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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
Acetic acid is formed when common airborne bacteria interact with the alcohol present in fermented solutions such as wine, beer or vinegar. 
Adobo sauce
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 adobo sauce. 
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. 
Almond Paste
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 almond flavor.
An almond flavored liqueur, often made from apricot pits. This original Italian liqueur if also made in the US.
Anaheim Chiles
This mild, long green chile is named for the area where it was originally grown. These are often sold canned, whole or chopped. 
Ancho Chiles
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. 
Arborio Rice
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 or mayonaise. 
Arugula has a pepper and mustard flavor used in salads, soups and sautéed vegetable dishes. 
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. 
Baba ghanoush; baba gannoujh
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. 
Baking Powder
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.
Baking Soda
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.
Bavarian cream
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. 
Bay Leaf
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 roux. 
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. 
Blue Cheese
A cow's milk, semisoft, blue-veined cheese with a very strong aroma. Similar cheeses include France's Roquefort and Italy's Gorgonzola. 
Bouquet Garni
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 for Tabouleh. 
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, and not at all like the American cured bacon. 
Cannellini Beans
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. 
Caramelized Sugar
Sugar that has been cooked until it reaches a caramel color. 
Caraway Seed
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 or ground). 
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. 
Confectioners Sugar
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 corn used. 
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. 
Crab Louie
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. 
Cream of Tartar
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. 
Crème anglaise
The French term for a rich custard sauce that can be served hot or cold with cake, fruit or other dessert. 
Crème brûlée
The French term for a rich custard topped with sugar and carmelized under a broiler or torch before service. 
Crème de Casis
A sweet cordial from black currants. Popular as 'kir' when mixed with white wine. 
Crème fraîche
This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. 
Crème pâtissière
The French term for "pastry cream," a thick, flour-based egg custard used for tarts, cakes and to fill cream puffs, éclairs and napoleons. 
Cremini Mushrooms
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. 
Curry Powder
A spice mixture common to India. It usually consists of coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, ginger, garlic, clove, cayenne and other chilies. 
Daikon Radish
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. 
Double Boiler
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. 
Espagnole sauce
Spanish sauce. A brown sauce made from brown stock, caramelized mirepoix and tomato puree, and seasonings. 
Evaporated Milk
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. 

Fish sauce
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 consistency. 

A rich chocolate icing made of semisweet chocolate and whipping cream and or other flavorings that are heated and stirred together until the chocolate has melted.
Garde manger
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 form. 
Goat Cheese
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. 
Gouda Cheese
A cow's milk, firm, smooth cheese similar to cheddar. This Dutch cheese comes in both young and aged forms. 
Grand Marnier
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.
Granulated Sugar
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.

Haricot vert
The French term for "green string bean," haricot meaning "bean" and vert translating as "green." 
Haute cuisine
Food that is prepared in an elegant or elaborate manner. The French word haute translates as "high" or "superior," cuisine as "cooking."
Herbes de Provence
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.
Hoisin sauce
A reddish-brown sweet and spicy Chinese sauce reminiscent of barbecue sauce. It is made from soybeans and peppers. 
Hollandaise Sauce
A classic emulsion sauce made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and melted butter flavored with lemon juice. Another of the "mother" sauces.
Ice Cream
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. 
Jarlsberg Cheese
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 and salads. 

Kalamata Olives
Also spelled Calamata. These purple-black Greek olives are cured in vinegar. 
Kibbeh; kibbi
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 sweetened. 
Macadamia Nut
A native to Australia, the macadamia is a fleshy white nut with a coconut-like flavor.
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 salt-based. 
A thick almond, sugar and egg white paste used in confectioneries. Marzipan is mainly used in cakes and pastries of the European tradition.
Masa Harina
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. 
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. 
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. 
Molcajete y tejolete 
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. 
Oyster Sauce
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 seafood. 
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.
Parchment Paper
A silicon based paper that can withstand high heat, thus its use for lining baking sheets.
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.
Parmesan Cheese
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. 
Pecorino Romano
Another Italian cheese, this is made from sheep's milk with a slightly different flavor. Parmesan is a good Romano substitute. 
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.
Pico de Gallo
Mexican for "Rooster's beak," a coarse uncooked tomato salsa. In Jalisco, Mexico it is a relish of oranges and jicama. 
Pine Nuts
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. 
Porcini Mushrooms
Dried Cepes mushrooms found in most Italian markets. Re-hydrated before cooking by soaking in boiling water. 
Portobello Mushroom
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 baking. 
Raw Sugar
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. 
Rock Salt
A crystalline form of salt. 
Royale, a la
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. 

A frothy wine custard of egg yolk, sugar, and wine. Served warm as a dessert or sauce. 
Scotch Bonnet Chiles
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. 
Serrano Chiles
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. 
Sorrel leaves
Bright green leaves with a lemony flavor that soften when cooked. 
Soy Sauce
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. 
Star Anise
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. 
Tabasco Sauce
A hot sauce comprised solely of vinegar, red pepper, and salt. 
A nut-butter-style paste made from ground sesame seeds.
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 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 with chives. 

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 gives most foods a wonderful nutty flavor. 
A pungent green paste made from a rhizome of the watercress family. Also called Japanese horseradish.
Worcestershire Sauce
A spicy sauce composed mainly of water, vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, anchovies, spices and flavorings.
Xanthan gum
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 wine. 
The rind of citrus fruit, usually orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon. 


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