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A white, powdery finer than flour. It is quite expensive and preferable to cornstarch because it provides a clear finish. Its extracted from rhizomes. It was originally used by American Indians to heal arrow wounds, hence the name 'arrowroot'. 



Also known as rocket. Arugula is a pepper and mustard flavored green that is used in many salads and as a sandwich condiment. Watercress is a good substitute if you can't find it. Although, most American farmers' and gourmet markets carry it. 



(Spanish) Saffron



An Italian cheese (known as poor man's Parmesan) mainly used for grating. It is reminiscent of cheddar. Although, it is traditionally made with sheep's milk, today it is often made with cow's milk. 



(English) Clear meat, poultry, or fish jelly.



A gruel-like blue corn-meal drink. Is served with sugar, scalded milk, or both.



Italian almond cookies reminiscent of the macaroon. 



An almond flavoured liqueur (made from apricot pits) from Italy. Disaronno Amaretto is a good brand to try. 


Anaheim Chiles

Mild, long green chiles named for the area near Los Angeles where they were once cultivated. You can buy them canned (whole or chopped) and fresh. 


Ancho Chiles

Dried poblano chiles that come in colour ranging from dark red to almost black. They are moderately hot with a smoky flavour. Pasilla chiles are a good substitute. 


Angel Hair

Capellini ("Fine Hairs") 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.



(Spanish) Anise - A spice whose flavour is reminiscent of licorice, usually bought ground. (although seed form is also common). It is found in cookies, cakes and liqueurs. 


Arborio Rice

A short grain white rice from Northern Italy. The length of the grain is often less than two times its width. It is used often in risotto due to its ability to absorb flavour as it cooks, yet remain somewhat firm in the center. The Spanish Valencia rice is a good substitute. 



A member of the brandy family known for its distinct, unpolished flavour with hints of prune. Armagnac can be found in most liquor stores. 



A Provencal garlic-mayonnaise sauce. In fact, the name is derived from ail (garlic) and oli (oil). It is served with cold fish, eggs, salad, snails, and cold meat. 






A single spice whose flavor is reminiscent of a blend of nutmeg, cloves juniper berries, pepper, and cinnamon. It is processed from the fruit of an evergreen tree found in the Western Hemisphere.


Allumette Potatoes

(French) Potatoes cut like large match sticks.


Almond Paste

A mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and glucose. The Odense brand of almond paste is a good one to try. It can be found in the baking aisle in most grocery stores. 


Alphabet Pasta

Pasta shapes in the form of letters and numbers. This favorite kids' shape is usually used in soups for a fun meal anytime.


Acidulated Water

Water to which a mild acid, usually lemon juice or vinegar, has been added to prevent sliced fruits (especially apples and pears) and peeled or cut up vegetables (i.e. artichokes and salsify) from turning dark during preparation. To make acidulate water, squeeze half of a lemon into a medium bowl of water. 



A thick, yellow liqueur made from egg yolks, sugar, and alcohol. It can be served before and after dinner, on desserts, or in mixed drinks.



An extract of seaweed (also know as Bengal isinglass and Japanese or Ceylon moss) from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It comes in either small transparent strips or powdered form. The Japanese use it in soups. However, its most common use is in commercial food products such as deserts, soups, ice creams, and sauces. Probably, because agar-agar dissolves in water over low heat and upon cooling sets into a jelly.



A Mexican plant with large, fleshy leaves. Its fermented sap is used to make tequila, pulque, and mescal.



(French) Lamb.


Agnes Sorel

A garnish made of mushrooms, chicken, and pickled tongue named after the mistress of King Charles VII of France. In Agnes Sorel soup, the garnish is cut into thin strips and added to the thickened soup.



A kind of ravioli in which the pasta is cut into small, round pieces. They are usually stuffed with meat and vegetables and then folded over like turnovers. Agnolotti are popular in the Piedmont region of Italy, where they are boiled in stock and served with butter and grated cheese.



Also wormwood. An aromatic plant that contains an alkaloid used to make medicinal drinks in the Middle Ages. The first absinthe liquer was made by HL Pernod in the late 1700's. Later it was discovered that absinthe had dangerous effects on the nervous system and was outlawed in 1915. Pernod is now flavored with aniseed.


Acetic Acid

A natural organic acid which is also known as vinegar. It is used in sugar and confectionery recipes, in pavlovas (as a stabilizer for the eggs), and in royal icing (to help the icing set). 



A mixture of honey and vinegar that produces a sweet/ sour syrup. Although it is rarely used today, in the past it was used to preserve fruits. 



A yellowish, strongly spiced pickle popular in Indian cuisine. It is usually made from a mixture of chopped fruit and vegetables steeped in a spicy sauce. A typical achar might include carrots, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and lemons steeped in salt. The whole mixture would then be preserved in an oil spiced with onion, ginger, cayenne, vinegar and saffron.







Small, boat shaped pastry tarts made of short crust pastry or puff pastry, baked blind and then filled with sweet or savoury fillings.


Basmati Rice

Aromatic rice with a nutty flavour. Its grains separate nicely after cooking, making it ideal for pilaffs. 


Bay Leaf

An aromatic leaf that comes from bay laurel. Whole, halved, or ground, it lends a slightly bitter, pungent seasoning to soups, stews, and stocks. Primary ingredient in a bouquet garnish. 



(French) Sauce derived from Hollandaise, with a tarragon reduction added.



(French) A rich cream sauce made from cream and a roux, with an onion pique.


Beef, Dried

Beef soaked in brine and then soaked and dried.



(French) Butter.


Beurre Manie

Literally, handled butter. It is an equal mixture of soft butter and flour, used for thickening soups and sauces. 


Beurre Noir

(burr-nwahr) (French) Butter cooked to a dark brown, then adding capers and a dash of vinegar.



A sweet Polishyeast bread that usually contains almond and raisins, but recent versions use chocolate and cinnamon. 


Baked Alaska

Also called Omelet sursprise. A frozen dessert in which solidly frozen ice cream is placed on top of a layer of sponge cake and frosted with meringue. The cake is placed under a broiler to brown it slightly.


Baking Powder

A leavening agent of which the most common is double-acting baking powder, called so because it reacts first with liquids and secondly, with the heat during baking. A good substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder is 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Periodically, check the expiration date on your can as baking powder loses its leavening power over time. 


Baking soda

A leavening agent, activated by interacting with something acid. Liquid ingredients like sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, and lemon juice help baking soda produce the gases which in turn make a batter rise. The batter should be baked as soon as possible after the liquid has interacted with the baking soda. 


Bamboo shoots

These are the ivory-colored shoots of the bamboo plant. Widely available in cans; fresh bamboo shoots are expensive and seasonal. Bamboo shoots have a tender-crisp texture and sweet flavor. To refresh canned bamboo shoots, rinse and quickly blanch before use.



A pancake shaped, deep-fried cassava bread, which is aid to originate with the Arawaks Indians. Cassava is a Jamaican root crop. Bammy is commonly served with fried fish. 


Beurre Noisette

(French) Butter that tastes like hazelnuts, achieved by melting butter until it turns a golden brown.



Anise seed cookies.



(Angoustra bitters) A liquid combination of cloves, cinnamon, quinine, nutmeg, rum, dried fruits, and other root and herbal extracts. They are mostly used in drinks. 


Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

This is the chocolate most often called for in cake and cookie recipes. 'Bittersweet' and 'semisweet' are often used interchangeably, though bittersweet generally has more chocolate 'liquor' (the paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans). Most semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, while some fine bittersweets contain 50% or more. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate have a deep, smooth, intense flavour that comes from the blend of beans used rather than added dairy products. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter are added to the liquor to lend an even richer taste.


Black beans, salted

An important Chinese ingredient, black soybeans are cooked and fermented with salt and spices, resulting in a pungent, soft bean with a distinctive salty flavor. This unusual item is used in steamed, braised, and stir-fried dishes, giving them a rich, complex flavour.


Black Rice

Milled rice is white, but the outer bran layer can be brown, red or black. In the case of black rice, the raw grains look charred and the cooked ones are the color of blackberries. 


Blackstrap Molasses

Unrefined molasses which has a bitter taste. 


Blue Cheese

A cow's milk, semisoft, blue-veined cheese with a very strong aroma. The most common US made blue cheese is Maytag (Iowa). Similar cheeses include France's Roquefort and Italy's Gorgonzola. 


Bok choy

A Chinese cabbage with white stems and broad, dark green leaves. Shanghai or baby bok choy is smaller and has a more delicate flavor. Steamed, blanched or used in soups and stir-fries, bok choy imparts a refreshing, mildly bitter taste. Chose stalks that are crisp with unblemished leaves.


Bouquet Garni

A bunch of herbs (traditionally parsley, thyme, and bay leaf) bundled up in a cheesecloth bag that usually dangles into a stockpot via a string. The herb bundle gives the stew, soup or stock an aromatic seasoning. The bouquet garni is removed before serving. 



A method of cooking by which food (usually tougher cuts of meat, large poultry, or vegetables like cabbage, chicory, and artichokes) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavour and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. 



A sweet yeast bread that is originally French. Brioche has a unique lightness, flavour and aroma. It is composed of flour, sugar, yeast, milk, butter, and egg yolk. It is similar to the Jewish Challah. 


Brown Sugar

Comes in two forms: the more intense dark brown sugar and light brown sugar, both containing molasses. The dark brown sugar contains more molasses, giving it a stronger flavour. Although commercial packaging of brown sugar has improved, it has a tendency to get hard. To avoid, store it in an airtight container. Be sure to measure brown sugar, packed.



Whole wheat which has been boiled until tender and the husk is about to crack open, then dried. It is a common ingredient in Arabic (burghul), Turkish (bulgur), and Cypriot (pourgouri) cooking. You can buy it coarse or fine ground in most middle-eastern grocery stores. 



Fried sweet puffs that can be glazed with brown sugar-maple syrup or sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar.



Flour tortilla filled with refried beans and chile sauce, ground beef and chile sauce, or a combination of both, and rolled.






(French) Coffee.



Baked pumpkin.



The trade name for California Avocados.



Poor man's stew made of ground beef, raw potatoes, and seasonings.



An apple brandy from Normandy, France made from cider that has been aged for up to two years and distilled. 


Canadian Bacon

The large rib-eye muscle of the pork loin, cured and smoked. It is boneless and usually lean, making it a good ham substitute for those watching their fat. 



(French) Duck.


Cannellini Beans

A large creamy, white bean used often in Italian cooking. They are sometimes referred to as Northern beans and make excellent vegetarian substitutes for both fish and chicken. 



The small buds of a Mediterranean shrub. They are usually pickled in vinegar or dried and salted. 



A castrated rooster that makes a good roasting bird. It ranges in size from four to ten pounds and has plenty of breast and thigh meat. Its size makes it an ideal choice for serving eight to twelve. Buying capon may prove to be difficult; try to special order it from your butcher. 



Also known as star fruit. A golden yellow fruit grown in the West Indies, Indonesia, and Brazil. When sliced, the fruit has a star shaped .The flesh of the carambola is juicy and highly acidic. Its taste is reminiscent of plums, grapes, and apples. It is eaten fresh, mostly in salsas and vinaigrettes, and sometimes as a dessert (with sugar and cream). 


Caramelized Sugar

Sugar that has been cooked until it reaches a caramel colour. The new flavour it attains works nicely in desserts. 


Caraway Seed

The curved, anise flavored seeds popular in German and Austrian cooking. Caraway is a member of the parsley family. The seeds are used as topping on breads and savory pastries, and as accompaniments to cabbage and goulash. Caraway is also employed in the making of certain cheeses and liquers. 



The pods of an aromatic Indian plant related to the ginger family. The seeds of the pods are dried and used as a spice. It is a very expensive spice. cardamom is used mostly in Indian cooking. However, it also shows up in Scandinavian ,spicing up wines, stewed fruits, etc., and in Arabic cooking (called hale) as an accompaniment to coffee. 


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.



Originally, paper thin slices of raw beef with a creamy sauce, invented at Harry's Bar in Venice. In recent years, the term has come to describe very thinly sliced vegetables, raw or smoked meats, and fish. 


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.



Also known as celery root. A root vegetable that houses a white fleshed interior beneath its rough skin. 


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 ingredients.




Blue corn meal much thicker than atole. Served with red chile with pork or spareribs in place of potatoes or rice.



The pear-shaped fruit of a West Indian annual vine (Sechium edule) of the gourd family that is widely cultivated as a vegetable. Also, the plant called mirliton. Tastes like a cross between potato and cauliflower, yet slightly sweet.



(French) A culinary expert. The chief of the kitchen.



(Cracklings) Pieces of fat cooked slowly until lard is rendered out. Lightly salted, may be served as a warm or cold hor d'oeuvre.



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. Caffeine-averse Germans discovered that chicory could be processed into a coffee substitute. 



Dried sweet corn used whole or crushed in a seasoned stew.



French for 'made from rags.' In cooking it refers to a small chopped pile of thin strips of an ingredient. Usually it is raw, but sometimes sauteed. Mostly used to garnish.



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 carne adovada.


Chile Con Queso

Melted cheese dip seasoned with chile and served with tostados.


Chile Rellenos

Green chiles stuffed with cheese or meat, dipped in a cornmeal batter, and deep-fat fried.


Chiles, Green

Found in a variety of sizes, shapes, and piquancies, they are an important part of Southwestern dishes. Before use, the skin is removed. Used in sauces, relishes, stews, and as chile rellenos.


Chiles, Red

Green chile that has ripened and dried. Usually used ground or crushed for added seasoning or in making a variety of sauces.


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 throughout Asia.



Wild celery, root andleaf


Chinese broccoli (gai lan)

The broad leaves, tender stalks and delicate white flowers of this vegetable are all edible. They have a mild flavour, similar to Western broccoli, but with a slightly bitter, earthy flavour. Ideal for steaming and stir-frying; often paired with oyster sauce.


Chinese chives

Also known as garlic chives, these flat green chives are quite pungent and are used extensively in stir-fries and soups.


Chinese egg noodles

These wheat-flour-based egg noodles are sold in both fresh and dried forms; substitute spaghetti or fettuccine if unavailable.


Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing)

This brown, nutty-tasting wine is made from glutinous rice, millet, yeast and spring water, and is similar in taste and smell to dry sherry, which can be used as a substitute if Shaoxing wine is not available. An important ingredient in Chinese cuisine, rice wine imparts a rich flavor and aroma to marinades and sauces.



Smoked dried jalapeno chiles. The distinctive smoky heat of chipotles is used to flavor Southwestern and Mexican dishes. They are sold both dried and in cans, in a vinegary sauce called adobo. Most big supermarkets carry them, but a Latin-American market is your best bet.



Highly seasoned hog link sausage.



A fruit condiment used commonly in Indian cuisine. It looks like fruit preserves, but contains vinegar, spices, and at times nuts. Its taste varies from sweet to tart, and mild to spicy. The most common chutney is mango. 



Also known as Coriander and Chinese Parsley. This herb is often used in Chinese and Mexican cooking. It resembles and is often used like parsley. The seeds of this aromatic plant are often dried and used as spices (whole or ground). Its flavor is reminiscent of slightly burnt oranges. 



The brown, hard dried flower buds of an aromatic Southeast Asian evergreen. They are useful in both whole and ground forms. Ground, they are used in cakes and soups. Whole, they add great flavour to mulled wines and ciders. Cloves also have natural preservative qualities. 


Cocoa Powder

There are two basic types of cocoa: regular (or American) and Dutch process (sometimes labeled 'European process'). Dutch process cocoa has a slightly stronger flavor and richer color than regular cocoa: It's been treated with a mild alkali, such as baking soda, which neutralizes its acidity. Both regular and Dutch process cocoa have far less fat and fewer calories than baking and eating chocolate because the cocoa butter has been removed. This also means cocoa tastes less rich, so when you're cooking with it, you have to find another way to put the moisture and richness back in. 


Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is made by combining 1 parts water and 4 parts 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. Milk can be substituted for water for an even richer result. Coconut cream comes canned and may sometimes be found frozen in Asian markets and some supermarkets. 


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. 



Cooking just below the boiling point; such as Coddled Eggs.



(Spanish) Cumin, powder or seeds


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 making. It is also used in iced drinks (Thai iced tea) because of its high sugar content (it won't freeze easily). 


Confectioners Sugar

Powdered sugar, often used in baking and in frostings. 



(French) Shell.



(also known as polenta) A yellow, grainy powder made from yellow degermed ground corn. It is similar to semolina in texture. Tortillas and cornbread are two of the most common cornmeal based foods. However, cornmeal is versatile enough to be used in both sweet and savory dishes. White cornmeal is also available. 



A white, powdery thickener finer than flour. It is extracted from the starch endosperm of wheat or corn. It must be dissolved in a cold liquid before it is added to a hot mixture or it will lump. It results in a glazy, opaque finish. 



A thin puree of fruit, sweetened and thinned to a sauce consistency using sugar. 



Ice cream that is topped with fruit and traditionally served in stemmed glasses or silver goblets. 


Court Bouillion

A liquid mixture of salt and water, although some variations include herbs, milk, wine, and lemon or vinegar. It is used mainly for cooking fish and shellfish. The food cooked in the liquid absorbs the flavours of the liquid.



A grain-like hard wheat semolina that has been ground, moistened, and rolled in flour. The grain is then steamed (for 40 minutes) and traditionally served with a stew. There are also sweet couscous dishes. It is a staple dish in the North African countries of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. The couscous you find in most American grocery (usually in the rice aisle) stores is precooked. 


Cream of Tartar

The common name for potassium bitartare, a by-product of wine-making. Its is a major ingredient in baking powder and is used to stabilize beaten egg whites. 



Crema Centroamerica

A Latin-style cream that is as rich or richer than whipping cream. It can be liquid and sweet, or thick, rich, and tangy. Some brands are labeled soft-ripened cheese. It is similar to mascarpone. 


Crema Centroamericana Acida

A Latin-style cream that has the consistency, tang, and fat content of salted sour cream. 


Crema Fresca Casera

Literally 'homestyle fresh cream'. It is a sweet pourable whipping cream used in Latin cooking. 


Crema Mexican Agria

A Latin-style cream as thick as sour cream with 15-20 percent fat content. It also has a tartness similar to sour cream, and is salted. 


Crema Mexicana

A Latin-style cream that has the same amount or more of butterfat as whipping cream. It can be sweet and pourable like whipping cream, or delicately tart and very thick, like creme fraiche. 


Creme de Casis

A sweet cordial flavored with black currants. It can be bought at most liquor stores. 


Creme Fraiche

A matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavour and velvety rich texture. The thickness of crème fraiche can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where crème fraiche is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary for crème fraiche can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. To make your own: combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70ºF) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. Crème fraiche is the ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It's delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings. 


Cremini Mushrooms

Wild mushroom. 



An Indian spice with an earthy flavour, also known as Comino. It usually appears in its ground form and as cumin seed. Cumin is featured in Middle Eastern (lentil and lamb dishes) and Latin American cuisines (chilly, tamales). 


Curry Powder

A spice mixture more popular in the West than in India. It usually consists of coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, and chilly. 



A rounder, thicker and chewier relative of the squid. This lean and nutritious seafood can be found in ethnic markets. 






A popular Japanese root vegetable, also known as Chinese white radish. Daikon resembles a large, white carrot and has a firm texture that can withstand long cooking. It can be stir-fried, braised, boiled, steamed or served raw (often grated or finely shredded) in salads. It should be firm, heavy and unblemished with solid, smooth skin.


Daikon Radish

A long sweet tasting radish used prominently in Japanese cooking. It can be found in most produce sections. 


Date Sugar

A sweetener made by grinding dehydrated dates. It is high in fiber, and a long list of vitamins and minerals, including iron. Its use is limited by price and the fact it does not dissolve when added to liquids. Substitute one cup date sugar for each cup granulated sugar. 



A slowly cooked French stew of meat or fish ibraised n wine and stock with vegetables and herbs. 



A thick, intensely flavored, glossy brown sauce that is served with meat, poultry, or fish or used as a base for other sauces. It is made by thickening a rich veal stock, enriching it with diced vegetables, tomato paste and Madiera or sherry, then reducing it until concentrated. 


Drawn butter

Melted butter.


Dried black mushrooms (shiitake)

Drying mushrooms concentrates their flavors and produces a deep, meaty taste. Dried mushrooms are ideal in soups, stuffings, stir-fries and braised dishes. To reconstitute, soak in warm water 15-20 minutes; remove fibrous stems.


Dutch Cocoa Powder

An alkalized cocoa. It has an intense flavor. Droste is a good and widely available brand. 





Eau-de-vie deFramboise

Eau de vie is an 80 - 90 proof clear fruit alcohol. Framboise means it is raspberry flavored. 



(French) The way of the Scottish. 



(French) Cut fine, or sliced thin.



Fried or baked turnovers with either dried fruit or sweet meat filling.



Rolled or flat corn tortillas topped or stuffed with meat, cheese, onions, and red or green chile sauce.


Enchilada Sauce

Red sauce made of mild to hot chile pulp or chile powder, spices, and beef or pork or both. Used for enchiladas. Also called red chile sauce.



An French cooking term referring to a thinly sliced, boneless, round cut of meat that is slightly floured (or breaded) and quickly sauteed. (also known as scaloppine in Italian).



A mother sauce. Basic brown sauce.


Evaporated Milk

A preserved milk that has much of the water content removed via evaporation. It is similar to condensed milk, although not as sweet. 







Butterfly (also bow-tie) shaped pasta. Farfalle brighten any meal with their interesting shape. Thick enough for any sauce, or make into a salad or soup.



Inner portion of coarsely ground hard wheat.



Long, flat pasta meaning "Small Ribbons". Perfect for heavier sauces, like cheese, meat and tomato sauces. For variety, try breaking in half and putting in soups, or use for a salad.


Finnan Haddie

Smoked haddock.


Fish Sauce

A pungent, salty liquid made from fresh anchovies that is essential in Thai cooking. 


Five-spice powder

A fragrant, pungent, slightly sweet and hot Chinese spice mixture. The blend traditionally includes star anise, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves and fennel. Five-spice powder is used in marinades, as a spice rub for meats and in dipping salt mixtures.



Caramelized custard.



Meaning "flute," a taco variation; two corn tortillas are overlapped, filled with meat, cheese, onion, and chile, rolled, then



A cookie made by cooking butter, sugar, cream, honey, candied fruit (and sometimes nuts) in a saucepan before being baked on a cookie sheet. They are chewy and often coated with chocolate on one side.



A creamy white substance created by kneading cooked sugar syrup. It is used often as a filling for chocolates, frosting for cakes, petit fours or pastries. It can also be flavoured and made into individual sweets.



A raspberry liqueur with a high alcohol content 



(from the French frappe) Simple sugar syrup mixed with fruit or other flavourings 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. 


Fresh Masa

A moist dough of ground, dried corn that has been soaked in limewater, then cooked. Used in tamales.



Literally means "Twisted Spaghetti". This long, spiraled shaped pasta can be topped with any sauce, broken in half and added to soups, or turned into a beautiful salad. Fusilli also bakes well in casseroles.






Known as laos (Indonesian), lengkuas (Malaysian), kah (Thai), isen, or galingale. It is sometimes called Java root or Siamese ginger. Galangal is a fresh root (a rhizome of a Zinginber species) that resembles fresh ginger root, but has a thinner, translucent, striped skin. Often, it has pink shoots. Its texture is tougher and its flavour is more citrusyand more astringent than ginger. It is always used in cooked dishes and never eaten raw. If you can't find it, ginger is an adequate substitute.


Garam Masala

An Indian spice mixture usually composed of coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. 


Garbanzo Beans

Also known as ceci or chickpeas. They are very popular in Mediterranean cuisine. Canned chickpeas can be found in the bean aisle of most grocery stores. 



A reduced mixture of vinegar and sugar used in the preparation of hot sauces accompanying dishes made with fruit (such as duck with orange). Gastrique is prepared by heating the ingredients together until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated.



A cold vegetable soup with a meat broth or tomato juice base containing a variety of raw vegetables.



The trimmings from poultry such as the liver, heart, etc..



A Southeastern Asian (originally) plant cultivated for its spicy aromatic rhizomes. It comes in powdered, preserved, and fresh forms. It is most commonly used in Asian cooking, showing up in savoury curries, marinades, rice, tea, or just eaten as a sweetmeat in its crystallized form. In western cooking, the use of ginger has been limited to confectionery and pastry making. For candied ginger: Peel 1 pound gingerroot, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. In 2-qt. saucepan, heat ginger slices and 2 cups water to boiling over high heat. Boil 5 minutes. Drain. Repeat boiling (in fresh water) and draining 3 more times. In same saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water to boiling over high heat. Add ginger slices and return to boiling. Reduce heat to gently simmer ginger, stirring occasionally, until translucent -- about 1 hour. With slotted spoon, transfer ginger to wire rack placed over a tray. Let ginger stand until surface is dry to touch. Roll ginger, a few slices at a time, in 1/4 cup sugar until well coated. Store ginger in jars. 


Ginger root

This knobbly, light beige-coloured rhizome comes in two varieties: young and mature. Young ginger is more tender and milder in flavour and can be used with its skin on. Mature ginger has a more assertive, peppery bite. Both should be firm and free of wrinkles. Grated, slivered, minced and sliced ginger can be used in a range of dishes - from marinades and stir-fries to curries and soups.



A thick, clear form of sugar which is produced by the breakdown of starch cells that have been treated with acids or enzymes and then fermented to form sugars. The thickness of the liquid glucose depends on how much the starch cells have broken down. It can be produced from corn, starch, potatoes, grapes, and honey (corn being the most common). In fact, liquid glucose is known as corn syrup in the USA. When glucose is mixed with maple syrup, it is called pancake syrup. Glucose is most commonly used in confectionery to give elasticity to caramel or sugar piece and to help prevent crystallization. It can also be added to chocolate to produce a modeling paste. 



A clear, sweet syrupy liquid extracted from animal fats and vegetable oils, and is a by-product of soap manufacturing. It is used (in small amounts) in certain cake, pastry, and icing mixtures. The reason being that it is able to draw moisture from the air, keeping these products most and extending their shelf life. 


Goat Cheese

Also known as Chevre, a soft fresh goat's milk cheese sold in a variety of shapes (rounds and cylinders are most common). They are usually sold fresh, but some are marinated in oil. Montrachet and Coach Farms are among my favourites. 


Golden Beets

These are yellow ochre coloured beets. They are sweeter than red beets. Like all beets, they go well with tart (i.e. citrus fruit) and salty foods i.e. cheese). 



An Italian cow's milk cheese (48% fat) that is white or yellow and streaked with blue. It has a distinct smell and can have a mellow, strong, or sharp flavor, depending on its degree of maturity. It is similar to the American blue cheese and the French roquefort. 


Gouda Cheese

A cow's milk, firm, smooth cheese similar to cheddar. This Dutch cheese comes in both young and aged forms. 



Goujonettes are small strips cut from a fillet, often breadedm or dipped in batter, and then deep-fried.This cut has approximately the same dimensions as an adult's index finger.



(French) Connoisseur of culinary delights.


Grand Marnier

Orange flavored, cognac based liqueur from France. 



A mixture of water, sugar, and liquid flavourings (i.e. fruit juice or coffee) that is stirred occasionally while being frozen to create a granular texture. 


Granulated Sugar

Regular sugar for everyday use. 



Coarsely ground hominy (corn with the hull and germ removed). In the Southern United States, it is commonly boiled and served for breakfast or as a dinner side dish. 




Avacado salad served as a dip or on lettuce as a salad, or ingredient in many other dishes.






Literally means half dry in German. Used in reference to German wines with 9 to 18 grams of residual sugar per liter. 


Half and half

A mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to 12 percent milk fat.


Haricots Verts

Tiny green string beans.



All-purpose flour.


Harina Azul

Blue corn meal flour for tortillas.


Harina Para Atole

Blue corn meal flour for gruel.


Harina Para Panocha

Sprout wheat flour for Indian pudding (Panocha).



An extremely spicy, red chili paste from North Africa. It is made of a mixture of chilies, garlic, and spices 



A German stew made from rabbit.



A young female cow that has not had a calf yet.


Herb Bouquet

A mixture of tied herms used for seasoning in soups, sauces, and stocks.



A term used in describing the aroma of herbs in the following wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabarnet Sauvignons, and Merlots. If the odour is too pronounced, the wine is considered vegetal (not a good thing). 



A French appellation located in northern Rhone. Its reds, made from Syrah grapes, and its whites, made from Marsanne andd Rousanne, are highly regarded. 



A dried, squiggly black seaweed used in Japanese cooking. Its usually rehydrated before using. Hijiki is high in calcium.



A British term for Rhine wines. Its derived from the german wine town of Hochhheim. 


Hoisin Sauce

Also known as Peking sauce. A reddish-brown sweet and spicy Chinese sauce reminiscent of barbecue sauce. It is made from soybeans and peppers and can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores. 


Hor d'oeuvre

 (French) Petite appetizers or relishes. Serve as the first course of the meal.



Grape picking basket worn on the backs of French grape pickers. Its traditionally made of wood, but is also found in metal and plastic. 


Huevos Rancheros

Served in several ways, but generally is a fried egg on a corn tortilla and topped with a special green Chile sauce with onions and tomatoes. Sometimes served with red or green enchilada sauce and garnished with lettuce and cheese.





Ice Cream Soda

A beverage made of carbonated water, a flavoured syrup, and a scoop or two of ice cream.


Ice Milk

A sorbet to which a small amount of milk has been added. It is lighter and icier than ice cream. 



Liquid derived from steeping herbs, spices, etc..







A small green chile pepper that is mildly hot. They are named after Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz. Serrano peppers are a good substitute when there are no jalapenos on hand. 



(Cream Candy) Condensed milk used as a spread or ice cream topping.


Jarlsberg Cheese

A Norwegian cow's milk cheese that is firm in texture and nutty in flavour. It is very similar to Swiss cheese.


 Jasmine Rice

A fragrant long grain rice from Thailand that is distinctly aromatic, soft and sticky when cooked. The lengths of each grain four to five times its width. 



A bulbous, brown root with a crunchy white interior used in Latin American cooking. The sweet and nutty interior is great for crudite platters and salads. It can be found from May to November in many Mexican markets. 



A Mexican style sour cream. It has equal or less fat content than the American sour cream. Some labels describe it as salted buttermilk, but its thicker; some call it a thin sour cream. The taste of jocoque ranges from mildly tangy to refreshingly sharp. 



(French) A cut of meat, poultry, or vegetables which is 1/8 x 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches long.



Usually refers to the natural juice from meat. See au Jus.





Kalamata Olives

Also Calamata. Purple-black Greek olives cured in vinegar. 



Light or dark corn Syrup.



Buckwheat grouts.


Kippered Herring

Smoked or dried herring.



(meat) Meat sold within 48 hours after being butchered in accordance to Hebrew religious laws. The style of Jewish dietary cooking.



Small oval citrus fruit that is golden-orange in color.





(French) Milk.



(lahn-goost) (French) Crawfish.

300. Larding

Salt pork strips inserted into meat with a special needle. Used to add flavor and moisture to meat.



Juienne of bacon. Strips of salt pork used for larding.



From "lasanum", Latin for pot. Lasagne is a large, flat, rectangular pasta. It is almost always used in baked dishes. Create new Lasagne casseroles by using chopped vegetables, cheeses and any kind of sauce. You can also assemble your casserole and freeze it for later.



Small onion like plant, used as an aromatic seasoning or vegetable.



(French) Dried beans, peas, lentils and such.


Lemon Grass

Known as sereh (or serai Indonesian and Malaysian), takrai (Thai), xa (Vietnamese). Thick, rough pale green stalks with a citrus flavour and scent. To prepare for cooking, cut off and discard the tough root end and green grass top. Use only the tender inner white portion. You can substitute an equal amount of grated lemon zest moistened with a bit of fresh lemon juice.



See 'Lemon Grass'



A brown or yellow flat seed resembling a pea used for soups, garnishes, and as a vegetable.



A binding agent made up of egg yolks and cream, used for thickening soups and sauces.


Lily Buds

Also called tiger lily bids or golden needles, dried day lily buds that are nutritious and sweet. They are used often in Chinese dishes. 



Literally means "Little Tongues". This pasta has a long, thin shape great for all sauces. Also a good choice for salads and stir-fry dishes.


Liquid Tamarind Concentrate

Tart brown fruit puree sold in most Indian supermarkets. Do not confuse this with the pastelike concentrate that is black. To make to make your own liquid tamarind concentrate: Soak 1/4 cup tamarind pulp in 1/2 cup hot water for four minutes (until pulp is soft). Squeeze pulp off seeds and rub mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Make about 1/4 cup.


Lyonnaise Potatoes

(French) Potatoes sliced and sautéed with onions.





Macadamia Nut

Also known as the Queensland nut, the macadamia is a fleshy white nut with a coconut-like flavour. In Asia, it is used in savoury soups and stews. In the US, the macadamia is used mostly in sweets. It has an extremely high fat content. 



A tubular pasta 1/4 inch in diameter. It gets its name from the Italian word "maccherone", meaning fine paste. Its highly versatile pasta shape, allows macaroni to be topped with any sauce, baked, or put in soups, salads and stir-fry dishes. It can also be molded into a timbale or ring shape.



Also known as lamb's lettuce, corn salad, and field salad. It has small, rounded dark green leaves. Mache does not keep well and is best bought right before preparation. Its attractive leaves make a nice garnish. 


Maitre d'Hotel

(French) The head of the catering department.


Maitre d'Hotel, a la

(French) A yellow butter sauce consisting of lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, and drawn butter. Butter: Same as theother but with whole butter.


Malted Milk Shake

A milk shake to which malted milk powder (a mixture if pure cow's milk and extracts of malted barley and wheat) is added. 


Manhattan Clam Chowder

Made with quahog clams, tomatoes, onions, celery, and potatoes.



This large, tubular pasta literally means "Small Muffs". Stuff Manicotti with a mixture of meat, cheese and vegetables, top with your favorite sauce, and bake. Or stuff and freeze for a later time.



An Italian cherry cordial. Also cherries.



To let food stand in a mixture called a marinade (such as a liquid, dry rub, or a paste) before cooking. Some marinades are meant for lending flavor; whereas, those that include an acid (lemon, wine, vinegar, and yogurt) are meant for tenderizing. Of course, some marinades do both. 



Semi-dry, pale golden, Italian wine from Sicily.



A thick almond paste used in confectioneries. Marzipan is mainly used in cakes and pastries of the European tradition. It is also colored and sculpted into individual sweetmeats. The play dough-like consistency of marzipan makes it a great medium for garnish making. The Odense brand of Marzipan is readily available in most supermarkets for $6-$7. However, I have managed to find it at Ernie's Imports in Ingelwood, CA for only $3.98. You can also make marzipan at home. Here's a good recipe (you'll find many, many variations). 2 cups superfine sugar, 4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, 4 cups finely ground almonds, 1 tablespoon rose water (or rum, brandy, whisky) optional, 1 egg, lightly beaten In a large bowl, combine the sugars and the almonds and mix thoroughly. make a well in the middle, add the rose water and most of the egg. Stir into a stiff paste. If its too dry add more egg. Work the mixture by hand and knead until well combined. 


Masa Harina

Corn dough used mainly for tortillas and tamales. It is made by cooking dried corn kernels with calcium oxide, or limes, until the skins loosen. When the skin is removed, the corn is then ground into masa. 


Mascarpone Cheese

An Italian cream cheese most often used in desserts. It is said to have originated in Lombardy in the 16th century. The name comes from the Spanish 'mas que bono' (better than good). It has a soft and buttery consistency, resembling stiffly whipped cream. Mascarpone goes well with savory dishes as well as fruit and desserts. It is found in most supermarkets and Italian groceries. It can be expensive. Here is a recipe for a good substitute from the Stars Desserts cookbook. 4 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid. Line a mesh strainer with a dish cloth folded over to make a double thickness. Rest the strainer over a bowl, making sure the strainer does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a double boiler over medium high heat. When the cream reaches 180 degrees F, add the tartaric acid and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the cream from the stove and continue to stir for another 2 minutes. Pour the cream into a lined strainer and refrigerate. When it is cold, cover it with plastic wrap. Let the cream sit in the refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours. It will become very thick and firm. The mascarpone will keep for a week in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.



A beverage made by fermenting yeast, honey, and water with flavours such as herbs, spices or flowers. 


Medium Egg Noodles

From "Nudel", German meaning paste with egg. This size of Egg Noodle can be baked, tossed in soups or salads, or topped with cream, tomato, cheese or meat sauces for a delicious meal.


Melba Sauce

This sauce is a combination of pureed and strained fresh raspberries, red currant jelly, sugar and cornstarch. It accompanies the dessert Peach Melba,but can also top ice cream, fruit, pound cakes and puddings. It was created by the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier for Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. 


Melba Toast

A thin and dry toast that usually accompanies soups and salads. It was created by Auguste Escoffier for opera singer DameNellie Melba (as was Melba sauce and Peach Melba). 



(French) Mint.



Tripe and hominy traditionally served on Christmas or New Year's Eve.


Mexican Chocolate

Hot chocolate using Mexican chocolate as a main ingredient and seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. Usually served with biscochitos.


Milk Chocolate

This is the most popular form of eating chocolate in the United States, probably because of its mild, mellow flavour. It has only 10% chocolate liquor and usually contains about 12% milk solids. Milk chocolate has a less robust flavour 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. 



Ground or chopped fine.



Also mirepoix. It is a mixture of diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs (and sometimes ham or bacon) sauteed in butter. It is usually used to season sauces, soups and stews. 



A mixture of chopped onion, carrot, and celery used to flavor stocks and soups. Ham or bacon are sometimes added to a mirepoix, depending on the specific preparation.



A sweet Japanese rice wine related to sake used only in cooking. It adds a hint of sweetness to most dishes. 


Mise en place

Literally 'put in place' in French. Refers to the preparations for cooking, setting out bowls, pots, and pans and measuring, washing, peeling, and chopping and mincing ingredients.



A fermented soybean paste that is an essential Japanese flavoring ingredient, miso is available in a variety of flavors and colors. It is used in sauces, soups, marinades, dressings, dips and main dishes.



Arabic gum; it can be found in most Mid-Eastern grocery stores. Its got a hard, crystalline texture and is usually ground before adding to a recipe. 



A delicate, leafy green with long, jagged-edged leaves; can be used in salads or stir-fries.



Cuban seasoning mix made of garlic, olive oil, and sour oranges (usually Seville oranges). It is used as a dip, marinade, or sauce for vegetables and meats. 



Also known as dark treacle. What is leftover in the sugar cane after the granulated sugar has been removed. It is very dark, thick and strong in flavour and aroma. It comes in light, dark, unsulfured, and blackstrap forms. 



Mexican sauce made with red chiles, spices, and chocolate and served over meat or poultry. Crushed sesame seed, pumpkin seed, or nuts are often added for flavour and thickening. (sometimes called Pipian.)



Sweet anise seed rolls. Usaully accompanied by Mexican chocolate.



A saltwater fish of which only the tail meat is eaten. 



Blood pudding made with hog's blood, raisins, pinon nuts, oregano, and mint.



Literally means "Small Mustaches". This tubular pasta goes well with sauce, used in salads, baked in casseroles, or made into stir fry dishes.



A frozen dessert consisting of either a flavored custard or a fruit puree lightened with whipped cream. 





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 beautifully.



Soft custard topped with egg white and sprinkled with cinnamon.



(French) Lamb stew with root vegetables, cut green beans, tomatoes, and peas.



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.. 



Literally 'in the style of Nice (France)'. The term srefers to the region's cooking, characterized by the use of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and brown-black olives. 



Leaves or pads of prickly pear cactus. Taste and texture resemble green beans. Used alone as a vegetable or in soups, salads, and omelets.

362. Nouilles

(French) Noodles.



The oval, brown, wrinkly seed of the nutmeg tree. It is grated to spice up both sweet and savory dishes. You can find it in cakes, custards, souffles, as well as meatballs and soups. 





With diced pimiento and green pepper



A vegetable pod used mainly in gumbos, but also other soups, and served as a vegetable.



One of the two types of sherry (the other being fino). Oloroso means fragrant in Spanish and these sherries have an intense bouquet. They are darker, higher in alcohol and fuller bodied than finos. Olorosos with added sweetners are called cream sherries. 



Seasoned eggs that are beaten and fried. The eggs will puff up at which time, they are rolled or folded over.


Portugal's sweet dessert wines (ports). They are named after Oporto, Portugal's second largest city, on the Douro river. 



(Spanish) Oregano dried leaves



This small, grain shaped pasta can be topped with any sauce, added to soups, or baked as a casserole. Perfect as a side dish as well as a main course.



Wine that has been in contact with air too long, causing it to darken and small stale. 


Oyster Sauce

A bottled all-purpose Chinese seasoning made from oysters, water, salt, cornstarch, and caramel colouring. 





A classic dish combining rice and a variety of both meat and seafood.


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 Broiling

To cook in an uncovered skillet where the fat is poured off during cooking.



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 smoked. You can buy it at Italian delis. 



Indian pudding made with panocha flour, brown sugar, and seasonings such as cinnamon and cloves.


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. 



(French) Peach.


Pecorino Romano

The Pecorino cheeses are made from sheep's milk in Italy. Romano is the best known. Parmesan is a good Romano substitute. 



Literally means "Quills". This tubular pasta goes well with sauce, used in salads, baked in casseroles, or made into stir fry dishes.



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. Here is a basic low fat version: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, 3 cloves garlic, 1 cup fresh basil, firmly packed. Place all ingredients in blender until almost smooth. Pesto tastes great with pasta, pizza, bread, meats, risottos, or stirred into soups. 



From the Greek word for "leaf." Phyllo is a paper-thin pastry dough used in Greek and Middle Eastern sweet and savory dishes. The most popular use of phyllo is the pastry, baklava. Frozen and fresh phyllo dough can be found in supermarkets and Middle Esatern grocery stores. Unopened, phyllo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. Once opened, use within 2 to 3 days. Frozen phyllo can be stored for up to 1 year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Refreezing phyllo will make it brittle. 


Pickapeppa Sauce

A sweet and sour, mild hot pepper sauce from Jamaica. 



Vegetables (most commonly cucumbers) preserved in vinegar. Common pickles include: dill pickle (preserved in brine or vinegar flavoured with dill seed), sweet pickle (cured in brine and preserved in sugar and vinegar), and bread and butter pickle (thinly sliced sweet pickles). Other common food items that are pickled include onions, cauliflower, baby corn, pig's feet, and herring.


Pico de Gallo

Literally rooster's beak, a coarse uncooked tomato salsa (In Jalisco, Mexico it is a relish of oranges). 



Brown, unrefined cane sugar found in cone-shaped pieces used to sweeten coffee and desserts.


Pine Nuts

Also known as pignolias and pinon. The pine nut is the seed of the stone pine. They have a creamy look and a light 'pine' taste. They are used often in Italian, Spanish, and Middle Eastern cooking. 



Pine nuts, seeds of large pine cones. Used in deserts and breads or roasted and enjoyed as nut meats.




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. 


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.



A coarse yellow cornmeal mush that is a staple of Northern Italy. As versatile as Souther nItaly's pasta, polenta can be served hot with various toppings. It can be molded, then cut into squares and fried or grilled. 


Pomegranate Molasses

Also called pomegranate syrup, A Middle Eastern bottled condiment made from yellow sour pomegranates cooked with sugar, gives a fruity tangy flavour to savoury dishes. 


Porcini Mushrooms

Dried Cepes mushrooms found in most Italian markets. They are usually re-hydrated before used in cooking by soaking them in boiling water. 


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.


Portobello Mushroom

Also Portobella. A full grown cremini mushroom (a variation of regular button mushrooms). The name 'portobello' began as a marketing ploy in the 1980's . Portobellos can easily measure 6 inches in diameter and have an open, flat cap. They have an earthy meaty flavor great in sandwiches and salads. They can be found in most produce sections. 



Hominy stew made with dried lime-treated corn and combined with pork and seasonings.



The Italian word for ham, used in the names of raw hams coming from Italy, in particular Proscuitto di Parma and Proscuitto di San Daniele. 


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.


Portobello Mushroom

Also Portabella. A full grown cremini mushroom (a variation of regular button mushrooms). The name 'portobello' began as a marketing ploy in the 1980's . Portobellos can easily measure 6 inches in diameter and have an open, flat cap. They have an earthy meaty flavor great in sandwiches and salads. They can be found in most produce sections. 





Alantic Coast clam.



Spinach combined with pinto beans, seasoned with bacon and crushed chile pods.



A poached dumpling (oval), usually made of veal or chicken.



Made in a number of different ways, buy always with cheese filling. Usually a folded corn tortilla with a chile and jack cheese filling, fried quickly over high heat.


Queso Fresco

(Native fresh cheese) Made with sweet milk and rennet tablets. It is allowed to set until whey can be separated from the curd. Served with sugar, syrup, or preserves as a dessert.



A variety of plum used primarily to make an Alsatian eau de vie of the same name. This plum is also used in desserts and liquers.



A pie made of custard and cheese.



An ancient grain from the Andes, rich in protein, lysine, calcium, and iron. It is whitish, small and pearl shaped. Quinoa cooks like rice (at half the time) and expands to four times its original volume. Its flavor is delicate, plain, and has been compared to that of couscous. It can be included as main dish, a side dish, in soups, in salads and puddings. It can be found in most health food stores. 





Literally means "Radiators". This ruffled, ridged shape adds elegant interest to any sauce. It also works well baked in casseroles, or used in salads and soups.



A stew made from poultry, game, fish, or vegetables cut into pieces and cooked-with or without first having been browned- in a thickened liquid, generally flavoured with herbs and seasonings. There are two basic types of ragout: brown and white. For a brown ragout, the meat is first browned in fat, then sprinkled with flour, cooked a little, and finally moistened with clear stock or water (or thickened meat juices, if the meat has not been floured). For a white ragout, , the meat is cooked until firm, but not coloured, then sprinkled with flour and diluted with stock. 



Small shallow baking dish. The foods cooked in these are also served in them.



Porcelain cups, often used to make soufflés. They are usually white and can withstand high heat. Some good quality ones can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. 



Thin slice of bacon or a portion consisting of 3 slices of bacon.



Dried grape.


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 foods. 


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.


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. 


Ricotta Salata

A lightly salted sheep's milk cheese that has been pressed and dried. It is one of the best known Sicilian cheeses. 



An important step in removing sediment from Champagne. Bottles are placed in racks and then turned by hand or machine over weeks or months until thay are upside down and the sediment has settled on top of the corks. 



A large, grooved pasta. Rigatoni's ridges and holes are perfect with any sauce, from cream or cheese to the chunkiest meat sauces.


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.)


Rock Salt

A crystalline form of salt that is mixed with cracked ice to freeze ice cream. 



(Spanish) Rosemary


Rose Water

An aromatic liquid made by distilling rose petals. It is used often in Middle Eastern pastries and can be found in many Middle-eastern groceries. 



("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 stir-fry meals.


Royale, a la

Literally 'in the royal style'. Usually poached fish or poultry in a veloute sauce ( a white sauce of stock and cream thickened with butter and flour) with truffles. 







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. 



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.



The pistil of the Crocus plant, used for flavoring or coloring of food.



An extract from the tubers of orchids. It can be found in most Mid-Eastern markets. It can be quite expensive, but cornstarch may be substituted. 



A small broiler used to brown or gratin foods.


Salsa Jalapeno

A hot sauce or relish made of Jalapeno chiles, onions, either red or green tomatoes, and seasonings.



Also known as green onion. A bulbless onion with hollow green tops and a white base. It gives dishes a milder onion taste (and is not as abhorrent as chopping regular onions). It works very well in salads, but can also be used in cooked dishes. 



An Italian cooking term referring to a thinly sliced, boneless, round cut of meat that is slightly floured (or breaded) and quickly sauteed. (also known as escalope in French).


Scotch Bonnet Chiles

One of the world's hottest peppers, about 30-50 times as hot as a jalapeno. They resemble walnuts in shape and size and range from green to orange in color. Wear gloves and don't touch your face (or other precious parts) when handling them. 


Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

This is the chocolate most often called for in cake and cookie recipes. 'Bittersweet' and 'semisweet' are often used interchangeably, though bittersweet generally has more chocolate 'liquor' (the paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans). Most semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, while some fine bittersweets contain 50% or more. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate have a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of beans used rather than added dairy products. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter are added to the liquor to lend an even richer taste. 


Serrano Chiles

A hot chile pepper. It is both smaller and thinner than the jalapeno. 


Sesame oil

Used extensively in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, this highly aromatic and richly flavored oil ranges in hue from golden to dark brown. It is sometimes used as a cooking oil, but most often is used as a seasoning accent in stir-fries, dressings, sauces and marinades.


Sesame seeds

Black and white sesame seeds are used whole as a garnish in a variety of Asian cuisines, ground into a paste, or pressed for their rich oil. To bring out their flavor, toast them briefly in a dry skillet.



An onion variety that produces clusters of bulbs. Their flavor is slightly less intense than that of onions. Shallots are excellent for pickling. 



A smooth frozen ice flavored with fruit and sugar or with a mixture of fruit, sugar, and milk or cream. 



Also called Chinese, black or oriental mushroom (in its dried form). Shitake is a strongly flavored mushroom used in both its fresh and dried form. 


Shrimp Flavor Crackers

Known as krupuk. Dried, thin cracker made from shrimp and various flours. The ready made variety are sold alongside potato chips and other snack food. However, you can buy them uncooked for a fresher flavor at home. The Indonesian variety are large cream colored rectangles or small wafers with a strong flavor. Chinese crackers are thin, translucent and pale or pastel in color. They have a mild flavor.


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. Purchase dried shrimp that are bright orange-pink. Soak them briefly in warm water to soften before cooking.



A fine, mesh strainer. 



A dark brown buckwheat noodle used in Northern Japanese cooking. Look for it in the Asian section of your supermarket. 


Somen noodles

These delicate Japanese wheat flour noodles are often served cold or in soups; if unavailable, substitute angel hair pasta.



Puffy, crisp, deep-fried bread. Accompanies many South-western meals, or may be stuffed with fritos or meat and topped with chilli sauce, cheese, and lettuce.


Sorrel leaves

Bright green leaves with a lemony flavor that soften when cooked. 


Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one of the world’s oldest condiments. Soybeans and wheat are blended and then yeast culture is added, along with water and salt, to create a mash, which ferments and ages like wine for several months to develop a rich, mellow flavour, aroma and delicate amber colour. Once fermentation is complete, the resulting liquid is filtered, pasteurized and packaged. Non-brewed soy sauces are the result of a 20th-century short cut known as acid hydrolysis. There are critical differences between brewed and non-brewed soy sauces. Brewed soy sauce has a mellow, salty-sweet flavour, a subtle aroma and a delicate, transparent colour - qualities that enhance other ingredients. The harsh, salty flavour of non-brewed soy sauce is one-dimensional, masking and overpowering other ingredients. Soy sauce can be used in entrees, pasta, pizza, soups, salads, sandwiches and more. Soy Sauce can balance and intensify the salty, sweet and tart flavours of other ingredients, acting as a natural flavour enhancer.



A fruit or wine based ice to which Italian meringue is added when ice is halfway frozen. Spooms are traditionally served in stemmed glasses. 



Young, domesticated pigeon with dark meat (bird is usually about 4 weeks old and weighs one pound or less). It is often served rare. 


Sugar Loaf

Sugar molded into a cone shape, with the base traditionally wrapped in blue paper. Nowadays its mainly manufactured for export to Arab countries.



A Middle Eastern spice that comes from the grated skin of a dark berry. It has a slightly acidic, astringent flavor. 


Superfine Sugar

Also called Caster sugar. It is pulverized granulated sugar. It can be bought or prepared at home by whizzing some granulated sugar in the blender. 


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 Rice

Known as nasi ketan. Glutinous rice that cooks up stick and sweet. The unhulled rice is black and turns purplish black when cooked. The hulled rice is white.


Sweet Soy Sauce

Known as kecap manis (Indonesian). Sweetened, slightly thick soy sauce. A good substitute is: 1 part soy sauce to 2 parts palm sugar boiled until syrupy, then cooled.


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. Toasting Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet brings out the flavour and aroma. They keep indefinitely when stored airtight.





Tabasco Sauce

A hot sauce comprised solely of vinegar, red pepper, and salt. 



A corn tortilla folded in half and fried until crisp, stuffed with meat, or chicken, or refried beans. Before serving, it is topped with lettuce, onion, cheese, and taco sauce.



An oily paste made from ground sesame seeds. A sweetened dark variety also exists. It can be found in health food stores and the ethnic section of most grocery stores. 



Red chile pork encased in fresh masa and wrapped in a corn shuck. Usually steamed and served with red chilli sauce.


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. 



(Rolled tacos) Same as tacos except filling is placed inside tortillas and rolled cigar-fashion, then deep-fat fried.



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.


Teriyaki sauce

A marinade and sauce traditionally made from soy sauce, wine, sugar, and other seasonings.


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 colour 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 using.



A soybean curd that comes white cheese like square. Its usually stored in water. It shows up a lot in Oriental and vegetarian cooking. 



Small, green, firm, tomatoes. They are covered with a paper like husk that's removed before cooking. Their acid flavor add a great flavor for sauces. 



(Spanish) Thyme



Stiffly beaten eggs leavened with baking powder and seasoned with salt and oregano, then deep fried. Served during Lent with chile



Mexican pancakes that are either made of flour or masa harina (ground corn). They make an excellent foundation for all sorts of fillings. Enchiladas are softened tortillas that are filled and rolled. Tacos are fried tortillas. 


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, tostadas compuestas.



To mix with a rising and falling action.



Open-faced taco.


Tostadas Compuestas

Corn tortilla cups filled with chile con carne topped with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and grated cheese.



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.



A term used mainly in Great Britain for the syrupy by-product created during sugar refining. There are two types: dark treacle — which is very much like molasses and which has a somewhat bitter taste, and light treacle, which contains fewer impurities than the dark variety, has a lighter flavor and is also called golden syrup.



The edible lining of stomach (beef).



To bind poultry for roasting with string or skewers.



Cactus fruit ranging in color from green to red or maroon. The moist, granular flesh is good served raw as a dessert with lemon and sugar, but is also candied or used in desserts.



A rhizome that is often dried and ground. It is often used to spice and color dishes (bright yellow). It is used mainly in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. 





Udon noodles

These Japanese wheat-flour noodles can be purchased either fresh or dried. They are often used in soups.



The fifth primary element of taste, accompanying yet independent of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Known as the taste associated with glutamate and monosodium glutamate, umami is the Japanese word for 'delicious' or 'savoury' but is regarded as broth-like or meaty tasting in Western cultures. The umami taste is most common in Asian foods, soups and stews, mushrooms, tomatoes and aged meats and cheeses.


Unsaturated fat

A kind of fat that is in liquid form at room temperature.


Unsweetened chocolate

(also called 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 







(French) A sauce made with veal stock, cream, and tightened with a white roux.



A common garden weed served as a leafy vegetable. Also called purslane.



This pasta literally means "Little Worms". It is slightly thinner than Spaghetti and looks like fine strands. Angel hair pasta is a very fine form of vermicelli. Vermicelli is good topped with any sauce, or as a salad or stir-fry ingredient. It is versatile enough to also be used in certain puddings and souffles. Variations include Chinese vermicelli (made with soya flour) and Far Eastern vermicelli (made with rice flour).



The spiciest of all curry dishes. Vindaloos primarily come from central and south-western coastal India. They are composed of a complicated roasted spice blend which includes mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, and tamarind concentrate. One must include red chillies in the mix. Vindaloo sauce is usually served with meat over rice. You can purchase commercial vindaloo pastes and sauces in most Indian grocery stores or the ethnic food aisle in larger grocery stores..





Waldorf Salad

A salad made with apples, celery, nuts, whip cream, and mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce.



These nuts are native to Asia and grow on walnut trees inside green pods which turn brown and wood like when they dry. 


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. 



Also called Japanese horseradish, a pungent green paste made from a rhizome of the watercress family. 


Water chestnuts

The canned variety are more widely available, but fresh water chestnuts are a treat that add incredible sweetness, juiciness and crunchy texture to a variety of Asian stir-fries, stews, stuffings and soups. Fresh water chestnuts have a dark brown-black skin that can be peeled away with a sharp knife. They should be firm with no soft spots.


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. Here are some tips from the US dairy Association for perfect whipped cream: 1. Chill the bowl and beaters, preferably in the freezer if there’s space. The colder the bowl and beaters, the quicker the cream will whip. 2. Use a small, deep bowl for beating cream. 3. Beat rapidly, scraping the bowl occasionally. Do not over beat. Beat only until soft or stiff peaks form, as called for in your recipe. 4. Whipped cream to be piped through a pastry tube for decoration should be stiffer than cream whipped to be folded into other ingredients. 5. Ultra-pasteurized whipping cream will take slightly longer to beat than regular whipping cream and will not over beat as readily. 6. To make sweetened whipped cream, fold 2 to 3 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar or granulated sugar into 2 cups whipped cream, after beating. 7. One cup whipping cream yields 2 cups whipped cream.


White Chocolate

White 'chocolate' doesn't contain a drop of chocolate. But it does have cocoa butter, from which it gets its faintly chocolaty flavor. The cocoa butter is blended with milk and sugar to form the creamy confection, which is used for both eating and cooking. 


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 spicy sauce composed mainly of water, vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, anchovies, spices and flavorings. Its good for marinating meats. It also helps flavor some sauces, but should be used sparingly, as it has a very strong flavor. A good one to try is Lea & Perrins. 






A small plant found in hot climates in which there fruits are known as mountain plums or wild limes.






Sweet potato.


Yerba Buena

(Spanish) Wild mint, fresh or dried


Yogurt Cheese

Yogurt cheese can be eaten as a low fat cream cheese substitute or as is most common as a low fat alternative in baking. The final quality of the yogurt cheese is largely dependent on the yogurt you start out with, so try to use a good quality one. Considerable amounts of fat and calories can be cut out by using a low fat yogurt (use one without gelatine, like Dannon). To make: Pour yogurt into a cheesecloth and either let it hang over the kitchen sink or over a bowl. If you drain it over a bowl, you can do it in the refrigerator. Drain overnight. When the yogurt is firm, remove from the bag and transfer it to a separate container. Discard the liquid. Yogurt cheese keeps (refrigerated) for up to 1 week. Six cups of yogurt makes 2 cups of yogurt cheese. 


Yorkshire pudding

A batter made with flour, eggs, salt, and milk that is baked with standing rib roast (prime rib).






An herb mixture composed of savoury, thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. A prepared mixture of this herb mixture can be found at most Middle Eastern groceries. However, be aware that the quality of zaatar can differ greatly.



The rind of citrus fruit (most commonly orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon). The rind of the fruit contains oils if essence that lend a nice flavor to the final dish. It is commonly candied or crystallized for pastry use. When zesting, be careful NOT to include the white pith, as that adds a bitter taste. 



Literally means "Bridegrooms". A medium-sized, tubular pasta shape. Ziti is perfect for chunky sauces and meat dishes. It also makes wonderful salads, baked dishes and stir-fry meals.



A Polish sausage.


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