Food Dictionary

Habanero chile
A dried chile; Havana-like; small orange or red chiles from the Caribbean and Yucatan; originally from Havana, Cuba; they are the hottest peppers in the world, about 40 times hotter than a jalapeno; they are lantern shaped (resembling a tam or bonnet), pungent and fruity, with an apricot-like aroma; has tones of coconut and papaya; other names include Scot's Bonnet or Scotch Bonnet; jalapenos or serranos may be substituted.
Haddock
White sea fish similar to cod, with flaky flesh, available fresh or frozen, whole or as steaks and fillets. Can be poached, baked, fried, smoked or grilled and served with or without sauce.
Haggis
Scottish dish of a sheep’s stomach stuffed with offal, oatmeal, suet and seasonings. Traditionally served with mashed swede ('bashed neeps') and potatoes on Burns’ Night (which celebrates the birthday of Scottish poet Robbie Burns on 25th January).
Hake
Various members of the cod family are known as hake and are available fresh or frozen, whole or as steaks and fillets. Mild, subtle flavour suitable for frying, poaching and in soups.
Half Smokes
"Half smokes" is a old term referring to the smoking but not cooking of sausage. The sausage is cool smoked for a while for color and flavor but not long enough or hot enough to be cooked or done. To eat you must cook the sausage by hot water or by frying until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Water at a simmering 180-190 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or pan frying will do this. Kielbasa, Thuringer, Bratwurst and some frankfurters can be processed this way
Half-and-Half
This combination of equal parts cream and milk cannot be whipped, and has between ten and fifteen percent milk fat. Although it can be substituted for cream in some recipes, it is mostly used on cereal and in coffee.
Halibut
Flat sea fish available mostly in steaks, fillets and cutlets. Its firm white flesh is greatly valued; probably best prepared with a sauce.
Halvah
A middle East confection made from ground sesame seeds and honey. Sometimes prepared with chopped, dried fruit and pistachios.
Ham
The hind leg of a hog. The taste of ham is affected by the age and breed of the hog, as well as by the food that the hog was fed. The unprocessed meat is called "fresh ham," but most ham is cured.
Ham and Cheese Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Loaf made of ground ham with cubes of firm cheese.
Ham hock
Cut from the hog's lower leg, often smoked or cured. Great in bean soups and other slow-cooked soups and stews, where they lend rich, smoky flavors.
Hamburg Parsley
A parsley subspecies grown for its beige carrot-like root which tastes somewhat like a cross between a carrot and celery. Used in stews and soups. Also eaten as a vegetable. Also called "parsley root."
Hamburger
Ground beef formed into a patty for use in a hamburger sandwich. The best type of ground beef to use for this purpose is lean ground beef, which contains about 15% to 20% fat.
Hanging
Suspending meat or game in a cool, dry place until it is tender.
Hangtown fry
Gold rush-style fried oysters.
Hard cheese
Cooked, pressed and long-aged (parmigiano reggiano, pecorino)
Hard sauce
A sweet white sauce made with butter, sugar and lemon juice, chilled until thick, served as a dessert topping.
Hardtack
hard biscuit or bread made with flour and water only.
Haricot
A generic term for all New World beans, which includes almost everything; kidney, pinto, navy, pea, Great Northern, anasazi, cannellini, flageolets, appaloosa, and more.
Haricots vert
Very small and slender green bean [syn: haricot vert, French bean]
Harissa
This north African hot paste, usually served with couscous, is a fiery mixture of chillies, garlic, cumin, coriander, mint and oil.
Hartshorn
a source of ammonia used in baking cookies or, as "salt of hartshorn," as smelling salts. Once the word meant literally the ground horn of a hart's (male deer's) antlers, but ammonium carbonate was later used as a substitute, which also went by the name of "salt of hartshorn." it is available in American pharmacies. It is also an old-time leavening agent, and is used occasionally in making cookies. It is also the ingredient in some homemade pesticides.
Harvey Wallbanger
A sweet cocktail made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano (an anise-flavored liqueur).
Hash
From the French hatcher, which means "to chop," hash is a dish of chopped meat, usually roast beef or corned beef, combined with vegetables and seasonings and sauteed until lightly browned. It is frequently served with a sauce or gravy.
Hatch chiles
A fresh chile; close relative of the New Mexico green chile.
Haunch
Hindquarters; ham.
Havarti Cheese
A semi-soft, mild, yet tangy pale yellow cheese similar to "Tilsit." Named after "Havarti," the Danish experimental farm where this cheese was developed.
Hazelnut
A hard-shelled nut with an oval or round kernel, high in dietary fibre, also known as cob nut. Used whole, grated or ground to flavour savoury and sweet dishes.
Hazelnut Oil
This fragrant full-flavored oil is pressed from hazelnuts and takes on the flavor of roasted nuts. The nuts are often toasted for a browner color and better flavor. The nuts are never blanched.
Head Cheese
This is not a cheese, but a sausage made from the edible parts of a calf's or pig's head that are combined with a gelatinous meat broth. Ingredients include cheeks, snouts, underlips and sometimes brains, hearts, tongues, and feet.
Heart
The heart of most animals and birds are used in cooking. Some say that the best hearts are calf's or lamb's hearts. Hearts are sometimes stuffed with breadcrumbs and herbs or used in making gravies.
Heart Nut
A kidney-shaped nut that grows on the outside of the cashew apple at its base. The shell is highly toxic. These nuts have a sweet buttery flavor and contain about 48% fat. More commonly known as "cashew nuts."
Hearts of palm
The edible inside portion of the stem of the cabbage palm tree. They are slender, ivory-colored, and have a delicate flavor reminiscent of artichoke.
Heavy cream
Heavy cream is the American term for double cream (48 per cent fat, the most versatile cream as it withstands boiling, whips and freezes well).
Herbaceous
A term used in describing the aroma of herbs in the following wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabarnet Sauvignons, and Merlots.
Herbes de Provence
A mixture of heady herbs from the south of France made up of any combination of thyme, oregano, marjoram, bay, basil, rosemary and hyssop. The Mediterranean flavour of these herbs is essential to flavour meat, poultry, game and vegetables and especially tomato-based and grilled dishes.
Herbs
Culinary herbs, which are available fresh or dried, include basil, bay leaf, chervil, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon and thyme. Used for their aromatic properties, flavor and texture.
Hermitage
A French appellation located in northern Rhone. Its highly regarded red wines, made from Syrah grapes, and white wines, made from Marsanne and Rousanne, are the epitome of a world class wine.
Herring
An oil-rich fish usually sold whole. Can be poached, fried or grilled as well as pickled, marinated, salted and smoked.
Hibachi
Small, portable charcoal grill.
Hibiscus blossoms
Also called sorrel blossoms, these make a delicious iced tea. Find in Latin and Caribbean markets. Jamaica is the Spanish name; the blossoms of this tropical plant provide a brilliant color and an intense blackberry and dried cherry flavor to cocktails, marinades and vinaigrettes; Jamaica is also a beverage made from this blossom.
Hickory Nut
An extremely hard-shelled, high-fat nut used in cakes, cookies, sweet breads, and candies. They are also suitable in recipes calling for pecans.
High-altitude baking
At altitudes above 5,000 feet, batters and doughs behave differently from the way they do at sea level. You may compensate for the lower atmospheric pressure in several ways. Increase oven temperature by 25°F. Shorten rising time for yeast doughs, letting your eye or the finger poking method be your guide. In batters containing baking powder, reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon called for; do not change the amount of baking soda. In batters containing beaten egg whites, underbeat the egg whites somewhat. For more information about high-altitude cooking, consult the home economics department of your state university.
Highball
A cocktail composed of whiskey and soda water or plain water. It is most often served over ice in a tall glass.
Hijiki
A form of dried seaweed. Found in Japanese markets.
Hiritake Mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Also known as "oyster mushroom."
Hock
A joint in the hind leg; British term for Rhine wines derived from the German wine town of Hochhheim.
Hoe cakes
Corn cakes cooked on a hoe. Also known as johnny cakes - pancakes made with cornmeal.
Hog Maws
A pig's stomach, often stuffed with a sausage mixture, simmered, then baked.
Hog Plum
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, average an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called "yellow mombin."
Hog side
Salt pork used in cooking and some baking; also called Old Ned.
Hoisin Sauce
A thick, reddish-brown sweet and spicy sauce, widely used in Chinese cooking. It's a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chilli peppers and various spices. Hoisin sauce is mainly used as a table condiment and as a flavouring for meat, poultry and shellfish dishes.
Hollandaise
Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolks, a vinegar reduction and hot melted butter. It is the basic sauce from which other sauces, such as bearnaise and mousseline, are made. It is served with fish cooked in a court-bouillon, or with boiled or steamed vegetables.
Holy Trinity of chiles
ancho, mulato and pasilla.
Hominy
Dried white or yellow corn kernels with their hulls and germ removed. Also called "samp." Ground hominy is called "grits." This popular staple in the South and Southwest came to us from the Algonquin Indians.
Homogenize
To create an emulsion by reducing all the particles to the same size. In milk and salad dressings, for instance, all the fat globules are mechanically broken down until they are evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
Honey
Naturally sweet, viscous liquid produced by bees. Used as a sweetener to replace sugar in sweets, drinks and baking. Can also be used as a glaze for roasts.
Honey Loaf
Cooked meat specialty --Meat mixture similar to franks and bologna; contains about equal parts of pork and beef. Flavorings include honey, spices and sometimes pickles and/or pimentos.
Honeydew
Melons related to cantaloupes, casaba and Persian melons. Honeydew melons are used to accompany meat, seafood, and cheese. They are also used in salads, desserts, and fruit soups.
Horn of Plenty Mushroom
This is a wild mushroom with a hollow, funnel-shaped cap and is dark gray or black in color. Because of this, it also has the name etrumpet of deathe. This mushroom is somewhat stringy, but has a robust flavor and may be used to flavor sauces, soups, or any other mushroom preparation.
Horse Bean
This bean looks like a very large lima bean. The pod is inedible unless the plant is very young. Avoid pods bulging with beans as this is an indication of age. Also known as the "broad bean."
Horse Meat
Taboo for Jews, horse meat is eaten in many parts of the world, particularly France and Belgium. The flesh is on the sweet side and can be mistaken for beef if flavored with garlic or some other strong herb. May be cooked like beef.
Horseradish
A perennial plant originating in eastern Europe, horseradish is cultivated for its tough, twisted root. Once peeled, this is grated and mixed with cream and other ingredients to provide a hot-flavoured sauce to accompany roast beef or fish such as trout. Care must be taken when grating as the vapours can make the eyes sting.
Hot Cross Buns
Sweet yeast buns with currants, slashed crosswise before baking, then glazed as they come from the oven.
Hot Smoking
Using smoke to flavor meat or fish while cooking at temperatures over 250 degrees.
Hot water crust pastry
A heavy dough pastry made of flour, water and lard, bound together by heating. It can be moulded, when still warm, for pork, ham and raised game pies.
Hot-pot
Mutton and vegetable stew.
Hotte
Grape picking basket worn on the backs of French grape pickers. It is traditionally made of wood, but today can be found made of metal or plastic.
Hubbard Squash
A large winter squash of American origin. Often mashed and mixed with butter and seasonings. Also used in casseroles, muffins, and pies.
Huitlacoche
Corn fungus delicacy; sleepy excrement (Aztec); common in central Mexico; during the rainy season, a fungus develops between the husks and the ripe kernels where the kernels will blacken, contort and swell to form this musty fungus; valued for centuries in Mexico; has an earthy and distinct taste finally similar to mushrooms or truffles; lends a black hue and resonant aroma to stuffings for empanadas, tamales and quesadillas; makes distinctive sauces; usually sold cut from the cob and frozen; needs cooking to release flavor and aroma; often sauteed with roasted garlic and onions, and either fresh marjoram, oregano or epazote, then simmered with a little water or stock; harvested during the rainy season, usually late spring to early fall.
Hull
To remove the outer covering, or pull out the stem (the green calyx) and leafy top portion, of berries, especially strawberries.
Human Milk
Human breast milk is about 20 calories per ounce. It is about 40% carbohydrate, 50% fat, and 10% protein. Human milk contains certain protein immune substances that are lacking in cow's milk and infant formulas.
Hummus
A puree or dip of crushed cooked chickpeas flavoured with tahini (pounded sesame seeds), oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Hunza apricots
Very sweet and scented apricots that come from the Hunza valley in Pakistan.
Hyacinth Bean
An Old World vine of the legume family. The beans are black or white and are contained in a papery, beaked pod.
Hydrogenate
The process of hardening an unsaturated oil into a semisolid by transforming it into a saturated fat.
Hygrometer
A device used to measure the humidity.
Hyssop
An aromatic perennial herb from the Mediterranean region. During the Middle Ages it was popular as a flavouring for soups and stuffings but now its main use is in the distillation of liqueurs, such as Chartreuse. However, the young leaves can be used in cooking to aid digestion of fatty or rich foods, eg as a seasoning for oily fish or to flavour stuffings.