters. The yellow meat has a sweet and delicate flavor.
Must
a sweet, viscous liquid that is red-yellow in color. It comes from fresh grape must, known as "stafilopat." In other parts of Greece it is known as "petmezi."
Mustard
A herbaceous plant whose seeds are used to prepare the condiment of the same name. There are three varieties: black mustard (spicy and piquant), brown mustard (less piquant), and white or yellow mustard (much less piquant but more pungent). Mustard seeds are sold whole, ground into powder or processed into prepared mustard. Mustard seeds can be stored for up to a year in a dry, dark place and powdered mustard for about 6 months. Whole seeds are used for pickling, flavouring cooked meats and vegetables. Powdered mustards and freshly ground seeds are used in sauces, as a seasoning in main dishes and as an ingredient in salad dressings. Different blends of made-up mustard include English, Dijon and French. It is often eaten with meats and can be used to add flavour and thickness to sauces.
Mustard Greens
The peppery leaves of the mustard plant. Mustard greens can be steamed, sauteed, or simmered.
Mustard Spinach
An herb of the mustard family whose leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. Americans cultivate this plant for its leaves; Asians cultivate it also for its thick, tuberous crown, which they pickle. Also called "tendergreens."
Mutton
The flesh of sheep over one year old.
Muttonfish
A marine fish of the eelpout family found mainly in the Pacific. The flesh is sweet and white and contains very few bones. Also called "ocean pout."
Naan
a white flour Indian flat bread. It is one of the most loved Indian breads. A trip to an Indian restaurant usually involves the ordering of some kind of Naan. It is traditionally made in a brick and clay tandoor oven. Traditionally served as an accompaniment with an Indian curry, Naan's can also be used to wrap seasoned grilled meats, seafood, or vegetables. A naan should be served hot and eaten immediately or else it tends to get chewy.
Nachi or Asian pear
An exotic fruit that has the texture of a pear but the flavour of an apple, and is excellent in fruit salads.
Nacho Cheese
A cheese (usually cheddar) used to top crisp tortilla chips in a Mexican snack called "nachos."
Nachos
Tortilla chips that are topped with cheese, chiles, etc., then heated until the cheese melts; originated in El Paso, Texas.
Nage
An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked. The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these dishes is lobster la nage.
Nam pla
This fish sauce is fundamental to Thai food. It is made with the liquid that comes from fermented anchovies and is very pungent.
Nantua
A name given to dishes containing crayfish. This includes crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.
Napa cabbage
Sometimes called Chinese celery cabbage. Found in many supermarkets and Oriental markets.
Nasturtium
An annual flowering plant whose leaves and yellow/orange flowers are sometimes used as an ingredient or garnish in salads. The leaves have a good peppery bite. The flower buds and seeds, picked when soft and pickled in vinegar, can be used as a substitute for capers.
Natal Plum
This scarlet fruit of a South African shrub is an oval berry about 2 inches long. This fruit is used in pies, jellies, and preserves. Also called "Carissa."
Natilla
Custard dessert; similar to floating island, with stiffly beaten egg whites layered on top of an egg custard; often accompanied with fresh or poached fruits.
Natto
Soy beans that have been steamed, fermented, and mashed until they have a glutinous texture and a strong cheese-like flavor. Popular condiment in Japan. Often served at breakfast over rice or mixed with chives, mustard, and soy sauce.
Natural Cheese
The product of thickening milk into a liquid "whey" and a semi-solid called "curd." Normally, the curd is pressed, treated with cultures, and ripened into approximately 18 distinct families of cheese with over 400 specific types.
Natural-rind cheese
Self-formed thin rinds, no molds or washing (English stilton, mimolette, tomme de savoie).
Navarin
French stew of lamb or mutton with potatoes and/or other vegetables, especially young spring lamb and new vegetables.
Navy Bean
A small white legume that takes its name from the fact that the U.S. Navy has served it as a staple since the 1800's. Used widely in canned pork and beans and in Boston baked beans.
Neapolitan
A type of ice cream featuring three distinctive flavors, usually chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. Usually served in slices to display the three different colors.
Nectarine
A fuzzless relative of the peach, the nectarine is one of the oldest fruits. The flesh is very juicy and may be red, yellow, or white. Best eaten raw.
Nesselrode
A dessert or sauce with rum and fruit flavor, often with chestnuts.
Neufchatel Cheese
A soft, white, mild French cheese from whole or skim milk or milk and cream mixtures. Other cheeses that differ mainly in fat content are Bondon, Malakoff, Petit Suisse, and Petit Carre. The Swiss call this cheese "Neuchatel." It has a fat content of 44 to 48%. Also available as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
New England-Style Sausage
Cooked, smoked sausage -- A Berliner style sausage made of coarsely chopped cured lean pork.
New Mexico red chiles
A fresh chile; mild to medium hot; keeps its same name in both dried and fresh forms; mild chile with an earthy flavor, slightly tart with a hint of dried cherry; seen often strung in ristras for drying; used in pipians, salsas and barbecue sauces.
New Zealand Spinach
This plant, brought to England by Captain Cook, looks and tastes like spinach. Its leaves are covered with minute dots that reflect the sun. Also called "tetragone" and "New Zealand Ice Plant).
Newburg Sauce
A very rich sauce of butter, cream egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings used over cooked shellfish such as lobster, crab or shrimp. It was created by a chef of the once famous Delmonico Restaurant in New York.
Nibbed almonds
Skinned almonds cut into pieces about 2mm square and the length of the nut, shaped like nibs.
Noisette
Has three meanings:
a. small round steak, usually of lamb or mutton, cut from the rib or loin. Noisettes are very tender and can be fried in butter and served with a variety of garnishes. The name is also given to small round cuts of beef or veal
b. as in beurre noisette: butter heated until it turns nut brown; used as a finishing touch for many dishes, especially fish
c. French for hazelnut. So, pommes noisettes are hazelnut-sized balls of potato, cut with a melon baller, lightly fried and browned in butter. Used as a garnish.
Noisette Butter
Whole butter which has been cooked until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.
Non-Iodized Salt
Ordinary table salt to which sodium iodine has not been added.
Nonpareil
A tiny colored sugar pellet used to decorate cakes, cookies, candies, etc. The name also refers to a confection that is covered with these pellets. In France, it means "without equal" and often refers to small pickled capers.
Noodles
A type of pasta made with flour and water and sometimes egg, cut into thin flat strips. Italian noodles are tagliatelle and fettucine. Noodles are used extensively in Oriental cuisine to accompany soups, sauces and stir-fried dishes.
Nopal
The Prickly Pear cactus. Nopales are the fleshy leaves ("paddles"). These leaves are pale to dark green and feature a delicate, slightly tart flavor similar to that of green beans.
Nori
Nori is an edible seaweed, dark green in colour and used in Japanese cooking for, among other things, wrapping sushi.
Normande
(a la). Used to describe various dishes based on the cooking of Normandy or made using typical products from that region of France: butter, cream, seafood, apples, cider and Calvados.
Norway Haddock
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Nougat
A sweet substance made from sugar, almonds or other nuts and honey. Can be chewy or britlle.
Nougatine
A darker candy, made of caramel syrup and nuts. This is rolled into thin sheets and formed into cups or bowls to serve as a vessel for other candy or fruit.
Nutella
A commercial brand of gianduja. This is a creamy paste of chocolate and hazelnuts treasured in Italy. This is used in candy making, for flavored milk drinks, and when thinned out, spread on bread as a quick snack.
Nutmeg
The spice of the nutmeg tree. The lacy membrane around the seed, when dried and powdered, is the spice we call "mace." The mild, sweet flavor of nutmeg is used in cream dishes and fruit desserts. Also sprinkled on custards and eggnog.
Oat
A very nutritious cereal grass. Oats that have been cleaned, toasted, and hulled become "oat groats" which can be cooked and served. Steaming and flattening the grain in rollers produces "rolled oats." The hull is called the "bran."
Oat Bran
The outer casing of the oat grain. This part of the grain is very high in soluble fiber, which is believed to be effective in helping to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Oatcake
A flaky, flat Scottish biscuit made with oatmeal.
Ocean Perch
This important commercial fish is not a true perch, but is rather a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "sea perch."
Ocean Pout
A marine fish of the eelpout family found mainly in the Pacific. The flesh is sweet and white and contains very few bones. Sometimes called a "muttonfish."
Oceanic Bonito
This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "katsuo" and the Hawaiians call it "aku."
Octopus
This cephalapod, related to the squid and the cuttlefish, can reach 50 feet in length. It features a highly flavorful meat that tends to be a bit on the rubbery side. Octopus is eaten raw, boiled, pickled, sautéed, and fried.
Oeuf a la Neige
Sweet meringue puffs that are poached in milk and chilled. When served, these puffs are drizzled with caramel and served with creme anglaise.
Offal
The internal organs and innards of an animal or fish, including brain, tongue, liver, kidney, tripe, and heart.
Okara
The ground-up byproduct that results from the production of tofu.
Okra
A vegetable that is widely used in Indian, Caribbean and southern US cookery where it is an essential ingredient of gumbo; also called ‘ladies’ fingers’ because of its appearance. A long green pod, full of seeds, the okra exudes a sticky juice in cooking which thickens stews and braised dishes.
Old Fashioned Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Made of carefully selected lean pork with enough beef to add flavor and firmness of texture to the loaf.
Olive
Small oval fruit of the olive tree, widely cultivated in Mediterranean regions. Olives are harvested and preserved in oil or brine at various stages of development. The early olives are green, while the later, more mature olives are black. They taste very different, and black olives tend to have a more intense flavour. The fleshy pulp of the fruit is the source of olive oil. The whole fruit is available in a variety of guises: flavoured, stuffed, stoned or with stones, in oil or in brine, sliced or whole. It is used in cookery as a flavouring or garnish, an ingredient or as an hors d'oeuvre.
Olive Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Blend of lean pork and beef chopped to a fine texture, seasoned and mixed with whole, stuffed olives.
Olive Oil
Pressed from olives, a rich fruity oil used for frying (but not deep-frying), marinades, dressings and baking. The oil from the first pressing is pure, pale greenish-yellow in colour and is much prized. The pulp is then pressed again to yield more, darker, oil. Extra virgin indicates the first press of the olives and is not suitable for cooking, though oil from subsequent pressings is. Olive oil has many health-promoting properties.
Olla
Common Mexican pot which is tall and tapered inward on the top; it is shaped especially for cooking beans; stockpots and saucepans are good substitutes.
Onion
This underground bulb is related to leeks, garlic, and chives and is prized for its distinct, pungent flavor and aroma. There are two types: green ("scallions") and dry onions. The white-skinned onion has the mildest flavor of the onions.
Onion Salt
A mixture of onion powder and salt.
Ono
The Hawaiian name for "Wahoo," a marine fish whose flesh compares favorably with Albacore. It provides a moderate to high-fat flesh that is white and slightly sweet. In Hawaii, "Ono" means "sweet."
Opakapaka
Pink snapper. A Hawaiian favorite, especially around the holidays.
Opossum
A cat-sized marsupial with a prehensile tail native to the Southern and Midwestern U.S. Opossum, which has a flavor resembling young pig, can be prepared in the same manner suitable for a roast suckling pig.
Opuntia
Prickly pear cactus.
Orange
Citrus fruit from the orange tree. There are three major types of oranges: Sweet (Valencia, Mediterranean, and Navel), Loose-skinned (Mandarin, King), and Bitter (Seville, Bergamot). Bitter oranges are used in marmalades.
Orange blossom water (orange water)
Orange blossom extract can be found in fancier food shops. Common in the Middle East.
Orange roughy
A New Zealand area fish with lean, white flesh that is firm and mild. Also called "Slimeheads" (by fishermen--not by fish vendors). This popular fish can be poached, baked, broiled, or fried.
Oregano
A popular culinary herb of the mint family with a flavor similar to that of sweet marjoram or thyme. Also called "wild marjoram." Oregano is not quite as sweet and has a stronger flavor that marjoram.
Organic Food
Technically, anything that contains at least 1 atom of carbon. In common usage, "organic" refers to foods cultivated and processed without fertilizers, insecticides, artificial coloring, artificial flavorings, or additives.
Oriental Radish
This radish has a sweet flavor and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Used raw, in salads, in stir-fries, and as a garnish. Also called "daikon," meaning "big root" in Japanese.
Orientale
An Americaine sauce with added cream and curry powder.
Ortolans
Tiny game birds (buntings).
Orzo
Small rice shaped pasta.
Osso Buco
An Italian dish comprised of crosscut slices of the veal shank braised with vegetables, aromatics and stock. Milanese style is served with saffron risotto and gremolata.
Ouzo
Greek spirit flavoured with aniseed. Like French pastis, it turns cloudy when water is added and should be served with iced water.
Oven slide
Cookie sheet.
Overland trout
An old Western term for pigs and hogs; sometimes bacon.
Oxidized
Wine that has been in contact with air too long, causing it to darken and smell stale.
Oyster
A saltwater shellfish, invariably sold fresh. Can be steamed, grilled, poached or eaten raw.
Oyster mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is also known as "oyster caps" and "tree mushrooms" because it often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Oyster mushrooms have a subtle flavour and are often used in Oriental cookery.
Oyster plant
Also known as "salsify," this biennial herb is cultivated for its root which is used as a vegetable. Its taste hints of a delicately flavored oyster. Can be found in the U.S. in Spanish, Italian, and Greek markets.
Oyster sauce
Classic cooking sauce from China. Also used in other Asian cuisines. Originally made from oysters, water and salt only, oyster sauce now contains added cornstarch and caramel color, to improve it's appearance and also to thicken liquids in stir-fries. Surprisingly it has no fishy taste. Found in large supermarkets and Oriental markets. Oyster sauce is a molasses-colored, reddish, dark brown sauce consisting of oysters, brine and soy sauce cooked until thick and concentrated.
Paella
A traditional Spanish dish of rice and saffron that usually includes tomatoes, chicken and seafood.
Paillard
A piece of meat or fish that has been pounded very thinly and grilled or sauteed.
Pak Choi
Also known as bok choi, this leafy green Chinese vegetable belongs to the cabbage family. It is best suited to brief stir-frying or steaming to keep its mild flavour.
Palm Kernel Oil
This oil comes from the nut or kernel of the fruit of the African palm tree. Like palm oil, it too is very high in saturated fat. It is used in the making of margarine. Often listed in the ingredients as "palm oil."
Palm Oil
The reddish-orange oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of the African palm tree. Contains a very high percentage of saturated fat.
Palmier
A cookie made of sheets of puff pastry that are rolled in sugar and folded to resemble palm leaves. These cookies are baked until the sugar becomes caramelized.
Pan-bagnat
A sandwich from southern France, consisting of small round loaves of bread which have been hollowed out and filled with onions, anchovies, black olives, and tuna, then drenched in extra virgin olive oil.
Pan-broil
To cook quickly in a hot skillet with very little fat or a sprinkling of salt.
Panada
A thick paste used as a binding agent for forcemeats. Flour panadas are made in a style similar to choux paste. Other types use bread crumbs or potato puree.
Panboil
To cook uncovered over high heat in a pre-heated, lightly-greased heavy pan, constantly removing any fat that accumulates.
Pancakes
Also known as crepes. Thin, flat cakes made by shallow frying on both sides a thin layer of batter of flour, milk and eggs. Can be sweet or savoury, served by themselves or used to wrap other ingredients.
Pancetta
Cured belly pork used in Italian cookery, usually either in thin slices or thicker cubes. Its flavour is salty, sweet and slightly aniseed. Either dry fry in its own juices or fry in oil and then use to flavour the rest of the dish. It can be grilled until crisp and then crumbled over pasta, rice, salads and soups. If unavailable, use thinly sliced, unsmoked, streaky bacon rashers.
Panela
White cheese made with rennet; slightly salty; it holds its shape when melted; normally sold in blocks or rounds; often sliced thick and broiled or baked; Monterey Jack can be substituted.
Panetone
An Italian cake made with a dough rich in egg yolks, traditionally served around Christmas time. The dough is studded with raisins, candied fruits and occasionally pistachios.
Panforte
A rich dense torte made of candied fruit and nuts.
Panko
Also known as Japanese breadcrumbs; coarse dry white breadcrumbs used for breading rellenos and other fried foods; similar to untoasted coconut in appearance; provides a nuttier, crispier crust than regular breadcrumbs; found in Asian markets and many grocery stores; ordinary breadcrumbs may be substituted if necessary.
Panna cotta
The name for this cold dessert from Italy means cooked cream, although not all recipes call for the cream to be actually cooked. To make panna cotta, cream is added to gelatine and then flavoured with a wide variety of ingredients such as vanilla or cinnamon. The mixture is then cooled until it sets and is served with a sweet sauce.
Panocha
Mexican brown sugar.
Pansit
Wild rice noodles used in Filipino cooking. Soak in warm water for 15 minutes until supple, and drain before using.
Panzanella
A salad consisting of toasted cubes of bread tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette. The salad is then marinated for at least one hour. The bread should be very firm so that it will endure the soaking of dressing. Vegetables can include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Lots of garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are added to the salad.
Papadum
Flat lentil wafers that puff up when deep-fried. Used in Indian cuisine.
Papaya
Also called a paw paw. A fruit with green skin, fragrant and sweet orange flesh and black seeds.
Papillote
The term en papilotte is used to describe a dish cooked in a parcel that protects the food from the high heat of the oven and keeps in the aroma and flavour. The dish is usually served in the parcel so that each diner can unwrap their own. Greaseproof paper is the better wrapping to use as foil does not puff up as well.
Pappardelle
Wide flat pasta noodles served with rich, hearty sauces.
Paprika
Milder than cayenne, paprika is the ground red powder of mild and hot peppers and is an important ingredient in Hungarian goulash and in Spanish sausages and salamis.
Paranut
This is the seed of a giant tree that grows in the Amazon jungle. The kernel of this nut is white, rich, and high in fat. Also known as "Brazil nut."
Parathas
Triangular shaped, fried flaky breads. Like chapatis, they are made out of whole wheat flour, but they are prepared using a slightly different method. The dough for parathas is oiled, rolled, and folded several times, giving this bread its distinctive flaky texture. The result is a bread crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.
Parboil
To boil vegetables until half cooked. Used to part-cook potatoes and other hard root vegetables prior to roasting them at a high temperature to ensure that the inside is cooked while the outside crisps up well.
Parboiled Wheat
A nutritious staple in the Middle East, made of wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried, and crushed. It has a tender, chewy texture and can be made into a pilaf. Also called "bulghur."
Parch
To dry; to cook in dry heat until almost scorched.
Parchment paper
A silicon based paper that can withstand high heat. Often used to prepare sugar and chocolate confections because they do not stick to the paper at all. Parchment paper may be reused several times.
Pare
To remove skin from fruits and vegetables using a knife.
Parfait
An American parfait consists of ice cream layered with flavored syrups and whipped cream, then topped with chopped nuts and a maraschino cherry. A French parfait is a frozen custard with egg yolks, sugar, whipped cream and flavorings.
Parisienne
A white sauce with egg yolks.
Parmagiano-Reggiano
Cheese developed in northern Italy in the Parma and Reggio Emilia regions, the original Parmagiano-Reggiano reflects 800 years of tradition and is considered one of the great cheeses of the world. This hard cheese, aged 12 to 24 months or longer, is produced by artisans from the raw milk of cattle fed fresh fodder in their spring and summer pasture. Its uniform color ranges from a pale straw yellow to a deep yellow shade, and it is dotted throughout with barely visible holes. It has an exceptionally fine flavor, full but not pungent. Whole Parmesan cheeses are large and drum-shaped and may weigh 40 to 55 pounds (18 to 25 kg). Methods of production vary from one region to another, with different aging times and temperatures.
Parmesan
Hard, grainy cow's-milk cheese extensively used in Italian cuisine, often grated over dishes, as in spaghetti bolognese. Parmigiano reggiano is the true parmesan cheese, manufactured from 15th April to 11th November in the province of Parma and also Bologna and Mantua. Parmesan is always best grated just before use. The world's finest quality parmesan is "Parmigiano-Reggiano." After it is aged 3 years, it is called "Stravechhio." At 4 years, they're called "Stavecchions." U.S. parmesans are aged about 14 months.
Parmigiana
This term refers to foods that have been cooked with Parmesan cheese.
Parrot Fish
Any of various chiefly tropical marine fish, especially those of the family Scaridae. These fish are called parrot fish because of the brilliant coloring and the shape of their jaws. "Also called "Pollyfish."
Parsley
Herb used as flavouring and garnish or eaten as a vegetable. Available as curly or flat-leafed varieties.
Parsley Root
A parsley subspecies grown for its beige carrot-like root which tastes somewhat like a cross between a carrot and celery. Used in stews and soups. Also eaten as a vegetable.
Parsnip
The edible creamy-white root of the parsnip plant. Used as a vegetable and prepared using just about any cooking method. The sweet flavor of the parsnip develops only after the first frost, when the cold converts its starch into sugar.
Pashka
A traditional Russian dessert for celebrating Easter. Made from curd cheese, cream, almonds, chocolate and dried fruit.
Pasilla chiles
Called a chilaca in its fresh form. The mature chilaca turns from dark green to dark brown. After drying (when it becomes a pasilla) it changes to a blackish-brown. It has a rich hot flavor and is generally ground and used for sauces. Pasilla means little raisin; in some places the Ancho chile is called pasilla chile; long, thin and dry with a dusky flavor; they are hot; thin fleshed, with flavors of dried fruit and licorice; anchoes may be substituted.
Passata
A smooth tomato sauce that you can buy in bottles or packets, with or without herbs.
Passion fruit
A tropical fruit native to Brazil, but now grown in the U.S, New Zealand, and Australia. The flavor is sweet, yet tart, and has a perfumy tropical fragrance. Used as a table fruit, as well as for sherbets, candies, and beverages.
Pasta
A dough made from durum-wheat semolina, water and often eggs which is kneaded and cut into a wide variety of shapes. Eaten with sauces, stuffed, or added to soups for bulk. Bought fresh or dried, it is used in dishes from Italy to China. It is sold dried or fresh.
Pasta Campanelle
This fancy-looking pasta with a cone shape and wavy edges traps and holds chunky sauces with meat and vegetables. Cooks in 13 minutes.
Pasta Castellane
The ridges and conch-shell shape of this pasta help trap hearty sauces. Cooks in 13 minutes.
Pasta e Fagioli
A rich bean soup with pasta, in which a large sausage (such as cotechino) has been cooked. The soup is eaten first, followed by the sausage served with mustard and bread.
Pasta Elbows
Short, curved tubes of pasta are available in different sizes. Most often associated with macaroni and cheese, elbows also can be used with other creamy sauces or with meat sauce. Cooks in seven minutes.
Pasta Farfalle
Also called bow-ties or butterflies. They come in small, medium and large. Their large, flat surface makes them best for tomato, meat and vegetable sauces. Cooks in 11 minutes.
Pasta Fettuccine
Translates to "little ribbons." This pasta is usually 1/4 inch thick and available straight or in coils. Its thickness makes it perfect for heavier sauces, such as alfredo. Cooks in 12 minutes.
Pasta Fiori
In Italian, fiori means flower. This pasta has rounded petals that provide extra surface area for chunky tomato-based sauces. Has lots of kid appeal. Cooks in seven minutes.
Pasta Penne
Diagonally cut smooth tubes are great for trapping sauces. Those with ridged sides are called penne rigate. Cooks in 12 minutes.
Pasta Rigatoni
Ridged tubes about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. This hearty pasta should be served with hearty, chunky sauces. Cooks in 13 minutes.
Pasta Rotini
Short, 2-inch-long, corkscrew-shaped pasta that's good with chunky sauces. Cooks in eight minutes.
Pasteles
Envelopes of dough made of plantains filled with tasty ingredients.
Pasteurize
To kill bacteria by heating milk (or other liquids) to a moderately high temperature for a brief period. Milk is a beverage that benefits from this process. Pasteurization was discovered by the French scientist, Louis Pasteur.
Pastilla (Bistella)
A Moroccan pie made with chicken wrapped in phyllo dough. When finished cooking, the pastilla is dusted with sugar and cinnamon.
Pastina
Tiny bits of noodles.
Pastrami
A highly seasoned preserved meat made from beef dry-cured with salt or saltpeter. The seasonings include garlic, ground pepper, cinnamon, red peppers, cloves, allspice and coriander seeds. Commonly served as a sandwich on rye bread.
Pastry
Dough made with flour, butter and water and baked or deep-fried until crisp.
Pastry cream
A cooked custard thickened with flour. Some versions may use cornstarch or a mixture of the two starches.
Pastry wheel
Small, serrated wooden or metal wheel-like utensil for cutting and fluting pastry.
Pasty
Small pastry pie with a savory filling of meat, potatoes and onion.
Pate
Literally, a pate is a French pie, but the word is now most often taken to mean a rich paste made of liver and other meats, a pate en terrine.
Patty
Small, flat, round or oval shaped cake of food, such as potato cake or fish cake, which is served hot; small, flat, individual pie, such as a chicken patty, which is served hot or cold; small, round form for meats such as hamburger.
Patty cups
Paper cupcake holders.
Patty pan
Small, circular, green or yellow courgette with fluted edges.
Patty shell
A shell made from puff paste to hold creamed mixtures or fruit.
Patty tin
Baking tin with 6, 9 or 12 shallow round compartments used for making individual pies and tarts.
Paupiette
A thin slice of meat, like a scallopine, which is stuffed and rolled. These may also be made of fish or vegetables.
Pave
Cold savory mousse mixture set in a square mold coated with aspic jelly; square sponge cake, filled with butter cream and coated with icing.
Paysanne
A dish prepared country-style. A vegetable garnish.
Pe-Tsai
This form of Chinese cabbage features an oval-shaped heart with very tightly closed leaves. It can be prepared in any manner appropriate for other green cabbages. Also used raw in salads and marinated in a manner similar to red cabbage.
Pea
Peas are popular members of the legume family. There are many varieties of peas, some of which were cultivated by the Greeks and Romans long before Christian times. Peas are a fair source of protein, iron, and vitamin A.
Peach
This fruit is third in importance in the U.S. (behind apples and second-place oranges). There are two general classifications: Freestone, in which the pit falls freely away from the flesh, and Clingstone, in which it does not.
Peanut
Also known as a groundnut. This edible nut is the seed of a member of the pea family, not a true nut. The pods mature underground and each contain 2-4 seeds. Peanuts can be roasted, salted and eaten whole or used in cooked dishes. Peanut or groundnut oil is widely used in cooking and margarine manufacture.
Peanut oil
A clear oil derived from peanuts. It has a high smoke point which makes it useful for frying. The fat in peanut oil is approximately 50% monounsaturated and 30% polyunsaturated.
Pear
A fruit from to the rose family which includes apples, plums, cherries, apricots, and strawberries. There are over 5,000 varieties of pears. It improves in texture and flavor after it is picked. France is the leading pear-growing country.
Pearl barley
De-husked barley grains, primarily used in soups.
Pearl onions
Tiny, marble-size onions that are difficult to peel but make a good side dish or addition to soups and stews. Frozen ones are easier to handle, but less flavorful.
Pearl Rice
A short-grain sticky rice, sometimes called sushi rice. It is grown across Asia, California and Arkansas.
Pease pudding
Puree of cooked, dried peas which is made into puddings, boiled and traditionally served with pork.
Pecan
A North American nut related to the walnut, high in vitamins and minerals. Widely used in sweets, especially pecan pie, but can be used in savoury dishes. Probably originated in Texas; grown commercially in Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico and Texas.
Pecorino Romano
Hard grating cheese made from sheep's milk with a nutty, earthy flavor.
Pectin
A natural gelling agent found in ripe fruit. Pectin is an important ingredient in making jams and jellies. Some fruit have high pectin levels – eg citrus fruit, blackberries, apples, redcurrants - but others are low in pectin – eg strawberries – so lemon juice is added to strawberry jam to help the set.
Peel
A large tool, that looks like a shovel, used to slide pizza onto a hot stone.
Pemmican
Of Native American origin; dried, pounded meat mixed with fat and berries, pressed into cakes for survival food; was later adapted by the U.S. Army.
Penne
Pasta tubes shaped like quills.
Peperoni
Made with peppers.
Pepitas
Edible pumpkin seeds that have had their white hull removed. There are green, and have a delicate nutty flavor. These seeds are often roasted and salted. Pepitas are popular in Mexican cookery.
Pepper Steak
A beefsteak sprinkled with black pepper, sautéed in butter and served with a sauce made from the drippings, stock, wine, and cream. Also refers to a Chinese stir-fry of steak strips, green peppers, and onion cooked in soy sauce. Pepperoni - A highly spiced dry sausage made of pork and beef. Seasoned with salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic. Often thin sliced and served as an appetizer or as a topping for pizzas.
Peppered Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Pressed beef and pork loaf; distinctive seasoning of cracked peppercorns.
Pepperoni
Sausage made of beef and pork, seasoned with red pepper and coarse ground.
Perch
Any of a number of spiny-finned freshwater fish found in North America and Europe. The best known U.S. perch is the "yellow perch." Perch have a mild, firm, low-fat flesh. The saltwater white perch and ocean perch are not true perches.
Perciatelli
Long macaroni.
Percolator
Two-part coffee pot which forces boiling water from lower half up through coffee grains contained in upper half, and finally filtered through a fine sieve.
Perigeux
Perigeux sauce is a demi-glace sauce made with the addition of finely diced or chopped truffles. It is served with small cuts of meat, poultry or game.
Perigourdine
A Perigeux sauce with added goose liver.
Perilla
A Japanese herb that has a dark, russet-purple dentate leaf.
Peron or Manzana pepper
Fresh, thin fleshed, meaty; medium hot to extremely hot; add to sauces or roast and peel for stuffing or rajas.
Perry
An alcoholic drink, similar to cider, made from varieties of perry pears; the single variety perry is still and made by artisan producers who may be hard to find, but sparkling perry is readily available in supermarkets.
Persian Walnut
Also called "English walnut," this nut is widely available and features a plump, crispy meat.
Persillade
A combination of chopped parsley and garlic, usually added to dishes at the end of cooking. nice combined with breadcrumbs as a crust.
Persimmon
A warm-weather fruit of which there are two important varieties: "Hachiya" (Japanese persimmon) and the "Fuyu" which is milder. The Fuyu is smaller. Both should be completely ripe before eaten. Used in baked goods and desserts.
Pesto
A green Italian sauce for pasta, typically made from pine nuts blended with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. The sauce can be stirred into freshly cooked pasta, spooned on to thick soups, toasted on bread or added to mayonnaise and salad dressings. Red pesto contains grilled red pepper or pimiento.
Pesto Sauce
An uncooked sauce of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan or pecorino cheese. Often served with pasta.
Petit Four
A small fancy biscuit or cake often served at the end of a meal.
Petite marmite
A rich meat and vegetable soup.
Pheasant
A medium-sized game bird related to the partridge and the quail. The female's flesh is plumper, juicier, and more tender. Farm-raised birds have a somewhat milder flavor than wild varieties.
Phosphate
An additive used to increase the water-retaining capacity of meat and poultry tissue. Misuse of phosphate solutions may cause the product to be adulterated with excess water.
Phyllo
This word is Greek for "leaf." It refers to the tissue-thin layers of pastry dough used in Greek and Near Eastern preparations such as Baklava and Spanakopita.
Phyllo Dough (Filo)
Paper-thin sheets of pastry dough for Middle Eastern baking. Can be found in most supermarkets frozen in boxes. Used for Greek Baklava and many other baked dishes.
Pib, pibil
Yucatecan pit barbecue; barbecued.
Picante Sauce
A hot and spicy sauce, most often tomato-based. "Picante" means "pepper hot."
Picatta
A classic Italian dish that consists of veal or chicken that has been seasoned and floured, sauteed, and served with a sauce made from the pan drippings, lemon juice, and parsley.
Piccalilli Pepper
A highly seasoned pickled vegetable relish. The vegetables can include cucumber, cauliflower, beans, onions, sweet peppers, etc.
Pickerel
A small (between two and three pound) variety of the freshwater pike. Pickerel are know for their lean, firm flesh.
Pickle
A food that has been preserved in vinegar or a seasoned brine. Commonly pickled foods include cucumbers, pearl onions, cauliflower, baby corn, pig's feet, watermelon rind, and herring. Flavors include dill, sweet, and sour varieties.
Pickle and Pimento Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Made from finely chopped lean pork and beef with sweet pickles and pimentos added.
Pickling salt
A salt that contains no iodine.
Pickling Spice
A blend of seasonings used to flavor pickles, including varying combinations of allspice, bay leaves, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds, and peppercorns.
Pico de Gallo
A topping made from fresh tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers.
Pierogi
A Polish specialty consisting of half-moon-shaped noodle dumplings filled with a mixture, often of pork, onions, cottage cheese, and seasonings. Served as a first course or side dish.
Pig's Feet
The feet and ankles of a pig. Available fresh, pickled, and smoked. Fresh and smoked pig's feet are used in sauces, soups, and stews. Pig's feet are called "trotters" in England.
Pigeon
A widely distributed bird that is normally eaten only when young. Squabs are young pigeons that have never flown are therefore very tender. Squabs are normally under a pound and about 4 weeks old. May be prepared like chicken.
Pigeon Pea
A tiny grayish-yellow legume that can be eaten raw but is more often dried and split. Popular in the southern states, pigeon peas are prepared in a manner similar to other dried beans.
Pignoli
Pine nuts.
Pike
A family of fish that includes the pike, pickerel, and the muskellunge. These freshwater fish have long bodies, pointed heads, vicious teeth, and provide a lean, firm, bony flesh. Used in French "quenelles" and the Jewish "gefilte fish."
Piki
Indian bread baked as thin and crisp as paper.
Pilaf
A dish that starts with browned rice or bulgur and adds cooked vegetables, meat, seafood, or poultry. It originated in the Near East and is called know as "Pilau."
Pilchard
Pilchards are an oil-rich fish. Sardines, which are baby pilchards, are sold whole, fresh or frozen while pilchards are mainly processed and canned.
Pili Nut
A nut from a tree native to the Philippines and other Pacific Islands. This light brown, triangular nut has a smooth, hard shell. Normally roasted before being eaten and is added to rice dishes and used to make confections.
Pimenton
Mexican paprika; similar in taste to New Mexico ground red mild chile peppers.
Pimentos
A name used for roasted red peppers that have been canned or bottled in liquid. Used for stuffing green olives.
Pimiento chile
Meaty and luscious with a tinge of spice; grown in California and southern United States; when dried, is ground into paprika; use fresh red bell peppers if pimientos are unavailable.
Pin bone steak
A steak cut from the sirloin.
Pina Colada
A tropically flavored alcoholic beverage made with coconut cream, pineapple juice, and rum. The coconut-pineapple flavor has also become popular in desserts and candies.
Pinch
a measure of dry ingredients that is normally the amount that can be held between the thumb and forefinger, usually much less than 1/8 teaspoon
Pine Nut
Or pine kernel. The small edible seed of the stone pine which grows in the Mediterranean region. Pine nuts are rich in protein and oily - so they tend to go rancid quite quickly. They are used in many savoury dishes, especially vegetarian ones.
Pineapple
An exceedingly juicy fruit with a distinctive tangy sweet taste. Pineapples must be picked when ripe because they won't ripen off the plant. The English named this fruit for its resemblance to a pine cone.
Pink Bean
A reddish-brown dried bean used to make refried beans and chili con carne. This bean, which is popular in the western U.S., can be used as a substitute for "pinto beans" in just about any dish.
Pink fir apple
A knobbly, pinky-beige skinned, waxy potato, good for use in salads.
Pink Salmon
A lower fat variety of salmon. Also called the "humpback salmon."
Pinocchio
An high-fat nut from inside the pine cones of certain pine trees. These nuts are expensive because it is labor-intensive to heat the pine cones and remove of the nut. These nuts have a pungent pine flavor. Also called "pignolia."
Pinto beans
Name taken from pintar (to paint); reddish-brown speckled beans that turn pink when cooked; used in traditional Mexican cookery; when a recipe title says "frijoles," it is most likely referring to pinto beans. Pinto beans make great refried beans; they are also good for beans and rice, chili, or served as a puree.
Pipe
To squeeze a paste-like mixture (usually frosting) through a pastry bag.
Piquant, Piquante
Spicy or sharp in flavor.
Piquin pepper
Small, dried, red; extremely hot; simmer in cooked sauces, soups, stews.
Piri-Piri
Piri-piri is an African word for chilli and also a hot chilli sauce used in Portuguese, African and Brazilian cookery. The Portuguese introduced chillies to their African colonies after discovering them in Brazil so piri-piri plays a major part in the fiery food of Mozambique – chicken, fish, seafood and vegetables are all cooked with piri-piri.
Pissaladiere
A southern French pizza consisting of a thick bread crust covered with cooked onions flavored with garlic. The pizza is then topped with black olives and anchovies.
Pistachio
Nuts that have a distinctive open shell, allowing them to be roasted and salted whole. Eaten as a snack or used for cooking. Pistachios go best with veal, port and poulty. The green colour makes it very popular for creams and ice-creams. In confectionery it is especially associated with nougat.
Pistachio Nut
The edible seed of a certain small evergreen tree. Naturally tan-colored, these nuts are often dyed red to make them stand out in a dish of mixed nuts. Available raw or roasted, salted or unsalted.
Pit
(Or "stone.") To remove the pit or seed from a fruit or olive.
Pita bread
A Middle Eastern flat bread which can be opened up to form a pocket which cab be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Throughout the Middle East, pitas are served with meals or cut into wedges and used to dip in dishes such as baba ganoush and hummus.
Pitahaya
The fruit of a central American cactus, the pitahaya has a deep pink, dense flesh and mild sweet flavour. It adds vibrant colour to fruit salad.
Pitanga
The yellow to deep red, cherry-like fruit of a Brazilian tree of the myrtle family. These fruit, which are now grown in the U.S., are slightly acid and are eaten out-of-hand and used in jams and jellies. Also called "Surinam cherry."
Pith
The white cellular lining of the rind covering the flesh of citrus fruits.
Pizza
Flat baked dough covered with various combinations of tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, sausage, cheese, etc.
Plaice
Orange-spotted flat sea fish available whole or in fillets. Can be grilled, fried or poached.
Plank
An oiled, grooved hard-wood platter, usually oak, on which meat is served and carved. Also, sometimes roasted on.
Plantains
Vegetable banana. Resemble bananas in size and shape but are starchier and not sweet. Both green (hard) and brown (ripe) are used in the cuisines of the Caribbean and South America. Ripe plantains can be peeled like bananas but not green ones. Most commonly sliced thin and fried. Found in some larger supermarkets, Hispanic and Caribbean markets. Also known as machos.
Plants
Four sacred plants of the Southwest Indians are beans, corn, squash and tobacco.
Pluck
Offal; to remove the feathers from a domesticated or game bird.
Plugra butter
also known as European-style butter, has a higher butterfat and lower moisture content than regular butter, which makes pastries flakier and sauces smoother.
Plum
There are hundreds of varieties of this edible fruit. Colors include blue, green, purple, red, and yellow. The flesh is thick and juicy and the flavor ranges from sweet to tart. Plums are eaten out-of-hand and used in sauces and desserts.
Plum sauce
An Asian sweet-and-sour sauce made from plums, apricots, sugar, and other seasonings. Sold in jars or cans, store tightly covered, in the refrigerator.
Plum tomatoes
These oval-shaped tomatoes have great flavor. They are the best sauce tomato, because is quite thick in comparison to the round tomato.
Poach
To cook food gently in a liquid at or just below its boiling point. Meats are normally poached in stock, eggs in lightly salted water, fruit in light sugar syrup.
Poblano chiles
"People chiles"; in dried form, known as ancho chiles; frequently used for chiles rellenos; dark green, almost black, ranging from mild to hot, they look like deflated bell peppers; normally roasted before using; when dried, it is called the ancho chile; in California it is usually called a pasilla chile; preferred choice for making chiles rellenos.
Poblano pepper
Fresh, dark green or red; up to five inches long and three and one-half inches wide; medium-hot; always roasted before using for stuffing or rajas.
Poha
Also known as "cape gooseberry," this fruit has a bitter-sweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out-of-hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.
Poire Helene
Cooked pears with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Poivrade
Made with pepper.
Pokeberry Shoots
Shoots from the pokeweed shrub, a native of North America. The root is poisonous. The young leafy shoots are picked and cooked the same way as asparagus, except that it is boiled twice (each time in fresh water).
Polenta
A cornmeal porridge that is the traditional basic dish of northern Italy. Polenta can be eaten fresh or, when set, cooked in a variety of ways.
Polish Sausage
Also called "kielbasa," this is a highly seasoned smoked sausage of Polish origin made from pork and (sometimes) beef. It is flavored with garlic an other spices. It can be served cold or hot.
Pollack
This low to moderate fat fish has firm, white, flesh with a delicate, somewhat sweet flavor. Pollack is often used to make imitation crab meat. Also known as "Coalfish" or "Saithe," this saltwater fish is a member of the cod family.
Pollyfish
Any of various chiefly tropical marine fish, especially those of the family Scaridae. These fish are called parrot fish because of the brilliant coloring and the shape of their jaws. "Also called "parrot fish."
Pomegranate
The pomegranate is an orange-sized fruit with a hard leathery skin. Inside are hundreds of edible seeds with a sweet pleasantly acidic taste. Pomegranates are eaten out-of-hand, used in salads, and sprinkled over desserts.
Pomegranate molasses
[Middle Eastern] also known as pomegranate syrup. Condiment prepared from yellow sour pomegranates cooked with sugar. Provides fruity and tangy flavor to savory dishes.
Pomelo
Also called "shaddock" and "pumello," this large citrus fruit is very similar to large grapefruits, but can weight up to 25 pounds. May be prepared and served any way that grapefruits are prepared and served.
Pomfret
This small, high-fat fish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. Found off the coast of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is also called the "butterfish."
Pompano
This saltwater fish is a succulent, fine-textured fish with a mild delicate flavor. This expensive, moderately fat fish is considered by many experts as America's finest fish.
Pone bread
Corn bread.
Pooch
Cowboy favorite of stewed tomatoes, sugar and biscuits.
Popcorn
A variety of corn with small, hard kernels and a large endosperm. When heated, these kernels explode from internal pressure to produce an inside-out white popped corn. Can be eaten as a breakfast food or flavored and served as a snack.
Popover
Indian fry bread.
Poppy Seed
These small, dried seeds of the poppy plant have a crunchy, nutty flavor that find use in baked goods, salad dressings, and a multitude of cooked dishes. 900,000 poppy seeds weight about a pound.
Porcini
Rich and velvety texture mushroom; woodsy flavor which is stronger when dried. Simmer in soups and sauces.
Porgy
Also know as "Scup" or "Porgie." These saltwater fish are generally lean, and coarse-grained. Porgy is often grilled, poached, and pan-fried.
Pork
The flesh of domestic swine. Today's pork is leaner (1/3 fewer calories) and higher in protein than a decade ago. And with improved feeding techniques, trichinosis has become extremely rare. Most pork is slaughtered at 6 to 9 months.
Pork Chitterlings
The small intestines of freshly slaughtered pigs. They are cleaned and simmered until tender. Chitterlings are served with sauce, added to soups, battered and fried, and used as sausage casings.
Pork Lard
Rendered and clarified pork fat. The best lard is "leaf lard" which comes from the fat around the pig's kidneys. Unprocessed lard has a very strong flavor and a soft texture. Processed lard is firmer and milder.
Porridge
Hot cooked (usually oatmeal) cereal.
Port
A fortified Portuguese wine with an alcoholic strength of more than 16.5%. Brandy is added to the wine part way through the fermentation process. Port is most often served as an after-meal drink.
Port du Salut Cheese
A semi-soft cow's milk cheese that was first made by 19th century Trappist monks at the monastery of Port-du-Salut in France. It has a mild, savory flavor and a smooth texture that goes well with fruit.
Porter house steak
A steak cut from the thick end of the tenderloin, or short loin, of beef.
Portobello
Mushroom. Thick-fleshed with sanity caps; rich and hearty flavor. Best used for grilling, burger-style.
Posole, pozole
Corn that has been treated with slaked lime to remove the tough outer husks of the kernels, then dried; thick stew made with hominy as an ingredient; the stew usually includes pork and chiles; also another name for hominy. The base of the soup is water flavored with onions, tomatoes (or tomatillos), and herbs. Hominy is cooked into this broth and condiments include minced onion, avocado, lime wedges, oregano, queso fresco, and fried pork skin.
Pot Cheese
A soft, fresh cheese made by draining cottage cheese longer to produce a cheese that is drier. When drained longer still, "farmer cheese" is formed.
Pot roast
Beef cooked in a manner similar to braising, but on top of the stove.
Pot-au-feu
A combination of stock with meat, bones, and vegetables, cooked together but often served as separate courses.
Potassium Sorbate
The Potassium Salt of Sorbic Acid, a novel, highly efficient, safe and nonpoisonous food preservative. It is the substitute for the Sodium Benzoate as a traditional preservative. Potassium Sorbate is a inhibitor for mold, yeast and aerobion.
Potato
The edible tuber of a plant from the nightshade family. "Russet" or "Idaho" potatoes have a long, rounded shape and many eyes. The less starchy medium-sized "round whites" and "round reds" are also called "boiling potatoes."
Potato Flour
This very fine gluten-free flour is made from cooked, dried, and ground potatoes. Also called "potato starch." Used as a thickening agent and in some baked goods. Corn flour and starch has replaced potato flour for the most part.
Potato Starch
This very fine gluten-free flour is made from cooked, dried, and ground potatoes. Also called "potato flour." Used as a thickening agent and in some baked goods. Corn flour and corn starch have pretty much taken its place today.
Potato starch or flour
Starch made from dried potatoes ground into flour. Find in some Scandinavian shops, delicatessens and health food stores.
Pothook
Bent iron for hanging a kettle over the fire.
Pots de creme
Small custards, variously flavored.
Potted Meat
A meat that has been cooked and ground to a fine paste, lightly seasoned, and packed.
Poultry
Any domesticated bird chicken, turkeys, ducks, geese, or guineas)
Poultry Seasoning
Equal amounts of dried sage, dried thyme and dried marjoram.
Poussin
A small immature chicken, sometimes called a spring chicken. As the bird is only four to six weeks' old, the flavour has not developed and there is not much flesh on the bones, but one bird is perfect for a single serving. Poussins benefit from a rich stuffing to add flavour.
Prairie coal
Cow or buffalo manure, dried and used in campfires.
Prairie strawberries
Red beans; also called Arizona strawberries.
Praline
A sweet made of almonds and sugar invented for the French Comte du Plessis-Praslin by his cook in the 1600s.
Prawn
Shellfish available in different varieties, fresh or frozen, in or out of shell. Can be boiled, steamed, fried or barbecued.
Prawns
For culinary purposes, the same as shrimp. In the U.S., large shrimp are sometimes called prawns. The true prawn is a small shellfish closely related to shrimp, but it is European.
Preserved lemons
Popular in Moroccan dishes, these are lemons that have been preserved in brine.
Preserves
Fruit cooked with sugar and usually Pectin, used as a spread for bread, Preserves differ from jam in that the chunks of fruit are medium to large rather than the texture of thick puree.
Prickly pear
The fruit of a type of cactus containing yellow or pink edible seeds with a sweet and mild flavour; care needs to be taken when handling this fruit as the prickly needles in the skin can stick into your hands.
Primavera
Italian word for "spring style." Culinarily, it refers to the use of fresh vegetables as a garnish to various dishes--often pasta. The vegetables are most often raw or blanched.
Processed cheese
Some amount of cheese cooked together with dyes, gums, emulsifiers and stabilizers (American cheese, Laughing Cow, rambol).
Profiterole
A small bun made with choux pastry and usually filled with cream and covered with chocolate.
Prosciutto
The Italian word for ham, used in the names of raw hams such as prosciutto di Parma. Parma ham is served in very thin slices.
Provolone Cheese
An Italian cow's milk cheese with a firm texture and a mild, somewhat smoky flavor. Most provolone is aged 2 to 3 months, but some is aged for a year or more. Aged provolone is often grated.
Prune
A dried plum. Traced back to Roman times, the prune is popular for its ability to store well. Commercial dehydration has replaced sun-drying as the method of producing plums.
Psyllium
A plant, also known as "fleawort," that is valued for its high fiber content. The powdered seeds of this plant are often used as a laxative.
Pudding
Like custards, thick, creamy mixtures of milk, sugar, and flavorings. Custards are thickened with eggs, puddings with cornstarch or flour.
Puerto Rican Cherry
A cherry-like fruit from a small tree in the West Indies and adjacent areas. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Also called "acerola" and "Barbados cherry."
Puff Pastry
A very light pastry made in layers that expand when cooked, leaving large air pockets inside. Used for sweet or savoury dishes.
Pulla pepper
Dried, up to five inches long, light reddish brown; hot; used like arbol in sauces and for seasoning soups and stews.
Pulp
The succulent flesh of a fruit.
Pulque
Beer made by fermenting the juice of the maguey cactus (century plant).
Pulverize
To break a food down to powder by crushing or grinding.
Pumpernickel
A course black bread made with rye flour.
Pumpkin
A large orange gourd related to the muskmelon and the squash. Pumpkins are popular in pies, but can be prepared like any winter squash. The seeds, which are known as "pepitas," are often husked and roasted to produce a nutty snack food.
Pumpkin seeds
The edible seeds of the pumpkin. These seeds are hulled to reveal a green seed with a delicate nutty flavor. These seeds are often roasted and salted. Also called "pepitas," these seeds are popular in Mexican cookery.
Puree
Used to describe either the act of making a smooth sauce or paste from various ingredients or the final result.
Purslane
A garden herb with a reddish green stem, thick leaves, yellow flowers, and a mild acidic fatty flavor. Purslane is used in salads, used as a potherb in soups and gumbos, and can also be eaten raw. Also called "pussley."
Puttanesca
A piquant pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chile flakes. The hot pasta is tossed in this sauce prior to serving. Some recipes leave the ingredients raw, allowing the heat of the pasta to bring out the flavors.
Puy lentils
Small slatey-blue lentils grown in France and Italy that keep their shape during cooking.
Pyramide Cheese
A truncated pyramid is the shape of this small French chevre that is often coated with dark gray edible ash. The texture can range from soft to slightly crumbly and depending upon it’s age, in flavor from mild to sharp. It is wonderful served with crackers or bread and fruit.
Quahog
The American Indian name for the East Coast hard shell clam. It is also used to describe the largest of these hard shell clams. Other names used are chowder clam or large clam.
Quail
A small game bird of the partridge family that resembles a small, plump chicken. Known also as "bobwhites" and "partridges." The flesh is white and delicately flavored. Most quail today are raised on bird farms.
Quatre-epices
A French spice mixture containing ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. This mixture is used to season stews and pates.
Quenches
Light savory dumplings made of meat or fish and used as a garnish or in a delicate sauce.
Quenelle
A round or oval dumpling of pounded, seasoned meat or fish usually poached in stock, eg chicken, salmon or pike quenelles.
Quesadilla
Flour tortilla turnover which is usually stuffed with cheese, then toasted, fried or baked. Originally a corn masa empanada filled with meat then deep fried. Modern versions found throughout restaurants in the US are made with flour tortillas that are filled with cheese and perhaps beans, meat, salsa or vegetables, and folded over when cooked. Usually pan-fried or cooked under a broiler.
Queso anejo
Aged cheese; salty white cheese slightly similar to feta in flavor, but since it is not brined, its flavor is somewhat milder; a good substitute is grated feta cheese.
Queso asadero
A rubbery-textured cheese that is pulled and twisted into strands; traditionally used in fillings where it becomes stringy when heated; whole-milk mozzarella, Monterey jack or Muenster may be substituted.
Queso Blanco Cheese (Mexican)
This creamy white cheese is made from skimmed cow's milk. When it is heated, it becomes soft and creamy but doesn't melt. It is ideal for stuffing burritos and enchiladas.
Queso cotija Cheese (Mexican)
Sharp, firm and good for grating. Simply sprinkle it on top of beans, chili or other dishes to enhance their flavor.
Queso fresco
Cheese which has a texture similar to farmer's cheese; crumbly white cheese made from partially skimmed milk; lightly tangy and very subtle; usually sold in small round cakes; used for fillings and crumbled into soups and over sauces; often called queso blanco; white Cheddar or a mixture of farmer's and feta cheese are fairly good substitutes.
Queso Oaxaca Cheese (Mexican)
Also known as quesillo, this soft, mild cheese is perfect for quesadillas. It is similar in texture to string cheese, and should e pulled apart into thin strings before being put on the tortilla.
Queso panela Cheese (Mexican)
This soft white cheese often is served as part of an appetizer or snack tray. It absorbs other flavors easily. Like queso blanco, it doesn't melt.
Quiche
An open flan or tart with a savoury filling usually of egg and milk with other ingredients added to taste. Originally from Lorraine, the quiche has become a classic of French cuisine.
Quick bread
A bread made with a leavening agent, such as baking powder, that expands during baking and requires no leavening period beforehand.
Quick rising yeast
Quick rising yeast causes a dough to rise in half the the time. Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for best results. Find in any supermarket.
Quince
When fully ripe, the quince has a wonderful perfume. It belongs to the apple family with much the same shape as an apple but a furry skin. Quince should not be eaten raw because it is very hard and bitter but it makes excellent preserves, especially marmalade.
Quinoa
Dating back to the Incas, this grain is still grown in Bolivia and Peru. It is regarded as a 'superfood' as it is extremely rich in complete protein, so is excellent for vegetarians. The small round grains look similar to millet but are pale brown in colour. The taste is mild, and the texture firm and slightly chewy. It can be cooked like millet and absorbs twice its volume in liquid. When cooked, the grains sweeten and become translucent, ringed with white. It makes a good pilaf, but requires a lot of seasoning. Try as a porridge, served hot with cream, dried fruit and brown sugar.
Rabbit
Rabbit meat is mostly white, fine textured and mildly flavored. Domesticated rabbit is generally plumper and less strongly flavored that wild rabbits. Rabbit can be prepared in any manner suitable for chicken.
Raccoon
A North American mammal that served as an important food source for pioneers. The flesh is mostly dark meat, and the fat is strong in flavor and aroma. Young raccoons are usually roasted; older raccoons should be braised or stewed.
Raclette Cheese
A cow's milk cheese from Switzerland. It is semi-firm and dotted with holes--similar to Gruyere.
Radicchio
A crisp variety of chicory with a bitter, peppery taste. Radicchio has small hearts, red with white veins, and is generally used in salads mixed with other salad leaves.
Radish
A popular salad vegetable that is the root of a plant from the mustard family. The flavor of radish can vary from mild to peppery, depending on the variety and the age.
Rag Gourd
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge. Also called the "sponge gourd."
Ragout
A French stew of meat, poultry or fish. The term is also used to describe a sauce.
Ragu
Meaty, slow-cooked tomato sauce, ideal with lasagne, raviloi, and other fresh pasta.
Raised pie
A pork, ham or game pie that is made with hot water crust pastry.
Raisin
A dried grape. Raisins have a higher sugar content and a different flavor from grapes. Raisins are eat out-of-hand and used in cereals, puddings, cookies, cakes, muffins, stuffings, salads, and rolls.
Rambutan
A relation of the lychee, this exotic fruit has a brown leathery skin with soft spines and a white, translucent flesh that resembles the lychee in taste and texture.
Ramekins
Individual ovenproof baking dishes made of ceramic, porcelain or glass and used in the preparation of custards and other miniature sweet or savory dishes.
Ramen Noodles
Most of us recognize ramen noodle from the dried, curly variety found in those inexpensive instant noodle soup packages. Made with an egg-based dough, ramen are usually served with meat and vegetables in a flavorsome broth. Because fresh ramen is not always easy to find, fresh or dried Chinese egg noodles or Italian pasta make an adequate substitute.
Ramons
The seeds of a tree from the mulberry family that is grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. These seeds are boiled, ground into flour and made into bread. Also called "Jamaican breadnut."
Rapeseed Oil
An oil expressed from rapeseeds. Contains more monounsaturated fat than any other oil except for olive oil. Marketed in the US as "Canola Oil."
Ras el Hanout
A Moroccan spice mixture that can contain up to 100 different spices and is used in couscous, rice, meat and vegetable dishes; like garam masala, the mixture of spices in ras el hanout depends on the maker and the spices available, but may include cardamom, cayenne, aniseed, nutmeg, mace, ginger, galangal or even dried ground rosebuds.
Raspberry
A strongly-flavored berry made up of many connecting drupelets (individual sacs of fruit, each with its own seed). Varieties include golden, black, and red. The red type is the most common. Attached hulls indicate immaturity.
Ratafia
Flavoring made from bitter almonds; liqueur made from fruit kernels; tiny macaroon.
Ratafia biscuits
Light biscuits made with almond essence, very similar to the Italian amaretti biscuit. Used in trifles or crumbled into puddings.
Ratatouille
Vegetable stew trypical of Provencal cookery, made from aubergines, courgettes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic simmered in olive oil with herbs.
Ravigote
A veloute sauce with added onions, herbs, white stock and vinegar; served cold.
Ravioli
Small, square pasta cases that are stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables and cooked in water and served with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
Raw sugar
The residue left after sugar cane has been processed to remove molasses and refine the sugar crystals. Because raw sugar contains contaminants such as molds and fibers, it is (in the US) purified.
Raw-milk cheese
Made with unpasteurized milk (parmigiano reggiano, Swiss gruyere, French roquefort, traditional cheddars).
Ray
This kite-shaped fish features edible fins. The fish is firm, white, and sweet; similar to the texture and taste of scallop. Also known as a "Ray."
Razor clam
A long, thin, razor-shaped clam, considered one of the most delicious of clams; eaten raw or cooked.
Recess cake tin
Sponge flan pan.
Reconstitute
To bring a dried, dehydrated food back to its original consistency by adding a liquid.
Red Banana
Available in some markets is the short, chubby red banana. This variety of banana is sweeter than the extremely popular yellow variety known as the "Cavendish."
Red beans
Sometimes referred to as "the Mexican strawberry" in the Southwest; brighter in color than the pinto bean and lacks the surface streaks of the slightly smaller pinto bean; similar to and interchangeable with pinto beans. Medium-size, dark red beans akin to kidneys and pintos.
Red Curry Paste
A spicy condiment used in Thai cooking. Rather hot, with it's main ingredient being red chili peppers. Found in some supermarkets and Oriental markets.
Red Pepper
A hot red pepper powder made chiefly from the dried ripe pepper Caspsicum frutescens. While very hot to most people, it is not as hot as chili pepper, which is sometimes sold as cayenne. Also called "cayenne."
Red pepper flakes
The dried flakes of dried ripe red hot chile pepper. Most are quite hot.
Red Perch
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Red Rice
Rice with a reddish-brown bran layer, a nutty taste and chewy consistency. Red rice is often marketed as Wehani (also called Russet), Bhutanese red rice and Thai red rice.
Red Snapper
This is the most popular of a few hundred species of snapper. This is a lean, firm-textured saltwater fish. Some species of rockfish and tilefish are also called snappers, but are not.
Redeye Salmon
Prized for canning, the sockeye salmon has a firm, red flesh. Also known as the "sockeye salmon."
Redfish
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Redhead
A saltwater fish belonging to the wrasse family. Also called "California Sheesphead." Its meat is white, tender, and lean.
Reduce
To evaporate by fast boiling a flavoured liquid, such as a sauce or syrup, in order to concentrate the flavour or to thicken it.
Reduction sauce
A sauce that uses as its base the pan juices that are created from the stove-top cooking or oven-roasting of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables.
Reform sauce
An English sauce based on poivrade sauce which contains shallots, red wine, herbs and vinegar, reform sauce has the rich combination of port, gherkins, tongue, mushrooms and hard-boiled egg whites, and is best served with either lamb or game.
Refried Beans
Also known as "frijoles," refried beans are "pink beans," "pinto beans," or "red beans" that have been mashed then fried, often in lard.
Relax
Term used to describe 'resting' pastry after rolling out to prevent shrinkage.
Relish
a. A spicy or savory condiment or appetizer, such as chutney or olives. b. A condiment of chopped sweet pickle.
Remoulade
This classic French sauce (or salad dressing) is made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It is served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.
Render
To cook a food over low heat until it releases its fat.
Rennet
An extract from the stomach of cows or sheep, used to curdle milk for cheese making. A vegetarian alternative to rennet is now used in making vegetarian cheese.
Renuevos de rastrojo
[Spanish] tumbleweed shoots; they have a wild bean flavor and can be used as a vegetable or in salads.
Reuben Sandwich
A sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on sourdough rye bread.
Rhine
This term refers to fine German white wines that are smooth, not too dry, relatively low in alcohol, have a delicate fragrance, and are often slightly effervescent.
Rhubarb
The rhubarb is a very tart member of the buckwheat family. It is generally eaten as a fruit but is actually a vegetable. It is used in sauces, jams, and desserts. Rhubarb leaves contain the toxin "oxalic acid" and should not be eaten.
Rib steak
A steak cut from the rib portion, that part of the beef from which the standing rib roast or rolled rib roast is also taken; a club steak.
Ribeye Steak
A tender, flavorful beef steak that comes from the rib section between the chuck and the short loin.
Rice
Long-grain rice (including basmati rice) cooks in firm, dry kernels; short-grain or medium-grain, rice cooks up moist and slightly sticky, as its outer outer layer absorbs more liquid than long-grain rice.
Rice Bran Oil
An oil pressed from the outer hull (the "bran") of the rice grain.
Rice Flour
Rice flour can be used to thicken soups and stews, as well as providing an alternative to wheat flour in cakes and biscuits.
Rice noodles
Common in Southeast Asia, we can find these dried in supermarkets and in Asian markets. Can be served after soaking in hot water, but best when soaked and then boiled quickly.
Rice paper
An edible paper made from rice and used to wrap dumplings, Vietnamese summer rolls, and other Asian foods; edible, glossy white paper made from the pith of a tree grown in China. Frequently used for macaroon base.
Rice sticks
Clear noodles made from ground rice. Available in varying widths. Found in most Asian markets and larger supermarkets.
Rice vinegar
Wine vinegar made from rice wine used in oriental cookery.
Rice wine
An essential ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cooking and other Oriental cuisines. This sweet wine is low in alcohol and is made by fermenting freshly steamed glutinous rice. Also known as mirin or sake, rice wine is used in sauces, marinades and glazes.
Ricer
A plunger-operated utensil that is the best tool for making mashed potatoes. It also rices potatoes for potato dumplings.
Ricotta
An Italian ewe’s milk curd cheese that when unripened is creamy, soft and smooth. It can be eaten fresh with fruit or flavoured with sugar and cinnamon as it has rather a bland flavour. It is used in many Italian dishes especially as a stuffing for ravioli or in pastries.
Riddling
An important step in removing sediment from Champagne. Bottles are placed in racks and then turned by hand or machine over weeks or months until they are upside down and the sediment has settled on top of the corks, whereby the sediment is readily removed.
Riesling
This is the classic white-wine grape of Germany that is believed to be native to the Rhine Valley. It is responsible for the finest German wines and has been successfully transplanted to California, Chile, Austria, and Italy.
Rigatoni
Large ribbed pasta tubes.
Rijsttafel
A Dutch word, meaning "rice table." It is a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal consisting of hot rice accompanied by several (sometimes 20 or 40) small, well-seasoned side dishes of seafoods, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.
Rillette
A paste made from pork, rabbit, goose or poultry meat cooked in lard. The smooth pounded meat is potted and served as a cold hors d'oeuvre.
Ring tin
Baking pan
Ripened (aged) cheese
The drained curds are cured by heat, bacteria and soaking. Salt, spices and herbs or natural dyes (certain cheddars) may be added. Aging in a controlled environment begins.
Risotto
Italian dish made from rice cooked with stock, similar to a stew or broth. Other ingredients are added as required.
Rissole
Dish made of chopped meat or fish mixed with breadcrumbs, shaped into balls or cakes and fried.
Roast
To cook food in an oven, using dry heat.; placing food on a spit before a fire; or surrounding food with hot embers, sand or stones.
Roasters
These are somewhat older and larger chickens (3 to 5 pounds), delicious when roasted, poached, or braised.
Robert
A spicy brown sauce containing onions and vinegar, served with game and other meats.
Robert Sauce
One of the oldest brown sauces, invented in the 17th century by Frenchman Robert Vinot. Made with butter, flour, onions, wine bullion, seasoning, and French mustard. Used with goose, pork, and venison.
Rock salt
A salt derived from the huge seams of impacted salt that have formed below the dried-out, underground saline lakes of prehistoric times.
Rocket
Also known as arugula. This green salad vegetable is popular in Mediterranean countries. The leaves have a slightly bitter, peppery flavour and should be gathered when young. Rocket is a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C.
Rockfish
A low-fat fish of the Pacific Coast. There are two categories: the elongated varieties are milder and softer, and include Yellowtail and Goldeneye. The more full-flavored deep-bodied types include Bocaccio, Chilipepper, and Shortbelly.
Roe
A seafood delicacy with two varieties: "Hard roe" is the female fish's eggs. "Soft roe" (also called "white roe") is the milt (male reproductive glands filled with seminal fluid) of the male fish. Salted roe is called "caviar."
Rogan josh
A spicy, rich red lamb stew from India.
Roggenbrot
Rye bread.
Romaine Lettuce
Also called "cos," this variety of lettuce is long and cylindrical. Its broad, crisp leaves are used in Caesar salads.
Roman Bean
Also known as "Cranberry beans," these beans are buff-colored and feature reddish streaks. Used to add interest and visual appeal to salads and dishes like succotash.
Romano Cheese
One of several types of Roman cheese, all of which take their name from the city of Rome. The sharp and tangy "Pecorino Romano" comes from sheep's milk. The very sharp "Caprino Romano" comes from goat's milk.
Rompope
Mexican eggnog.
Root Beer
Created in the mid-1800s by pharmacist Charles Hires. The original root beer was very low in alcohol, and was made by fermenting a blend of sugar and yeast with various roots, herbs, and barks such as sarsaparilla and sassafras.
Roquefort Cheese
Called "the king of cheeses," this blue cheese in made from sheep's milk and aged in the limestone caverns of Mount Combalou near Roquefort, France. This cheese is creamy rich and has a pungent and slightly salty taste.
Roquette
This slightly bitter, aromatic salad green has a peppery mustard flavor. Look for bright green, fresh-looking leaves. Makes a lively addition to salads, soups, and sauteed vegetables. Also called "arugula."
Rose
A red wine made with the skins and stems removed almost immediately. This gives it its light pink (rose) color. It is light-bodied, slightly sweet, and served cold. In the U.S., the term "blush wine" is replacing the term "rose."
Rose Apple
The oval, yellow fruit of various tropical trees belonging to the myrtle family. These fragrant fruits not generally eaten out-of-hand but are most often used in making jams, jellies and confections.
Rose Hip
The ripe reddish-orange fruit of the rose that is often used to make jellies, jams, syrups, teas, and wines. Because of their high vitamin C content, rose hips are dried, ground, and sold in health-food stores.
Rose water
A flavoured water made by distilling rose petals, rosewater is essentially a flavour used in Eastern cooking. Its fragrance can be added to jellies and syrups, and it is often sprinkled over cakes and milky puddings.
Rosefish
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Roselle
A tropical plant of the mallow family that is cultivated for its thick, red calyx and bracts, used in making jellies and as a cranberry substitute.
Rosemary
An aromatic shrub native to Mediterranean countries whose evergreen leaves are used either fresh or dried. Rosemary has a very pungent taste, so not much is needed to flavour a marinade, a stew or a grill. It goes particularly well with lamb, veal, sausagement and some tomato sauces. A sprig of rosemary gives a delicate flavour to milk used for a dessert.
Rosti or roesti
A large Swiss potato cake made from layers of sliced or grated potatoes, fried until golden.
Rotini
Short spirals of spaghetti noodles.
Rouille
A pungent Provencal sauce to serve with bouillabaisse, made from chillies, garlic and oil.
Roulade
Rolled meat, chocolate cake, vegetables, etc.
Round steak
Meat from the thick central portion of the hind leg.
Roux
A roux is a cooked mixture of equal quantities of butter and flour that is the base for sauces such as white sauce and bechamel.
Rugula
This slightly bitter, aromatic salad green has a peppery mustard flavor. Look for bright green, fresh-looking leaves. Makes a lively addition to salads, soups, and sauteed vegetables. Also called "arugula."
Rum
A slightly sweet liquor distilled from fermented sugar-cane juice or molasses. Most of the world's rum is produced in the Caribbean.
Rump
Cut of beef from the lower back, sold as roasting joints and steaks - slightly less tender than sirloin.
Rumrunner
A cocktail made with white rum, orange juice, lime juice, sugar syrup, and orange bitters. Often served on ice and garnished with a twist of orange.
Russian dressing
Basically a simple mixture of mayo and ketchup.
Rutabaga
A root vegetable from the mustard family that resembles a large turnip. Also known as "Swedish turnips," this vegetable can be prepared any way that turnips can be cooked.
Rye
A hardy annual cereal grass related to wheat. Rye flour is often mixed with wheat flour to make rye breads. The seeds are used to make flour, malt liquors, whisky, and Holland gin. "Pumpernickel" is a heavy, dark bread made of rye flour.
Rye Whiskey
American law requires that this liquor be made from a minimum of 51% rye. Straight ryes are from a single distiller; blended ryes are a combination of several straight ryes.
Sabayon
Also known as zabaglione. A delicious dessert containing egg yolks, wine, cream, and sugar. Can be eaten by itself or served as a sauce for other desserts.
Sabayon Sauce
The French word for "Zabaglione," an ethereal dessert made by whisking egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar over simmering water to convert the eggs into a foamy custard.
Sable
A rich short cookie similar to shortbread.
Sablefish
This saltwater fish has a soft-textured flesh and a mild flavor. Its high fat content makes it a good fish for smoking. Called "Alaskan cod," "Black Cod," "Butterfish," and "Skil," although it is neither a cod nor a butterfish.
Saccharine
This sugar substitute contains 1/8 calorie per teaspoon and is said to be about 400 times sweeter than sugar. Some feel that saccharine has a bitter aftertaste. There is also controversy as to whether or not it is a carcinogen.
Saddle
The undivided loins of an animal, roasted as a unit.
Saddle blankets
Cowboy name for large pancakes.
Safflower Oil
A light, odorless, flavorless and colorless cold-pressed oil made from white seeds of the safflower plant. It contains more polyunsaturates than any other vegetable oil, and it has a high smoke point.
Safflower Seed
The seeds of the safflower plant, used to yield a low-cholesterol oil used in cooking oils and margarines.
Safflower Seed Meal
A meal made from the seed of the safflower plant. The seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats. Also called "Mexican saffron" because the flower's stigmas can produce a lower quality substitute for the expensive "saffron."
Saffron
The most expensive spice in the world fortunately goes a long way; derived from the stamens of the saffron crocus, it can be used either whole or in powdered form, giving a distinctive flavour and yellow colour to Spanish paella and Italian risotto. It is also a classic ingredient in the French fish soup bouillabaisse.
Sage
A perennial broad-leaved herb that is widely cultivated for its leaves which have an aromatic, slightly bitter flavour and are used for flavouring fatty meats (such as pork), stuffings, marinades, certain cheeses and various drinks.
Sago
A starch made from the pith of the sago palm, used to make puddings.
Saguaro
Tall cactus found in Arizona; its fruit is made into jams and jellies.
Sake
Japanese rice wine. Used as an alcoholic beverage and in oriental cookery. The alcohol content is typically between 12 and 15 percent by volume.
Salamander
A salamander is a commercial grill that can be heated to very high temperatures. It is used by professional cooks for glazing, browning or caramelising savoury or sweet dishes.
Salami
A sausage made from a mixture of raw meat such as pork, beef or veal and flavoured with spices and herbs; salamis can be salted, smoked or air-dried and are found all over the world.
Salinometer
A device used to measure the amount of salt in a liquid, such as a brine.
Salisbury steak
A ground beef patty seasoned with onions and seasonings before it is broiled or fried and served with gravy. Named after Dr. J. H. Salisbury who recommended eating a lot of beef for a wide variety of ailments.
Salmagundi
A mixture of many foods cut into pieces - meat, chicken, seafood, cheese, vegetables, combined with or without a sauce, served cold.
Salmis
A fricassee or stew made from game birds.
Salmon
Perhaps the best-known of all fish, pictures of salmon from 12,000 B.C. have been found. Salmon migrate from the seas into freshwater to spawn. Over the years, some varieties have become landlocked in lakes.
Salsa
Spicy, thick, cold relish made from tomatoes, chillis and fruit, usually used as a dip.
Salsiccia
Fresh sausage -- Made of finely cut pork; highly spiced; unlinked; Italian origin.
Salsify
Salsify is a root vegetable. There is a black-skinned variety with white flesh sometimes called scorzonera, and a white salsify, sometimes called oyster plant. The delicate flavour is similar to asparagus. Best cooked simply - boiled or poached and served with butter. It is easier to peel after cooking.
Salt
Crystals used as a seasoning and preservative. One of the major taste groups. Available as sea salt or rock salt, which is then further refined for cooking salt and table salt.
Salt cod
Dried, salted cod which needs to be de-salted and rehydrated before use. Popular in French, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines
Salt hoss
Cowboy term for corned beef.
Salt Pork
The salt-cured layer of fat taken from the pig's belly and sides. Salt pork is sometimes confused with fatback, which is unsalted. It is similar to bacon except that it is much fattier an has not been smoked.
Salt Substitute
A substitute for salt that contains little or no sodium. Used by persons on a salt restricted diet.
Saltimbocca
A dish consisting of rolled pieces of veal or poultry, cooked with herbs, bacon and other flavourings. The word comes from the Italian for 'leap into the mouth'.
Saltpeter
Potassium Nitrate. A common kitchen chemical used in preservation of meat or preparing corned beef or pork. May be purchased at drugstores.
Sambuca
A colourless Italian liqueur flavoured with aniseed. It is drunk with one or two coffee beans floating in the glass, after it has been flamed. Sambuca is very strong but has a sweetish taste.
Samosa
A deep-fried Indian pastry stuffed with spiced vegetables or meat, usually triangular in shape.
Samphire
Also known as glasswort or pickle-plant, this fleshy-leaved green plant grows on seaside marshes. Its flavour is salty and it has a crisp, interesting texture. Use it fresh in salads or serve it with fish, simply boiled and dipped in melted butter and eaten like asparagus.
Sangria
Spanish drink of red wine with fruit, mineral water and spices added.
Sapodilla
A large evergreen tree of tropical America that bears an edible fruit. The sapodilla is the source of "chicle," the key ingredient in the manufacture of chewing gum.
Sapote
This tree, native to Mexico and Central America, is also called the "marmalade tree" or "sapota." It offers a sweet, edible fruit. "Sapote" is also used to refer to the "sapadilla tree."
Sardine
Sardines are baby pilchards - an oil-rich fish. Sardines are sold whole, fresh or frozen while pilchards are mainly processed and canned. Ideal fish for grilling and barbecuing when whole.
Sarsaparilla
This flavor was originally derived from the dried roots of tropical smilax vines. Today, products featuring sarsaparilla use artificial flavors.
Sashimi
Japanese dish of raw fish and shellfish served with dipping sauces and vegetables.
Sassafras
The leaves of the sassafras tree are used in making traditional gumbo.
Satay
Pieces of meat or fish skewered and grilled, then served with spiced sauce.
Satsuma Orange
A small Japanese orange that belongs to the Mandarin family. It contains relatively few seeds.
Saturated fat
Mainly derived from animals, although some vegetables are also highly saturated. A good clue that a fat is saturated is that it is solid at room temperature.
Sauce
A thickened and flavored liquid that is created to enhance the flavor of the food that it accompanies. In the days before refrigeration, sauces were used to disguise the taste of foods that were going bad.
Sauce piquante
A thick, sharp-flavored sauce made with roux and tomatoes, highly seasoned with herbs and peppers, simmered for hours.
Sauerkraut
German for "sour cabbage." Made by combining cabbage, salt, and occasionally other spices and permitting the mixture to ferment. Though thought of as a German invention, this pickled food was eaten in China over 2,000 years ago.
Sausage
Basically, sausage is ground meat with fat, salt, seasonings, preservatives, and sometimes fillers. They may be smoked, fresh, dry or semi-dry, uncooked, partially cooked, or fully cooked. There are thousands of variations of sausage.
Sausage casings
Made from beef or pork products, available by special order from good meat markets or by mail order.
Saute
to cook quickly over high heat in an open frying pan with a small amount of butter, oil or cooking spray, turning food frequently
Sauterne
A sweet wine from the Sauternes region of France. It is made from Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon grapes that have been infected with a special mold that causes them to shrivel and leave a sugary fruit with highly concentrated flavors.
Sauvignon Blanc
An excellent white-wine grape that rivals Chardonnay and the Reisling. This grape imparts a grassy, herbaceous flavor to the wines produced from them.
Savarin
A ring-shaped cake made of a rich yeast dough, soaked with a rum syrup, and filled with pastry or whipped cream.
Savory
A strongly flavored herb of the mint family. There are two varieties: winter and summer. The summer savory is slightly milder, but both should be used carefully. Savory has a flavor reminiscent of a cross between thyme and mint.
Savoy Cabbage
A loose, full headed, and mellow-flavored cabbage that is considered by many to be the finest cabbage for cooking.
Scald
To heat milk to just below the boiling point.
Scallion
Also called "spring onions," these are very young ordinary onions (such as "shallots") picked when beds of onions need to be thinned.
Scallop
Shellfish with a delicate taste available in a range of sizes. Scallops can be steamed, fried or grilled but should be cooked gently. The flesh is firm and white, the coral (or roe) is orange or pale red in colour.
Scallop Squash
A flat, whitish variety of squash that features a scalloped edge. Also known as "cymling" and "pattypan squash."
Scampi
The Italian name for the tail portion of any of several varieties of miniature lobsters. In the U.S., the term refers to large shrimp that are split and brushed in a garlic oil or butter, then broiled. "Scampo" is the singular form.
Scone
A small, rounded cake that can be sweet, often served with clotted cream and jam, or savoury, used as an accompaniment to other meals.
Score
To make lengthwise gashes on the surface of food.
Scorzonera
Also called "black salsify," this is a black-skinned variety of salsify. Most varieties of this vegetable are grayish or pale golden in color.
Scotch
This distinctive liquor, made only in Scotland, uses barley for flavoring instead of corn (which is used in American whiskeys). The sprouted malted barley is dried over peat fires to impart a characteristic smoky flavor to the scotch.
Scotch bonnet
Very hot, small chilli, similar to the habanero. After preparing chillis, it is very important to avoid contact with the eyes or any sensitive skin - even washing the hands may not be enough to remove all the capsaicin, the volatile oil in the fruit that gives it its hot taste.
Scrag
Cut of lamb from the neck, used in casseroles and stews.
Scrapple
Cooked meat specialty -- Ground cooked pork combined with cornmeal; other flours may be used in small amounts; available in loaf, brick or rolls, canned.
Screwdriver
An alcoholic beverage made with orange juice and vodka. It is said to have been named by American oil-rig workers in the Middle East who opened and stirred cans of this beverage with their screwdrivers.
Scrod
Scrod is the name for young cod (and haddock) that weight less that 2.5 pounds. It is a popular fish from the Pacific and the North Atlantic with a lean, firm, white flesh. "Haddock," "hake," and "pollock" are close relatives of the cod.
Scungille
A shellfish.
Scup
Also know as "porgie" or "sea bream." These fish are generally lean, and coarse-grained. Scup is often grilled, poached, and pan-fried.
Sea bass
A term used to describe a number of lean to moderately fat marine fish, most of which aren't actually members of the bass family. "Striped bass" and "Black Sea bass" are true bass. The "white sea bass" is a member of the drum family.
Sea Bream
White fish with a number of varieties available, sold whole or as fillets. Coarse, succulent flesh ideal for grilling, baking and frying.
Sea Devil
This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Also called "angler fish" "monkfish," and "goosefish."
Sea Perch
This important commercial fish is a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "ocean perch," although it is not a true perch.
Sea plums
Canned oysters.
Sea Salt
Salt produced by evaporating sea water. Salt produced in this manner is more expensive than salt that has been mined.
Sea Trout
An anadromous (spawns in fresh water) brown trout that spends part to its life cycle in the sea. Sea trout have meat that is pink to red in color and is very comparable to salmon. May be prepared any way appropriate for salmon.
Sea Urchin
A round spiny creature found off the coasts of Europe and America. The only edible portion is the coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.
Sea vegetables
A rich source of iodine and an important food source in many oriental cultures. Sea vegetables such as dulse, hijiki, and arame can be soaked briefly in water, squeezed dry, and cut up for salad. Laver (nori) is what you use to make sushi.
Seafood Sauce
A combination of catsup or chili sauce with prepared horseradish, lemon juice, and hot red pepper seasoning. Used with seafood and as a condiment for hors d'oeuvres.
Sear
To cook at very high heat for a short period of time in order to brown meat and seal the surface ensuring that the juices are trapped within.
Season
To add flavor to foods in the form of salt, pepper, herbs, spices, vinegar, etc. so that their taste is improved.
Seasoned flour
Flour flavored with salt and pepper and sometimes other seasonings.
Seasoning
Something, such as a spice or herb, used to flavor food. Also called seasoner. Ingredients added to food to intensify or improve its flavor. Some of the most commonly used seasonings include herbs (such as oregano, rosemary and basil), spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice), condiments (such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and mustard), a variety of vinegars and-the most common of all-salt and pepper.
Seaweed
Any of a multitude of sea plants from the algae family. Used in soups, as vegetables, in teas, in shushi, and as a seasoning. Seaweed is a rich source of iodine. A seaweed called "carrageen," is used in McDonald's McLean hamburger.
Seaweed sheets, dried
Also known as nori and laver. Find in Oriental markets and larger supermarkets.
Self-Rising Flour
A mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
Seltzer
A flavorless, naturally effervescent water that takes its name from the town of Nieder Selters in Germany. Soda water is man-made by injecting carbon dioxide into water.
Semifirm cheese
Cooked and pressed, but not so long-aged, not crumbly (edam, jarlsberg).
Semifreddo
Meaning "half cold", this is gelato with whipped cream folded into it.
Semisoft cheese
Either cooked or uncooked, soft, but sliceable (gouda, tilsit, monterey jack).
Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
often utilized in cake and cookie recipes. Both terms are often used interchangeably, though bittersweet generally has more chocolate liquor (the paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans). Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, while some fine bittersweets contain 50% or more. Either chocolate possess a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of cocoa beans used rather than added dairy products. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter must be added to the liquor to enhance the chocolate flavor.
Semolina
A very coarse flour used to make pizza and bread. Also refers to rounded parts of wheat used to make a pudding of the same name.
Serrano chiles
Serrano means from the mountains; medium green chile, becoming brilliant red when ripe; extremely hot; usually shorter and thinner than the jalapeno; a basic ingredient for salsas, sauces, marinades and escabeches; jalapenos may be substituted.
Sesame oil
This oil is high in polyunsaturated fast (4th behind safflower, soybean, and corn). There are two basic forms: light and dark. The light form is lighter in color and flavor and has a hint of nuttiness. The dark from is much stronger.
Sesame Seed
A tiny, flat seed with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor used in breads, cakes, confections, cookies, pastries, and salads. This seed was used at least as far back as 3,000 B.C. in Assyria.
Sesame seeds, toasted
Often used as garnish in many cuisines. To make - Toast raw sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until golden brown. Shake and stir the seeds over the burner to get even coloring. Ready for use.
Sesbania Flower
The edible flower of a tree native to the South Pacific and pasts of Asia. Especially popular as a food in the Philippines. Also called "Katuray."
Seviche
A popular dish in Latin-American cookery, a dish of raw fish, scallops, or shrimp marinated in citrus juices until the flesh becomes "cooked". Onions, peppers, and chiles are then added to finish the dish.
Shad
Small, delicate saltwater fish related to the alewife, herring, and sardine. They are larger than herrings and spawn in fresh water. Some species of shad have been landlocked and live in freshwater lakes.
Shallot
The mild-flavored cousin to the onion, chive, leek, and garlic. The bulb is edible and is used like onions or garlic. The green tops are harvested and marketed as "scallions."
Shark
A flavorful, low-fat fish that includes varieties such as Leopard, Mako, Spiny Dogfish, Soupfin and Thresher. Shark meat tends to have an ammonia-like smell that can be eliminated by soaking the flesh in milk or acidulated water.
Shaslik
Skewered, broiled marinated lamb.
Sheanut Oil
Oil from the seed of the shea tree, an African tree from the sapodilla family. "Shea butter" (also called "galam butter") is the solid green, yellow, or white fat derived from the seeds of the shea tree.
Sheepshead
A saltwater fish belonging to the wrasse family. Also called "California Sheephead," "Fathead," and "Redhead." Its meat is white, tender, and lean.
Shell steak
The same as Delmonico.
Shellfish
A broad term for all aquatic animals that have a shell of some kind. Shellfish are separated into two basic categories Crustaceans and mollusks. Crustaceans include Crabs, Crayfish, Lobster and Shrimp. Mollusks are divided into three groups Mopods (also called univalves) such as the Abalone and Snail, Bivalves like the calm and OYSTER; and CEPHALOPODS such as the octopus and squid).
Sherbet
A frozen mixture containing fruit juices, water or milk, to which various thickeners are added before freezing, such as egg whites or gelatin.
Sherry
This famous Spanish fortified wine is also made in the U.S. Sherries range in color, flavor, and sweetness. They are drunk as an apertif (appetizer) or after dinner. Cry sherries are usually served cold; sweet sherries unchilled.
Sherry vinegar
This recent addition to American markets is a good wine vinegar that is better than inexpensive balsamic vinegar. May be used in salads, and also as a marinade for grilled and broiled dishes.
Shiitake
The best domesticated mushroom, with a rich, distinctive, smoky flavor. Do not eat the stem, but save it for stocks. Can be found in most Oriental markets dried. Also found fresh or dried in some larger supermarkets. An expensive mushroom that originated in Japan, but is now grown in the U.S. Sometimes called "golden oak," this tasty, dark brown mushroom has a meaty flesh and a full-bodied flavor.
Shimeji Mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Also called "oyster mushroom."
Shin
Cut of beef from the foreleg, used for casseroles and stews.
Shirred eggs
Eggs broken into shallow ramekins containing cream or crumbs, then baked or broiled until set.
Shish kebab
Cubes of meat cooked on a skewer, often with vegetables.
Short loin
The tenderloin.
Short ribs
The cut off ends of the prime rib, which should be cooked in liquid until quite tender.
Short'nin' bread
Sweet, rich quick bread.
Short-broiling
The same as parboiling or poaching.
Short-grain rice
The most common rice in Japanese cooking. It has a short oval shape compared to long-grain rice. Also known as pearl rice.
Shortbread
A sweet biscuit, fairly dense and rich in butter. Eaten on its own or used as a base for tarts.
Shortcrust pastry
Probably the most useful and versatile pastry, shortcrust is a crumbly pastry that is ideal for pies and pasties.
Shortening
Any fat, liquid, or solid used in pastry, dough, or batter for making the resulting product flakier, richer, or more tender. In common use are hydrogenated shortenings like butter, lard, margarine, and the edible oils.
Shoyu
A dark, salty sauce made from fermenting boiled soybeans and roasted wheat or barley. Extremely popular in the Orient; used to flavor fish, meat, marinades, sauces, soups, and vegetables. Better known in U.S. as "soy sauce."
Shred
To cut or tear food into long, thin strips
Shrimp
American's most valuable and popular shellfish. This ten-legged crustacean got its name from English word "shrimpe," which means "puny person."
Shrimp powder, dried
Tiny shrimp dried and ground into a fine powder. Found in Oriental markets.
Shrinkage
The weight lost by a meat or poultry product during cooking, cooling, drying and storing.
Shuck
To open an oyster shell with a small, thick-bladed knife.
Sicama
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Jicama."
Sichuan pepper
Sichuan or anise pepper is actually not pepper but the very hot and peppery dried red berries of a type of ash tree. The berries are roasted and ground to make a very pungent and aromatic seasoning used in Chinese cuisine. Sichuan pepper is also one of the spices of Chinese five-spice powder.
Side Dishes
Any dish served to accompany and balance a main dish, frequently a vegetable and starch.
Sieve
A fine, mesh strainer.
Sift
To pass dry ingredients, usually flour and baking powder, salt, etc., through a fine-meshed strainer or sifter to blend ingredients thoroughly and remove larger pieces thereby lightening the texture of the mixture.
Silver foil (Vark)
Edible silver in ultra-thin sheets. Used for fancy garnishing in Indian cooking.
Silver Hake
A small gray and white saltwater fish that is also called the "whiting." This low-fat fish, which is related to both the "cod" and the "hake," has a tender white fine-textured flesh and a flaky, delicate flavor.
Silver Salmon
This high-fat variety of salmon provides a firm-textured, pink to orange-red flesh. Also called the "coho salmon."
Silverside
Cut of beef from the rear of the animal, used for boiling, stews, casseroles and mince.
Sim Sim
A tiny, flat seed with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor used in breads, cakes, confections, cookies, pastries, and salads. This seed was used at least as far back as 3,000 B.C. in Assyria. Better known in U.S. markets as "sesame seed."
Simmer
To cook in liquid just below the boiling point..
Simnel cake
Now an Easter cake, this was originally given by servant girls to their mothers when they went home on Mothering Sunday. A fairly rich fruit cake, it is covered with almond paste or marzipan, stamped with the figure of Christ and decorated with 11 marzipan balls to represent the 11 apostles (excluding Judas).
Singapore Sling
A cocktail of gin, cherry brandy, and lemon juice. This mixture is shaken in ice, strained into a tall glass, and topped off with soda water. Said to have originated in Singapore's Raffles Hotel.
Sippets
Small pieces of toast, soaked in milk or broth for the sick; bits of biscuit or toast used as a garnish.
Sirloin
Premium cut of beef from the back, sold as roasting joints and fillet steaks.

Slake

To mix a thickening agent with liquid, eg cornflour, arrowroot.

Sirloin steak
A juicy, flavorful cut of beef from the portion of the animal between the rump and the tenderloin.
Skate
This kite-shaped fish features edible fins. The flesh is firm, white, and sweet, similar to the texture and taste of scallop.
Skate wings
This is the edible portion of the skate. The flesh, when cooked, separates into little fingers of meat and has a distinctive rich, gelatinous texture. The taste is similar to that of scallops. Never buy skate with the inedible skin on as it is very difficult to remove.
Skewers
Long thin metal pins on which food is impaled for grilling or broiling.
Skil
This saltwater fish has a soft-textured flesh and a mild flavor. Its high fat content makes it a good fish for smoking. Also "black cod" and "sablefish," although it is not a cod.
Skim
To remove cream from the surface of milk, fat from the tops of gravies and sauces or frothy scum from broths or jam and jellies during cooking.
Skipjack Tuna
Also called the "oceanic bonito," "watermelon," and "Arctic bonito," this small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "katsuo" and the Hawaiians call it "aku."
Skirt steak
The diaphragm muscle, a little know but delicious cut of beef, very tender and juicy if broiled quickly and served rare.
Skunk Cabbage
A perennial herb of the arum family. Its thick leaf stalk is used in salads after it has been boiled in two or more changes of water. Also known as "swamp cabbage."
Skunk egg
Cowboy term for an onion.
Slap bread
Hand-shaped bread, slapped thin, such as tortillas and fry bread.
Sliced Beef
Cooked meat specialty -- Made from boneless beef; chopped, cooked, smoked and sliced; moist, not dehydrated; more perishable than dried beef.
Sliver
To cut foods into thin strips.
Sloe Gin
A liqueur made by steeping gin with crushed sloes. "Sloes" are wild European plums with an extremely tart flesh.
Smelt
A rich and oily mild-flavored fish. Popular varieties of smelt include "Eulachon" and "Whitebait." The eulachon is called the "candlefish" because Indians sometimes run a wick through their high-fat flesh and use them for candles.
Smitane
Wine sauce with sour cream and onions added.
Smoked Country Style Pork Sausage
Uncooked, smoked sausage -- Fresh pork sausage, mildly cured and smoked; cook thoroughly before use.
Smokies
Cooked, smoked sausage -- Coarsely ground beef and pork; seasoned with black pepper; stuffed and linked like frankfurters.
Smoking
Method of curing foods, such as bacon or fish, by exposing it to wood smoke for a considerable period of time.
Smoothie
A non-alcoholic cold drink made up of a mixture of the juices and pulp of fruit or vegetables blitzed into a smooth drink.
Smorgasbord
An assortment of hot and cold dishes served in Sweden as hors d'oeuvres or a full buffet meal. It should not just simply be a few salmon canapes, cold meats and cheese but a vast buffet from which guests serve themselves.
Smother
Cook slowly in covered pot or skillet with a little liquid added to sauteed mixture.
Snacks
Any light dish to each between meals for something to "tide you over".
Snail
Popular since prehistoric times, the snail was greatly favored by ancient Romans who set aside special vineyards where snails could feed and fatten.
Snap Bean
A small green bean that is eaten in its long green pod. The snap bean used to have a fibrous "string" down the center of the pod; this characteristic has been bred out of the species. Also called "green bean" and "string bean."
Snapper
There are a few hundred species of this lean, firm-textured saltwater fish, 15 or so which are available in the U.S. The most popular snapper is the "red snapper." Some species of rockfish and tilefish are called snappers, but are not.
Snow peas
Edible-pod peas with soft, green pods and tiny peas.
Soba
A Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. The buckwheat gives soba a dark brownish gray color.
Soba noodle
Buckwheat noodles, brown, flat, resembling spaghetti, used in Japanese cooking. Usually served in broth.
Sockeye Salmon
Prized for canning, the sockeye salmon has a firm, red flesh. Also known as the "redeye salmon."
Soda bread
Irish bread; a baking powder bread, or one made with sour milk and baking soda.
Sodium Erythorbate
A food grade cure accelerator and color stabilization in cured meats. An antioxidant whose chemical structure resembles Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid. It is added to hot dogs, cured meats and a few other foods to reserve their flavor and color when exposed to air. It is used in the food processing industry to preserve the color of cured meats and related products. It actually is a chemical salt of Erythorbic Acid
Sofrito
Famous seasoning mix which includes cured ham, lard or canola oil, oregano, onion, green pepper, sweet chile peppers, fresh coriander leaves and garlic.
Soft Drink
Any drink that is non-alcoholic. Although carbonation is not required, most people think of soft drinks as being effervescent.
Soft grub
Hotel or diner food.
Soft-ripened (bloomy rind) cheese
The surface is exposed to molds, ripening the cheese from the outside in, to form thin, velvety rinds (brie, camembert).
Softshell Crab
The "soft-shell crab" is actually the blue crab caught just after molting (discarding its shell). This crab is found along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. It is sold in both its soft and hard-shell stages.
Sole
A popular flatfish with a delicate flesh with a firm, fine texture. The best-known variety is "Dover sole" (also called "channel sole)." Much of what is sold as "sole" in the U.S. is actually a variety of flounder, which isn't a true sole.
Somen Noodles
The most delicate of all the Japanese noodles, somen are often distinguished by their elegant packaging. Made from a wheat-flour dough with a touch of oil added, like soba noodles they are often served cool with a dipping sauce, but don't forget they also make a light and delicate garnish for hot soups. To cook somen noodles just boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Sopa seca
Dry soup with very little liquid left after cooking.
Sopes
Little round antojitos of tortilla dough.
Sorbet
A semi-frozen water ice, usually made with fruit or a liqueur, and eaten as a palate cleanser between courses, or as a dessert.
Sorghum
A genus of cereal grasses with a large number of species, cultivated throughout the world for food, forage, and syrup. It is the world's third largest food grain.
Sorghum Syrup
The stalks of the cereal grass sorghum can be boiled down to produce a thick syrup which can be used as a table syrup and to sweeten baked goods. Also called "sorghum molasses."
Sorrel
Sorrel comes in several varieties, including wild sorrel and French sorrel. Its name derives from the French for sour, in reference to the plant’s characteristic acidity. Although often used in salads, sorrel should not be eaten in large quantities as it contains a high amount of oxalic acid.
Souffle
A light, airy mixture that is normally made by taking an egg yolk-based sauce that has been lightened by adding stiffly beaten egg whites. Souffles may be sweet or savory and served cold or hot.
Sour cream
Also known as "dairy sour cream." This commercial product is made from homogenized pasteurized sweet cream to which a dairy culture has been added for souring.
Sour oranges
Seville oranges; ornamental oranges.
Sourdough
Yeasty fermented bread; the natural starter is kept in a jar or crock.
Soursop
The large, dark-green, slightly acidic and pulpy flesh of the fruit of a small West Indies tree called the soursop. Also called "guanabana."
Souse
to pickle food in brine or vinegar; such as soused herrings.
Souse Loaf
Well-cooked pig's head and feet that are chopped into small pieces, marinated in lime juice, chili pepper and salt, then pressed into a loaf.
Souse of Sulz
Cooked meat specialty -- Similar to head cheese except for sweet-sour flavor added by vinegar pickling liquid; dill pickles, sweet red peppers and bay leaves sometimes added.
Soy bean
The world's most important bean is the low carbohydrate, high-protein soybean. This inexpensive, yet nutritious legume is used to make soybean oil, soy flour, soy sauce, miso, tamari, and tofu. Can also be used like any other bean. Soybean are round, under one-half inch in diameter, and usually yellowish, although the may be other colors.
Soy Flour
A very high-protein, low carbohydrate flour made from soybeans. Soy flour has approximately twice the protein of wheat flour.
Soy milk
This milky, iron-rich liquid is the product of pressing cooked and ground soybeans. Soy milk is higher in protein than cow's milk. It is cholesterol-free and low in calcium, fat, and sodium.
Soy Protein
Used as a binder to reduce shrinkage, to retain water and natural juices, to bind the fat and meat for a smoother, more favorable consistency. Use 3% for fresh products and 5% for smoked products. Pound for pound, this product contains 7 times more protein than meat
Soy Sauce
A condiment made from fermented soya beans and salt which forms a basic ingredient in both Japanese and Chinese cooking.
Soybean Curd Cake
A low-calorie, high-protein, cholesterol-free food made from curdled soy milk. It is creamy white with a firmness that varies from soft to firm. Should be kept refrigerated. The water it is packed in should be changed daily.
Soybean Oil
An inexpensive oil that is nutritious and has a high smoke point. Soybean oil is approximately 58% polyunsaturated fat, 23% monounsaturated, and 15% saturated fat. Used extensively in making margarine and shortening.
Spaetzle
This is a coarse noodle from Alsace and Germany made of flour, eggs, oil, and water. The soft dough is dropped into boiling water (with a spaetzle press) and poached until cooked through. The noodle is then fried in butter or oil and served as a side dish to meat dishes. Spaetzle may also be flavored with cheese, mushrooms, and herbs.
Spaghetti
Like its cousin "macaroni," spaghetti is made from semolina and water. Sometimes eggs are added. The name comes from the italian word for "strings."
Spaghetti squash
This creamy-yellow watermelon-shaped squash is so named because its flesh, when cooked, separates into yellow-gold spaghetti-like strands. Avoid greenish squash (indicating immaturity).
Spaghettini
A thin form of the spaghetti pasta. It is not quite as thin as vermicelli, however. Other spaghettis include "fettuccine" and "linguine," which are flat rather than round.
Spanish onions
Like Bermuda onions, these are large, relatively mild, easy to handle, and keep well for weeks. Good for baking.
Spare ribs
The long cut of meat from the lower breast bone of the hog. Spareribs are best cooked slowly, so that their fat can be rendered and they can become tender.
Spatchcocking
A technique whereby poultry shears or a sharp knife is used to split chicken along backbone, leaving breastbone intact. Spatchcocked chicken is generally served with a vinaigrette sauce
Speck
Cured and smoked pork flank.
Spelt
Native to southern Europe, where it's been used for thousands of years, spelt is an ancient cereal grain that has a mellow nutty flavour. The easily digestible spelt has a slightly higher protein content than wheat and can be tolerated by those with wheat allergies. Spelt flour, available in health-food stores, can be substituted for wheat flour in baked goods.
Spiedini
An Italian word for skewers of meat or fish grilled over a flame or under a broiler. Known as Spiedies in the Eastern United States.
Spiedino
Fried cheese with anchovy sauce.
Spinach
An annual potherb from southwestern Asia grown for its leafy green leaves. Spinach can be used raw, or cooked by boiling or sauteing. Its leaves contains small amounts of oxalic acid which gives spinach a slightly bitter flavor.
Spit
Revolving skewer or metal rod on which meat, poultry or game is roasted over a fire or under a grill. Process creates high heat and forces fat to spit out of meats.
Split peas
A variety of yellow or green field pea that is grown specifically for drying. These peas are often dried and split along a natural seam, whereupon they are called "split peas" and are used in soups and other dishes.
Sponge
The portion of dough in bread-making containing all or part of the yeast, to which are added the remaining ingredients.
Sponge Gourd
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge. Also called the "Luffah."
Spoon bread
A kind of baked cornmeal pudding.
Spot
A small fish (approximately 1.5 pounds) belonging to the drum family. In 1925, these fish appeared in New York harbor in such vast numbers that they clogged the condenser pumps of the electric company and caused a blackout.
Spotted pup
Chuckwagon name for raisin pudding; without the raisins, it was just called "pup."
Spreads
Type of thick appetizer made to be spread on bread or crackers
Spring roll
Thin sheets of dough which are filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables and rolled into logs. Spring rolls are most often deep fried, though they may also be steamed. Chinese versions use wheat dough, while the Vietnamese and Thai versions use a rice paper wrapper.
Springform mold
Baking tin with hinged sides, held together by a metal clamp or pin, which is opened to release the cake or pie which was cooked inside.
Sprue asparagus
The thinnings or first pickings of the asparagus bed which have a good flavour - and should be cheaper than asparagus proper.
Spumoni
Ice cream made with fruit and nuts.
Squab
A young domesticated pigeon that has never flown and is therefore very tender. Squabs are normally under a pound and about 4 weeks old. May be prepared in any manner suitable for chicken.
Squab chicken
The poussins of France, these are mere babies weighing about a pound and sufficient for one person. They are unusually tender and delicate and are best when roasted whole or split and broiled.
Squash blossoms
Blossoms of winter squashes such as zucchini, yellow squash and pumpkin; commonly used in Southwestern cooking; best when used the day they are picked or bought; may be cooked briefly for use in soups or sauces, or stuffed and fried.
Squash Seeds
The edible seeds of the pumpkin. These seeds are hulled to reveal a green seed with a delicate nutty flavor. These seeds are often roasted and salted. Also called "pepitas," these seeds are popular in Mexican cookery.
Squaw bread
Indian bread deep-fried in 6-inch circles; fry bread; popovers.
Squawberries
Red-orange berries from thorny desert bushes.
Squid
A sea mollusc related to the cuttlefish, also known as calamari. Squid can be grilled or fried and larger squid can be added to stews or cooked in their own ink.
Squirrel
An abundant, largely arboreal rodent. Red and gray squirrels are commonly eaten in the U.S. The gray squirrel is fatter and has a flavor considered by many as superior to the red squirrel. Squirrels do not have a strong "gamey" taste.
Squirrel can
Cowboy term for large can used for after-meal scraps.
Sriracha
A hot sauce made from sun-ripened chiles which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic. It is excellent in soups, sauces, pastas, pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein or on almost anything else to give it a delicious, spicy taste.
Star anise
The fruit of a shrub native to the Far East, star anise is shaped like an eight-pointed star and contains seeds with an aniseed flavour. It is used widely in Chinese cooking.
Star Apple
The purple, white, green, yellow, or rose-colored fruit of a West Indian tree. When cut open, the seeds are disposed into the shape of a star. Also called "caimit."
Starch
Carbohydrate obtained from cereals and potatoes or other tubers.
Starfruit
Also known as carambola, this yellow fruit becomes a five-pointed star when sliced widthways. Star fruits have a slightly sweet and sour taste, so are often used more for decoration in fruit salads.
Steak Diane
A very thin steak.
Steak tartare
Very lean beef, minced and served raw.
Steam
to cook food in the steam created by boiling water.
Steep
To soak in liquid until saturated with a soluble ingredient; soak to remove an ingredient, such as to remove salt from smoked ham or salted cod.
Sterilize
To destroy germs by exposing food to heat at specific temperatures.
Stew
To cook food slowly and for a long period of time using a small amount of liquid in a covered pan or pot
Stewing chicken
Also called mature, old chickens, or hens, these should be poached or simmered.
Stir
To mix with a circular movement, using a spoon or fork or other utensil.
Stir-fry
Any dish that has been prepared by stir-frying. That is, the food is chopped into small pieces and cooked very quickly over high heat in a large pan for a short period of time while briskly stirring the food.
Stock
A flavoured liquid base for making a sauce, stew or braised dish. Made by simmering beef, chicken or fish with vegetables, aromatic ingredients and water. Vegetable stock simply misses out the meat.
Stone fruits
Stone fruits are simply fruits with a stone, such as peach or plum.
Stone Ground Flour
Wheat that is ground between two slowly moving stones. This process creates less heat than the usual high speed steel grinding. Some cooks believe the stone grinding method produces a better product.
Strain
To remove solid particles from a mixture or liquid by pouring through a colander or sieve.
Strasbourgeoise
Served with goose livers and truffles.
Straw mushrooms, canned
Small button-like mushrooms indigenous to Asia. Fresh ones are so delicate that they aren't usually shipped.
Strawberry
This hardy member of the rose family is a red, juicy sweet-tart berry. The French "European Alpine" strawberries are tiny, very sweet berries and are considered the finest. Eaten out-of-hand, used in wines, liqueurs, and in desserts.
Streaker
Usually refers to bean purees or other colorful pastes made from nondairy products and used to decorate plates and finished dishes; may also refer to brightly colored cremas.
Streusel
A delicious topping of sugar, butter, flour, and other spices that adds flavor and crunch to crumb cakes, coffee cakes and some muffins.
String Bean
A small bean that is eaten in its long green pod. Named after the fibrous "string" that used to grow down the center of the pod; this characteristic has since been bred out of the species. Also called "green beans" and "snap beans."
Striped bass
This true bass is found along the Atlantic coast. It features six to eight horizontal stripes and provides a moderately fat, firm flesh with a mild, sweet flavor.
Stroganoff
A dish of thinly sliced beef (usually tenderloin or top loin), onions, and mushrooms sautéed in a combination of butter and sour-cream sauce. Often served with a rice pilaf. Invented by Count Paul Stroganoff in the 19th century.
Strudel
Austrian sweet made from very thin layers of pastry wrapped round fruit, most famously apple. A savoury version can also be made.
Stuffing
Thick paste made from dry ingredients like herbs, breadcrumbs and nuts, bound together with egg. Can be used to stuff the inside of roast meats or baked separately and served as an accompaniment.
Sturgeon
A name for various migratory species of fish know for its rich, high-fat flavor, firm texture, and excellent roe. Their average weight is 60 pounds, but one freshwater "Beluga" sturgeon was 26 feet long and weighed 3,221 pounds.
Sub gum
A stew of Chinese vegetables.
Succotash
A dish composed of a combination of lima beans and corn.
Suchet
With the flavoring of carrot.
Sucker
A name popularly applied to various types of freshwater fish closely related to carp. Suckers live and feed near the bottoms of streams. They may be cooked in any way appropriate for other fish.
Suckeyes
Cowboy term for pancakes.
Suet
The hard fat around the kidneys and loins of beef, mutton or pork.
Sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols like mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol are sweeteners that occur naturally in fruits, and are often added to certain foods. They're called "alcohols" because of their chemical structure, not because they contain the kind of alcohol in drinks like beer, wine and spirits. Because sugar alcohols do not promote tooth decay, they are often used in "sugarless" gum. They are also used to add texture to some foods. Some studies suggest that because sugar alcohols take longer to break down than regular sugar, they may cause a less rapid spike in blood sugar than sugar-sweetened products. But remember that they are not calorie-free, are not likely to help with weight control and, when consumed in excessive amounts, can lead to intestinal gas, cramping or diarrhea.
Sugar Beet
A type of beet with a very high sugar content that is cultivated primarily for making sugar. Most varieties of sugar beet are white inside and out and can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable, just like ordinary garden beets.
Sugar Cane
A tall grass of tropical and warm regions with tough, jointed stalks that can be processed to produce sugar.
Sugar Cure
A mixture of salt and sugar. The salt is the essential ingredient. The sugar counteracts the salt taste and gives the meat a better flavor and good color.
Sugar snaps
Also called snap peas, these flavorful pea-filled pods are newly developed (introduced in 1979). Sugar snaps are crisp, with crunchy pods and sweet peas.
Sugar Substitute
Also called "non-nutritive sweeteners," sugar substitutes are used by persons with reasons for avoiding or restricting their intake of sugar. "Saccharin" and "aspartame" are two common sugar substitutes.
Sugar syrup
Differentiating from natural syrups, this term refers to a solution of sugar and water. Simple syrups are made with equal quantities of water and sugar. Heavy syrup is made with twice as much sugar as water. These types of syrups are used in making sorbets, soft drinks, and for soaking cakes.
Sukiyaki
Japanese dish of meat, vegetables and seasonings, usually cooked at the table.
Sultanas
A type of large raisins, originally Turkish. Seedless white raisins.
Sumac
Spice that comes from the grated skin of a dark berry that possesses a a slightly acidic, astringent flavor.
Summer squash
The fruit of various members of the gourd family. Summer squash has a thin edible skin, soft seeds, high water content, and a mild flavor.
Sun-dried tomatoes
When a tomato is dried in the sun (or more likely the oven) the end result is a shriveled, intensely flavored tomato. They are usually packed in olive oil or packaged dried (when dried soak them in hot water to reconstitute).
Sunchokes
Also called Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are the knobby roots of a perennial sunflower. They resemble ginger in appearance and have a subtle, delicious flavor. Their high sugar content enables them to brown well when fried or roasted.
Sundae
Ice cream topped with syrup, nuts, and whipped cream. In the 19th century, moralists decried the drinking of carbonated beverages--including ice cream sodas--on Sundays. Vendors removed the soda, added toppings, and changed the spelling.
Sunfish
Any of a number of North American freshwater fish closely related to the perch. Known for their bright, sunny colors and interesting shapes, popular varieties include "Bluegill," "Crappie," and "Calico Bass," commonly called "Sunnies."
Sunflower
These bright yellow flowers turn and track the sun throughout the day. The seeds are either roasted or dried, salted or unsalted. The seeds (excluding the shell) are 47% oil and 24% protein by weight.
Sunflower Oil
The pale yellow mild-flavored oil derived from sunflower seeds. This oil is high in polyunsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Used in cooking and in salad dressings. Not well suited for frying because of its low smoke point.
Sunflower seeds
Seeds of the sunflower, these can be roasted or dried in or out of their shells. They can be added to many sweet and savory dishes, including salads, baked goods, and granola.
Sunsweet Lighter Bake
a 100% fat- and cholesterol-free baking ingredient that replaces butter, margarine, oil or shortening in scratch recipes and packaged mixes. Made from a blend of dried plums and apples, this new fat "imposter" creates moist, chewy baked goods that are lower in fat. Lighter Bake is located in the cooking oil or baking ingredients section of supermarkets nationwide.
Superfine sugar
Also called caster sugar, this finely granulated sugar is good in meringues and cold drinks; it dissolves quickly and easily. It can be made by blenderizing granulated sugar in the blender until it is powdery.
Supreme
A rich heavy cream sauce.
Surimi
Imitation crab meat processed from fish.
Surinam Cherry
The yellow to deep red, cherry-like fruit of a Brazilian tree of the myrtle family. These fruit, which are now grown in the U.S., are slightly acid and are eaten out-of-hand and used in jams and jellies. Also called "pitanga."
Swamp Cabbage
A perennial herb of the arum family. Its thick leaf stalk is used in salads after it has been boiled in two or more changes of water. Also known as "skunk cabbage."
Swamp seed
Rice.
Sweat
To cook vegetables very slowly in a little fat and their own steam so they soften but do not brown.
Swedish Meatballs
A combination of ground meat (often a combination of beef, pork, or veal), sautéed onions, milk-soaked breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, and seasonings. The mixture is formed into small balls, then sautéed until brown.
Swedish Turnip
A root vegetable from the mustard family that resembles a large turnip. This vegetable can be prepared any way that turnips can be cooked. Also called "Swedish turnips."
Sweet and Sour Sauce
A sauce that has a flavor intended to balance sweet with pungent. This is usually accomplished by using sugar and vinegar. This type of sauce is often served over meat, fish, or vegetables.
Sweet chestnut
The fruit of the sweet chestnut tree that is edible when cooked. Often roasted and eaten whole, or added to other dishes such as stuffing. Can also be ground to make flour. Chestnuts make a good accompaniment to Brussels sprouts and are served with many winter dishes, especially poultry and game.
Sweet Chocolate
Highly like the composition of semisweet chocolate, sweet chocolate has more sugar added and less chocolate liquor.
Sweet Pepper
Any of a wide variety of mildly-flavored peppers, including "bell peppers," "pimiento," "bull's horn," "Cubanell," and the "sweet banana pepper."
Sweet Pickle Cure
A solution of sugar, salt, water, sodium nitrate/or sodium nitrite. This solution is used to cure meats by injecting or soaking the meat.
Sweet potato
Root vegetable that resembles a potato, but is quite different. Often pinkish in colour, the sweet potato can be cooked in a variety of ways - though it is often baked.
Sweet Potato Noodles
"Tangmyon" or sweet potato noodles are similar to cellophane noodles, and they are often made with mung bean starch. Like cellophane noodles, they become translucent once cooked and will absorb the flavors of the foods they are cooked with. Used in stir fry dishes, to cook simply soften noodles in hot water for 10 minutes then stir-fry for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Sweetbreads
The culinary term for the thymus gland of an animal. Those of veal and lamb are most commonly eaten. The pancreas is also considered a sweetbread, but its taste and texture is inferior to that of the thymus gland.
Sweetened condensed milk
Milk that has been evaporated to about half of its volume and has sugar added. Sticky and sweet.
Sweetsop
Also known as "Sugar Apple," this is the sweet pulpy fruit of a tropical American tree. The skin of this heart-shaped fruit is sweet and custard-like. It is similar in flavor to a mild cherimoya. Eaten raw and in desserts and in ices.
Swiss Chard
Another name for "chard," a type of beet that doesn't develop the swollen, fleshy roots of ordinary beets. This vegetable is grown for its large leaves which are used much like other green vegetables.
Swiss Cheese
A term for cheeses that have a pale yellow, slightly nutty-flavored flesh and large holes. Switzerland is famous for two cheeses: "Emmentaler," and "Gruyere." Swiss cheeses are prized for their excellent melting properties.
Swiss roll tin
Jellyroll pan.
Swiss steak
Round or chuck steak that has been tenderized by pounding, coated with flour, and browned on both sides. The meat is then smothered in chopped tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, broth, and seasonings, then baked for about two hours.
Swordfish
A saltwater food and sport fish with mild-flavored, moderately fat flesh. The flesh is red, dense, and meat-like. Thanks to its firmness, swordfish can be prepared by baking, broiling, grilling, poaching, or sautéing.
Syllabub
English dessert made of whipped cream, white wine and sugar, usually infused with lemon. Syllabub dates back to the time of Elizabeth I.
Syrup
Thick, sweet liquid made by boiling sugar with water or fruit juices.
Szechuan Sauce
A sauce prepared with the Szechuan pepper. This pepper (and therefore the sauce) has a very distinctive mildly hot flavor and aroma.
T-bone steak
A cut from the center section of the tenderloin, directly in front of the porterhouse steak.
Tabasco chile
The famous chile from Tabasco, Mexico; seeds were introduced to Louisiana in the 1860s.
Tabasco Sauce
A hot, thin, spicy sauce made from vinegar and red chilli peppers. It can be used to season meat or sauces or added to cocktails for an extra kick.
Tabbouleh
Middle Eastern salad made with bulgar wheat, tomatoes, lemon and parsley. Traditionally wrapped in lettuce leaves and eaten with the hands.
Table Queen Squash
An oval winter squash with a ribbed, dark green skin and slightly sweet orange flesh. May be eaten baked or directly from the shell. Also known as "acorn squash."
Taco
A Mexican-style sandwich consisting of a folded corn Tortilla filled with various ingredients such as beef, pork, chicken, chorizo sausage, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onion, guacamole, refried beans and salsa. Most tacos in the United States are made with crisp (fried) tortilla shells, but there are also soft (pliable) versions. The latter are more likely to be found in the Southwest and California. Tacos may be eaten as an entree or snack.
Tagine
Or tajine. A north African earthenware dish with a conical shaped lid. The dish has given its name to the north African stew of meat and vegetables cooked in it.
Tagliarini
A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than tagliatelle, measuring approximately 3mm across.
Tagliatelle
Pasta made into thin ribbons, often served with creamy sauces.
Tahini
A thick paste made of ground sesame seed. Popular in the Middle East in a number of specialties, including "hummus" and "babghanoush."
Tailgate
Outdoor snack, meal or beverages originally served from the back of a pick-up truck at any sporting event. Hot food prepared on the grill at a sporting event.
Taleggio
A square creamy cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy, with a fat content of almost 50%. Has a mild, salty-sweet flavor, which can become pungent if left to age for too long. Often served with salads and fruit.
Tallow
The harder and less fusible fat in animals and vegetables.
Tallow biscuits
Hot biscuits spread with fresh tallow.
Tamae
Any filling enclosed in masa, wrapped in a corn husk or parchment paper, and steamed; the plural is tamales. The cornmeal is spread on a corn husk, then filled with chile-seasoned mixture of meats and red pepper, rolled, tied and steamed.
Tamales
Cornmeal dough wrapped in a corn husk and steamed, often stuffed with pork, olives or turkey.
Tamari
A dark, thicker form of soy sauce with a distinctive mellow flavor. Used as a dipping sauce, for basting, and as a table condiment.
Tamarillo
A red, egg-shaped tropical fruit that should be eaten cooked as the raw fruit can be quite tart; as a puree, tamarillo makes a good ingredient in ice-cream or sorbet and can also be served with poultry or fish.
Tamarind
A spice made from the pods of the tamarind tree by drying and pressing the pulp of the pods; a small piece can be broken off and infused to create an acidic liquid flavouring in authentic Indian curries.
Tandoori
In Indian cookery, a method of cooking chicken or other meat. Tandoori spices - ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne - are mixed with pureed garlic, pureed ginger, lemon juice and oil to make a paste that is used to coat the food which turns a red-orange colour. It is then cooked in the ‘tandoor’, a tall cylindrical clay oven. Traditional naan breads are also cooked in the tandoor. Tandoori spices can also be added to yogurt and used as a marinade.
Tangelo
A cross between a tangerine and the pomelo. This fruit contains only a few seeds and provides a juicy, sweetly tart taste.
Tangerine
Tangerines are a small orange citrus fruit. Mandarins and satsumas are simply different varieties of tangerine, and clementines are a hybrid between the tangerine and the sweet orange. They are usually eaten raw.
Tapenade
Tapenade is a paste made of black olives, capers, anchovies, mustard, basil and parsley. You can use it on crostini or bruschetta, with pasta and in sauces, as a marinade for meat and also for adding to casseroles and stews.
Tapioca
A starchy substance derived from the root of the "cassava plant" that is used as a thickening agent for soups, fruit fillings, and desserts. Used much like cornstarch.
Taramasalata
A thick, creamy Greek dip made from olive oil, fish roe, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Usually served as mezze dish or as an hors d'oeuvre.
Taro
A high-starch tuber grown in West Africa. The American variety is called "dasheen." Although acrid in the raw state, taro has a nut-like flavor when cooked. "Poi" is made from taro root. Taro can be boiled, fried, baked, and used in soup.
Taro Leaf
The large "elephant ear" leaves of the taro that are edible when young.
Tarpon
A large, powerful game fish from the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tarragon
An aromatic perennial herb, often used in French cooking. Its pointed leaves have a distinctive aniseed flavour and can be used to flavour oils and vinegar. Tarragon is particularly good with chicken.
Tart
A sweet- or savory-filled baked pastry with no top crust.
Tartar Sauce
A creamy white sauce composed of mayonnaise, minced capers, dill pickles, onions or shallots, olives, and lemon juice or vinegar and other seasonings. Tartar sauce is often served as an accompaniment to fried fish.
Tartare
Two meanings:
a. sauce made from mayonnaise, gherkins and capers
b. steak tartare is made with minced beef served raw with egg yolk and seasoning
Tarte Flambe
An Alsatian pizza with a thin crust topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon. This is also called an Alsatian firepie.
Tarte Tatin
The name given to an apple tart that is cooked under a lid of pastry, but served upside down - with the pastry underneath and the fruit on top. It combines the taste of caramel with the flavour of apples cooked in butter and was made famous by the Tatin sisters who ran a hotel-restaurant in France in the early 1900s. Many variations of the original apple 'upside down' tart have since been developed.
Tea
Tea was used 4,000 years ago in China to flavor water that had been boiled (to make it safe). Americans invented tea bags and iced tea. All tea is a single species--the climate, soil, and processing creates the individual characteristics.
Tea towel
Dish towel.
Teaseed Oil
The oil pressed from the seed of a small Chinese tree of the Camellia family (C. oleifera). This commercial tea oil is said to equal olive oil in quality and is used in a similar manner.
Teff
a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread.
Teff Flour
The flour produced by grinding the seeds of the teff, a northern African grass cultivated for its seeds.
Teff Seed
The seed of the North African teff plant.
Tempeh
A fermented soybean cake used in Indonesian cooking.
Tempura
A Japanese specialty prepared by deep frying fish and vegetables that have been dipped in tempura batter. The resulting batter is light, thin, and crispy. Usually served with rice and soy sauce.
Tendergreens
An herb of the mustard family whose leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. Americans cultivate this plant for its leaves; Asians cultivate it also for its thick, tuberous crown, which they pickle. Also called "mustard greens."
Tenderloin
That portion of the beef between the sirloin and the ribs; also known as short loin. Steaks from the tenderloin include the Porterhouse and the T-bone.
Tequila
Originally from Tequila, Mexico, tequila is a colorless or pale straw-colored liquor made by fermenting and distilling the sap of the agave plant.
Teriyaki
A Japanese dish consisting of food, such as beef or chicken, that has been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, sugar, ginger and seasonings before being grilled, broiled or fried. The sugar in the marinade gives the cooked food a slight glaze. Teriyaki sauce is made with the above ingredients.
Terrapin
This eight-inch long freshwater turtle is considered by many to have the best meat among turtles. Its flesh is often pounded and served like steak.
Terrine
Usually describes a kind of pate made of pieces of meat in a deep dish with straight sides. Can also be used to describe the dish itself.
Tex-Mex
A term given to food based on the combined cultures of Texas and Mexico. Tex-Mex food encompasses a wide variety of dishes such as Burritos, Nachos and Tacos.
Texas butter
A butter substitute of hot lard, flour and water.
Thai fish sauce
An oriental flavouring made from fermented, salted fresh fish, also known as fish gravy: it has a fishy aroma with a salty taste and adds richness to dishes like stir-fries and soups.
Thermophilic
Cheesemaking term which describes the temperature at which the culture thrives. From the Greek words thermo - meaning heat - and philic - which means loving. Thermophilic cultures require a higher temperature than mesophilic cultures.
Thuringer Cervelat
A fresh, smoked sausage named after the former German region of Thuringia. Coriander (also called "cilantro") is an important spice used in this variety of sausage.
Thuringer-Style Sausage
Fresh sausage or cooked sausage -- Made principally of ground pork; may also include veal and beef; seasoning similar to pork sausage, except no sage is used; may be smoked or un-smoked. In some regions of the U.S. also called summer sausage.
Thyme
A perennial plant with small grey-green aromatic leaves and small purple flowers. It is one of the basic herbs used in cooking. Alone or in a bouquet garni, fresh or dried, it is used in a huge range of dishes but particularly in casseroles, stews and marinades.
Tia Maria
A dark-brown, rum-based liqueur from Jamaica that features a strong coffee flavor.
Tilefish
This low-fat Atlantic fish is delicately flavored and has a flesh that is firm yet tender. Available fresh and frozen, in steaks and fillets. Suitable for just about any cooking method.
Tilsit Cheese
A cheese that was accidentally created when Dutch immigrants were trying to make "gouda." This mild cheese is made from pasteurized milk. A very strong called "Farmhouse Tilsit" is made from raw milk and is aged 5 months.
Timbale
A layered dish cooked in a tall mould (timbale) and then turned out. Often made of rice layered with vegetables or slices of aubergine layered with other vegetables and tomato sauce.
Tipsy cake, tipsy pudding
Sponge cake soaked with sherry and brandy, covered with custard and almonds.
Tiramisu
An Italian dessert made of sponge or macaroons soaked in coffee, brandy or liqueur with mascarpone cheese and chocolate.
Tisane
An infusion of fresh or dried herbs that is drunk hot. Most tisanes are made from medicinal plants.
Toad in the Hole
An English dish consisting of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.
Toast
To brown with dry heat in an toaster or oven.
Toast points
Toast slices, cut in half diagonally.
Toasting (nuts)
Using heat to bring the oils closer to the surface of the nut which brings out more flavor. Method is useful in low fat cooking in order to use less nuts. Toasting also makes removing the skins off of nuts easier. Toasting also gives the nuts a much better flavor.
Tofu
Important protein source in oriental cooking. Made from cooked soya beans, it is quite bland in flavour and responds well to marinades. Good for stir-frying, barbecuing, grilling, it is also high in calcium and vitamin E and low in saturated fats.
Tokay
A famous wine from Tokay, a town in Hungary. Louis XIV said Tokay was "the wine of kings and the king of wines." 28 villages in Hungary have the right to call the vine they produce "tokay."
Tomally
The liver of the lobster.
Tomate verde
Mexican green tomato.
Tomatillo
A small fruit, also called the "Mexican tomato," that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.
Tomato
A fruit from the nightshade family (like the potato and eggplant). The U.S. government classified it as a vegetable for trade purposes in 1893. Tomatoes should not be refrigerated--the cold adversely affects the flavor and the flesh.
Tomato Paste
The paste that results from cooking tomatoes for several hours, then straining them and reducing them to a thick red, richly flavored concentrate.
Tomato Puree
Tomatoes that have been cooked briefly, then strained.
Tomato Sauce
A slightly thinner tomato puree, often mixed with seasonings to facilitate their use in other sauces and dishes.
Tonic
Carbonated water that is sometimes flavored with fruit extracts, sugar, and a small amount of quinine, a bitter alkaloid. Tonic water is popular as a mixer. It is also called "quinine water."
Topping
A sauce, frosting, or garnish for food.
Topside
Cut of beef from the rear of the animal, sold as a roasting joint.
Torrone
Nougat candy.
Torsk
A large saltwater fish related to the cod. It has a firm, lean flesh. Also called "cusk."
Torta Rustica
A large pie similar to coulibiac, filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Other versions use meat or sausage in the filling. The crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt before using.
Torte
A rich multi-layered cake made with little or no flour, but with ground nuts, breadcrumbs, eggs, sugar, and flavorings. The word "torte" is also used to describe some tart-like preparations.
Tortellini
A small, stuffed pasta pocket made from little rounds of dough, then twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything and are served sauced or in a simple broth.
Tortelloni
This is a larger version of the tortellini.
Tortilla
In Spain a tortilla is a set omelette of eggs, potatoes, olive oil and salt. Sometimes other ingredients such as peppers, onion, tuna, asparagus and mushrooms are added. This is very different from Mexico where tortilla refers to a flatbread made from corn or wheat flour.
Toss
To blend foods together by gently turning the pieces over until the ingredients are well mixed
Tostada Shell
A flat, crisp-fried flour or corn tortilla shell. This serves as the base upon which tostadas are created by adding refried beans, shredded chicken or beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and other ingredients.
Tournedo
A fillet of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, approximately an inch thick. This term is rarely used in America today, being replaced by filet of beef or filet mignon.
Tourte
Similar to pate en croute, these are pies made in a round shape and served cold. They are generally highly seasoned and preparations are indicative to the region they are from.
Tree Fern
Any of various ferns, mostly tropical, that grow as large as trees, sending up a straight trunk-like stem.
Tree Oyster Mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Also known as "oyster mushroom."
Trennette
Flat noodles, wider than fettuccine, that have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.
Tripe
The stomach of a cow, pig or sheep used as food. It is usually sold specially prepared or cleaned for cooking.
Triple Sec
A strong, clear liqueur with an orange flavor similar to Curacao. It is used in making Margaritas.
Triticale
A nutritious hybrid of wheat and rye which contains more protein and less gluten than wheat. Normally found in health food stores, it is available as whole berries, flakes, and flour. Used in cereals, casseroles, and pilafs.
Triticale Flour
The flour made from triticale. Because this flour is low in gluten, bread made from triticale flour is very heavy. For this reason, it is usually combined half-and-half with wheat flour.
Trout
A delicately flavored fish that belongs to the same family as salmon and whitefish. Most are freshwater, but some are marine (sea trout). The very popular "rainbow trout" has been transplanted from California to many different countries.
Truffle
An underground fungus with a very strong taste. Expensive to buy as they are generally picked in the wild, often found with trained pigs. Truffles are rounded, of variable size and irregular shape and come in a range of colours. The word can also refer to a chocolate and cream confectionery often flavoured with rum.
Truss
To tie up, as a bird, so that all parts will remain in place while cooking.
Try out
To heat fat slowly until it liquefies and can be drawn off.
Tube pan
Ring-shaped tin for baking cakes. Most often used to prepare sponge cakes and angel food cakes.
Tuiles
Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance. They are often flavored with almond slices, lemon, and vanilla.
Tumeric
A slightly bitter spice taken from the root of a plant in the ginger family. Usually available ground, this spice is used to flavor baked goods, curries, fish, poultry, gravies, salads, and dressings.
Tuna
A saltwater fish related to the mackerel. Probably the most popular fish used in canning today. Tunas have a distinctive rich-flavored flesh that is moderately high in fat and has a firmly textured flaky but tender flesh.
Tunas
Prickly pear cactus fruits which turn from green to ruby red; their juice is magenta-colored; their exotic flavor is like a blend of pomegranates, cherries and strawberries; the fruit is used in making jelly, candies and syrup.
Tunka
The melon-like fruit of a tropical Asian vine belonging to the gourd family. Also called "white gourd."
Turbinado Sugar
A raw sugar that has been steam-cleaned. The coarse crystals are blond in color and have a delicate molasses flavor.
Turbot
A flat sea fish with firm flesh. Available as fillets, steaks or whole. Suits poaching or grilling.
Turducken
A Louisiana specialty - a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey.
Turkey
An American game bird from the pheasant family that has been domesticated. Self-basting turkeys have been injected with butter or vegetable oil. "Roaster-fryers" (6 - 8 lb. birds), are becoming more popular for everyday fare.
Turmeric
Bright yellow spice often used in curry. Turmeric has a more bitter taste than saffron. It is used mainly in Indian and south-east Asian cooking.
Turnip
A cool-weather, white-fleshed root vegetable that is easy to grow. The so-called "yellow turnip" is actually a rutabaga. Choose smaller turnips because young turnips have a delicate, somewhat sweet flavor that becomes stronger with age.
Turnip Greens
The green tops of the turnip plant. These greens start out slightly sweet, but become stronger-tasting and tougher with age. These greens may be served boiled, sauteed, steamed, or stir-fried.
Turnip-Rooted Parsley
A parsley subspecies grown for its beige carrot-like root which tastes somewhat like a cross between a carrot and celery. Used in stews and soups. Also eaten as a vegetable. Also called "parsley root."
Turnovers
Pastries filled with a savory or sweet mixture, doubled over to the shape of a semicircle, then baked or deep-fried.
Turtle
Any of several varieties of shelled reptiles that live on land, in freshwater, or in the sea. Turtles can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Sea or Green Turtles are best known as food.
Turtle Beans
Also known as "black beans" and "black turtle beans," these beans have black skin, cream-colored flesh, and a sweet flavor that forms the base for black bean soup.
Tusk
A large saltwater fish related to the cod. It has a firm, lean flesh. Also called "cusk."
Tybo Cheese
A mild-flavored Danish Cow's milk cheese. It features a cream-colored inside that is dotted with holes. This cheese goes well with sandwiches, salads, sauces, and many cooked dishes. Sometimes flavored with caraway seeds.
Tzatziki Sauce
Dipping sauce derived from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice. Served with calamari.
Tzimmes
Traditionally served on Rosh Hashana, this sweet Jewish dish consists of various combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables. All are flavored with honey and often with cinnamon as well. The flavors of this casserole-style dish develop by cooking it at a very low temperature for a very long time.
Udon Noodles
Fat, slippery white noodles found bobbing about in soups or casseroles, udon noodles are made from a wheat-flour-and-water dough and may be round, square, or flat in shape. In most recipes, udon noodles are interchangeable with soba noodles and Chinese wheat-flour-and-water noodles. Boil the fresh variety for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and the dried anywhere from 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.
Ugli
An irregular-shaped citrus fruit hybrid between a grapefruit and a tangerine native to Jamaica. It is available around the United States from winter to spring. It has an acid-sweet flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Uncooked, pressed cheese
Curds not cooked but pressed to obtain a firm texture (Cheddar, morbier, mont asio, manchego).
Unleavened bread
Describes a dough that is without leavening or yeast. Unleavened bread plays an important role in Jewish ritual. Baked thin.
Unmould
To turn out a cake, jelly, ice-cream etc from a tin or mould. This can be a delicate operation needing a little gentle help. Aspics and jellies: plunge the base of the mould in hot water for a few seconds. Sponge cakes: line tin with greaseproof paper or grease and dust it with flour; turn out immediately after removing from oven. If the cake seems stuck in the tin, turn it over on to a plate and cover base with a damp cloth or place it immediately on a cold surface. Ices: dip mould briefly into cold water and then into lukewarm water. Loosen ice with knife blade, place plate on top of mould and turn over quickly.
Unsaturated fats
Mainly come from plants and are liquid (oil) in form. Largely polyunsaturated fats include corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil. Largely monounsaturated fats, which may lower blood cholesterol levels, include olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
Unsweetened chocolate
Chocolate with no added sugar; generally composed of 55% cocoa butter and 45% chocolate mass from the bean. Produces an intense chocolate flavor that must be tempered by sugar and other ingredients.
Upside down cake
A cake made by arranging fruit in the baking pan, over which the batter is poured. When cooled it is inverted so that the fruit is on the top.
Vacherin
A seasonal cheese that is made in the winter months in France and Switzerland. Ripe after two to three months, the crust of this cheese encases a runny textured cheese that has a mild, sweet and creamy taste. It is so soft that, traditionally, it is eaten with a spoon. A vacherin is also a cold dessert made of a ring of meringue or almond paste filled with ice-cream, so-called because its shape and colour are similar to the cheese.
Valencia Rice
Valencia rice (sometimes sold as paella rice), is a large white oval grain. Grown in Spain, it is similar to Arborio. It's the rice used for paella, the Spanish dish that pairs rice with seafood, chicken, rabbit or chorizo and vegetables.
Valencienne
A sauce for rice containing tomatoes, mushrooms, meat strips, and grated cheese.
Vanilla
There are over 20,000 types of orchid, but only one produces anything edible--the vanilla plant. "Vanilla extract" comes from macerating beans into an alcohol/water solution. "Imitation vanilla" comes from treated wood-pulp byproducts.
Vanilla pod
The sweetly fragrant dried pods of the vanilla orchid, a native of Mexico, which can be used either whole or split to reveal the aromatic seeds, and then stored in a sugar jar to impart its flavour, or used directly in custards, creams and milk puddings. Vanilla essence or extract is the concentrated liquid extract of vanilla pods which can be used as flavouring in place of the real thing.
Vanilla sugar
Granulated sugar flavored with vanilla by enclosing it with a vanilla pod in an airtight jar.
Veal
Calves that are slaughtered from 1 - 3 months of age. "Milk-fed" veal are unweaned calves. "Bob veal" is under a month old; "baby beef" is 6 - 12 months old. To keep their flesh from darkening, these animals are not fed grains or grasses.
Veal Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- The meat in the loaf is primarily veal with some pork.
Vegetable marrow
This edible squash-like gourd, also known as "marrow squash," is related to the zucchini. It has a bland flavor and is often stuffed with a meat filling.
Vegetable Oil
Any of a wide variety of non-animal oils. Most vegetable oils--with the exception of coconut and palm oils--are lower in saturated fats than are animal-derived oils.
Vegetable Oyster Plant
Also known as "salsify," this biennial herb is cultivated for its root which is used as a vegetable. Its taste hints of a delicately flavored oyster. Can be found in the U.S. in Spanish, Italian, and Greek markets.
Vegetable shortening
An vegetarian alternative to lard often used in baking and when basting meat.
Veloute
An extremely smooth creamy sauce of various stock bases thickened with a roux. This is used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone.
Velvet
A term used in Chinese cookery: meat strips to be stir-fried are coated first in cornflour, or egg white and cornflour, to protect them while frying.
Venison
This term covers the meat from antelope, caribou, elk, deer, moose, and reindeer. Venison is probably the most popular large game meat eaten today.
Verjus
A sour grape juice which can be used in cooking.
Vermicelli
Pasta made into long thin strands, often used in soups. The name means ‘little worms’ in Italian.
Vermouth
A white wine that has been steeped with an infusion of herbs, plants, roots, leaves, peels, seed, and flowers. It has a aroma and taste designed to be served as an apertif (appetizer).
Vichy
A sparkling mineral water from Vichy, France.
Vichyssoise
A soup made from potatoes, leeks and cream, served cold, garnished with chopped chives. The name is also used to refer to any cold soup based on potatoes and another vegetable.
Victual
Food or other provisions.
Vienna Sausage
A small frankfurter, often served as an hors d'oeuvre.
Vigo Coloring
Common substitute for the yellow color of saffron. Can be found in small envelopes in any Latin American, Mexican, or Cuban market.
Vinaigrette
A cold sauce made from a mixture of vinegar, oil, pepper and salt, to which various flavourings can be added: herbs, mustard etc. Vinaigrette is used mostly for dressing green salads. The choice of oil (olive, sunflower, walnut etc) and vinegar is made according to the type of salad. Lemon juice can be used instead of vinegar.
Vine Spinach
An edible leaf from a tropical plant that is cultivated in certain parts of France. Vine spinach may be prepared in any manner appropriate for spinach. Also called "basella."
Vinegar
A weak solution of acetic acid and water used in pickling, preserving, tenderizing, and to add a sour flavor to foods. Cleopatra dissolved a perfect pearl in vinegar and drank it in front of Mark Antony as a demonstration of her wealth.
Vitello Tonnato
Thinly sliced roast or braised veal, served cold with a creamy, piquant tuna sauce. This combination may sound a bit unusual, but is surprisingly delicious.
Vodka
An eastern European spirit distilled from grain. It has neither taste nor smell, although some vodkas are flavoured with spices, plants, leaves or fruits.
Vol-au-Vent
A round case of puff pastry with a pastry lid which is filled after baking and served as a hot starter or hors d'oeuvre. The filling is made up of meat, seafood or vegetables in a sauce.
Waffle
Pancake batter cooked in a special hinged cooking utensil called a "waffle iron" which cooks both sides at once and gives waffles their honeycombed syrup-catching surface. Belgian waffles are often heaped with fruits and whipped cream.
Wakami
A dried seaweed. Wakami is soaked in cold water before it is served. It is often served with cucumbers, miso, and vinegar. Also used in soups. Popular in Japanese cooking.
Walnut
A popular nut with a distinctive brain shape. Walnuts are used in sweet and savoury cooking, and are good pickled and served with cheese. They can also be used finely chopped with sweet dishes or roughly chopped with salads and stir fries. Best stored whole with shell on.
Walnut or hazelnut oil
These highly flavorful oils should (almost) never be used for cooking, but are wonderful in salad dressing and drizzled over cooked foods. Always refrigerate, as nut oils go rancid more quickly than other oils.
Wasabi
A Japanese horseradish that is dried, powdered, and made into a pale green paste with a sharp, pungent, extremely potent flavor. Often mixed with soy sauce and served as a condiment to sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese specialties.
Washed-rind cheese
Frequently orange, rinds washed or rubbed with brine, wine, beer or brandy (pont l'eveque, tallegio, Spanish mahon).
Water bath
The French call this cooking technique "bain marie." It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.
Water Buffalo
A buffalo native to the Old World tropics with large flattened horns. Also called "water ox."
Water chestnut
The nut-like kernel of a water plant that grows in southeast Asia. The flesh is white, crisp, and juicy and has a bland, somewhat sweet nutty flavor. Their crunchy texture makes them popular in stir-fried dishes.
Water Convulvolus
A perennial herb of the arum family. Its thick leaf stalk is used in salads after it has been boiled in two or more changes of water. Also known as "swamp cabbage."
Watercress
A member of the mustard family that grows in running water. Watercress has small, crisp, green leaves and a pungent flavor with a slightly bitter peppery flavor. Use in salads, in cream soups, and to garnish vegetables.
Waterglass
Sodium silicate; used as a preservative for eggs
Watermelon
Originally from Africa, this melon has a sweet, moist red flesh. Asians roast the seeds, and pickled watermelon rind is popular in some parts of the world. If slapping the watermelon returns a resounding hollow thump, it is ripe.
Watermelon Seed
The seed of the watermelon. More popular in Asia than in the U.S.
Waterzooi
A rich Flemish stew with chicken or fish and assorted vegetables. The sauce is enriched with a liaison of cream and egg yolks.
Wax Bean
A pale yellow variety of the green bean that is eaten with its pod."
Waxy red or white potatoes
Sometimes sold as "new" potatoes when they are small, these are low-starch potatoes with thin red or white skins.
Weakfish
Has a mouth that is easily torn by fishing hooks - hence its name. This unusual fish with delicate flesh flakes easily, making it quite difficult to handle. Has a soft white to rosy flesh.
Weisswurst
Fresh sausage -- Of German origin, the name means "white sausage;" made of pork and veal; mildly spices; links are about four inches long and plump; very perishable.
Welsh Onion
A species of onion with a bunching, leek-like interleaved bulb and tubular leaves. It is a perennial evergreen with a delicate flavor that can be used by breaking off leaves as the plant matures. Also called the "everlasting onion."
Welsh rarebit
A British speciality consisting of a slice of toasted bread covered with a mixture of cheshire or cheddar cheese melted in pale ale with English mustard, pepper and sometimes a dash of Worcestershire sauce. This is then grilled and served very hot.
Wheat
There are over 30,000 varieties of this ubiquitous grain. Cultivated for over 6,000 years, wheat is second only to rice as a grain staple. Wheat contains more gluten than other cereals, making it an excellent choice for breadmaking.
Wheat Bran
The rough outer covering of the wheat kernel. Wheat bran is low in nutritional value but high in fiber. Wheat bran is sold separately and is used to add flavor and fiber to baked goods.
Wheat Cake
A pancake made of wheat flour.
Wheat Flour
A flour produced by milling the endosperm portion of the wheat kernel. "Whole wheat flour," which is more nutritious, is made by milling the entire kernel, including the outer covering, or "bran."
Wheat Germ
The tiny nucleus of the endosperm (the inner part of the wheat kernel without the outer bran). Wheat germ has a nutty flavor and is a concentrated source of oil, vitamins, minerals and protein. Used to add nutrients to various foods.
Wheat Gluten
The protein remaining after wheat flour has been washed to remove starch. Gluten helps hold in the gas bubbles produced by leavening agents. This is why bread flours contain high levels of gluten and cake flours contain low levels.
Wheat kernels
wheat berries.
Wheat Pilaf
A pilaf made from either the wheat berries (whole unprocessed kernels) or cracked wheat (the whole berries broken into coarse, medium, and fine parts).
Wheat-Flour Noodles
Made with wheat flour and water, this is the oldest noodle form found in China. Still made by hand in fine restaurants around the world, they are created from a soft dough, resulting in a silky texture. They do vary in thickness and may be round or flat. The thinnest are used in refined soups, whereas the thicker varieties stand up to heartier soups and casseroles. Although these noodles come in shrimp-, chicken- and crab-flavored varieties the quality can vary dramatically along with their flavor. To cook wheat-flour noodles boil fresh noodles for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes or dried ones for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.
Whelk
A marine snail often eaten direct from the shell. Cooked for 10 minutes in salted water, whelks are eaten with bread and butter.
Whey
The liquid part of milk that remains after the curd is removed. Most whey is further separated with the fattier parts used in making butter. Some whey is used to make "whey cheese" or "Ricotta cheese."
Whip
To add air and volume to food by beating rapidly using a wire whisk, beater or electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy.
Whipping cream
Cream with a fat content over 35 per cent, the minimum amount necessary to allow it to stay firm once beaten. Single cream doesn't contain enough butterfat to thicken when beaten: it's the fat globules that trap whisked air, creating the characteristic foam and texture of whipped cream.
Whisk
A wire kitchen utensil used for mixing dry ingredients together
Whiskey
A liquor produced from the fermented mash of grains such as barley, corn, and rye. Popular varieties of whiskey (spelled "whisky" in Canada and Scotland) include bourbon, Canadian whisky, Irish whiskey, rye, and scotch.
Whiskey Sour
An alcoholic beverage made from whiskey, lemon juice, and a small amount of sugar. Sours can also be made with bourbon, gin, or rum, but the whiskey sour is the most popular.
White Bean
A rather generic term that refers to any of several dried beans, including "marrow beans," "great northern beans," "navy beans," and "pea beans."
White chocolate
Not a true chocolate at all. It is, rather, a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla. If a product does not contain cocoa butter, it isn't "white chocolate."
White Pepper
White peppercorn is somewhat less pungent than the black variety. After ripening, its skin is removed and the berry is dried. White pepper is used in light-colored sauces and dishes where black speckles could be unaesthetic.
White Rice
Rice that has had the husk, bran, and germ removed. White rice is sometimes called "polished rice."
White Russian
An alcoholic beverage made by combining vodka, Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur), and cream. A Black Russian is similar, but contains no cream.
White sauce
The basis of many other sauces, made from flour, butter and milk. Smooth, slightly thick consistency, which is basically tasteless.
White Truffles
Truffles are quite expensive. Available in most places only in the late fall, they come primarily from France, where they are sniffed out in forests by hunting pigs. But a little goes a long way, so don't be shocked when you hear the price per pound. If you've never tried them, you must. There is no ordinary mushroom that can remotely approximate their flavor and aroma. White truffles are more delicate and are meant to be used right at the table. You can use either a grater or a truffle shaver to introduce their flavor immediately before serving. White truffles are most complementary to foods in butter and cream sauces such as risotto and other pastas. The shavings also work well on warm salads and certain delicate fishes.
White-Flowered Gourd
A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called "bottle gourd" and "Calabash gourd." This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.
Whitebait
The young of the herring, very tiny, usually sauteed.
Whitefish
A high-fat, mild-flavored member of the salmon family with a firm white flesh. The whitefish can be poached, baked, broiled, grilled, pan fried, or stuffed. Its roe (eggs) can be cooked or made into caviar by adding salt.
Whiting
White sea fish, a member of the cod family, best bought fresh. Good for fish cakes and mousse.
Whole wheat flour
White flour has had the germ and bran removed; whole wheat flour contains both. It is nutritionally superior and has a stronger flavor. The ground germ contains oil which can grow rancid and bitter. Store carefully (in the freezer if you have room).
Wiener
Cooked, smoked sausage -- Both wieners and Vienna-style sausages take their names from the city of Vienna, Austria. Wiener-style, as originated, is sausage braided in groups of links. Vienna-style frankfurters are twisted into a chain of links. Terms are frequently used interchangeably with "frankfurter" and formula may be the same.
Wiggle
"Wiggle" is applied to a variety of shrimp recipes that feature shrimp in a sauce, served on toast or crackers.
Wild Rice
A plant from the same family as rice, but with a gray and brown grain that is about twice the length of ordinary rice grains. Wild rice has a unique, almost nutty flavor. Used to stuff game or poultry and served as a side dish.
Wine
An alcoholic beverage produced through the fermentation of grape juice. Other fruit and vegetable juices, such as dandelion and elderberry are also occasionally used in winemaking, an art the goes back at least 12,000 years.
Wine vinegar
Wine vinegar can be made from either red or white wine.
Winged Bean
A fast-growing, high-protein legume. Also called the "goa bean." This bean is entirely edible, including the shoots, flower, roots, leaves, pods, and seeds. Tastes somewhat like a cross between the cranberry bean and the green bean.
Winter Radish
A large plant thought to be of Oriental origin. These plants are grown chiefly for their pungent peppery root, which can get up to 2 pounds or more. This radish is popular in Germany and in the East. Also called "black radish."
Winter squash
These long-keeping squashes have much in common with with pumpkin and sweet potato - yellow to orange flesh, usually quite sweet and creamy when cooked. Look for firm squash with no soft spots or obvious damage, and store in a cool, dry place.
Witloof Chickory
The largest and most popular variety of "chicory," a vegetable with long silvery-white leaves. Used in salads and as a seasoning.
Wolf Fish
A firm, white-fleshed saltwater fish with a large head, strong jaws, and sharp canine teeth and molars that can grind clams, whelks, and other mollusks. Sometimes sold in the U.S. under the confusing name of "ocean catfish."
Won ton
A ravioli-like Chinese dish of noodles folded around a filling of meat, fish or vegetables. They may be boiled, steamed, or deep-fried, and served with dipping sauce.
Won Ton Skin
Paper-thin round or square sheets of dough made from flour, eggs, and salt. Used as wrappers to make "won tons" and egg rolls. Won tons are small dumplings of thin dough around a minced mixture of meat, seafood, and/or vegetables.
Wood ear mushroom
Crunch and chewy texture; subtle and mild flavor. Best used in spicy soups and stir-fries.
Wool on a handle
A cowboy term for a lamb chop; generally greatly disliked by cattlemen.
Worcestershire Sauce
A thin, spicy dark brown sauce originally from an Indian recipe. Used to flavour stews and casseroles, as a condiment and in drinks.
Wreck pans
Cowboy term for pans filled with water to accept dirty dishes.
Xanthan Gum
Produced from the fermentation of corn sugar. It is most commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener. Xanthan Gum is made from a tiny microorganism call Xanthomonas Carmpestris and is a natural carbohydrate. It is also a substitute for gluten and to give volume to breads and other gluten-free baked goods. Xanthan gum can be added to liquids such as salad dressings, gravies, sauces, sour cream, yogurt and even ice cream to give them a creamy smooth texture. It also has the unique ability to hold particles of food together, making it a good stabilizer.
Xavier
A cream soup or consomme thickened with arrowroot or rice flour and garnished with diced chicken.
XO
XO stands for extra old and is used to show that a cognac is particularly old, where VS (very special) is two years old and VSOP (very special old pale) is four years old.
XXX; XXXX
Label symbols used for confectioners’ (powdered) sugar.
Yakidofu
Grilled tofu (soybean curd cake).
Yakimono
The Japanese term for foods (usually meat) that are grilled, broiled or pan-fried. The ingredients are generally either marinated in sauce or salted. They're then skewered so they retain their shape and grilled over a hot fire so the skin (if any) is very crisp while the meat stays tender and juicy. Yakitori is a specific type of yakimono dish using chicken.
Yakitori
A Japanese dish of chicken kebabs cooked over charcoal embers. The meat is threaded on to bamboo skewers, soaked in teriyaki sauce, and then grilled for 4-5 minutes.
Yam
The round or elongated edible tuber of a tropical climbing plant, cultivated in Africa, Asia and America. The flesh has different colours depending on the variety. Yam is a basic food in many tropical countries. Small yams can be cooked in their skins, larger ones are peeled and blanched for 10-20 minutes in boiling salted water before being used in the same way as potatoes.
Yam Bean Tuber
Large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and a white crunchy flesh with a texture similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Also called "Jicama."
Yankee Pot Roast
A "pot roast" is a piece of chuck or round cut that is browned, then braised very slowly in a covered pot with a little liquid. A "Yankee pot roast" includes vegetables that are added part way through the cooking process.
Yardlong Bean
A pencil-thin legume from the black-eye pea family that looks like a very long green bean. These beans can grow a yard long, but are usually picked at 18" or less. These beans are slightly less sweet and crispy as the green bean.
Yeast
A microscopic living fungus that multiplies rapidly in suitable conditions and is used in bread-making to make the dough rise.
Yellow Mombin
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, averages an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called "hog plum."
Yellowfin Tuna
These tuna reach about 300 pounds in weight. They feature a pale pink flesh that is relatively mild. Also called "ahi."
Yellowtail
A large game fish (up to 100 pounds) from the jack family with a flavor and texture resembling tuna. May be prepared in any manner suitable for tuna.
Yogurt
A thick, custard-like, mildly acid preparation. Usually made by fermenting partly skim or skim milk with a special culture. Fruit of other flavorings may be added. In the Middle East it is served as a sauce with meat, fruit and vegetables.
Yokan
A popular Japanese confection made from adzuki-bean paste and agar. Adzuki beans are small, dried, russet-colored beans with a sweet flavor. Agar is a thickening agent made from seaweed.
Yorkshire pudding
A baked batter of flour, milk and eggs, commonly with the addition of meat juices.
Youngberry
A hybrid variety of blackberry with a dark red color and a sweet juicy flesh.
Yucca
Plant native to Latin America and the Southwest; petals, fruit and root can all be eaten; root is also used as a thickener for soups and stews. There are two main categories of yuca: sweet and bitter. Bitter yucas are toxic until cooked. Yuca is used to make "cassreep" and "tapioca." Also called "cassava."
Zabaglione
Rich, foamy Italian dessert made by whisking egg yolks, wine and sugar together over a gentle heat. It is served barely warm.
Zakuski
The Russian version of tapas involving a lot of food and vodka.
Zampone
A specialty of the town of Modena in northern Italy, this consists of a hollowed and stuffed pig trotter which is poached and served as a part of a traditional Bollito Misto.
Zander
Large, fresh-water fish with firm flesh.
Zante Currant
This fruit of the Zante grape is a tiny, dark raisin. It comes from Corinth Greece and is used primarily in baked foods. The Zante Currant is unrelated to the other fruit called the "currant."
Zartar Blend
From Lebanon. Find in Middle Eastern markets. A blend of zaatar (a marjoramlike herb), sumac bark and chick peas or sesame seeds. Common in foods from the Middle East.
Zest
The outer rind of citrus fruit containing essential oils; remove it carefully using a grater, a potato peeler or a zester, depending on the intended use. Take care not to remove any pith with the zest, as it can be very bitter.
Zester
Small tool for scraping off zest.
Zinfandel
A dry red wine with a fruity flavor that some compare to the flavor of raspberries.
Zingara
A sauce made with white wine, meat glaze, mushrooms, ham and tongue, finely chopped and peppered.
Zita
Wide tubular macaroni.
Ziti
Macaroni that has been shaped into long, thin tubes.
Zombie
A very potent alcoholic beverage consisting of two types of rum, two types of liqueur, and two or three fruit juices. Normally garnished with slices of pineapple and orange and a Maraschino cherry.
Zucchini
Italian and American word for courgette.
Zuccotto
This is an Italian form of Charlotte Royale. In this dessert, triangles of sponge cake are placed in a bowl to form a shell for the filling. The filling consists of stiffly whipped cream which is studded with toasted almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate chips and candied fruit. A final layer of cake is placed over this, and when well set, the dessert is inverted onto a platter to form a large dome, reminiscent of Florence Duomo.
Zuppa Inglese
A refrigerated dessert similar to the British favorite, trifle (Tipsy cake or Tipsy pudding). It is made with rum sprinkled slices of sponge cake layered with a rich custard or whipped cream (or both) and candied fruit or toasted almonds (or both).
Zwieback
"Zwieback" is the German word for "twice baked." Refers to bread that has been baked, then sliced and returned to the oven and cooked until very crisp and dry. Zwieback is popular for its easy digestibility.