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Food Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W
Amuse-gueule

Generally, a snack with cocktails, but you'll also see it on menus as a starter.

Arugula

A member of the mustard family, argulula (a.k.a. rocket, rugola or roquette) is a crisp, peppery and pleasantly bitter leaf that makes a superb summer salad.

Bain-Marie

A bain-marie is a large pan of hot or boiling water in which smaller pans may be set to cook food slowly, or to keep food warm.

Bar Blender

A heavy duty blender usually with an extra- wide glass jar and 7 different speeds. It also has a strong sealed lid and a sturdy base.

Bastilla

A traditional Moroccan savory pie made with pigeon. A typical recipe features layers of pigeon (or chicken), eggs and crushed almonds encased in phyllo pastry, all topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Bento Box

A Japanese inspired lunch box filled with an assortment of highly flavoured foods. Western restaurants have used the Bento Box idea as appetizers.

Black Tea

Produced by withering, rolling and fermenting fresh tea leaves. This process breaks down natural enzymes in the plant and discolours the originally green leaves. The leaves are then dried; and carmelized sugars are added. Black teas contain antioxidants believed to have health benefits. Some examples: Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

Brassica

A plant from the mustard family. Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts fall into this category.

Calabrian Chilies

Sold by the jar these salty and spicy chilies are from Southern Italian.

Canapé

Means an "upholstered couch." It's a base of small pastry or a piece of toasted bread topped with a spread or some kind of savoury food.

Chapattis

Chapattis, or Indian Flat bread, are eaten all over India as an accompaniment to most meals – they really are a national bread. The art is in the shaping – a good chapatti should be perfectly round.

Chiffonade

A chopping technique by which herbs or leafy green vegetables are cut into long, thin strips. This is done by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then slicing the leaves perpendicular to the roll.

Chipotle Pepper

It is a smoked Jalapeño. Typically you can find them in Mexican sections of your grocery store and it is better if you find them dried whole because you can do so much more with them. If you get them completely dried and keep them that way, they should last for about 12 months.

Cilantro

A leafy herb commonly used in asian and indian cooking. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a perfumey taste and aroma, but it tastes "soapy" to some people.

Cotija Cheese

A firm, crumbly cheese made of cow's milk popular in Mexican and Latin dishes. Cotija cheese is used often because it's milder than feta or goat cheese and softens with heat but doesn't fully melt.

Craisin

Unlike their fresh counterpart, dried cranberries or "craisins" are naturally sweet enough to eat out of your hand.

Cuisinart

This is a brand name, but many use it as a synonym for food processor.

Daube

A French beef stew from the Provence region of France.

Dulce de leche

A creamy caramelized sugary milk spread used in Latin American desserts. The peanut-better-thick sweet cream can be found in jars at gourmet shops. Pronounced dool-chay day lay-chay

Dumpling Wrappers

Sometimes called "perogy" or "gyoza wrapper", these are circular disks of dough about 3" diameter, usually sold refrigerated in Asian food stores and supermarkets. Do not substitute wonton wrappers.

Filberts

Another word for hazelnuts.

Ghee

A type of butter used in Indian dishes.

Griddle

A griddle is usually a flat pan (often of cast iron) that heats up food uniformly. It is often used to make pancakes.

Hors d'oeuvre

Means "outside of work" or, as classically trained chefs explain, foods served outside the dinning room. It could be a canapé, relish or even a side dish.

Ketjap Manis

Also spelled kecap manis, this Indonesian soy sauce has a hint of sweetness (from molasses or palm sugar) and various flavourings, often including star anise, garlic, ginger or coriander. Dutch and INdonesian dishes call for it. Use it when you'd use soy sauce. Although it's sweet, it doesn't burn when cooked at high heat, making it ideal for grilled or barbequed foods.

Kochukaru

Finely ground red chili pepper used in Korean sauces, soups, stews and side dishes.

Lardo

Fat from the thick layer on a pig's back that's been cured in salt, herbs and dried spices.

Masa

Dough made from corn flour.

Matbrod

Meaning "food bread" in Sweden, Matbrod is a simple all-rye bread. The texture is fine and moist, good for slicing; like all soda breads, it slices better the next day.

Mirin

A slightly sweet cooking wine of Japanese origin.

Miso

A fermented soybean paste which adds flavour to cooked dishes and used widely in Japan.

Mugi Jochu

An oat or barley-based Japanese shochu.

Orecchiette Pasta

This concave shape pasta that comes from Puglia, Italy means “little ears" and this special shape holds the sauce.

Pan Chutney

A medley of chopped ingredients: a base of onions, shallots or leeks, plus assorted savoury or sweet additions such as chopped olives or capers, apples, dried fruit, added for extra layers of flavour. Cooked in the same pan as the meat and moistened with wine or broth, it's a rich piquant mixture.

Pavlova

A meringue dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Commonly referred to as "pav", it is a cake of meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light, often fruity inner.

Portobello Mushrooms

The largest cultivated mushroom has a flat cap and a meaty taste.

Quenelle

Food, such as dumplings, formed into an oval or egg shape.

Relish

Condiments of chopped, highly flavoured or pickled vegetables. Also describes plain, raw veggie cuts.

Rice Wrappers

These are hard, paper-thin, translucent white rounds, made of wheat flour, tapioca starch, salt and water. Available in Asian markets and some grocery stores.

Sake

A Japanese rice-based alcoholic beverage. Although it is called sake in English, in Japanese, "sake" refers to alcoholic drinks in general. The Japanese term for this specific beverage is nihonshu, meaning "Japanese sake". Sake is also referred to in English as rice wine. However, unlike true wine, in which alcohol is produced by fermenting the sugars from fruit, sake is made through a brewing process closer to that of beer.

Sambel Oelek

Sambel Oelek, also known as Tasko, is the Macedonian version of a Chinese-Indonesian hot food supplement specialty which has instituted itself in North American cuisine. Popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and southern India, a Sambal is a multipurpose condiment; its most basic form is Sambal Oelek, a simple mixture of chilies, brown sugar and salt.

Sea Beans

Succulents with a salty, grassy flavour that grows near salt marshes and beaches.

Semifreddo

Italian for "party frozen". A type of partially frozen dessert, such as custard.

Strata

A layered bread and egg casserole-type dish that is usually served at breakfast.

Sugar Snap Pea

A kind of fresh pea. Usually eaten cooked, pod and seeds. Has a sweet taste, hence the name.

Tamari

Produced in Japan, tamari is darker in appearance and richer in flavour than traditional soy sauce. It contains little or no wheat; wheat-free tamari can be used by people with gluten intolerance.

Tamarind

A tart fruit used in chutneys, pickles, sauces and drinks, from a tree native to Africa and now  widely cultivated in India.

Timbale Mold

A small metal mold that chefs use to hold layers of vegetables, rice and/or other chopped foods. When unmolded on a dinner plate the foods are in a decorative shape.

Truffle Oil

An oil created usually from pureed Truffle mushrooms (can be white or black Truffles) in olive oil. They are expensive and considered a luxury flavouring. It is used to add an earthy mushroom taste to foods like pastas and even salads.

Umeshu

A Japanese liqueur made from steeping ume fruits (while still unripe and green) in alcohol and sugar. Popular brands include Choya and Takara Shuzo.

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