A dark-red Mexican sauce made from ground chiles, herbs, and vinegar. Chipotle peppers are packed in cans of adobo sauce.
Italian for "to the tooth." It describes pasta that is cooked until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, rather than cooked until soft.
A creamy mixture made of ground, blanched almonds and sugar that's often used as a filling in pastries, cakes, and confections. For best baking results, use an almond paste without syrup or liquid glucose.
A mixture of ground anchovies, vinegar, and seasonings. Anchovy paste is available in tubes in the canned fish or gourmet section of the supermarket.
A category of sugar substitutes that have no nutritional value. Because they have unique attributes, they should not be substituted for other sweeteners unless a recipe calls for them specifically.
A brightly-colored salad green with a slightly bitter, peppery mustard flavor. It is also called rocket and resembles radish leaves.
To cook food, covered or uncovered, using the direct, dry heat of an oven. The term is usually used to describe the cooking of cakes, other desserts, casseroles, and breads.
A compound also known as hartshorn powder that was once used as a leavening agent. It's most often used in Scandinavian baking and is available at pharmacies and through mail order. Cream of tartar is an acceptable substitute, although cookies made with it are less crisp than those made with baking ammonia. If you use baking ammonia for baking, use caution when opening the oven door because irritating ammonia-like fumes may be produced.
A combination of dry acid, baking soda, and starch that has the ability to release carbon dioxide in two stages: when liquid ingredients are added and when the mixture is heated.
A chemical leavening agent that creates carbon dioxide and is used in conjunction with acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk, sour cream, brown sugar, or fruit juices, to create the bubbles that make the product rise.
Syrupy and slightly sweet, this dark-brown vinegar is made from the juice of the white Trebbiano grape. It gets its body, color, and sweetness from being aged in wooden barrels.
An aromatic, long grain brown or white rice from India and California. Basmati rice is nutty and fluffy. Use as you would regular long grain rice.
To moisten foods during cooking or grilling with fats or seasoned liquids to add flavor and prevent drying. In general, recipes in this cookbook do not call for basting meat and poultry with pan juices or drippings. That's because basting tools, such as brushes and bulb basters, could be sources of bacteria if contaminated when dipped into uncooked or undercooked meat and poultry juices, then allowed to sit at room temperature and used later for basting.
An uncooked, wet mixture that can be spooned or poured, as with cakes, pancakes, and muffins. Batters usually contain flour, eggs, and milk as their base. Some thin batters are used to coat foods before deep frying.
Popular in Asian cooking, both products are made from fermented soybeans and have a salty bean flavor. Japanese bean paste is called miso.
Thin, almost transparent noodles made from mung bean flour. They also are called bean noodles or cellophane noodles.
To make a mixture smooth by briskly whipping or stirring it with a spoon, fork, wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer.
To slice a food crosswise at a 45-degree angle.
A popular Cajun cooking method in which seasoned fish or other foods are cooked over high heat in a super-heated heavy skillet until charred, resulting in a crisp, spicy crust. At home, this is best done outdoors because of the large amount of smoke produced.
To partially cook fruits, vegetables, or nuts in boiling water or steam to intensify and set color and flavor. This is an important step in preparing fruits and vegetables for freezing. Blanching also helps loosen skins from tomatoes, peaches, and almonds.
To combine two or more ingredients by hand, or with an electric mixer or blender, until smooth and uniform in texture, flavor, and color.
To cook food in liquid at a temperature that causes bubbles to form in the liquid and rise in a steady pattern, breaking at the surface. A rolling boil occurs when liquid is boiling so vigorously that the bubbles can't be stirred down.
A bouillon cube is a compressed cube of dehydrated beef, chicken, fish, or vegetable stock. Bouillon granules are small particles of the same substance, but they dissolve faster. Both can be reconstituted in hot liquid to substitute for stock or broth.
A bundle of fresh herbs usually thyme, parsley, and bay leaf used to add flavor to soups, stews, stocks, and poaching liquids. They are often tied inside two pieces of leek leaf or in a piece of cheesecloth.
To cook food slowly in a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan on the range top or in the oven. Braising is recommended for less-tender cuts of meat.
A coating of crumbs, sometimes seasoned, on meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Breading is often made with soft or dry bread crumbs.
A soft, creamy cheese with an edible white rind. Brie from France is considered to be the best in the world.
Heavily salted water used to pickle or cure vegetables, meats, fish, and seafood.
To cook food a measured distance below direct, dry heat. When broiling, position the broiler pan and its rack so that the surface of the food (not the rack) is the specified distance from the heat source. Use a ruler to measure this distance.
The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry, or fish has been simmered with vegetables and herbs. It is similar to stock and can be used interchangeably with it. Reconstituted bouillon can also be used when broth is specified.
To cook a food in a skillet, broiler, or oven to add flavor and aroma and develop a rich, desirable color on the outside and moistness on the inside.
For rich flavor, butter is usually the fat of choice. For baking, butter is recommended rather than margarine for consistent results. Salted and unsalted butter can be used interchangeably in recipes; however, if you use unsalted butter, you may want to increase the amount of salt in a recipe.
To split food, such as shrimp or pork chops, through the middle without completely separating the halves. Opened flat, the split halves resemble a butterfly.
A food, usually a fruit, nut, or citrus peel, that has been cooked or dipped in sugar syrup.
To brown sugar, whether it is granulated sugar or the naturally occuring sugars in vegetables. Granulated sugar is cooked in a saucepan or skillet over low heat until melted and golden. Vegetables are cooked slowly over low heat in a small amount of fat until browned and smooth.
The buds of a spiny shrub that grows from Spain to China. Found next to the olives in the the supermarket, capers have an assertive flavor that can best be described as the marriage of citrus and olive, plus an added tang that comes from the salt and vinegar of their packaging brine. While the smaller buds bring more flavor than the larger buds, both can be used interchangeably in recipes.
To cut or slice cooked meat, poultry, fish, or game into serving-size pieces.
A thin 100-percent-cotton cloth with either a fine or coarse weave. Cheesecloth is used in cooking to bundle up herbs, strain liquids, and wrap rolled meats. Look for it among cooking supplies in supermarkets and specialty cookware shops.
In cooking, this French word, meaning "made of rags," refers to thin strips of fresh herbs or lettuce.
A fiery oil, flavored with chile peppers, that's used as a seasoning.
A condiment, available in mild or hot versions, that's made from chile peppers, vinegar, and seasonings.
To cool food to below room temperature in the refrigerator or over ice. When recipes call for chilling foods, it should be done in the refrigerator.
In general, six types of chocolate are available at the supermarket:
Milk chocolate is at least 10-percent pure chocolate with added cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.
Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate can be used interchangeably. They contain at least 35-percent pure chocolate with added cocoa butter and sugar.
Sweet chocolate is dark chocolate that contains at least 15-percent pure chocolate with extra cocoa butter and sugar.
Unsweetened chocolate is used for baking and cooking rather than snacking. This ingredient contains pure chocolate and cocoa butter with no sugar added.
Unsweetened cocoa powder is pure chocolate with most of the cocoa butter removed. Dutch-process or European-style cocoa powder has been treated to neutralize acids, making it mellower in flavor.
White chocolate, which has a mild flavor, contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Products such as white baking bars, white baking pieces, white candy coating, and white confectionery bars are sometimes confused with white chocolate. While they are often used interchangeably in recipes, they are not truly white chocolate because they do not contain cocoa butter.
To cut foods with a knife, cleaver, or food processor into smaller pieces.
A spicy pork sausage used in Mexican and Spanish cuisine. Spanish chorizo is made with smoked pork, and Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork.
A condiment often used in Indian cuisine that's made of chopped fruit (mango is a classic), vegetables, and spices enlivened by hot peppers, fresh ginger, or vinegar.
Sometimes called drawn butter, clarified butter is best known as a dipping sauce for seafood. It is butter that has had the milk solids removed. Because clarified butter can be heated to high temperatures without burning, it's also used for quickly browning meats. To clarify butter, melt the butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan without stirring. Skim off foam, if necessary. You will see a clear, oily layer on top of a milky layer. Slowly pour the clear liquid into a dish, leaving the milky layer in the pan. The clear liquid is the clarified butter; discard the milky liquid. Store clarified butter in the refrigerator up to 1 month.
To evenly cover food with crumbs, flour, or a batter. Often done to meat, fish, and poultry before cooking.
A product made from water and coconut pulp that's often used in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. Coconut milk is not the clear liquid in the center of the coconut, nor should it be confused with cream of coconut, a sweetened coconut concoction often used to make mixed drinks such as pi�a coladas.
Liquids at room temperature made from vegetables, nuts, or seeds. Common types for general cooking include corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut, and olive. For baking, cooking oils cannot be used interchangeably with solid fats because they do not hold air when beaten.
A granular pasta popular in North Africa that's made from semolina. Look for it in the rice and pasta section of supermarkets.
To beat a fat, such as butter or shortening either alone or with sugar, to a light, fluffy consistency. May be done by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer. This process incorporates air into the fat so baked products have a lighter texture and a better volume.
A dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture, which causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor. If you can't find cr�me fra�che in your supermarket, you can make a substitute by combining 1/2 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized cream) and 1/2 cup dairy sour cream. Cover the mixture and let it stand at room temperature for two to five hours or until it thickens. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
To pinch or press pastry or dough together using your fingers, a fork, or another utensil. Usually done for a piecrust edge.
A term that describes the state of vegetables that have been cooked until just tender but still somewhat crunchy. At this stage, a fork can be inserted with a little pressure.
Fine particles of food that have been broken off a larger piece. Crumbs are often used as a coating, thickener, or binder, or as a crust in desserts. Recipes usually specify either soft or fine dry bread crumbs, which generally are not interchangeable.
To smash food into smaller pieces, generally using hands, a mortar and pestle, or a rolling pin. Crushing dried herbs releases their flavor and aroma.
To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated protein to develop in a dairy product. This can occur when foods such as milk or sour cream are heated to too high a temperature or are combined with an acidic food, such as lemon juice or tomatoes.
A blend of herbs, spices, and fiery chiles that's often used in Indian and Thai cooking. Look for curry paste in Asian markets. Curry pastes are available in many varieties and are sometimes classified by color (green, red, or yellow), by heat (mild or hot), or by a particular style of curry (such as Panang or Masaman).
To work a solid fat, such as shortening, butter, or margarine, into dry ingredients. This is usually done with a pastry blender, two knives in a crisscross fashion, your fingertips, or a food processor.
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