E-Cookbooks Food Dictionary
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A bitter liqueur distilled from wormwood and flavored with a variety of
herbs. Often disolved with water that produces a milky-white appearance.
The flavor is that of anise.
Acetic acid is formed when common airborne bacteria interact with the alcohol
present in fermented solutions such as wine, beer or vinegar.
This dark-red, piquant sauce (or paste) is made from ground chiles, herbs
and vinegar, common to Mexico. Chipotle chiles are often found packed in
Agar-agar is an extract of seaweed from the Indian and Pacific oceans.
When disolved it sets to a jelly and can be used as an emulsifier in ice
cream, desserts and soups.
A large plant from Mexico, with fleshy leaves. The baked and fermented
pina (center core) from the blue agave is used to make fermented drinks
such as pulque, mescal, and tequila.
The Hawaiian name for yellowfin, as well as bigeye tuna.
The pea-sized berry of an evergreen tree native to the West Indies, Africa
and Jamaica. It tastes like a combination of a number of aromatic spices.
Often used with Middle Eastern cuisine.
A blend of ground almonds, sugar, and glucose. Used in a variety of confections.
A crisp airy Italian cookie similar to a macaroon with an intense sweet
An almond flavored liqueur, often made from apricot pits. This original
Italian liqueur if also made in the US.
This mild, long green chile is named for the area where it was originally
grown. These are often sold canned, whole or chopped.
A dried poblano chile with a smoky flavor and medium heat. They range in
color from dark red to almost black.
A small sea fish, common to the Mediterranean, and also harvested in the
Black Sea, the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. These filleted, salt-cured
fish are canned in oil. Common to French and Italian cuisine and used in
the famous Caesar Salad along with a number of sauces, tapenades, and pizzas.
A spice whose flavor is reminiscent of licorice, usually bought ground.
Used for centuries and now found in cookies, cakes and liqueurs.
The high-starch kernels of this Italian-grown grain are shorter and fatter
than any other short-grain rice. Arborio is traditionally used for risotto
due to its creamy texture.
From a dried rootstalk, this white, powdery thickener is preferable to
cornstarch because it provides a clear finish.
The globe artichoke is cultivated mainly in California's midcoastal region.
It's the bud of a large plant from the thistle family and has tough, petal-shaped
leaves. Usually steamed and the pulp of the leaves eaten with drawn butter
Arugula has a pepper and mustard flavor used in salads, soups and sautéed
Baba ghanoush; baba gannoujh
A semifirm Italian cheese with a rich, nutty flavor is mainly used for
grating as a substitute for Parmesan. It was traditionally made with sheep's
milk, today it is often made with cow's milk.
A Middle Eastern puree of eggplant, Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and
garlic. It's used as a spread or dip for pita or Middle Eastern flat bread.
A leavening agent composed of baking soda an acid, such as cream of tartar,
and cornstarch. When mixed with a liquid, it realeses carbon dioxide gas
bubbles that cause a bread or cake to rise.
Bicarbonate of soda. Acidic liquid ingredients like sour milk, sour cream,
buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, and lemon juice help baking soda produce
the gases which make a batter rise.
A member of the mint family, this ancient herb has a pungent flavor. A
popular herb in Mediterranean cooking and a primary ingredient in Italian
pesto. Used both fresh and dried.
To spoon or brush food as it cooks with melted butter or other fat, meat
drippings or liquid such as stock. In addition to adding flavor and color,
basting keeps meats and other foods from drying out.
A dessert made from an egg custard stiffened with gelatine, mixed with
whipped cream and sometimes fruit puree or other flavors, then set in a
mold and served chilled.
An aromatic leaf that comes from bay laurel. Used whole, halved, or ground.
One of the primary ingredients in a bouquet garni, it lends a slightly
bitter, pungent seasoning to soups, stews, and stocks.
One of the "Mother" sauces, this white sauce is made by adding milk to
A seasoned shellfish puree flavored with white wine, cognac, and fresh
cream, used as the basis of a soup.
To place foods in boiling water briefly either to partially cook them or
to aid in the removal of the skin (i.e. nuts, peaches, tomatoes). Blanching
also removes the bitterness from citrus zests.
A small thick savory pancake made with a leavened batter that contains
both wheat flour and buckwheat flour.
A cow's milk, semisoft, blue-veined cheese with a very strong aroma. Similar
cheeses include France's Roquefort and Italy's Gorgonzola.
Traditionally composed of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, this herb bundle
gives stew, soup or stock an aromatic seasoning. The bouquet garni needs
to be removed before serving.
A cooking method where food (usually meat) is first browned in oil, then
cooked slowly in a liquid (wine, stock, or water).
A sweet French yeast bread that is composed of flour, sugar, yeast, milk,
butter, and egg yolk. Brioche has a unique lightness, flavor and aroma.
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. The primary ingredient
An apple brandy from Normandy, France made from cider that has been aged
for up to two years and distilled.
The large rib-eye muscle of the pork loin, cured and smoked. It is boneless
and usually lean, and not at all like the American cured bacon.
A large, white kidney bean used often in Italian cooking. They are available
canned or dried.
The small buds of a Mediterranean shrub. They are usually pickled in vinegar
or dried and salted.
Known as star fruit, this golden yellow fruit is 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.
Sugar that has been cooked until it reaches a caramel color.
Caraway is a member of the parsley family. The seeds are used as topping
on breads and savory pastries, and as accompaniments to a number of German,
Hungarian and Austrian cuisine.
The pods of an aromatic Indian plant is a member of 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 and Scandinavian cooking.
Originally, paper thin slices of raw beef with a creamy sauce, invented
at Harry's Bar in Venice. The term also describes very thinly sliced vegeatables,
raw or smoked meats, and fish.
A crisp, delicate, light green squash that was a staple crop of the ancient
Aztecs. It is ideal for stuffing, popular as a salad in Mexico and found
in France as "christophene."
Smoked dried jalapeno chiles. The distinctive smokey flavor and unique
heat is used to flavor Southwestern and Mexican dishes. They are sold both
dried and in cans, in a vinegary sauce called adobo.
This highly seasoned hog link sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder
and other spices, is widely used in Mexico and Spanish cooking.
Also known as 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 known as Coriander, when dried, used as spices (whole
A dish, created in San Francisco, consists of a stew of white fish, large
shrimps, clams, and mussels, with a garlic, tomato, and white wine base.
The brown, hard dried flower buds of an aromatic Southeast Asian evergreen.
Ground, they are used in cakes and soups. Whole, they add flavor to mulled
wines and ciders, as well as used in cooking whole hams.
The pods of the cocao tree which are processed to remove the cocoa butter
and ground into powder. There are two types of powder, American and Dutch.
A mixture that is coarsely chopped or ground, such as a tomato concasse.
Powdered sugar, often used in baking and in frostings.
Meat, usually goose, duck, or pork cooked in its own fat.
Dried corn kernels that have been ground in one of three textures ‹ fine,
medium or coarse. Also known as polenta, it is similar to semolina in texture.
Cornmeal is available as yellow, white or blue, depending on the type of
A dense, powdery "flour" obtained from the endosperm portion of the corn
kernel. Cornstarch is most commonly used as a thickening agent for puddings,
sauces, soups, etc.
A thick puree of vegetables or fruit
Pellets of wheat semolina that has been ground, moistened, and rolled in
flour. It is a staple dish in the Middle East.
Cream of Tartar
A cold salad in which lump crabmeat on a bed of shredded lettuce is topped
with a dressing of mayonnaise, chili sauce, cream, scallions, green pepper,
lemon juice and seasonings.
The common name for potassium bitartare, the white powdery crystalline
acid formed inside wine casks. It is used in many baking powders, baking
dishes and to stabilize beaten egg whites.
The French term for a rich custard sauce that can be served hot or cold
with cake, fruit or other dessert.
Crème de Casis
The French term for a rich custard topped with sugar and carmelized under
a broiler or torch before service.
A sweet cordial from black currants. Popular as 'kir' when mixed with white
This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety
The French term for "pastry cream," a thick, flour-based egg custard used
for tarts, cakes and to fill cream puffs, éclairs and napoleons.
A wild mushroom, similar to the common white mushroom, but dark-brown and
firmer in texture.
An Indian spice with an earthy flavor, also known as comino. Used either
ground or whole as cumin seed. Cumin is featured in Middle Eastern and
Latin American cuisines.
A spice mixture common to India. It usually consists of coriander, turmeric,
fenugreek, cumin, ginger, garlic, clove, cayenne and other chilies.
This vegetable is in fact a large Asian radish with a sweet, fresh flavor.
The daikon's flesh is crisp, juicy and white, while the skin can be either
creamy white or black.
A thick, intensely flavored, glossy brown sauce that is made by thickening
a rich veal or other brown stock, reduced until concentrated.
A bain-marie, a double broiler is a method of cooking without using direct
heat. It consists of two saucepans that fit together. The bottom sauce
pan is filled with water and the top one with the mixture.
Traditionally, this French paste is composed of a mixture of mushrooms,
shallots and herbs which are slowly cooked in butter until forming a paste.
It is often used to flavor sauces, soups and other mixtures, or as a garnish.
Rolled or flat corn tortillas topped or stuffed with meat, cheese, onions,
and red or green chile sauce.
Spanish sauce. A brown sauce made from brown stock, caramelized mirepoix
and tomato puree, and seasonings.
A canned and unsweetened milk that has much of the water content removed
via evaporation. It is similar to condensed milk, although not as sweet.
Concentrated flavorings derived from various foods or plants, usually through
evaporation or distillation. They deliver a powerful flavor impact to foods
without adding excess volume or changing the consistency.
A pungent, salty liquid made from fresh anchovies that is extensively used
in Asian cuisine.
An icing created from cooked sugar, water and glucose. It is used often
as a filling for chocolates, frosting for cakes, or fine pastries.
A raspberry liqueur.
(from the French frappe) A simple sugar syrup mixed with fruit,
liqueur, or other flavorings and frozen, then processed to a slightly slushy
A rich chocolate icing made of semisweet chocolate and whipping cream and
or other flavorings that are heated and stirred together until the chocolate
A French term for the cool, well-ventilated pantry area (usually in hotels
and large restaurants) where cold buffet dishes are prepared and other
foods are stored in refrigerated units. Some of the items prepared in a
garde manger are salads, cold appetizers and other decorative dishes. Also
the term for intricate vegetable carving.
A cold vegetable soup with a tomato base containing a variety of raw vegetables.
An Italian ice cream made with a base of egg yolks and milk. It is denser
and smoother in texture than American ice creams, with much less air incorporated
into the frozen mix.
A Southeastern Asian plant cultivated for its spicy aromatic rhizomes.
It is most commonly used in Asian cooking, showing up in savory curries,
marinades, rice, tea, or just eaten as a sweetmeat in its crystallized
Also known as Chevre. A soft fresh goat's milk cheese with a tart flavor.
Often fresh herbs are incorporated into the finished form.
An Italian cow's milk cheese with a white or yellow and streaked with blue.
It has a distinct aroma and can have a mellow, strong, or sharp flavor,
similar to the American blue cheese and the French roquefort.
A cow's milk, firm, smooth cheese similar to cheddar. This Dutch cheese
comes in both young and aged forms.
Orange flavored, cognac based liqueur from France.
A mixture of water, sugar, and liquid flavorings (i.e. fruit juice or coffee)
that is stirred during the frozing process to create a granular texture.
Regular sugar for everyday use.
A sweet or savory dish baked or broiled so its topping forms a golden crust.
A mixture of fresh avacado lime or lemon juice, other seasonings and frequently
made with diced onion, tomatoes and cilantro.
The French term for "green string bean," haricot meaning "bean" and vert
translating as "green."
Herbes de Provence
Food that is prepared in an elegant or elaborate manner. The French word
haute translates as "high" or "superior," cuisine as "cooking."
An assortment of dried herbs said to reflect those most commonly used in
southern France.The mixture commonly contains basil, fennel seed, lavender,
marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme.
A reddish-brown sweet and spicy Chinese sauce reminiscent of barbecue sauce.
It is made from soybeans and peppers.
A classic emulsion sauce made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and
melted butter flavored with lemon juice. Another of the "mother" sauces.
Made with a combination of milk products (usually cream combined with fresh,
condensed or dry milk), a sweetening agent (sugar, honey, corn syrup or
artificial sweetener) and sometimes solid additions such as pieces of chocolate,
nuts, and/or fruit.
Steeping in a hot liquid producing a flavor that's extracted from an ingredient
such as tea leaves, herbs or fruit. In today's culinary parlance, sauces
that have been variously flavored (as with herbs) are also called infusions.
A Norwegian cow's milk cheese that is firm in texture and nutty in flavor,
similar to Swiss cheese.
Named after Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz, Mexico, this small green chile
pepperis mildly hot.
A bulbous, brown root with a crunchy white interior is often called the
Mexican potato. The sweet and nutty interior is great for crudite platters
Also spelled Calamata. These purple-black Greek olives are cured in vinegar.
Particularly popular in Lebanon and Syria, this Middle Eastern dish combines
ground meat (usually lamb), bulghur wheat and various flavorings. The meat
may be served raw or cooked.
An aromatic, dry looking grass used to add a pungent, lemony flavor to
Asian dishes and popular in smoothie drinks.
A spirit flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, and/or seeds, usually
A native to Australia, the macadamia is a fleshy white nut with a coconut-like
To soak a food in a liquid to infuse it with flavor.
A compact, hand-operated machine with various adjustable blades for thin
to thick slicing and cutting. Mandolines have folding legs and come in
both wood- or stainless steel-frame models. They're used to cut firm vegetables
and fruits (such as potatoes and apples) with uniformity and precision.
To let food stand in a mixture called a marinade (such as a liquid, dry
rub, or a paste) before cooking. Liquid marinades are usually based on
a acidic ingredient, such as wine or vinegar; dry marinades are usually
A thick almond, sugar and egg white paste used in confectioneries. Marzipan
is mainly used in cakes and pastries of the European tradition.
Corn dough used mainly for tortillas and tamales.
Found in specialty produce markets and many supermarkets, mesclun (also
called salad mix and gourmet salad mix ) is simply a potpourri of young,
small salad greens. The mix varies depending on the source, but among those
greens commonly included are arugula, dandelion, frisée, mizuma,
oak leaf, mâche, radicchio and sorrel.
Mise en place
A mixture of diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs sautéed in
butter. Sometimes ham or bacon is added to the mix. Mirepoix is used to
season sauces, soups and stews, as well as for a bed on which to braise
foods, usually meats or fish.
Molcajete y tejolete
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.
The Mexican term for "mortar and pestle" ‹ molcajete being the mortar,
tejolete the pestle. The black basalt (volcanic rock), produces a rough
texture on both pieces. They are used in the traditional manner for grinding
spices and herbs and other mixtures.
Mole is a spicy, rich Mexican sauce consisting of nuts, seeds, spices,
chilies and occassionally chocolate.
A frozen dessert consisting of either a flavored custard or a fruit puree
lightened with beaten egg whites and/or whipped cream.
Literally "in the style of Nice (France)". The term refers to the region's
cuisine which is characterized by the use of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil,
and the local brown-black olives.
A French term meaning "without equal," most often used in reference to
small pickled capers from the region of Provence in France.
The oval, brown, wrinkly seed of the nutmeg tree. It is used grated as
a spice for both sweet and savory dishes.
Portugal's sweet dessert wines (ports). They are named after Oporto, Portugal's
second largest city, on the Douro river.
A bottled all-purpose Chinese seasoning made from oysters, water, salt,
cornstarch, and caramel coloring.
A classic Spanish dish which combines rice and a variety of both meat and
An Italian cured meat made from the belly of the pig. It is salted but
lightly spiced, but not smoked.
A spicy seasoning ground from a sweet variety of red pepper. It is used
to flavor ragouts, stuffings, sauces, and garnish.
A silicon based paper that can withstand high heat, thus its use for lining
A dessert consisting of ice cream, layered with a dessert sauce, fruit,
or liquer. In France, a parfait is a frozen dessert containing either whipped
cream and Italian meringue or just whipped cream. Parfaits are traditionally
served in tall, narrow, footed glasses.
A hard cow's milk cheese whose taste ranges from sweet to sharp is regularly
used for grating. Officially, only Parmigiano Reggiano from the Italian
area of Emilia-Romagna may be called Parmesan. Asiago and Romano cheeses
are good substitutes for Parmesan.
Another Italian cheese, this is made from sheep's milk with a slightly
different flavor. Parmesan is a good Romano substitute.
Pico de Gallo
Pesto is an Italian basil sauce made with fresh basil leaves, pinenuts,
garlic and olive oil. Many variations of this sauce exist including different
nut based pestos, different herb based pestos, sun dried tomato pesto,
and black olive pesto.
Mexican for "Rooster's beak," a coarse uncooked tomato salsa. In Jalisco,
Mexico it is a relish of oranges and jicama.
Also known as pignolias and pinon. The pine nut is the seed of the stone
pine. They are used often in Italian, Spanish, and Middle Eastern cooking.
Thin decoratively patterned Italian wafer cookies that are made in an iron
similar to a waffle iron.
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.
A coarse yellow cornmeal mush that is a staple of Northern Italy. It can
be molded, then cut into squares and fried or grilled.
Dried Cepes mushrooms found in most Italian markets. Re-hydrated before
cooking by soaking in boiling water.
Also Portobella. A full grown cremini mushroom, similar to button mushrooms.
The Italian word for ham, used in the names of raw hams coming from Italy.
Proscuitto di Parma hams are only from the Parma region of Italy.
A light, delicate dumpling made of seasoned, minced or ground fish, meat
or vegetables bound with eggs. This mixture is formed into small ovals
and gently poached in stock.
A stew made from poultry, game, fish, or vegetables cut into pieces and
cooked in a thickened liquid, generally flavored with herbs and seasonings.
Porcelain cups, often used to make souffles and other small dishes requiring
Sugar that hasn't been refined fully.
Ricotta is a soft, unripened Italian curd cheese. Sweet in flavor and grainy
in texture, Ricotta is used often in Italian sweets (such as cannoli) and
in savory dishes as stuffed pasta and lasagne.
Royale, a la
A crystalline form of salt.
A consumme garnish made of unsweetened custard. Also a poached fish or
poultry in a veloute sauce (a white sauce of stock and cream thickened
with butter and flour) with truffles.
Scotch Bonnet Chiles
A frothy wine custard of egg yolk, sugar, and wine. Served warm as a dessert
One of the world's hottest peppers, about 30-50 times as hot as a jalapeno.
They range in color from green to orange and are about the size of a walnut.
A hot chile pepper, smaller and thinner than the jalapeno.
An onion variety that produces clusters of bulbs. Their flavor is slightly
less intense than that of onions with a hint of garlic.
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.
Bright green leaves with a lemony flavor that soften when cooked.
A salty sauce composed mainly of soybeans, salt, yeast, wheat, and sugar.
Also made from the fremented soy product called miso.
Young, usually 3-4 weeks old, domesticated pigeon with dark meat and weighs
one pound or less.
A star-shaped, dark brown pod that contains a pea-sized seed in each of
its eight segments. Native to China, star anise comes from a small evergreen
tree. Its flavor is slightly more bitter than that of regular anise seed.
A hot sauce comprised solely of vinegar, red pepper, and salt.
A nut-butter-style paste made from ground sesame seeds.
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 as well as for
drinks, jams, or sorbets.
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.
Mexican staple that are either made of flour or masa harina and cooked
on a flat griddle called a comal.
From a rhizome plant that is often dried and ground. It is used to spice
and color Indian and Southeast Asian cooking.
A single-shelled mollusc, such as abalone and sea urchin.
A rich-creamy cold potato and leek soup thickened with cream and garnished
These nuts are native to Asia and grow on walnut trees inside green pods
which turn brown and wood like when they dry.
The oil extracted from the walnut. It gives most foods a wonderful nutty
A pungent green paste made from a rhizome of the watercress family. Also
called Japanese horseradish.
A spicy sauce composed mainly of water, vinegar, molasses, corn syrup,
anchovies, spices and flavorings.
Produced from the fermentation of corn sugar, xanthan gum is used as a
thickener, emulsifier and stabilizer in foods such as dairy products, ice
cream, and salad dressings.
A leavening agent used in doughs and batters. It usually comes in a dry,
bead like form and in a fresh form.
An Italian custard dessert made solely of egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala
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The rind of citrus fruit, usually orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon.
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