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a la - French for the style of, such as "a
la Francaise" meaning "in the style of the French"
a la Bourgeoise - French for in "the style
of the family"
a la Broche - French for cooked on a
skewer over a flame
a la Carte - A list of food items each
priced and served separately
a la Florentine - Literally French for "in
the style of Florence". In Italian, "alla
Florentine". It refers to dishes served with spinach
and topped with a mornay sauce.
a la King - An American dish of diced
foods, usually chicken or turkey, in a cream sauce
with pimientos, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and
a la Mode - Meaning "In the fashion"
a la Provençal - French for dishes
prepared with garlic and olive oil.
Ababai Fruit - Fresh off the tree, ababai
has a thin skin and looks like a small papaya with a
flesh that is firm and uniform in texture. It is one
of the few fruits that will not dissolve when
cooked. It can be sautéed with vegetables, broiled
or grilled. Ababai is never eaten fresh due to its
high enzyme content. After processing, the pale
yellow color turns a brilliant gold.
Abaisee - 1. A French term for a puff
pastry sheets that have been rolled very thin.
2. Sometimes it refers to a thin slice of sponge
cake used in a dessert.
Abalone - A mollusk related to the sea
snail, eaten fresh, dried and salted, or cooked in
dishes similar to clam chowder. Known as "awabi" in
Japanese cuisine, as "loco" in South American, as "ormer"
in the English Channel, as "muttonfish" in Australia
and as "paua" in New Zealand. Its iridescent shell
is a source of mother-of-pearl.
Aberdeen Sausage - A long Scottish beef
sausage that is wrapped in a cloth, boiled, and then
coated in bread crumbs.
Accolade - En accolade means serving two
like kinds of food leaning against each other. The
term usually applies to poultry and game hens.
Acetic Acid - Wine or cider that fermented
beyond the stage of alcohol. In a diluted form
acetic acid is vinegar. Acetic acid is also used in
preserving fruits to keep them from discoloring.
Achar - A strong spiced pickle relish
served in Indian cuisine. It usually consists of
chopped fruits and vegetables in a spicy sauce.
Acid Rinse - Discoloration of peeled
fruits and vegetables are prevented from browning
when exposed to air by a bath of acidulated water.
Acidulate - To give a dish or liquid a
slightly acidic, tart or piquant taste by adding
some lemon juice, vinegar, or unripened fruit juice.
Acidulated Water - Cold water with
vinegar, lemon or lime juice added
Acerola - A small, deep-red, cherrylike
fruit that grows on the acerola tree found primarily
in and around the West Indies and Brazil. The fruit
has a sweet flavor and one of the highest
concentrations of vitamin C. It is used in desserts
and preserves. It's also known as the Barbados
cherry, Puerto Rican cherry and West Indies cherry.
Achar - Pickling relish used in Indian and
West Indies dishes, made of palm cabbage, bamboo
shoots, spices, and other fruits and vegetables.
Acorn Squash - A small to medium-sized
acorn-shaped winter squash with an orange and green
or orange, yellow and creamy white ridged shell with
pale orange flesh, and a slightly sweet, nutty
Adabado - A sour paste used to marinate
fajitas (Mexican skirt steak) before grilling, made
with vinegar, chiles, and herbs.
Ade - A fruit drink made by combining
water with sugar, dissolving the sugar, then adding
a citrus juice and ice.
Adjust Seasoning - To taste the dish
before serving to determine the need for salt,
herbs, or other seasonings.
Adzuki Bean - A small reddish-brown bush
bean (they grow on bushes rather than vines)
cultivated in China and Japan. Extremely versatile,
adzukis can be eaten fresh or dried, or ground into
flour and used to make cakes or other confections
such as Yokan. The skin of the adzuki bean is quite
thick, requiring long soaking and a cooking time of
about two hours.
Adobo - 1. A Philippine national dish of
braised pork, chicken, or fish. 2. Also, a seasoned
Mexican sauce made with vinegar and chilies like the
sauce in which Chipolte peppers usually are sold.
Aemono - A Japanese salad served with
dressing, or the dressing itself.
Aerate - To sift ingredients through a
fine-mesh screen to break up lumps and to add air to
make them lighter.
Aftertaste - Term used to describe the
impression that remains after food or beverages are
swallowed. Wine is evaluated on the character and
length of aftertaste.
Agar-Agar - An extract of seaweed used as
a thickening agent. The Japanese use it in soups.
Agaricus Mushrooms - Plump, dome-shaped
mushrooms, ranging in size from small (button
mushrooms) to jumbo. These common mushrooms have a
mild, earthy flavor and are available year-round in
bulk and 8-ounce packages. Their color can range
from white to pale brown, and their caps should be
firm, tightly closed and evenly colored.
Agave - A Mexican plant with large, fleshy
leaves. Fermented agave sap is used to make tequila,
pulque, and mescal.
Agneau - French term for lamb.
Agnolini - Small stuffed pasta similar to
Agnolotti - Round or crescent-shaped
stuffed pasta, usually filled with meat.
Ail - French term for garlic.
Aioli - Sauce of southern France made with
garlic, olive oil, egg yolks, and other seasonings.
Aioli is used with potatoes, poached fish, snails,
salt cod, and added to bouillabaisse. It is similar
in consistency to mayonnaise.
Ajo - Spanish term for garlic.
Akee, Ackee - Tropical fruit, native to
Africa, commonly eaten in Jamaica with salt cod. The
cherry-size fruit, slightly oval in shape, has a
flavor similar to grapes, and looks like scrambled
eggs when cooked. Certain parts of the fruit are
toxic when underripe so it is important to identify
the stage of maturity before using this fresh fruit,
but canned akee is safe. Also known as genipa, genip,
ginup, honeyberry, limoncillo, Spanish lime and
Aging - A term used to describe the
holding of meats at a temperature of 34 to 36
degrees F. for a period of time to tenderize.
Aïoli - A strong garlic mayonnaise from
the Provence region of southern France. It is a
favorite addition for fish, meats and vegetables.
Al Carbon - In Italian and Mexican
cooking, foods grilled over charcoal.
Al Forno - Italian term for food baked in
Al Fresco - Italian term for an outdoor
meal or social event held outside.
Al Pastor - Italian term for food cooked
over an open fire on a long spit.
Alambre - Spanish or Mexican shish kebab.
Al Dente - Italian meaning "to the tooth".
Used to describe a food, usually pasta, that is
cooked only until it gives a slight resistance when
one bites into it; the food is neither soft nor
Albacore - Albacore is a high-fat tuna
with light flesh and a mild flavor. Found in
temperate marine waters throughout the world, it
weighs between 10 and 60 pounds. It is the only tuna
that can be called white, and the most expensive
Albumen - 1. Egg white. 2. An important
type of protein found in egg whites, rare beef, milk
and some vegetables. It is a vital component of
human blood serum.
Alfalfa Sprouts - A popular choice for
salads and sandwiches, alfalfa sprouts are best
eaten raw. They also may be stir-fried or sautéed,
but should only be cooked for 30 seconds or less to
avoid wilting. Alfalfa sprouts are widely available
in supermarkets. Look for crisp sprouts with buds
attached, and avoid musty-smelling or slimy-looking
sprouts. Once purchased, they should be refrigerated
in the ventilated plastic container in which they
are usually sold and kept for no more than two days.
All-purpose Flour - White wheat flour
blended to contain a moderate amount of protein and
used for a wide range of general baking and cooking.
Allspice - A member of the pimento family
and native to tropical regions. It's brown berries
have a flavor similar to a mixture of cinnamon,
clove, nutmeg, ginger and pepper. Allspice is also
known as Jamaican pepper.
Allumettes - The French word for "match,"
also refers to potatoes that have been cut into thin
Almond Extract - A concentrated flavoring
made from alcohol and bitter-almond oil, primarily
Almond Paste - Blanched, ground almonds
combined with sugar and glycerin; used in a variety
of confections including amaretti cookies; similar
to marzipan but is less delicate and not as sweet.
Ground kernels of peaches or apricots are often
added to enhance the almonds. Almond paste is
available in most supermarkets. After opening, wrap
tightly and refrigerate. Heating for two or three
seconds in a microwave oven can soften hardened
almond paste. It should be firm but pliable before
Almonds - Commonly grown in the
Mediterranean, California and other warm climates,
almond varieties are classified as either sweet or
bitter. Sweet varieties are used as edible nuts.
They are highly nutritious and can be used raw,
roasted or toasted.
Aluminum - Cookware made from this tough,
strong, light metal holds heat well, but has a
tendency to react with acids and can give foods an
off-taste. For this reason never use aluminum for a
recipe which calls for a non-reactive pan.
Aluminum Foil - A thin pliable sheet of
aluminum which can be folded, molded and sealed. It
conducts heat well and can withstand extremely high
and low temperatures.
Amandine - This French term refers to
dishes garnished with almonds. Often spelled
Amaranth - A pseudo-cereal grain
cultivated for more than 5,500 years by the Aztec
and related cultures. Virtually unknown for the last
500 years, it is currently grown commercially in the
United States by a few dozen farmers. This grain
exceeds all common grains as a source of protein
and, as such, is expected to experience wider
availability. It may be cooked in liquid or popped.
The leaves have a slightly sweet flavor and are
often used like spinach. Amaranth is also called
Chinese Spinach, een choy and callaloo.
Amaretti - Italian almond cookies
reminiscent of the macaroon.
Amaretto - An almond-flavored liqueur,
often made with kernels of apricot pits.
Ambrosia - A dessert of chilled fruits
combined with coconut. Bananas and citrus fruit like
oranges are common ingredients. Ambrosia may also be
served as a salad.
American Cheese, Processed - any of the
group of US cheeses made with emulsifiers to
increase smoothness and pasteurized milk to increase
storage life; 51% of the final weight must be
Amori - Hollow, rigid pasta spirals.
Anaheim Chilies - Mild, long green chilies
named for the area near Los Angeles where they were
once cultivated. They are available canned (whole or
chopped) and fresh.
Ancho Chilies - Dried poblano chilies that
come in color ranging from dark red to almost black.
They are moderately hot with a smoky flavor.
Anchovy - A small fish used primarily as
flavoring. It has a very salty and has a distinctive
Andouille Sausage - A spicy sausage made
from pork chitterlings and tripe. Andouille is
traditionally used in Cajun dishes, like jambalaya
Angel Food Cake - A light, airy cake made
without egg yolks or other fats; its structure is
based on the air whipped into the egg whites;
traditionally baked in a tube pan.
Angel Hair Pasta - A thin, delicate pasta.
These strands are best if used with thinner,
delicate sauces. Other uses: break in half and put
in soup; use in salads or stir-fry meals.
Anise - An herb of the parsley family
native to the eastern Mediterranean region. It has
bright green leaves with a mild licorice flavor.
Anisette - A sweet French liqueur made
with aniseed. It is produced as a flavor blend of
aniseeds and aromatic herbs.
Annatto Extract - A dye made from the pulp
surrounding the seeds of the South American annatto
tree; mainly used to color cheese, particularly
cheddar. See also Annatto Seed.
Anolini - A semicircular, stuffed pasta.
Antioxidants - 1. Natural or synthetic
substances that prevent or delay the process of
oxidation. Some food additives are antioxidants that
act as preservatives by retarding deteriorization,
rancidity or discoloration caused by oxidation. 2.
Compounds found in various foods that reduce
premature aging or degenerative disease.
Antipasto - An Italian dish of cold meats,
hors d'oeuvres and vegetables, which is commonly
served before the pasta.
Aperitif - An alcoholic drink taken before
a meal that is supposed to sharpen the appetite. It
is usually strong and very small.
Appetizer - A small serving of food or
beverage served before first course of a meal.
Apple - A pome fruit with generally firm
flesh, which can range in flavor from sweet to tart.
They have a thin peel or skin ranging in color from
yellow to green to red. Apples can be eaten raw,
cooked, pureed or used for juice.
Apple Brown Betty - A dessert with layers
of apples and buttered crumbs or oats and spices.
Apple Corer - A small kitchen tool with a
sharp metal gouge attached to a handle; used to
remove the core of an apple.
Applejack - 1. An American brandy made
from apple cider that must spend a minimum of two
years in wooden casks before being bottled; very
potent, ranging in strength from 80 to 100 proof. 2.
Apple syrup or a type of apple turnover.
Applemint - A member of the mint family,
applemint sprigs have a slightly fruity flavor and
can be added to fruit salads, cream or cottage
cheeses, or used to garnish drinks.
Apple Slicer - A tool with a round frame
sectioned off by either wire or metal blades. The
tool is pressed over an apple, dividing the fruit
into even sections while also removing its core.
Apricot - A small fruit with a thin,
velvety, pale yellow to deep orange skin, a meaty
golden cream to bright orange flesh and an
Arborio Rice - A short-grain rice with a
hard core, white color and mild flavor. It has a
creamy consistency when cooked and is used for
Aroma - Odor or fragrance
Arrowhead - Ferns that look similar to
asparagus and have a flavor that is a cross between
asparagus and artichoke. Similar to some vegetables,
arrowhead ferns collapse considerably when cooked.
Aromatic Rice - Rice with a nutty or
popcorn aroma and flavor
Arrowroot - A tasteless, starchy substance
used as a thickening agent.
Arroz - Spanish term for rice.
Artichoke - The large flowerhead of a
plant of the thistle family. It has tough gray-green
petal-shaped leaves with soft flesh underneath
(which is eaten), a furry choke (that is discarded)
and a tender center (called the heart which is also
Arugula - A tangy, aromatic salad green
with a mustard flavor; often used in Europe, but
becoming increasingly popular in North America.
Arugula perks up a salad or sautéed vegetable dish,
and can usually be found in specialty produce
markets and supermarkets, often in small bunches
with their roots still attached.
Asadero Cheese - A white semifirm Mexican
cheese made from whole cow's milk. Asadero has a
mild flavor and is usually found in loaves that vary
from 8 ounces to 11 pounds. Asadero means "fit for
roasting," indicating this cheese is very suitable
for melting; also known as Chihuahua and Oaxaca.
Asado - Term used to describe Mexican
dishes of broiled or roasted meat.
Ascorbic Acid - The chemical name for
vitamin C. It is used as an antidarkening agent for
fruits, as well as an antioxidant and preservative.
Asiago Cheese - Made from cow's milk, this
semifirm Italian cheese has a rich, nutty, pungent
flavor. Asiago di Taglio is aged for up to 60 days,
is semifirm and used as a table cheese. When cured
for six months or more asiago becomes hard and is
used for grating.
Asparagus - A vegetable with an upright
stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk,
capped by a ruffle of small leaves at the top.
Tender stalks are usually youngerand have a slightly
pungent, bitter flavor, an light green color and a
Aspic - 1. A clarified jelly used to cover
cold foods. 2. Also a gelatin salad.
Au Buerre - Means with butter. Used to
describe dishes sautéed, cooked, or finished with
Au Four - In the oven
au Gratin - A French term for a dish with
a browned topping of bread or cracker crumbs and/or
grated cheese. Also known as gratiné.
Au Jus - A French term for roasted poultry
or meats served with their natural, unthickened
Au Lait - With milk
au Rouge - Served in a red sauce
Avocado - A tropical pear shaped fruit
with a large single pit. It's skin can have a smooth
or rough-textured green to dark purple color. It's
flesh is a light green or yellowish green with a
smooth creamy texture. It has a high unsaturated fat
content and is usually eaten raw served in salads or
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Baba - A rich rum or kirsch-soaked Polish
yeast cake studded with currants or raisins. The
traditional baba is baked in a tall cylindrical mold
but the cake can be made in a variety of shapes and
sizes; called savarin when baked in a large ring
Babáco - This fruit indigenous to Ecuador,
ranges from 8 to 12 inches long and about 4 inches
in diameter. The skin, which is entirely edible,
turns from green to golden yellow as it ripens.
Babáco is best eaten raw, contains triple the amount
of papain than found in papaya, and is a good source
of vitamins A and C.
Babka - A Polish sweet yeast bread,
traditionally made with rum and studded with
almonds, raisins and orange peel.
Baby Back Ribs - A slab of ribs cut from
the pork primal loin and weighing 1.75 pounds or
Baby Lima Beans - There are two common
varieties of lima beans: the Fordhook and the baby
(also called sieva). The pale green bodies of both
varieties have a slight kidney-shaped curve. The
Fordhook is larger and plumper than the baby lima.
Bacon - A cured / smoked cut of pork
carcass that consists of fat interspersed with
strands of meat, available sliced or in a slab.
Bagel - A dense, chewy, doughnut-shaped roll that
is cooked in boiling water, then baked.
Baguette - A long, thin, cylindrical loaf of
French bread with a crisp, brown crust and chewy
interior; traditionally made from flour, salt, water
Bain Marie - 1. A hot-water bath used to gently
cook foods. Hot water is placed in a pan and the
food item (such as custard), nestled in a separate
container, is set in the water. This allows gentle
cooking without scorching. 2. French term for a type
of double boiler.
Bake Cups - Paper or foil pleated cups used to
line cupcake or muffin tins.
Bake -To cook in an oven with dry heat at a
Baker's Cheese - Similar to cottage cheese, this
soft, acidic white cheese is made from skim milk and
used mainly in commercially baked goods. It is
rarely available in retail stores.
Baker's Peel - A tool with a flat, smooth surface
and long handle that's used to move pizzas and yeast
breads to and from an oven. Peels are usually
hardwood, but can be made of metal. Also known as a
pizza peel or paddle.
Baking Powder - A Leavening agent containing a
combination of baking soda, an acid like cream of
tartar and a moisture-absorber like cornstarch. When
mixed with liquid, it releases carbon dioxide gas
that causes baked goods to rise.
Baking Soda, Bicarbonate of Soda - A Leavening
agent that causes baked goods to rise when combined
with an acid ingredient such as buttermilk or
Baking Stones, Baking Tiles - A heavy, thick,
round or rectangular ceramic or stone plate placed
on the lowest oven shelf and preheated with the
oven. Such stones are used to duplicate the baking
qualities of the brick floors of some commercial
bread and pizza ovens. Items to be baked are then
placed directly on the baking stone in the oven.
Also known as a pizza stone. Baking tiles are used
like a baking stone, but are thick, unglazed quarry
tiles 8 to 12 inches square.
Baklava - Greek pastry made in layers with thin
leaves of phyllo dough, honey, sugar and chopped
Balachan - Malaysian condiment made of spices,
small fish and shrimp, allowed to ferment in the hot
sun, and then dried. It is quite pungent and is
considered an acquired taste.
Balsamic Vinegar - An Italian vinegar made from
white Trebbiano grape juice. It has a dark color and
pungent sweetness from aging in barrels made of
Bamboo Shoots - These are the ivory-colored
shoots of the bamboo plant. Bamboo shoots have a
tender-crisp texture and sweet flavor. Primarily
available in cans and used in Asian cuisines.
Banana - A tropical fruit that grows in clusters
and is long and curving with a yellow skin flecked
with brown specs. It has a slightly sticky, creamy
pulp and a distinctive sweet flavor.
Banana Squash - A large, long winter squash with
creamy orange skin and orange flesh; often sold in
Banneton - A small woven basket used for letting
bread dough rise before baking. The basket is dusted
with flour before use. The dough takes on the shape
of the basket as it rises and is then carefully
turned out onto a baking sheet. The baked bread
retains the pattern of the basket.
Bap - A soft Scottish yeast roll traditionally
eaten for breakfast with a flour-tasting finish.
Barbados Sugar - A soft, moist, fine-textured
type of raw sugar. If unavailable, dark brown sugar
can be substituted in equal parts.
Barbecue, Barbeque, Bar-B-Q - 1. A method of
cooking meat, poultry or fish or even vegetables and
fruit. Is covered and slowly cooked in a pit or on a
spit, using hot coals or hardwood as a heat source.
2. A brazier fitted with a grill and sometimes a
Barder, Bard - To cover meats with slices of salt
Barley - A small, round grain grown in most of
the world. It is pearled to remove its outer husk.
It has a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy flavor and
Barley Flour - Ground barley used for baking,
however, since it lacks gluten, barley flour isn't
recommended for yeast breads unless combined with a
gluten-containing flour. An excellent thickener for
soups and sauces
Barley, Pearl - Polished barley.
Barm Brack - An Irish bread, usually containing
candied fruit peel and raisins or currants. Barm
brack is typically buttered and served with tea.
Barquettes - Small, oblong pastry tarts made of
short crust pastry or puff pastry and baked blind.
Basil - An herb commonly used in Italian cooking
with a strong sweet flavor. Basil is used with many
dishes but is most commonly paired with tomatoes.
Basmati - An aged, fragrant long grain rice. It
has a creamy yellow color, distinctive sweet, nutty
aroma and delicate flavor.
Bass - A term used for several varieties of fresh
and saltwater spiny-finned fish. Large mouth, small
mouth, sea and striped bass are some of the
Baste - To add moisture, flavor and color to
foods by brushing, drizzling or spooning pan juices
or other liquids over the food during cooking.
Batter - A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that
is thin enough in consistency to require a pan to
Bavette - Thin, oval shaped pasta.
Bay Leaves - A leaf from the laurel family used
as an herb that imparts a lemon-nutmeg flavor and is
usually removed from food after cooking.
Bean Sprouts - Mung and soybean sprouts are very
popular in Asian cooking. The crisp, mild-flavored
sprouts add a crunchy texture to salads, and are
best eaten raw. However, they are also a nice
addition to stir-fry dishes, but will lose their
crunchiness if cooked longer than 30 seconds. Bean
sprouts are available in most supermarkets, either
pre-packaged or in bulk. Select crisp, pale sprouts
with the buds attached; avoid musty-smelling, dark
or slimy-looking sprouts
Beat - To mix thoroughly with a spoon, whisk or
beaters until smooth and well combined.
Bearnaise Sauce - A classic white-wine sauce
flavored with fresh herbs and shallots, thickened
with egg yolks and usually finished with tarragon or
Beau Monde Seasoning - A commercial combination
Bechamel - Basic milk (white) sauce
Beef - The firm but tender meat of cows which has
a dark red color, rich flavor, interior marbling and
Beet - A large round, garnet red edible root with
an edible leafy green top
Beignets - Fritters
Bel Paese - Semisoft Italian cheese having a
mild, buttery flavor. Delicious with fruity wines,
it can be served as a dessert cheese, and melts
beautifully for use in casseroles or on pizza.
Bell Pepper - A large fresh sweet pepper with a
mild sweet flavor and available in various colors,
including green, red, white, brown, purple, yellow
Benedictine - A green spread made with cucumber,
cream cheese and mayonnaise.
Bench Proof - The final rising state in yeast
dough production, occurring between the time the
dough is panned and baked.
Benne - Term used commonly in the southern United
States for sesame seeds, and to describe dishes
containing sesame, e.g., benne brittle or benne
wafers (sesame cookies).
Berries - Fruit with seeds embedded in the pulp.
Varieties include blackberries, raspberries,
dewberries, loganberries, salmonberries,
youngberries and many more. Berries should be plump,
tender and stored in ventilated containers when
Beta Carotene - A naturally occurring nutrient
found in plants and vegetables that acts as an
antioxidant. When consumed, beta carotene is
converted into vitamin A.
Beurre - Butter
Beurre Noir - A sauce for fish which contains
browned butter flavored with parsley, seasonings and
Beurre Noisette - Browned butter with lemon
juices and seasonings.
Bias-slice - To slice a food crosswise at a
Bibb Lettuce - A small variety of butterhead
lettuce with soft, light green leaves that has a
buttery flavor and texture.
Bind - To stir in ingredients such as eggs,
flour, butter, or cream to thicken a sauce or hot
Biscuit - 1. An individual serving of bread made
with flour, leavening and fat. 2. Describes a
cracker or cookie in England.
Biscuit Cutter - A round stainless-steel device
that cuts dough for biscuits or scones; may have
straight or fluted edge.
Bisque - A creamy soup made with seafood or
Bite-size -To cut into pieces which can be easily
Bitters - A bitter liquid distilled from roots
and herbs, often used in mixed drinks, served as an
aperitif, or as a home remedy for fevers and other
Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate - This is the
chocolate most often called for in cake and cookie
recipes (like chocolate chips).
Black Bean - A relatively large, dried bean with
black skin, cream flesh and a sweet flavor; also
called a turtle bean.
Blackberry - A large shiny, deep purple berry
with a sweet flavor. Also known as a bramble berry.
Blackened - A cooking method popular in Cajun
cuisine where seasoned foods are cooked over high
heat in a very hot skillet until charred.
Black-eyed Pea - A small, beige pea with a black
round eye on the curved edge and used in Southern
and Chinese cuisines. Also called a cowpea.
Blanche or Blanch - To partially cook food
(usually vegetables and fruits) by plunging into
boiling water briefly, then into cold water bath to
stop the cooking process.
Blanquette - A light soup or stew made without
browning the meat first.
Blend - To mix ingredients just until thoroughly
Blind Bake - To bake a pie crust without the
Blintz - A Jewish pancake, stuffed and made with
egg batter. The thin pancake can be rolled around a
variety of fillings including soft cheeses, fruit or
Blue Crab - A variety of crab found along the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Named for the color of its
claws and dark blue-green shell, the blue crab has a
rich, sweet flavor and is available in hard- and
Blue (bleu) Cheese - A strong, semisoft,
blue-veined cheese made from cow's milk.
Blueberry - A native American berry that has a
smooth dark blue skinand a light blue-gray flesh.
Usually used for baked goods and jams and jellies.
Bluefine Tuna - The main Atlantic variety of
tuna; a bluefin can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.
Boil - To heat a liquid until bubbles appear on
the surface (212°F for water at sea level).
Boiling Onions - Mild-flavored white onions about
1 inch in diameter. They are used in stews, cooked
as a side dish and pickled. See also onions.
Bok Choy - A member of the cabbage family that
has wide, white crunchy stalks with tender, dark
green leaves. Commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
Bologna - A large, seasoned, cooked sausage made
from pork, beef and veal. Usually served cold in
sandwiches. Also known as baloney.
Bombes - Dessert ice cream
Bonbon - A sweet made of or dipped into fondant.
Boned, Boneless, Bone - A cut of meat from which
the bone has been removed or to remove the bone from
a cut of meat.
Bone-in - A cut of meat containing the bone.
Bonito - From the tuna family, the small bonito
rarely exceeds 25 pounds. The fish is relatively
high in fat and is among the most strongly flavored
of the tunas.
Borage - A European herb with blue flowers, downy
leaves and a subtle cucumber flavor. The flowers and
leaves can be added to cold drinks or used in
salads. Since the leaves have a slightly hairy
texture, they should be finely chopped before adding
to salads. The leaves can also be used to flavor
teas and vegetables, and the flowers are good when
Bordelaise Sauce - A red or white wine sauce
mixed with meat glaze, marrow, lemon juice, finely
minced shallots, parsley, ground pepper, thyme, bay
leaf, and other fresh herbs.
Bordure - A rice ring
Börek - Turkish appetizer. Fried or baked, böreks
come in many varieties. They are made from layers of
thin wheat dough and may be filled with a sweet or
savory mixture. Cheese is a popular filling.
Borlotti Bean - Native to Italy, this bean is
like the pinto, but reversed in color with maroon
highlights on a thin pink skin. Borlotti and pinto
beans are interchangeable in recipes since their
flavor and texture are identical. Also known as
cranberry, Roman, saluggia and crab-eye beans.
Boston Baked Beans - An baked American dish of
navy or pea beans, bacon or salt pork, mustard and
Boston Lettuce - A variety of butterhead lettuce
with soft, pliable pale green leaves that have a
buttery texture and flavor and are larger and
lighter in color than bibb lettuce.
Boudin - A pork- and rice-based, highly seasoned
sausage that is common in southern Louisiana
cooking. The term is French for "white pudding."
Bouef - Beef
Bouillabaisse - Fish stew
Bouillon - Reduced meat stock
Boulettes - A type of meatball used in the Creole
cooking of southern Louisiana.
Bouquet Garni - A group of herbs (usually
parsley, thyme and bay leaf) that are tied together
in a bundle or placed in cheese clothand tied used
to flavor soups, stews and broths. It is removed
Bourguignonne, à la - Meat that is cooked red
wine and served with small mushrooms and white
Boursin Cheese - A French triple cream cheese
with a soft texture; made from cow's milk and often
flavored with herbs, garlic or pepper.
Bowl - A round vessel used for preparing and
Boysenberry - A hybrid of blackberries and
raspberries that has a purple-red color and a
Braise - A cooking technique where meat is
browned in oil or fat and then cooked (tightly
covered) very slowly in liquid. Braising tenderizes
and enhances the flavor of the meat.
Bran - The tough, outer covering of several types
of grain kernels. It is marketed in cereal and used
as a nutrient supplement.
Brazil Nuts - The seeds of a giant tree in the
Brazilian forest; the large, hard fruit of this tree
contains up to 20 seeds, each in its own hard shell.
Inside the shell is a creamy, rich nut that can be
roasted or ground or chipped to flavor cookies and
pastries. Brazil nuts do not keep well because of
their high oil content.
Bread - To coat food with bread or cracker
crumbs, flour, cornmeal and a liquid or egg mixture
Breadfruit - A large, round fruit with bumpy
green skin and bland-tasting, cream-colored flesh
the texture of fresh bread. Breadfruit can be baked,
fried or boiled in the same way as potatoes. It is
available fresh in some specialty produce markets,
as well as canned.
Breast - The fleshy white meat between the neck
and abdomen of poultry.
Bresaola - Salt-cured, air-dried beef fillet,
served thinly sliced as an antipasto.
Brewer's Yeast - The inactive yeast remaining
after beer-making. It is used as a nutritional
supplement for humans, providing high-quality
protein, thiamin, riboflavin, iron and phosphorus.
Brewer's yeast has no leavening power.
Brick Cheese - An all-American pale yellow cheese
with a tangy flavor. The flavor and aroma become
stronger as the cheese ages.
Brie Cheese - Made from cow's milk, this soft,
creamy cheese has a delicate, slightly nutty flavor.
The white rind is also edible. To select brie at its
peak of ripeness, look for one that is plump and
springy to the touch. It is acceptable for the rind
to show some brown edges, but ripe brie should be
used within a few days. When brie is past its prime,
it will appear gray and have an ammonia smell.
Brider - To tie poultry or meat
Brine - A salt water solution used to preserve
Brioche - Yeast-leavened sponge dough.
Brisket - A cut of beef (or mutton) taken from
the breast section; sold without the bone and
divided into two sections. The flat cut has minimal
fat and is usually more expensive than the more
flavorful point cut, which has more fat. Brisket can
be boiled, braised, barbecued, stewed or used to
make corned beef, which requires long, slow cooking.
Broccoli - This deep-green relative of cabbage
and cauliflower is made up of tiny bunches of
tightly closed green buds growing from a thick
edible stalk. Peak season is from October through
April, but broccoli can be found in supermarkets
year-round. Choose bunches with tightly closed buds,
crisp leaves and deep green, or green with purple
tinges (considered the best), in color. If not being
cooked right away, store unwashed broccoli in an
airtight bag in the refrigerator for up to four
days. Peel any tough stalks before cooking. Steam or
boil briefly to preserve some of the crispness.
Broccoli Rabe - A member of the broccoli family
which looks similar to its relative, but has thinner
stalks and is harvested very young. The leaves and
young flower heads can be eaten cooked as spring
greens or raw in salads. The stems are also edible.
The flavor is slightly bitter and becomes more so as
it matures. Select young, crisp, leafy stalks (they
may have some yellow flowers), and check the stalks
for toughness. Avoid large, woody stalks or yellow,
limp leaves. Also known as broccoli rab, raab, rape,
rapini, Italian turnip and broccoletti.
Brochette - Food cooked on a skewer
Broil - To place directly under or over a heat
source while cooking.
Bromated Flour - Flour with potassium bromate
added as an aging agent; the label must state that
the flour is "bromated." Potassium bromate is
currently under examination and is expected to be
outlawed in the United States. Food regulations no
longer permit its use in Europe and Canada.
Broth or Stock - A flavorful liquid that is the
result of cooking vegetables, meat or fish and other
seasoning ingredients in water.
Brown - To cook quickly over or under high heat
at the beginning or end of meal preparation, often
to enhance flavor, texture and eye appeal.
Brown Rice - Whole rice grain with only the very
outer husk removed. The bran coating is left on,
giving the rice a tan color and nutlike flavor.
Brown rice is higher in fiber and more nutritious
than white rice. However, brown rice is subject to
rancidity because of the bran and has a shelf life
of only about six months. Brown rice also requires a
longer cooking time than regular white long-grain
Brown Sugar - White sugar combined with
Molasses.This soft refined sugar come in dark or
Brownie - A bar cookie, usually made with
Brunoise - French term for finely diced
Bruschetta - Bread that is drizzled with olive
oil, saltand pep, then heated and served warm. It
can be topped with olives, tomatoes, garlic paste,
basil or other garnishes.
Brush - Using a pastry brush, to coat a food such
as meat or bread with melted butter or glaze.
Brussels Sprouts - A vegetable of the cabbage
family that grows in small cabbage-like heads or
Bucatini - Thin, straight, short, hollow pasta.
Buckwheat - Despite common misconceptions,
buckwheat is neither a wheat nor a grain. It is
actually the triangular seeds of a plant related to
rhubarb. Once the seeds are hulled and ground they
are called groats. Groats (usually available in
fine, medium and coarse grinds) can be cooked in a
manner similar to rice.
Buffet - A meal where a large array of hot and
cold foods are set out on a table and guests serve
Bulb Baster - A kitchen device used to baste
various foods; consists of a tapered tube made of
metal or plastic and a rubber bulb at the wider end.
Basting liquid is drawn into the tube by squeezing
and releasing the bulb; the liquid pours over the
food when the bulb is squeezed again.
Bulgur, Burghul - Wheat kernels that have been
steamed, dried and crushed. It has has a tender,
chewy texture and is used in dishes like Tabbouleh
and other Middle Eastern dishes.
Bundt Pan - A tube baking pan with fluted sides.
Buñuelo - A Mexican pastry that is fried than
sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Burrito - Flour tortilla filled with cheese,
salsa or chile sauce, refried beans and/or beef and
Butter - A fatty substance produced by churning
cream. It contains at least 80 percent milk fat and
20 percent water and milk solids.
Butterfly - To split food such as shrimp or pork
chops down the center without cutting all the way
through and then spread open like a butterfly or
Butter Lettuce - Also known as Boston or Bibb
lettuce, this salad green has a loosely formed head
and a characteristically sweet flavor.
Buttermilk - 1. A thick and tangy milk made from
fresh, pasteurized skim or lowfat cow's milk then
cultured with bacteria; also known as "cultured
buttermilk". 2. Traditionally, the liquid remaining
after the cream was churned into butter.
Butternut Squash - A large, pear-shaped squash
with a smooth yellow brown skin and orange flesh
with a sweet flavor.
Butterscotch - 1. A flavor blend of brown sugar
and butter, used for cookies, candies, sauces. 2. A
hard candy with the flavor of butterscotch.
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Cabbage - Common cabbage has a tight round head of
waxy, tightly wrapped light green leaves. Other
varieties include white and red.
Cabrito - A dish of young cooked goat that is
popular in Portugal, Spain and Mexico.
Cacciatore - An Italian stew-like dish flavored
with onions, herbs, mushrooms, tomatoes and
Café Brûlot - Coffee spiced with cinnamon, sugar,
lemon or orange rind, and brandy; sometimes served
Caffeine - A mild organic stimulant found in
foods such as coffee, tea and chocolate; acts as a
stimulant on the nervous system, kidneys and heart,
dilates the blood vessels and induces the release of
insulin in the body.
Cajun - Cooking influenced by southern U.S. and
Cake - A broad range of sweet, baked pastry
confections containing flour, sugar, flavorings and
eggs and/or leavening agents such as baking powder
or baking soda.
Cake Flour, Pastry Flour - A fine-textured, wheat
flour with a high starch content used for making
cakes, pastry doughs and other tender baked goods.
Cala - A deep-fried, sweet rice cake resembling
doughnut holes sprinkled with sugar, commonly served
in New Orleans around the holiday of Revillion.
Calabash - A variety of passion fruit native to
Central America and the Caribbean. Shaped similar to
an apple with a thin yellow-brown skin. In Southern
cooking the term applies to breaded or battered
Calabaza - Baked pumpkin.
Calcium - A necessary mineral found in all dairy
products, most dark leafy green vegetables (such as
kale, turnip greens and broccoli), dried peas and
beans, sardines and canned salmon with bones. Almost
100 percent of the body's supply of calcium goes
into forming and maintaining bones and teeth.
Caldillo - A thick Mexican stew of meat, potatoes
and chiles. Also the name used to define a light
Calorie - A unit of heat used to measure food
energy. Also written as kcalorie, kcal or Cal., it
is the amount of heat required to raise the
temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius.
Calories are obtained from alcohol, carbohydrates,
fats and proteins. Of the four, fats and alcohol
have a higher caloric density than proteins and
Calorie Free - A food containing less than 5
calories per serving.
Calzone - A stuffed, half-moon-shaped Italian
turnover, similar to a pizza folded in half and
baked or deep fried. Also the name for a Mexican
Calzone - A stuffed, half-moon-shaped Italian
turnover, similar to a pizza folded in half and
baked or deep fried. Also the name for a Mexican
Camembert Cheese - A soft, surface-ripened French
cheese, similar to brie. The cheese is famous for
its gray, felt-like rind, slightly bitter flavor and
complex aroma. When overripe, camembert will be
runny, bitter and rank. When ripe, the cheese should
ooze thickly, look plump and feel soft to the touch.
Canadian Bacon - The lean, boneless rib-eye of a
pork loin which has been cured and smoked.
Candele Pasta - Pipe-shaped pasta, about ½ inch
to ¾ inch in diameter.
Canape - French for an appetizer prepared and
served on toast or crackers.
Canard - Duck
Candy Thermometer - A large glass, mercury
kitchen thermometer used for testing the temperature
while making candy, jams, and jellies.
Cane Syrup - A thick, sweet syrup made from
Cannellini Beans - A large creamy, white kidney
bean used in Italian cooking. They are sometimes
referred to as Northern beans.
Cannelloni - Large pasta tubes that are boiled,
then stuffed with a meat or cheese filling and baked
with a sauce.
Cantaloupe - A muskmelon with a embossed
crisscross gray green rind and light orange flesh
with a large seed cavity and numerous seeds. It has
a sweet distinctive flavor.
Canning Funnel - A wide-stemmed funnel (usually
made of metal to resist heat) specifically designed
to fit the necks of standard home canning jars.
Canola Oil - A bland oil made from rapeseeds;
contains omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat
than other vegetable oils. It is often blended with
other oils to make margarine, and because of its
neutral taste it is suitable for salad dressings and
cooking. Also known as rapeseed oil. Because it is
the most widely used oil in Canada, the Canadian
seed-oil industry changed the market name to canola.
It is also referred to in Canada as lear oil, for
"low erucic acid rapeseed" oil.
Capellini - Ther term in Italian means "fine
hair" and describes very fine spaghetti.
Capers - Unopened flower buds from a
Mediterranean shrub that are cured in salted white
vinegar. They have a sharp salty-sour flavor and are
used as a flavoring in salads and sauces.
Capicolla - Italian sausage prepared with pressed
(not chopped) pork shoulder and sweet red peppers,
cased, cooked and air-dried.
Capon - A young castrated rooster.
Caponata - An Italian appetizer made from
eggplant, zucchini, tomato, anchovies, vinegar,
olives, other vegetables, herbs and spices. It is
frequently served as a side dish, relish, or as a
spread with toasted bread.
Cappelletti - Italian term for little hats.
Cappelletti are small, pointed-hat-shaped dumplings
stuffed with ground meat, cheese or vegetables;
traditionally served on Christmas day.
Cappuccino - A beverage made from equal portions
of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk, often
sprinkled with sweet cocoa powder or cinnamon
Caprini - Cylindrical Italian cheese composed of
a varying mixture of goat, cow, and ewe's milk and
having a high fat content. Stored in olive oil and
bay leaves, the cheese is served as an antipasto.
Capsaicin - The compound found in the placental
ribs of a chili. Responsible for the heat of the
chili causing watery eyes, a runny nose, sweating
and burning. It has been found not only to stimulate
pain receptors in the digestive tract, but to block
some as well - allowing people to become accustomed
to hotter and hotter dishes.
Capsicum - Family of peppers such as cherry,
banana, bell, Tabasco, jalapeño, habañero, etc.,
which fall into two categories: chiles and sweet
peppers. Common black and white pepper - made from
berries from vines of the Piperaceae family - are
not botanically related.
Carambola - A golden tropical fruit that has a
star shape when cut acorss the grain. The flesh is
juicy and tastes like a combination of plums,
grapes, and apples. Also known as star fruit.
Caramel - 1. A substance produced by cooking
sugar until it becomes a thick, dark liquid; its
color ranges from golden to dark brown; used for
coloring and flavoring desserts, candies; sweet and
savory sauces and other foods. 2. A firm, chewy
candy made with sugar, butter, corn syrup and milk
Caramelization - Browning sugar over a flame,
with or without the addition of some water to aid
the process. The temperature range in which sugar
caramelizes is approximately 320º F to 360º F (160º
C to 182º C).
Caramelize - The process through which natural
sugars in foods become browned and flavorful while
cooking. This is usually done over a constant heat
of low to medium-low. Caramelization can be
quickened with the addition of a little sugar.
Either way, be careful not to burn.
Caraway Seeds - An aromatic spice with a pungent,
Carbonnade - Braised Steak
Carbohydrate - An important class of foods
derived from organic nutrients. There are three
classes of significance: 1. Cellulose - indigestible
dietary fiber. 2. Sugars - fructose, sucrose,
glucose and more complex sugars. All are readily
digested and are high in calories. 3. Starches -
complex compounds derived from cereal grains,
legumes or vegetables. These have more nutrients
than other carbohydrates and take longer to digest.
Carbonara - A pasta sauce composed of such items
as bacon, olive oil, eggs, cream, Parmesan cheese
and occasionally white wine, onions, garlic and
Cardamom - This spice, from the ginger family,
has a sweet, ginger-like flavor. Available as seeds
Carne Adovada - Pork steak marinated in chile
sauce, then roasted or pan fried. Usually served
with Spanish rice and refried beans.
Carne Asada - Beef or pork cut in thin diagonal
strips and cooked quickly over very hot coals, as in
a brasero or Japanese hibachi.
Carob - The sweet pulp of the long, leathery pods
from an evergreen tree native to the Middle East.
The pulp can be eaten raw, but is usually dried,
roasted and ground into a powder. The powder has a
flavor similar to chocolate and is often used as a
chocolate substitute to flavor baked goods and
candies; available in specialty food and health food
stores. Carob is also known as Saint John's bread
and locust bean.
Carrageen; Carragheen - Purple seaweed used after
processing as a texturing and thickening agent in
jellies, ice cream and desserts; also known as Irish
moss or chondrus extract.
Carre - Rack of lamb or veal
Carrelet - Flounder
Carrot - A member of the parsley family (Daucus
carota); has lacy green foliage, an edible orange
taproot with a milk sweet flavor and crisp texture,
a tapering shape and comes in a variety of sizes.
Cartoccio - A method of baking fish in paper or
parchment after seasoning it with salt, pepper,
olive oil and lemon juice. A similar cooking
technique in France is known as "en papillote.
Caruru - Brazilian seafood stew made with dried
shrimp, okra, tomatoes, and (dende) palm nut oil.
Carving Board - A hardwood board with a
depression in the center and a channel around the
edge to catch juices. Also comes as a reversible
board that is flat on one side for general carving
and has an oval depression on the other side for
carving roasted poultry.
Casareccia Pasta - S-shaped lengths of pasta that
are slightly twisted.
Casein - Phosphoprotein rendered from milk,
soybeans and other sources, important as the chief
component of cheese (after fermentation), and
contains all essential amino acids. It is used to
solidify food as well as adhesives and paints.
Cashew Nuts - Sweet, buttery, kidney-shaped nuts
that grow from the bottom of the tropical cashew
apple. The shells are toxic and always removed
before the nuts are marketed. As with most nuts,
cashews have a high fat content and should be
refrigerated. They are sold blanched, plain or
toasted and are eaten out of hand; a popular
ingredient in many Chinese dishes.
Casonsei Pasta - Stuffed rings of pasta from
Bergamo (a commune in the northern Italian town of
Casserole - This term refers to both a baking
dish and the ingredients it contains. Casserole
cookery is extremely convenient because the
ingredients are cooked and served in the same dish.
1. A "casserole dish" usually refers to a deep,
round, ovenproof container with handles and a
tight-fitting lid. It can be glass, metal, ceramic
or any other heatproof material. 2. A casserole's
ingredients can include meat, vegetables, beans,
rice and anything else that might seem appropriate.
Often a topping such as cheese or bread crumbs is
added for texture and flavor.
Cassis - Blackcurrant
Cassoulet - A classic stew from southwest France
consisting of white beans and a variety of meats
(such as lamb, pork, sausage, preserved duck or
goose). The dish is usually enriched with large
amounts of duck fat, covered and slowly cooked to
harmonize the flavors. The top is then browned until
Cast Iron - One of the oldest materials used for
cooking, cast iron provides extremely even heating
that is especially useful for long cooking times.
Once a cast iron pan is seasoned, a natural nonstick
surface is created that can be used to cook anything
from delicate items such as eggs to hearty stews.
Caster Sugar - Also called superfine sugar. It is
pulverized granulated sugar. It can be purchased or
prepared at home by whizzing some granulated sugar
in the blender.
Catfish - A freshwater fish indigenous to
Southern and Midwestern lakes and rivers, but also
extensively farm raised. So named because of its
long whisker-like feelers, catfish has a tough,
inedible skin that must be removed before cooking.
The white flesh is firm and has a mild, slightly
sweet flavor. Traditionally coated with cornmeal and
deep-fried, catfish is delicious poached, steamed,
baked or grilled, and can be used in soups and
stews. The saltwater variety is called hogfish.
Cauliflower - A member of the cabbage family (Brassica
oleracea); has a head (called a curd) of tightly
packed white florets (a purple variety is also
available) partially covered with large waxy, pale
green leaves on a white-green stalk; some varieties
have a purple or greenish tinge.
Caviar - This elegant and expensive appetizer is
sieved and lightly salted fish roe (eggs). Sturgeon
roe is premium and considered the "true" caviar. The
three main types of caviar are beluga, osetra and
Cayenne; Cayenne Pepper - 1. A hot pungent
peppery powder blended from various ground dried hot
chiles and salt, has a bright orange-red color and
fine texture; also known as red pepper. 2. A dried
thin, short chile usually with a bright red color,
thin flesh and hot, tart acidic flavor; usually used
Celeriac - Also known as celery root. A root
vegetable that houses a white fleshed interior
beneath its rough skin.
Celery - This vegetable grows in bunches of long
stringy curved stalks or ribs surrounding a tender
heart. It can be eaten raw, cooked or used as a
Celery Salt - A seasoning blend of ground celery
seeds and salt.
Celery Seeds - The seeds of the herb lovage; they
are small and brown and are used in pickling and as
Cellophane/Glass Noodles - Also known as bean
thread noodles, these are made from mung bean flour.
They are usually softened by soaking in hot water
for 10 -15 minutes before cooking with other
Celtuce - An Asian salad plant resembling a head
of lettuce with long, pale stalks, and having a
flavor reminiscent of celery. The stalks are very
crunchy and can be eaten raw or cooked like Swiss
chard. The tough outer leaves can be cooked like
Cèpes - A wild mushroom with a meaty texture and
woodsy flavor with caps ranging from one to 10
inches in diameter. These mushrooms are usually
available dried in the United States, but are
difficult to find fresh. Also known as bolete,
Steinpilze or porcini.
Chafing Dish - A pan (usually metal) containing
food, nestled inside a larger pan containing water.
The ensemble sits directly over a heat source, which
keeps the food warm; used mostly for buffets. Also
known as rechaud, which is French for reheat.
Challa - A traditional Jewish yeast bread
classically formed into a braid. This tender bread
is usually made with butter and honey. Also known as
hallah and challa.
Champignons - French word for mushrooms,
generally of the button variety, used in the names
of recipes and restaurant dishes.
Chantilly Cream - Lightly sweetened whipped
cream, sometimes flavored with vanilla or liqueur,
used as a dessert topping.
Chalupas - Meaning "little boats," is a fried
corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken or beans,
cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, and salsa.
Champ - Irish dish made from potatoes, onions and
butter. Also called bruisy, cally, goddy, and
Char - 1. To seal in the flavor and juices of a
food (such as meat) by blackening its surface in a
skillet, over an open flame, or under a broiler.
Blackened redfish is an example of a charred food.
2. A troutlike fish in the salmon family, found in
very cold water. It has pink flesh with a flavor and
texture between that of trout and salmon.
Chard - Commonly called Swiss chard, this
vegetable is essentially a beet grown for its
leaves. The leaves are a crinkly, dark green with
silvery, celery-like stalks. May be substituted for
spinach in most dishes.
Charlottes - A classic French molded dessert; the
mold is lined with ladyfingers, sponge cake or
bread, then filled with custard, Bavarian cream or
whipped cream and/or fruit. It is chilled thoroughly
and unmolded before serving. Apple charlottes are
baked and served warm.
Chateaubriand - Double steak cut from the center
of the beef fillet
ChaudFroid - 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
Chawan Mushi - Savory egg custard. Eggs are
gently beaten with fish stock, then poured over
small bits of various ingredients (chicken, prawns,
gingko nuts, lily root, fishcake) then steamed over
Chayote - The pear-shaped fruit of a West Indian
annual vine of the gourd family that is widely
cultivated as a vegetable. Also called mirliton. It
tastes similar to a cross between a potato and
cauliflower, yet is slightly sweet.
Cheddar, American - A firm cheese made from whole
cow's milk (generally pasteurized) produced
principally in Wisconsin, New York and Vermont;
ranges from white to orange in color and its flavor
from mild to very sharp.
Cheese - Dairy products made from milk curds
separated from the whey; numerous varieties are
Cheesecake - A rich, smooth dessert made by
blending cream cheese, cottage cheese or ricotta
with sugar, eggs and other flavorings, then baking
(usually in a springform pan) The dessert is often
topped with sour cream or fruit.
Cheesecloth - Cotton gauze used in the kitchen
for straining liquids and wrapping foods to make
them easier to remove from vessels after cooking;
available in fine or coarse weaves. Sometimes known
as butter muslin in Britain.
Chef - (French) A culinary expert. The chief of
Cherries Jubilee - Flaming dessert of cherries in
syrup, vanilla ice cream and brandy, usually
prepared in a chafing dish.
Cherry - A small stone fruit from a tree of the
Prunus genus, grown in temperate climates worldwide;
there are two principal types: sour and sweet; both
types are generally available fresh, dried, canned
Cherry Stoner; Cherry Pitter - A hand-held tool
used to remove the pits from cherries. An individual
cherry is held securely in the hinged unit and the
pit is forced out; can also be used on olives.
Cherry Tomato - A small round tomato with a
bright red or yellow skin. The yellow-skinned
variety has a less acid and is less flavorful than
the red-skinned variety.
Chervil - A parsleylike herb, with a slight taste
of anise. It must be added late in the preparation
of a dish to preserve its flavor. Also called cicily
and sweet cicily.
Chestnut - The nut of the sweet chestnut tree. It
is edible when cooked and has a dark brown outer
shell, a bitter inner skin, a high starch content
and is used in savory and sweet dishes.
Chèvre Cheese - A French cheese made from goat's
milk. Chèvre is usually pure white with a tart
flavor. Its texture ranges from dry and crumbly to
moist and creamy. It comes in various sizes and
shapes, sometimes garnished with black ash, leaves,
herbs or pepper.
Chicharron - Fried, crispy pork skin, similar to
crackling, found in Mexican dishes. The skin is
deep-fried at two different temperatures causing it
to balloon into honeycombed puffs.
Chicken - One of the principal USDA-recognized
kinds of poultry; any of several varieties of common
domestic fowl used for food as well as egg
production; has both light and dark meat and
relatively little fat.
Chicken, Broiler-fryer - A chicken slaughtered
when 13 weeks old; has a soft, smooth-textured skin,
relatively lean flesh, flexible breastbone and an
average market weight of 3.5 lb. (1.5 kg).
Chicken, Roaster - A chicken slaughtered when 3-5
months old; has a smooth-textured skin, tender
flesh, a less flexible breastbone than that of a
broiler and an average market weight of 3.5-5 lb.
Chickpea - A somewhat spherical, irregular-shaped
pea-like seed of a plant (Licer arieinum) native to
the Mediterranean region; has a buff color, firm
texture and nutty flavor; used in Mediterranean and
Middle Eastern cuisines in soups, stews and salads,
it is also roasted and eaten as a snack; also know
as ceci and garbanzo bean.
Chicory - The roasted ground roots of a variety
of perennial herbs related to the radicchio and
curly endive. Caffeine-averse Germans discovered
that chicory could be processed into a coffee
substitute. In New Orleans, chicory spiked coffee
and/or Cafe Au Lait is very popular.
Chicos - Dried sweet corn used whole or crushed
in a seasoned stew.
Chiffon - Pie filling made light and fluffy with
stabilized gelatin and beaten egg whites.
Chiffonade - To slice an herb or leafy vegetable
into thin ribbons. This is easy to accomplish by
stacking then rolling the leaves and slicing.
Chilaquillas, Chilaquiles - Called tortilla hash
or poor man's dish. Includes leftover tortillas
fried until crisp and combined with chile, eggs,
jack or sharp cheddar cheese, and red chile sauce.
Chile Caribe - Red chile pods blended with water
to a puree and seasoned. Used in such dishes as
Chile Caribe - Red chile pods blended with water
to a puree and seasoned. Used in such dishes as
Chile Con Queso - Melted cheese dip seasoned with
chile and served with tostados.
Chile Powder - Pure ground dried chiles;
depending on the variety used, its flavor can range
from sweet and mild to pungent and extremely hot and
its color from yellow-orange to red to dark brown;
used as a flavoring.
Chile Rellenos - Green chiles stuffed with cheese
or meat, dipped in a cornmeal batter, and deep-fat
Chile, Chile Pepper, Hot Pepper - The fruit of
various plants of the capsicum family; a chile can
have a mild to fiery hot flavor (caused by the
capsaicin in the pepper's placental ribs) with
undertones of various fruits or spices. A fresh
chile is usually yellow, orange, green or red, and
its shape can range from thin, elongated and
tapering to conical to nearly spherical; a dried
chile, which is sometimes referred to by a different
name than its fresh version, is usually more
strongly flavored and darker colored.
Chili Oil - This spicy, bright red oil, an
essential in Chinese cooking, is made from steeping
vegetable oil with crushed or small dried chilies.
Because of its strong, fiery flavor, it is used more
as a seasoning or condiment than as a cooking oil.
Chili Paste/Sauce - A variety of thick seasoning
pastes and sauces made from ground chilies, oil,
salt and sometimes garlic and vinegar are used
Chilled - A food that has been refrigerated,
usually at temperatures of 30-40ºF(-1 - +4ºC).
Chinese Broccoli - The broad leaves, tender
stalks and delicate white flowers of this vegetable
are all edible. They have a mild flavor, similar to
Western broccoli, but with a slightly bitter, earthy
flavor. Ideal for steaming and stir-frying; often
paired with oyster sauce.
Chinese Cabage - Several varieties of cabbage are
grown in China, but the two most known to Americans
are bok choy (also known as Chinese white cabbage)
and pe-tsai (also known as Chinese celery cabbage or
Chinese Chives - Also known as garlic chives,
these flat green chives are quite pungent and are
used extensively in stir-fries and soups.
Chinois Strainer - A conical metal strainer used
for straining stocks and sauces. A spoon or pestle
is used to force the food through the extremely fine
mesh. Also known as a china cap.
Chipotle - A dried, smoked jalapeño; this
medium-sized chile has a dull tan to dark brown
color with a wrinkled skin and a smoky, slightly
sweet, relatively milk flavor with undertones of
tobacco and chocolate.
Chitterlings - The boiled, fried or stuffed small
intestines of pigs, popular in the southern United
Chives - An herb and member of the onion family (Allium
schoenprasum), with long, slender, hollow, green
stems and purple flowers; have a mild onion flavor
and are generally used fresh, although dried,
chopped chives are available; also know as Chinese
chives, flowering chives and kucha.
Chocolate - Roasted, ground, refined cacao beans
used as a flavoring, confection or beverage.
Chocolate, White - A confection made of cocoa
butter, sugar and flavorings; does not contain cocoa
Cholesterol - A fatty alcohol necessary for human
metabolism. Less than 225 milligrams per 100 cubic
centimeters of blood is a low level, 226 milligrams
to 259 milligrams is in the middle range, and a high
level is 260 milligrams or greater. There is
well-established belief that high levels of serum
cholesterol can lead to an increased incidence of
heart and vascular disease. A high intake of
saturated fats will raise the serum level.
Polyunsaturated fats do not increase the serum
Cholesterol Free - A food containing fewer than 2
milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or fewer of
Chop - To cut into irregular pieces. Recipes
usually specify finely or coursely.
Chopping Board, Cutting Board - A flat surface
made of wood or acrylic used for cutting, chopping
or slicing foods.
Chorizo - A highly spiced, coarsely ground pork
sausage, widely used in Spanish and Mexican cooking.
Chow - Chinese term for sautéing; also known as
Chow Mein Noodles - Yellow noodles made from
wheat flour and possibly with egg, packed in cakes
or bundles. Traditionally served with the
Chinese-American dish of poultry, shrimp and/or
meat, vegetables and other ingredients. Chow mein is
Chinese for fried noodles.
Chow-chow - A mustard-flavored mixed vegetable
and pickle relish. The term was originally used to
describe a condiment in Chinese cuisine made of
orange peel and ginger in heavy syrup
Chowder - A milk based soup, usually containing
Chuck - The cut of beef taken from between the
neck and shoulder blades. Usually inexpensive, chuck
is a popular choice for steaks and roasts where
stewing and braising improve tenderness.
Chunks - Usually bite-size pieces, about 1-inch
Chupati - Flat bread from northern India, made
with wheat and resembling a Mexican tortilla.
Chutney - From the Hindi chatni, it is a
condiment made from fruit, vinegar, sugar and
spices; its texture can range from smooth to chunky
and its flavor from mild to hot.
Cilantro - The dark green lacy leaves of the
cilantro plant; used as an herb, they have a sharp,
tangy fresh flavor and aroma and are used fresh in
Mexican, South American and Asian cuisines; also
known as Chinese parsley.
Cinnamon - A spice that is the inner bark of the
branches of a small evergreen tree (Cinnamonum
zeylanicum) native to Sri Lanka and India; has an
orange-brown color and a sweet, distinctive flavor
and aroma; usually sold in rolled-up sticks (quills)
or ground and is used for sweet and savory dishes
and as a garnish; also known as Ceylon cinnamon.
Citron - An oval-shaped fruit similar to a lemon
(citron is the French term for lemon) but much
larger and less acidic. As the pulp is extremely
sour, citron is grown for its thick peel, which is
candied and used in baking
Citrus Juicer - An electrical or manual device
with a ridged cone used to extract the juice from
citrus and other fruits. The fruit is cut in half
through the middle and one-half is placed on the
cone. Pressure is applied and the juice is
Citrus Zester - A hand tool with a
stainless-steel cutting edge having five tiny
cutting holes. The zester is pulled across the
surface of a citrus fruit, such as a lemon or
orange, shaving thin theadlike strips of colored
peel (the zest), but leaving the bitter pith.
Clarify (Clarified Butter) - Remove impurities
from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then
straining or skimming it.
Cleaver - A heavy, versatile knife with a large
rectangular blade; used for cutting through bone,
chopping and trimming. The flat edge can be used to
crush herbs and garlic. Also known as a butcher's or
Clotted Cream - Rich cream made by heating
unpasteurized milk until a semisolid layer of cream
forms on the surface. Once cooled, the thickened
cream is removed. It can be spread on bread or
spooned atop fresh fruit or desserts. Also known as
Devonshire cream and occasionally called Devonshire
Clove - 1. A spice that is the dried, unopened
flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree (Eugenia
aromatica); has a reddish-brown color, a nail shape
and an extremely pungent, sweet, astringent flavor;
available whole or powdered. 2. A segment of a bulb,
such as garlic.
Coarsely Chop - To cut food into small pieces,
about 3/16 inches (1/2 cm) square.
Coat - To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs,
or a batter.
Cobb Salad - Classic American salad, created in
1936 by Robert Cobb at the Brown Derby restaurant in
Hollywood, made with layers of various greens,
chopped egg, chicken, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese
Cobbler - A baked dish consisting of fruit
covered with a sweet biscuit or piecrust dough.
Cocoa Powder - A brown, unsweetened powder
produced by crushing cocoa nibs and extracting most
of the fat (cocoa butter); it is used as a
flavoring; also known as unsweetened cocoa.
Coconut Milk - Coconut milk is made by combining
equal parts water and shredded fresh or desiccated
coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The mixture
is then strained , squeezing as much of the liquid
as possible from the coconut meat. The coconut meat
can be combined with water again for a second,
diluted batch of coconut milk. Coconut milk comes
canned and may sometimes be found frozen in Asian
markets and some supermarkets.
Coconut, Dried - The shredded or flaked flesh of
the coconut; often sweetened; also known as copra.
Cocotte - An ovenproof dish used to bake egg
Cod - A large family of saltwater fish, including
Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, pollock, haddock, whiting
and hake; generally, they have a milk, delicate
flavor, lean, white flesh and a firm texture and are
available fresh, sun-dried, salted or smoked.
Coddle - A cooking method in which foods (such as
eggs) are put in separate containers and placed in a
pan of simmering water for slow, gentle cooking.
Cognac - The finest of all brandies. Cognac is
double-distilled immediately after fermentation. It
then begins its minimum 3-year aging in Limousin
Colander - Used for draining liquid from solids,
the colander is a perforated, bowl-shaped container.
It can be metal, plastic or ceramic.
Colby Cheese - A mild cheese made from whole
milk; similar to cheddar cheese, but it has a higher
moisture content (making it more perishable than
other cheddars) and a softer texture.
Cold Pressing - A chemical-free process for
obtaining olive oil that uses only pressure.
Cold-pressing produces a higher quality olive oil
that is naturally lower in acidity.
Coleslaw - A salad made from shredded cabbage and
sometimes onions, sweet peppers, pickles and/or
bacon bound with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other
dressing and sometimes flavored with herbs.
Collard Greens - A leafy, dark green vegetable
with paddle-like leaves that grow on tall tough
stalks; the leaves have a flavor reminiscent of
cabbage and kale.
Combine - To blend two or more ingredients into a
Comino - Ground cumin seeds.
Compote - Combination of fresh or cooked fruits.
May be served hot or chilled.
Compressed Yeast - Fresh yeast compressed into a
tiny cake (1/6-ounce), equal to one scant tablespoon
of dry yeast. Compressed yeast is moist and
extremely perishable and must be refrigerated and
used within a week or two.
Comté Cheese - A firm unpasteurized cheese made
from cow's milk; smooth slightly fruity in flavor;
also called Gruyère de comté.
Conchiglie - Pasta shaped like small conch
Condensed Milk - A preserved milk in which the
water content of the milk is evaporated and a lot of
sugar is added. It was very popular in wartime
England because of how well it preserved. These days
it is used mainly in sweets and confectionery
Condiment - 1. Seasoning or flavoring mixture
used to accompany foods. 2. The French term for
Conduction - In cooking, the method of heat
transfer in which heat is transmitted to food from a
pot or pan, oven walls or racks.
Confectioners' Sugar - Refined sugar ground into
a fine, white, easily dissolved powder; also known
as powdered sugar and 10X sugar.
Confit - To slowly cook pieces of meat in their
own gently rendered fat.
Congeal - To turn liquid into solid by chilling.
Conserve - Combination of fruits, cooked with
sugar. Nuts and raisins are frequently added.
Consomme - A clarified broth used as a base for
sauces and soups.
Convection Cooking - Convection ovens use a small
fan in the rear of the oven to circulate air all
around the food to cook it quickly and more evenly.
Cooking times are generally reduced by 25%. Most
manufacturers suggest that you reduce the cooking
temperature given in the recipe by 25 degrees and
bake it for the time specified.
Converted Rice - Rice that is pressure-steamed
and dried before milling to remove surface starch
and help retain nutrients; has a pale beige color
and the same flavor as white rice; also known as
Cookie Sheet - A flat, firm sheet of metal,
usually aluminum, with open sides on which cookies,
biscuits and other items are baked.
Cookies - Small, sweet, flat pastries, usually
classified by preparation or makeup techniques as
drop, icebox, bar, cutout, pressed and wafer.
Cool - To allow a food to sit until it is no
longer warm to the touch.
Cooling Rack - A flat grid of closely spaced
metal wires resting on small feet; used for cooling
baked goods by allowing air to circulate around the
Coq Au Vin - A French dish of chicken, mushrooms,
onions, and bacon or salt pork cooked in red wine.
Coralli - The Italian word for coral is used to
describe these tiny smooth or ribbed tubes of pasta,
most often used in soups.
Cordon Bleu - A dish consisting of thin boneless
chicken breasts or veal scallops separated by a thin
slice of prosciutto or other ham and Emmenthal-style
cheese, breaded and sautéed.
Core - To remove the inedible center of fruits
such as pineapples.
Coriander - The tiny yellow-tan ridged seeds of
the cilantro plant (Coriandrum sativum); used as a
spice, they have a flavor reminiscent of lemon, sage
and caraway, are available whole or ground and are
used in Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian cuisines
and pickling spice blends. See cilantro.
Corkscrew - A small tool used to withdraw corks
from bottles. There are many varieties, but a
typical corkscrew has a pointed metal spiral with a
handle at the opposite end.
Corn - A tall, annual plant native to the western
hemisphere producing white, yellow, blue or
multicolored grains arranged on a cob; consumed as a
vegetable when young and available fresh, canned or
frozen, or dried and ground into cornmeal; also
known as maize.
Corn Flour - Finely ground cornmeal; has a white
or yellow color and is used as a breading or in
combination with other flours.
Corn Oil - A pale yellow oil obtained from corn
endosperms; odorless, almost flavorless, high in
polyunsaturated fats with a high smoke point; a good
medium for frying, also used in baking, dressings
and to make margarine.
Corn Syrup - A thick, sweet syrup derived from
cornstarch, composed of dextrose and glucose;
available as clear (light) or brown (dark), which
has caramel flavor and color added.
Corned - Meat that has been cured in a brine
Corned Beef - Beef, usually a cut from the
brisket or round, cured in a seasoned brine; has a
grayish-pink to rosy red color and a salty flavor;
also known as salt beef.
Cornichon - A very small sour, pickled gherkin
cucumber traditionally used as an accompaniment to
Cornmeal - Dried, ground corn kernels (typically
of a variety known as dent); has a white, yellow or
blue color, gritty texture, slightly sweet, starchy
flavor and available in three grinds (fine, medium
and coarse); used in baking, as a coating for fried
foods or cooked as polenta.
Cornstarch - A dense, very fine powdery flour
made from ground corn endosperm and used as a
Cottage Cheese - A moist, fresh cheese made from
whole, part-skimmed or skimmed cow's milk,
containing large white curds. Cottage cheese comes
in three forms: small-curd, medium-curd and
large-curd, which is sometimes referred to as
popcorn cottage cheese.
Cotto Salami - A large air-cured salami made from
pork and beef and highly seasoned with garlic, black
peppercorns and other spices.
Courgette - The French word for zucchini.
Court Bouillon - A savory bouillon made from fish
stock. Court bouillon is used for poaching fish and
as a base for fish sauces.
Couscous - Small, spherical bits of semolina
dough that are rolled, dampened and coated with a
finer wheat flour; a staple of the North African
Couverture - Extremely glossy semisweet chocolate
used for coating and decoration. It forms a much
thinner shell than ordinary confectionery coating
because of its high cocoa butter content; usually
only found in specialty candymaking shops.
Crab - A marine crustacean that is highly prized
throughout the world; its flavor and texture are
considered by some to be the equal of lobster. There
are several varieties including blue crab,
Dungeness, Alaska King, and rock. Soft-shell crabs
are actually blue crabs that have just shed their
hard shells. They should always be purchased alive.
Crab Boil - A mixture of herbs and spices, used
to flavor the water for seafood.
Cracked Wheat - The whole-wheat berry broken into
coarse, medium or fine angular fragments. It can be
substituted for rice or other grains in most
recipes. Refrigerate to extend shelf-life.
Cracklings - Crispy cooked pieces of fatty meat,
such as salt pork. Sometimes added to Southern
Cranberries - Shiny red berries that are grown in
bogs on low, trailing vines. Cranberries grow wild
in northern Europe and in North America where they
are also cultivated - particularly in Massachusetts,
Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon. Berries are
available in late summer and fall and have a
characteristically tart flavor. Fresh cranberries
have a very high vitamin C content.
Cranberry Bean - A kidney-shaped bean with a
pale-red streaked skin and a nutty flavor.
Cravatte - Bow-tie-shaped pasta similar to
Cream - 1. To beat an ingredient or ingredients
with a spoon or beaters until light and fluffy or of
a "creamy" consistency. Most often used in reference
to butter or shortening, with or without sugar, in
baking recipes. 2. A component of milk with a
milkfat content of at least 18%; has a slight yellow
to ivory color, is more viscous and richer tasting
than milk and can be whipped to a foam; rises to the
top of raw milk; as a commercial product it may be
pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and may be
Cream Cheese - A fresh, soft, mild, white cheese
made from cow's cream or a mixture of cow's cream
and milk (some goat's milk cream cheese are
available); used for baking, dips, dressings,
confections and spreading on bread products; must
contain 33% milkfat and not more than 55% moisture
and is available, sometimes flavored, in
various-sized blocks or whipped.
Cream of Tartar - A fine white powder (potassium
acid tartarate) obtained from a crystalline acid
deposited on the inside of wine barrels; a component
of single-acting baking powder, and also added to
candy and frosting mixtures for a creamier texture.
Cream of tartar is also helpful when added to egg
whites before beating, as it improves stability and
Creole - Cuisine originating in 18th-century New
Orleans, in which classical European cooking was
combined with New World herbs and spices and African
and Native American culinary traditions. The
emphasis on dairy-based ingredients and tomatoes
differs from the amount of spices and pork fat used
in Cajun cooking. Both cuisines, however, use the
"holy trinity" base of chopped green peppers, onions
Crêpe - The French term for pancake; thin and
light, crêpes are usually served with a variety of
fillings. The egg and flour batter can be sweetened
if a dessert crêpe is desired, and filled with a jam
or fruit mixture. Crêpes can also be served as a
first or main course, filled with a meat, cheese or
vegetable mixture and topped with a complimentary
Cress - From the mustard family, cress is
available in several varieties. Watercress,
peppergrass, and broadleaf cress name but a few.
Cress can be used in sandwiches, salads, soups, or
as garnish, and can be identified by its peppery
Crimini Mushrooms - Italian term for various
common store mushrooms that range in color from
light tan to rich brown; the flavor is more earthy
and full-bodied than that of the agaricus (common
Crimp - To create a decorative edge on a
piecrust. On a double piecrust, this also seals the
Crisp - To restore the crunch to foods;
vegetables such as celery and carrots can be crisped
with an ice water bath, and foods such as stale
crackers can be heated in a medium oven.
Croaker - A member of the drum family, this dark
speckled fish is found in temperate coastal waters.
The croaker weighs about one pound and has lean
flesh and a mild flavor.
Crookneck Cquash - A summer squash with a long
slender neck and bulbous body, pale to deep yellow
skin with a smooth to bumpy texture, creamy yellow
flesh and mild, delicate flavor; also known as
Croquettes - Ground or minced cooked food, such
as chicken or salmon, bound with a thick sauce,
formed into patties or balls, then fried.
Croustade - Meat or chicken served in pastry
Croutons - Cubed pieces of bread fried in butter.
Crudités - Hors d'oeuvres consisting of raw
vegetables served with a dipping sauce.
Crumble - To break food into smaller pieces,
usually by hand.
Crumpet - Small British yeast breads, baked on
top of the stove. The unsweetened batter is poured
into ring molds (crumpet rings) which have been
arranged on a griddle, and cooked until brown on the
bottom and riddled with small holes on top that are
perfect reservoirs for butter and jam.
Crush - To condense a food to its smallest
particles, usually using a mortar and pestle or a
Crystallize - To form sugar- or honey-based
syrups into crystals. The term also describes the
Crystallized Ginger - Gingerroot that has been
cooked in a sugar syrup and coated with coarse
sugar; used most often as a confection or added to
desserts and available in Asian markets and many
supermarkets. Also known as candied ginger.
Cube - Cut into squares, size of which is
determined by the recipe, generally between 1/2 to
Cucumber - The edible fleshy fruit of several
varieties of a creeping plant (Cucumis sativus);
most have a dark green skin and creamy white to pale
green flesh; generally divided into two categories:
pickling and slicing.
Cuisson - 1. The French term for cooking; used to
explain culinary processes and details, especially
cooking times. 2. Poaching liquid (such as stock,
fumet, court bouillon or other liquid) that can be
reduced and used as a base for the poached item's
Cumin - A spice that is the dried fruit (seed) of
a plant in the parsley family (Cuminum cyminum),
native to the Middle East and North Africa; the
small crescent-shaped seeds have a powerful, earthy,
nutty flavor and aroma and are available whole or
ground in three colors (amber, white and black);
used in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines.
Cup - A unit of measure in the U.S. system equal
to 8 fl. oz.
Cupcake - A small individual-sized cake baked in
a mold such as a muffin pan, usually frosted and
Curd - Custard-like pie or tart filling flavored
with juice and zest of citrus fruit, usually lemon,
although lime and orange may also be used.
Curdle - To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated
protein to develop in food, usually as a result of
the addition of an acid substance, or the
overheating of milk or egg-based sauces.
Cure - To preserve or add flavor with an
ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar.
Currants - 1. Dried, seedless, black Zante grapes
that are native to the area around Corinth in
Greece; they resemble very small dark raisins and
most often are used in baking. 2. Small, tart,
translucent berries which grow in grapelike clusters
in red, black and white varieties.
Curry Powder - An American or European blend of
spices associated with Indian cuisines, the flavor
and color vary depending on the exact blend; typical
ingredients include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves,
coriander, cumin, ginger, mace and turmeric, with
cardamom, tamarind, fennel seeds fenugreek and /or
chile powder sometimes added.
Custard - A mixture of beaten egg, milk, and
possibly other ingredients such as sweet or savory
flavorings, which is cooked with gentle heat, often
in a water bath or double boiler. As pie filling,
the custard is frequently cooked and chilled before
being layered into a prebaked crust.
Cut - To divide a food into smaller portions,
usually with a knife or scissors.
Cut In - To work a solid fat, such as butter or
shortening into dry ingredients. This is commonly
done by using a pastry blender.
Cutlet - A small piece of meat cut from the leg or
rib of veal or pork, or a croquette mixture made
into the shape of a cutlet.
Cuttlefish - A rounder, thicker and chewier
relative of the squid. This lean and nutritious
seafood can be found in ethnic markets.
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Daikon - A Japanese root vegetable, that looks like
a white carrot that is used in salads or and a wide
variety of cooked dishes, including stir-fry.
Dal - 1. The Hindi term for dried peas, beans,
and lentils; legumes. 2. Dal is also the word for
the spicy dish made with lentils, tomatoes, onions
and various seasonings. It is often puréed and
served with curry.
Dandelion - A plant with bright green jagged
leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Dandelion leaves
can be used in salads or cooked in the same way as
Dash - An approximate measure roughly equal to
Date - The fruit of a palm tree grown in
Mediterranean regions. Usually oval in shape, a very
thin skin and exceptionally sweet flesh and a chewy
texture. Dates are eaten fresh or dried.
Date Sugar - Ground dehydrated dates that are
used as a sweetner.
Debone - To remove the bones from meat or
Deep-Fry - To submerge foods in hot oil or fat
Defat - To remove the fat that congeals on the
top of soups, broth, chili and sauces.
Deglaze - After meat or poultry is sautéed or
fried, most of the fat and the meat are removed from
the skillet. Liquid is added to the browned residue
and heated, while stirring continuously. This
mixture is used for a base in sauces and gravies.
Degrease - To remove the fat that congeals on the
top of broths, jus and sauces.
Dehydrate - To remove most of the moisture from
food by drying it slowly in the oven or commercial
Delicata Squash - A green striped winter squash
with pale yellow skin. The flesh is yellow and has a
taste between a sweet potato and butternut squash.
Also known as sweet potato squash.
Demerara Sugar - A coarse, dry, raw sugar from
the Demerara area of Guyana. Its flavor is similar,
but not identical, to that of brown sugar.
Demi-glace, Demi-glaze - A term meaning "half
glaze." This rich brown sauce begins with a basic
espagnole sauce and beef stock, and is slowly cooked
with Madeira or sherry until it has been reduced by
half. The resulting thick glaze should be able to
coat the back of a spoon and can be used as the base
for many other sauces.
Demitasse - Literally means "half cup" in French;
usually refers to a tiny coffee cup used to serve
Depouillage - To skim the surface of a cooking
liquid, such as a stock or sauce. Depouillage is
more easily done by placing the pot off-center on
the burner and skimming the impurities as they
collect at one side of the pot.
Devein - To remove the grainy, blackish vein
under the rounded top of a shrimp by slitting the
shrimp and pulling it out.
Devil - To mix a food with spicy seasonings and
sauces. Devilled eggs are an example.
Dextrose - A sweetener produced from cornstarch
that has been treated with heat and acids or
enzymes. Dextrose produces a high-temperature
browning effect in baked goods.
Dice - To cut into especially small pieces,
roughly 1/8 to 1/16-inch.
Dietary Fiber - The part of whole grains, fruits,
vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds that humans cannot
digest; only found in plant foods.
Dijon - A prepared mustard originally from the
Dijon region of France. It has a slightly hot, spicy
flavor and is yellow-gray or brown in appearance.
Dijonnaise - Dishes that are prepared with
mustard or are accompanied by a sauce that contains
Dill - An herb that is has feathery leaves that
taste somewhat like parsley with overtones of anise
and are used fresh or dried. The small oval, brown
seeds have a faintly bitter taste and are used as a
Dilute - To add liquid to make less concentrated.
Dip - A thick sauce served hot or cold to
accompany raw vegetables, crackers or chips as an
hors d'oeuvre. The base is usually made of yogurt,
mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese base.
Direct Heat - The lack of a conductor between
food and the heat source, such as grilling,
broiling, and toasting.
Disjoint - To dismember a chicken before cooking
by slicing the connective tissue and cartilage and
twisting firmly until the pieces separate.
Dissolve - To merge with a liquid.
Ditali; Ditalini - Italian for thimbles; very
short hollow tubes of pasta used in salads and
soups. Ditalini is a smaller version of ditali with
proportionally thicker pasta.
Dock - Any of several varieties of a hardy
perennial herb belonging to the buckwheat family,
all with some amount of acidity and sourness. The
mildest variety is dock sorrel, also called spinach
Docking - The act of piercing small holes or
making cuts in dough or crust before baking to allow
steam to escape, thus preventing the dough from
rising as it bakes.
Dolcelatte Cheese - A soft, mild, blue-veined
cheese that can be served as an appetizer or
dessert. Also known as Gorgonzola dolce.
Dolci - Italian word for "sweets"; on a menu, the
term means desserts.
Dollop - 1. A spoonful of soft and usually creamy
food, such as sour cream of mayonnaise. 2. It may
also mean a dash or "splash" of a liquid like a
"splash of sparkling water".
Dolmades; Dolmas - Blanched grape leaves stuffed
with a seasoned mixture of ground lamb and rice,
braised in stock, oil and lemon juice. Other foods
that can be used as casings include squash,
eggplant, sweet peppers, cabbage leaves, quinces and
Dot - To place random bits of food (like butter)
on the surface of another food.
Double Acting Baking Powder - Releases leavening
gases twice: Once when it comes in contact with
moisture and again when exposed to heat from the
Double Boiler - Like with a bain-marie, you cook
in a double broiler without using direct heat. Two
saucepans that fit together on on top of the other.
The bottom pan contains boiling water is placed on
the heat source and the top one contains the food to
Dough - A mixture of oil or shortening, flour,
liquid, and other ingredients that retains its shape
when placed on a flat surface, although may change
shape once baked like cookies and breads.
Drain - To remove liquid from, pour off,
sometimes with the use of a strainer or colander.
Drawn Butter, Clarified Butter - Butter that has
been melted and skimmed of milk solids.
Dredge - To coat with dry ingredients such flour,
corn meal, or bread crumbs before cooking. Desserts
are dredged with sugar after baking or frying.
Dress - 1. To prepare poultry for cooking. 2. To
add dressing to a salad.
Dried Wood Ears - An edible mushroom that grows
on the trunks of dead trees. It has a shallow oval
cup and is somewhat crunchy in texture. Also known
as tree ear, Jew's ear and cloud ear mushroom.
Drippings - The fat and liquid that result when
meat is cooked.
Drizzle - To trickler a very fine stream of
liquid like a glaze or melted butter over food.
Drum - A variety of fish so named because of the
sounds that it makes during mating. The fish is
usually quite lean and can weigh anywhere between 1
pound and 30 pounds.
Dry Aging - An aging process that adds flavor and
tenderizes to beef through an enzyme action.
Dry Cure - A method of curing meat or fish by
using a combination of salts and seasonings, usually
Dry Milk - A product made from milk from which
almost all the moisture has been removed, leaving
the milk solids in a powdery form. Dry milk comes in
three basic forms: whole milk, nonfat milk and
buttermilk. Dry milk is less expensive and easier to
store than fresh milk (though dry whole milk must be
refrigerated because of its milk-fat content), and
the taste is never quite the same as fresh milk.
Dry Sauté - To sauté food with very little or no
fat; a nonstick pan is often used for this method.
Du Jour - French term meaning "of the day"; used
to indicate a special menu item.
Duck - A variety of poultry refering to a
domestic web footed bird. It's meat is dark and has
a rich, deep flavor.
Dumpling - A batter or soft dough, which is
formed into small mounds that are then steamed,
poached, or simmered.
Dungeness Crab - A large crab found along the
Pacific coast from Mexico to Alaska. Weighing from 1
pound to 4 pounds, this variety of crab has pink
flesh that is succulent and sweet.
Durum Flour - High protein flour produced from
durum wheat. Durum wheat is used to make semolina,
which is combined with water to make pasta dough. It
is also known for the high amounts of gluten it
Dust - To sprinkle food lightly with spices,
sugar, or flour.
Dutch Oven - A large pot or kettle, usually made
of cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid so steam
cannot readily escape. It's used for moist-cooking
methods, such as braising and stewing. Dutch ovens
are said to be of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage,
dating back to the 1700s.
Duxelles - A reduction of finely chopped
mushrooms, parsley, onions, pepper, shallots, salt
and butter, used to flavor soups, stuffings and
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Edam Cheese - A famous Dutch cheese exported in
balls covered with bright-red- or
yellow-paraffin-coated rinds; a good all-purpose
cheese with a mellow flavor. Edam is second only to
Gouda as Holland's most exported cheese.
Eel - A variety of anadromous fish with a
snakelike shape. Eels generally have firm, fatty
flesh and are gray, olive or black in color.
Egg - The hard-shelled, ovoid reproductive body
produced by a bird, consisting principally of a yolk
Egg Noodles - The most popular type of Asian
noodle, these ribbons vary in length, width and
thickness; made from a dough of wheat flour, water
and eggs and usually boiled. Can be found fresh in
some Asian supermarkets, and are readily available
Egg Threads - Lightly beaten eggs poured slowly
into a hot broth or soup.
Egg Wash - A mixture of beaten eggs (yolks,
whites, or whole eggs) with either milk or water,
used to glaze baked goods.
Eggplant - Though usually thought of as a
vegetable, the eggplant is actually a fruit related
to the potato and tomato. There are many varieties
of eggplant, with colors ranging from dark purple to
white and sizes from 2 inches to 12 inches. An
eggplant's shape can vary from oblong to round. The
most common variety of fruit in the United States is
large and pear-shaped, with a smooth, glossy
Elderberries - The tart fruit of the elder tree
found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The small,
dark purple-black berry is very sour when eaten raw,
but can be quite delicious when used in jellies,
pies, tarts or syrups.
Emmental Cheese - What most Americans know as
Swiss cheese. Switzerland's oldest and most
important cheese, Emmentaler has a distinctively
nutty-sweet, mellow flavor. It was named for
Switzerland's Emmental valley and is exported in
giant wheels weighing from 150 pounds to 220 pounds
Empanada - A small, savory pie that are usually
filled with meat, seafood or vegetables.
Emulsify - To bind together liquid ingredients
that do not dissolve into each other (like vinegar
En Brochette - To cook small pieces of food on
En Croute - Food baked in a crust.
En Papillote - Enclosing foods (like fish) in
parchment paper or foil and cooking in an oven or on
Enchilada - Corn tortillas stuffed with meat,
chicken, cheese (or a combination), rolled and
topped with a red or green chile sauce.
Endive - A plant with dark green, curly leaves
and a slightly bitter flavor.
English Pea - Common garden pea, also called
English Walnut - A nut with a wrinkled tan shell
and a double lobed interior nut meat that has a
sweet flavor. It can be eaten raw or used in baking
Enoki Mushrooms - Small white mushrooms that grow
in clumps with long, thin stems and a mild, almost
fruity flavor. They have a crisp, crunchy texture
when fresh, but tend to become tough when heated;
also known as velvet stem, snow puff and golden
Enriched All-purpose Flour - Because all-purpose
flour does not contain wheat germ, U.S. law requires
iron, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin to be added.
"Enriched" appears on the label of flour with added
Entrée - In the United States an entrée is the
main dish of a meal. The original French term
referred to the first course of a meal, served after
the soup and before the meat.
Epazote - A pungent herb with a flavor similar to
coriander. Epazote is often added to beans to reduce
Escalope - Very thin slices of meat or fish
containing absolutely no fat, skin, gristle or
Escargot - French term for edible snails, either
terrestrial, freshwater or marine.
Escarole - A broad-leafed, pale green,
mild-flavored endive. Most often eaten raw in
salads, escarole can be briefly cooked and used in
soups; also known as Batavian endive.
étouffée - French for smothered and refers to a
stewed dish cooked little liquid in a tightly closed
pot. Usually served over white rice.
Etuver - To braise with very little or no liquid.
Evaporated Milk - Canned, unsweetened milk that
is homogenized milk from which 60% of the water is
removed. Available in whole evaporated milk - 7.9%
butterfat and skim - cotains1/2% or less.
Extract (Essence) - Flavors from various foods
that have been concentrated by distillation or
Extra Lean - Poultry, meat, seafood or game
containing less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2
grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams
of cholesterol per serving (100 grams).
Extra-virgin Olive Oil - Olive oil produced from
the first cold-pressing, considered the finest and
fruitiest, with only 1 percent acid. Its color can
range from clear champagne to bright green.
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Fagioli - The Italian term for beans, most often
white kidney beans
Fahrenheit - A temperature scale with 32º as the
freezing point of water and 212º as its boiling
Fajitas - A Mexican-American dish consisting of
strips of beef skirt or chicken breast strips
marinated in lime juice, garlic, red pepper and
grilled with onions and sweet peppers. The mixture
is wrapped in a four tortilla and served with sour
cream, and pico de gallo as garnishes.
Falafel - A Middle Eastern dish consisting of a
paste made from ground dried chickpeas and herbs
shaped into balls and deep-fried.
Farce - French for forcemeat or stuffing.
Farfalle - Bow tie shaped pasta. Farfallini is
the smaller version.
Farina - Inner portion of coarsely ground hard
wheat, also known as Cream of Wheat.
Farmer Cheese - A form of cottage cheese, pressed
to remove most of the liquid. Dry farmer cheese is
firm enough to slice or crumble.
Fast Rising Yeast - Smaller-grained than
conventional active dry yeast; speeds rising as much
as 50 percent, which may eliminate the need for a
second rising. This form of yeast measures the same
as active dry yeast and works best when mixed
directly with the dry ingredients before adding
Fat Free, Fat-free - A food containing fewer than
0.5 grams of fat per serving.
Fat Separator - A clear cup (usually made of
plastic) with a long spout set very low on the cup;
used to make lower-fat gravy. Pan drippings are
poured into the cup and the fat rises to the top.
The desirable liquid remains below and can be poured
off through the spout. Also known as a gravy
Fatback - Fat from the back of a pig, used to
make lard or cracklings, as well as for seasoning.
Fava Bean - A meaty, strong flavored bean that is
light brown in color, flat in shape and looks
somewhat like a large lima bean. They are available
dried or canned. They work well in side dishes,
soups, or salads.
Fedelini - A very fine type of vermicelli pasta.
Feijoa, Pineapple Guava - An exotic fruit from
New Zealand that tastes somewhat like a mixture of
pineapple, banana and strawberry. It has a thin
green skin and can be eaten raw or used in preserves
Fennel - Both the seeds and the stalks from this
plant are called fennel. 1. The plant has feathery
foliage and white bulbous stalk. Fennel tastes like
licorice or anise, and commonly used in Italian
dishes. 2. The plant's oval, green-brown seeds have
prominent ridges and short, hair-like fibers. Their
taste is similar to anise seed, but sweeter and
milder. It goes well with fish but Italians add it
to sauces, meat balls, and sausages.
Fermented Black Beans - Small black soybeans
preserved in salt; used in Chinese cuisine.
Fermented black beans have a very salty and pungent
flavor. Also known as Chinese black beans and salty
Fenugreek - A very hard seed grown in the Middle
East and used as a spice. It adds an earthy flavor
to chutneys and curries.
Feta - 1. A salty, soft Greek cheese made from
ewe's milk and pickled in brine It has a white
color, crumbly texture and salty, sour, tangy
flavor. 2. A soft, white, flaky American feta-style
cheese made from cow's milk and stored in brine.
Fettuccine - Long, relatively thick ribbons of
pasta. A narrower version is called fettuccelli,
while a wider one is called fettucci. Fettucine goes
well with cream, cheese, meat and tomato sauces.
Fig - A pear-shaped fruit that grows well in warm
regions with a thick, soft skin, sweet flavor and
many tiny edible seeds. Popular varieties usually
have dark purple skin and pink flesh or green skin
and pinkish-white flesh.
Filé Powder - An American seasoning made of
sassafras leaves and used to flavor and thicken
Creole dishes, such as gumbo.
Fillet or Filet - To remove bones from a fish, so
that only the flesh remains. The process depends on
the type of fish. Though similar, it is different
for flat fish, like a flounder, or round fish, like
a trout. The best way to learn how is to purchase a
cookbook with details or watch the cooking shows. If
in doubt, your seafood monger will do it for you.
Filo, Phyllo - Layers of paper-thin leaves of
dough used in Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Frozen phyllo dough can be found in most
supermarkets and should be thawed overnight in the
refrigerator. Also spelled "phylo," "filo," and "fillo."
Finely - Especially small, as in finely chopped,
but not as small as minced.
Fines Herbes - A mixture of finely chopped herbs
made up of equal parts chervil, tarragon, chives,
and parsley or equal parts chervil and chives (not
always limited to these combinations).
Finger-tip Test - A method used to test whether
risen dough has doubled in size. Two fingers are
pressed lightly and quickly ½ inch into the risen
dough. If the dents stay, the dough has doubled.
Fino Olive Oil - A blend of extra-virgin and
virgin olive oils. Fino means "fine" in Italian.
Fiori Di Sambuco - Small star-shaped pasta used
Fischietti - The smallest tube-shaped pasta.
Fish - Any one of a thousand species of aquatic
vertebrates with fins for swimming and gills for
breathing, found in saltwater and freshwater
Fish Sauce - A strong, salty sauce made from
fresh anchovies. Used primarily in Thai cooking.
Five Spice Powder - A ground Chinese seasoning
that contains equal amounts of cinnamon, cloves,
ground star anise, fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns.
Flageolets - A French kidney-shaped bean,
generally available in the United States dried or
canned; often used as an accompaniment to lamb.
Flake - To gently break up into small pieces,
usually with a fork or your fingers.
Flambé - Dramatic presentation of food by
sprinkling with alcohol (or other flamable
substance) and igniting into flames.
Flan - 1. A round pastry tart that can have a
sweet or savory filling. 2. A Spanish custard coated
Flank Steak - A long, thin, fibrous cut of beef
from an animal's lower hindquarters, usually
tenderized by marinating.
Flauta - Corn tortilla wrapped around a meat or
poultry filling and fried. Usually served with
guacamole and sour cream.
Flavor - To add seasoning or other ingredients to
a food or beverage to enhance taste.
Florentine - 1. A cookie that contain butter, cream
and often coated with chocolate. 2. Also refers to
dishes containing spinach and usually a cream sauce.
Florets - The small, closely bunched flowers that
make up the whole head or broccoli or cauliflower.
Flounder - A large family of flatfish, flounder
generally has lean, firm flesh and a delicate
flavor. Available whole or in fillets, the fish can
be baked, boiled, poached, steamed or sautéed.
Flounder is often marketed as sole, which (with the
exception of imported European Dover sole) is
actually a variety of flounder.
Flour - 1. (used as a verb) To lightly sprinkle
or coat with flour. 2. A powdery substance made by
milling wheat, corn, rye or other grains that are
available in various degrees of fineness.
Flour Dredger - A kitchen device similar to a
large salt shaker with a handle for sifting a
coating, such as flour, cocoa powder or
confectioners' sugar, onto foods.
Flute - 1. To press a scolloped pattern into the
raised edge of a pie crust. 2. To groove or slit
markings in vegetables (like cucumbers) and fruits
for decoration. 3. A tall, thin, stemmed champagne
glass. 5. A long, thin loaf of bread.
Focaccia - An Italian flatbread made with pizza
or bread dough. Herbs, cheese and other toppings may
be added or it can be served plain.
Foie Gras - The term means goose liver, but is
used to describe the fattened liver of both duck and
Foil, Aluminum Foil - A thin pliable sheet of
aluminum; easily molded, conducts heat well, can
withstand temperature extremes and is impervious to
odors, moisture and air; used to cover foods for
cooking and storage.
Fold - To gently mix two or more ingredients
together by softly lifting up and over from the
sides to the center.
Fondant - A very sweet and thick sugar paste used in
candy making and glazing baked goods.
Fondue - A dipping sauce such as cheese or
chocolate which is usually served warm along with
the items to be dipped such as bread, meat, fruit,
Fontina Cheese - A high-fat (about 45 percent)
Italian cheese made from cow's milk, with a mild,
slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture. Fontina
has a dark golden-brown rind and a pale-yellow
interior that's dotted with tiny holes.
Forcemeat - Ground up meat(s) combined with
seasonings and other ingredients, used for stuffing.
Formaggio - Italian word for cheese.
Frappe - (from the French frappe) A simple sugar
syrup mixed with fruit or other flavorings and
frozen, then processed to a slightly slushy
consistency. It can be served as a drink or a
dessert. In some parts of the United States, a milk
shake is sometimes referred to as a frappe.
Freeze - To preserved food by placing it in
temperatures below 32ºF (0ºC) so that the moisture
Freezer Burn - A loss of moisture in foods when
wrapped inappropriately before freezing. Texture and
flavor of food is compromised and is confirmed by
dry white or gray patches on the surface of the
Freezer paper - A plastic-coated Kraft paper used
for wrapping foods for freezing and for general
household purposes. The plastic coating provides a
barrier to air and moisture to protect the quality,
flavor and nutrition of foods during freezing; the
paper provides strength and durability as well as an
French Fry - To deep-fry food, such as strips of
Fresh - 1. A food that has been recently cooked
or baked, such as a fresh bread. 3. A food left in a
state as grown or harvested; not canned, dried or
processed and containing no preservatives.
Fresh Frozen - Food that was frozen when it was
Fresh Masa - A dough used in the making of
tamales that consists of ground, dried corn that has
been soaked in limewater.
Fresine - Straight, narrow noodles similar in
length to short spaghetti.
Fricassée - A stew that contains diced meat,
lightly cooked in butter, and then simmered in
liquid until tender.
Frisée - A member of the chicory family with
delicately slender, curly leaves that are feathery
in appearance and mildly bitter in taste.
Frijoles - Beans, most commonly referring to the
Frijoles Refritos - Refried beans. Most commonly
cooked pinto beans that are mashed, sauteed in oil
or fat, and mixed with cheese cheddar.
Frittata - An Italian omelet that has additional
ingredients mixed in with the eggs rather than being
folded inside like a French omelet. It is sometimes
baked or cooked in a skillet over very slow heat
then flipped or the top browned under a broiler.
Fritter - Foods coated or dipped in batter, then
Fritto Misto - An Italian platter filled with a
variety of mixed fried foods.
Frizzle - To fry thin slices of meat or other
food until the edges curl
Fromage - French for cheese.
Fromage Blanc - A simple French white cheese.
This soft, fresh cream cheese has the consistency of
sour cream. Fromage blanc is usually eaten with
fruit and sugar as dessert, but it can also be used
Frost - To apply sugar, frosting, glaze, or icing
to fruit, cake, or other food.
Frosting - A cooked or uncooked sugar mixture
used to cover and decorate cakes, cookies and other
Fruit Pectin - A substance found naturally in
some fruits such as apples that possess the ability
to gel liquids. It is an essential ingredient in
making jelly and jam. Pectin can be purchased in
powder and liquid form.
Fry - To cook food in hot cooking oil until it
turns a light crispy brown.
Fry Bread - Thin, unleaved fried bread made from
flour, water or milk, and salt. Fry bread is
traditionally from Southwest Native Americans.
Fryer - A chicken that weights 3 to 4 pounds and
is 9 to 12 weeks old.
Fudge - Candy (usually chocolate) made with
sugar, butter, milk or cream, corn syrup, and
flavorings that has a soft, creamy, smooth texture.
Fuji Apple - A cross between the Red Delicious
and Virginia Rawls Jennet apples. Rosy in color and
striped with green and yellow, these incredibly
sweet apples are ideal for cooking and baking,
applesauce or eating out of hand.
Funnel - A conical tool with a short straight
tube at the tip used to transfer liquids into a
narrow-mouthed vessel. Funnels are available in
various materials and some have strainers in the
bottom to separate fine particles from the liquid.
Fusilier Col Buco - Long, thin spirals about the
same length as short spaghetti.
Fusilli - Literally means "Twisted Spaghetti".
Popularly known as cork-screw pasta which is shaped
like springs or screws.
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Gaeta Olive - Mild-flavored Italian black olives;
usually dry-salt cured, giving them a wrinkled
appearance, then rubbed with olive oil and packed
with rosemary and other herbs.
Galangal, Galingale Root - A southeast Asian
rhizome with reddish skin, orange or white flesh and
a peppery, gingerlike flavor; used particularly in
Thai and Indonesian cuisines, often as a substitute
Galantine - A traditional French dish made from
poultry, meat or fish that is boned and stuffed with
a forcemeat, and often studded with items such as
pistachio nuts, olives and truffles.
Gallon - An American unit of measurement equal to
128 fl. ounces, 16 cups, 8 pints or 4 quarts.
Ganache - A term used for a very rich chocolate
filling or thick glaze made with chocolate,
shortening, and cream used for filling and frosting.
Garam Masala - A mixture of dry-roasted, finely
ground, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon,
cardamom, dried chiles, fennel, mace, black pepper
and possibly other spices. Garam masala is similar
to curry powder and is used widely in Indian
Garbanzo Bean - See chickpea.
Garlic - A highly aromatic and strongly flavored
edible bulb composed of several sections, called
cloves. Each clove is encased in a papery covering.
Garlic is used in most cuisines around the world.
Garlic Powder - Dehydrated garlic that is finely
ground into a powder and used as a seasoning.
Garlic Salt - A blend of salt and garlic powder
garlic powder used as a seasoning.
Garnish - To present dishes with visual and
flavor enhancement using additional edible elements.
Common are herbs like parsley springs and fruit like
thin slices of lemons
Gaspacho, Gazpacho - Cold Spanish vegetable soup
made with meat broth, crushed fresh tomatoes, and
diced raw vegetables like onions, cucumbers, and
Gastronomy - The art and science of fine dining,
fine food and drink.
Gateaux - French for cake.
Gefilte Fish - Jewish dish made of ground fish
(usually carp, pike and or whitefish) combined with
eggs, matzo meal and seasonings. The mixture is
shaped into balls and simmered in vegetable or fish
Gelatin, Gelatine - A thickener used in molded (Jello®
type) desserts and dishes that has no flavor, odor
or color. It is pure protein from veal and beef
bones and by -products.
Gelato - (jeh-LAH-toh) Gelato comes from gelare,
the Italian word for "to freeze" and is the general
term for all frozen desserts. Less general, it
refers to a milk based combination with a dense,
buttery consistency similar to that of American ice
Gemelli - The Italian term for twins, describing
two short bits of spaghetti pasta twisted together
in the shape of a cord or rope.
Genovesini - Short lengths of thick tube pasta,
cut diagonally on each end.
Geoduck - A huge, soft-shell Pacific clam.
Weighing an average of 3 pounds, but sometimes as
much as 13 pounds, geoduck is distinguished by a
long neck that can reach up to 18 inches and account
for about half its body weight.
Germ - The embryo of a kernel of grain, such as
wheat, making up about 2.5 percent of the kernel's
weight; often separated out in processed flour
because its fat content makes flour more perishable.
Wheat germ, which is left in whole wheat flour, has
a large content of complex vitamins and trace
minerals. It can also be purchased separately.
Ghee - This form of clarified butter is taken a
step further by simmering it until all of the
moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to
brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramel
flavor and aroma. Ghee has a longer life and much
higher smoke point than regular clarified butter.
Giblets - The gizzard, liver, heart and neck of
Ginger, Ginger Root - This knotty tuber from a
tropical plant from China is used to flavor
beverages and dishes in Asian and Indian cuisinees.
It has a taupe skin, ivory flesh and a peppery,
sweet flavor with a hint of lemon.
Ginkgo - A nut from the center of the inedible
fruit of the maidenhair tree. This nut turns bright
green when cooked and has a delicately sweet flavor.
Glace - A very reduced stock used in flavouring
sauces and enhancing soups and stews.
Glaze - A liquid coating that gives a shiny
coating to food. It can be a savory glaze on meats
or a sweet glaze on pastry and baked goods.
Gluten - Protein found in flour that gives wheat
yeast dough its elasticity.
Gnocchi - Italian dumpling.
Goat Cheese - Known as Chevre, this fresh soft
goat's milk cheese has a distinctive tart flavor.
Chèvres can range in texture from moist and creamy
to dry and semifirm.
Golden Delicious Apple - A sweet, crisp, juicy
all-purpose apple with yellow skin and flesh that
resists browning. This feature makes it ideal for
fruit salads. It is also suitable for baking,
cooking, applesauce and eating out of hand.
Gomiti - Hollow corners of pasta similar to
elbows, pipe or small lumache.
Gooseberries - Large, tart berries that grow on
bushes and come in many varieties including green,
white, yellow and red, and with skins that are
either smooth or fuzzy. Gooseberries are excellent
in jams, jellies and pies.
Gorgonzola Cheese - Similar to American blue
cheese, this Italian cow's milk cheese is rich and
creamy with a savory, slightly strong flavor.
Gouda Cheese - A famous cheese from Holland,
thiscow's milk cheese is a firm, smooth cheese that
comes in aged and non aged forms. It has a creamy
texture, nutty flavor and a light yellow color with
very small holes.
Goulash - A Hungarian style stew containing meat,
vegetables and paprika served sour cream and
Gourmet - French term meaning "connoisseur of
Gram (g) - Basic measure of metric weight: 28.35
grams = 1 ounce and 1000 grams = a kilogram = 2.2
Grand Marnier - Orange flavored liqueur
Granita - (GRAH-nee-tah) Granita is a fruit based
gelato that has a decidedly grainy texture because
it is frozen, then scraped to form coarse ice
granules. Granita is slushy.
Granola - A combination of grains, nuts and dried
fruits, often mixed with honey, eaten as a cereal.
Granulated Sugar - Regular white, refined sugar
for common use.
Grape Leaves - The leaves taken from grapevines
have been used in Mediterranean cuisine for hundreds
Grapes - Very juicy berries that grow in clusters
and have a very smooth very thin skin. They come in
colors from green and red to deep purple and can
have seeds or be seedless. They are the fruit that
is process and fermented in winemaking and dried to
Grapefruit - An 18th-century hybrid of an orange
and pomelo, this large citrus fruit has a relatively
thin rind that can be yellow or rosy. Ruby
grapefruits have a yellow-pink to brilliant ruby-red
sweet pulp. White grapefruits have a yellow-white
pulp and tart flavor. This variety is better for
Grate - To break up a piece of food into smaller
pieces by abrading it against a rough, irregular
surface as in a hand grater or a food processor.
Gratin - To combine foods with a liquid based
sauce in a shallow dish and baked until set and
browned on top.
Gravy - Juices from cooked meat that have been
thickened with a roux.
Grease - To coat a cooking vessel or sheet with a
thin layer of oil or shortening.
Great Northern Bean - A delicately flavored
large, flat, kidney-shaped white bean. Available
dried or canned.
Green Bean, String Bean, Snap Bean - A thin,
crisp, green pod that contains several small seeds
and is entirely edible.
Grenadine - Sweet, red, pomegranate flavored
syrup made from pomegranate juice or other fruit
concentrates. Grenadine usually contains alcohol.
Griddle - A flat pan, often made of cast iron or
aluminum, used to cook food with little fat or oil.
Griddles are available with a nonstick surface and
usually have either a long handle or two hand grips.
Grill - 1. To cook on a grill. 2. Cooking
equipment in which the heat source (gas, charcoal,
hardwood or electric) is located beneath the rack on
which the food is placed; it is generally not
enclosed, although it can be covered.
Grillade - A Creole dish of pounded round steak
served in a sauce of tomatoes and other vegetables,
and traditionally served with grits. Grillade is
also a French word meaning grilled or broiled food.
Grilling Basket - A basket used while grilling
smaller items. The device holds food in place to
keep it from slipping through the grill.
Grind - To process foods in a grinder or
processor. Texture can be in variable degress from
finely to coursely ground.
Grissini - Italian bread sticks.
Grits - Commonly refers to coarsely ground dried
hominy and known as hominy grits, a dish of the
(American) South. Grits are generally prepared in
boiling water and served as a cereal or side dish.
Ground Beef - Beef that has been ground or finely
chopped; commonly referred to as hamburger.
Gruyère Cheese - A cow's-milk cheese containing a
moderate amount of fat with a rich, sweet, nutty
Guacamole - Mashed avocado flavored with lemon or
limejuice, and optional ingredients of chiles,
finely chopped tomatoes, green onion and cilantro.
This is an authentic Mexican dish served as a dip, a
salad or a side dish.
Guajillo Chili Peppers - A very hot pepper that
is about 4 inches long. When dried, the skin is a
shiny deep-red and must be soaked for a long time
because of its toughness.
Guava - A sweet, fragrant tropical fruit. Guavas
are oval, about 2 inches in diameter, and color
ranges from yellow to bright red. The ripe fruit is
often used in jams, preserves, juices, and sauces.
Gueuze - Traditional style of Belgian beer,
light, acidic, naturally fermented with a tart taste
and gentle effervescence. Best after 3 years but can
be cellared up to 20.
Gumbo - Gumbo is a Creole stew that contains
tomatoes, okra, and other vegetables, meats or
seafood. A roux of is added for thickening the
gumbo, and filé powder added for flavoring just
Gyro - A Greek sandwich of finely chopped, molded
and roasted meat that is sliced and served in pita
bread with a cucumber yogurt dressing.
Gyromitres - A European mountain mushroom
outlawed for sale due to the presence of hydragine,
a substance which is toxic if prepared incorrectly.
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Habañero Pepper - An extremely hot chile pepper with
short, squatted shape, usually orange in color. It
has a fruity flavor and is best in the summer time.
Half and Half - A mixture of half cream and half
milk (fat content is 10 - 12%).
Halibut - The largest member of the flatfish
family, found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans,
with lean, white, firm, mild-flavored flesh.
Halvah - A Middle Eastern confection made from
ground sesame seeds and honey. Sometimes dried fruit
or other ingredients are added. Halvah is available
in wrapped bars in most supermarkets.
Ham Hock - The lower portion of a hog's hind leg,
usually used to flavor soups, greens, beans, and
Hard-Ball Stage - A test used in making candy
describing the rigid ball formed when a drop of
boiling sugar water syrup is dropped in cold water.
Hard-Crack Stage - A test used in making cand
describing brittle threads formed when a drop of
boiling sugar water syrup is dropped in cold water.
Hard Tack Rolling Pin - A rolling pin used when
making hard unleavened breads.
Hard Wheat - Wheat high in protein and
well-suited for bread-making because it produces
flour that is rich in gluten.
Haricot Verts - Tiny, slender green string beans.
Harina - All-purpose flour.
Harira - A thick and robust North African soup.
Harissa - A combination of spices containing
chilli that is ground with cumin, garlic, coriander,
and olive oil.
Hartshorn - Known as ammonium bicarbonate and
used as a levening agent before baking powder and
baking soda were readily available.
Hash - A dish containing chopped potatoes, meat,
and other vegetables.
Hasty Pudding - A simple dish of cornmeal mush
made with water or milk and sweetened with molasses,
maple syrup or honey. Wheat flour is used in England
instead of cornmeal. Hasty pudding is served hot,
sometimes dotted with butter and sprinkled with
cinnamon then placed under a broiler until brown, or
with milk or cream; makes a quick breakfast or
simple dessert. Also known as Indian pudding.
Haute Cuisine - French term for the highest
quality restaurant food available. The ingredients
in this cuisine are not only of the finest quality,
but the food is elegant and elaborate as well.
Havarti Cheese - A mild, semisoft Danish cheese
that is pale yellow and has small irregular holes.
It becomes sharper as it matures.
Hazelnut Oil - An aromatic, full-flavored oil
pressed from hazelnuts; has the strong, distinct
flavor of the roasted nut.
Head Cheese - Despite its name, this is a
sausage, not a cheese product. Head cheese is made
of finely chopped meat from the head of a calf or
pig. The meat is seasoned and cooked in a gelatinous
broth and molded.
Headspace - Space left at the top of a container
to allow for the expansion of food when frozen or
Herb Bouquet - A mixture of tied herbs used for
seasoning in soups, sauces, and stocks.
Herbes de Provence - A French term for a mixture
of dried herbs, usually containing basil, marjoram,
rosemary, sage, summer savory, lavender, thyme, and
Herbs - Diverse flavorings that are made of
stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of various plants.
Most herbs are available both fresh and dried.
Herkimer Cheese - Smooth, cheddar-like cheese,
named after the county in New York where it was
Hermit - An old-fashioned cookie that contains
chopped dates, raisins, nuts, and molasses or brown
Herring - A large family of fish found around the
world. Herring are silver-blue in color, have a
moderately high fat content, and are fairly strong
in flavor. Their average market size is about 8
High Altitude Baking - Because of lower air
pressure, baking at elevations of 3,000 or more feet
above sea level requires special adjustments. The
USDA has the following guidelines: at 3,000 feet
decrease the amount of baking powder called for in a
recipe by 1/8 teaspoon; at 5,000 feet decrease by
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon; and at 7,000 feet decrease by ¼
teaspoon. Reducing the amount of sugar by 1 to 3
tablespoons may also be helpful. Melting butter or
chocolate in microwave ovens can also take a few
seconds longer at higher altitudes. Region-specific
guidelines may be available from your state
department of agriculture.
High Fiber - A food containing 5 grams or more of
fiber per serving.
Hog Jowl - The fatty cheek of a hog that is
smoked and cured. Used as as a seasoning like bacon
or salt pork.
Hoisin, Peking Sauce - Sweet and spicy sauce made
from soybeans, garlic, chiles and a variety of
spices. Hoisin is used as a condiment and flavoring
in Chinese cuisines. Can be purchased in jars.
Hollandaise Sauce - A sauce made from egg yolks
and butter and flavored with lemon juice or vinegar.
Homard - French term for lobster.
Hominy - Dried yellow or white corn kernels with
the hull and germ removed. Served as a side dish and
used in some Mexican stews.
Homogenization - A process used to break down the
fat globules in milk and distribute them evenly
throughout the liquid. This is done by spinning the
milk at very high speeds through an ultra-fine mesh.
Commercial salad dressings often are similarly
processed to emulsify the mixture.
Honey - A thick, sweet liquid made by bees from
flower nectar and stored in the cells of the hive
for food. Used as a sweetner.
Honeydew Melon - Honeydews are bluntly oval in
shape and weigh anywhere from 4 pounds to 8 pounds.
Their rind is yellowish-white and a creamy color
indicates ripeness. These fruits are available
Hopping John, Hoppin' John - A southern U.S. dish
of black-eyed peas and white rice seasoned with ham
Hops - A vining plant of Europe and Asia that
produces conelike flowers and tender edible sprouts.
The flowers are dried and are used to give the
slightly bitter taste to beer.
Hors d'Oeuvre - Small, bite-size foods served as
Horseradish - An ancient bitter herb. Originally
grown in eastern Europe, horseradish can be used in
a variety of ways. The spiky leaves can be used in
salads, while the white pungent root is most often
grated and used in sauces or as a condiment.
Hot Sauce - A seasoning sauce containing chile
peppers, salt and vinegar.
Hubbard Squash - A very large winter squash with
a thick, bumpy, hard shell ranging in color from
dark green to bright orange.
Huckleberry - A wild, dark blue berry with hard
seeds which resembles the blueberry. They can be
eaten plain or baked in in pies and muffins.
Huevos Rancheros - A Mexican dish that contains
fried eggs on a corn tortilla topped by a green or
red chile sauce, salsa, onions and cheese.
Hull - To remove the leafy parts of fruits such
as strawberries, blackberries or raspberries.
Hummus - Also spelled "humus" and "houmus."
Middle Eastern dish made from mashed chickpeas,
tahini (sesame seed butter), olive oil, garlic and
lemon juice. Can be used as a sandwich filling,
spread or dip.
Hushpuppy - A small, fried cornmeal dumpling,
flavored with chopped green onion. Hushpuppies are a
traditional southern U.S. accompaniment to fried
catfish and slaw.
Hydrogenated Fats - Fats that have gone through
hydrogenation to prolong their shelf life.
Trans-fatty acids that are created by this process
act like saturated fats, thus increasing the
cholesterol production in the body. Hydrogenated
fats can be found in some vegetable oils, margarine
and snack foods.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - Oil that has been
modified from a liquid to a solid or semisolid state
Hydrogenation - The process of hardening an
unsaturated fat by adding hydrogen atoms to an
unsaturated fat molecule. This enables the fat to
remain solid at room temperature. Margarine is a
Hyssop - Various herbs belonging to the mint
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Ice - 1. To chill by placing a glass or serving dish
in a freezer so that a coat of frost forms on its
surface. 2. Frozen water. Freezing point for water
is at 32ºF (0ºC).
Ice Bath - A bath of ice and water used to chill
a food or beverage very quickly.
Iceberg Lettuce - The many varieties of this
green leafy vegetable all differ in size and
crispness. The most common types found in the
supermarket are butter, iceberg and romaine. Iceberg
has tight, compact heads with little flavor (except
for the heart), but a very crisp texture.
Ice Cream Soda - A beverage comprised of
carbonated water, flavored syrup, (or a commercial
flavored carbonated beverage) and a scoop or two of
Ice Milk - Ice milk is made like ice cream,
except it contains less milk fat and milk solids. It
has less calories, is lighter and less creamy than
Ice Pick - A tool with a single long, needle-like
metal shaft stemming from a weighted handle, and
used to chip pieces of ice from large blocks.
Icing, Frosting - A covering and/or filling which
contains large amounts of sugar used for cakes and
Icing Syringe - A cake-decorating tool. The icing
syringe is composed of a tube, plunger and various
tips. The tips can be quickly exchanged to form a
multitude of patterns with the same icing color.
Indian Pudding - A spicy cornmeal and molasses
pudding usually served with whipped cream, hard
sauce, or cream.
Infuse - To submerge teas or other flavoring
ingredients in a hot liquid in order to extract the
flavor into the liquid.
Infusion Coffee Maker - This type of coffee maker
consists of a glass pot with a mesh covered plunger
that is pressed downward to trap the coffee grounds
after steeping. Also known as cafetière or French
Instant Rice - Fully cooked and flash-frozen rice
that can be rehydrated in boiling water. It is quick
but lacks flavor.
Instant Yeast - A specially processed form of
active dry yeast; can be mixed into a dough dry
(rather than dissolved) and reduces rising time by
up to 50 percent.
Iodized Salt - Table salt (sodium chloride)
containing potassium iodide, a source of the
essential nutrient iodine.
Iron - A mineral used by the blood for forming
hemoglobin. Red meat, fish, eggs, and legumes are
significant iron sources.
Irish Soda Bread - A traditional Irish quick
bread that uses baking soda as its leavener. It's
usually made with buttermilk and may include
currants or caraway seed.
Italian Parsley - Parsley with flat leaves.
Italian parsley has a stronger flavor than curly
Italian Sausage - Coarse sausage usually seasoned
with garlic and fennel seed or anise seed; generally
sold in plump links in two varieties, hot (flavored
with hot red peppers) and sweet (no added peppers).
Italian Seasoning - A blend of dried herbs used
in Italian cuisine, containing basil oregano,
rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, and red pepper.
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Jackfruit - A very large (up to 100 pounds)
tree-borne fruit from East India. Related to the
breadfruit in the mulberry family, it has thick
flesh with a flavor suggestive of a pineapple and
banana with edible seeds. Can be used as a starchy
vegetable when green; once ripe, used as a dessert
Jaggery - Coarse brown sugar made from the sap of
the palmyra palm. Also known as palm sugar. It can
be found in East Indian markets.
Jalapeño Peppers - A short, dark green, tapered
chile pepper with thick flesh. It is moderately hot
and available fresh or canned. Dry, smoked jalapeños
are known as chipolte peppers.
Jam - A thick, cooked mixture of fruit, sugar,
and usually pectin.
Jambalaya - A Creole dish of ham, shrimp,
crayfish and or sausage cooked with rice, tomatoes,
green peppers, onions and seasonings.
Jambolan - Also known as the Java plum, this
fruit is native to India and parts of southeast
Asia. It is known for its pear-like shape and purple
skin. The flesh can be slightly purple or white with
a tart flavor.
Jardiniere (a la) - Garden vegetables used as a
garnish, usually carrots, green beans, onions and
Jarlsberg Cheese - A Norwegian cow's milk cheese,
similar to Swiss cheese, that is firm in texture and
nutty in flavor.
Jasmine Rice - An aromatic long-grain rice from
Thailand that is soft and sticky when cooked.
Jell - To congeal
Jelly - A clear, cooked mixture of fruit juice,
sugar, and usually pectin.
Jelly Roll - A cake made of a layer of sponge
cake spread with jelly or other filling then rolled
Jelly Roll Pan - A 1-inch-deep rectangular baking
sheet used for making the thin sponge cakes used for
Jerk - A Jamaican process where meat and poultry
are marinated in herbs and spices, then cooked over
a pimento (allspice) wood fire. Jerk spices are
Jerky - Thin strips of dried meat. Jerky is
traditionally made from beef and dried in the sun,
but can be made from other meats and prepared in an
oven; it has a salty flavor and tough, chewy
Jerusalem Artichoke - A tuber, also called
sunchoke, with a very firm flesh and a flavour
reminiscent of globe artichokes. These are used as a
vegetable, in soups, or cooked and served in salads.
Jicama - A brown-skinned root vegetable with a
crunchy white flesh and mildly sweet flavor, jicama
is good both raw and cooked. Also referred to as the
Jigger - A liquid measure equal to 1 1/2 fluid
Johnnycake, Johnny Cake, Hoe Cake - A mixture of
cornmeal, salt, and boiling water or cold milk that
is shaped into a large patty shape and fried like a
Juice - The liquid extracted from any raw food,
Jujube - A datelike fruit, most often red with
yellow flesh, whose taste resembles that of a prune.
Originally from China, jujube is now also cultivated
Julep - A sweet alcoholic drink flavored with the
leaves of an aromatic plant; from the Arab "julab,"
for rosewater. The most famous julep is the American
Julienne - To cut into long thin match-size
strips, approximately 1/8-inch wide and 2-inches
Juniper Berry - Aromatic blue-black berry of an
evergreen bush native to Europe and America. Juniper
berries are most often found dried, as they are too
bitter to eat raw, and are used to flavor meats
(especially game), sauces, stews, and gin. Crushing
before use helps release their flavor. This fruit is
also known as a box huckleberry.
Jumble - An rich old-fashioned sugar cookie.
Junket - Sweetened milk, thickened with rennin
and used as a cream substitute or dessert. Junket is
usually served cold and can be accompanied by fruit.
Jus - Natural juices released by roasting meats.
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Kaffir Lime - The Kaffir lime is widely grown
throughout south-east Asia. The rind and leaves are
used for flavouring Thai curries. The fruit is
yellow when mature but harvested while still green.
Kahlúa - A coffee-flavored liqueur form Mexico.
Kaiser Roll - A large, round yeast roll with a
crisp crust, used for making sandwiches or served as
a breakfast roll.
Kalamata Olives, Calamata Olives - A dark purple,
fruity Greek olive.
Kale - Curly-leafed member of the cabbage family
which grows in loose bunches. The strong-tasting
leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium,
calcium and iron; frequently eaten boiled or used as
Kasseri Cheese - Greek cheese made from sheep's
or goat's milk, with a sharp, salty flavor. As it
matures, it develops a hard texture that is perfect
for grating. This white cheese is delicious plain,
grated over hot foods or used in cooking, and is the
cheese used in the Greek dish saganaki. An American
version of kasseri is made with cow's milk.
Karo - Commercial brand of syrup that is
available in dark or light.
Kasha - Buckwheat grouts.
Kebab, Kabob, Kabab - Cubes of food (meat,
poultry, seafood, fruit or vegetables) placed on a
skewer then marinated before cooking. Vegetables and
fruit can be alternated with the meat and then
Kedgeree - An Indian dish containing rice,
lentils and onions. An English variation adds smoked
fish, hard-boiled eggs and a cream curry sauce. Also
known as kegeree.
Ketchup, Catsup - A thick and spicy tomato sauce
used as a condiment or a cooking ingredient.
Kettle - A large metal pot, usually made of iron,
with a looped handle and a lid.
Key Lime - Small, tart, yellowish limes from
Kidney Bean - A medium-sized, kidney-shaped bean
with a dark red skin, cream-colored firm flesh and a
bland flavor. Available fresh, dried and canned.
Kielbasa, Kielbasi, Kielbasy, Polish Sausage - A
seasoned and smoked sausage usually made from pork.
Kim Chee Cucumber - A very spicy pickled cabbage
mixture of Korean origin. Also known as Korean
Kippered Herring - Smoked or dried herring.
Kirsch - A clear brandy distilled from cherry
juice and pits. Usually added to cherries jubilee or
Kitchen Bouquet - A trade name for a bottled
sauce used for flavor and color enhancement.
Kitchen Shears - Strong, sharp scissors with
multiple uses including cutting fish, poultry, meat
and produce. One blade may have a serrated edge.
This tool can snip herbs and crack nuts too.
Kitchen String - Linen string used for trussing
poultry and securing stuffed or rolled pieces of
meat before cooking. Also known as butcher's twine.
Kiwi; Kiwi Fruit; Kiwifruit - A small ovoid
shaped fruit with a greenish-brown skin covered with
fuzz, lime green flesh that becomes more yellow
toward the center, many small, edible black seeds
and a sweet-tart flavor.
Knackwurst; Knockwurst - A plump German sausage
made from beef and pork and seasoned with garlic;
can be boiled, broiled or grilled and is
traditionally served with sauerkraut. The name
resulted from the cracking sound the casing makes
when first bitten into: "knack" is the German word
Knead - To work dough with the heels of your
hands in a pressing and folding motion until it
becomes smooth and elastic.
Knives - Knives come in many shapes and sizes,
but all have at least one thing in common. A knife,
by definition, is a sharp-edged cutting instrument
with a handle.
Kohlrabi - A hybrid of cabbage and turnips; the
pale green or pale purple bulbous stem is mild and
sweet when young. The bulb tastes like a mild, sweet
turnip. Kohlrabi is available from midspring to
Kombu - A large edible seaweed used in Japanese
Kosher - Food prepared according to Jewish
dietary laws. . Kosher dietary laws identify three
classifications of foods: meat, dairy and pareve.
Pareve (parve) refers to a neutral food that can be
used with either meat or dairy.
Kosher Salt - urified, refined rock salt approved
for use on kosher meats. It is also used for
pickling because it contains no magnesium carbonate
and will not cloud brine solutions. Also known as
coarse salt or pickling salt.Kugelhopf - A Central
European yeast cake filled with raisins (or
currants), nuts and candied fruit and baked in a
special fluted tube pan.
Kugelhopf - A Central European yeast cake filled
with raisins (or currants), nuts and candied fruit
and baked in a special fluted tube pan.
Kuminost Cheese; Kumminost - Danish semifirm
cheese made from whole or skimmed cow's milk, having
either a natural or waxed rind and a pale yellow to
orange interior; flavored with cumin, caraway seed
and clove. Kuminost is excellent in casseroles and
for snacks and sandwiches. Also known as nökkelost.
Kumquat - A fruit which looks like a tiny orange.
The rind is sweet and the flesh is tart. The fruit
can be eaten rind and all. Usually found pickled,
candied or in preserves or marmalade.
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Ladle - 1. To move portions of a food using a ladle.
2. A utensil with a cup-like bowl and a long hooked
or pierced handle used to pour sauces and liquids.
Lait - (French) Milk.
Lamb, Yearling - The meat of a sheep slaughtered
when less than 1 year old.
Larding or Larder - To insert strips of fat into
pieces of meat, so that the cooked meat stays moist
Lasagna - 1. Wide, flat Italian pasta sheets with
ruffled or smooth edges. 2. An Italian dish made
with boiled lasagna layered with ricotta and
mozzarella cheese, meats and/or vegetables and
topped with a tomato or meat sauce and baked.
Lavender - This aromatic relative of the mint
plant is often used to make herb tea.
Lean - The FDA approved food labeling term used
to describe meat, poultry, game, fish or shellfish
that contains less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4
grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per
serving or per 100 grams.
Leaven - To insert gas into a dough or batter by
adding an ingredient, such as yeast, baking powder
or baking soda, causing it to expand, or rise,
lightening the texture of the baked product.
Lebkuchen - A thick, cake-like German cookie made
with honey, spices, citron and ground almonds. The
dough is often cut into shapes or baked in
decorative molds, then topped with a hard
confectioner's sugar glaze.
Leek - Has a thick, cylindrical white stalk with
a slightly bulbous root end and dark green leaves.
The tender, white stalk has a flavor that is sweeter
and stronger than a scallion but milder than an
Legumes - Plant species that have seed pods that
split along both sides when ripe. Some edible
legumes are beans, lentils, peas, etc.
Lemon - A citrus fruit with a bright yellow
pitted skin, juicy flesh and a very tart, sour
Lemon Grass - Light green stalks with a citrus
flavor and scent used in Thai and other Asian
cuisines for flavoring.
Lentils - A legume with small flat seeds used in
soups and stews.
Lettuce - Any of a variety of plants of the genus
Lactuca grown worldwide. Lettuce leaves are consumed
fresh in salads or used as a garnish. There are
three principal types of lettuces: butterhead, crisp
head (iceberg) and leaf.
Liaison - A mixture of cream and egg yolks used to
thicken and enrich soups and sauces.
Light - FDA term used to define food that has 33
percent fewer calories, 50 percent less fat, or 50
percent less sodium than the regularly used food.
Liguria Olive - An Italian salt-brine-cured black
olive with a strong flavor; sometimes packed with
Lima Beans - There are two common varieties of
lima beans: the Fordhook and the baby (also called
sieva). The pale green bodies of both varieties have
a slight kidney-shaped curve. The Fordhook is larger
and plumper than the baby lima. Limas can be used as
a side dish, in soups and in the traditional dish
Limburger Cheese - An extremely strong-smelling,
semihard, fermented cheese first made in Limburg,
Belgium, but now more commonly produced in Germany.
Limburger has a yellow to reddish-brown rind, a
yellow interior and a paste-like consistency.
Lime - A small ovoid citrus fruit with a thin,
pitted, green skin. Limes have juicy, pale green
pulp and a very tart flavor.
Linguine - Long, narrow, moderately thick strands
Liqueur - A sweet, aromatic alcoholic drink
typically served after a meal. Liqueurs are often
used as flavorings in baked desserts and dessert
Litchi, Lychee - A small fruit from China and the
West Indies, with a hard shell and sweet, juicy
flesh. The flesh is white with a gelatinous texture
and a musky, perfumed flavour.
Loaf Pan - A deep rectangular baking pan
available in various sizes; used for baking breads,
cakes and meatloaf.
Lobster - Any of several varieties of saltwater
crustaceans; with a long jointed body, large tail
and front claws, and legs surrounded by a
reddish-brown or blue-black shell which turns bright
red when cooked. The firm white meat has a rich,
Loganberries - Possibly a raspberry-blackberry
hybrid, this berry is juicy, sweet and tart. Plump,
purple-red loganberries can be used to make jams and
Lo Mein - 1. A dish consisting meat and poultry
with water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, green onions,
mushrooms and Chinese egg noodles. 2. Fresh Chinese
Loquat - A small pear-shaped fruit native to
China, though also known as a Japanese medlar or
Japanese plum; has yellowish-orange skin and juicy
Lovage - A large, celery-like herb with a thick
stalk and a lemony, musky, celery-like flavor.
Low Calorie - A food containing 40 calories or
less per serving.
Low Cholesterol - A food containing 20 milligrams
or less of saturated fat and 2 grams or less of
saturated fat per serving.
Low Fat, Low-fat - A food containing 3 grams of
fat or less per serving.
Low Saturated Fat - A food containing 1 gram of
fat or less per serving and not more than 15 percent
of its calories from saturated fatty acids.
Low Sodium - A food containing 140 milligrams or
less per serving.
Lox - Very thinly sliced brine-cured, cold-smoked
salmon; slightly saltier than other forms of smoked
Lugano Olive - Italian black olive, sometimes
packed with olive leaves; usually very salty.
Lumache - Italian term for snails; describes
large pasta shells designed for stuffing.
Lyonnaise Potatoes - A French side dish of sliced
potatoes sautéed with onions.
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Macadamia Nut - An oily, marble size, white nut with
a buttery rich flavor. The macadamia nut's shell is
exceptionally hard. It has an extremely high fat
Macaroni - Pasta made from semolina and water,
usually refers to tube shapes, but can also include
shells, twists and ribbons.
Mace - A sweet, but pungent spice, made from the
outer covering of the nutmeg, and has a very similar
Macerate - To soak fruit or other food in liquid
to infuse it with the flavor of the liquid.
Mâche - A plant with small, tender, dark green
leaves and a slightly nutty flavor; used in salads
or cooked. It is often found growing wild in
cornfields, but it is difficult to find in stores
and can be quite expensive.
Mackerel - The king mackerel (also known as
kingfish) is probably the best known of this family
of saltwater fish found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Mackerel has firm, savory flavored flesh and is
available fresh, smoked or salted.
Madeira - A sweet, Portuguese desert wine often
served as an apéritif or as an after dinner drink.
Madeleine - A small, scalloped, shell shape cake
from a butter and egg rich batter.
Mafalda, Mafalde(pl) - Wide, flat noodle with
ruffled edges, resembles a lasagna noodle, only
Maigre - French term for a dish containing no
meat. It may also refer to lean or low-fat cooking.
Mahi Mahi, Dolphinfish - Though this fish is
actually a type of dolphin, it should not be
confused with the dolphin that is a mammal. Mahi
mahi is a firm, flavorful fish, excellent grilled or
Mallet - A tool usually made of sturdy hard wood
with a metal-reinforced striking surface; used to
flatten thin cuts of meat or poultry and for
cracking the shells of cooked crabs and lobsters.
Malt - 1. A fountain drink that is a thick blend
of malted milk powder, ice cream, milk and
flavoring. 2. A grain like barley that has been
sprouted, kiln-dried and ground into sweet-flavored
powder. The malt powder is used to brew beer, make
vinegar and is used as an additive to many foods.
Maltagliate - Irregular, triangle- or
diamond-shaped pasta pieces, half the size of a
postage stamp, often used as an ingredient in soups.
Mandarin - 1. A cooking style from China. The
word mandarin literally means "Chinese official,"
suggesting the style is the aristocratic epitome of
Chinese cuisine. 2. A citrus fruit with loose yellow
to reddish-orange rind that is very easy to peel.
The flesh is orange in color and has a sweet flavor.
Mandoline - A hand-operated slicing and cutting
apparatus. Mandolines are used to cut fruits and
Mango - A beautiful tropical fruit which grows in
a variety of shapes and sizes; the skin may be
green, rosy red, gold or all three as the fruit
ripens. The juicy, smooth, golden flesh is fragrant
and sweetly tart, with one large flat seed.
Manhattan Clam Chowder - Chowder made with quahog
clams, tomatoes, onions, celery, and potatoes.
Manicotti - Large, tube shaped pasta that is
normally stuffed with a meat, vegetable and cheese
mixture and topped with a red sauce and baked.
Manzanilla Olive - Spanish green olive, lightly
lye-cured then packed in salt and lactic acid;
available unpitted and/or stuffed.
Maple Syrup - Maple sap that has been reduced by
boiling until a thick syrup with a sweet distinctive
taste is formed.
Maraschino Cherry - A pitted cherry soaked in a
flavored, sugar syrup and dyed red or green.
Maraschino cherries are used for drink and food
Marble - To smoothly whirl one food into another.
Marbling - The streaks of intramuscular fat found
in meat (especially beef) which add to the meat's
flavor and tenderness. Marbling is a primary factor
in determining a meat's quality grade.
Marengo - A chicken dish containing mushrooms,
wine, tomatoes, pearl onions and garlic.
Margarine - A solid fat invented in 1869 to
replace butter in cooking and baking. Originally, it
was composed entirely of beef fat. Today, margarine
is made with a variety of fats (usually vegetable),
water, whey, yellow coloring, and nutritional
Marinade, To Marinate - A liquid seasoning blend or
dry spice rub for foods, used for flavor enhancement
and tenderizing. Marinades are added to foods and
then allowed to set for a period of time. Liquid
marinades are usually acid-based with wine, vinegar,
yogurt or lemon juice with added spices.
Marinade - A seasoned liquid, usually containing
an acid, in which foods such as meat or vegetables
are soaked (marinated) before cooking.
Marinara Sauce - Literally, "sailor-style" in
Italian, this sauce can be made either red or white,
but it always contains garlic, tomatoes, olive oil,
oregano, and vinegar and/or wine.
Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram - A Mediterranean herb
of the mint family that has short oval, pale green
leaves, a sweet flavor suggestive of thyme and
oregano and a strong aroma.
Marmalade - A jellied fruit preserve that
contains pieces of rind (usually citrus fruit).
Marsala - An Italian, dessert wine, served as an
after dinner drink or as an apéritif. Marsala is
available in dry and sweet.
Marzipan - A mixture of almond paste, sugar and
egg whites (of ground almonds, sugar, and egg
whites) used to cover dessert cakes or to mold and
shape for decorations on pastries.
Masa, Masa Harina - Masa is the dough used mainly
for tortillas and tamales. It is made from dried
corn kernels which has been cooked in limewater,
then ground while wet. Masa Harina is flour made
from dried masa.
Mascarpone Cheese - An extremely rich cream
cheese from Italy.
Mash - To press or crush a food into a smooth
Mask - To cover a dish with sauce or aspic after
it has been cooked but prior to serving. It also
refers to over-seasoning a dish to the point where
all other flavors are indiscernible.
Matelote - Stew containing freshwater fish, wine
Matzo Meal - Ground matzo (unleavened bread made
of only wheat flour and water), which is used in a
variety of foods including matzo balls (dumplings)
Mayonnaise - A creamy, thick white sauce
consisting of oil and vinegar emulsified with egg
yolks. It is used as a spread or dressing. It is
sold commercially and comes in reduced fat and non
Mead - A fermented beverage consisting of water,
honey, and yeast (or hops) with flavorings.
Measuring Cups - Containers used to measure the
volume of dry or liquid foods.
Meat - 1. The flesh (muscles, fat and related
tissues) of animals used for food. 2. The edible
part of nuts.
Medallion - A very small, round cut of pork,
veal, or beef.
Melba Sauce - A sauce composed of pureed,
strained fresh raspberries, red currant jelly, sugar
and cornstarch. It is traditionally served with
Peach Melba, but can be used as a topping for other
Melba Toast - A very thin and very dry toast that
is served with soups and salads.
Melon - A member of the gourd family. There are
two groups of melons: muskmelon and watermelon, of
which there are many varieties.
Melt - To alter a food from a solid to a liquid
Menudo - A Mexican soup containing tripe, green
chiles, hominy and spices.
Meringue - Egg whites beaten until they are stiff
and creamy, then sweetened. Primarily used as the
topping for cream pies, or baked as cookies.
Mesclun - French word for "mixed" that refers to
a salad of assorted small salad leaves and herbs.
Mesquite - A hardwood tree grown in the Southwest
US, used to impart a distinct flavor in barbecue and
Mezzani - Smooth tubular pasta.
Microwave Cooking - A heating method that cooks
with high-frequency radio waves that cause food
molecules to pulse, creating friction that heats and
cooks the food.
Migas - A mixture of bread or tortilla crumbs
with scrambled eggs, chiles, onions and seasonings.
Occasionally, chorizo (sausage) is added to the
Milk Chocolate - Popular form of eating chocolate
because of its mild, mellow flavor and usually
contains about 12% milk solids. Milk chocolate has a
less robust flavor than sweet or semisweet
Milk Shake - Milk, ice cream, and a syrup or
other flavorings mixed in a blender until the ice
cream is soft enough to be sipped through a straw.
Millet - A small, round grain boiled or grounded
into flour. It does not contain gluten.
Mince - To cut into extremely fine pieces.
Mincemeat - A spicy, sweet combination of candied
and fresh fruits, wine, spices, and beef fat.
Primarily used filling for pies.
Minestrone - An Italian all-vegetable soup
containing an assortment of vegetables and pasta or
beans or rice.
Mint - An herb with a fresh, peppery flavor. Mint
is available fresh, dried, and as an extract.
Mint Julep - A popular drink from the southern
U.S. containing fresh mint, bourbon, and crushed
Mirin - A sweet, rice wine used in cooking
Miso - Fermented soybean paste that is an
indispensable Japanese flavoring ingredientIt is
used in sauces, soups, marinades, dressings, dips
and main dishes.
Mix - To combine ingredients with a spoon or
beaters until well integrated.
Mix Until Just Moistened - To combine dry
ingredients with liquid ingredients until the dry
ingredients are thoroughly moistened, but the
mixture is still slightly lumpy.
Mocha - A coffee and chocolate mixture.
Mock Duck - Fresh, organic wheat gluten that is
folded and pressed creating a meat substitute to
duck in Buddhist and other vegetarian dishes.
Available canned in Asian markets.
Mojo - Cuban seasoning mix made of garlic, olive
oil, and sour oranges It is used as a dip, marinade,
or sauce for vegetables and meats.
Molasses - A thick, sweet, brownish-black liquid
that is a by-product of sugar-refining; used in
breads, cookies and pastries for its distinctive,
slightly bitter flavor and dark color.
Molcajete Y Tejolete - The Mexican term for
mortar (molcajete) and pestle (tejolete); sometimes
made from volcanic rock.
Mold - To shape food, usually by pouring the
liquefied food into a mold. When the liquid is
cooled it will retain the shape of the mold.
Mole - A Mexican specialty, mole is a dark,
reddish-brown sauce, often served with chicken or
turkey. Mole is made from a variety of ingredients,
including ground seeds, chile peppers, onion,
garlic, and chocolate.
Monkfish - A saltwater fish of which only the
tail meat is eaten.
Monosodium Glutamate - A sodium salt found in
wheat, beets, and soy bean products. It is used
extensively in Chinese cooking, and thought to help
accentuate the flavors of certain foods. However
some people have shown an allergic reaction.
Monounsaturated Fat - Monounsaturated fats have
been shown to reduce LDLs, but have relatively no
effect on HDLs, except for olive oil, which can
increase the beneficial HDLs. Other sources of
monounsaturated fat can be obtained from canola oil,
peanut oil, avocados, almonds, cashews and peanuts.
Mont Blanc - A classic French dessert made with
sweetened chestnut purée. The purée is passed
through a ricer and formed into a fluffy mound on a
platter. The dessert is then topped with whipped
Monterey Jack Cheese - Deriving its name from the
California city where it originated, this cheese is
very versatile. Usually available unaged, it is mild
and has an ivory color.
Monter au beurre - To whisk cold butter into a
hot liquid to give the liquid a silky consistency
and depth of flavor.
Morel - A variety of wild mushroom, the morel is
cone-shaped and has a nutty, earthy flavor.
Mornay Sauce - A basic béchamel sauce to which
cheese has been added. It is sometimes varied with
the addition of eggs or stock.
Mortar and Pestle - A bowl and blunt tool for
pounding seasonings into a paste or powder. Often
made of marble. The traditional method of making
basil pesto is to place all ingredients into the
mortar and blend.
Mostaccioli - Literally means "Small Mustaches".
This tubular pasta goes well with sauce, used in
salads, baked in casseroles, or made into stir fry
Mother Sauces - A French concept that classifies
all sauces into five foundation sauces called
"mother" or "grand sauces." From these five sauces,
all sauces can be made. They are: 1. Demiglace or
brown; 2. Velouté or blond; 3. Béchamel or white; 4.
Hollandaise or butter; 5. Tomato or red.
Moussaka - A layered dish of eggplant and lamb
with tomatoes and onions in a white sauce.
Mousse - A sweet or savory dish, mousse is
usually made with egg whites or whipped cream to
give the light, airy texture. In French, the word
means "froth" or "foam."
Mozzarella Cheese - Mozzarella is known as a mild
cheese with an elastic texture. It is fairly soft,
requires little ripening time, and has excellent
MSG - This natural amino acid is found in
seaweed, vegetables, cereal gluten and the residue
of sugar beets, and is used as a flavor enhancer.
Muenster Cheese; Munster Cheese - A semi-ripe
Alsatian cheese made with whole cow's milk, flavored
with caraway and cumin. It may cure up to three
months before consumption.
Muesli - The German term for mixture, muesli may
contain raw or toasted grains (wheat, oats, barley,
etc.) nuts, bran, dried fruits, wheat germ, sugar
and dried milk solids. Muesli is often eaten like
cold cereal with milk, or with yogurt or fruit
Muffin - A drop batter baked in individual pans
and served as a quick bread.
Mull - To flavor a beverage, such as cider or
wine, by heating it with spices or other flavorings.
Mung Beans - Small green beans used in both
Indian and Chinese cooking. They do not require
presoaking and cooked mung beans have a tender
texture and slightly sweet flavor. The sprouts are
also used in salads.
Muscadine Grape - A thick-skinned purple grape
with a musky flavor, muscadine grapes are found in
the Southeastern United States. The grapes are eaten
as is, and often used to make jelly and wine.
Mushroom - Any of many species of cultivated or
wild fleshy fungus, usually consisting of a stem, a
cap (which may have gills) and mycelium; available
fresh or dried and eaten raw, reconstituted or
Muskmelon - One of the two broad classes of
melon. Muskmelons have been grown for thousands of
years by many cultures. The two main skin textures
are netted (such as cantaloupe), and smooth (crenshaw
Mussel - A bivalve mollusk with an extremely
thin, oblong shell that can range from dark blue to
bright green to yellowish-brown. The creamy-tan meat
has a slightly sweet flavor. Mussels can be cooked
in a variety of ways including steaming, frying,
baking or used as an ingredient in dishes such as
Mustard - A spice with a pungent flavor,
available as seeds or ground, or a condiment
prepared with it.
Mustard Greens - Leaves of the mustard plant,
mustard greens are a very popular vegetable in the
South. The leaves have a pungent mustard flavor, and
may be found fresh, frozen, or canned. Mustard
greens must be washed thoroughly, then may be
steamed, sauteed, or simmered. They're usually
cooked with seasonings and ham, pork, or bacon.
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Nachos - An hors d'oeuvre of tostados topped with
jack cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno chile.
Napa Cabbage - This oval-shaped broad-leafed head
has very crisp, pale green crinkled leaves and a
sweet, delicate flavor. It is used extensively in
stir-fried dishes and soups, and absorbs flavors
Nasturtium - All parts of the nasturtium are
eaten, except the roots. The leaves and stems are
peppery, and may be added to salads or sandwiches.
Whole flowers may be used as a garnish, and seeds
and buds can be pickled like capers.
Natto - A Japanese flavoring and table condiment
made from soybeans that have been steamed, fermented
and mashed. Natto has a gummy texture and strong
cheeselike flavor; often mixed with other
ingredients such as soy sauce and mustard.
Navy Bean - A variety of kidney bean; small and
ovoid with a white skin and flesh; a staple of the
U.S. Navy since the 1880s, it is also known as the
beautiful bean, Boston bean, and Yankee bean.
Nectarine - A sweet, firm relative of the peach
with smooth skin. Select nectarines that have rich
color (red swatches over a bright golden yellow
background), a fragrant aroma and a plumpness that
gives slightly to the touch.
Neufchatel Cheese - A soft unripened cheese
originally from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. It has a
fat content of 44-48%. Philadelphia sells it as
low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
Newburg - A rich dish of cooked lobster, shrimp,
or other shellfish in a sauce made of cream, butter,
egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings. The dish is often
served over toast points.
Niçoise Olive - Small French black (harvested
fully ripe) olive with a high pit-to-meat ratio.
Niçoise olives are brine-cured and packed in olive
oil, often with herbs. They can vary in color from
purple-brown to brown-black, and have a rich, nutty,
Niçoise, A La - Food cooked in the manner of the
chefs of the French city of Nice, generally includes
a garnish of garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black
olives, capers and lemon juice.
Noisette - Very small medallions of meat.
Nonpareil - A tiny hard candy used to decorate
cookies, candy, cakes, etc.
Non-Reactive Pan - A non-porous pan which does
not produce a chemical reaction when it comes into
contact with acidic foods. An aluminum pan is
reactive, while stainless steel, glass, and enamel
Non-Stick Cookware - Cookware that has been
coated with teflon that allows for cooking with
little or no oil or grease.
Noodles - Type of pasta made from durum flour,
water and egg solids. By federal regulations, pasta
made without egg solids cannot be defined as
Nopalitas - Fleshy leaves of the prickly pear, or
nopal cactus. Nopales have a tart, green bean-like
flavor. The thorns are shaved off before using, then
they are usually simmered until tender then used in
salads, scrambled eggs, and other dishes.
Nougat - A candy made from sugar and honey mixed
with nuts. This mixture is then formed into slabs
Nutmeg - The hard seed of a yellow fruit from a
tree (Myristica fragrans) native to the East Indies;
has an oval shape and smooth texture with a strong,
sweet aroma and flavor; used ground (grated) in
sweet and savory dishes.
Nut Mill - A hand-crank tool used to produce nut
flour. Shelled nuts are placed in a hopper on top of
the unit and the crank is rotated, pressing the nuts
against a grating drum. The nuts are powdered
without releasing their natural oil.
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Oat Bran - The outer casing of the oat, often used
as a high-fiber nutrient supplement. Thought to
fight against high cholesterol, oat bran is high in
vitamin B-1 and contains a good amount of vitamins
B-2 and E. It is available in health-food stores and
Oatmeal - Oats that have been cleaned, toasted,
hulled and cleaned again; most often cooked and
served as cereal. There are several varieties of
oatmeal. Old-fashioned oats (also called regular
rolled oats) have been steamed and flattened by huge
rollers and take about 15 minutes to cook. The
quick-cooking variety of rolled oats (they cook in
about five minutes) are groats that have been cut
into pieces before being steamed and rolled into
O'Brien Potatoes - A dish of diced potatoes,
onions, and sweet peppers or pimientos, fried until
browned and crisp.
Oeuf - The French word for "egg."
Okra - A vegetable brought to the U.S. South by
African slaves. Okra pods are green and ridged. When
cooked, okra gives off a viscous substance which may
serve as a thickener in some dishes.
Olive - The small fruit of a tree native to the
Mediterranean region; has a single pit, high oil
content, green color before ripening and green or
black color after ripening and an inedibly bitter
flavor when raw; eaten on its own after washing,
soaking and pickling, or pressed for oil; available
in a range of sizes (from smallest to largest):
medium, colossal, supercolossal and jumbo.
Olive Oil - An oil obtained by pressing
tree-ripened olives; has a distinctive fruity, olive
flavor and is graded according to its degree of
acidity; used as a cooking medium, flavoring and
Omega-3 Oils - A classification of fatty acids
found in some plants and in all sea creatures; found
to be beneficial to coronary health (purportedly
lowering the bad LDL cholesterol and raising the
good HDL) as well as to brain growth and
Omelet - Seasoned eggs that are beaten and fried.
The eggs will puff up at which time, they are rolled
or folded over.
Omelet Pan - A shallow pan with sloping sides, a
flat bottom and long handle.
Onion - Bulb vegetables related to the lily, with
a characteristic strong flavor and odor.
On the Half Shell - This phrase usually describes
oysters served on the bottom shell, either raw on a
bed of crushed ice or cooked on a bed of rock salt.
Open-faced - A sandwich prepared with just one
piece of bread and topped with a wide variety of
meats, vegetables or cheeses; the sandwich can be
served hot or cold.
Orange - Any of a variety of citrus (Citrus
sinensis) with juicy, orange-colored segmented
flesh, a thin to moderately thick orange-colored
rind and a flavor ranging from bitter to tart to
sweet; depending on the variety, an orange can be
eaten fresh, cooked in sweet or savory dishes,
juiced or used as a flavoring or aromatic.
Orange Roughy - A mild flavored New Zealand fish
with white flesh, orange roughy is also low in fat.
Oregano - An herb (Origanum vulgare) and the wild
form of marjoram; has a woody stalk with clumps of
tiny, dark green leaves that have a pungent, peppery
flavor and are used fresh or dried, principally in
Italian and Greek cuisines; also known as wild
Organic Food - Food grown without the use of any
chemicals, including synthetic fertilizers,
pesticides or fungicides. No artificial coloring or
flavoring or other additives can be used in
processing foods labeled organic. Specifics vary
from state to state.
Orgeat Syrup - A sweet syrup used in cocktails,
orgeat syrup is made with almonds, sugar, and rose
water or orange-flower water.
Orrechietti - Pasta shaped by pressing the point
of a knife into a small slice of dough, resulting in
a shape similar to a small ear.
Orzo - Italian for barley and used to describe
Ouzo - A clear anise-flavored liqueur from
Oven Bag - A heat-resistant nylon bag for cooking
meals without basting or tending.
Oxalic Acid - Oxalic acid is found naturally in
many plants, but is poisonous in excessive amounts.
Spinach, rhubarb, sorrel all contain measurable
amounts of oxalic acid. It actually forms insoluble
compounds with calcium and iron which inhibit their
absorption by the human body, thus diminishing the
purported nutritional value of some vegetables,
Oyster - Bivalve mollusks with a hard, rough gray
shell and creamy-beige to pale-gray meat.
Oyster Mushroom - A smooth-capped mushroom with a
fan shape and mild oyster-like flavor. They're found
dried or fresh in many supermarkets and most
Oyster Sauce - A bottled all-purpose Chinese
seasoning made from oysters, water, salt,cornstarch,
and caramel coloring.
Oysters Rockefeller - This creation was born in
New Orleans in the late 1890s, and was reportedly
named for John D. Rockefeller because of how rich it
is. The dish is composed of oysters on the
half-shell baked with a mixture of spinach, shallots
and celery then topped with bread crumbs.
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Packed - Pressed or mashed together tightly, filling
the measuring utensil with as much of the ingredient
Paella - A Spanish dish consisting of rice,
saffron, a variety of meat and shellfish, garlic,
onions, peas, tomatoes, and other vegetables. It's
named for the wide, shallow pan it's cooked in.
Palm Hearts - Hearts of young palm trees.
Palm Sugar - Known as gula jawa (Indonesian),
gula Malacca (Malaysian), nahm tahn beep (Thai).
Ivory to light caramel colored sugar cakes. Its
flavor is extracted from coconut flower or palm. It
is similar to brown sugar. In fact, if you can't
find it, you can substitute maple sugar or brown
sugar blended with a little maple syrup (to moisten)
for palm sugar.
Pan Fry - To brown and cook foods in fat in a
shallow pan, where the fat does not completely cover
Panbroil - To cook a food in a skillet without
added fat, removing any fat as it accumulates.
Pancetta - An Italian cured meat made from the
belly (pancia) of the big (the same cut used for
bacon). It is salted but lightly spiced, but not
Panforte - A dense, flat Italian cake filled with
hazelnuts, almonds, honey, candied citron and citrus
peel, cocoa and spices.
Pansotti - A stuffed, triangular pasta popular in
the Italian region of Liguria.
Papaya - Native to North America, the papaya is a
large fruit which is golden yellow when ripe. Ripe
papaya has an exotic sweet-tart flavor. The fruit is
sometimes called pawpaw.
Papillote, En - A food (ex. fish with a vegetable
garnish) enclosed in parchment paper or greased
paper wrapper and baked; the paper envelope is
usually slit open tableside so that the diner can
enjoy the escaping aroma.
Pappardelle - Plain pasta, usually homemade,
shaped in broad ribbons with fluted edges, cut into
short pieces (¾-inch wide by 12 inches long).
Paprika - A blend of dried red-skinned chiles;
the flavor can range from slightly sweet and mild to
pungent and moderately hot and the color can range
from bright red-orange to deep blood red; used in
Central European and Spanish cuisines as a spice and
garnish; also known as Hungarian pepper.
Paraffin - A waxy substance used for coating
items such as cheese and the tops of jars of jams
and jellies to keep air out, thus preventing
Parboil - To boil a food briefly, until partially
done. A food might be parboiled before adding it to
faster-cooking ingredients to insure all ingredients
are evenly cooked.
Parchment Paper - A heavy moisture and
grease-resistant paper used to line baking pans and
wrap foods to be baked.
Parcook - To partially cook an item before
storing or finishing by any number of other cooking
Pare - To remove skins and peels from fruits or
vegetables with a small knife or peeler.
Pareve - A Jewish term which describes food made
without dairy or animal
ingredients. According to Jewish dietary laws,
animal food can't be eaten at the same meal with
dairy food, but pareve food may be eaten with
Parfait - A dessert consisting of ice cream,
layered with a dessert sauce, fruit, or liquer.
Parmesan Cheese - A cow's milk cheese whose taste
ranges from sweet to sharp. It is a hard cheese,
most suitable for grating. Most often served with
Parsley - An herb (Petroselium crispum) with
long, slender stalks, small, curly dark green leaves
and a slightly peppery, tangy fresh flavor (the
flavor is stronger in the stalks, which are used in
a bouquet garni); generally used fresh as a
flavoring or garnish; also known as curly parsley.
Parsnip - A long, white root vegetable with
feathery green leaves. Its look and taste is similar
to a carrot and it can be cooked in much the same
Partially Set - Term for the state of a gelatin
mixture that has thickened to the consistency of
unbeaten egg whites.
Pasilla Chili Peppers - Medium-hot chili peppers
that are generally 6 inches to 8 inches long and 1
inch to 2 inches in diameter. These rich-flavored
peppers are blackish-brown in color and sometimes
referred to as chile negro.
Passion Fruit - This purple fruit has a smooth
skin that wrinkles as it ages and highly fragrant
orange pulp filled with many tiny edible seeds. The
flavor is tangy but sweet. It can be chilled and
eaten as is, added to fruit salads or used as a
flavoring for baked goods, preserves and beverages.
Pasta - Pasta may refer to any of a wide variety
of noodles from a variety of countries. Italian
pasta is usually made with a dough of durum or
semolina wheat flour, liquid, and sometimes egg.
Pasta made with semolina flour is generally
superior, since it doesn't absorb too much water and
stays somewhat firm when cooked al dente.
Pasteurize - To kill bacteria by heating liquids
to moderately high temperatures only briefly. French
scientist Louis Pasteur discovered the solution
while he was researching the cause of beer and wine
Pastina - A small pasta, of any shape but
frequently round; used in soups.
Pastry Bag - A cone-shaped bag with openings at
both ends. Food is placed into the large opening
then squeezed out the small opening which may be
fitted with a decorator tip. It has a variety of
uses, including decorating cakes and cookies,
forming pastries, or piping decorative edgings. Bags
may be made of cloth, plastic, or other materials.
Pastry Blender - A kitchen utensil with several
u-shaped wires attached to a handle. It's used to
cut solid fat (like shortening or butter) into flour
and other dry ingredients in order to evenly
distribute the fat particles.
Pastry Brush - A brush used to apply glaze or egg
wash to breads and other baked goods either before
or after baking.
Pastry Wheel - A utensil with a cutting wheel
attached to a handle. It's used to mark and cut
rolled-out dough, and may have a plain or decorative
Pat - To take the underside of the hand and
gently press a food. The purpose might be to pat dry
ingredients onto the surface so they will adhere
during cooking, or to pat with a towel to remove
Pâté - An appetizer, paté usually consists of
seasoned, finely ground or strained meat, poultry,
or fish. Paté is usually cooked in a crust or mold
(may be called terrine) and is often served with
crackers or toast.
Pate a Choux - Cream puff paste. It is a mixture
of boiled water, fat, and flour, beat in whole eggs.
Patty - A thin, round piece of food, such as a
hamburger patty or a peppermint patty.
Paupiettes - Thinly sliced meats wrapped around
Paysanne - French name avariety of vegetables cut
in a small square, usually about 1/4". Used in soups
or granish for meats and seafood.
Peach - A medium-sized stone fruit (Prunus
persica) native to China; has a fuzzy, yellow-red
skin, pale orange, yellow or white juicy flesh
surrounding a hard stone and a sweet flavor;
available as a clingstone and freestone.
Peach Melba - A dessert created in the late 1800s
by the famous French chef Escoffier for Dame Nellie
Melba, a popular Australian opera singer. It's made
with two peach halves that have been poached in
syrup and cooled. Each peach half is placed hollow
side down on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream,
then topped with Melba sauce (a raspberry sauce) and
sometimes with whipped cream and sliced almonds.
Peaks - The mounds made in a mixture. For example
egg white that has been whipped to stiffness. Peaks
are "stiff" if they stay upright or "soft" if they
Peanut - A legume and not a nut (Arachis hypogea),
it is the plant's nut-like seed that grows
underground; the hard nut has a papery brown skin
and is encased in a thin, netted tan pod and is used
for snacking and for making peanut butter and oil;
also known as a groundnut; earthnut, goober (from
the African work nguba) and goober pea.
Peanut Oil - Clear oil pressed from peanuts; very
useful in cooking and as a salad oil. Peanut oil has
a delicate flavor and high smoke point, making it
perfect for deep-frying.
Pear - A spherical to bell-shaped pome fruit (Pyrus
communis), generally with a juicy, tender, crisp
off-white flesh, moderately thin skin that can range
in color from celadon green to golden yellow to
tawny red and a flavor that can be sweet to spicy;
pears can be eaten out of hand or cooked and are
grown in temperate regions worldwide.
Pearl Onions - Mild-flavored onions about the
size of a small marble; often cooked as a side dish
or pickled as a condiment or garnish.
Peas - The edible seeds contained within the pods
of various vines; the seeds are generally shelled
and the pod discarded; although available fresh,
peas are usually marketed canned or frozen.
Pecan - The nut of a tree of the hickory family (Carya
oliviformis), native to North America; has a smooth,
thin, hard, tan shell enclosing a bilobed, golden
brown kernel with beige flesh and a high fat
Pecorino Romano - The Pecorino cheeses are made
from sheep's milk in Italy. Romano is the best
known. Parmesan is a good Romano substitute.
Pectin - Pectin is a natural substance used to
thicken jams, jellies, and preserves. Pectin is
naturally present in fruits, but most don't have
enough to jell. The alternative is to cook the
mixture until it's reduced to the desired
consistency. Pectin will only work when combined
with a specific balance of sugar and acid.
Peel - To remove the outside covering, such as
the rind or skin, of a fruit or vegetable with a
knife or vegetable peeler.
Penne - Italian for pen or quill and used to
describe short to medium-length straight tubes
(ridged or smooth) of pasta with diagonally cut
Pepper - The fruit of various members of the
Capsicum genus; native to the Western hemisphere, a
pepper has a hollow body with placental ribs
(internal white veins) to which tiny seeds are
attached (seeds are also attached to the stem end of
the interior); a pepper can be white, yellow, green,
brown, purple or red with a flavor ranging from
delicately sweet to fiery hot; the genus includes
sweet peppers and hot peppers.
Peppercorn - Peppercorns are small berries from a
vine plant. The black peppercorn is picked when it
is almost ripe, then dried. Whole ground or cracked,
black peppercorns produce our everyday black pepper.
The milder white pepper is made from the dried inner
kernel of the ripe berry.
Peppermint - An herb and member of the mint
family (Mentha piperita); has thin stiff, pointed
bright green, purple-tinged leaves and a pungent,
menthol flavor; used as a flavoring and garnish.
Perciatelli - Pasta whose shape is similar to
that of spaghetti, but with a hollow center; also
Persillade - A mixture of paste garlic, finely
chopped parsley, a little olive oil, and sometimes
Persimmon - A round fruit with a glossy skin that
can range in color from yellow to deep orange with
sweet, creamy orange flesh. All persimmons have a
characteristic astringent flavor that causes the
mouth to pucker when they are not ripe.
Pesto - Pesto is an Italian basil sauce. Many
variations of this sauce exist including different
nut based pestos, different herb based pestos, sun
dried tomato pesto, and black olive pesto.
Petit Four - Small bite-size cakes, petits fours
are usually square or diamond-shaped. They're
typically coated with icing and decorated.
Pheasant - A game bird with dark flesh and an
average weight of 1.5 to 2 lbs.
Phyllo - A Greek pastry, phyllo is made up of
tissue-thin layers of dough. The dough is used for
dishes such as baklava and spanikopita. It can
usually be found frozen in supermarkets. Phyllo is
sometimes spelled filo.
Picadillo - A Spanish dish made up of ground pork
and beef, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other foods,
depending on the region. In Mexico, picadillo is
used as a stuffing.
Picante - Spanish for flavored with hot peppers (chiles).
Picholine Olive - French green olive, salt-brine
cured, with a subtle, slightly salty flavor;
sometimes preserved with citric acid in the United
Pickapeppa Sauce - A sweet and sour, mild hot
pepper sauce from Jamaica.
Pickle - To preserve food in a vinegar mixture or
seasoned brine. Cucumbers, cauliflower, onions, baby
corn, and and watermelon rind are some of the most
popular foods to pickle.
Pickling Spice - A combination of spices usually
including mustard seed, bay leaves, cinnamon,
pepper, allspice, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom.
Pickling spices are used primarily for pickling
foods, but may also be used to season certain
Pico de Gallo - Literally rooster's beak, a
coarse uncooked tomato salsa.
Pierogi - Polish dumplings filled with a minced
mixture, such as pork, onions, cottage cheese and
Pilaf - A side dish of rice or other grains
cooked in a broth with seasonings and sometimes
tossed with vegetables or meat. Also known as pilau.
Pimiento or Pimento - A large red, sweet pepper.
Pimientos are usually found diced in cans and jars
and are added to dishes to enhance the color and
Pinch - As much of an ingredient that can be held
between the thumb and forefinger. A very small,
Pine Nuts - The blanched seeds from pine cones.
Other names are: Indian nut, piñon, pignoli, and
Pineapple - A tropical fruit (Ananas comosus)
with a spiny, diamond-patterned, greenish-brown skin
and swordlike leaves; the juicy yellow flesh
surrounds a hard core and has a sweet-tart flavor.
Pinon - Pine nuts, seeds of large pine cones.
Used in deserts and breads or roasted and enjoyed as
Pint - A unit of volume measurement equal to 16
fl. oz. in the U.S. system.
Pinto Bean - A medium-sized pale pink bean with
reddish-brown streaks; available dried; also known
as a crabeye bean and a red Mexican bean.
Pipe - To squeeze icing or other soft food
through a pastry bag to make a design or decorative
Piquant - A term which generally means a tangy
Piquante Sauce - A sauce made with shallots,
white wine vinegar, gherkins, parsley, and a variety
of herbs and seasonings.
Pit - To remove the seed from a piece of fruit by
cutting around the sides of the fruit and pulling
the seed away from the flesh.
Pita - A round, Middle Eastern flat bread made
from white or whole wheat flour. When a pita is
split, the pocket may be filled to make a sandwich.
Pizzelles - Thin decoratively patterned Italian
wafer cookies that are made in an iron similar to a
waffle iron. They may be flat or rolled into ice
Plantains - Also known as machos. The plantain is
a green skinned, pink fleshed banana which is
usually flatter and longer than a regular banana. It
also contains more starch and less sugar. It is
usually eaten fried, mashed, or in stews in South
American, African, and West Indian cuisine.
Plastic Wrap - A thin sheet of clear polymers
such as polyvinyl chloride; clings to surfaces and
is used to wrap foods for storage.
Plum - A small to medium-sized ovoid or spherical
stone fruit (Prunus domestica) that grows in
clusters; has a smooth skin that can be yellow,
green, red, purple or indigo blue, a juicy flesh,
large pit and sweet flavor.
Plum Sauce - Also known as duck sauce, plum sauce
is a Chinese condiment made from plums, apricots,
vinegar and sugar. It has a thick, jam-like
consistency and tart-sweet flavor. Plum sauce is
used predominately as a dipping sauce for roasted
meats and fried appetizers.
Poach - To cook food in liquid, at or just below
the boiling point. For eggs, meat, or fish, the
liquid is usually water or a seasoned stock; fruit
is generally poached in a sugar syrup.
Poblano Chili Pepper - A dark, sometimes almost
black green chili pepper with a mild flavor. Best
known for its use in "Chili Rellanos".
Poêle - A method of cooking (usually in a covered
pot) where foods are cooked in their own juices.
Also referred to as butter roasting.
Poi - A Hawaiian dish made from cooked taro root
that has been pounded to a smooth paste and mixed
Polenta - A mush made from cornmeal, polenta may
be eaten hot or cooled and fried. Polenta is a
staple of northern Italy.
Pollo - Spanish term for chicken.
Polyunsaturated Fat - A fatty acid with two or
more double bonds between carbon atoms; the good
kind of fat.
Pomegranate - A red to purple fruit with thin
leathery skin and hundreds of crunchy seeds encased
in translucent, sweet-tart flesh. The seeds are
separated from the flesh by a bitter membrane that
should be discarded.
Pone - A round, flat food, such as corn pone.
Poppy Seed or Poppyseed - Tiny bluish-gray seeds
of the poppy plant. Poppy seeds are often sprinkled
on food, used as a filling, or added to a variety of
foods, such as cakes, breads, and salad dressings.
Porcini - A large wild mushroom with a smooth cap
and thick stem. Porcini mushrooms have an earthy
Pork - The flesh of hogs, usually slaughtered
under the age of 1 year.
Portabella - A very large crimini; the mushroom
has a dense texture and a rich, meaty flavor.
Porterhouse Steak - A cut of meat from the rear
end of the short loin. The name originates from the
days when it was served in public alehouses that
also served a dark beer called porter. It consists
of a hefty chunk of tenderloin with an even heftier
chunk of sirloin tip. Some folks like to remove the
tenderloin to serve separately as filet mignon.
Posole, Pozole - Hominy stew made with dried
lime-treated corn and combined with pork and
Pot Liquor, or Pot Likker - The liquid left after
cooking greens, vegetables, or other food. It's
traditionally served with cornbread in the South.
Pot Sticker Wrappers - Very thin sheets of dough
made from flour, eggs and salt; used for small meat
and vegetable filled dumplings known as pot
stickers, as well as for won ton and egg rolls.
Pot Roast - A large piece of meat browned in fat
quickly and then cooked in a covered pan.
Potage - French term for a thick soup intended to
serve as a complete meal. It defines a soup with a
thickness that is between consomme and soupe.
Potassium - A mineral used primarily to assist
the transmissions of nerve impulses and to develop
protein. Good potassium sources include green
vegetables, kiwi, bananas and other fruits.
Potato - The starchy tuber of a succulent,
nonwoody annual plant (Solanum turberosum) native to
the Andes Mountains; cooked like a vegetable, made
into flour, processed for chips and used for
Poultry - Any domesticated bird used for food;
the USDA recognizes six kinds of poultry: chicken,
duck, goose, guinea, pigeon and turkey.
Poultry Seasoning - A blend of herbs and spices,
poultry seasoning usually contains sage, celery
seed, thyme, savory, marjoram, onion, and pepper.
Pound - A basic measure of weight in the U.S.
system; 16 ounces = 1 pound, 1 pound = 453.6 grams
or 0.4536 kilogram .
Praline - A confection made with pecans and brown
Prawn - Term commonly used for any large shrimp,
although a true prawn has a thinner body and longer
legs than a shrimp, and an average market length of
3 inches or 4 inches.
Preheat - To allow the oven or pan to get to a
specified temperature before adding the food to be
Preserve - To prepare foods for long storage.
Some ways to preserve food are drying,
refrigeration, freezing, canning, curing, pickling,
Preserves - A thick cooked mixture of whole or
cut up fruit, sugar, and usually pectin.
Pressure Cooker - A cooking pot made to cook food
under pressure. The pressure cooker has a locking
lid and a valve system to regulate the internal
pressure. Cooking time may be reduced by as much as
50% without destroying the nutritional value of the
Prick - To make small holes in the surface of a
food, usually using the tines of a fork. Pie crust
is usually pricked.
Primavera - Italian for "spring style," this term
refers to the use of fresh vegetables as a seasoning
or garnish in a dish.
Prime Rib - Meats found in supermarkets labeled
"prime rib" are most often actually rib roasts.
Proof - 1) To "prove" yeast is alive by
dissolving it in warm water and setting it aside in
a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes. If it swells and
becomes bubbly, it is alive. 2) Proof is an
indication of the amount of alcoholic content in a
liquor. In the U.S., proof is twice the percentage
of alcohol. If a liquor is labeled 80 proof, it
contains 40% alcohol
Proof Box - A sealed cabinet that allows control
over both temperature and humidity.
Prosciutto - The Italian word for ham.
Protein - Protein can be found in both animal and
vegetable sources, and provides the body with energy
while performing a large number of other functions.
Provolone Cheese - Pale yellow, sharp Italian
cheese originating in the southern province of
Catania, made from cow's or buffalo milk. Most
provolone is aged for two to three months, though
some is aged six months to a year or more.
Prune - A dried red or purple plum.
Puff Pastry - A rich, multilayered French pastry
made with butter, flour, eggs, and water. Puff
pastry is made by placing chilled butter pats
between layers of dough, then rolling the dough,
folding it in thirds and letting it rest. The
process is repeated several times, producing a dough
with hundreds of layers of dough and butter. When
baked, the moisture in the butter creates steam,
which causes the dough to separate into flaky
Pulse - An action used with processors and
blenders. If a recipe tells you to pulse, turn the
start button on and off rapidly serveral times or
until the ingredients are appropriately processed.
Pulverize - To reduce to powder or dust by
pounding, crushing or grinding.
Pumate - Italian for sun-dried tomatoes.
Pumpkin - A spherical winter squash with a
flattened top and base, size ranging from small to
very large, fluted orange shell (yellow and green
varieties are also available), yellow to orange
flesh with a mild sweet flavor and numerous flat,
Punch Down - To deflate a risen dough. With your
hand, press on the dough until the gas escapes.
Purée - Food that has been mashed or sieved.
Purslane - A small plant with reddish stems and
rounded leaves. Purslane can be eaten cooked or raw
and has a mild flavor.
Puttanesca - A piquant pasta sauce made of
tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies,
and chile flakes.
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Quahog - The Native American name for the (East
Coast) hard-shelled clam. Quahog is also sometimes
used to describe very large clams.
Quart - A measure of volume in the U.S. system;
32 fluid ounces equal 1 quart and 4 quarts equal one
Quenelle - A poached dumpling, usually made of
meat or fish.
Quesadilla - A flour tortilla filled, folded,
then cooked. The filling usually contains shredded
cheese, but may also include ground meat, refried
Queso - The Spanish word for cheese.
Queso Fresco Cheese - A fresh Mexican cheese
similar to farmer cheese or cottage cheese. This
white, slightly salty cheese is available in Latin
markets and many supermarkets; also called queso
Quiche - This dish is a pastry crust filled with
a savory egg custard which usually includes cheese,
seasonings, vegetables, and other ingredients. It's
typically baked in a shallow, straight-sided, fluted
Quick Bread - Quick bread is made with baking
soda or baking powder, which is why it's called
Quince - This yellow-skinned fruit looks and
tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear. Its
texture and flavor make it better cooked than raw.
Its high pectin content make it ideal for use in
jams, jellies, and preserves.
Quinoa - Quinoa is a protein rich grain which is
also high in unsaturated fat and lower in
carbohydrates than most grains. It may be used in
any dish in place of rice or similar grains.
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- A variety of chicory, radicchio leaves are red
with white ribs, and are slightly bitter. The leaves
are most often used in salads, but may be grilled,
sautéed, or baked.
Radish - A member of the mustard family grown for
its root (Raphanus sativus); generally, the crisp
white flesh has a mild to peppery flavor and is
usually eaten raw.
Ragoût - Ragout is derived from the French verb
ragoûter, which means "to stimulate the appetite." A
ragoût is seasoned stew, usually made with meat,
poultry, fish, and often vegetables.
Raisin - A sweet dried grape.
Raita - A yogurt salad consisting of yogurt and a
variety of chopped vegetables, fruits and flavored
with garam masala, herbs and black mustard seeds.
Raita originates from East India.
Ramekin - A small baking dish resembling a
soufflé dish, a ramekin usually measures from 3 to 6
inches in diameter and is used for individual
Ramen Noodles - Fine Japanese deep-fried wheat
noodles, which are commonly available packaged with
a broth mix.
Ramp - A wild onion which resembles the leek, the
ramp has a strong onion-garlic flavor. It may be
used as a substitute for leeks, scallions, or
Rascasse - A type of scorpion fish which achieved
glory in Provence for its starring role in the
region's famed saffron-scented bouillabaisse.
Rasher - A strip of meat, such as bacon. Rasher
may also mean a serving of 2 to 3 thin slices of
Raspberry - A small ovoid or conical-shaped berry
(Rubus idaeus) composed of many connecting drupelets
(tiny individual sections of fruit, each with its
own seed) surrounding a central core; has a sweet,
slightly acidic flavor; the three principal
varieties are black, golden and red.
Ratatouille - A French vegetable stew that
combines a variety of vegetables and herbs simmered
in olive oil; can be served hot or cold as a side
dish or appetizer.
Ravioli - Italian for little wraps; used to
describe small squares or rounds of pasta stuffed
with meat, cheese or vegetables.
Raw Sugar - Sugar that hasn't been refined enough
to achieve a granulated quality. It looks like
coffee crystals. This coarse sugar is harder to
dissolve, making it a nice choice for sprinkling on
Recipe - A set of written instructions for
producing a specific food or beverage; also known as
a formula (especially with regards to baked goods).
Reconstitute - To restore condensed, dehydrated
or concentrated foods to their original strength
with the addition of liquid, usually water.
Red Beans - Dark red beans similar to red kidney
beans, but smaller; popular in chili and as refried
beans. They stay firm when cooked and are excellent
when accompanying rice. They are available dried in
most supermarkets; also known as Mexican Red Beans.
Red Delicious Apple - A sweet, juicy, red variety
of apple; perfect for a snack, but does not cook
well. See also apples.
Red Snapper - A saltwater fish with red eyes,
reddish-pink skin and very lean, firm, white flesh.
The average market weight is 2 to 8 pounds, and
fresh snapper is available whole, or cut into steaks
Redeye Gravy - A southern gravy made by adding
water and sometimes hot coffee to ham drippings.
It's usually spooned over biscuits which are served
with the ham.
Reduce - To boil a liquid until a portion of it
has evaporated. Reducing intensifies the flavor and
results in a thicker liquid.
Reduced Cholesterol - A food containing a minimum
of 25% less cholesterol and 2g or less of saturated
fat per serving than reference food.
Reduced Or Fewer Calories - A food containing a
minimum of 25% fewer kcal per serving than a
Reduced Or Less Fat - A food containing a minimum
of 25% less fat per serving than a reference food.
Reduced Or Less Saturated Fat - A food containing
a minimum of 25% less saturated fat per serving than
a reference food.
Reduced Or Less Sodium - A food containing a
minimum of 25% less sodium than a reference food.
Reduced Sugar - A food containing at least 25
percent less sugar per serving than a reference
Refresh - To pour cold water over freshly cooked
vegetables to prevent further cooking and to retain
Relish - A cooked or pickled sauce usually made
with vegetables or fruits and often used as a
condiment; can be smooth or chunky, sweet or savory
and hot or mild.
Rémoulade - Spicy sauce for seafood consisting of
mayonnaise, mustard, chopped pickles, tarragon,
parsley, chives and spices. It is served cold with
shellfish and can sometimes include anchovies.
Render - To extract the fat from meat by cooking
over low heat. Rendered fat is strained of meat
particles after cooking.
Rennin - An acid-producing enzyme obtained from a
calf's stomach. Rennin aids in coagulating milk and
is used in cheese-making and junket; available in
many supermarkets in powdered or tablet form.
Rhubard - A perennial plant with thick red stalks
and large green leaves which are poisonous. The
stalks have a tart flavor and are often used in pies
Rib - A single stalk of a bunch of celery, also
called a stalk.
Ribbon - The term describing the texture of egg
yolks which have been beaten with sugar. When beaten
sufficiently, the mixture forms a thick "ribbon"
when the beater is held up over the bowl. The ribbon
makes a pattern atop the batter which disappears
into the batter after a few seconds.
Rice - 1. Rice (verb) To press cooked food
through a utensil called a ricer. The food comes out
in "strings" which vaguely resemble rice. 2. The
starch seed of a semiaquatic grass (Oryza sativa),
probably originating in Southeast Asia and now part
of most cuisines; divided into three types based on
seed size; long-grain, medium-grain and short-grain,
each of which is available in different processed
forms such as white rice and brown rice.
Rice Paper Wrappers - Circular sheets made from
rice flour measuring approximately 8 inches in
diameter, rice paper wrappers are brittle and
translucent. They must be softened by dipping in hot
water for a few seconds and draining. Once softened
they can be used to make fresh Vietnamese-style
salad rolls or deep-fried spring rolls.
Rice Stick Noodles - Made from rice flour and
water, these noodles are translucent when cooked.
They are usually softened by soaking in hot water
for 10 -15 minutes before cooking with other
ingredients. Fine rice stick noodles can also be
deep fried to create a crispy garnish often used in
Chinese chicken salads.
Rice Vinegar - Used in both Japanese and Chinese
cooking, rice vinegar is made from fermented rice
and comes in several varieties, each differing in
intensity and tartness. In general they are all
fairly mild compared to European and American-style
vinegars. They can be used in dressings, marinades,
as dipping sauces and condiments.
Rice Wine - A clear, sweet wine made from
fermented rice. Rice wines are usually lower in
alcohol and can be served hot or cold. Sake and
Mirin are two popular Japanese rice wines. Chinese
versions include Chia Fan, Hsiang Hsueh, Shan Niang
and Yen Hung.
Rice-flour Noodles - Extremely thin noodles,
resembling translucent white hairs, made from rice
flour. They explode upon contact with hot oil,
becoming a tangle of light, crunchy strands. They
are a traditional ingredient in Chinese chicken
salad, and can be pre-soaked and used in soups and
Ricotta Cheese - Ricotta is a soft, unripened
Italian curd cheese. It is the by product of the
whey of other cheeses. It is sweet in flavor and
grainy in texture. Ricotta is used often in Italian
sweets (most notably Cassata alla Sicilian) and in
savory dishes as pasta stuffing.
Rigatoni - A large, grooved pasta. Rigatoni's
ridges and holes are perfect with any sauce, from
cream or cheese to the chunkiest meat sauces.
Rigatoni - Italian for large groove and used to
describe large grooved, slightly curved pasta tubes.
Rind - The tough outer peel of a food.
Risotto - Rice sautéed in butter then cooked and
stirred as stock is slowly added in portions. As
each addition of stock is absorbed, another is added
until the rice is creamy and tender. Vegetables,
meat, seafood, herbs, cheese, wine, and other
ingredients may be added.
Roast - To cook a food in an open pan in the
oven, with no added liquid.
Roasted Garlic - Process: Cut the top third of
the garlic head off and discard it. Drizzle the
remainder with olive oil and put it in aluminum
foil. Bake in a 400 degree F oven until edges of the
garlic are caramelized (about 40 min.).
Roaster - A size classification for a chicken
about 5 pounds in weight and from 10 to 20 weeks
Rocambole - Rocambole is similar to both garlic
and leeks. It looks like a leek yet has a taste
similar to garlic and is found predominantly in
Rock Cornish Hen - A hybrid chicken, Rock Cornish
Hens are very small. The average whole hen is from 1
to 1 1/2 pounds.
Rock Salt - A crystalline form of salt that is
mixed with cracked ice to freeze ice cream.
Roe - Fish eggs. Soft roe is from female fish,
and hard (white) roe is from male fish.
Rolling Boil - A very fast boil that doesn't slow
Rolling Pin - A cylindrical kitchen utensil with
many uses, which include rolling pastry, crushing
bread crumbs, and flattening other foods. Though the
most common is hardwood, rolling pins may be made
from other materials, such as ceramic, marble,
metal, and plastic.
Rolling Mincer - A tool with several circular
blades arranged in a row with a handle. The mincer
is used by rolling the device over vegetables and
herbs in a back and forth manner.
Romano Cheese - Named for the city of Rome, this
hard grana cheese has a brittle texture and pale
yellow-white color; mostly used for grating after
aging for one year.
Roquefort Cheese - One of the oldest and
best-known cheeses in the world, this French cheese
made from sheep's milk is considered the prototype
of blue cheeses.
Rosemary - An herb (Rosmarinus officinalis) with
silver-green, needle-shaped leaves, a strong flavor
reminiscent of lemon and pine and a strong, sharp
camphor-like aroma; available fresh and dried.
Rosette and Rosette Iron - A fried pastry made by
dipping a rosette iron into a thin (usually sweet)
batter then into hot, deep fat. The fried pastries
are then drained and sprinkled with a mixture of
cinnamon and sugar. The rosette iron is a metal rod
with a heat-proof handle. Decorative shapes--to be
dipped in the batter--are attached to the end.
Rotini - ("Spirals" or "Twists") - This pasta's
twisted shape holds bits of meat, vegetables and
cheese, so it works well with any sauce, or you can
use it to create fun salads, baked casseroles, or
Rotisserie - A device which contains a spit with
prongs. Food (usually meat or poultry) is impaled on
the the spit, fastened securely then cooked. Most
rotisseries are motorized so they automatically turn
the food as it cooks.
Roulade - A thin piece of meat which is stuffed
with a filling, secured with picks or string, then
browned and baked.
Roux - A mixture of fat and flour which is
blended and cooked slowly over low heat until the
desired consistency or color is reached. Roux is
used as a base for thickening sauces.
Royal Icing - An icing which hardens when dried.
Royal icing is made with confectioners' sugar, egg
whites, flavoring, and sometimes food coloring.
Ruote - Wheel shaped pasta. Ruote is Italian for
Rutabaga - A member of the cabbage family with
firm, pale-yellow flesh and a slightly sweet flavor.
Also known as a Swedish turnip.
Rye Flour - Finely ground flour made from rye
grain; the most important bread flour after wheat.
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Sabayon - A frothy custard of egg yolk, sugar, and
wine that is made by whisking the ingredients over
simmering water. Served warm as a dessert or sauce.
Saccharin - A product made from coal tar, used as
a substitute for sugar. Saccharin has no food value.
Sachet Bag - Cloth bag filled with select herbs
used to season soups or stocks.
Saffron - An expensive spice made from the
stigmas of the crocus flour. Saffron gives food a
yellow color and exotic flavor. The spice can
usually be found powdered or as whole threads
Sage - An herb (Salvia officinalis) native to the
Mediterranean region; has soft, slender, slightly
furry, gray-green leaves and a pungent, slightly
bitter, musty mint flavor; used for medicinal and
culinary purposes; available fresh or dried, used
chopped, whole or rubbed.
Sago Pearls - Made from the starch of the sago
palm, they can be used as a thickener in desserts.
Sake - The traditional Japanese wine made from
white rice and malt. Sake has a relatively low
alcohol content of 12 percent to 16 percent and can
be used in sauces and marinades.
Salamander - 1. A tool consisting of a heavy iron
disk attached to a long metal shaft with a wooden
handle. The disk is heated over a burner and held
closely over food to quickly brown the top; also
used to quickly caramelize the surface layer of
sugar on dishes such as crème brûlée so the custard
below remains cold. 2. A small overhead broiler unit
in a professional oven that quickly browns the tops
Salami - A family of uncooked sausages which are
safe to eat without heating because they have been
Salmon - A succulent fish that lives most of its
life in the sea but returns to freshwater to spawn.
Salmon is usually available whole, cut into steaks
or fillets, or canned. Fresh salmon can be poached,
grilled or baked.
Salsa - 1. Spanish for sauce. 2. Traditionally, a
Mexican cold sauce made from tomatoes flavored with
cilantro, chiles and onions. Green salsa, usually
made with tomatillos and green chile, is called
"salsa verde." 3. Generally, a cold chunky mixture
of fresh herbs, spices, fruits and/or vegetables
used as a sauce or dip.
Salt - 1. A substance resulting from the chemical
interaction of an acid and a base, usually sodium
and chloride. 2. A white granular substance (sodium
chloride) used to season foods.
Salt Pork - Salt-cured pork which is essentially
a layer of fat. Salt pork is from the pig's belly or
sides. It's used to flavor beans, greens, and other
Sambuca - An anise-flavored Italian liqueur.
Sardines - The common name for any of several
small, soft-boned, saltwater fish including sprat,
young pilchard and herring. The term "sardine" may
be derived from Sardinia, one of the first areas to
pack pilchards in oil.
Sashimi - A Japanese specialty, sashimi is raw
fish sliced paper-thin, garnished with shredded
vegetables and served with soy sauce, grated fresh
ginger and wasabi (green horseradish). Because it's
served raw, only the freshest and highest-quality
fish is used.
Satay - A dish in which small pieces of meat
(chicken, beef or lamb) are barbecued on a skewer
and served with a spicy peanut sauce.
Saturated Fat - This type of fat comes from
animal sources and is generally solid at room
temperature. The intake of saturated fats should be
limited since they are associated with high
cholesterol levels and the cause of some forms of
Sauerbraten - A German dish using beef marinated
for several days in vinegar, red wine, garlic and
various herbs and spices. When the beef has been
thoroughly marinated, it is dried and cooked in
bacon fat and served with sour cream and a sauce
made from the marinade.
Sauté - To cook quickly in a pan on top of the
stove until the food is browned. Sautéeing is often
done in a small, shallow pan called a sauté pan. You
can sauté in oil, wine, broth or even water.
Savory - Related to the mint family, savory has a
flavor and aroma similar to a cross between mint and
thyme. There are two varieties, summer and winter.
Winter savory has the stronger flavor.
Scald - To heat milk or cream to a temperature
just below the boiling point.
Scallions - The immature green stalks of a bulb
Scallop - 1) A dish cooked in a thick sauce, such
as "scalloped potatoes." 2) To form a decorative
edging along the raised rim of pie dough or other
food. 3) A mollusk with fan-shaped shells. Bay
scallops and the larger sea scallops are the types
commonly found in supermarkets.
Scaloppini - An Italian cooking term referring to
a thinly sliced, boneless, round cut of meat that is
slightly floured (or breaded) and quickly sautéed.
Scant - As in "scant teaspoon," not quite full.
Score - To cut narrow slits partway through the
outer surface of a food to tenderize it or to form a
Scrapple - A dish made from scraps of cooked pork
mixed with cornmeal, broth, and seasonings. The
cornmeal mixture is cooked, packed into loaf pans,
chilled until firm, then cut and fried.
Sea Salt - Considered by some to be the best salt
for both kitchen and table use, sea salt is produced
by evaporating sea water.
Sear - To brown a food quickly on all sides using
high heat to seal in the juices.
Season - 1. Traditionally, to enhance a food's
flavor by adding salt. 2. More commonly, to enhance
a food's flavor by adding salt and/or pepper as well
as herbs and other spices.
Seasoned Flour - Flour with added seasoning,
which may include salt, pepper, herbs, paprika,
spices, or a combination.
Seasoned Salt - a seasoning blend; its primary
ingredient is salt with flavorings such as celery,
garlic or onion added.
Self-Rising Flour - An all-purpose flour to which
baking powder and salt have been added.
Semolina - Durum wheat which is usually more
coarse than regular wheat flours. Semolina is used
to make pasta, gnocchi, puddings, and a variety of
Serrano - A fiery hot, but flavorful, green
chili, available fresh or canned. Serrano chiles are
about 1½ inches long and are slightly pointed.
Sesame Oil - An oil made from sesame seed. Light
sesame oil has a nutty flavor and may be used in a
variety of ways. The stronger flavored dark sesame
oil is most often used as a flavoring in oriental
Sesame Seeds - Crispy little seeds with a nutty
flavor. Sesame seeds may be used in savory dishes or
desserts, and are often sprinkled on baked foods.
Seviche - A Latin American dish of very fresh,
raw fish marinated in citrus juice (usually lime),
onions, tomatoes and chiles; also spelled ceviche
Shallot - A bulb related to the onion and garlic.
Shallots have a mild onion-like flavor.
Shallow Fry - To fry with enough oil to come
halfway up the sides of the food.
Shell - To remove the shell from nuts, legumes
Shellfish - Any of many species of aquatic
invertebrates with shells or carapaces found in
saltwater and freshwater regions worldwide, most are
edible; shellfish are categorized as crustaceans and
Sherbet - is made from unsweeted fruit juice and
water. It is similar to sorbet except that it can
contain milk, cream, egg whites or gelatin. Sherbet
is lighter than ice cream but richer than an ice or
Sherry - a fortified, cask-aged wine, ranges in
taste from dry to medium dry to sweet. It is enjoyed
as an aperitif and is used as a flavoring in both
savory and sweet recipes.
Sherry Vinegar - Vinegar which has the rich,
subtly nutlike Flavor of the popular fortified wine.
Shiitake Mushroom - Also called Chinese, black or
oriental mushroom (in its dried form). Shiitake is a
strongly flavored mushroom used in both its fresh
and dried form.
Shirr - A method of cooking eggs. Whole eggs,
covered with cream or milk and sometimes crumbs are
typically baked in ramekins or custard cups.
Shish Kebab - A Mediterranean dish of marinated
meats (usually lamb or beef) and vegetables threaded
on a skewer and grilled or broiled; also known as
Shortening - A white, flavorless, solid fat
formulated for baking or deep frying; any fat used
in baking to tenderize the product by shortening
Shred - To cut, slice or tear into thin strips.
Also, to pull apart very tender cooked meats.
Shredded - Food that has been processed into
long, slender pieces, similar to julienne.
Shrimp, Dried - Used in a broad range of Asian
dishes, this ingredient adds flavor to fried rice,
soups, stir-fries and other dishes. These small
dehydrated shrimp lose any strong fishy odor or
flavor during cooking.
Shrub - An old-fashioned sweetened fruit drink,
sometimes spiked with liquor.
Shuck - To remove the outer shells from food.
Examples are clams, oysters, and corn.
Sichuan Pepper - Native to the Sichuan province
of China, this mildly hot spice comes from the
prickly ash tree. The berries resemble peppercorns
and have a distinctive flavor.
Sieve - To strain liquid from food through the
fine mesh or perforated holes of a strainer or
Sift - To shake a dry, powdered substance through
a sieve or sifter to remove any lumps
Simmer - To cook gently just below the boiling
point. If the food starts boiling, the heat is too
high and should be reduced.
Singe - To expose food, usually meat, to direct
Skewer - A thin, pointed metal or wooden rod onto
which chunks of food are threaded, then broiled or
Skim - To remove the surface layer (of
impurities, scum, or fat) from liquids such as
stocks and jams while cooking. This is usually done
with a flat slotted spoon.
Skin - To remove the skin of a food, such as
poultry or fish, before or after cooking.
Skirt Steak - A lean and tough but flavorful cut
of beef from the primal short plate (below the
ribs); often used for fajitas, but is also delicious
grilled or stuffed.
Sliver - To cut a food into thin strips or
Smoke - To expose foods to wood smoke to enhance
their flavor and help preserve and/or evenly cook
Smorgasbord - A Swedish buffet of many dishes
served as hors d oeuvres or a full meal. Similar
buffets are served throughout Scandinavia, as well
as the Soviet Union. Common elements of a
smorgasbord are pickled herring, marinated
vegetables, smoked and cured salmon and sturgeon,
and a selection of canapés.
Snip - To cut quickly with scissors into fine
Soft Peaks - A term used to describe beaten egg
whites or cream. When the beaters are removed, soft
peaks curl over and droop rather than stand straight
Soft-Ball Stage - A test for sugar syrup
describing the soft ball formed when a drop of
boiling syrup is immersed in cold water.
Soft-Crack Stage - A test for sugar syrup
describing the hard but pliable threads formed when
a drop of boiling syrup is immersed in cold water.
Sopaipillas - Puffy, crisp, deep-fried bread.
Accompanies many Southwestern meals.
Sorbetto - (sor-BAY-toh) Sorbetto is a
fruit-based gelato that contains no dairy products.
You may know it better as sorbet.
Sorghum - A cereal grass with cornlike leaves and
clusters of cereal grain at the top on tall stalks.
The stalks can be used to make a light type molasses
called sorghum syrup or simply sorghum.
Sorrel - Sorrel is an herb that may be used in
cream soups, omelets, breads, and other foods.
Sorrel has a somewhat sour flavor because of the
presence of oxalic acid.
Souffle - A mixture that is folded together with
beaten egg whites and baked in a mold.
Soup - Liquid, usually water or milk, in which
solid foods have been cooked. Soups can be served
hot or cold and may be thick, chunky, smooth or
Sour Cream - Pasteurized, homogenized light cream
that has been treated with a lactic acid culture,
giving it a tangy flavor. Regular commercial sour
cream contains a minimum of 18 percent milk fat;
light sour cream is made from half-and-half and
contains 40 percent less milk fat than regular.
Nonfat sour cream, a product thickened with
stabilizers, is also available.
Souse - To cover food, particularly fish, in wine
vinegar and spices and cook slowly. The food is
cooled in the same liquid. This gives food a pickled
Soy Sauce - A sauce made from fermented, boiled
soybeans and roasted wheat or barley; its color
ranges from light to dark brown and its flavor is
generally rich and salty (a low-sodium version is
available); used extensively in Asian cuisines
(especially Chinese and Japanese) as a flavoring,
condiment and sometimes a cooking medium.
Soybean - The most nutritious and easily digested
of all beans, the soybean is better known for its
products than for the bean itself.
Spaghetti - Italian for a length of cord or
string and used to describe long, thin, solid rods
of pasta with a circular cross section.
Spaghetti Squash - When cooked, the flesh of this
watermelon-shaped squash separates into strands
similar to spaghetti; thus, its name. Spaghetti
squash has a creamy-yellow color and a slightly
Spatula - A versatile utensil available in a
variety of shapes and sizes and generally made from
metal, wood or rubber.
Spätzle, Spaetzle - A dish of tiny noodles or
dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt
and sometimes nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm
enough to be forced through a sieve or colander with
large holes. The dough is then boiled and tossed in
butter before being served.
Spice Grinder - A device used to mill spices into
granular or powdered form.
Spices - The seeds and skin of plants ( berries,
bark, fruits, unopened flowers) used to flavor
foods. Unlike herbs, spices are almost always dried.
Spider - A gadget used for adding and retrieving
deep-frying foods to or from the hot oil.
Spinach - A vegetable with dark green,
spear-shaped leaves that can be curled or smooth and
are attached to thin stems; the leaves have a
slightly bitter flavor and are eaten raw or cooked.
Spit - Sharp metal rod used to hold food for
roasting over an open heat source.
Sponge - A thick yeast batter that is allowed to
ferment and develop into a light, spongy
consistency. It is then combined with other
ingredients to form a yeast dough. The sponge will
give the bread a slightly tangy flavor.
Sprig - Leaves of an herb still attached to the
stem often used as a garnish.
Springform Pan - A round cake pan a little deeper
than a standard cake pan.
Springform pans have a clamp on the side which
releases the sides from the bottom, leaving the cake
intact. It's commonly used for cheesecake.
Squab - A domesticated pigeon no more than 4
weeks old. Weighing less than a pound when
slaughtered, squab has tender meat with little fat
and a mild flavor; suitable for broiling, roasting
Squash - The edible fleshy fruit of various
members of the gourd (Cucurbitaceae) family;
generally divided into two categories based on peak
season and skin type: summer and winter.
Stainless Steel - An alloy of steel. Stainless
steel will not react with foods, nor does it rust or
corrode. When used in pans, stainless steel often is
combined with copper or aluminum since it does not
conduct heat well.
Star Anise - A star-shaped dry seed pod with a
flavor similar to fennel.
Steam - A method of cooking foods over, not in,
hot liquid, usually water. The heat cooks the food
while the vapors keep it moist.
Steep - To allow a food to stand in water that is
just below the boiling point in order to extract
flavor or color.
Stew - To cook food in liquid for a long time
until tender, usually in a covered pot.
Stewing Chicken - A size classification for
chicken. A stewing chicken is over 10 months old and
weighs from 4 to 6 pounds.
Stilton Cheese - A hard blue cheese made from
whole cow's milkStilton has a rich texture that is
slightly crumbly, and a pale-yellow interior with
blue-green. Stilton's flavor has a mellow
cheddarlike quality with the tangy pungency of blue
Stiff Peaks - A term describing the consistency
of beaten egg whites or cream. When the beaters are
removed from the mixture, the points will stand up
Stir - To move foods around with a spoon in a
circular motion. Stirring is done to move foods when
cooking. It is also used to cool foods after
cooking. Most importantly, if a recipes calls for
stirring to combine foods, such as a batter, before
cooking, it usually means to gently mix just until
well combined, as opposed to beating, which takes
Stir-fry - To cook quickly over high heat with a
small amount of oil by constantly stirring. This
technique often employs a wok.
Stock - A rich extract of soluble parts of meat,
fish, poultry, etc. A basis for soups or gravies.
Stockpot - A deep pot with straight sides and
handles used to cook stocks.
Stollen - A German yeast bread traditionally made
at Christmas time.
Stone Ground -
Grain milled between grindstones to retain more
nutrients than other grinding methods.
Strain - To pass a liquid or moist mixture
through a colander, sieve or cheese cloth to remove
Strainer - A kitchen utensil with a perforated or
mesh bottom used to strain liquids or semi-liquids,
or to sift dry ingredients such as flour or
confectioners' sugar. Strainers, also called sieves,
come in a variety of sizes and shapes with various
Straw Mushrooms - Small, tan mushrooms with a
Strawberry - A lush, red berry from a
ground-creeping plant that grows wild in large areas
of Asia, Europe and North and South America.
Stuff - To fill a cavity in food with another
Stuffing - A seasoned mixture of food used to
fill the cavity of poultry, fish, vegetables or
around which a strip of meat, fish or vegetable may
Sugar - A sweet, water-soluble, crystalline
carbohydrate; used as a sweetener and preservative
Sugar Free, Sugar-free - A food containing less
than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.
Sugar Snap Pea - A sweet pea that is a hybrid of
the English pea and snow pea; the bright green,
crisp pod and the paler green, tender seeds are both
Sulfites - Sulfur-containing agents (the salts of
sulfurous acid) used as preservatives for some
processed and packaged foods to inhibit spoilage or
Sultanas - Golden raisins made from sultana
Summer Sausage - A style of sausage that is cured
and air dried. Summer sausage may or may not be
Summer Squash - There are many varieties of this
gourd including zucchini, yellow straightneck,
yellow crookneck and pattypan. All summer squash are
similar in taste and texture.
Superfine Sugar - Known as castor (or caster)
sugar in Britain, superfine sugar is more finely
granulated and dissolves almost instantly, making it
perfect for making meringues and sweetening cold
liquids. Granulated sugar can be substituted cup for
cup for superfine.
Sushi - A Japanese dish of thin layers of raw
fish wrapped around cakes of cold cooked rice. Sushi
can also consist of ingredients wrapped in rice and
held by a seaweed wrapper known as nori.
Sweat - To cook foods over gentle heat, usually
covered or partly covered, until moisture is
Sweet Chocolate - Very similar in composition to
semisweet chocolate, sweet chocolate simply has more
sugar added and less chocolate liquor. It's sold on
grocery shelves in the baking section. For people
with a real sweet tooth, sweet chocolate can be
substituted for semisweet in recipes without a
significant change in texture.
Sweet Peppers - A term which usually describes a
variety of mild peppers of the Capsicum family. Bell
peppers, pimientos, and banana peppers are sweet
Sweet Potato - A variety of sweet potato with a
thick, dark orange skin and an orange flesh that
remains moist when cooked; sometimes erroneously
called a yam.
Sweetbreads - Considered a delicacy, sweetbreads
are the two thymus glands (in the throat and near
the heart) of veal, young beef, lamb and pork.
Sweetened Condensed Milk - Whole milk mixed with
40 percent to 45 percent sugar. The mixture is
heated until 60 percent of the water evaporates
leaving a thick, sweet syrup. Also known as
Swiss Cheese - A hard, pale-yellow cheese
originally from the Emmental valley of Switzerland,
distinguished by large holes in its texture. Made
from cow's milk, its flavor is described as nutty,
mild and sweet.
Swiss Steak - A dish made with a thick cut of
steak--usually chuck or round--which is tenderized
by pounding, coated with flour and seasoning, and
browned. The steak is then topped with tomatoes,
onions, and other vegetables, then simmered or baked
for about 2 hours.
Swordfish - A large sport fish found off the
coast in temperate waters throughout the world.
Swordfish can weigh up to 1,000 pounds and have
moderately fatty flesh that is dense and meat-like.
Syrup - Sugar dissolved in liquid, usually water;
it is often flavored with spices or citrus zest.
Szechuan Peppercorns - Not, in fact, related to
black and white peppercorns, these are tiny dried
berries that contain a seed. They have a pungent
aroma and mildly spicy flavor and can be purchased
whole or in powdered form.
Szechwan Chile Sauce - A sauce or paste made from
chiles, oil, salt and garlic and used as a flavoring
in Chinese Szechwan cooking; also known as chile
paste or chile paste with garlic.
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Tabasco Sauce - A brand of sauce made from small,
hot, red tabasco peppers, vinegar, and salt. Tabasco
Sauce is used in a wide variety of dishes.
Tabbouleh, Taboule - A Lebanese salad made of
crushed wheat, parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint and
sometimes sweet pepper and lemon.
Tablespoon - A measure of volume in the U.S.
system; 1 tablespoon (T.) = 3 teaspoons or 0.05
Taco - A Mexican "sandwich," tacos are filled
corn tortillas. Typical fillings may include meat,
poultry, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onion,
guacamole, refried beans and salsa.
Tahini - A paste of ground sesame seeds and a
flavor similar to peanut butter.
Tamale - Tamales are filled softened corn husks.
The filling may contain a wide variety of
ingredients, which are wrapped in a masa dough then
placed within a softened corn husk. The husks are
then tied and steamed until the filling is cooked.
Only the filling (not the husk) is eaten.
Tamarind Paste - A vitamin-rich, tangy, prune
like pulp from the pods of a tropical Asian tree. It
is used as a seasoning in curries and chutneys or
made into drinks, jams, or sorbets.
Tandoori - A method of cooking chicken or meats
in Indian cuisine. The pieces of chicken are
skinned, then coated in yogurt mixed with chili
powder, turmeric, ginger, spices, onion and chopped
garlic. After marinating overnight, the chicken is
sprinkle with saffron or chili powder and cooked on
a bed of embers in a special cylindrical clay oven
called a tandoori.
Tangelo - A cross between a tangerine and a
grapefruit with loose skin that can range in color
from deep reddish-orange to orange-yellow; very
sweet and easy to peel.
Tangerines - A type of mandarin with thick,
rough, orange skin and sweet flesh.
Tapas - In Spain, an assortment of hors d'oeuvres
or cocktail snacks.
Tapenade - A condiment from Provence, made with
capers, desalted anchovies and pitted black olives.
The ingredients are pounded in a mortar and season
with olive oil, lemon juice, aromatics, and possibly
a drop of brandy.
Tapioca - A starch from the root of the cassava
plant, tapioca comes in several forms including
granules, pellets (pearl tapioca), and flour. The
pellets - also called pearl tapioca - are used
mainly to make puddings. Instant tapioca and tapioca
flour are often used to thicken dishes such as fruit
fillings, glazes, soups, and stews.
Taquitos - (Rolled tacos) Same as tacos except
filling is placed inside tortillas and rolled
cigar-fashion, then deep-fat fried.
Taro - A perennial plant grown in tropical
regions for its large starchy tuberous rhizomes,
Which have twice the calorific value of potato.
Tarragon - An herb (Artemisia dracunculus) native
to Siberia with narrow, pointed, dark green leaves,
tiny gray flowers, a distinctive anise-like flavor
with undertones of sage and a strong aroma;
available fresh and dried.
Tartar Sauce - Also spelled Tartare, this is a
mayonnaise-like sauce made with hard-boiled egg
yolks and olive oil, to which chives, shallots,
pickles, capers, and seasonings are added. Usually
served chilled with fish or cold chicken.
Tasso - A lean and highly-seasoned piece of cured
pork or beef, tasso is hard to find outside of
Louisiana. It's used like ham or salt pork to flavor
pastas, beans, and other dishes.
Tatsoi - Also known as 'spoon cabbage,' tatsoi is
a leafy Asian green with a slightly spicy cabbage
flavor. It can be used in salads and stir-fries.
Tea Ball, Tea Infuser - A small, perforated ball,
usually made of stainless steel, that holds loose
tea. Tea is placed inside through a hinged opening
and the ball is put in a cup or teapot to brew when
boiling water is added.
Teflon - The trademarked name for a coating used
on pots and pans to prevent food from sticking. This
nonstick coating can cut down (or eliminate in some
cases) the need for oil in cooking, and is helpful
to people on low-fat diets.
Tempe, Tempeh - A fermented soybean cake with a
yeasty, nutty flavor; popular in Asian cooking and
vegetarian diets. These high-protein cakes can
usually be found at health food stores.
Temper - Technically, to moderate. In cooking,
tempering most often refers to slightly warming
beaten eggs, by rapidly stirring a little of the hot
ingredients into them, before adding them to the hot
mixture so that they will combine, stirring rapidly
again, without solidifying. It also refers to the
softening of a heavy mixture before folding in a
whipped mixture, so that incorporation occurs
Tempura - In Japanese cooking, a method of
deep-frying foods coated in a light batter of rice
flour. Foods cooked in a tempura batter are usually
served with a type of dipping sauce such as sweet
and sour, soy or teriyaki.
Teriyaki Sauce - A marinade and sauce
traditionally made from soy sauce, wine, sugar, and
Terrine - A deep covered baking dish, a terrine
is often made of earthenware.
Thai Chilies - Known as hang prik (Thai), cabe or
lombok (Indonesian), cabai or cili (Malaysian), Ot
(Vietnamese). Fresh explosive chilies 3 to 4 inches
long, and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Their color ranges
from the fresh green state to various stages of
yellow to red in a ripened state. They are also sold
dried and are often soaked in hot water before
Thermometer - A device designed to measure
temperatures; can be calibrated in Fahrenheit and/or
Celsius and can be a column of mercury with
temperatures indicated on a glass tube or a
stem-type thermometer in which temperatures are
noted by an arrow on a dial or a digital readout.
Thicken - The process of making a liquid
substance dense by adding a thickening agent (ex.
flour, gelatin) or by cooking to evaporate some of
Thin - To dilute a mixture by adding more liquid.
Thyme - A low-growing herb (Thymus vulgaris) with
small purple flowers and tiny, gray-green leaves;
the leaves have a strong, slightly lemony flavor and
aroma; used fresh or dried.
Timbale - (TIHMbuhl; tihmBAHL) A highsided,
drumshaped mold that can taper toward the bottom.
The food baked in the mold is usually a custard
based dish. It is unmolded before serving.
To Taste - Common reference to adding salt and
pepper to a recipe according to personal taste.
Start with a small amount, taste and adjust as
Toast - Most commonly, to brown using a dry heat
source such as an oven or toaster. However, many
recipes call for toasting seeds, nuts, grains or
spices before mixing with other ingredients to add
flavor. They may be toasted in an oven or in a
skillet, with or without oil, using a low heat,
stirring or tossing often, until nicely browned,
being very careful not to burn.
Tofu - A cake made of bean curd, which is made
from soybeans. High in protein, tofu is often used
as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes.
Tomatillos - Small, green, firm, tomatoes. They
are covered with a paper like husk that's removed
before cooking. Their acid flavor add a great flavor
Tomato - The fleshy fruit of the Lycopersicon
esculentum, a vine native to South America and a
member of the nightshade family; used like a
vegetable, tomatoes are available in a range of
sizes, from tiny spheres (currant tomatoes) to large
squat ones (beefsteak tomatoes) and colors, from
green (unripe) to golden yellow to ruby red.
Top - To place one food item or mixture on top of
Torta - Stiffly beaten eggs leavened with baking
powder and seasoned with salt and oregano, then deep
fried. Served during Lent with chile.
Torte - A decorated cake with several layers. The
layers of a torte are often made with ground nuts or
breadcrumbs, and very little flour.
Tortellini - Italian for small twists and used to
describe small, stuffed pasta shaped like a ring.
Tortillas - An unleavened Mexican bread,
tortillas are flat and round. They may be made with
flour or masa (corn flour).
Tortillas de Harina - Flour tortillas made from
wheat flour. Ussually are 7 - 10 inches in diameter
and 1/4 inch thick. They remain mostly white after
cooking on a griddle, but are flecked with brown and
puffed in spots. Used for burritos and as an
accompaniment to any Southwestern meal.
Tortillas De Mais - Corn tortillas made from masa
pressed into a thin pancake, then quickly singed or
"blistered" on a hot griddle. Used for enchiladas,
tacos, taquitos, chalupas, huevos rancheros,
Toss - To combine ingredients by gently turning
over until until blended. Most commonly refers to a
salad, but is used for many other preparations. The
easiest and most efficient way to toss is with a
good pair of tongs. Alternately, two spoons, forks
or one of each may be used.
Tostadas - 1. Open-faced taco. 2. Corn tortillas
cut in pieces and fried until crisp. Salted or
sprinkled with chile powder. Served for dipping with
salsa, guacamole, or chile con queso.
Tostadas Compuestas - Corn tortilla cups filled
with chile con carne topped with shredded lettuce,
chopped tomatoes, and grated cheese.
Trifle - A popular British dessert made with
wine- or liqueur-soaked sponge cake or macaroons,
then layered with fruit, jams and whipped cream.
Trim - To remove undesirable portions of a food
item (ex. external fat from a cut of beef or stems
from grapes) before further preparation or service.
Tripe - The edible lining of stomach (beef).
Trout - Fish belonging to the salmon family and
generally found in freshwater. The best-known
variety, is the rainbow trout, which originates from
California. Trout are generally sold weighing less
than a pound and are prized for their moderately
fatty flesh and delicate flavor.
Truss - To tie or skewer meat into a neat shape
Tsukémono - Japanese term for pickled vegetables.
The Japanese pickle a variety of vegetables, using
various techniques, and serve them with practically
every meal, including breakfast.
Tube Pan - A deep, ring-shaped cake pan with a
hollow tube in the center; used for baking cakes,
particularly angel food and sponge cake.
Tuna - A member of the mackerel family, and a
popular fish for canning. There are many varieties
of tuna, including albacore, bluefin, yellowfin and
Tunnel - To overmix batter. The finished product
is riddled with holes or tunnels.
Turmeric - A yellow spice with a warm and mellow
flavor, turmeric is related to ginger. Turmeric is
used in prepared mustard and curry powder, and it's
a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.
Turnip - A popular root vegetable with dense
flesh. Fresh turnips can be found year round and
store well. Small younger varieties tend to have a
sweeter taste and more delicate flavor.
Turnip Greens - A strong-flavored green, turnip
greens have long been popular in the South. Turnip
greens may be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried. In the
South, they're often cooked with salt pork or ham
hocks and are almost always served with cornbread.
Turtle Bean - A small black bean, also known as
"black bean." The beans have long been popular in
Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Southern U.S.
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Udon Noodles - These Japanese wheat-flour noodles
can be purchased either fresh or dried. They are
often used in soups.
Ugli Fruit - A Jamaican fruit with loose,
yellow-green skin. The fruit is thought to be a
cross between the tangerine and the grapefruit with
a grapefruit-orange flavor.
Unmold - To remove molded food from its
Unsalted Butter - Butter which contains no salt.
Unsalted butter is more perishable than butter with
Unsaturated Fat - A kind of fat that is in liquid
form at room temperature.
Unsweetened Baking Chocolate - You don't eat
unsweetened chocolate. It has no added sugar and is
generally composed of 55% cocoa butter and 45%
chocolate mass from the bean. It has an intense
chocolate flavor that has to be tempered by sugar
and other ingredients.
Upright Chicken Roaster - A vertical,
cross-braced metal stand used to roast poultry;
prevents poultry from cooking in its own drippings.
Upside-Down Cake - An upside-down cake is
generally made by first covering the bottom of the
baking pan with butter, sugar, and arranged fruit. A
cake batter is then poured over the fruit. The baked
cake is inverted onto a serving plate, which makes
the fruit bottom the top of the cake.
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Vacherin - A crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a
serving vessel for fruit and ice cream.
Vanilla - An aromatic spice with a warm flavor,
vanilla is the seed pod of an orchid. It's available
dried or as an extract.
Vanilla Extract - A vanilla-flavored product made
by macerating chopped vanilla beans in a
water-alcohol solution to extract the flavor; its
strength is measured in folds.
Vanilla Sugar - A flavored sugar made by burying
vanilla beans in granulated or confectioners' sugar.
Vanilla sugar can be used as an ingredient or
decoration for baked goods, fruit, and desserts.
Variety Meats - Also known as "offal," variety
meats are usually organ meats, such as brains,
heart, kidneys, liver, etc.
Veal - Meat from calves slaughtered when younger
than 9 months (usually at 8-16 weeks); has a lean,
light pink flesh, delicate flavor and tender, firm
Vegetable Oil - A general term describing blends
of different vegetable oils such as corn, safflower,
rapeseed, cottonseed and/or soybean oils; these
blends are generally intended to have little flavor
and aroma and to be used as all-purpose oils.
Vegetable Shortening - Vegetable oil that has
been chemically altered (hydrogenated) into a solid
state. This process converts the mixture into a
saturated fat, eliminating any benefits of a
Vegetarian - A person who does not consume animal
flesh or, in some cases, any animal byproducts.
Vegans do not eat any animal-derivative foods
including butter, cheese, eggs and milk. Ovo-lacto
vegetarians allow such animal-related foods, but do
not eat meat. Some vegetarians will eat fish and/or
poultry, but no red meat.
Velouté - (French) A sauce made with veal stock,
cream, and tightened with a white roux.
Venison - Meat from any member of the deer family
that broadly includes elk, moose, reindeer, caribou
and antelope; typically leaner and less tender than
meat from domesticated animals.
Vent - To allow the circulation or escape of a
liquid or gas.
Vermicelli - Italian for little worms; used to
describe very thin spaghetti; available in straight
rods or twisted into a cluster.
Vichyssoise - A cold potato and leek soup
thickened with cream and garnished with chives. The
term is now applied to many other tuber-based soups.
Vidalia Onion - A Georgia-grown onion hybrid
known for its sweet, distinctively mild flavor; has
an international reputation as the "world's sweetest
Vinaigrette - An oil and vinegar sauce usually
used on salad greens or other vegetables.
Vinaigrette may contain other seasonings, shallots,
onions, mustard, etc.
Vinegar - From the French "vin aigre" (sour
wine); a weak solution of acetic acid derived from a
fermented liquid (such as cider, wine or beer)
subjected to bacterial activity.
Vintage - A wine term which describes the year
the grapes were harvested, but used only if the wine
was made only from grapes grown that year. Wines
made from grapes harvested in various years is
Virgin Olive Oil - A first-press oil, with an
acidity level between 1 percent and 3 percent, just
slightly higher than extra-virgin olive oil.
Volume - The measurement typically used to
measure liquids; volume measurements are commonly
expressed as liters, teaspoons, tablespoons, cups,
pints, gallons, fluid ounces and bushels.
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Waffle Iron - A device used to transform batter into
crisp, golden waffles; available in electric or
Waldorf Salad - The original Waldorf salad,
created at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the
1890s, contained only apples, mayonnaise, and
celery. It was later that walnuts became part of the
Walnut Oil - The oil extracted from the walnut.
It can be quite expensive and goes rancid quicker
than most oils. However, it gives most foods a
wonderful nutty flavor whether you cook with or
drizzle it. Use it on greens, pasta, or vegetables.
Walnuts - Nuts with white flesh and a soft inner
skin native to the Middle East, but commonly called
English walnuts because they were first shipped from
Britain, where they are considered a delicacy when
eaten raw with cheese.
Warm - To heat a food using a very low
temperature of approximately 105°F to 115°F.
Wasabi - Also called Japanese horseradish, a
pungent green paste made from a rhizome of the
Wash - To apply a liquid to the surface of an
object to remove dirt; often a cleansing agent is
added to the liquid; the process may not kill
Water Bath - To place a container of food in a
large pan of warm water, which surrounds the food
with heat. The water bath is used to cook custards,
sauces, and mousses, and may be used to keep food
Water Chestnut - The fruit of a water plant
(genus Trapa) native to Southeast Asia; has a
brownish-black skin, ivory to tan flesh, crisp
texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor; used in
various Asian cuisines.
Watercress - A member of the mustard family that
can often be found growing wild in and around
streams and brooks. Watercress has small, crisp,
dark-green leaves and a strong, peppery, slightly
bitter flavor; available year-round and customarily
sold in small bunches.
Watermelon - The fruit of a water plant (genus
Trapa) native to Southeast Asia; has a
brownish-black skin, ivory to tan flesh, crisp
texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor; used in
various Asian cuisines.
Wax Bean - A yellow version of the green bean;
has a slightly waxier pod.
Wax Paper or Waxed Paper - A paper with a thin
coating of wax on both sides. Wax paper is
moistureproof and almost transparent, often used to
cover foods and line baking pans.
Wax Paper, Waxed Paper - Translucent paper coated
on both sides with a thin layer of wax. Though often
replaced in recent years by plastic wrap and
aluminum foil, wax paper is still a good choice for
lining baking pans and covering food in the
Weight - The mass of heaviness of a substance;
weight measurements are commonly expressed as grams
(metric) ounces and pounds (U.S. and Imperial).
Welsh Rarebit - This is a cheese sauce made with
ale and seasoned with dry mustard, black pepper, and
Worcestershire sauce that is often served over
Whey - The liquid which separates from the solids
when cheese is made.
Whip - To beat an item to incorporate air,
augment volume, and add substance. Also refers to a
special tool for whipping, made of looped wire
attached to a handle; most often a whisk can be
Whipping Cream - Consists of at least 35% milk
fat content and is commercially produced by
centrifugal separation. It is sometimes pasteurized
but rarely homogenized. When whipped, it will double
in volume and is not very likely to curdle. It is
usually used to top desserts and piped over cakes.
Whisk - To mix to the specified state with a wire
beater, also called a whisk. Whisking can refer to
blending, beating, emulsifying, or whipping,
depending on the recipe.
White Chocolate - A candy made from cocoa butter,
sugar, milk solids and flavoring; because it
contains no chocolate liquor it is usually labeled
white confectionary bar or coating; it can be eaten
as a candy or used in confections and pastries.
White Rice - Rice stripped of its husk, bran and
germ. This process also removes most of the
nutritional value. However, white rice labeled
"enriched" has had some of the nutrition restored.
Whitebait - Generic term for any tiny fish an
inch or two in length that is of a white, shimmery,
or transparent hue, rolled in flour and fried until
Whole Wheat Flour - A coarse flour containing the
bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat kernel, which
give the flour a high fiber, nutrition and fat
Wiener Schnitzel - A thin slice of tenderized
veal that's dipped in egg, dredged through bread
crumbs and quickly fried in butter.
Wild Rice - The grain of a reed-like aquatic
plant (Zizania aquatica) unrelated to rice; grown in
the United States and Canada. The grains are long,
slender and black, with a distinctive earthy, nutty
flavor; available in three grades: giant (a very
long grain and the best quality), fancy (a medium
grain and of lesser quality) and select (a short
Wine Vinegar - Vinegar made from any wine (red or
white). Wine vinegars have an acidity of
approximately 6.5 percent.
Winter Squash - Harvested in autumn, winter
squash has an orange or yellow flesh and should keep
for months because of its hard, thick shell. The
inedible shell is a primary distinction from summer
squash. The flavor can be mild to very nutty, with
varying degrees of sweetness.
Wok - A round-bottomed pan popular in Asian
Wonton wrappers - These square sheets of fresh
wheat-flour and egg dough can be used to make
boiled, steamed or fried wontons, ravioli and other
dumplings. They can also be cut into strips and
fried to use as a garnish for salads and entrées.
Worcestershire Sauce - A condiment used to season
meat, gravy, sauces, and other various dishes.
Worcestershire sauce is thin and dark with a piquant
flavor, named for Worcester, England, where it was
originally bottled. Ingredients usually include
vinegar, tamarind, onions, molasses, garlic, soy
sauce, lime, anchovies, and seasonings.
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Xanthan Gum - Xanthan gum is used as a thickener and
emulsifier in dairy products, salad dressings, and
other foods. It's made from corn sugar.
Xxx, Xxxx, 10x - An indicator on a box of
confectioners' sugar denoting how many times the
sugar has been ground. The higher the number of X's,
the finer the grind.
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Yakitori - Japanese term meaning "grilled," it
usually refers to skewered chicken pieces.
Yam - A thick vine tuber grown and eaten in South
and Central America and parts of Asia and Africa.
Sweet potatoes are often called yams, but are from a
different plant species. True yams may be found in
Latin American markets and may be used in most
recipes which call for sweet potatoes.
Yeast - Yeast is a living organism which is used
in brewing, winemaking, and baking. The carbon
dioxide produced by yeasts is what gives champagne
and beer their effervescence, and cause bread doughs
to rise. Active dry yeast and compressed yeast are
the forms most commonly used for leavening. One
package (or 1 scant tablespoon) of active dry yeast
granules is equal to one cake of compressed fresh
Yeast Starter - Yeast starters were commonly used
before yeasts and other leaveners were commercially
available. Typically, a mixture of water, flour, and
sugar, and sometimes commercial yeast are mixed and
allowed to ferment, capturing natural airborne
yeasts. When the mixture has fermented, a portion is
used in a recipe, and the amount taken is
replenished with equal amounts of water and flour. A
starter may be replenished and kept going
indefinitely. Sourdough bread is one of the most
popular breads using this method.
Yellow Chiles - The general term to describe
these is "Güero chile" which refers to varieties
such as the Santa Fe grande and Hungarian wax chiles.
Yellowfin Tuna - A variety of tuna from the
Pacific Ocean reaching up to 300 pounds. The pale
pink flesh (which must be called "light" when
canned) has a slightly stronger flavor than
Yogurt - Yogurt is milk which has been fermented
by keeping it at a temperature of 110 degrees for
several hours. The final product is a creamy with a
slightly tart taste. Yogurt is available plain,
flavored, and frozen.
Yogurt Cheese - Yogurt that has had the whey
drained from it.
Yokan - A Japanese sweet, similar to Turkish
Delight, made from adzuki bean jam and agar-agar.
Yorkshire Pudding - A common accompaniment to
British roast beef, Yorkshire pudding is similar to
a popover or soufflé. The batter of eggs, milk and
flour is baked in beef drippings until puffy.
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Zaatar - An herb mixture composed of savory, thyme,
sumac, and sesame seeds. A prepared mixture of this
herb mixture can be found at most Middle Eastern
groceries. The quality of zaatar can differ greatly.
Zabaglione - An Italian dessert made from egg
yolks, wine, and sugar. Zabaglione is beaten over
simmering water, which cooks the egg yolks and makes
a light and foamy custard.
Zest - The thin, brightly colored outer part of
the rind of citrus fruits. It contains volatile
oils, used as a flavoring.
Ziti - Italian for bridegrooms; used to describe
large, slightly curved tubes of pasta, similar to
Zucchini - A moderately long cylindrical summer
squash with smooth, dark green skin with a slightly
bumpy surface, creamy white-green flesh and milk
flavor; also known as a courgette (especially in
Zuppa - Italian word for "soup."
Zwieback - Zwieback means "twice baked" in
German, and refers to cut up bread which is then
cooked in the oven until thoroughly crisped and dry.
Zwyieka - A Polish sausage.
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