Cabbage, green - the common market cabbage (Brassica olercaea) with a large, firm spherical head of tightly packed pale green waxy leaves; flat and conical heads are also available; also known as the common cabbage. Other varieties include white and red.
Cacao - Native South American tree whose seeds are fermented and processed to make cocoa and chocolate.
Cacciatore - Italian for hunter and used to describe any stew-like dish flavored with onions, herbs, mushrooms, tomatoes and sometimes wine (ex. Chicken cacciatore).
Cake - in the United States, a broad range of pastries, including layer cakes, coffee cakes and gateaux; it can refer to almost anything that is baked, tender, sweet and sometimes frosted.
Cake Flour - a low-protein wheat flour used for making cakes, pastry doughs and other tender baked goods.
Calamari - Small squid.
California Jack cheese - see Monterey Jack cheese.
Calmondin - A citrus tree cultivated for its naturally high concentration of vitamin C. It also is used as a base for artificial flavorings.
Canapés - Garnished bite-sized rounds of bread or vegetables (cucumber, zucchini) served with cocktails and at buffets.
Candy Thermometer - a kitchen tool used to determine heat levels in the cooking of candy, jams, and preserves.
Cane Syrup - a thick, sweet syrup; the result of an intermediate step in the sugarcane refining process when the syrup is reduced.
Cannellini - large, elongated kidney-shaped beans grown in Italy; have a creamy white color and are used in soups and salads; also known as white kidney beans.
Cantaloupe, American - a muskmelon with a raised netting over a smooth grayish-beige skin, pale orange flesh, large seed cavity with many seeds and a sweet, refreshing, distinctive flavor; also known as a netted melon or nutmeg melon.
Capellini - Italian for fine hair; used to describe extremely fine spaghetti.
Capers - the unopened flower buds of a shrub (Capparis spinosa) native to the Mediterranean region; after curing in salted white vinegar, the buds develop a sharp salty-sour flavor and are used as a flavoring and condiment.
Capon - a rooster castrated before it is 8 weeks old, fattened and slaughtered before it is 10 months old; has a market weight of 4 to 10 pounds (1.8 to 4.5 kg), soft, smooth skin, a high proportion of light to dark meat, a relatively high fat content and juicy, tender, well-flavored flesh.
Cappuccino - an Italian beverage made from equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk, sometimes dusted with sweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon; usually served in a large cup.
Caramel - 1. A substance produced by cooking sugar until it becomes a thick, dark liquid; its color ranges from golden to dark brown; used for coloring and flavoring desserts, candies; sweet and savory sauces and other foods. 2. A firm, chewy candy made with sugar, butter, corn syrup and milk or cream.
Caramelize - to cook white sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar forms a golden-brown syrup.
Carbohydrates - the food group containing sugars, starches, and cellulose.
Carbonnades - a French beef stew cooked with beer.
Carrageen / Carraghen Moss - an edible seaweed; Irish moss.
Carrot - a member of the parsley family (Daucus carota); has lacy green foliage, an edible orange taproot with a milk sweet flavor and crisp texture, a tapering shape and comes in a variety of sizes.
Casserole - an ovenproof baking dish, usually with a cover; also the food cooked inside it.
Cauliflower - a member of the cabbage family (Brassica oleracea); has a head (called a curd) of tightly packed white florets (a purple variety is also available) partially covered with large waxy, pale green leaves on a white-green stalk; some varieties have a purple or greenish tinge.
Cayenne; Cayenne Pepper - 1. A hot pungent peppery powder blended from various ground dried hot chiles and salt, has a bright orange-red color and fine texture; also known as red pepper. 2. A dried thin, short chile with a bright red color, thin flesh and hot, tart acidic flavor; usually used ground.
Charlotte - a molded dessert containing gelatin, usually formed in a glass dish or a pan that is lined with ladyfingers or pieces of cake.
Castor / Castor Sugar - English term for superfine granulated sugar.
Caviar - the salted roe of sturgeon. Red caviar is the salted roe of salmon, and considered a less desirable substitute.
Celery - developed in 16th-century Italy, this vegetable (Apium graveolens) grows in bunches of long stringy curved stalks or ribs surrounding a tender heart; can be eaten raw, cooked or used as a flavoring. There are two principal celery varieties; Pascal (which is pale green) and golden (which is creamy white).
Celery Salt - a seasoning blend of ground celery seeds and salt.
Celery Seeds - the seeds of the herb lovage; they are small and brown and are used in pickling and as a flavoring.
Cèpe - a delicious mushroom.
Chambrer - a French term used to describe the gradual raising of the temperature of wines from the cool wine cellar to room temperature. Slightly warmer, the wine flavor is more pungent.
Chantilly - heavy cream whipped then sweetened and flavored with vanilla. Also, a sauce with whipped cream added
Charlottes - mold of biscuits, sponge cake, ladyfinger, etc., or sliced bread, filled with a custard cream and fruit.
Chasseur - game or poultry served ‘hunter style’, with a rich red wine sauce, or a white wine sauce, including mushrooms and shallots.
Château Bottled - wine bottled at the château where it was grown and made. Usually this means a superior wine, one with a distinct flavor of its own. Other wines are the result of grapes grown in a region and brought together at the vintner’s for handling. The results are less distinguished, though these regional wines may be very good.
Cheddar, American - a firm cheese made from whole cow's milk (generally pasteurized) produced principally in Wisconsin, New York and Vermont; ranges from white to orange in color and its flavor from mild to very sharp.
Cheese - dairy products made from milk curds separated from the whey; numerous varieties are found worldwide.
Cheesecake - a rich, smooth dessert made by blending cream cheese, cottage cheese or ricotta with sugar, eggs and other flavorings, then baking; usually prepared in a springform pan dusted with cookie crumbs or ground nuts; the baked dessert is often topped with sour cream or fruit.
Cherry - a small stone fruit from a tree of the Prunus genus, grown in temperate climates worldwide; there are two principal types: sour and sweet; both types are generally available fresh, dried, canned and frozen.
Cherrystone Clam - clams 3 inches long.
Cherry Tomato - a small spherical tomato with a bright red or yellow skin; the yellow-skinned variety has a less acidic and blander flavor than the red-skinned variety.
Chestnut - the nut of the sweet chestnut tree (Castanea sativa); edible when cooked, it has a dark brown outer shell, a bitter inner skin, a high starch content and is used in savory and sweet dishes.
Chicken - one of the principal USDA-recognized kinds of poultry; any of several varieties of common domestic fowl used for food as well as egg production; has both light and dark meat and relatively little fat.
Chicken, broiler-fryer - a chicken slaughtered when 13 weeks old; has a soft, smooth-textured skin, relatively lean flesh, flexible breastbone and an average market weight of 3.5 pounds (1.5 kg).
Chicken, roaster - a chicken slaughtered when 3 to 5 months old; has a smooth-textured skin, tender flesh, a less flexible breastbone than that of a broiler and an average market weight of 3.5 to 5 pounds (1.5 to 2 kg).
Chickpea - a somewhat spherical, irregular-shaped pea-like seed of a plant (Licer arieinum) native to the Mediterranean region; has a buff color, firm texture and nutty flavor; used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines in soups, stews and salads, it is also roasted and eaten as a snack; also know as ceci and garbanzo bean.
Chiffonade - finely cut vegetable strips used to garnish soups, raw, or simmered in butter. Lettuce and sorrel often are used in this manner.
Chili (Chile) Powder - pure ground dried chiles; depending on the variety used, its flavor can range from sweet and mild to pungent and extremely hot and its color from yellow-orange to red to dark brown; used as a flavoring.
Chili; Chili (Chile) Pepper; Hot Pepper - the fruit of various plants of the capsicum family; a chile can have a mild to fiery hot flavor (caused by the capsaicin in the pepper's placental ribs) with undertones of various fruits or spices. A fresh chile is usually yellow, orange, green or red, and its shape can range from thin, elongated and tapering to conical to nearly spherical; a dried chile, which is sometimes referred to by a different name than its fresh version, is usually more strongly flavored and darker colored.
Chiles Rellenos - hot green peppers stuffed with cheese and dipped in batter and fried.
Chilled - a food that has been refrigerated, usually at temperatures of 30 to 40*F(-1 to +4*C).
Chipotle - a dried, smoked jalapeèo; this medium-sized chile has a dull tan to dark brown color with a wrinkled skin and a smoky, slightly sweet, relatively milk flavor with undertones of tobacco and chocolate.
Chippolata - common name for a tiny sausage, this originally described a garnish of chestnuts, glazed vegetables, and small sausages.
Chitterlings - part of the small intestine of a pig, cooked.
Chives - An herb and member of the onion family (Allium schoenprasum), with long, slender, hollow, green stems and purple flowers; have a mild onion flavor and are generally used fresh, although dried, chopped chives are available; also know as Chinese chives, flowering chives and kucha.
Chocolate - roasted, ground, refined cacao beans used as a flavoring, confection or beverage.
Chocolate, white - a confection made of cocoa butter, sugar and flavorings; does not contain cocoa solids.
Chop - to cut into pieces of roughly the same size, either small (finely chopped) or larger (coarsely chopped). Also, rib section of beef, lamb, pork, or other animals.
Choux Pastry - Also called choux paste, pâte è choux and cream-puff pastry, this special pastry is made by an entirely different method from other pastries. The dough, created by combining flour with boiling water and butter, then beating eggs into the mixture, is very sticky and pastelike. During baking, the eggs make the pastry puff into irregular domes (as with cream puffs). After baking, the puffs are split, hollowed out and filled with a custard, whipped cream or other filling. Besides cream puffs, choux pastry is used to make such specialties as éclairs, gougère and profiteroles.
Chutney - from the Hindi chatni, it is a condiment made from fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices; its texture can range from smooth to chunky and its flavor from mild to hot.
Cider Vinegar - vinegar of unprocessed apple cider.
Cilantro - the dark green lacy leaves of the cilantro plant; used as an herb, they have a sharp, tangy fresh flavor and aroma and are used fresh in Mexican, South American and Asian cuisines; also known as Chinese parsley.
Cinnamon - a spice that is the inner bark of the branches of a small evergreen tree (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) native to Sri Lanka and India; has an orange-brown color and a sweet, distinctive flavor and aroma; usually sold in rolled-up sticks (quills) or ground and is used for sweet and savory dishes and as a garnish; also known as Ceylon cinnamon.
Citric Acid - an organic acid common to citrus fruits and used in preserving, retaining color or flavoring drinks.
Citron - a fruit likened to an overgrown knobbly lemon, it is famed for its peel, which is used in marmalades, candies and fruit cakes.
Clarified Butter - butter that has been melted and chilled. The solid is then lifted away from the liquid and discarded.
Clarify - to make a liquid clear and free of sediment. Clarification heightens the smoke point of butter. Clarified butter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 2 months.
Clove - 1. A spice that is the dried, unopened flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree (Eugenia aromatica); has a reddish-brown color, a nail shape and an extremely pungent, sweet, astringent flavor; available whole or powdered. 2. A segment of a bulb, such as garlic.
Coarsely Chop - to cut food into small pieces, about 3/16 inches (1/2 cm) square.
Coat - to cover a food completely with an outer "coating" of another food or ingredient.
Cocoa Powder - a brown, unsweetened powder produced by crushing cocoa nibs and extracting most of the fat (cocoa butter); it is used as a flavoring; also known as unsweetened cocoa.
Cocoa Powder, Dutch process - coca powder that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity; darker and milder than a nonalkalized powder.
Cobbler - a deep-dish fruit pie with a top crust of biscuit dough. Also, a tall drink made of rum, whiskey or claret and garnished with citrus slices or mint or fennel.
Cockle - a small mollusk related to the oyster, usually eaten boiled with condiments or in a sauce.
Cocktail - an appetizer; either a beverage or a light, highly seasoned food served before meal.
Coconut, dried - the shredded or flaked flesh of the coconut; often sweetened; also known as copra.
Coconut Milk (and Coconut Cream) - Are sometimes called for in recipes, particularly in curried dishes. Coconut milk is made by combining equal parts water and shredded fresh or desiccated coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The mixture is then strained through cheesecloth, squeezing as much of the liquid as possible from the coconut meat. The coconut meat can be combined with water again for a second, diluted batch of coconut milk. Coconut cream is made in the same manner, but enriches the mix by using 1 part water to 4 parts coconut. Milk can be substituted for water for an even richer result. Discard the coconut meat after making these mixtures. Coconut milk and cream also come canned and may sometimes be found frozen in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Do not confuse sweetened "cream of coconut", used mainly for desserts and mixed drinks, with unsweetened coconut milk or cream.
Cod - a large family of saltwater fish, including Atlantic cod, Pacific cod, pollock, haddock, whiting and hake; generally, they have a milk, delicate flavor, lean, white flesh and a firm texture and are available fresh, sun-dried, salted or smoked.
Coddle - to gently poach in barely simmering liquid.
Coleslaw - a salad of Dutch origin made from shredded cabbage and sometimes onions, sweet peppers, pickles and/or bacon bound with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other dressing and sometimes flavored with herbs.
Collard Greens - a leafy, dark green vegetable with paddle-like leaves that grow on tall tough stalks; the leaves have a flavor reminiscent of cabbage and kale.
Combine - to mix two or more ingredients together.
Compote - mixed fruit, raw or cooked, usually served in “compote” dishes.
Condiments - seasonings that enhance the flavor of foods with which they are served.
Confectioners' Sugar - refined sugar ground into a fine, white, easily dissolved powder; also known as powdered sugar and 10X sugar.
Consommé - clear broth that is made from meat.
Convection Cooking - convection ovens use a small fan in the rear of the oven to circulate air all around the food to cook it quickly and more evenly. Cooking times are generally reduced by 25%. Most manufacturers suggest that you reduce the cooking temperature given in the recipe by 25 degrees and bake it for the time specified.
Convection oven - an electric oven in which heat is circulated rapidly around the cooking foods by means of a fan, resulting in fast crisping and browning.
Converted rice - rice that is pressure-steamed and dried before milling to remove surface starch and help retain nutrients; has a pale beige color and the same flavor as white rice; also known as parboiled rice.
Cookie sheet - a flat, firm sheet of metal, usually aluminum, with open sides on which cookies, biscuits and other items are baked.
Cookies - small, sweet, flat pastries, usually classified by preparation or makeup techniques as drop, icebox, bar, cutout, pressed and wafer.
Cool - to allow a food to sit until it is no longer warm to the touch.
Cooling rack - a flat grid of closely spaced metal wires resting on small feet; used for cooling baked goods by allowing air to circulate around the food.
Coq au vin - a French dish of chicken, mushrooms, onions, and bacon or salt pork cooked in red wine.
Coral - the roe of female lobsters. It turns bright red when cooked and is used in sauces.
Cordon bleu - a dish consisting of thin boneless chicken breasts or veal scallops separated by a thin slice of prosciutto or other ham and Emmenthal-style cheese, breaded and sautéed.
Core - to remove the central seeded area from a fruit.
Corked / Corky - description of wine whose flavor has been tainted by the odor of the cork. Corked also means a wine bottle with the cork in.
Coriander - yhe tiny yellow-tan ridged seeds of the cilantro plant (Coriandrum sativum); used as a spice, they have a flavor reminiscent of lemon, sage and caraway, are available whole or ground and are used in Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian cuisines and pickling spice blends. See cilantro.
Corn - a tall, annual plant native to the western hemisphere producing white, yellow, blue or multicolored grains arranged on a cob; consumed as a vegetable when young and available fresh, canned or frozen, or dried and ground into cornmeal; also known as maize.
Corn Flour - finely ground cornmeal; has a white or yellow color and is used as a breading or in combination with other flours.
Corn Oil - a pale yellow oil obtained from corn endosperms; odorless, almost flavorless, high in polyunsaturated fats with a high smoke point; a good medium for frying, also used in baking, dressings and to make margarine.
Corn Syrup - a thick, sweet syrup derived from cornstarch, composed of dextrose and glucose; available as clear (light) or brown (dark), which has caramel flavor and color added.
Corned - meat that has been cured in a brine solution.
Corned Beef - beef, usually a cut from the brisket or round, cured in a seasoned brine; has a grayish-pink to rosy red color and a salty flavor; also known as salt beef.
Cornmeal - dried, ground corn kernels (typically of a variety known as dent); has a white, yellow or blue color, gritty texture, slightly sweet, starchy flavor and available in three grinds (fine, medium and coarse); used in baking, as a coating for fried foods or cooked as polenta.
Cornstarch - a dense, very fine powdery flour made from ground corn endosperm and used as a thickening agent.
Court Bouillon - a seasoned broth made with water and meat, fish or vegetables, and seasonings.
Couscous - small, spherical bits of semolina dough that are rolled, dampened and coated with a finer wheat flour; a staple of the North African diet.
Cradle - a wicker basket used to decant wine.
Crayfish - a freshwater crustacean similar to lobster but smaller. The salt water variety is know as spiny lobster.
Cream - a component of milk with a milkfat content of at least 18%; has a slight yellow to ivory color, is more viscous and richer tasting than milk and can be whipped to a foam; rises to the top of raw milk; as a commercial product it may be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and may be homogenized.
Cream, to - to blend together, as sugar and butter (or shortening), until mixtures takes on a smooth, creamy texture.
Cream Cheese - a fresh, soft, mild, white cheese made from cow's cream or a mixture of cow's cream and milk (some goat's milk cream cheese are available); used for baking, dips, dressings, confections and spreading on bread products; must contain 33% milkfat and not more than 55% moisture and is available, sometimes flavored, in various-sized blocks or whipped.
Cream Puff - A small, hollow puff made from Choux Pastry (cream-puff pastry) filled with sweetened whipped cream or custard.
Cream, Whipped - cream that has been whipped until it is stiff.
Creme de Cacao - a chocolate-flavored liqueur.
Cream of Tartar - Cream of tartar is a fine white powder used mainly used to improve the stability and volume of beaten egg whites. It is also used to give some candies and frosting a creamier consistency. An interesting fact is its origin, cream of tartar is actually derived from crystalline acid deposits on the inside of wine barrels.
Crème Fraîche - this is cream so thick it is a solid. It can be thinned with large amounts of heavy cream and still remain relatively thick. It is served in France, thinned, with berries, particularly wild strawberries, and with other desserts. A substitute is whipping cream mixed with an equal volume of sour cream and allowed to thicken at room temperature for a few hours.
Crèpes - Very thin pancakes.
Crimp - to seal pastry edges together by pinching.
Croissant - French breakfast bread pastry, delicate, flaky and rich. The dough s yeast-raised, then rolled out, spread with soft butter, folded into thirds, rolled out again and buttered, then rolled out yet again, to make a layered puff pastry.
Crookneck Squash - a summer squash with a long slender neck and bulbous body, pale to deep yellow skin with a smooth to bumpy texture, creamy yellow flesh and mild, delicate flavor; also known as yellow squash.
Croquette - minced food, shaped like a ball, patty, cone, or log, bound with a heavy sauce, breaded, and fried.
Croutons - cubes of bread, toasted or fried, served with soups or salads.
Crudités - French word for an American cocktail appetizer of raw vegetables served with a dip.
Cruller - a doughnut of twisted shape, very light in texture.
Crumb - to moisten food with an adhesive liquid such as milk, beaten egg or batter, then roll it in bread or cracker crumbs.
Crumble - to break food into smaller pieces, usually by hand.
Crumpet - the original English muffin.
Crustacean - a shellfish, for instance, shrimp, lobster, crab, crayfish.
Crystalize - to preserve fruit, fondant, and edible flowers with a boiled sugar.
Cube - to cut food into small cube shapes, larger than diced, usually about 1/2 inch.
Cube Steak - meat tenderized by scoring the surface with a pattern of squares or cubes.
Cucumber - the edible fleshy fruit of several varieties of a creeping plant (Cucumis sativus); most have a dark green skin and creamy white to pale green flesh; generally divided into two categories: pickling and slicing.
Cuitlacoche - (also spelled huitlacoche) is a fungus which grows naturally on ears of corn (Ustilago maydis). The fungus is harvested and treated as a delicacy. The earthy and somewhat smoky fungus is used to flavor quesadillas, tamales, soups and other specialty dishes.
Cumin - a spice that is the dried fruit (seed) of a plant in the parsley family (Cuminum cyminum), native to the Middle East and North Africa; the small crescent-shaped seeds have a powerful, earthy, nutty flavor and aroma and are available whole or ground in three colors (amber, white and black); used in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines.
Cup - a unit of measure in the U.S. system equal to 8 fluid ounces.
Cupcake - a small individual-sized cake baked in a mold such as a muffin pan, usually frosted and decorated.
Curacao - an orange-flavored liqueur.
Curd - a solid milk product that develops as milk sours and separates into solids (curd) and liquid (whey). In cheese-making, it is induced by the addition of acid or tennet.
Curing - to preserve meat, fish, or cheese with salt or by drying and or smoking.
Curry Powder - an American or European blend of spices associated with Indian cuisines, the flavor and color vary depending on the exact blend; typical ingredients include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, mace and turmeric, with cardamom, tamarind, fennel seeds fenugreek and /or chile powder sometimes added.
Custard - a cooked or baked mixture mainly of eggs and milk. It may be sweetened to use as a dessert or flavored with cheese, fish, etc., as an entrée.
Cut - to divide a food into smaller portions, usually with a knife or scissors.
Cut in, to - to incorporate by cutting or chopping motions, as in cutting shortening into flour for pastry.
Cutlet - a small piece of meat cut from the leg or rib of veal or pork, or a croquette mixture made into the shape of a cutlet.