Cooking Terminology

Glossary & Food Definitions

Al denté: Describes foods, especially pasta, cooked only until soft enough to eat, but not overdone. The Italian translation is "to the teeth."

Allspice: Usually used in ground form, allspice has a flavor like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Antipasto: refers to appetizers served before the main meal. Antipasto literally means "before the pasta.

Asiago: a cow's milk cheese made in northern Italy. Mild nutty flavor when young, more pronounced with age.

Barbecue: the word barbecue refers to a social gathering where the carcass of an animal is roasted whole.

Biscotti: Italian cookie often hard in texture and lightly flavored with anise.

Blend: mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth and uniform.
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Bocconcini: refers to "little fresh Mozzarella balls" Mozzarella cheese is produced in Albruzzi-Molise and Campania and is made from fresh cows milk. Mozzarella is the larger of the balls of cheese produced in the process. The smaller balls are the bocconcini.

Bruschetta: Garlic and Olive Oil topped toasted bread sometimes topped with chopped Tomatoes and Basil.

Cacciatore: is a traditional Italian meal (e.g. Chicken Cacciatore) in which vegetables are cooked in a hearty sauce with meat.

Calamari: is just another name for Squid (in Italian, of course). Calamari is often served deep fried.

Capers:flower buds from the Caper Bush which are harvested and pickled in vinegar and salt brine. Capers are used in cooking as a seasoning.

Capsicum: refers to a bell or green pepper.

Carbonara: traditional Roman sauce consisting of garlic, eggs, and bacon served over pasta.

Carpaccio: raw beef appetizer topped with a mustard - mayonnaise sauce.

Cazuela de Pescado: a variety of fish in a very spicy sauce.

Ceviche: seafood salad made of fish cooked in the citric acid contained in lime or lemon juice.
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Chitarra: a handmade wooden pasta making machine. Chitarra means guitar and as sheets of pasta are rolled over the metal wires of the machine it makes a metallic sound. Used for cutting the classic Abruzzese pasta which is a little thicker cut of spaghetti.

Cilantro: sometimes called coriander. Whole seed or ground, goes savory and sweet. Fresh cilantro is tangy and very similar to parsley.

Fennel: licorice flavored bulb used raw or cooked as a seasoning and garnish. Fennel resembles a head of celery with a bulb at the bottom.

Focaccia: Italian flatbread often topped with olive oil, herbs, garlic, and cheese.

Fontina: semi-soft, high-fat cow's milk cheese that is often used in fondue. Mild taste and excellent for melting in cream sauces and fillings. Fontina should not be confused with Fontinella.

Herbs: the leaves of annual or perennial shrubs.
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Marinara: over-coat or overcoat: i.e.(Coat pasta with a sauce). vegetable sauce traditionally made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil. Variations: Capers, pitted black olives, crushed red pepper or diced chile pepper.

Mozzarella: hand-streched cheese made from buffalo milk in Campania. Mild and creamy in taste.

pH: measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.
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Prosciutto: salt-cured ham which is air-cured and served in thin slices. It is popularly used as an appetizer wrapped around melon pieces.

Queso Fresco: fresh crumbly cheese available in Mexican markets.
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Queso Mexicano: the same as Queso Fresco only it refers to a Mexican cheese.
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Scullery: a back kitchen.

Spencer Steak: Carved from the thick center of the prime rib roast from the beef rib section. Commonly used names: Delmonico Steak, Filet Steak, Spencer Steak or Beauty Steak. Restaurant steak cut: Beef Rib, Ribeye Roll Steak, Boneless

Spices: spices are derived from the bark, roots, fruits or berries of perennial plants.
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Taleggio: soft, high-fat cow's milk cheese from Lombardia. Rind is reddish-brown and has a very rich taste. Great table cheese and can be used in fillings and cream sauces.

Vanilla: An aromatic spice with a warm flavor, vanilla is the seed pod of an orchid. It's available dried or as an extract.

Wasabi: powder; hot spice (i.e.)horseradish. It is used as a dip for various foods, especially fish and other sea foods. It can be combined with other ingredients to make a hot dipping oil, paste or sauce.

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