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TermDefinition
capsaicin The "heat" in chiles comes from this compound. Most prevalent in the seeds and veins of the chiles.
caramel A candy produced by melting sugar to between 320 F. and 350 F. When cooled, it is hard and brittle. Soft caramel, used as an ice cream topping, is made by mixing butter and milk with the caramel.
caramelize A cooking technique of topping a dish with sugar and then melting the sugar with high heat. This is the technique used to make creme brulee.
carpaccio Italian dish of raw beef, very thinly sliced, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, and topped with capers and onions.
cassata A traditional Italian dessert, typically made with sponge cake enclosing a ricotta-chocolate filling.
cassoulet A French dish of white beans and meats, slow cooked in a covered pot.
caster suger Also spelled castor sugar is the British equivalent for superfine sugar. It dissolves easily and can be used for such things as making meringues and sweetening cold liquids. It can be substituted for regular granulatd sugar cup for cup.
caul A fatty membrane taken from pig or sheep. It is used to wrap preparations, such as pate, and it melts while cooking.
caviar Classic, famous appetizer of sturgeon roe (eggs). Beluga caviar is considered the best, coming from the Caspain Sea of Russia and Iran. Lesser caviars are available from other fish species.
cayenne Bright red, very hot chile pepper. Used to make cayenne pepper, or ground for soups and sauces.
celeriac The root of a variety of celery, used raw or cooked or pureed in a variety of dishes.
celery A popular vegetable; stalks and leaves are used extensively in salads, appetizers, soups, and more. Originally considered a medicinal herb.
Celsius A temperature scale where 0 is the freezing point of water, and 100 is the boiling point (at sea level.) F = 32 + C * 9/5.
chafing dish A dish kept above a heat source to keep food warm.
challah A rich Jewish yeast bread, traditionally formed in a braid.
chalupa A corn tortilla shaped like a boat, fried, then filled like a taco.
chapati Indian whole-wheat bread; flat round cakes cooked on a griddle.
chard A vegetable related to the beet, used for its leaves and stalks. High in iron, and vitamins A and C.
chaurice A Creole and Cajun sausage. Made from pork, and normally spicy. Served on its own, or in gumbos and jambalayas.
cherries jubilee A famous dessert of dark red cherries, sugar, and brandy, flamed then served over ice cream.
chervil A mild, anise-flavored herb related to parsley.
chess pie A favorite southern pie that has a combination of corn syrup, sugar, eggs and a small amount of flour as the filling.
chestnut A large, sweet nut of the chestnut tree. Prepared in a variety of ways after removing the shell and inner skin (not just roasted over an open fire, with Jack Frost nearby.)
chickpea Also called garbanzo beans, these large peas are common in Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes.
chicory A bitter-tasting green, related to endive. Common in Southern cooking. Roasted roots are used to make a coffee style beverage, or coffee additive.
chiffonade Thin strips of vegetables(i.e. lettuce or sorrel) lightly sauteed or used raw to garnish soups.
chile The spicy fruit native to Mexico. Its popularity since the 1500's now extends to Europe, Africa, and Asia as well as the western hemisphere. Many varieties, from large to small, mild to hot. Most of the "heat" is in the seeds and veins, and comes from the chemical compound capsaicin.
chimichanga A burrito that is fried or deep fried. A specialty of Sonora, Mexico.
chimichurri An Argentinian herb sauce of olive oil, parsley, vinegar, oregano, onion, garlic, and seasonings.
chinois A fine, metal sieve, used to puree or strain food.

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