Food Dictionary

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.
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.
Middle Eastern street food of spiced chickpea fritters, often served in warm pitta bread.
Pasta shaped like bow-ties or butterflies.
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.
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.
This small, egg-shaped fruit is native to South America. It provides a very fragrant, cream-colored flesh with a jelly-like center.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
A variety of fennel that is eaten raw and in salads. Also called "Florence fennel."
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.
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.
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.
Served flaming, accomplished by pouring spirits over food and igniting them.
Cookware that can be used directly on a burner or under a broiler without damage.
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.
Fish that have a flat body with both eyes located on the upper side. Flatfish swim "sideways" and include "flounder," "halibut," and "sole."
Filled, tightly rolled, and deep-fried enchiladas.
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.
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
a. Dish containing spinach, eg eggs Florentine.
b. Small biscuit of nuts and dried fruit covered with chocolate on one side.
Florets are the small, individual flower stems that make up the heads of vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
A fine-textured flatfish prized for its delicate flavor. Some of the more popular varieties include "Fab," "English Sole," and "Plaice."
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 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.
Ranch term for fancy foods such as cakes or puddings.
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.
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.
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."
The French word for stock - the flavoured liquid base used for making a sauce, stew or braised dish.
a. Soft-textured sweet made of flavoured icing.
b. Fondant potatoes are sauteed potatoes, crisp on the outside and melting in the middle.
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.
An Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.
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.
Cold dessert consisting of fruit puree and whipped cream.
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.
An Italian cheese.
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."
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.
This is a variation of a bearnaise sauce with the addition of a well reduced meat glaze.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A term that refers to a fruit with a pit to which the flesh does not cling. The opposite term is called "clingstone."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stew usually made with goat meat, which always contains some animal blood.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
A traditional winter holiday cake of candied fruit, fruit rinds, nuts, and spice. Fruitcakes are often soaked in some sort of liquor or brandy.
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.
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.
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.
An Egyptian dried bean. Available in specialty food shops. The best are the small variety.
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.
Spiral-shaped pasta.
Salted and fermented tofu (soybean curd cake).