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Term Pronounciation Definition
B & B A combination of half BÉNÉDICTINE and half BRANDY; available already mixed and bottled.
baba [BAH-bah] Also called baba au rhum , this rich, light currant- or raisin-studded yeast cake is soaked in a rum or KIRSCH syrup. It's said to have been invented in the 1600s by Polish King Lesczyinski, who soaked his stale KUGELHOPF in rum and named the dessert after the storybook hero Ali Baba. The classic baba is baked in a tall, cylindrical mold but the cake can be made in a variety of shapes, including small individual rounds. When the cake is baked in a large ring mold it's known as a SAVARIN.
babáco [buh-BAH-koh] Indiginous to Ecuador, this natural PAPAYA hybrid is torpedo shaped and has five flattened facets. When sliced crosswise, the facets give this exotic fruit a pentagonal outline. Babácos range from 8 to 12 inches long and are about 4 inches in diameter. The skin, which is entirely edible, turns from green to golden yellow as it ripens. The riper and softer the fruit, the more flavorful it is. The rich flavor of the extremely fragrant babáco is a cross between banana and pineapple, though not as sweet as either. The juicy, creamy white flesh has a texture similar to that of a CASABA MELON. The hard-to-find babáco is sometimes available in specialty produce markets. It will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially if placed in a brown paper bag. Refrigerate ripe fruit and use as soon as possible. Babáco is best eaten raw. It contains triple the amount of PAPAIN as the papaya and is a good source of vitamins A and C.
baba ghanoush; baba gannoujh [bah-bah gah-NOOSH] A Middle Eastern puree of eggplant, TAHINI, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. It's garnished with pomegranate seeds, chopped mint or minced pistachios and used as a spread or dip for PITA or Middle Eastern FLAT BREAD.
babka [BAHB-kah] Hailing from Poland, this rum-scented sweet yeast bread is studded with almonds, raisins and orange peel.
baby corn see  CORN
bacalao [bah-kah-LAH-oh] The Spanish term for dried salt cod. See also  SALTFISH.
baccalà [bah-kah-LAH] The Italian term for dried salt cod. See also  SALTFISH.
back bacon see  CANADIAN BACON
back of the house A term used in the restaurant business to refer to kitchen area and staff, as opposed to the dining room — the "front of the house."
bacon Side pork (the side of a pig) that has been CURED and smoked. Because fat gives bacon its sweet flavor and tender crispness, its proportion should (ideally) be 1/2 to 2/3 of the total weight. Sliced bacon has been trimmed of rind, sliced and packaged. It comes in thin slices (about 35 strips per pound), regular slices (16 to 20 strips per pound) or thick slices (12 to 16 strips per pound). Slab bacon comes in one chunk that must be sliced and is somewhat cheaper than presliced bacon. It usually comes complete with rind, which should be removed before cutting. Bits of diced fried rind are called CRACKLINGS. Bacon grease, the fat rendered from cooked bacon, is highly prized — particularly in the southern United States — as a cooking fat. Canned bacon is precooked, needs no refrigeration and is popular with campers. Bacon bits are crisp pieces of bacon that are preserved and dried. They must be stored in the refrigerator. There are also VEGETABLE PROTEIN-based imitation "bacon-flavored" bits, which may be kept at room temperature. See also  CANADIAN BACON; PANCETTA.
bagel [BAY-guhl] A doughnut-shaped yeast roll with a dense, chewy texture and shiny crust. Bagels are boiled in water before they're baked. The water bath reduces starch and creates a chewy crust. The traditional water bagel is made without eggs and, because it doesn't contain fat, is chewier than an egg bagel. Bagels are the cornerstone of the popular Jewish snack of bagels, lox and cream cheese. Miniature cocktail-size bagels can be split, topped with a spread and served as an HORS D'OEUVRE.
bagna cauda [BAHN-yah KOW-dah] This specialty of Piedmont, Italy, is a sauce made of olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies. It's served warm as an appetizer with raw vegetables for dipping. The term comes from bagno caldo , Italian for "hot bath."
bagoong [bah-GOONG] A Philippine CONDIMENT that's popular in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific. Bagoong is made from shrimp or small fish that have been salted, cured and fermented for several weeks. The resulting salty liquid (called patis ) is drawn off and used separately as a sauce or condiment. In addition to being served as a condiment, bagoong is used as a flavoring in many dishes. See also  FISH SAUCE; SHRIMP SAUCE.
baguette [bag-EHT] A FRENCH BREAD that's been formed into a long, narrow cylindrical loaf. It usually has a crisp brown crust and light, chewy interior.
baguette pan A long metal pan shaped like two half-cylinders joined along one long side. Each compartment is about 3 inches wide and 15 inches long. This pan is used to bake French BAGUETTES.
bahmi goreng [bah-MEE goh-REHNG] see  NASI GORENG
bainiku [BAH-nee-koo] see  UMEBOSHI
bain-marie [bahn mah-REE] see  WATER BATH
bake To cook food in an oven, thereby surrounding it with dry heat. It's imperative to know the accurate temperature of an oven. Because most of them bake either hotter or cooler than their gauges read, an OVEN THERMOMETER is vital for accurate temperature readings.
bake-apple berry see  CLOUDBERRY
bake blind An English term for baking a pastry shell before it is filled. The shell is usually pricked all over with a fork to prevent it from blistering and rising. Sometimes it's lined with foil or PARCHMENT PAPER, then filled with dried beans or rice, or metal or ceramic PIE WEIGHTS. The French sometimes fill the shell with clean round pebbles. The weights and foil or parchment paper should be removed a few minutes before the baking time is over to allow the crust to brown evenly.
baked Alaska A dessert consisting of a layer of SPONGE CAKE topped by a thick slab of ice cream, all of which is blanketed with MERINGUE. This creation is then baked in a very hot oven for about 5 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown. The meringue layer insulates the ice cream and prevents it from melting.
baker's peel see  PEEL
baking ammonia, powdered see  AMMONIUM BICARBONATE
baking powder A LEAVENER containing a combination of baking soda, an acid (such as CREAM OF TARTAR) and a moisture-absorber (such as cornstarch). When mixed with liquid, baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles that cause a bread or cake to rise. There are three basic kinds of baking powder. The most common is double-acting, which releases some gas when it becomes wet and the rest when exposed to oven heat. Single-acting tartrate and phosphate baking powders (hard to find in most American markets because of the popularity of double-acting baking powder) release their gases as soon as they're moistened. Because it's perishable, baking powder should be kept in a cool, dry place. Always check the date on the bottom of a baking-powder can before purchasing it. To test if a baking powder still packs a punch, combine 1 teaspoon of it with 1/3 cup hot water. If it bubbles enthusiastically, it's fine.
baking sheet A flat, rigid sheet of metal on which cookies, breads, biscuits, etc. are baked. It usually has one or more turned-up sides for ease in handling. Shiny, heavy-gauge aluminum baking sheets are good heat conductors and will produce evenly baked and browned goods. Dark sheets absorb heat and should be used only for items on which a dark, crisp exterior is desired. Insulated baking sheets (two sheets of aluminum with an air space sealed between them) are good for soft cookies or bread crusts, but many baked goods will not get crisp on them. Cookies and breadstuffs may burn on lightweight baking sheets. To alleviate this problem, place one lightweight sheet on top of another for added insulation. For even heat circulation, baking sheets should be at least 2 inches smaller all around than the interior of the oven.
baking soda Also known as bicarbonate of soda , baking soda is used as a LEAVENER in baked goods. When combined with an acid ingredient such as buttermilk, yogurt or molasses, baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles, thereby causing a dough or batter to rise. Because it reacts immediately when moistened, it should always be mixed with the other dry ingredients before adding any liquid; the resulting batter should be placed in the oven immediately. At one time, baking soda was used in the cooking water of green vegetables to preserve their color. That practice was discontinued, however, when it was discovered that baking soda destroys the vitamin C content of vegetables.
baking stone A heavy, thick, round or rectangular plate of light brown stone used to duplicate the baking qualities of the brick floors of some commercial bread and pizza ovens. A baking stone should be placed on the lowest oven shelf and preheated with the oven. The item to be baked is then placed directly on the baking stone in the oven. Dough-filled pans or baking sheets may be placed on the stone for a crisper, browner crust. When not in use, the stone can be left in the oven. Baking tiles, which are usually less expensive than baking stones, are thick, unglazed quarry tiles 8 to 12 inches square. Look for high-fired tiles, which do not crack as readily as low-fired tiles. Also available are sets of eight small, 8- by 4-inch clay tiles that come on an aluminum tray for ease in handling.
baklava [BAHK-lah-vah, bahk-lah-VAH] Popular in Greece and Turkey, this sweet dessert consists of many layers of butter-drenched PHYLLO pastry, spices and chopped nuts. A spiced honey-lemon syrup is poured over the warm pastry after it's baked and allowed to soak into the layers. Before serving, the dessert is cut into triangles and sometimes sprinkled with coarsely ground nuts.
balachan; blachan [BAHL-ah-shahn] A popular flavoring in the cuisines of Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia. It is made from shrimp, sardines and other small salted fish that have been allowed to ferment in the sun until very pungent and odorous. It's then mashed and in some cases dried. Balachan is available in paste, powder or cake form in Asian markets.
Baldwin apple Hailing from the New York region, this all-purpose red-skinned apple is mottled and streaked with yellow. It has a mildly sweet-tart flavor and fairly crisp texture and is available from October to April. See also  APPLE.
ballotine; ballottine [bal-loh-TEEN] Meat, fish or fowl that has been boned, stuffed, rolled and tied in the shape of a bundle. It is then braised or roasted and is normally served hot but can be served cold. Often confused with GALANTINE, which is poached and served cold.
balm see  LEMON BALM
balsamella [bal-sah-MEHL-ah] see  BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
balsamic vinegar [bal-SAH-mihk] see  VINEGAR
balsam pear see  BITTER MELON
Balthazar [bal-THAY-zuhr] see  WINE BOTTLES
bamboo shoot The tender-crisp, ivory-colored shoot of a particular edible species of bamboo plant. Bamboo shoots are cut as soon as they appear above ground while they're still young and tender. Fresh shoots are sometimes available in Asian markets; canned shoots can be found in the Asian or gourmet section of most supermarkets.
banana Grown in the warm, humid tropics, bananas are picked and shipped green; contrary to nature's norm, they are one fruit that develops better flavor when ripened off the bush. Banana bushes mature in about 15 months and produce one 50-pound bunch of bananas apiece. Each bunch includes several "hands" of a dozen or so bananas (fingers). There are hundreds of banana species but the yellow Cavendish is America's favorite. Choose plump, evenly colored yellow bananas flecked with tiny brown specks (a sign of ripeness). Avoid those with blemishes, which usually indicate bruising. Bananas that are still greenish at the tips and along the ridges will need further ripening at home. To ripen, keep uncovered at room temperature (about 70°F). For speedy ripening, enclose bananas in a perforated brown paper bag. Ripe bananas can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. The peel will turn brown but the flesh will remain unchanged. Once exposed to air, a peeled banana will begin to darken. To avoid discoloration, brush with lemon juice or dip in ACIDULATED WATER. Now available in some markets are the short, chunky red banana and the dwarf or finger banana, both of which are sweeter than the Cavendish, the apple-flavored Manzano (which turns black when ready to eat), the diminutive Mysore from India and the Orinoco with its trace of strawberry flavor. The plantain, a very large, firm variety, is also referred to as a "cooking banana" and is extremely popular in Latin American countries. It has a mild, almost squashlike flavor and is used very much as a potato would be in the United States. Banana leaves are used in the cooking of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia to wrap foods for steaming. They can be found in Latin markets. Banana flour is a nutritious and easily digestible powder made from specially selected bananas that have been dried and ground. Bananas are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fats; they're also rich in potassium and vitamin C.
banana chile see  HUNGARIAN WAX CHILE
bananas Foster Created at New Orleans's Brennan's Restaurant in the 1950s, this dessert consists of lengthwise-sliced bananas quickly sautéed in a mixture of rum, brown sugar and banana LIQUEUR and served with vanilla ice cream. It was named for Richard Foster, a regular Brennan's customer.
banana split A dessert made of a banana cut in half lengthwise and placed in an individual-size bowl (preferably oblong). The banana is topped with three scoops of ice cream (traditionally chocolate, vanilla and strawberry), over which sweet syrups are poured (usually chocolate, butterscotch and marshmallow). The entire concoction is topped with rosettes of whipped cream and a MARASCHINO CHERRY.
Banbury cake Originating in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in England, this oval "cake" is made of a flaky pastry filled with mixed dried fruit.
banger British slang for a number of English sausages originally made of ground pork and bread crumbs. Beef bangers are also now available.
banneton [BAN-tahn] A French, cloth-lined woven basket in which bread is allowed to rise before being baked.
bannock [BAN-nuhk] Baked on a griddle, this traditional Scottish cake is usually made of BARLEY meal and oatmeal. Bannocks are sometimes flavored with almonds and orange peel and are particularly popular at breakfast or HIGH TEA.
banon; le banon [ba-NON, ba-NOHN] A French goat's-milk cheese that is cured in chestnut leaves and sometimes washed in MARC or COGNAC. It has a soft to semisoft texture and a mild lemony flavor, and is best from late spring to early fall. See also  CHEESE.
bap A soft yeast roll with a characteristic floury finish. Baps are popular in Scotland as hot breakfast rolls.
bar see  BASS
barack Made of apricots, this Hungarian EAU DE VIE has a distinctive flavor somewhere between apricots and SLIVOVITZ.
Barbados cherry [bar-BAY-dohs] see  ACEROLA
Barbados sugar see  SUGAR
barbecue; barbeque n.  1. Commonly referred to as a GRILL, a barbecue is generally a brazier fitted with a grill and sometimes a spit. The brazier can range anywhere from a simple firebowl, which uses hot coals as heat, to an elaborate electric barbecue. 2. Food (usually meat) that has been cooked using a barbecue method. 3. A term used in the United States for an informal style of outdoor entertaining where barbecued food is served. barbecue v.  A method of cooking by which meat, poultry or fish (either whole or in pieces) or other food is covered and slowly cooked in a pit or on a spit, using hot coals or hardwood as a heat source. The food is basted, usually with a highly seasoned sauce, to keep it moist. South Carolina and Texas boast two of the most famous American regional barbecue styles.
barbecue sauce A sauce used to BASTE barbecued meat; also used as an accompaniment to the meat after it's cooked. It is traditionally made with tomatoes, onion, mustard, garlic, brown sugar and vinegar; beer and wine are also popular ingredients.
barberry Native throughout most of Europe and also grown in New England, the barberry has elongated bright red berries which, because of their high acidity, are seldom eaten raw. Some varieties produce white or yellow fruit. Ripe barberries are used in pies, preserves and syrups; they can also be candied. Green berries are sometimes pickled and used as a relish.
bar cookie A cookie made by spooning a batter or soft dough into a baking pan. The mixture is baked, cooled in the pan and then cut into bars, squares or diamonds. See also  COOKIE.
bard To tie fat, such as bacon or fatback, around lean meats or fowl to prevent their drying out during roasting. Barding is necessary only when natural fat is absent. The barding fat bastes the meat while it cooks, thereby keeping it moist and adding flavor. The fat is removed a few minutes before the meat is done to allow the meat to brown.
Bardolino [bar-doh-LEE-noh] A light, fruity red wine from northern Italy, similar to VALPOLICELLA. Bardolino is best drunk young.
Bar-le-Duc [bar-luh-DOOK] A choice currant preserve that originally came from the French town of Bar-le-Duc in Lorraine. At one time, the preserve was made from white currants whose tiny seeds were removed manually. Today it's made with red and white currants as well as other berry fruits, and the seeds are not generally removed by hand.
barley This hardy grain dates back to the Stone Age and has been used throughout the eons in dishes ranging from cereals to breads to soups (such as the famous SCOTCH BROTH). Most of the barley grown in the Western world is used either for animal fodder or, when malted, to make beer and whiskey. Hulled (also called whole-grain ) barley has only the outer husk removed and is the most nutritious form of the grain. Scotch barley is husked and coarsely ground. Barley grits are hulled barley grains that have been cracked into medium-coarse pieces. Hulled and Scotch barley and barley grits are generally found in health-food stores. Pearl barley has also had the bran removed and has been steamed and polished. It comes in three sizes — coarse, medium and fine — and is good in soups and stews. When combined with water and lemon, pearl barley is used to make barley water, an old-fashioned restorative for invalids. Barley flour or barley meal is ground from pearl barley and must be combined with a gluten-containing flour for use in yeast breads.
barley sugar A hard, lemon-flavored candy that was originally made from barley water to which sugar had been added. It's now more often made with plain water, with TARTARIC ACID added to achieve a similar flavor and texture.
barm brack; barmbrack [BAHRM-brak] An Irish bread with raisins or currants and candied fruit peel. It's generally slathered with butter and served as a tea accompaniment. Literally translated it means "yeast bread," although it's not always made with yeast.
barnacles Marine CRUSTACEANS (not MOLLUSKS, as many think) of the subclass Cirripedia  that form calcareous shells. Barnacles attach themselves to submerged surfaces such as rocks, ship bottoms, wharves, pilings and even whales and large fish. The most common of the barnacle species are the small acorn barnacles. They have whitish, cone-shaped shells with overlapping plates. Acorn barnacles are what one most often sees clinging to pilings and ships. More culinarily valued are the gooseneck (or goose ) barnacles, which are known as stalked barnacles . The colorful "gooseneck" name purportedly comes from a medieval myth that said when barnacles grew to a certain size, they would fall off of the piling, pier or whatever object to which they were attached and into the water, at which point they would transform into geese. Gooseneck barnacles are particularly popular fare along the coasts of Morocco, Portugal and Spain, where they're quite plentiful. Because these barnacles attach themselves to ships, they have traveled to all parts of the world. The dark brown shell of the gooseneck is not hard like other species of barnacle, but rather more like a strong, leathery skin that surrounds a pinkish-white, fleshy tubelike neck (the edible portion). At the barnacle's apex is a cluster of white calcareous plates. Gooseneck barnacles are now being farmed in the state of Washington. They can be found in some specialty fish markets. Before cooking barnacles, thoroughly rinse them, rubbing gently to dislodge any sand. Most recipes call for quick cooking, either by boiling, steaming or grilling. Barnacles may be served hot, cold or at room temperature, usually with a simple embellishment of melted butter or any sauce commonly used for other crustaceans. To eat, peel off the outer skin, then bite off the neck. When removing the skin, a soupçon of orange (fabric-staining) liquid sometimes spurts out, so be cautious. The flavor of barnacles is compared variously to that of crab, lobster or shrimp.
Barolo [bah-ROH-loh] From the Piedmont region, this exceptional Italian red wine, made from Nebbiolo grapes, is known for its lush BOUQUET and robust BODY.
baron In England, a large cut of beef (50 to 100 pounds, depending on the size of the animal) usually consisting of a double SIRLOIN. A baron of beef is generally roasted only for traditional or ceremonial occasions. In France, a baron refers to the saddle and two legs of lamb or mutton.
barquette [bahr-KEHT] A boat-shaped pastry shell that can contain a savory filling (when served as an appetizer) or a sweet filling (for a dessert).
barracuda [behr-ah-KOO-dah] The type most commonly found in American markets is the Pacific barracuda (also called California barracuda), which usually ranges from 4 to 8 pounds. It's a firm-textured fish with a moderate fat content and is best grilled or broiled. Barracuda can be substituted for WAHOO or MAHI MAHI. The great barracuda, whose flesh is often toxic, can weigh over 100 pounds and can exceed 6 feet in length. See also  FISH.
Bartlett pear This large bell-shaped fruit has a smooth, yellow-green skin that is sometimes blushed with red. The Bartlett's flesh is sweet and juicy. It's generally available from late July through October and is delicious either cooked or raw. Developed in 18th-century England, it was introduced to America by Dorchester, Massachusetts, resident Enoch Bartlett. See also  PEAR.
basil [BAY-zihl, BA-zihl] Called the "royal herb" by ancient Greeks, this annual is a member of the mint family. Fresh basil has a pungent flavor that some describe as a cross between licorice and cloves. It's a key herb in Mediterranean cooking, essential to the delicious Italian PESTO, and is becoming more and more popular in American cuisine. Most varieties of basil have green leaves, but one — opal basil — is a beautiful purple color. Lemon basil and cinnamon basil have green leaves but their perfumy fragrance and flavor matches their respective names. Basil is a summer herb but can be grown successfully inside during the winter in a sunny window. It's plentiful during summer months, and available year-round in many markets. Choose evenly colored leaves with no sign of wilting. Refrigerate basil, wrapped in barely damp paper towels and then in a plastic bag, for up to 4 days. Or store a bunch of basil, stems down, in a glass of water with a plastic bag over the leaves. Refrigerate in this manner for up to a week, changing the water every 2 days. To preserve fresh basil, wash and dry the leaves and place layers of leaves, then coarse salt, in a container that can be tightly sealed. Alternatively, finely chop the cleaned basil and combine it with a small amount of olive oil. Freeze in tiny portions to flavor sauces, salad dressings, etc. Dried basil, though it bears little resemblance in either flavor or aroma to the fresh herb, can be purchased in the spice section of most supermarkets. Store dried basil airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. See also  HERBS; FIELD GUIDE TO HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
basmati rice [bahs-MAH-tee] Literally translated as "queen of fragrance," basmati has been grown in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years. Its perfumy, nutlike flavor and aroma can be attributed to the fact that the grain is aged to decrease its moisture content. Basmati is a long-grained rice with a fine texture. It can be found in Indian and Middle Eastern markets and some supermarkets. See also  RICE.
bass A general term for any of numerous (often unrelated) freshwater or saltwater fish, many of which are characterized by spiny fins. In fact, though many of these different species are often sold simply as bass, the only fish with the single name "bass" is a European species (unavailable in the United States), which in France is known as bar  or loup . True basses include the GROUPERS, BLACK SEA BASS and STRIPED BASS. Among other fish that are commonly referred to as bass are the largemouth, redeye, rock, smallmouth and spotted bass, all of which are really members of the SUNFISH family. See also  SEA BASS; FISH.
bastard saffron see  SAFFLOWER OIL
baste To spoon or brush food as it cooks with melted butter or other fat, meat drippings or liquid such as stock. A BULB BASTER can also be used to drizzle the liquid over the food. In addition to adding flavor and color, basting keeps meats and other foods from drying out. Fatty roasts, when cooked fat side up, do not need basting.
bastela; bastila see  B'STEEYA
bâtarde [bah-TAHRD] Literally translated as "bastard," culinarily batarde  refers to a traditional white loaf of bread that's slightly larger than a BAGUETTE.
Bath bun Said to have originated in the English town of Bath in the 18th century, this sugar-coated yeast bun is studded with candied fruit and currants or golden raisins.
Bath chaps This British specialty is the lower portion of a pig's cheeks, which are CURED somewhat like bacon. Chaps must come from a long-jawed pig rather than the flat-headed species. Though quite fatty, Bath chaps are served cold in the same way as ham, often with eggs. They can also be referred to simply as chaps . The name is assumed to have come from the original reputation of the chaps made in Bath, England.
baton; batonnet [ba-TAWN , , ba-tawn , -NAY] 1. Culinarily, this French word describes a white loaf of bread that's somewhat smaller than a BAGUETTE. 2. The term can also refer to various small, stick (baton) shaped foods — such as vegetables or pastries — that may or may not have a filling.
batter An uncooked, semiliquid mixture (thick or thin) that can be spooned or poured, as for cakes, muffins, pancakes or waffles. Batters are usually mixtures based on flour, eggs and milk. They can also be used to coat food before frying, as in batter-fried chicken.
batter bread A yeast bread that is formed without KNEADING. It begins with a very thick batter that often requires extra yeast and, in order to stretch the GLUTEN so the bread will rise effectively, always demands vigorous beating (which can be accomplished with an electric mixer). The mixture should be stiff enough for a spoon to stand up in. A batter bread's texture won't be as refined as that of a bread that has been kneaded but the results are equally delicious.
batterie de cuisine [bat-TREE duh kwih-ZEEN] The French term for the cooking equipment and utensils necessary to equip a kitchen.
bauerwurst [BOW-er-werst, BOW-er-versht] A coarse-textured German sausage that is smoked (see  CURE) and highly seasoned. It's usually steamed or sautéed.See also  SAUSAGE.
Bavarian cream A cold dessert composed of a rich CUSTARD, whipped cream, various flavorings (fruit puree, chocolate, LIQUEURS and so on) and GELATIN. The mixture may be spooned into stemmed glasses or into a decorative mold to be unmolded when set.
bavarois [bah-vah-R , WAH] French for "BAVARIAN CREAM."
bavettine [bah-veh-TEE-nee] Narrow LINGUINE. See also  PASTA.
bay leaf Also called laurel leaf  or bay laurel , this aromatic herb comes from the evergreen bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. Early Greeks and Romans attributed magical properties to the laurel leaf and it has long been a symbol of honor, celebration and triumph, as in "winning your laurels." The two main varieties of bay leaf are Turkish (which has 1- to 2-inch-long oval leaves) and Californian (with narrow, 2- to 3-inch-long leaves). The Turkish bay leaves have a more subtle flavor than do the California variety. Bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, vegetables and meats. They're generally removed before serving. Overuse of this herb can make a dish bitter. Fresh bay leaves are seldom available in markets. Dried bay leaves, which have a fraction of the flavor of fresh, can be found in supermarkets. Store dried bay leaves airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
Bayonne ham [bay-YOHN] A mildly smoked ham that has been CURED in a wine mixture. It's produced in a small town near Bayonne, France. See also  HAM.
beach plum A wild, dark purple plum found growing in sandy soil along the Atlantic coast. Its flavor is reminiscent of a grape-plum cross but because it's quite tart and bitter, the beach plum is not good for out-of-hand eating. It makes superior jams and jellies, however, as well as a delicious condiment for meats.
beadlet see  SEA ANEMONE
bean curd see  TOFU
bean paste see  MISO
beans These seeded pods of various LEGUMES are among the oldest foods known to humanity, dating back at least 4,000 years. They come in two broad categories — fresh and dried. Some beans, such as BLACK-EYED PEAS, LIMA BEANS and CRANBERRY BEANS, can be found in both fresh and dried forms. Fresh beans are those that are commercially available in their fresh form and are generally sold in their pods. The three most commonly available fresh-bean varieties are GREEN BEANS (eaten with their shell or pod) and lima beans and FAVA (or broad) BEANS, which are eaten shelled. Store fresh beans in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator up to 5 days; after that, both color and flavor begin to diminish. If cooked properly, fresh beans contain a fair amount of vitamins A and C; lima beans are also a good source of protein. Dried beans are available prepackaged or in bulk. Some of the more popular dried beans are BLACK BEANS, CHICKPEAS, KIDNEY BEANS, PINK BEANS and PINTO BEANS. Dried beans must usually be soaked in water for several hours or overnight to rehydrate them before cooking. Beans labeled "quick-cooking" have been presoaked and redried before packaging; they require no presoaking and take considerably less time to prepare. The texture of these "quick" beans, however, is not as firm to the bite as regular dried beans. Store dried beans in an airtight container for up to a year. The flatulence caused by dried beans is created by oligosaccharides, complex sugars that — because they're indigestible by normal stomach enzymes — proceed into the lower intestine where they're eaten (and fermented) by friendly bacteria, the result of which is gas (see  DIGESTIVE ENZYMES). Dried beans are rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Their high protein content, along with the fact that they're easily grown and stored, make them a staple throughout many parts of the world where animal protein is scarce or expensive. See also  ADZUKI; CANNELLINI; FERMENTED BLACK BEANS; FRENCH BEAN; GREAT NORTHERN; MARROW BEANS; MUNG; NAVY; PEA BEAN; PIGEON PEA; RED BEANS; RUNNER; SOYBEAN; SPROUTS; WHITE BEAN; WINGED; YARD-LONG.
bean sprouts see  SPROUTS
bean threads see  CELLOPHANE NOODLES
beard The common name for the byssus , or silky hairlike filaments that BIVALVES (such as OYSTERS and MUSSELS) use to attach themselves to rocks, piers, and so on. Though it's rare, occasionally a beard becomes so long that it must be trimmed before the shellfish are prepared.
béarnaise sauce [behr-NAYZ] A classic French sauce made with a REDUCTION of vinegar, wine, tarragon and shallots and finished with egg yolks and butter. Béarnaise is served with meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.
beat To stir rapidly in a circular motion. Generally, 100 strokes by hand equals about 1 minute by electric mixer.
beaten biscuit A traditional Southern biscuit that dates back to the 1800s. Whereas most biscuits are soft and light, beaten biscuits are hard and crisp. The classic texture is obtained by beating the dough for 30 to 45 minutes until it becomes blistered, elastic and smooth. The beating may be done with a mallet, rolling pin, the flat side of a cleaver . . . any heavy object that will pound the dough into submission. One can also use an old-fashioned beaten-biscuit machine, a contraption with wooden or metal rollers reminiscent of an old-time clothes wringer. The dough is passed through the rollers, which are operated by a hand crank. This method takes no less time but saves on the wear and tear of the baker. After the dough is beaten, it is rolled out, cut into small circles and pricked with the tines of a fork before being baked.
Beaujolais [boh-zhuh-LAY] Light and dry, this fruity red wine comes from a hilly region in southern Burgundy. Beaujolais Nouveau is new wine, bottled right after fermentation without aging. It's very light and fruity and should be drunk within a few months.
béchamel sauce [bay-shah-MEHL, BEH-shah-mehl] Also called by its Italian name, balsamella , this basic French white sauce is made by stirring milk into a butter-flour ROUX. The thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk. The proportions for a thin sauce would be 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour per 1 cup of milk; a medium sauce would use 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour; a thick sauce, 3 tablespoons each. Béchamel, the base of many other sauces, was named after its inventor, Louis XIV's steward Louis de Béchamel.
bêche-de-mer [behsh-duh-MEHR] see  SEA CUCUMBER
beef Beef, the meat of an adult (over 1 year) bovine, wasn't always as popular as it is today. America has had cattle since the mid-1500s, but most immigrants preferred either pork or chicken. Shortages of those two meats during the Civil War, however, suddenly made beef attractive and very much in demand. Today's beef comes from cows (females that have borne at least one calf), steers (males castrated when very young), heifers (females that have never borne a calf) and bulls under 2 years old. Baby beef is the lean, tender but not too flavorful meat of a 7- to 10-month-old calf. Meat packers can request and pay for their meat to be graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grading is based on three factors: conformation (the proportion of meat to bone), finish (proportion of fat to lean) and overall quality. Beginning with the best quality, the eight USDA grades for beef are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. The meat's grade is stamped within a purple shield (a harmless vegetable dye is used for the ink) at regular intervals on the outside of each carcass. USDA Prime and the last three grades are rarely seen in retail outlets. Prime is usually reserved for fine restaurants and specialty butcher shops; the lower-quality grades are generally only used for sausages and in cured and canned meats. Ideally, beef is at its best — both in flavor and texture — at 18 to 24 months. The meat at that age is an even rosy-red color. If the animal is over 2 1/2 years old it is usually classified as "well-matured beef" and, though more full-flavored, the meat begins to toughen and darken to a purplish red. Slow, moist-heat cooking, however, will make it perfectly delicious. To store fresh beef:  If the meat will be cooked within 6 hours of purchase, it may be left in its plastic-wrapped package. Otherwise, remove the packaging and either store unwrapped in the refrigerator's meat compartment or wrap loosely with waxed paper and keep in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 2 days for GROUND BEEF, 3 days for other cuts. The object is to let the air circulate and keep the meat's surface somewhat dry, thereby inhibiting rapid bacterial growth. Cooked meat should be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator. Ground beef can be frozen, wrapped airtight, for up to 3 months, solid cuts up to 6 months. For questions on beef, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 800-535-4555. See also  BARON; BRAINS; BRISKET; CHUCK; CLUB STEAK; DELMONICO STEAK; ENTRECÔTE; FILET MIGNON; FLANKEN; FLANK STEAK; HEART; KIDNEY; KOBE BEEF; LIVER; LONDON BROIL; MINUTE STEAK; NEW YORK STEAK; NOISETTE; PORTERHOUSE STEAK; POT ROAST; PRIME RIB; RIB; RIB ROAST; RIB STEAK; ROUND; SHANK; SHELL STEAK; SHORT LOIN; SHORT RIBS; SIRLOIN; SKIRT STEAK; SWEETBREADS; T-BONE STEAK; TONGUE; TRIPE; and VEAL.
beef à la mode [BEEF ah lah MOHD] A dish made by LARDING a piece of beef (such as a beef ROUND), marinating it for several hours in a red wine/brandy mixture before BRAISING it. The beef is sliced very thin and served with a sauce made from the MARINADE. The French name is boeuf à la mode .
beefalo [BEEF-ah-loh] A cross between the American bison (commonly called buffalo) and cattle, the beef strain being dominant. The dark red meat of beefalo is very lean and has a somewhat stronger flavor than beef. It may be cooked in any manner suitable for beef and is currently available only in specialty meat markets.
beef jerky see  JERKY
beefsteak tomato see  TOMATO
beef Stroganoff see  STROGANOFF
beef tartare [tar-TAR] A dish of coarsely ground or finely chopped high-quality, raw lean beef that has been seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. It's thought to have originated in the Baltic provinces of Russia where, in medieval times, the Tartars shredded red meat with a knife and ate it raw. Today the seasoned raw meat is usually shaped into a mound with an indentation in the top, into which is placed a raw egg yolk. Beef tartare (also referred to as steak tartare ) is usually served with capers, chopped parsley and onions.
beef Wellington A FILLET of beef that has been covered with pâté de FOIE GRAS or DUXELLES, wrapped in pastry and baked.
beer A low-alcohol (usually a maximum of 5 percent alcohol by weight) beverage brewed from MALTED barley and other cereals (such as corn or rye) mixed with cultured YEAST for FERMENTATION and flavored with HOPS. Since about nine-tenths of beer's volume is water, the quality of the water is of utmost importance. Beers from different regions of America and other countries take their character from the water used in the brewing. There are many varieties of beer including ALE, STOUT, PORTER, MALT LIQUOR, BOCK BEER and America's favorite, LAGER. In the United States, the term "light beer" refers to a brew with reduced calories and, usually, less alcohol. In Europe, this term distinguishes between pale and dark lagers. Unlike wine, beer's best consumed as fresh as possible — it shouldn't be aged. Beer adds character and flavor to many foods from breads to stews. See also  FRUIT BEER; PILSNER; WHEAT BEER.
beer cheese see  BIERKÄSE
Beerenauslese [BAY-ruhn-OWS-lay-zuh] Any of several fine, sweet German wines made from superior, slightly overripe grapes that have been individually picked or cut from their bunches. Some Beerenausleses are made from grapes that have been infected with BOTRYTIS CINEREA (noble rot). Because of their special selection and picking, these wines are very choice and expensive. See also  AUSLESE; SPÄTLESE; TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE.
beet Commonly known as the garden beet , this firm, round root vegetable has leafy green tops, which are also edible and highly nutritious. The most common color for beets (called "beetroots" in the British Isles) is a garnet red. However, they can range in color from deep red to white, the most intriguing being the Chioggia (also called "candy cane"), with its concentric rings of red and white. Beets are available year-round and should be chosen by their firmness and smooth skins. Small or medium beets are generally more tender than large ones. If the beet greens are attached they should be crisp and bright. Because they leach moisture from the bulb, greens should be removed as soon as you get them home. Leave about 1 inch of the stem attached to prevent loss of nutrients and color during cooking. Store beets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Just before cooking, wash beets gently so as not to pierce the thin skin, which could cause nutrient and color loss. Peel beets after they've been cooked. In addition to the garden beet are the spinach or leaf beet (better known as Swiss chard), the sugar beet (a major source of sugar) and the mangold (used as fodder).
beggar's purse The name for an APPETIZER made popular by Barry and Susan Wine at their New York restaurant, the Quilted Giraffe. A beggar's purse consists of a mini CRÊPE topped by a teaspoon of the finest CAVIAR and then a dab of CRÈME FRAICHE. The edges of the crêpe are pulled up in pleats around the filling and securely tied with a CHIVE. The ruffle at the top makes this edible package look like a miniature purse. Beggar's purses are served at room temperature.
beignet [ben-YAY] A traditional New Orleans yeast pastry that is deep-fried and served hot with a generous dusting of confectioners' sugar. The name comes from the French word for "fritter." Savory beignets, such as herb or crab, are also very popular.
Belgian endive see  ENDIVE
belle Hélène [BEHL ay-LEHN] see  POIRE HÉLÈNE
Bellelay cheese [BEL-luh-lay] Also called Tête de Moine  ("monk's head"), this rich, semisoft cheese is made in Switzerland and has a flavor similar to that of GRUYÈRE. It is named after the monastery where it originated, the Abbey of Bellelay in the canton of Bern. See also  CHEESE.
Bellini [behl-LEE-nee] An APÉRITIF made with peach nectar and CHAMPAGNE.
bell pepper see  SWEET PEPPERS
bellyfish see  ANGLER FISH
belon oyster Though indigenous to France, this tender, sweet oyster is now being aquacultured in California, Maine and Washington. The belon is small, ranging from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches across, and has a slightly metallic flavor. It's considered superior, especially for eating ON THE HALF SHELL. See also  OYSTER.
Bel Paese [BELL pah-AY-zay] Translated as "beautiful country," this popular semisoft Italian cheese has a mild, buttery flavor that is delicious with fruity wines. Though originally and still made in a small town outside Milan, Bel Paese is now also produced in the United States. It can be served as a dessert cheese or for snacks and melts beautifully for use in casseroles or on pizza. See also  CHEESE.
Beluga caviar [buh-LOO-guh] see  CAVIAR
Bénédict, à la see  EGGS BENEDICT
Bénédictine; benedictine [ben-eh-DIHK-teen] 1. A sweet LIQUEUR named after the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Fecamp, Normandy, who first began making it in the 16th century. Though the recipe is a closely guarded secret, it is known that Bénédictine is COGNAC-based and flavored with various AROMATICS, fruit peels and herbs. 2. A local specialty of Louisville, Kentucky, benedictine is a spread made with cream cheese, cucumbers and dill, all tinted brightly with green food coloring. It's named after its creator, caterer Jennie Benedict.
beni shoga [BEH-nee SHOH-gah] Gingerroot that's been pickled in sweet vinegar and colored bright red. Beni shoga is used as a garnish for many Japanese dishes, especially SUSHI, and is also eaten to refresh the palate. It's available in thin slices, shredded or in knobs and can be found in Asian markets. Beni shoga is also called gari . See also  AMAZU SHOGA.
benne seed [BEHN-ee] see  SESAME SEED
benne wafers [BEHN-ee] A traditional recipe from the Old South, benne wafers are thin, crisp cookies made with brown sugar, pecans and sesame seed.
bento; bento box [BEHN-toh] A thin metal or lacquered wooden box divided into compartments. The bento box is used in Japan for storing separate small dishes that comprise an individual meal (most often lunch). In Japan, the bento lunch, which is commonly available at train stations, represents fast food elevated to high culinary art and design. Each of the country's 5,000 stations sells a unique box lunch that reflects the cooking of the region. The beautifully designed bento boxes can take on myriad shapes including masks, tennis rackets, nuts, golf balls or other objects both traditional and whimsical. More than twelve million bento-box meals are sold to hungry travelers and commuters in Japan each day.
berbere An Ethiopian spice blend containing garlic, red pepper, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek and various other spices. It's often used in stews and soups.
Bercy [behr-SEE, BUR-see] Bercy is a section of Paris after which two sauces are named. Bercy butter is a sauce made with a REDUCTION of white wine with shallots, butter, MARROW, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. It's served with broiled or grilled meat or fish. Bercy sauce is a fish stock-based VELOUTÉ with SHALLOTS — a reduction of white wine, fish stock and seasonings. It's served with fish.
bergamot [BER-gah-mot] A small acidic orange with a peel that yields an essential oil — called essence  of bergamot  — which is used for perfumes and confections. The peel is used in EARL GRAY TEA. It's also candied and used in the same way as other candied fruit peels.
Berlin doughnut see  BISMARCK
besan [BEH-sahn] Used in East Indian cooking, besan is a pale yellow flour made from ground, dried CHICKPEAS. This nutritious, high-protein flour is used for myriad preparations including doughs, dumplings, noodles, a thickener for sauces and in batter for deep-fried foods. Besan, also known as gram flour , can be found in Indian or Asian markets. Store, wrapped airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
beta carotene [BAY-tuh KEHR-uh-teen] One of the most important and abundant of the carotenes, a portion of which the liver converts to vitamin A. It should be noted, however, that while excess vitamin A can be toxic to the body, residual beta carotene is quickly eliminated. Scientists now believe that beta carotene is a powerful ANTIOXIDANT with properties that can contribute to reducing cancer and heart disease. It's found in vegetables like carrots, broccoli, squash, spinach and sweet potatoes. Beta carotene's orange-yellow pigment is also used as a coloring in foods like butter and margarine.
betty Dating back to colonial America, betties are baked puddings made of layers of sugared and spiced fruit and buttered bread crumbs. Though many fruits can be used, the most popular is Apple Brown Betty, made with sliced apples and brown sugar.
beurre [burr] The French word for "butter."
beurre blanc [burr BLAHN , , burr BLAHN , GK] Meaning "white butter," this classic French sauce is composed of a wine, vinegar and SHALLOT REDUCTION into which chunks of cold butter are whisked until the sauce is thick and smooth. It's excellent with poultry, seafood, vegetables and eggs.
beurre composé [BURR com-poh-ZAY] The French term for "COMPOUND BUTTER."
beurre manié [burr mahn-YAY] French for "kneaded butter," beurre manié is a paste made of softened butter and flour (usually in equal parts) that is used to thicken sauces.
beurre noir [burr NWAR] A French term meaning "black butter," referring to butter cooked over low heat until dark brown (not black). Beurre noir is usually flavored with vinegar or lemon juice, capers and parsley and served with eggs, fish, brains and some vegetables.
beurre noisette [burr nwah-ZEHT] The French term for "brown butter," referring to butter cooked to a light hazelnut (noisette) color. It's prepared in the same manner as BEURRE NOIR.
bialy [bee-AH-lee] Jewish-American in origin, this large very chewy yeast roll is round and flat with a depression in the center. The bialy is sprinkled with sautéed chopped onion before baking. The name comes from the Polish city of Bialystok.
Bibb lettuce see  BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE
bible leaf see  COSTMARY
bicarbonate of soda see  BAKING SODA
Bierkäse [BEER-kay-seh] Literally translated as "beer cheese," this soft, ripened German cheese has a sharp, pungent flavor similar to LIMBURGER. It goes well with dark bread and dark beer. See also  CHEESE.
bierwurst; beerwurst [BEER-wurst, BEER-vursht] A German cooked sausage with a garlicky flavor and dark red color. It's usually sold as sandwich meat. See also  SAUSAGE.
bigarade sauce [bee-gah-RAHD] A classic French brown sauce flavored with oranges and served with duck. Bigarade sauce combines beef stock, duck drippings, orange and lemon juice, blanched orange peel, and if desired, CURAÇAO. The original French recipe used bitter Seville oranges (bigarade  is French for "bitter orange"). Today's cooks should avoid using overly sweet citrus in this sauce.
bigaro see  PERIWINKLE
bigeye scad see  AKULE
bigos [BEE-gohs] A Polish dish consisting of layers of sauerkraut, onions and apples with cooked meats such as venison, chicken, duck, ham or sausages. The layers are buttered, stock is poured over all and the casserole is baked slowly to allow the flavors to mingle. Tradition says that bigos  should be made several days in advance because it is best when reheated.
bilberry Also called whortleberry , this indigo-blue berry grows wild in Great Britain and other parts of Europe from July to September, depending on the area. Bilberries are smaller and tarter than their cousin the American blueberry, and make delicious jams, syrups and tarts.
billy bi; billi-bi [BILL-ee BEE] An elegant French soup made with mussels, onions, wine, cream and seasonings. The mussels are strained out of a classic billy bi, leaving a smooth and silky soup. However, today it is often served with the mussels. Though there are several stories of the soup's origin, the most popular is that Maxim's chef Louis Barthe named it after a regular patron who particularly loved the soup, American tin tycoon William B. (Billy B.) Leeds.
biltong [BILL-tong] Developed in South Africa and a staple in many African countries, biltong consists of strips of CURED, air-dried beef or game. Though its keeping properties are the same, it is a finer form of jerked meat than American JERKY. The best biltong has been compared to the PROSCIUTTO of Italy.
bind To stir any of a variety of ingredients (eggs, flour and butter, cheese, cream, etc.) into a hot liquid, causing it to thicken.
binder see  LIAISON
Bing cherry A very large, delicious cherry that ranges in color from a deep garnet to almost black. The skin is smooth and glossy and the flesh firm and sweet. Bing cherries are good for cooking as well as out-of-hand eating. See also  CHERRY.
biotechnology; bioengineered foods Very basically, food-related biotechnology is the process by which a specific gene or group of genes with desirable traits are removed from the DNA of one plant or animal cell and spliced into that of another. Such beneficial genes might come from animals, (friendly) bacteria, fish, insects, plants and even humans. In some instances, genes that create problems (such as the natural softening of a tomato) are simply removed and not replaced. Tomatoes, for example, are generally picked green and gas-ripened later because, during shipping, they would become soft, bruised and unmarketable. A bioengineered tomato, however, can be picked ripe and shipped without softening. The objective of food biotechnology is to develop insect- and disease-resistant, shipping- and shelf-stable foods with improved appearance, texture and flavor. Additionally, biotechnology advocates say that the process will produce plants that are resistant to adverse weather conditions such as drought and frost, thereby increasing food production in previously prohibitive climate and soil conditions. They also envision increasing nutrient levels and decreasing pesticide usage through biotechnology. On the other hand, critics argue that, because biotechnology is producing new foods not previously consumed by humans, the changes and potential risks relating to such things as toxins, allergens and reduced nutrients are unpredictable. They also worry that, because genetically altered foods are not required to be labeled, people with religious or lifestyle dietary restrictions might unintentionally consume prohibited foods. In answer to such concerns, the FDA has issued the following evaluation guidelines by which a bioengineered food will be judged for approval: 1. Has the concentration of a plant's naturally occurring toxicant increased? 2. Has an allergic element not commonly found in the plant been introduced? 3. Have the levels of important nutrients changed? 4. Have accepted, established scientific practices been followed? 5. What are the effects on the environment?
birch beer Dating back to the late 1800s, this American carbonated drink (usually nonalcoholic) is flavored with an extract from birch bark. It's sweet and similar in flavor to root beer.
bird see  ROULADE
bird's nest soup A classic Chinese specialty made from the nest of an Asian bird similar to the swift. These birds attach their nests to cavern walls in Southeast Asia by using a gelatinous spit. Because of their hazardous location, the nests are dangerous to collect and therefore very expensive. White nests and black nests are the two types used. The more desirable of the two are the white nests, composed mainly of the weblike strands of saliva and containing few foreign particles. Black nests contain feathers, twigs and insects and are labor intensive to clean. Both types must be cleaned and soaked overnight before using. They're available in Chinese markets.
biscotte see  RUSK
biscotto [bee-SKAWT-toh, bee-SKAWT-tee] A twice-baked Italian biscuit (cookie) that's made by first baking it in a loaf, then slicing the loaf and baking the slices. The result is an intensely crunchy cookie that is perfect for dipping into DESSERT WINE or coffee. Biscotti can be variously flavored; the most popular additions are anise seed, hazelnuts or almonds.
biscuit [BIHS-kiht] 1. In America, biscuits refer to small QUICK BREADS, which often use LEAVENERS like baking powder or baking soda. Biscuits are generally savory (but can be sweet), and the texture should be tender and light. 2. In the British Isles, the term "biscuit" usually refers to a flat, thin cookie or cracker. 3. The word biscuit comes from the French bis cuit  ("twice cooked"), which is what the original sea biscuits aboard ship had to be in order to remain crisp.
biscuit tortoni see  TORTONI
bishop; bischof This traditional northern European drink, similar to MULLED WINE, consists of wine or PORT that is heated with spices and orange peel and served hot.
bismarck [BIHZ-mahrk] An elongated jelly-filled doughnut, also known as a Long John  and Berlin doughnut . The bismarck can be baked or fried and sugar-coated or frosted.
Bismarck herring see  HERRING
bisque [bihsk] A thick, rich soup usually consisting of pureed seafood (sometimes fowl or vegetables) and cream.
bisteeya see  B'STEEYA
bistro [BEES-troh, BIHS-troh] A small cafe, usually serving modest, down-to-earth food and wine. This word is also sometimes used to refer to a small nightclub (the French bistrot  means "pub").
bitter almond see  ALMOND
bitter melon Also referred to as a balsam pear , this fruit resembles a cucumber with a bumpy skin and is used as a vegetable in Chinese cooking. When first picked, the bitter melon is yellow-green and has a delicate, sour flavor. As it ripens it turns yellow-orange and becomes bitter and acrid, which is how many people prefer it. Bitter melon is available fresh from April through September in most Asian markets. It can also be purchased canned or dried.
bitter orange see  SEVILLE ORANGE
bitters Made from the DISTILLATION of aromatic herbs, barks, roots and plants, bitters are a liquid used to flavor cocktails, APÉRITIFS or foods. They are also used as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. Bitters generally have a high alcohol content and are bitter or bittersweet to the taste. Angostura bitters, called for by name in many recipes, is simply the trade name for a brand of bitters. Other popular brands include Fernet-Branca and Peychaud.
bivalve Any soft-bodied MOLLUSK, such as a clam, scallop, oyster or mussel, that has two shells hinged together by a strong muscle.
blachan see  BALACHAN
black beans Also called turtle beans , these dried beans have long been popular in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the southern United States. They have a black skin, cream-colored flesh and a sweet flavor, and form the base for the famous black-bean soup. They are commonly available in supermarkets. See also  BEANS.
black beans, fermented see  FERMENTED BLACK BEANS
blackberry Also called a bramble  because it grows on thorny bushes (brambles), the blackberry is the largest of the wild berries. Purplish-black in color, it ranges from 1/2 to 1 inch long when mature. Blackberries are widely cultivated in the United States and are available, depending on the region, from May through August. Look for plump, deep-colored berries sans hull. If the hulls are still attached, the berries are immature and were picked too early; the flavor will be tart. Fresh blackberries are best used immediately but they may be refrigerated, lightly covered and preferably in a single layer, for 1 to 2 days. They are wonderful both for cooking and for out-of-hand eating. In Britain, blackberries and apples are a traditional duo for pies.
black bottom pie A rich pie with a layer of dark chocolate CUSTARD, topped with a layer of rum custard. The top is garnished with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
black bread Almost black in color, this European peasant bread gets its hue from a variety of ingredients including dark rye flour, toasted dark bread crumbs, molasses, cocoa powder, dark beer and coffee. It's a hearty, full-flavored loaf that, depending on the baker, can be lightly sweet.
black bun Not a bun in the sense of bread, the Scottish black bun is a spicy mixture of nuts with dried and candied fruit enclosed in a rich pastry crust. Traditionally, Scots serve it at Hogmanay (the New Year). It's best prepared several weeks in advance so the fruit mixture can ripen and develop flavor.
black butter see  BEURRE NOIR
black chanterelle see  TROMPETTE DE LA MORT
black cod see  SABLEFISH
black currant see  CURRANT
blackened A cooking technique made famous by New Orleans's chef Paul Prudhomme by which meat or fish is cooked in a cast-iron skillet that's been heated until almost red hot. Prudhomme's original specialty was blackened redfish. The food is customarily rubbed with a CAJUN spice mixture before being cooked. The extra hot skillet combined with the seasoning rub gives food an extra crispy crust.
black-eyed pea Originating in Asia, the black-eyed pea is thought to have been introduced to the United States through the African slave trade. This small beige bean has a black circular "eye" at its inner curve. It can be purchased fresh or dried. Though originally cultivated for animal fodder, black-eyed peas are now a popular LEGUME (particularly in the South) and are essential in the traditional dish HOPPIN' JOHN. Also called cowpea  and, if the "eye" is yellow, yellow-eyed pea .
blackfish Also called Chinese steelhead  and black trout , this lean Pacific fish is a favorite in Chinese communities. It has a delicious, delicate flavor but can be troublesome because of its network of tiny fine bones. It is suitable for most methods of cooking. See also  FISH.
Black Forest torte The famous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte  hails from Swabia in Germany's Black Forest region. This exquisite dessert is created by layering KIRSCH-scented chocolate cake, sour cherries and kirsch-laced whipped cream. A generous coating of whipped cream garnished with chocolate curls and cherries completes the cake.
black fungus see  WOOD EAR
black pepper; black peppercorn see  PEPPERCORN
black pudding see  BLOOD SAUSAGE
black Russian A COCKTAIL made with two parts vodka and one part coffee-flavored LIQUEUR served over ice. See also  WHITE RUSSIAN.
black sea bass A true BASS, this Atlantic coast fish can be found from Cape Cod to Florida, though it's more abundant from New York to North Carolina. A best-selling fish, it can vary in color from brown to dark gray. It has a firm, moderately fat flesh that has a delicate flavor, due largely to its diet of crabs and shrimp. Black sea bass is sold whole, and in steaks and fillets. It's suitable for almost any method of preparation. See also  SEA BASS; STRIPED BASS; FISH.
blackstrap see  MOLASSES
black tea see  TEA
black trout see  BLACKFISH
black trumpet mushroom Distinctly trumpet-shaped, this mushroom ranges from 2 to 5 inches high. Its flesh is thin and brittle and can range in color from grayish brown to very dark brown or almost black. Black trumpets are distinctively aromatic and have an elegant buttery flavor. They're available midsummer through midfall in specialty produce markets. See also  MUSHROOM.
black velvet A drink made with equal parts CHAMPAGNE and STOUT. A brown velvet  substitutes PORT for stout.
black walnut This native American nut has an extraordinarily hard shell, which makes it extremely difficult to crack and therefore not as popular as the more widely known ENGLISH WALNUT. Its strong, slightly bitter flavor is highly valued by black-walnut devotees, but its high fat content makes it turn rancid quickly. See also  NUTS; WALNUT.
blade pot roast see  CHUCK
blanc [BLAHN ] French for "white," as in BEURRE BLANC, which means "white butter."
blanc de blancs [BLAHN , duh BLAHN , , BLAHNGK duh BLAHNGK] French phrase meaning "white wine from white grapes." This term is used to describe CHAMPAGNES made exclusively from the white Chardonnay grape. It also refers to white wines made entirely from white grapes, rather than from a blend using some red grapes. See also  BLANC DE NOIRS.
blanc de noirs [BLAHN , duh NWAHR, BLAHNGK duh NWAHR] The French term meaning "white wine from red grapes." This phrase is used for CHAMPAGNES and other sparkling wines that are made entirely from PINOT NOIR grapes. Occasionally the term blanc de noirs  refers to still (nonsparkling) wines made from CABERNET SAUVIGNON, Pinot Noir or ZINFANDEL. The color of blanc de noirs wines varies in hue from pale pink to apricot to salmon. See also  BLANC DE BLANCS.
blanch 1. To plunge food (usually vegetables and fruits) into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is used to firm the flesh, to loosen skins (as with peaches and tomatoes) and to heighten and set color and flavor (as with vegetables before freezing). See also  PARBOIL. 2. This term also refers to the horticultural technique whereby the leaves of plants are whitened or prevented from becoming green by growing them in complete darkness. It's this labor-intensive process that makes Belgian ENDIVE so expensive.
blancmange [bluh-MAHN , ZH] A simple cooked pudding made of milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Gelatin may be substituted for the cornstarch. The hot mixture is poured into a mold, chilled, unmolded and served with a sweet sauce or fresh fruit. The original blancmange used pulverized almonds in lieu of cornstarch.
blanquette [blahn-KEHT] A rich, creamy stew made with veal, chicken or lamb, button mushrooms and small white onions. The name comes from the French word blanc , meaning "white."
blend n.  A mixture of two or more flavors combined to obtain a particular character and quality, as in wines, teas and blended whiskey. blend v.  To mix two or more ingredients together with a spoon, beater or electric blender until combined.
blender A small electrical appliance that uses short rotating blades to chop, blend, puree and liquefy foods. Because blender containers are tall and narrow, air is not incorporated into the food so this appliance will not "whip" foods such as egg whites and cream. Blenders can be used for making soups, purees, sauces, milkshakes and other drinks, as well as for chopping small amounts of foods such as bread crumbs and herbs. See also  IMMERSION BLENDER.
blenny [BLEN-ee] A genus of small (4- to 6-inch-long) freshwater and saltwater fish characterized by its lack of scales; instead, its body is covered by a mucous membrane. The blenny has a mild, white, flavorful flesh and is best served fried. See also  FISH.
bleu [BLUEH] A French term used for a steak cooked so rare that it is barely warmed through. À POINT is the next step, which means the steak is cooked rare.
bleu cheese see  BLUE CHEESE
blind baking see  BAKE BLIND
blini [BLEE-nee] Hailing from Russia, blini (singular, blin) are small, yeast-raised buckwheat pancakes that are classically served with sour cream and caviar or smoked salmon.
blintz [BLIHNTS] A tender, ultrathin pancake that can be made with any number of flours. The blintz is rolled to enclose a sweet or savory filling including cottage or ricotta cheese, fruit or meat mixtures. It's then sautéed until golden brown and served with sour cream.
bloaters see  HERRING
blondie see  BROWNIE
blood Over the centuries people like the Mongolian warriors used animal blood as a source of food, often ingesting it fresh. Today, some Masai of Tanzania still follow this practice, ingesting blood for nutrition as they travel with their herds. Elsewhere, blood (primarily from pigs, cows, chickens and geese) is still used as a thickening agent in some dishes, such as BLOOD SAUSAGE (also known as black pudding  because of the dark color of cooked blood). Blood should never be boiled, or it will clot. A little vinegar keeps blood from clotting during storage. In winemaking, blood is used as a FINING agent to help clear suspended particles and clarify the wine. Blood is usually available by special order through some butcher shops.
blood orange A sweet-tart orange with a bright red or red-streaked white flesh. Most blood oranges are best eaten fresh, but the more acidic varieties like the Maltese work well in cooked sauces like the HOLLANDAISE-based MALTAISE SAUCE. See also  ORANGE.
blood pudding see  BLOOD SAUSAGE
blood sausage Also known as blood pudding  and in Ireland as black pudding , this large link sausage is made of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs and oatmeal. Almost black in color, blood sausage is generally sold precooked. It's traditionally sautéed and served with mashed potatoes. See also  SAUSAGE.
Bloody Mary A popular COCKTAIL made with tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and other seasonings.
bloom 1. Pale gray streaks and blotches that appear on the surface of chocolate. Bloom is a result of COCOA BUTTER forming crystals on the chocolate, usually caused by the chocolate being stored in too warm an environment. see also  CHOCOLATE. 2. The pale gray film found on the skin of fruits such as grapes and plums. Fruit bloom is simply nature's waterproofing and completely harmless. 3. A natural, invisible, protective coating found on eggshells. This covering is washed off when USDA-graded eggs are sanitized; producers then replace it with a thin film of mineral oil.
blueberry Round and smooth-skinned, these blue-black berries are juicy and sweet. There are two main types of blueberries (often confused with HUCKLEBERRIES). The high-bush variety can grow up to 15 feet in height; the hardy low-bush blueberry plants are only about 1 foot high and thrive in Canada and the northern United States. Cultivated blueberries comprise the majority of those that reach the market and the season can span from the end of May to early October. Large New Zealand blueberries are in markets in the winter at a premium price. Choose blueberries that are firm, uniform in size and indigo blue with a silvery frost. Discard shriveled or moldy berries. Do not wash until ready to use, and store (preferably in a single layer) in a moistureproof container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use blueberries in baked goods, jams, pies, pancakes, salads or, best of all, with a simple splash of sweet cream.
blue cheese This genre of cheese has been treated with molds that form blue or green veins throughout and give the cheese its characteristic flavor. Some of the more popular of the blues include DANA-BLU, GORGONZOLA , ROQUEFORT and STILTON. Blue cheeses tend to be strong in flavor and aroma, both of which intensify with aging. See also  CHEESE.
blue crab Named because of its blue claws and oval, dark blue-green shell, the blue crab is found along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. It's marketed in both its hard- and soft-shell stages. See also  CRAB.
bluefin see  TUNA
bluefish Found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the bluefish is nicknamed "bulldog of the ocean" because of its tenacity. It ranges from 3 to 10 pounds and has a fatty, fine-textured flesh that ranges in color from white to silver gray. Removing the dark, oily strip that runs down its center is important to prevent the flesh from absorbing a strong fishy flavor. Bluefish is best when baked or broiled. See also  FISH.
Blue Hawaii A sweet COCKTAIL composed of two parts each rum and cream to one part each of COINTREAU and blue CURAÇAO.
bluepoint oyster Though originally named for Blue Point, Long Island, where this oyster is said to have been first found, "bluepoint oyster" is now used as a general term referring to any of many small Atlantic oysters from 2 to 4 inches long. They are considered the best for eating ON THE HALF SHELL. See also  OYSTER.
blue runner see  JACK
blush wines In the United States, the phrase "blush wine" has almost replaced that of rosé , which is considered somewhat passé. Initially, the term applied to very pale-colored ROSÉ WINES. Today, however, it's used to encompass a full spectrum of wines that, like rosés, are generally made with red grapes. The juice has had only brief (2 to 3 days') contact with the stems and skins — the reason for the wines' pale color. The term "blush," however, is broadly used to describe wines that can range in color from various shades of pink to pale orange to light red. Unlike the common rosé, blush wines can range from DRY to sweet and may be light- to medium-bodied. They should be served chilled — but not icy — and may accompany a variety of lightly flavored foods.
Boboli [BOH-boh-lee] The brand name for a popular baked pizza crust topped with a tiny soupçon of cheese (Parmesan and mozzarella) and olive oil. Boboli comes in 4- and 16-ounce sizes.
bobotie [boh-BOH-tee] A popular South African dish made of minced lamb and/or beef mixed with bread, rice or mashed potatoes, onions, garlic and curry powder. The ingredients are blended with an egg-and-milk mixture before being baked. Partway through the baking process additional egg-milk mixture is poured over the top. Bobotie is served in squares or wedges.
bobwhite see  QUAIL
bocconcini [bohk-kohn-CHEE-nee] 1. Small nuggets (about 1 inch in diameter) of fresh MOZZARELLA. Bocconcini are generally sold packed in WHEY or water. 2. Italian for "mouthful," referring not to size, but to the appetizing appeal of dishes described in this manner. Therefore, in Italian cookery, the word bocconcini  may be attributed to many dishes. For example, bocconcini di vitello alla crema  is a rich preparation of veal chunks cooked with wine, butter, egg yolks and whipping cream. A less rich, but equally tempting, dish is bocconcini Fiorentina  — pieces of veal or beef sautéed with garlic, onions and herbs, sometimes with the addition of tomatoes.
bock beer A German beer that is full-bodied, slightly sweet and usually dark. It's brewed in the fall, aged through winter and celebrated in the spring at traditional Bavarian bock beer festivals.
bockwurst [BAHK-wurst, BAHK-vursht] Delicately flavored with chopped parsley and chives, this ground-veal sausage is of German origin. It's generally sold raw and must be well cooked before serving. Bockwurst is traditionally served with BOCK BEER, particularly during springtime. See also  SAUSAGE.
body A word used with food and drink to describe a full, rich flavor and texture. For instance, a full-bodied wine, beer or coffee has a complex, well-rounded flavor that lingers in the mouth.
boeuf [beuf] The French word for "beef."
boeuf à la mode [beuf ah lah MOHD] see  BEEF À LA MODE
boeuf bourguignon [BEUF boor-gee-NYON ] see  BOURGUIGNONNE
boil "Bring to a boil" refers to heating a liquid until bubbles break the surface (212°F for water at sea level). The term also means to cook food in a boiling liquid. A "full rolling boil" is one that cannot be dissipated by stirring. See also  HIGH-ALTITUDE COOKING AND BAKING.
boiled dinner see  NEW ENGLAND BOILED DINNER
boiled icing A fluffy cake FROSTING made by gradually pouring a hot SUGAR SYRUP over stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly until the mixture is smooth and satiny. An Italian MERINGUE is made in the same manner.
boilermaker A shot of whiskey followed by a CHASER of beer.
boiling firepot see  MONGOLIAN HOT POT
boiling-water bath see  CAN, TO
boisson [bwah-SAWN ] French for "drink" or "beverage."
bok choy [bahk CHOY] Also called Chinese white cabbage, pak choy, pak choi  and white mustard cabbage,  bok choy is a mild, versatile vegetable with crunchy white stalks and tender, dark green leaves. It resembles a bunch of wide-stalked celery with long, full leaves. Choose bunches with firm, white stalks topped with crisp, green leaves. Bok choy is available year-round in most supermarkets and should be refrigerated airtight for no more than 3 to 4 days. It can be used raw in salads, in a STIR-FRY or as a cooked vegetable. Bok choy is related to but not the same as CHINESE CABBAGE.
bolete; boletus [BOH-leet, boh-LEE-tuhs] see  PORCINI
bollito misto [boh-LEE-toh MEES-toh] This classic Italian dish of mixed boiled meats is particulary popular in the Emilia, Lombardy and Piedmont regions. The meats, which include veal, chicken and COTECHINO sausage, are accompanied by a rich meat broth and a piquant green sauce.
bologna; baloney [bah-LOH-nyah, bah-LOH-nee] Precooked and highly seasoned, this popular sausage is usually sliced and served as a sandwich meat or cold cut. The word comes from Italy's city of Bologna, though true Italian bologna sausage is called mortadella . See also  SAUSAGE.
Bombay duck Not a duck at all, this pungent, flavorful food is actually dried salted fish. It can be found in East Indian markets and some specialty markets. Bombay duck is most often used to flavor curried dishes. When cooked until crisp, it can also be eaten as a snack.
bombe; bombe glacée [BAHM, bahm glah-SAY] A frozen dessert consisting of layers of ice cream or sherbet. The ice cream is softened and spread, one layer at a time, in a mold. Each layer is hardened before the next one is added. The center of a bombe is often custard laced with fruit. After it's frozen solid, the bombe is unmolded and often served with a dessert sauce. The original bombe molds were spherical; however, any shape mold may be used today.
bon appétit [boh nah-pay-TEE] A French phrase with any of various meanings related to having a good (bon ) appetite (appétit ) such as "have a good meal," (I wish you a) "hearty appetite" or "enjoy your meal." Bon appétit  has long been Julia Child's television sign-off.
bonbel cheese [bahn-BEHL] The brand name of a popular semisoft cheese sold in small paraffin-coated rounds. It's pale cream in color and has a mild flavor and smooth, buttery texture that's a perfect complement for fruit; it's also used in sandwiches and salads. See also  CHEESE.
bonbon [BAHN-bahn] A piece of chocolate-dipped candy, usually with a center of FONDANT that is sometimes mixed with fruits or nuts.
bone To remove the bones from meat, fish or fowl.
bonito see  TUNA
bonne-bouche [bahn-BOOSH] French for "tasty little bite," referring to any of various small enticements such as a snack, tidbit or HORS D'OEUVRE.
bonne femme, à la [bohn FEHM, bohn FAM] Literally translated as "good wife," the term bonne femme  describes food prepared in an uncomplicated, homey manner. Sole bonne femme  is a simply poached fish served with a sauce of white wine and lemon juice, and often garnished with small onions and mushrooms.
borage [BOHR-ihj, BAHR-ihj] Bright flowers and hairy leaves distinguish this European herb whose flavor is reminiscent of cucumber. Both the flowers and leaves are used in salads, but the leaves must be chopped finely so their hirsute texture isn't offputting. The leaves are also used to flavor teas and vegetables.
Bordeaux wines [bohr-DOH] Bordeaux wines take their name from their region of origin in southwest France and are known for their elegant richness and fragrance. Bordeaux is the largest fine-wine district in the world. Some of the best red Bordeaux (also known as clarets ) include Médoc, Margaux Saint-Emilion, Pauillac and Pomerol; fine white Bordeaux include Sauternes, Barsac and Graves. Château  is the word for a wine estate in Bordeaux; some of the best are Château Latour, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion.
bordelaise, à la [bohr-dl-AYZ, bohr-dl-EHZ] A French term meaning "of or from Bordeaux" and referring to dishes served with BORDELAISE SAUCE.
bordelaise sauce [bohr-dl-AYZ, bohr-dl-EHZ] A French sauce made with red or white wine, brown stock, bone MARROW, shallots, parsley and herbs. It's usually served with broiled meats.
borek; bourek; burek [BOOR-ehk] Though thought of as Turkish, these thin packets of pastry (ranging from PHYLLO to PUFF PASTRY) are found throughout the Middle East. They can contain a variety of fillings, including cheese, spinach or ground meat, and may be baked or fried. Borek are served hot as an HORS D'OEUVRE or with a salad as a main course.
borscht; borsch [BOHR-sht, BOHR-sh] Originally from Russia and Poland, borscht is a soup made with fresh beets. It can be prepared using an assortment of vegetables, or with meat and meat stock, or with a combination of both. Borscht can be served hot or cold; it should always be garnished with a dollop of sour cream.
Bosc pear [BAWSK] A large winter pear with a slender neck and a russeted yellow skin. Bosc pears are available from October through April. They have an agreeably sweet-tart flavor and are delicious fresh or cooked. The Bosc holds its shape well when baked or poached. See also  PEAR.
Boston baked beans A melange of NAVY BEANS or PEA BEANS (the latter a favorite with New Englanders), SALT PORK, molasses and brown sugar, baked in a casserole for hours until tender. The dish is so named because it was made by Puritan Bostonian women on Saturday, to be served for dinner that night. Because cooking was forbidden on the Sabbath, leftover beans were served with BOSTON BROWN BREAD for Sunday breakfast . . . and, ofttimes, lunch.
Boston brown bread Rye and wheat flour, cornmeal and molasses flavor this dark, sweet STEAMED BREAD. It often contains raisins and is the traditional accompaniment for BOSTON BAKED BEANS.
Boston cream pie Not a pie at all, this dessert consists of two layers of SPONGE CAKE with a thick custard filling, topped either by a dusting of confectioners' sugar or chocolate glaze.
Boston lettuce see  BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE
botrytis cinerea [boh-TRI-tihs sihn-EHR-ee-uh] Also called noble rot , this beneficial mold develops on grapes under certain environmental conditions. The mold causes the grape to shrivel, concentrating and intensifying both sugar and flavor. Most winemakers are exhilarated when noble rot descends on their grapes because it gives them fruit from which to make very elegant, intensely flavored DESSERT WINES. In California these wines are usually referred to as LATE HARVEST wines and in France, where noble rot is called pourriture noble , they're known as SAUTERNES. In Germany noble rot is called Edelfaule , and German winemakers are experts at producing a large variety of elegant botrytis-infected wines such as TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE and some BEERENAUSLESES.
bottled in bond A phrase used on whiskey labels indicating that the contents are 100 PROOF, at least 4 years old, and that the whiskey was produced by a single distiller and stored in a bonded warehouse under government supervision until taxed and shipped to the retailer.
bouchée [boo-SHAY] The French word for "mouthful," a bouchée  is a small PUFF PASTRY shell filled with various savory preparations such as creamed seafood.
boudin blanc [boo-DAHN BLAHN,  , boo-DAHN BLAHN , GK] 1. A delicate sausage, similar to a QUENELLE in texture, made with pork, chicken, fat, eggs, cream, bread crumbs and seasonings. It is most often gently sautéed and served hot. The term is French for "white pudding." 2. In Louisiana, boudin blanc  is a sturdier sausage made with pork, rice and onions. See also  SAUSAGE.
boudin noir [boo-DAHN NWAHR] The French term for "black pudding" (see  BLOOD SAUSAGE).
bouillabaisse [BOOL-yuh-BAYZ, BOOL-yuh-BEHZ] A celebrated seafood stew from Provence, made with an assortment of fish and shellfish, onions, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, garlic, saffron and herbs. The stew is ladled over thick slices of French bread.
bouillon [BOOL-yahn] Any broth made by cooking vegetables, poultry, meat or fish in water. The liquid that is strained off after cooking is the bouillon, which can form the base for soups and sauces.
bouillon cube A compressed, flavor-concentrated cube of dehydrated beef, chicken or vegetable stock. Bouillon granules are the granular form of the dehydrated concentrate. Both the cubes and granules must be dissolved in a hot liquid before using.
boule [BOOL] French for "ball," referring culinarily to a round loaf of white bread. Also called miche .
bounce A popular beverage in Colonial days, bounce is made by combining rum or brandy with fruit, sugar and spices and allowing the mixture to ferment for 1 to 3 weeks.
bounceberry Another name for CRANBERRY.
bouquet [boo-KAY] A term referring to the complex fragrance that develops in a wine through barrel or bottle AGING.
bouquet garni [boo-KAY gahr-NEE] A bunch of herbs (the classic trio being parsley, thyme and bay leaf) that are either tied together or placed in a CHEESECLOTH bag and used to flavor soups, stews and broths. Tying or bagging the herbs allows for their easy removal before the dish is served.
bourbon Named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, this all-American LIQUOR is distilled from fermented grain. Straight bourbon is distilled from a MASH of at least 51 percent corn; blended bourbon must contain not less than 51 percent straight bourbon. Sour mash bourbon is made by adding a portion of the old mash to help ferment each new batch, in the same way that a portion of SOURDOUGH STARTER is the genesis of each new batch of sourdough bread.
bourguignonne, à la [boor-gee-NYON ] The French term for "as prepared in Burgundy," one of France's most famous gastronomic regions. Meat (usually beef, as in boeuf bourguignonne ) is braised in red wine and usually garnished with small mushrooms and white onions. For information on fondue bourguignonne see listing for  FONDUE.
bourride [boo-REED] Similar to BOUILLABAISSE, this Mediterranean fish soup is pungent with garlic, onions, orange peel and sometimes saffron. It's usually thickened with egg yolks and flavored with AÏOLI. Bourride is traditionally served en CROÛTE.
boursault cheese [boor-SOH] A soft, snowy rind surrounds this rich triple-cream cheese that has the consistency of thick sour cream. It comes in small paper-wrapped cylinders; avoid any with discolored paper. See also  CHEESE.
Boursin cheese [boor-SAHN] White and smooth with a buttery texture, this triple-cream cheese is often flavored with herbs, garlic or cracked pepper. It's wonderful with dry white and fruity red wines. See also  CHEESE.
boxty [BOX-tee] Said to have originated during the Irish famine, boxty is rather like a thick pancake composed of mashed and shredded potatoes, flour and baking soda or baking powder. Like a SCONE, the dough is shaped into a circle, cut into quarters and baked on a griddle. Boxty is usually served as a side dish with meat.
boysenberry Horticulturist Rudolph Boysen created this hybrid berry in 1923 by crossing a RASPBERRY, BLACKBERRY and LOGANBERRY. It's shaped like a large raspberry, has a purple-red hue and a rich sweet-tart flavor. Choose boysenberries that are firm and uniform in size. Discard shriveled or moldy berries. Do not wash until ready to use, and store (preferably in a single layer) in a moistureproof container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
braciola [brah-chee-OH-lah] The Italian name for ROULADE.
brains Beef, pork and lamb brains are available in many supermarkets and most specialty meat markets. Purchase brains that are a bright pinkish-white color, plump and firm. They are very perishable and should be used the day of purchase. Brains must be well washed, then BLANCHED in ACIDULATED WATER. They can then be poached, fried, baked or broiled, and are particularly delicious when served with BEURRE NOIR.
braise [BRAYZ] A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight-fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.
bramble see  BLACKBERRY
bran The outer layer of grains (such as wheat or oats) that is removed during milling. Bran is a good source of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus and fiber. It's found in cereals and baked goods and can be purchased at health-food stores and most supermarkets.
branch water A term first used in the 1800s referring to pure, clean water from a tiny stream called a "branch." An order for "bourbon and branch" is a nostalgic request for bourbon and water.
brandade [brahn-DAHD] The famous brandade de morue  of Provence is a pounded mixture of salt COD, olive oil, garlic, milk and cream. This flavorful puree is served with CROÛTES and often garnished with chopped black truffles. Other salted or smoked fish can also be used to make brandade.
brandy A LIQUOR distilled from wine (such as ARMAGNAC) or other fermented fruit juice (such as the apple-based CALVADOS). Brandies are aged in wood, which contributes flavor and color. The finest of all brandies is COGNAC. The name "brandy" comes from the Dutch brandewijn , meaning "burned (distilled) wine."
brandy Alexander A sweet COCKTAIL that is usually served after dinner. It's made with brandy, chocolate LIQUEUR and cream.
brasserie [brahs-uh-REE] An informal French café that serves beer, wine and simple, hearty food.
bratwurst [BRAHT-wurst, BRAHT-vursht] A German sausage made of pork and veal seasoned with a variety of spices including ginger, nutmeg and coriander or caraway. Though it is now available precooked, bratwurst is generally found fresh and must be well grilled or sautéed before eating. See also  SAUSAGE.
braunschweiger [BROWN-shwi-ger, BROWN-shvi-ger] Named after the German town of Braunschweig, this smoked liver sausage enriched with eggs and milk is the most famous of the LIVERWURSTS. It's soft enough to be spreadable and is usually served at room temperature. See also  SAUSAGE.
brawn see  HEAD CHEESE
Brazil nut Actually the seed of a giant tree that grows in South America's Amazon jungle. These seeds come in clusters of 8 to 24 inside a hard, 4- to 6-inch globular pod that resembles a coconut. The extremely hard shell of each seed, or "nut," is dark brown and triangular in shape. The kernel is white, rich and high in fat. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a powerful ANTIOXIDANT. See also  NUTS.
bread n.  A staple since prehistoric times, bread is made from flour, water (or other liquid) and usually a LEAVENER. It can be baked (in an oven or, as with pancakes, on a griddle), fried or steamed. Yeast is the leavener in yeast bread, which requires KNEADING to stretch the flour's GLUTEN. A yeast batter bread uses strenuous beating instead of kneading to the same end. Quick breads are so called because they require no kneading and use baking soda, baking powder or eggs to leaven the bread. As the name implies, unleavened bread (such as MATZO) uses no leavening and therefore is quite flat. Grains, seeds, nuts and fruit are often added to bread for flavor and texture. See also  ANADAMA; BABKA; BAGUETTE; BARM BRACK; BÂTARDE; BATON; BISCUIT; BLACK BREAD; BOSTON BROWN; BOULE; BREAD CRUMBS; BREAD SAUCE; BRIOCHE; BRUSCHETTA; CHALLAH; CHAPATI; CORNBREAD; CORNELL; CORN PONE; CROSTINI; CRUMPET; FICELLE; FLAT BREAD; FOCACCIA; FRENCH BREAD; FRY BREAD; GARLIC BREAD; GINGERBREAD; HARDTACK; HUSHPUPPY; IRISH SODA BREAD; ITALIAN BREAD; JOHNNYCAKE; KHACHAPURI; LAHVOSH; LIMPA BREAD; MANDELBROT; MONKEY BREAD; MUFFIN; NAAN; PANCAKE; PANETTONE; PANKO; PAPPADAM; PARATHA; PETIT PAIN; PITA; POORI; POPOVER; PUEBLO BREAD; PUMPERNICKEL; ROTI; SALLY LUNN; SALT-RISING BREAD; SCONE; SODA BREAD; SOURDOUGH; SPOON BREAD; STEAMED BREAD; STOLLEN; TORTILLA; WAFFLE; ZWIEBACK. bread v.  To coat food with bread, cracker or other crumbs, usually by dipping it first into a liquid (beaten eggs, milk, beer, etc.), then into the crumbs, which may be seasoned with various herbs. The breaded food is then fried or baked. Breading helps retain a food's moisture and forms a crisp crust after cooking.
bread-and-butter pickles Sweet pickles made from thin slices of unpeeled cucumber; usually pickled with onion and sweet green bell pepper, and flavored with mustard and celery seeds, cloves and turmeric.
bread crumbs There are dry and fresh (or soft) bread crumbs, and the two should not be used interchangeably. Fresh crumbs are made by placing bread slices (trimmed of crusts or not) in a food processor or blender and processing until the desired size of crumb is reached. They can be stored, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for at least 6 months. Fresh bread crumbs give more texture to breaded dishes. Dry bread crumbs — either plain or flavored — can be purchased in any supermarket. Homemade dry crumbs are made by placing a single layer of bread slices on a baking sheet and baking at 300°F until completely dry and lightly browned. The slices are cooled before processing in a blender or food processor until very fine. See also  PANKO.
bread flour see  FLOUR
breadfruit Native to the Pacific, breadfruit is large (8 to 10 inches in diameter), has a bumpy green skin and a rather bland-tasting cream-colored center. It is picked and eaten before it ripens and becomes too sweet. Like squash, breadfruit can be baked, grilled, fried or boiled and served as a sweet or savory dish. It's available fresh in some Latin and specialty produce markets and may also be purchased canned.
bread machines Computer-driven machines that mix, knead, rise, punch down, bake and sometimes cool bread. The ingredients are measured and added to a single, nonstick canister, which becomes mixing bowl, baking pan and oven. A motor-driven blade in the canister's base mixes and kneads the dough; a heating coil handles the baking. Bread machines come in many models, but there are three basic loaf shapes: vertical rectangle, horizontal rectangle and cylindrical. There are several capacities available, ranging from 1/2-pound to 2-pound loaves. It's important to follow manufacturer's directions (which can vary) for adding and layering ingredients. Failing to do so could prevent the yeast from mixing with the liquid, which would result in a failed loaf of bread.
bread pudding A simple, delicious baked dessert made with cubes or slices of bread saturated with a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices. Chopped fruit or nuts also can be added. Bread and butter pudding is made by buttering the bread slices before adding the liquid mixture. Both may be served hot or cold with cream or a dessert sauce.
bread salad see  PANZANELLA
bread sauce A British cookery sauce made with bread crumbs, milk, onions, cream and various seasonings, usually including cloves. This thick sauce is typically served with wild game birds and other poultry.
bream [BREEM] The name applied to any of several freshwater or saltwater fish such as the American porgy , the Japanese sea  bream  and the French daurade . In general, bream can be grilled, baked or fried. See also  FISH; PORGY.
brek; brik [BREHK] From Tunisia, this savory, deep-fried turnover usually contains a spicy meat or fish filling and often an egg. Though the fillings may vary, brek is traditionally served with HARISSA SAUCE.
bresaola [brehsh-ay-OH-lah] Originating in Lombardy, Italy, bresaola is air-dried salted beef FILLET that has been aged about 2 months. Bresaola is usually thinly sliced, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and served as an ANTIPASTO.
brick cheese The name of this all-American Wisconsin cheese is said to have come from the fact that bricks were once used to weight the CURD and press out the WHEY; it's also brick shaped. Pale yellow and semisoft, brick cheese has a mild, earthy flavor when young. As it ripens, however, it becomes almost as strong as LIMBURGER. See also  CHEESE.
Brie cheese [BREE] Acclaimed as one of the world's great cheeses, Brie is characterized by an edible, downy white rind and a cream-colored, buttery-soft interior that should "ooze" when at the peak of ripeness. Though several countries (including the United States) make this popular cheese, Brie from France is considered the best and French Brie de Meaux  dates back to the 8th century. Brie can be made from raw or PASTEURIZED, whole or skim milk. Because Brie must be perfectly ripe for the best flavor, it's important to select one that is plump and resilient to the touch; the rind might show some pale brown edges. Once ripe, Brie has a short shelf life and should be used within a few days. See also  CHEESE.
brik see  BREK
brill An excellent European saltwater FLATFISH closely related to the TURBOT. It has a delicate, light flesh that can be broiled, fried, baked, grilled or poached. See also  FISH.
brine A strong solution of water and salt used for pickling or preserving foods. A sweetener such as sugar or molasses is sometimes added to brine.
brioche [BREE-ohsh, bree-AHSH] This French creation is a light yeast bread rich with butter and eggs. The classic shape, called brioche à tête , has a fluted base and a jaunty topknot. It also comes in the form of small buns or a large round loaf. Special fluted brioche molds, available in metal, glass or ceramic, are necessary for the brioche à tête.  Brioche dough is also used to enclose foods such as sausage or cheese.
brisket [BRIHS-kiht] A cut of beef taken from the breast section under the first five ribs. Brisket is usually sold without the bone and is divided into two sections. The flat cut has minimal fat and is usually more expensive than the more flavorful point cut, which has more fat. Brisket requires long, slow cooking and is best when braised. Corned beef is made from brisket. See also  BEEF.
brisling [BRIHZ-ling] see  SPRAT
broad bean see  FAVA BEAN
broccoflower [BRAHK-uh-flow-er] Originating in Holland, this cross between broccoli and cauliflower looks like a light green cauliflower and has a milder flavor than either of its parents. The trademarked name broccoflower  is owned by Tanimura and Antle, a California company. Choose a firm head with compact florets; the leaves should be crisp and green. Avoid any specimens with browning. Store unwashed tightly wrapped broccoflower in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Wash thoroughly just before using. Broccoflower can be cooked in any way suitable for cauliflower. This vegetable is high in vitamin C, folic acid and copper.
broccoli The name comes from the Italian word for "cabbage sprout" and indeed, broccoli is a relative of cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. This deep emerald-green vegetable (which sometimes has a purple tinge) comes in tight clusters of tiny buds that sit on stout, edible stems. It's available year-round, with a peak season from October through April. Look for broccoli with a deep, strong color — green, or green with purple; the buds should be tightly closed and the leaves crisp. Refrigerate unwashed, in an airtight bag, for up to 4 days. If the stalks are tough, peel before cooking. Broccoli, a member of the CRUCIFEROUS family, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as riboflavin, calcium and iron.
broccoli raab; broccoli rabe  A vegetable related to both the cabbage and turnip family, the leafy green broccoli raab has 6- to 9-inch stalks and scattered clusters of tiny broccolilike buds. It's also called brocoletti di rape , rape  and rapini . The greens have a pungent, bitter flavor that is not particularly popular in America where, more often than not, they're used as animal fodder. Italians are particularly fond of broccoli raab, however, and cook it in a variety of ways including frying, steaming and braising. It can also be used in soups or salads. Broccoli raab can be found from fall to spring in markets with specialty produce sections. It should be wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated for no more than 5 days.
broche, à la [ah lah BROHSH] French for "spit-roasted."
brochette [broh-SHEHT] The French word for "skewer." En  brochette  refers to food cooked on a skewer.
brodo [BROH-doh] The Italian word for "broth."
broil To cook food directly under or above the heat source. Food can be broiled in an oven, directly under the gas or electric heat source, or on a barbecue grill, directly over charcoal or other heat source.
broiler-fryer see  CHICKEN
brook trout see  TROUT
Brot [BROHT] German word for "bread."
broth A liquid resulting from cooking vegetables, meat or fish in water. The term is sometimes used synonymously with bouillon .
brown To cook quickly over high heat, causing the surface of the food to turn brown while the interior stays moist. This method not only gives food an appetizing color, but also a rich flavor. Browning is usually done on top of the stove, but may also be achieved under a broiling unit.
brown betty see  BETTY
brown butter see  BEURRE NOISETTE
brownie A dense, chewy, cakelike cookie that is generally chocolate-flavored (hence the name), but can also be a variety of other flavors including butterscotch and vanilla (in which case it's called a blondie ).
brown rice see  RICE
brown sauce Known in France as espagnole sauce , brown sauce is used as a base for dozens of other sauces. It's traditionally made of a rich meat stock, a MIREPOIX of browned vegetables, a brown ROUX, herbs and sometimes tomato paste. See also  SAUCE.
brown sugar see  SUGAR
brown velvet see  BLACK VELVET
bruise [BROOZ] In cooking, to partially crush an ingredient in order to release its flavor. Bruising a garlic clove with the flat side of a knife crushes without cutting it.
brûlé [broo-LAY] The French word for "burned," as in CRÈME BRÛLÉE.
brûlot see  CAFÉ BRÛLOT
brunch A combination of breakfast and lunch, usually eaten sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday brunch has become quite popular both for home entertaining and in restaurants. Though brunch is thought of as an American tradition, H. L. Mencken tells us that it was popular in England around 1900 . . . long before it reached the United States.
brunoise [broo-NWAHZ] A mixture of vegetables that have been finely diced or shredded, then cooked slowly in butter. The brunoise is then used to flavor soups and sauces.
Brunswick stew Brunswick County, Virginia, was the birthplace in 1828 of this hearty squirrel-meat and onion stew. Today, it is generally made with rabbit or chicken and often contains a variety of vegetables including okra, lima beans, tomatoes and corn.
bruschetta [broo-SKEH-tah, broo-SHEH-tah] From the Italian bruscare  meaning "to roast over coals," this traditional garlic bread is made by rubbing slices of toasted bread with garlic cloves, then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, then heated and served warm.
brush To apply a liquid (such as melted butter or a glaze) with a pastry (or basting) brush to the surface of food such as meat or bread.
Brussels sprouts Said to have been cultivated in 16th-century Belgium, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and, indeed, resemble tiny cabbage heads. Many rows of sprouts grow on a single long stalk. They range from 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; the smaller sprouts are more tender. Brussels sprouts are available from late August through March. Buy small bright green sprouts with compact heads. Store unwashed sprouts in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 3 days; longer than that and sprouts will develop a strong flavor. Brussels sprouts, a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable, are high in vitamins A and C, and are a fair source of iron.
brut [BROOT] A term applied to the driest (see  DRY) CHAMPAGNE. Brut champagnes are drier than those labeled "extra dry."
Bryndza cheese; Brinza [BRIHN-zah] Of Romanian origin, this sheep's-milk cheese is cured in brine. It's creamy, rich and salty, and ranges from soft and spreadable to semidry and crumbly. See also  CHEESE.
b'steeya [bs-TEE-yah] A Moroccan dish of PHYLLO dough surrounding a melange of shredded chicken, ground almonds and spices. The "pie" is baked until a crisp golden brown, then sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Also spelled bastela, bastila, bisteeya  and pastilla .
bubble and squeak An English dish of equal parts mashed potatoes and chopped cooked cabbage mixed together and fried until well browned. Originally, the dish included chopped boiled beef. The name is said to come from the sounds the potato-cabbage mixture makes as it cooks (some say it's from the sounds one's stomach makes after eating bubble and squeak).
bucatini [boo-kah-TEE-nee] Hollow, spaghettilike PASTA strands.
bûche de Noël [BOOSH duh noh-EHL] Literally translated as "yule log," this traditional French Christmas cake is shaped and decorated to resemble a log. It's made of a sheet of GENOISE that is spread with mocha or chocolate BUTTERCREAM, rolled into a log shape and covered with more buttercream. The surface is ridged to resemble the bark of a log, and sometimes garnished with MERINGUE "mushrooms" and with "moss" made from chopped pistachio nuts.
Bûcheron cheese [BOOSH-rawn ] A tangy yet mild CHÈVRE (goat cheese) that is usually soft and spreadable. Bûcheron comes in logs either with white rinds or covered with black ash. See also  CHEESE.
buckwheat A native of Russia, buckwheat is thought of as a cereal, but is actually an herb of the genus Fagopyrum.  The triangular seeds of this plant are used to make buckwheat flour, which has an assertive flavor and is used for pancakes and as an addition to some baked goods. The famous Russian BLINI are made with buckwheat flour. Buckwheat groats are the hulled, crushed kernels, which are usually cooked in a manner similar to rice. Groats come in coarse, medium and fine grinds. Kasha, which is roasted buckwheat groats, has a toastier, more nutty flavor.
buffalo The American buffalo, now being raised by approximately 2,000 producers in the United States, is really a bison — a shaggy, humped member of the cattle family. Buffalo meat is surprisingly tender and tastes somewhat like lean beef. It has no pronounced gamey flavor. Buffalo can be found on some restaurant menus and is available in some specialty meat markets. The cuts are similar to beef and can be substituted for beef in most recipes. However, because buffalo meat is so lean, it should be cooked slowly at a low heat. Buffalo is higher in iron than beef and lower in fat and cholesterol than most cuts of beef and chicken — as well as some fish.
Buffalo chicken wings Buffalo, New York's, Anchor Bar originated this dish of deep-fried chicken wings served in a spicy hot sauce and accompanied by blue-cheese dressing.
buffalo fish Similar to CARP, this freshwater fish is a member of the sucker family. It has a coarse but sweet, lean flesh that can be baked, poached, sautéed or grilled. Buffalo fish can be purchased whole or in fillets or steaks. It's especially good in its smoked form. See also  FISH.
buffalo mozzarella see  MOZZARELLA
buffet Culinarily, a buffet is a meal where guests serve themselves from a variety of dishes set out on a table or sideboard.
bulghur wheat; bulgar [BUHL-guhr] A nutritious staple in the Middle East, bulghur wheat consists of wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried and crushed. It is often confused with but is not exactly the same as cracked wheat. Bulghur, also called burghul , has a tender, chewy texture and comes in coarse, medium and fine grinds. It makes an excellent wheat PILAF and is delicious in salads (see  TABBOULEH), and in meat or vegetable dishes, as with KIBBEH.
bullhead see  CATFISH
bullshot A drink composed of two parts beef bouillon and one part vodka, plus dashes of WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE, BITTERS and TABASCO sauce.
bully beef A term used in Great Britain for CORNED BEEF, particularly canned versions.
Bundnerfleisch [BOOND-ner-flysh] A Swiss salt-CURED, air-dried beef similar to (but considered superior to) Africa's BILTONG. It's available only in specialty gourmet markets.
Bundt pan [BUHNT] Originally the trademark name of a TUBE PAN with fluted sides, "Bundt pan" is now the general name of any of that style of cake pan. To prevent a cake from sticking to this pan, it's extremely important that all the creases of the fluted sides are well greased before pouring in a batter.
buñuelo [boo-NWAY-loh] A thin, deep-fried Mexican pastry sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar.
burbot [BER-buht] This freshwater COD has a fairly lean, white flesh with a delicate flavor. It can be poached, baked, broiled or sautéed. See also  FISH.
burdock Known in Japan as gobo , burdock is a slender root vegetable with a rusty brown skin and grayish-white flesh. Cultivated primarily in Japan, it grows wild throughout much of Europe and the United States. Burdock has a sweet, earthy flavor and tender-crisp texture. It's important to choose firm, young burdock, preferably no more than 1 inch in diameter; they will be about 18 inches long. Do not wash the earth-covered roots until ready to use. Store, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Scrub before cooking; peeling isn't necessary. Burdock can be thinly sliced or shredded and used in soups as well as with vegetables and meats.
burghul see  BULGHUR WHEAT
burgoo [ber-GOO] Also called Kentucky burgoo , this thick stew is full of meats (usually pork, veal, beef, lamb and poultry) and vegetables (including potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, sweet green peppers, corn, okra, lima beans and celery). Early renditions were more often made with small game such as rabbit and squirrel. Burgoo is popular for large gatherings in America's southern states. Originally, the word "burgoo" was used to describe an oatmeal porridge served to English sailors as early as 1750.
Burgundy wines The Burgundy region in eastern France produces a group of superb red and white wines, though four times as much red is bottled as white. The white wines, made from CHARDONNAY grapes, and the red wines, made from PINOT NOIR or Gamay are considered the world's best examples of these wines. Some of the better known wines of Burgundy include those from BEAUJOLAIS, Pommard, Beaune, Meursault, CHABLIS, Pouilly-Fuissé, Chambertin, Corton, Romanée Conti and Echézeaux.
burnet [BER-niht] Native to Europe, burnet includes any of several herbs, the most common being salad burnet. Its leaves are used in salads and with vegetables. Like BORAGE, burnet leaves are also used to flavor drinks, such as tea. When crushed, they have a fragrance similar to cucumber. See also  HERBS.
burnt cream The British version of the French CRÈME BRÛLÉE.
burnt sugar see  CARAMELIZE
burrito [ber-EE-toh] A flour TORTILLA folded and rolled to completely enclose any of several savory fillings including shredded or chopped meat, refried beans, grated cheese, sour cream, lettuce, etc.
butcher's steel see  SHARPENING STEEL
butter Made by churning cream until it reaches a semisolid state, butter must by U.S. law be at least 80 percent MILK FAT. The remaining 20 percent consists of water and milk solids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades butter quality based on flavor, body, texture, color and salt. Butter packages bear a shield surrounding the letter grade (and occasionally the numerical score equivalent) indicating the quality of the contents. The grades, beginning with the finest, are AA (93 score), A (92 score), B (90 score) and C (89 score). AA and A grades are those most commonly found at the retail level. Butter may be artificially colored (with natural ANNATTO); it may also be salted or unsalted. Unsalted butter is usually labeled as such and contains absolutely no salt. It's sometimes erroneously referred to as "sweet" butter — a misnomer because any butter made with sweet instead of sour cream is sweet butter. Therefore, expect packages labeled "sweet cream butter" to contain salted butter. Unsalted butter is preferred by many for everyday eating and baking. Because it contains no salt (which acts as a preservative), it is more perishable than salted butter and therefore stored in the freezer section of some markets. Whipped butter has had air beaten into it, thereby increasing volume and creating a softer, more spreadable consistency when cold. It comes in salted and unsalted forms. Light or reduced-calorie butter has about half the fat of regular butter, possible through the addition of water, skim milk and gelatin. It shouldn't be substituted for regular butter or margarine in frying and baking. Storing butter: Because butter absorbs flavors like a sponge, it should be wrapped airtight for storage. Refrigerate regular butter for up to 1 month, unsalted butter for up to 2 weeks. Both can be frozen for up to 6 months. See also  BERCY (butter); BEURRE BLANC; BEURRE MANIÉ; BEURRE NOIR; BEURRE NOISETTE; BUTTER SUBSTITUTES; CLARIFIED BUTTER; COMPOUND BUTTER; FATS AND OILS; GARLIC BUTTER; GHEE.
butterball steak see  ROUND, BEEF
butter bean see  LIMA BEAN
butter clam A small, sweet, hard-shell clam from Puget Sound. Butter clams can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming, stewing and frying. See also  CLAM.
buttercream A light, creamy frosting made with softened butter, confectioners' sugar, egg yolks and milk or light cream. This uncooked frosting is beaten until light and creamy. It can be flavored in many ways and is used both as a filling and frosting for a variety of cakes and pastries.
buttercup squash A variety of TURBAN SQUASH that ranges from 4 to 8 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 inches high. It has a light blue-gray turban with a dark green shell flecked with gray. The flesh is orange and the flavor reminiscent of sweet potato. It can be baked, steamed or simmered. See also  SQUASH.
butter curler A small (6- to 7-inch-long) utensil with a serrated hook at one end. The hook is drawn down the length of a stick of butter to make butter curls. The curls are then dropped into ice water to set their shape.
butterfat See  MILK FAT
butterfish Found off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the small (average 8 ounces), high-fat butterfish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. It is usually sold whole and is sometimes smoked. Butterfish can be broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed. Depending on the region, they're also known as dollarfish, Pacific  pompano  and pomfret . See also  FISH; SABLEFISH.
butterfly In cooking, to split a food (such as shrimp) down the center, cutting almost but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly shape.
butterhead lettuce One of two varieties of head lettuce (the other being CRISPHEAD). Butterhead lettuces have small, round, loosely formed heads with soft, buttery-textured leaves ranging from pale green on the outer leaves to pale yellow-green on the inner leaves. The flavor is sweet and succulent. Because the leaves are quite tender, they require gentle washing and handling. Boston and Bibb (also called limestone) lettuce are the two most well known of the butterhead family. The smaller Bibb is highly prized by gourmets. Both Boston and Bibb lettuce are sometimes referred to simply as "butterhead" or "butter" lettuce. See also  LETTUCE.
buttermilk see  MILK
buttermilk pie A favorite in the American South, this pie has a filling of buttermilk, butter, eggs, flour and sugar, plus flavorings like lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg. It's similar to but tangier than CHESS PIE.
butter mold These decorative molds are used to form butter into fancy shapes. They come in ceramic, metal, wood and plastic; their sizes range from small, individual portions to large 8-ounce or more family-style molds. The molds are filled with softened butter and leveled off. After chilling, the solidified butter is removed from the mold and refrigerated until ready to serve.
butter muslin British term for CHEESECLOTH.
butternut This native American nut grows in New England and is also known as the white walnut . It has a rich, oily meat which is generally used in candies and baked goods. Because of the high oil content, butternuts become rancid quickly. See also  NUTS; WALNUT.
butternut squash This large, cylindrical winter squash looks rather like a pear-shaped bat. It's 8 to 12 inches long, 3 to 5 inches at its widest point and can weigh from 2 to 3 pounds. The color of the smooth shell ranges from yellow to camel; the flesh is sweet and orange. It can be baked, steamed or simmered. See also  SQUASH.
butterscotch The flavor of butterscotch is a blend of butter and brown sugar. It is popular for cookies, ice-cream toppings, frostings and candies.
butter substitutes Found in powdered and granular forms, butter substitutes are made by a process that removes the fat and water from butter extract (a blend of modified butter oil and spray-dried butter). They contain no fat or cholesterol. What these "all natural" (according to the label) products do contain are such ingredients as maltodextrin (a carbohydrate derived from corn), corn syrup solids, salt, natural flavorings, buttermilk and cornstarch. As expected from the ingredients used, butter substitutes have an embarrassingly counterfeit flavor. They also have from about 8 to 12 calories per teaspoon, as opposed to butter or margarine's 33 calories per teaspoon. Butter substitutes may either be reconstituted by blending with a liquid, or sprinkled directly on to food. Because they're fat-free, they cannot be used for baking, frying or greasing pans. See also  BUTTER.
butyric acid [byoo-TIHR-ihk] Found chiefly in butter, this natural acid not only produces butter's distinctive flavor but also causes the rancid smell in spoiled butter. Butyric acid, also called butanoic acid , is also found in some fruits and is produced synthetically to be used as a flavoring agent in various food products.
Byrrh [bihr] A French APÉRITIF that is a blend of red wine and quinine water.
byssus [BIHS-suhs] see  BEARD
© The Residential Chef 2019