Food Dictionary

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.