Food Dictionary

T-bone steak
A cut from the center section of the tenderloin, directly in front of the porterhouse steak.
Tabasco chile
The famous chile from Tabasco, Mexico; seeds were introduced to Louisiana in the 1860s.
Tabasco Sauce
A hot, thin, spicy sauce made from vinegar and red chilli peppers. It can be used to season meat or sauces or added to cocktails for an extra kick.
Tabbouleh
Middle Eastern salad made with bulgar wheat, tomatoes, lemon and parsley. Traditionally wrapped in lettuce leaves and eaten with the hands.
Table Queen Squash
An oval winter squash with a ribbed, dark green skin and slightly sweet orange flesh. May be eaten baked or directly from the shell. Also known as "acorn squash."
Taco
A Mexican-style sandwich consisting of a folded corn Tortilla filled with various ingredients such as beef, pork, chicken, chorizo sausage, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onion, guacamole, refried beans and salsa. Most tacos in the United States are made with crisp (fried) tortilla shells, but there are also soft (pliable) versions. The latter are more likely to be found in the Southwest and California. Tacos may be eaten as an entree or snack.
Tagine
Or tajine. A north African earthenware dish with a conical shaped lid. The dish has given its name to the north African stew of meat and vegetables cooked in it.
Tagliarini
A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than tagliatelle, measuring approximately 3mm across.
Tagliatelle
Pasta made into thin ribbons, often served with creamy sauces.
Tahini
A thick paste made of ground sesame seed. Popular in the Middle East in a number of specialties, including "hummus" and "babghanoush."
Tailgate
Outdoor snack, meal or beverages originally served from the back of a pick-up truck at any sporting event. Hot food prepared on the grill at a sporting event.
Taleggio
A square creamy cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy, with a fat content of almost 50%. Has a mild, salty-sweet flavor, which can become pungent if left to age for too long. Often served with salads and fruit.
Tallow
The harder and less fusible fat in animals and vegetables.
Tallow biscuits
Hot biscuits spread with fresh tallow.
Tamae
Any filling enclosed in masa, wrapped in a corn husk or parchment paper, and steamed; the plural is tamales. The cornmeal is spread on a corn husk, then filled with chile-seasoned mixture of meats and red pepper, rolled, tied and steamed.
Tamales
Cornmeal dough wrapped in a corn husk and steamed, often stuffed with pork, olives or turkey.
Tamari
A dark, thicker form of soy sauce with a distinctive mellow flavor. Used as a dipping sauce, for basting, and as a table condiment.
Tamarillo
A red, egg-shaped tropical fruit that should be eaten cooked as the raw fruit can be quite tart; as a puree, tamarillo makes a good ingredient in ice-cream or sorbet and can also be served with poultry or fish.
Tamarind
A spice made from the pods of the tamarind tree by drying and pressing the pulp of the pods; a small piece can be broken off and infused to create an acidic liquid flavouring in authentic Indian curries.
Tandoori
In Indian cookery, a method of cooking chicken or other meat. Tandoori spices - ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne - are mixed with pureed garlic, pureed ginger, lemon juice and oil to make a paste that is used to coat the food which turns a red-orange colour. It is then cooked in the ‘tandoor’, a tall cylindrical clay oven. Traditional naan breads are also cooked in the tandoor. Tandoori spices can also be added to yogurt and used as a marinade.
Tangelo
A cross between a tangerine and the pomelo. This fruit contains only a few seeds and provides a juicy, sweetly tart taste.
Tangerine
Tangerines are a small orange citrus fruit. Mandarins and satsumas are simply different varieties of tangerine, and clementines are a hybrid between the tangerine and the sweet orange. They are usually eaten raw.
Tapenade
Tapenade is a paste made of black olives, capers, anchovies, mustard, basil and parsley. You can use it on crostini or bruschetta, with pasta and in sauces, as a marinade for meat and also for adding to casseroles and stews.
Tapioca
A starchy substance derived from the root of the "cassava plant" that is used as a thickening agent for soups, fruit fillings, and desserts. Used much like cornstarch.
Taramasalata
A thick, creamy Greek dip made from olive oil, fish roe, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Usually served as mezze dish or as an hors d'oeuvre.
Taro
A high-starch tuber grown in West Africa. The American variety is called "dasheen." Although acrid in the raw state, taro has a nut-like flavor when cooked. "Poi" is made from taro root. Taro can be boiled, fried, baked, and used in soup.
Taro Leaf
The large "elephant ear" leaves of the taro that are edible when young.
Tarpon
A large, powerful game fish from the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tarragon
An aromatic perennial herb, often used in French cooking. Its pointed leaves have a distinctive aniseed flavour and can be used to flavour oils and vinegar. Tarragon is particularly good with chicken.
Tart
A sweet- or savory-filled baked pastry with no top crust.
Tartar Sauce
A creamy white sauce composed of mayonnaise, minced capers, dill pickles, onions or shallots, olives, and lemon juice or vinegar and other seasonings. Tartar sauce is often served as an accompaniment to fried fish.
Tartare
Two meanings:
a. sauce made from mayonnaise, gherkins and capers
b. steak tartare is made with minced beef served raw with egg yolk and seasoning
Tarte Flambe
An Alsatian pizza with a thin crust topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon. This is also called an Alsatian firepie.
Tarte Tatin
The name given to an apple tart that is cooked under a lid of pastry, but served upside down - with the pastry underneath and the fruit on top. It combines the taste of caramel with the flavour of apples cooked in butter and was made famous by the Tatin sisters who ran a hotel-restaurant in France in the early 1900s. Many variations of the original apple 'upside down' tart have since been developed.
Tea
Tea was used 4,000 years ago in China to flavor water that had been boiled (to make it safe). Americans invented tea bags and iced tea. All tea is a single species--the climate, soil, and processing creates the individual characteristics.
Tea towel
Dish towel.
Teaseed Oil
The oil pressed from the seed of a small Chinese tree of the Camellia family (C. oleifera). This commercial tea oil is said to equal olive oil in quality and is used in a similar manner.
Teff
a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread.
Teff Flour
The flour produced by grinding the seeds of the teff, a northern African grass cultivated for its seeds.
Teff Seed
The seed of the North African teff plant.
Tempeh
A fermented soybean cake used in Indonesian cooking.
Tempura
A Japanese specialty prepared by deep frying fish and vegetables that have been dipped in tempura batter. The resulting batter is light, thin, and crispy. Usually served with rice and soy sauce.
Tendergreens
An herb of the mustard family whose leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. Americans cultivate this plant for its leaves; Asians cultivate it also for its thick, tuberous crown, which they pickle. Also called "mustard greens."
Tenderloin
That portion of the beef between the sirloin and the ribs; also known as short loin. Steaks from the tenderloin include the Porterhouse and the T-bone.
Tequila
Originally from Tequila, Mexico, tequila is a colorless or pale straw-colored liquor made by fermenting and distilling the sap of the agave plant.
Teriyaki
A Japanese dish consisting of food, such as beef or chicken, that has been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, sugar, ginger and seasonings before being grilled, broiled or fried. The sugar in the marinade gives the cooked food a slight glaze. Teriyaki sauce is made with the above ingredients.
Terrapin
This eight-inch long freshwater turtle is considered by many to have the best meat among turtles. Its flesh is often pounded and served like steak.
Terrine
Usually describes a kind of pate made of pieces of meat in a deep dish with straight sides. Can also be used to describe the dish itself.
Tex-Mex
A term given to food based on the combined cultures of Texas and Mexico. Tex-Mex food encompasses a wide variety of dishes such as Burritos, Nachos and Tacos.
Texas butter
A butter substitute of hot lard, flour and water.
Thai fish sauce
An oriental flavouring made from fermented, salted fresh fish, also known as fish gravy: it has a fishy aroma with a salty taste and adds richness to dishes like stir-fries and soups.
Thermophilic
Cheesemaking term which describes the temperature at which the culture thrives. From the Greek words thermo - meaning heat - and philic - which means loving. Thermophilic cultures require a higher temperature than mesophilic cultures.
Thuringer Cervelat
A fresh, smoked sausage named after the former German region of Thuringia. Coriander (also called "cilantro") is an important spice used in this variety of sausage.
Thuringer-Style Sausage
Fresh sausage or cooked sausage -- Made principally of ground pork; may also include veal and beef; seasoning similar to pork sausage, except no sage is used; may be smoked or un-smoked. In some regions of the U.S. also called summer sausage.
Thyme
A perennial plant with small grey-green aromatic leaves and small purple flowers. It is one of the basic herbs used in cooking. Alone or in a bouquet garni, fresh or dried, it is used in a huge range of dishes but particularly in casseroles, stews and marinades.
Tia Maria
A dark-brown, rum-based liqueur from Jamaica that features a strong coffee flavor.
Tilefish
This low-fat Atlantic fish is delicately flavored and has a flesh that is firm yet tender. Available fresh and frozen, in steaks and fillets. Suitable for just about any cooking method.
Tilsit Cheese
A cheese that was accidentally created when Dutch immigrants were trying to make "gouda." This mild cheese is made from pasteurized milk. A very strong called "Farmhouse Tilsit" is made from raw milk and is aged 5 months.
Timbale
A layered dish cooked in a tall mould (timbale) and then turned out. Often made of rice layered with vegetables or slices of aubergine layered with other vegetables and tomato sauce.
Tipsy cake, tipsy pudding
Sponge cake soaked with sherry and brandy, covered with custard and almonds.
Tiramisu
An Italian dessert made of sponge or macaroons soaked in coffee, brandy or liqueur with mascarpone cheese and chocolate.
Tisane
An infusion of fresh or dried herbs that is drunk hot. Most tisanes are made from medicinal plants.
Toad in the Hole
An English dish consisting of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.
Toast
To brown with dry heat in an toaster or oven.
Toast points
Toast slices, cut in half diagonally.
Toasting (nuts)
Using heat to bring the oils closer to the surface of the nut which brings out more flavor. Method is useful in low fat cooking in order to use less nuts. Toasting also makes removing the skins off of nuts easier. Toasting also gives the nuts a much better flavor.
Tofu
Important protein source in oriental cooking. Made from cooked soya beans, it is quite bland in flavour and responds well to marinades. Good for stir-frying, barbecuing, grilling, it is also high in calcium and vitamin E and low in saturated fats.
Tokay
A famous wine from Tokay, a town in Hungary. Louis XIV said Tokay was "the wine of kings and the king of wines." 28 villages in Hungary have the right to call the vine they produce "tokay."
Tomally
The liver of the lobster.
Tomate verde
Mexican green tomato.
Tomatillo
A small fruit, also called the "Mexican tomato," that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.
Tomato
A fruit from the nightshade family (like the potato and eggplant). The U.S. government classified it as a vegetable for trade purposes in 1893. Tomatoes should not be refrigerated--the cold adversely affects the flavor and the flesh.
Tomato Paste
The paste that results from cooking tomatoes for several hours, then straining them and reducing them to a thick red, richly flavored concentrate.
Tomato Puree
Tomatoes that have been cooked briefly, then strained.
Tomato Sauce
A slightly thinner tomato puree, often mixed with seasonings to facilitate their use in other sauces and dishes.
Tonic
Carbonated water that is sometimes flavored with fruit extracts, sugar, and a small amount of quinine, a bitter alkaloid. Tonic water is popular as a mixer. It is also called "quinine water."
Topping
A sauce, frosting, or garnish for food.
Topside
Cut of beef from the rear of the animal, sold as a roasting joint.
Torrone
Nougat candy.
Torsk
A large saltwater fish related to the cod. It has a firm, lean flesh. Also called "cusk."
Torta Rustica
A large pie similar to coulibiac, filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Other versions use meat or sausage in the filling. The crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt before using.
Torte
A rich multi-layered cake made with little or no flour, but with ground nuts, breadcrumbs, eggs, sugar, and flavorings. The word "torte" is also used to describe some tart-like preparations.
Tortellini
A small, stuffed pasta pocket made from little rounds of dough, then twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything and are served sauced or in a simple broth.
Tortelloni
This is a larger version of the tortellini.
Tortilla
In Spain a tortilla is a set omelette of eggs, potatoes, olive oil and salt. Sometimes other ingredients such as peppers, onion, tuna, asparagus and mushrooms are added. This is very different from Mexico where tortilla refers to a flatbread made from corn or wheat flour.
Toss
To blend foods together by gently turning the pieces over until the ingredients are well mixed
Tostada Shell
A flat, crisp-fried flour or corn tortilla shell. This serves as the base upon which tostadas are created by adding refried beans, shredded chicken or beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and other ingredients.
Tournedo
A fillet of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, approximately an inch thick. This term is rarely used in America today, being replaced by filet of beef or filet mignon.
Tourte
Similar to pate en croute, these are pies made in a round shape and served cold. They are generally highly seasoned and preparations are indicative to the region they are from.
Tree Fern
Any of various ferns, mostly tropical, that grow as large as trees, sending up a straight trunk-like stem.
Tree Oyster Mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Also known as "oyster mushroom."
Trennette
Flat noodles, wider than fettuccine, that have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.
Tripe
The stomach of a cow, pig or sheep used as food. It is usually sold specially prepared or cleaned for cooking.
Triple Sec
A strong, clear liqueur with an orange flavor similar to Curacao. It is used in making Margaritas.
Triticale
A nutritious hybrid of wheat and rye which contains more protein and less gluten than wheat. Normally found in health food stores, it is available as whole berries, flakes, and flour. Used in cereals, casseroles, and pilafs.
Triticale Flour
The flour made from triticale. Because this flour is low in gluten, bread made from triticale flour is very heavy. For this reason, it is usually combined half-and-half with wheat flour.
Trout
A delicately flavored fish that belongs to the same family as salmon and whitefish. Most are freshwater, but some are marine (sea trout). The very popular "rainbow trout" has been transplanted from California to many different countries.
Truffle
An underground fungus with a very strong taste. Expensive to buy as they are generally picked in the wild, often found with trained pigs. Truffles are rounded, of variable size and irregular shape and come in a range of colours. The word can also refer to a chocolate and cream confectionery often flavoured with rum.
Truss
To tie up, as a bird, so that all parts will remain in place while cooking.
Try out
To heat fat slowly until it liquefies and can be drawn off.
Tube pan
Ring-shaped tin for baking cakes. Most often used to prepare sponge cakes and angel food cakes.
Tuiles
Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance. They are often flavored with almond slices, lemon, and vanilla.
Tumeric
A slightly bitter spice taken from the root of a plant in the ginger family. Usually available ground, this spice is used to flavor baked goods, curries, fish, poultry, gravies, salads, and dressings.
Tuna
A saltwater fish related to the mackerel. Probably the most popular fish used in canning today. Tunas have a distinctive rich-flavored flesh that is moderately high in fat and has a firmly textured flaky but tender flesh.
Tunas
Prickly pear cactus fruits which turn from green to ruby red; their juice is magenta-colored; their exotic flavor is like a blend of pomegranates, cherries and strawberries; the fruit is used in making jelly, candies and syrup.
Tunka
The melon-like fruit of a tropical Asian vine belonging to the gourd family. Also called "white gourd."
Turbinado Sugar
A raw sugar that has been steam-cleaned. The coarse crystals are blond in color and have a delicate molasses flavor.
Turbot
A flat sea fish with firm flesh. Available as fillets, steaks or whole. Suits poaching or grilling.
Turducken
A Louisiana specialty - a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey.
Turkey
An American game bird from the pheasant family that has been domesticated. Self-basting turkeys have been injected with butter or vegetable oil. "Roaster-fryers" (6 - 8 lb. birds), are becoming more popular for everyday fare.
Turmeric
Bright yellow spice often used in curry. Turmeric has a more bitter taste than saffron. It is used mainly in Indian and south-east Asian cooking.
Turnip
A cool-weather, white-fleshed root vegetable that is easy to grow. The so-called "yellow turnip" is actually a rutabaga. Choose smaller turnips because young turnips have a delicate, somewhat sweet flavor that becomes stronger with age.
Turnip Greens
The green tops of the turnip plant. These greens start out slightly sweet, but become stronger-tasting and tougher with age. These greens may be served boiled, sauteed, steamed, or stir-fried.
Turnip-Rooted Parsley
A parsley subspecies grown for its beige carrot-like root which tastes somewhat like a cross between a carrot and celery. Used in stews and soups. Also eaten as a vegetable. Also called "parsley root."
Turnovers
Pastries filled with a savory or sweet mixture, doubled over to the shape of a semicircle, then baked or deep-fried.
Turtle
Any of several varieties of shelled reptiles that live on land, in freshwater, or in the sea. Turtles can weigh over 1,000 pounds. Sea or Green Turtles are best known as food.
Turtle Beans
Also known as "black beans" and "black turtle beans," these beans have black skin, cream-colored flesh, and a sweet flavor that forms the base for black bean soup.
Tusk
A large saltwater fish related to the cod. It has a firm, lean flesh. Also called "cusk."
Tybo Cheese
A mild-flavored Danish Cow's milk cheese. It features a cream-colored inside that is dotted with holes. This cheese goes well with sandwiches, salads, sauces, and many cooked dishes. Sometimes flavored with caraway seeds.
Tzatziki Sauce
Dipping sauce derived from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice. Served with calamari.
Tzimmes
Traditionally served on Rosh Hashana, this sweet Jewish dish consists of various combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables. All are flavored with honey and often with cinnamon as well. The flavors of this casserole-style dish develop by cooking it at a very low temperature for a very long time.