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TermDefinition
Albacore A variety of tuna fish, with white meat and a high fat content.
Albumen Egg whites.
alfredo A rich sauce of butter, cream, grated parmesean cheese and black pepper most commonly served over fettuccine.
almond paste Made of ground blanched almonds, sugar and glycerin or other liquid. Almond extract is sometimes added for more intense almond flavor. Almond paste is less sweet and slightly coarser than marzipan. Used in a variety of confections, it is available in most supermarkets.
Amaranth An annual plant. Greens have a slightly sweet flavor and can be cooked or served in salads. Seeds can be ground into flour or used as cereal. Found in Caribbean and Asian markets. Considered nutritious and high-protein.
Anaheim chile One of the most common fresh chiles available in the U.S. Long, narrow, green, and usually mild. Named after Anaheim, California. No further relation to the Angels.
Ancho chile Dried poblano chile. Deep reddish brown color, 3 to 4 inches long. Considered the sweetest of dried chiles.
angel hair pasta Very thin strand-style pasta.
Angelica A sweet herb grown in Europe. Member of the parsley family, with pale green stalks.
Anglaise A French term for boiled or poached food, meaning "English style." Also used for breaded and fried foods.
Appellation A designated wine growing area, as defined under local laws. Somewhat standardized across many countries.
Applejack A brandy made from apple cider.
Arborio rice Short, fat, starchy rice. Usually used to make risotto.
armagnac A fine French brandy which, like cognac, is aged in oak for up to 40 years. It is from the town of Gascony near Bordeaux.
Arroz Spanish word for rice. Arroz con pollo, for example, is a dish made with rice and chicken.
Artichoke The globe artichoke is the bud of a large plant in the thistle family with tough petal shaped leaves. When properly cooked, break off the leaves one by one, dip in butter or sauce, and draw the base of the leaf through your teeth scraping off the pulp and discarding the rest of the leaf. At the center, scrape off the tiny leaves and fuzz and then continue to dip the heart of the choke in sauce and eat. The Jerusalem artichoke is not a true artichoke but a tuber resembling a ginger root. These may be used peeled or unpeeled, raw as an addition to salads, or steamed or boiled as a side dish.
Arugula A bitter and aromatic salad green. Good source of iron and vitamins A and C.
au lait A French term meaning "with milk."
Aurore sauce A pink sauce made by combining bechamel (white) sauce with tomato puree.
Babka A Polish sweet bread made with rum, almonds, raisins, and orange peel.
Bagna cauda An Italian appetizer dip made with olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies. Usually served with raw vegetables.
Bagoong An Asian fish sauce from the Philippines. It is a salty liquid from salted, cured, and fermented fish or shrimp. Used to flavor many Asian dishes.
Basmati rice A long-grain, nutty flavored rice. Originally grown in the Himalayan foothills in India.
baste To brush food as it cooks with butter, meat drippings, or stock. Basting keeps baked or roasted foods moist.
beard to tail For crustaceans such as shrimp or lobster, once the head and body have been removed what is left is cut "beard to tail" or top to bottom on the underside to extract the meat.
Beau Monde Seasoning A commercial seasoning blend containing salt, dextrose, onion, celery seed and tricalcium phosphate (as marketed under the Spice Islands label) designed to enhance the flavor of most foods except sweets.
bechamel sauce A French white sauce made with milk and a roux of butter and flour. A thin sauce is made with 1 tbsp each butter and flour to 1 cup of milk. For medium sauce, use 2 tbsp each, and for a thick sauce, use 3 tbsp each.
beef tartare Finely chopped, high quality beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs, and served raw.
beignet New Orleans pastry, deep fried and served with powdered sugar, like a fritter. A savory beignet may be made with herbs.
bell pepper The best known of American sweet peppers it belongs to the Capsicum family like the chile pepper but is mild, sweet flavored and crisp. Though most often bright green, there are also red, yellow, orange, purple and brown varieties. They may be used in cooking or eaten raw, with seeds and stems removed.

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