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Term Pronounciation Definition
cush [KOOSH, KUHSH] 1. A sweetened, mushlike cornmeal mixture, fried in lard and served as a cereal with cream or CLABBER and sugar or cane syrup. 2. A Southern cornmeal pancake. 3. A Southern soup of cornmeal, milk, onion and seasonings.
cushaw [kuh-SHAW, KOO-shaw] Any of several types of CROOKNECK SQUASH, popular in CAJUN and CREOLE cooking. See also  SQUASH.
cusk [KUHSK] Related to the cod, this large saltwater fish has a firm, lean flesh. It ranges from 1 1/2 to 5 pounds and can be purchased whole or in fillets. Cusk can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling, poaching and sautéing. See also  FISH.
custard A puddinglike dessert (made with a sweetened mixture of milk and eggs) that can either be baked or stirred on stovetop. Custards require slow cooking and gentle heat in order to prevent separation (curdling). For this reason, stirred custards are generally made in a DOUBLE BOILER; baked custards in a WATER BATH. A safeguard when making custard is to remove it from the heat when it reaches 170° to 175°F on a CANDY THERMOMETER. Custards may be enhanced with various flavorings such as chocolate, vanilla, fruit and so on. Stirred custards are softer than baked custards and are often used as a sauce or as an ice cream base.
custard apple see  CHERIMOYA
cream puff A small, hollow puff made from CHOUX PASTRY (cream-puff pastry) filled with sweetened whipped cream or custard.
cream-puff paste; cream-puff pastry see  CHOUX PASTRY
cream sauce A classic BÉCHAMEL (white) SAUCE made with milk and sometimes cream. The sauce's thickness depends on the proportion of flour to liquid. Cream sauces are used as a base for many dishes, such as chicken À LA KING.
cream sherry see  SHERRY
Crécy, à la [KREH-see, kray-SEE] A French term referring to dishes cooked or garnished with carrots. The name comes from Crécy, France, where the finest French carrots are cultivated.
crema caramella see  CRÈME CARAMEL
Crema Dania cheese; Crema Danica cheese [KREHM-uh DAHN-yuh, KREHM-uh DAHN-uh-kuh] Denmark gives us this exquisitely rich gift in the form of small cheese rectangles with a white downy rind and soft ivory interior. Crema Dania is a rich DOUBLE-CREAM CHEESE that, at 72 percent milk fat, almost qualifies as a triple-cream. It's a wonderful cheese for after dinner. See also  CHEESE.
crème [KREHM] The French word for "cream."
crème anglaise [krehm ahn-GLEHZ, krehm ahn-GLAYZ] The French term for a rich custard sauce that can be served hot or cold over cake, fruit or other dessert.
crème brûlée [krehm broo-LAY] The literal translation of this rich dessert is "burnt cream." It describes a chilled, stirred CUSTARD that, just before serving, is sprinkled with brown or granulated sugar. The sugar topping is quickly caramelized under a broiler or with a SALAMANDER. The caramelized topping becomes brittle, creating a delicious flavor and textural contrast to the smooth, creamy custard beneath.
crème caramel [krehm kehr-ah-MEHL, krem KAR-uh-mehl] Also known in France as crème renversée , crème caramel is a CUSTARD that has been baked in a CARAMEL-coated mold. When the chilled custard is turned out onto a serving plate it is automatically glazed and sauced with the caramel in the mold. In Italy it's known as crema caramella,  and in Spain as flan. 
crème chantilly see  CHANTILLY
crème d'abricots [krehm dah-bree-KOH] A sweet apricot LIQUEUR.
crème d'amande [krehm dah-MAHND] A pink, almond-flavored LIQUEUR.
crème d'ananas [krehm dah-nah-NAHS] Pineapple-flavored LIQUEUR.
crème de [KREHM deuh] A French phrase meaning "cream of," and used to describe an intensely sweet LIQUEUR.
crème de banane [krehm deuh bah-NAHN] A sweet LIQUEUR with a full, ripe banana flavor.
crème de cacao [krehm deuh kah-KAH-oh] A dark, chocolate-flavored LIQUEUR with a hint of vanilla. White crème de cacao is a clear form of the same liqueur.
crème de cassis [krehm deuh kah-SEES] Black currant-flavored LIQUEUR; an integral ingredient in KIR.
crème de cerise [krehm deuh sehr-EEZ] A French cherry-flavored LIQUEUR.
crème de menthe [krehm deuh MENTH, MAHNT] Tasting of cool summer mint, this LIQUEUR comes clear (called white) or green-colored.
crème de noyaux [krehm deuh nwah-YOH] The word noyaux  is French for "fruit pits," and this sweet pink LIQUEUR is flavored with the pits of various fruits. The resulting flavor is that of almonds.
crème de rose [krehm deuh ROSE] An exotically scented LIQUEUR flavored with rose petals, vanilla and various spices.
crème de violette [krehm deuh VEE-oh-leht, vyoh-LEHT] Dutch LIQUEUR, amethyst in color, perfumed and flavored with essence of violets.
crème fraîche [krehm FRESH] This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness of crème fraîche can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where crème fraîche is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is PASTEURIZED, the fermenting agents necessary for crème fraîche can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. A very expensive American facsimile of crème fraîche is sold in some gourmet markets. The expense seems frivolous, however, when it's so easy to make an equally delicious version at home. To do so, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. Crème fraîche is the ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It's delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.
crème pâtissière [KREHM pah-tee-see-EHR] The French term for "pastry cream," a thick, flour-based egg CUSTARD used for tarts, cakes and to fill CREAM PUFFS, ÉCLAIRS and NAPOLEONS.
crème pralinée [KREHM prah-lee-NAY] CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE flavored with PRALINE powder and used to fill various French pastries.
crème renversée [KREHM rahn-vehr-SAY] see  CRÈME CARAMEL
cremino [kray-MEE-noh, kray-MEE-nee] A dark-brown, slightly firmer variation of the everyday cultivated white mushroom. Cremini mushrooms have a slightly fuller flavor than their paler relatives. They have a smooth, rounded cap that ranges in size from 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. The PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM is simply the fully matured form of this mushroom. The cremino is also referred to as common brown mushroom  and Roman mushroom . See also  MUSHROOM.
Crenshaw melon; Cranshaw melon Considered one of the most sweetly succulent members of the melon family, the Crenshaw is a hybrid MUSKMELON. It has a golden-green, smooth yet lightly ribbed rind and a beautiful salmon-orange flesh. The fragrance of a ripe Crenshaw melon is seductively spicy. These melons are large (5 to 9 pounds) with an oval shape that's rounded at the blossom end and slightly pointed at the stem end. They're available from July to October, with the peak season from August to mid-September. See also  MELON.
Creole cooking [KREE-ohl] In the 18th century, the Spaniards governing New Orleans named all residents of European heritage Criollo.  The name, which later became Creole , soon began to imply one of refined cultural background with an appreciation for an elegant lifestyle. Today, Creole cookery reflects the full-flavored combination of the best of French, Spanish and African cuisines. Its style, with an emphasis on butter and cream, is more sophisticated than CAJUN COOKING (which uses prodigious amounts of pork fat). Another difference between the two cuisines is that Creole uses more tomatoes and the Cajuns more spices. Both cuisines rely on the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery, and make generous use of FILÉ POWDER. Probably the most famous dish of Creole heritage is GUMBO.
Creole cream cheese [KREE-ohl] This New Orleans specialty has the texture of very thick sour cream and a slightly more tart flavor. It's used as a topping or, especially by southern Louisianans, eaten for breakfast with salt and pepper or sugar and fruit. Creole cream cheese may be carried in some gourmet markets but is generally available outside Louisiana only through mail order.
Creole mustard [KREE-ohl] A specialty of Louisiana's German Creoles made from vinegar-marinated brown mustard seeds with a hint of horseradish. This hot, spicy mustard is available in gourmet markets or the gourmet section of some supermarkets.
crêpe [KRAYP, KREHP] The French word for "pancake," which is exactly what these light, paper-thin creations are. They can be made from plain or sweetened batters with various flours, and used for savory or dessert dishes. Dessert crêpes may be spread with a jam or fruit mixture, rolled or folded and sometimes flamed with brandy or liqueur. Savory crêpes are filled with various meat, cheese or vegetable mixtures — sometimes topped with a complementary sauce — and served as a first or main course.
crêpes suzette [KRAYPS (KREHPS) soo-ZEHT] Prepared in a CHAFING DISH, this illustrious dessert consists of an orange-butter sauce in which CRÊPES are warmed, then doused with GRAND MARNIER (or other orange LIQUEUR) and ignited to flaming glory.
crépinette [kray-pih-NEHT, kray-pee-NEHT] French in origin, this small, slightly flattened sausage is made of minced pork, lamb, veal or chicken and sometimes truffles. Crépine  is the French word for "pig's caul," in which a crépinette is wrapped instead of a casing. Crépinettes are usually cooked by coating them in melted butter and bread crumbs before sautéing, grilling or broiling. See also  SAUSAGE.
crescent cutter see  MEZZALUNA
Crescenza cheese [krih-SHEHN-zuh] A rich, creamy, fresh cheese, also known as Crescenza Stracchino , that's widely made in Italy's regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Its texture and flavor are similiar to that of a mild CREAM CHEESE, and it becomes very soft and spreadable at room temperature. Crescenza is made from uncooked cow's milk and is sometimes blended with herbs. It doesn't age well and, although not widely imported, can be found in some specialty cheese shops. See also  CHEESE.
crespelle [krehs-PEHL-lay] Thin Italian pancakes that are either stacked with different fillings between the layers or filled and rolled like CRÊPES.
cress There are many different varieties of this mustard-family plant, the most popular of which is WATERCRESS. Other types include peppergrass (also called curly cress ), broadleaf cress (also called cressida ) and garden cress. All cress varieties share a peppery tang. Choose cress with dark green leaves and no sign of yellowing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag (or stems-down in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag) for up to 5 days. Cress is used in salads, sandwiches, soups and as a garnish.
creste di galli [KRAY-stay dee GAHL-lee] Italian for "cockscombs," culinarily describing a medium MACARONI with a ruffled crest on the outside edge.
Chablis [sha-BLEE, pl. , sha-BLEEZ] Though the United States, Australia and South Africa all make a wine labeled Chablis , only France creates a true  Chablis, made entirely from CHARDONNAY grapes. Considered one of the world's great white wines, French Chablis has a crisp, dry flavor with a decided flinty quality. It comes from a small area surrounding the town of Chablis, France. The very best French Chablis comes from one of seven grand cru  ("great growth") vineyards that lie in a single block facing south and west toward the village. The term grand cru  will appear on the labels of these special wines, followed by the name of the vineyard from which it came. Next in excellence are the Chablis labeled premier cru  (meaning "first growth"). Others are considered "simple" Chablis or "petit Chablis."
chadec see  POMELO
chafing dish [CHAYF-ing] Chafing dishes found in the ruins of Pompeii prove that this style of cookery is nothing new. Used to warm or cook food, a chafing dish consists of a container (today, usually metal) with a heat source directly beneath it. The heat can be provided by a candle, electricity or solid fuel (such as Sterno). There's often a larger dish that is used as a water basin (like the bottom of a double boiler) into which the dish containing the food is placed. This prevents food from burning.
chalazae [kuh-LAY-zee] Thick, cordlike strands of egg white that are attached to 2 sides of the yolk, thereby anchoring it in the center of the egg. The more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg. Chalazae don't affect the egg in any way, though some custard recipes call for straining to remove them for a smoother texture.
challah; hallah; challa [KHAH-lah, HAH-lah] Served on the Sabbath, holidays, other ceremonial occasions and for everyday consumption, challah is a traditional Jewish yeast bread. It's rich with eggs and has a light, airy texture. Though it can be formed into many shapes, braided challah is the most classic form.
chalupa [chah-LOO-pah] Spanish for "boat" or "launch," a chalupa is a corn tortilla dough formed into a small boat shape and fried until crisp. It's then usually filled with shredded beef, pork or chicken, vegetables, cheese or a combination of these, and served as an appetizer.
champ A traditional Irish dish made by combining mashed potatoes and green onions with plenty of butter.
champagne [sham-PAYN] This most celebrated sparkling wine always seems to signal "special occasion." Though bubbling wines under various APPELLATIONS abound throughout the world, true champagne comes only from the Champagne region in northeast France. Most countries bow to this tradition by calling their sparkling wines by other names such as spumante  in Italy, Sekt  in Germany and vin mousseux  in other regions of France. Only in America do some wineries refer to their bubbling wine as "champagne." Dom Perignon, 17th-century cellarmaster of the Abbey of Hautvillers, is celebrated for developing the art of blending wines to create champagnes with superior flavor. He's also credited for his work in preventing champagne bottles and corks from exploding by using thicker bottles and tying the corks down with string. Even then, it's said that the venerable Dom Perignon lost half his champagne through the bottles bursting. French champagne is usually made from a blend of CHARDONNAY and PINOT NOIR or PINOT BLANC grapes. California "champagnes" generally use the same varieties, while those from New York more often are from the pressings of CATAWBA and DELAWARE GRAPES. Good champagne is expensive not only because it's made with premium grapes, but because it's made by the méthode champenoise . This traditional method requires a second fermentation in the bottle as well as some 100 manual operations (some of which are mechanized today). Champagnes can range in color from pale gold to apricot blush. Their flavors can range from toasty to yeasty and from dry (no sugar added) to sweet. A sugar-wine mixture called a DOSAGE added just before final corking determines how sweet a champagne will be. The label indicates the level of sweetness: brut (bone dry to almost dry — less than 1.5 percent sugar); extra sec or extra dry (slightly sweeter — 1.2 to 2 percent sugar); sec (medium sweet — 1.7 to 3.5 percent sugar); demi-sec (sweet — 3.3 to 5 percent sugar); and doux (very sweet — over 5 percent sugar). The last two are considered DESSERT WINES.
champignon [sham-pee-NYOHN ] The French word for an edible "mushroom," generally the button variety. The term aux champignons refers to dishes garnished with mushrooms or served with a mushroom sauce.
chanterelle [shan-tuh-REHL] A trumpet-shaped wild mushroom with a color that ranges from bright yellow to orange. The chanterelle (known in France as girolle ) mushroom has a delicate, nutty (sometimes fruity) flavor and a somewhat chewy texture. Chanterelles are usually imported from Europe and can be found dried or canned in many large supermarkets. Although they're not widely cultivated, chanterelles are found growing in parts of the Pacific Northwest and along the East Coast. They are occasionally found fresh in some markets during summer and winter months. Choose those that are plump and spongy; avoid ones with broken or shriveled caps. Chanterelles can be cooked as a separate side dish or as an addition to other foods. Because they tend to toughen when overcooked, it's best to add them to the dish toward the end of the cooking time. See also  MUSHROOM.
chantilly [shan-TIHL-lee, shahn-tee-YEE] A French term referring to sweet or savory dishes that are prepared or served with whipped cream. Crème chantilly is lightly sweetened whipped cream — sometimes flavored with vanilla or LIQUEUR — used as a dessert topping.
Chaource cheese [shah-OORS] Similar to CAMEMBERT, Chaource cheese takes its name from a town in France's Champagne region. It has a white, downy rind with an ivory-colored center. The fruity, rich flavor intensifies and becomes saltier as it matures. Chaource makes a pleasant after-dinner cheese and pairs well with full-bodied white wines. See also  CHEESE.
chapati; chapatti [chah-PAH-tee] An UNLEAVENED pancakelike bread from India, usually made from a simple mixture of whole-wheat flour and water. The dough is rolled into thin rounds and baked on a griddle. Pieces of chapati are torn off and used as a scoop or pusher for many East Indian dishes.
chapon [shah-POHN ] A slice or cube of bread that has either been rubbed with garlic or dipped in garlic-flavored oil. The bread is then used to rub the inside of a salad bowl to impart the barest hint of garlic to the greens. The chapon may either be removed or — for a more intense garlic flavor — left in the bowl to toss with the salad.
char; charr A fish belonging to the genus Salvelinus  and related to both the TROUT and SALMON. The Dolly Varden trout  and the Mackinaw trout  (or lake trout ) are actually members of the char family. Char live in the icy waters (both fresh and marine) of North America and Europe. The arctic char , which has become more commercially available in recent years, is now raised on government-sponsored fish farms in Iceland. It has a pink flesh with a flavor and texture that's a cross between trout and salmon. Char can be baked, broiled, fried, grilled, poached or steamed. See also  FISH.
charcuterie [shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee, shar-koo-tuhr-EE] Taken from the term cuiseur de chair , meaning "cooker of meat," charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art at least since the 15th century. It refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as PÂTÉS, RILLETTES, GALANTINES, CRÉPINETTES, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie .
chard Also referred to as Swiss chard , this member of the beet family is grown for its crinkly green leaves and silvery, celerylike stalks. The variety with dark green leaves and reddish stalks (sometimes referred to as rhubarb chard ) has a stronger flavor than that with lighter leaves and stalks. There's also a ruby chard , which has a bright red stalk and a deep red (tinged with green) leaf. Chard is available year-round but best during the summer. Choose it for its tender greens and crisp stalks. Store, wrapped in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The greens can be prepared like spinach, the stalks like asparagus. Chard, a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable, is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron.
Chardonnay [shar-dn-AY, shar-doh-NAY] Just as CABERNET SAUVIGNON has become the most popular high-quality red-wine grape, Chardonnay has taken the lead for first-class white wine grapes — and with even greater passion. It's one of the grapes used in making fine French CHAMPAGNES and white Burgundies. In California, the wine produced from this grape is referred to simply as "Chardonnay." These complex wines are generally rich, buttery, fruity and on the dry side. Some will age up to 10 years. Chardonnay grapes are also grown in parts of Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Italy and Spain. See also  BURGUNDY WINES.
Charleston hot chile This relatively new variety of CAYENNE CHILE is touted to be twenty times hotter than the JALAPEÑO. Ranging from 3- to 4-inches long, the Charleston hot changes color as it ripens, turning from yellow-green, to golden, to orange and finally to crimson red. It's generally available only at farmer's markets and specialty produce shops. See also  CHILE.
charlotte [SHAR-luht] This classic molded dessert begins with a mold lined with SPONGE CAKE, LADYFINGERS or buttered bread. The traditional charlotte container is pail-shaped, but almost any mold is acceptable. The lined mold is then filled with layers (or a mixture) of fruit and CUSTARD or whipped cream that has been fortified with gelatin. The dessert is chilled thoroughly and unmolded before serving. Charlotte russe, said to have been created for the Russian Czar Alexander, is a ladyfinger shell filled with the ethereal BAVARIAN CREAM, and decorated elaborately with whipped-cream rosettes. The classic apple charlotte is a buttered-bread shell filled with spiced, sautéed apples. Unlike other charlottes, this one is baked and served hot.
charlotte russe see  CHARLOTTE
Chartreuse [shar-TROOZ] Originally made by the Carthusian monks in France's La Grande Chartreuse monastery, this aromatic LIQUEUR comes in green and yellow varieties. The yellow, colored with saffron, is lighter and sweeter in flavor. Green Chartreuse — colored with chlorophyll — is drier, has a sharper, more aromatic flavor and is higher in alcohol (110 PROOF).
chaser A beverage quaffed directly after drinking another (usually alcoholic) potable. For example, after a SHOT of whiskey, one might drink a beer "chaser" (a combination known as a BOILERMAKER).
chasoba [chah-SOH-bah] see  SOBA
chasseur sauce [shah-SUR] 1. French for "hunter," chasseur sauce is a hunter-style brown sauce consisting of mushrooms, shallots and white wine (sometimes tomatoes and parsley). It's most often served with game and other meats. 2. Dishes prepared in a chasseur style  are garnished with sautéed mushrooms and shallots.
château-bottled [sha-TOH] This designation on a wine label indicates that the wine was bottled on the property where the grapes were grown and the wine made. Other wines are often made from grapes grown throughout a region and brought to a winery for wine production. Estate-bottled  means the same as château-bottled . Both usually designate a wine of superior quality and character.
Châteaubriand [sha-toh-bree-AHN] Contrary to popular belief, Châteaubriand is actually a recipe, not a cut of beef. This method of preparation is said to be named for the 19th-century French statesman and author, François Châteaubriand. It's a succulent, thick cut of beef (usually taken from the center of the tenderloin) that's large enough for two people. The Châteaubriand is usually grilled or broiled and served with BÉARNAISE SAUCE and château potatoes (potatoes trimmed into olive shapes and sautéed in butter). See also  SHORT LOIN.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape [sha-toh-nuhf doo PAHP] Literally translated as "new castle of the Pope," this famous wine comes from a village of the same name near Avignon, France. Each producer creates its own special blend from the classic 13 grape varieties permitted for this wine. Most Châteauneuf-du-Papes are dry, full-bodied red wines; a small number are white. They're best when aged 5 to 10 years.
chaud-froid [shoh-FRWAH] Chaud  (French for "hot") and froid  (French for "cold") combine in this term to explain food (usually meat, poultry or game) that is first cooked, then chilled before serving. The distinguishing feature of a chaud-froid is that the food is glazed with an ASPIC, which is allowed to set before serving. Decorative vegetable cutouts are often set into the aspic for a colorful garnish.
chaurice [shoh-REEC] A Creole/Cajun pork sausage that's hot, spicy and full-flavored. Chaurice is used in Creole/Cajun cooking both as a main meat dish and in numerous dishes such as GUMBOS and JAMBALAYAS.
chayote [chi-OH-tay] Once the principal food of the Aztecs and Mayas, this gourdlike fruit is about the size and shape of a very large pear. Beneath its furrowed, pale green skin is a white, rather bland-tasting flesh surrounding one soft seed. In the United States, chayote is grown in several states including California, Florida and Louisiana (where it's known as mirliton ). Chayote are widely available during winter months, but can be found in some supermarkets throughout the year. Look for those that are small, firm and unblemished. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to a month. Chayotes can be prepared in any way suitable for summer squash. It can also be split, stuffed and baked like acorn squash, or used raw in salad. Because of its mild flavor it requires assertive seasoning. Chayote, known in France as christophene , is a good source of potassium.
checkerberry see  WINTERGREEN
cheddar cheese This popular cheese originated in the village of Cheddar in the Somerset region of England. It's a firm, cow's-milk cheese that ranges in flavor from mild to sharp, and in color from natural white to pumpkin orange. Orange cheddars are colored with a natural dye called ANNATTO. Cheddar is used to eat out of hand, as well as in a panoply of cooked dishes including casseroles, sauces, soups and so on. See also  CHEESE.
cheese Author Clifton Fadiman said it best when he described cheese as "milk's leap toward immortality." Almost everyone loves one type of cheese or another, whether it's delectably mild, creamy and soft or pungent, hard and crumbly. To begin with, cheese can be broken down into two very broad categories — fresh  and ripened . Within these basic categories, however, are a multitude of subdivisions, usually classified according to the texture of the cheese and how it was made. Naturally, many of these categories overlap because a cheese can have an entirely different character when young than it does when aged. Most cheese begins as milk (usually cow's, goat's or sheep's) that is allowed to thicken (sometimes with the addition of RENNIN or special bacteria) until it separates into a liquid (WHEY) and semisolids (CURD). The whey is drained off and the curds are either allowed to drain or pressed into different shapes, depending on the variety. At this stage it is called fresh (or unripened) cheese. Among the most popular fresh cheeses on the market today are COTTAGE CHEESE, CREAM CHEESE, POT CHEESE and RICOTTA. In order to become a ripened (or aged) cheese, the drained curds are CURED by a variety of processes including being subjected to heat, bacteria, soaking and so on. The curds are also sometimes flavored with salt, spices or herbs and some, like many cheddars, are colored with a natural dye. After curing, natural cheese begins a ripening process during which it's stored, usually uncovered, at a controlled temperature and humidity until the desired texture and character is obtained. It can be covered with wax or other protective coating before or after this ripening process. Ripened cheeses are further classified according to texture. Hard cheeses are cooked, pressed and aged for long periods (usually at least 2 years) until hard and dry, and are generally used for grating. Among the more well known of this genre are PARMESAN and PECORINO. Semifirm cheeses such as CHEDDAR, EDAM and JARLSBERG are firm but not usually crumbly. They have been cooked and pressed but not aged as long as those in the firm-cheese category. Semisoft cheeses are pressed but can be either cooked or uncooked. Their texture is sliceable but soft. Among the more popular semisoft cheeses are GOUDA, MONTEREY JACK and TILSIT. Soft-ripened (or surface-ripened) cheeses are neither cooked nor pressed. They are, however, subjected to various bacteria (either by spraying or dipping), which ripens the cheese from the outside in. Such cheeses develop a rind that is either powdery white (as in BRIE) or golden orange (like PONT L'ÉVÊQUE). The consistency of soft-ripened cheese can range from semisoft to creamy and spreadable. Some cheeses are further categorized by process. Blue-veined cheeses, for example, are inoculated or sprayed with spores of the molds Penicillium roqueforti  or penicillium glaucum . Some of these cheeses are punctured with holes to ensure that the mold will penetrate during the aging period. The result of these painstaking efforts are cheeses with veins or pockets of flavorful blue or green mold. Another special-process category is pasta filata ("spun paste"), Italy's famous stretched-curd cheeses. They're made using a special technique whereby the curd is given a hot whey bath, then kneaded and stretched to the desired pliable consistency. Among the pasta filata  cheeses are MOZZARELLA, PROVOLONE and CACIOCAVALLO. Whey cheeses are another special category. Instead of beginning with milk, they're made from the whey drained from the making of other cheeses. The whey is reheated (usually with rennin) until it coagulates. Probably the best known of this cheese type are GJETOST and Italian RICOTTA. There are a variety of reduced-fat and fat-free cheeses on the market today. They're commonly made either partially or completely with nonfat milk, and supplemented with various additives for texture and flavor. Unfortunately, the more the fat is reduced in cheese, the less flavor it has. Not only that, but the less fat there is, the worse cheese does when melted. The texture of such cheese turns rubbery when heated and, in fact, nonfat cheese never really seems to melt, but obstinately remains in its original form. For these reasons, low- and nonfat cheeses are best used in cold preparations like sandwiches. Imitation cheese is just that — a fusion that generally includes TOFU, calcium caseinate (a milk protein), rice starch, LECITHIN and various additives. It's a nondairy, nonfat, noncholesterol and nonflavor food that, for those who like cheese, is better left at the store. Storing cheese: Firm, semifirm and semisoft cheese  should be wrapped airtight in a plastic bag and stored in a refrigerator's cheese compartment (or warmest location) for up to several weeks. Such cheeses can be frozen, but will likely undergo a textural change. Fresh  and soft-ripened cheeses  should be tightly wrapped and stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, generally for no more than 2 weeks. If mold appears on firm, semifirm or semisoft cheese, simply cut away the offending portion (plus a little extra) and discard. Mold on fresh or soft-ripened cheese, however, signals that it should be thrown out. Firm and semifirm cheeses are easier to grate if they're cold. All cheese tastes better if brought to room temperature before serving. See also  APPENZELLER; ASADERO; ASIAGO; BANON; BELLELAY; BEL PAESE; BIERKÄSE; BLUE CHEESE; BOCCONCINI; BONBEL; BOURSAULT; BOURSIN; BRICK CHEESE; BRYNDZA; BÛCHERON; CAERPHILLY; CAMEMBERT; CANTAL; CASEIN; CHAOURCE; CHENNA; CHESHIRE; CHÈVRE; COLBY; CREMA DANIA; CREOLE CREAM CHEESE; CRESCENZA; DANABLU; DANBO; DERBY; DEVONSHIRE CHEESE; DOLCELATTE; DOUBLE-CREAM CHEESE; DUNLOP; ELBO; EMMENTALER; ESROM; EXPLORATEUR; FARMER CHEESE; FETA; FONDUE; FONTINA; GERVAIS; GJETOST; GLOUCESTER; GORGONZOLA; GOURMANDISE; GRUVIERA; GRUYERE; HANDKÄSE; HAVARTI; HERKIMER; HERVE; HOPFENKÄSE; KASSERI; KUMINOST; LANCASHIRE; LEICESTER; LEYDEN; LIEDER-KRANZ; LIMBURGER; LIPTAUER; LONGHORN; MANCHEGO; MASCARPONE; MONTRACHET,NEUFCHÂTEL; PANIR; PETIT SUISSE; PORT-SALUT; PROCESSED CHEESE; PYRAMIDE; QUARK; QUESO FRESCO; QUESO FUNDIDO; RACLETTE; REBLOCHON; ROMANO; ROQUEFORT; SAGA BLUE; SAINT ANDRÉ; SAMSOE; SAPSAGO; SBRINZ; SCAMORZE; STILTON; STRACCHINO; SWISS CHEESE; TALEGGIO; TELEME; TILLAMOOK; TYBO; VACHERIN MUENSTER; .
cheesecake Though a cheesecake can be savory (and served with crackers as an appetizer), most of us think of the term as describing a luscious, rich dessert. The texture of any cheesecake can vary greatly — from light and airy to dense and rich to smooth and creamy. All cheesecakes begin with cheese — usually cream cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese or sometimes Swiss or cheddar cheese. A cheesecake may or may not have a crust, which can be a light dusting of bread crumbs, a cookie crust or a pastry crust. The filling is made by creaming the cheese and mixing it with eggs, sugar (for desserts) and other flavorings. The mixture is then poured into a special SPRINGFORM PAN and baked. After baking, the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled and generally topped by sour cream, whipped cream, fruit or some other embellishment.
cheesecloth Long a versatile kitchen helper, this lightweight natural cotton cloth won't fall apart when wet and will not flavor the food it touches. Cheesecloth has a multitude of culinary uses including straining liquids, forming a packet for herbs and spices (as with BOUQUET GARNI) that can be dropped into a soup or stock pot and lining molds (such as for COEUR À LA CRÈME). It comes in both fine and coarse weaves and is available in gourmet shops, supermarkets and the kitchen section of many department stores. In Britain it's sometimes called butter muslin .
cheese steak Also called Philadelphia cheese steak  after the illustrious city that's said to have originated this sandwich in the 1930s. It consists of an Italian or French roll topped by thin slices of beef, cheese (usually American) and sometimes sautéed onions.
cheese straws Strips of cheese pastry or plain pastry sprinkled with cheese, baked until crisp and golden brown. The pastry strips are sometimes twisted before baking. Cheese straws are served as an appetizer or an accompaniment to soups or salads.
cheese wire A long, thin wire with wooden handles at each end, used to cut large rounds or wedges of cheese.
chef garde manger see  GARDE MANGER
chef's salad An entrée salad of tossed greens topped by cold JULIENNED cheeses and meats (such as chicken and ham), thinly sliced vegetables and slices of hard-cooked egg. The salad may be topped with any one of a variety of dressings.
chemisé; en chemise [shuh-mee-ZAY, ahn shuh-MEEZ] The word chemise  is French for "shirt" or "vest," and the term refers culinarily to a food that is wrapped or coated — such as wrapped in pastry, or coated with a sauce or aspic.
Chenin Blanc [SHEN-ihn BLAHN , , SHEN-ihn BLAHNGK] Grown in California and France's Loire Valley, the Chenin Blanc grape makes intense, spicy, slightly sweet wine. Chenin Blancs have a strong acidity that modulates the sweetness and promotes good aging. This well-balanced grape is responsible for France's famed Vouvray, Côteaux du Layon and Saumur. It's also used to produce several of California's sparkling wines.
chenna [CHEHN-nah] A fresh, unripened cheese used throughout India, although it's most popular in the eastern part of the country. It is made from cow's or buffalo's milk and resembles a COTTAGE CHEESE that's been kneaded until it's closer to the consistency of a light CREAM CHEESE. Chenna, which is available in Indian markets, is used primarily in a variety of Bengali desserts. See also  CHEESE; PANIR.
cherimoya [chehr-uh-MOY-ah] Also called custard  apple , this large tropical fruit tastes like a delicate combination of pineapple, papaya and banana. Irregularly oval in shape, the cherimoya has a leathery green skin that has a scaly pattern not unlike large, overlapping thumbprint indentations. The flesh, peppered with large, shiny black seeds, is cream-colored and the texture of firm custard. Now grown in California, cherimoyas are available from November through May. Purchase fruit that's firm, heavy for its size and without skin blemishes; avoid those with brown splotches. Store at room temperature until ripe (they will give slightly with soft pressure), then refrigerate, well wrapped, up to 4 days. Serve cherimoyas well chilled. Simply halve, remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Cherimoyas contain a fair amount of niacin, iron and vitamin C.
Chéri-Suisse A Swiss LIQUEUR with a cherry-chocolate flavor.
cherries jubilee A dessert of pitted BING or other dark red cherries, sugar and KIRSCH or BRANDY, which are combined, flambéed and spooned over vanilla ice cream. The cherries are usually prepared in a CHAFING DISH at the table and flamed with great flourish.
cherry Said to date as far back as 300 b.c., cherries were named after the Turkish town of Cerasus. Throughout the centuries, cherry trees have been lauded for their deliciously succulent fruit as well as for their beauty. Tourists flock to Washington, D.C., every year to see the cherry blossoms on the ornamental cherry trees that were originally presented to America's capital in 1912 by Tokyo's governor. There are two main groups of cherries — sweet and sour. The larger of the two are the firm, heart-shaped sweet cherries. They're delicious for eating out of hand and can also be cooked. The most popular varieties range from the dark red to purplish black BING, LAMBERT and TARTARIAN to the golden, red-blushed ROYAL ANN. MARASCHINO CHERRIES are usually made from Royal Ann cherries. Sour cherries are smaller, softer and more globular than the sweet varieties. Most are too tart to eat raw, but make excellent pies, preserves and the like. The bestselling sour cherry varieties are the bright red EARLY RICHMOND (the first cherry available in the late spring) and MONTMORENCY, and the dark mahogany red MORELLO. Most fresh cherries are available from May (June for sour cherries) through August. Choose brightly colored, shiny, plump fruit. Sweet cherries should be quite firm, but not hard; sour varieties should be medium-firm. Stemmed cherries are a better buy, but those with stems last longer. Store unwashed cherries in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Dried cherries — both sweet and sour — are available in many markets today. They can be eaten as a snack, or used in baked goods or desserts as one would use raisins. Cherries contain minor amounts of vitamins and minerals. See also  CHOKECHERRY.
Cherry Heering [HEER-ing] A dark red, cherry-flavored LIQUEUR from Denmark.
cherry pepper Also called Hungarian cherry pepper , this small (1 to 2 inches in diameter) pepper is round and bright red in color. It has a slightly sweet flavor that can range from mild to medium-hot. Cherry peppers can be found fresh and pickled in jars. See also  CHILE.
cherry plum see  MIRABELLE
cherrystone clam This East Coast medium-sized clam (shell diameter of about 2 1/2 inches) is of the hard-shell variety. Cherrystones are good both raw and cooked, steaming and baking being the most popular cooking methods. See also  CLAM.
cherry tomato see  TOMATO
chervil [CHER-vuhl] A mild-flavored member of the parsley family, this aromatic herb has curly, dark green leaves with an elusive anise flavor. Chervil is one of the main ingredients in FINES HERBES. Though most chervil is cultivated for its leaves alone, the root is edible and was, in fact, enjoyed by early Greeks and Romans. Today it's available dried but has the best flavor when fresh. Both forms can be found in most supermarkets. It can be used like parsley but its delicate flavor is diminished when boiled. Chervil is also called cicily  and sweet cicily . See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
corkscrew A tool used to withdraw corks from bottles. Typically, a corkscrew has a pointed metal spiral with a transverse handle at one end. There are many varieties of corkscrews, however, including one that holds the bottle while a crank handle drives the screw into the cork and then extracts it.
corn Throughout Europe, "corn" has always been the generic name for any of the cereal grains; Europeans call corn maize , a derivative of the early American Indian word mahiz.  In fact, before settlers came to the New World Europeans had never seen this food — called Indian corn  by colonists. What a wonderfully versatile and useful gift the Indians gave the world. Everything on the corn plant can be used: the husks for TAMALES, the silk for medicinal tea, the kernels for food and the stalks for fodder. Corn is not only a popular food, but the foundation of many by-products including BOURBON, CORN FLOUR, CORNMEAL, CORN OIL, CORNSTARCH, CORN SYRUP, CORN WHISKEY and laundry starch. The multicolored Indian corn — used today mainly for decoration — has red, blue, brown and purple kernels. Horticulturists developed the two most popular varieties today — white (Country Gentleman) and yellow (Golden Bantam) corn. Yellow corn has larger, fuller-flavored kernels; white corn kernels are smaller and sweeter. The hybrid butter and sugar corn produces ears of yellow and white kernels. The peak season for fresh corn is May through September. As soon as it's picked, the corn's sugar immediately begins its gradual conversion to starch which, in turn, lessens the corn's natural sweetness. Therefore, it's important to buy corn as soon after it's picked as possible. Look for ears with bright green, snugly fitting husks and golden brown silk. The kernels should be plump and milky, and come all the way to the ear's tip; the rows should be tightly spaced. Fresh corn should be cooked and served the day it's purchased, but it can be refrigerated up to a day. Strip off the husks and silk just before cooking. Corn can also be purchased canned or frozen. Tiny baby corn, particularly popular with Thai and Chinese cooks, can be purchased in cans or jars. Unfortunately, its flavor bears little resemblance to the fresh (or even frozen) vegetable. HOMINY is specially processed kernels of corn. See also  POPCORN.
cornbread An all-American QUICK BREAD that substitutes cornmeal for most (or sometimes all) of the flour. It can include various flavorings such as cheese, scallions, molasses and bacon. Cornbread can be thin and crisp or thick and light. It can be baked Southern style in a skillet or in a shallow square, round or rectangular baking pan. Some of the more popular cornbreads are HUSHPUPPIES, JOHNNYCAKES and SPOON BREAD.
corn dog Created in 1942 by Texan Neil Fletcher for the State Fair, a corn dog is a FRANKFURTER or other sausage dipped in a heavy cornbread batter and fried or baked. Corn dogs are often served on a stick for easy eating. See also  HOT DOG; PIGS IN BLANKETS.
corned beef Beef (usually BRISKET, but also ROUND) CURED in a seasoned BRINE. Sometimes the brine is pumped through the arterial system. The term "corned" beef comes from the English use of the word "corn," meaning any small particle (such as a grain of salt). Two types of corned beef are available, depending on the butcher and the region. Old-fashioned corned beef is grayish-pink in color and very salty; the newer style has less salt and is a bright rosy red. Much corned beef is now being made without nitrites, which are reputed to be carcinogenic.
Cornell bread The Cornell formula to enrich bread was developed in the 1930s at New York's Cornell University. It consists of 1 tablespoon each soy flour and nonfat milk powder plus 1 teaspoon wheat germ for each cup of flour used in a bread recipe. These enrichments are placed in the bottom of the measuring cup before the flour is spooned in.
cornet [kor-NAY, kor-NEHT] French for "horn," a cornet can be any of several horn- or cone-shaped items including pastry (filled with whipped cream), a thin slice of ham (filled with cheese), or a paper cone (filled with candy or nuts).
corn flour Finely ground cornmeal, corn flour comes in yellow and white and is used for breading and in combination with other flours in baked goods. Corn flour is milled from the whole kernel, while CORNSTARCH is obtained from the endosperm portion of the kernel. In British recipes the term "cornflour" is used synonymously with the U.S. word cornstarch. MASA HARINA is a special corn flour that's the basic ingredient for corn tortillas.
corn husks These papery husks from corn are used primarily in making TAMALES, but they're also used to wrap other foods for steaming. Latin markets sell packaged corn husks, which must be softened before use. To do so, soak husks in very hot water for about 30 minutes, then drain, pat dry and use.
cornichon [KOR-nih-shohn , , kor-nee-SHOHN ] French for "gherkin," cornichons are crisp, tart pickles made from tiny gherkin cucumbers. They're a traditional accompaniment to PÂTÉS as well as smoked meats and fish.
Cornish game hen see  CHICKEN
Cornish pasty [PASS-tee] Named after Cornwall, England, these savory TURNOVERS consist of a short-crust pastry enfolding a chopped meat-and-potato filling. Other vegetables and sometimes fish are also used. In the 18th and 19th centuries, pasties were the standard lunch of Cornwall's tin miners. It was common to place a savory mixture in one end and an apple mixture in the other so both meat and dessert could be enjoyed in the same pasty.
cornmeal Dried corn kernels that have been ground in one of three textures — fine, medium or coarse. There are two methods of grinding. The old-fashioned water-ground (also called stone-ground) method — so named because water power is used to turn the mill wheels — retains some of the hull and germ of the corn. Because of the fat in the germ, water-ground cornmeal is more nutritious, but won't keep as long and should be stored (up to 4 months) in the refrigerator. Water-ground cornmeal is available at health-food stores and some supermarkets. The newer style of milling is done by huge steel rollers that remove the husk and germ almost completely. The product can be stored almost indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Water-ground or stone-ground cornmeal is usually so labeled; steel-ground cornmeal rarely carries any designation on the package. Cornmeal is either yellow, white or blue, depending on the type of corn used. Yellow cornmeal has slightly more vitamin A than white. Blue cornmeal is usually available only in specialty markets or the gourmet section of some supermarkets. However, there are an increasing number of blue-corn products available such as blue-cornmeal flakes and chips. See also  CORN FLOUR.
corn oil High in polyunsaturates, this odorless, almost tasteless oil is obtained from the endosperm of corn kernels. It has a high SMOKE POINT, and is therefore good for frying. It's also used in baking, for salad dressings and to make margarine. See also  FATS AND OILS.
corn pone Extremely popular in the southern United States, corn pone is an eggless CORNBREAD that is shaped into small ovals and fried or baked.
corn salad Native to Europe, corn salad has nothing to do with corn . . . but it is used in salads. The narrow, dark green leaves of this plant are tender and have a tangy, nutlike flavor. In addition to being used as a salad green, corn salad can also be steamed and served as a vegetable. Though it's often found growing wild in American cornfields, it's considered a "gourmet" green and is therefore expensive and hard to find. It doesn't keep well and should be used within a day or two of purchase. Corn salad should be washed and drained completely of any excess moisture before being stored airtight in a plastic bag. It's also called field salad, field lettuce, lamb's lettuce  and mâche .
corn smut see  CUITLACOCHE
cornstarch A dense, powdery "flour" obtained from the endosperm portion of the corn kernel. Cornstarch is most commonly used as a thickening agent for puddings, sauces, soups, etc. Because it tends to form lumps, cornstarch is generally mixed with a small amount of cold liquid to form a thin paste before being stirred into a hot mixture. Mixing it with a granular solid like granulated sugar will also help it disperse into a liquid. Sauces thickened with cornstarch will be clear, rather than opaque, as with flour-based sauces. However, they will thin if cooked too long or stirred too vigorously. Cornstarch is also used in combination with flour in many European cake and cookie recipes; it produces a finer-textured, more compact product than flour alone. In British recipes, cornstarch is referred to as cornflour .
corn sugar see  DEXTROSE
corn syrup A thick, sweet syrup created by processing cornstarch with acids or enzymes. Corn syrup comes in light or dark forms. Light corn syrup has been clarified to remove all color and cloudiness; dark corn syrup, which has caramel flavor and coloring added to it, has a deeper color and stronger flavor. Because it inhibits crystallization, corn syrup is particularly popular as an ingredient in frosting, candy, jams and jellies. It's also used as a pancake syrup, either maple-flavored or plain.
corn whiskey Still called moonshine  and white lightning  in some rural areas of the South, corn whiskey is distilled from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn. It's distilled at less than 160 PROOF (80 percent alcohol). See also  WHISKEY.
Cortland apple A popular apple in the Northeast and northern Midwest, the Cortland has a smooth, shiny red skin. Its flesh is crisp, juicy, sweet-tart and resists browning. It's an all-purpose apple good for cooking as well as out-of-hand eating. See also  APPLE.
corvina [kor-VEE-nuh] see  WEAKFISH
cos lettuce [KOS] see  ROMAINE LETTUCE
costmary An herb belonging to the composite plant family, which includes daisies, dandelions, marigolds and sunflowers. The silvery, fragrant costmary leaves have a minty, lemony character. They're used in salads, and as a flavoring in soups, veal and chicken dishes and sausages. Costmary is also called alecost  (because it was used in making ale), Bible leaf  (because its long leafs were used as book markers) and mint geranium .
cotechino [koh-teh-KEE-noh] A specialty of several of Italy's Emilian provinces, this fresh pork sausage is quite large — usually about 3 inches in diameter and 8 to 9 inches long. It's made from pork rind and meat from the cheek, neck and shoulder, and is usually seasoned with nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. The best cotechino is delicately flavored and has a soft, almost creamy texture. It's a traditional ingredient in BOLLITO MISTO, a classic Italian dish of mixed boiled meats accompanied by a savory broth and a piquant green sauce. See also  SAUSAGE.
Côtes du Rhône [kot deuh ROHN] The generic APPELLATION given to red, white and rosé wines grown in an area covering 83,000 acres in France's Rhône Valley. The majority of RHÔNE WINES are red. Some of these are a deep ruby-black color, with full-bodied, concentrated flavors that benefit from at least 5 years' aging, while others are lighter and fruitier. The white Rhônes are fruity and dry and can be quite heady; the rosés can also be rather dry. Rhône wines are not made from one grape variety, but from a blend of from 2 to 13. The principal red grape is Grenache, but Carignan, Counoise, Mourvedre, Terret Noir and Syrah are also used. The white grapes used are Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Muscardine, Picardan, Roussanne and Piquepoul (or Picpoule).
cotriade [koh-tree-AHD] From Brittany, France, cotriade  is a fish soup made with potatoes and without shellfish. It's usually ladled over thick slices of bread.
cottage cheese A fresh cheese made from whole, part-skimmed or skimmed PASTEURIZED cow's milk. "Sweet curd" cottage cheese — by far the most popular — has a rather mild (sometimes bland) flavor because the curds are washed to remove most of the cheese's natural acidity. The texture of cottage cheese is usually quite moist. If the curds are allowed to drain longer, pot cheese is formed; longer yet and the firm farmer's cheese is created. Cottage cheese comes in three forms: small-curd, medium-curd and large-curd (sometimes called "popcorn" cottage cheese). Creamed cottage cheese has had 4 to 8 percent cream added to it, lowfat cottage cheese has from 1 to 2 percent fat (check the label), and nonfat cottage cheese has, of course, zero fat. Cottage cheese is sold plain and flavored, the most popular additions being chives and pineapple (but not together). Because it's more perishable than other cheeses, cartons of cottage cheese are stamped on the bottom with the date they should be pulled from the shelves. Store cottage cheese in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 10 days past the stamped date. See also  CHEESE.
cottage fried potatoes see  HOME-FRIED POTATOES
cottage pudding A dessert composed of a plain but rich cake smothered with a sweet sauce, such as lemon or chocolate.
cotton candy A fluffy, cottony confection made from long, thin SPUN SUGAR threads, which are wound onto a cardboard cone for easy eating. Cotton candy is often tinted with food coloring, most commonly pink, and is sometimes also flavored. It dates back to the early 1900s, and has been a favorite at amusement parks, county fairs and circuses ever since.
cottonseed oil A viscous oil obtained from the seed of the cotton plant. Most of the cottonseed oil produced is used in combination with other oils to create vegetable oil products. It's used in some margarines and salad dressings, and for many commercially fried products. See also  FATS AND OILS.
cotto sausage The word cotto  is Italian for "cooked," and is used to describe this soft Italian salami. It can be found whole in some specialty shops, but is more often sold sliced. Cotto sausage is excellent for sandwiches and cold-cut platters. See also  SAUSAGE.
coulibiac [koo-lee-BYAHK] This French adaptation of the Russian original (kulebiaka ) consists of a creamy melange of fresh salmon, rice, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, shallots and dill enclosed in a hot pastry envelope. The pastry is usually made with BRIOCHE dough. Coulibiacs can be large or small but are classically oval in shape. They can be served as a first or main course.
coulis [koo-LEE] 1. A general term referring to a thick puree or sauce, such as a tomato coulis.  2. The word can also refer to thick, pureed shellfish soups. 3. Originally, the term coulis  was used to describe the juices from cooked meat.
country captain Now an American classic, country captain is said to have taken its name from a British army officer who brought the recipe back from his station in India. It consists of chicken, onion, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, currants, parsley, curry powder and other seasonings, all slowly cooked together over low heat in a covered skillet. The finished dish is sprinkled with toasted almonds and usually served with rice.
country-cured ham Ham that has been dry-CURED in a mixture of salt, sodium nitrate, sugar and other seasonings for a period of days (depending on the weight of the ham). The salt is then rinsed off and the ham is slowly smoked over hardwood fires before being aged 6 to 12 months. Most are sold uncooked, though fully cooked hams are now becoming more readily available. Country-cured ham is distinguished by its salty, well-seasoned, firm flesh. America's most famous country-cured hams come from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. See also  HAM.
country gravy A gravy made from pan drippings, flour and milk. It can be thick to thin, depending on the amount of milk added. Country gravy is a popular accompaniment to CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK.
coupe [KOOP] Ice cream or sherbet with a topping of fruit, whipped cream and, traditionally, glazed chestnuts (MARRONS glacés). Classically, the dessert is served in a coupe  dish, which is stemmed, and has a wide, deep bowl.
court-bouillon [koor bwee-YAWN ] Traditionally used for poaching fish, seafood or vegetables, a court-bouillon  is a broth made by cooking various vegetables and herbs (usually an onion studded with a few whole cloves, celery, carrots and a BOUQUET GARNI) in water for about 30 minutes. Wine, lemon juice or vinegar may be added. The broth is allowed to cool before the vegetables are removed.
couscous [KOOS-koos] A staple of North African cuisine, couscous is granular SEMOLINA. Cooked, it may be served with milk as porridge, with a dressing as a salad or sweetened and mixed with fruits for dessert. Packaged precooked couscous is available in Middle Eastern markets and large supermarkets. The name couscous also refers to the famous Maghreb dish in which semolina or cracked WHEAT is steamed in the perforated top part of a special pot called a couscoussière , while chunks of meat (usually lamb or chicken), various vegetables, chickpeas and raisins simmer in the bottom part. In lieu of a couscoussière , a colander set over a large pot will do. The cooked semolina is heaped onto a platter, with the meats and vegetables placed on top. All diners use chunks of bread to scoop the couscous from this central platter. Couscous varies from country to country — Moroccans include saffron, Algerians like to add tomatoes and Tunisians spice theirs up with the hot-pepper-based HARISSA SAUCE.
coush-coush [koosh-koosh] Thick cereal-type dish that's a CAJUN breakfast specialty. It's made by stirring boiling water into a mixture of yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper, then turning the mixture into a skillet containing preheated lard or bacon fat. During cooking, the pan becomes coated with a toasty brown crust, which is broken up and stirred into the cereal before serving. Coush-coush is served with plenty of butter, milk or cream and CANE SYRUP or sugar.
couverture [koo-vehr-TYOOR] see  CHOCOLATE
cowberry Often found growing in pastures, the tart, red cowberry is a member of the cranberry family. It grows in northern Europe, Canada and Maine, and is used for sauces and jams. Also called mountain cranberry .
cowpea see  BLACK-EYED PEA
crab Any of a large variety of CRUSTACEANS (animals with a shell) with 10 legs, the front two of which have pincers. Crabs are noted for their sweet, succulent meat and are the second most popular shellfish (after shrimp) in the United States. There are fresh- and saltwater crabs, the latter being the most plentiful. The major catch on the Pacific coast is DUNGENESS CRAB, from the North Pacific come the KING CRAB and snow crab, along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts it's BLUE CRAB and Florida waters give us the STONE CRAB. Hard-shell crabs are available year-round in coastal areas. They're sold whole (cooked or live), and in the form of cooked lump meat (whole pieces of the white body meat) or flaked meat (small bits of light and dark meat from the body and claws). Always sold whole, SOFT-SHELL CRABS — in season from April to mid-September (with a peak in June and July) — are blue crabs that have shed their hard shells. All live crabs should be used on the day they're purchased. Refrigerate them until just before cooking. Cook raw crabmeat within 24 hours after the crab dies. Crabmeat is also available frozen, canned or pasteurized (heated in cans at a temperature high enough to kill bacteria, but lower than that used in canning). Pasteurized crabmeat should be stored unopened in the refrigerator for up to 6 months and used within 4 days of opening. Whole crabs and crabmeat can be cooked in a variety of ways including frying, steaming, broiling or in soups, GUMBOS or CRAB CAKES. Crab ROE, available only in the spring, is a prized addition to the South Carolina specialty, SHE-CRAB SOUP. For information on specific crabs, see individual listings. See also shellfish. 
crabapple A small, rosy red apple with a rather hard, extremely tart flesh. Crabapples, available during the fall months, are too sour for out-of-hand eating but make outstanding jellies and jams. Spiced and canned whole, they're a delicious accompaniment for meats such as pork and poultry. See also  APPLE.
crab boil Sold packaged in supermarkets and specialty markets, crab boil (also called fish boil  and shrimp boil ) is a mixture of herbs and spices added to water in which crab, shrimp or lobster is cooked. The blend can include mustard seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, whole allspice and cloves, dried ginger pieces and red chiles.
crab cake A mixture of lump crabmeat, bread crumbs, milk, egg, scallions and various seasonings, formed into small cakes and fried until crisp and golden brown.
crab imperial A classic American dish of crabmeat combined with mayonnaise or a sherried white sauce, spooned into blue-crab or scallop shells, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or bread crumbs and baked until golden brown.
crab Louis; crab Louie [LOO-ee] A cold dish in which lump crabmeat on a bed of shredded lettuce is topped with a dressing of mayonnaise, CHILI SAUCE, cream, scallions, green pepper, lemon juice and seasonings. The crab can be garnished with a quartered tomato and hard-cooked egg. Credit for the origin of crab Louis depends on to whom you talk. Some attribute this dish to the chef at Seattle's Olympic Club, while others say it was created in San Francisco — either by the chef at Solari's restaurant or the one at the St. Francis Hotel. Whatever the case, today there are about as many versions of this favorite as there are cooks.
cracked wheat see  WHEAT
cracklings Delicious, crunchy pieces of either pork or poultry fat after it has been RENDERED, or the crisp, brown skin of fried or roasted pork. Cracklings are sold packaged in some supermarkets and specialty markets. "Cracklin' bread" is cornbread with bits of cracklings scattered throughout.
cranberry These shiny scarlet berries are grown in huge, sandy bogs on low, trailing vines. They're also called bounceberries , because ripe ones bounce, and craneberries , after the shape of the shrub's pale pink blossoms, which resemble the heads of the cranes often seen wading through the cranberry bogs. Cranberries grow wild in northern Europe and in the northern climes of North America, where they are also extensively cultivated — mainly in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon. Harvested between Labor Day and Halloween, the peak market period for cranberries is from October through December. They're usually packaged in 12-ounce plastic bags. Any cranberries that are discolored or shriveled should be discarded. Cranberries can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for at least 2 months or frozen up to a year. Besides the traditional cranberry sauce, this fruit also makes delicious CHUTNEYS, pies, COBBLERS and other desserts. Because of their extreme tartness, cranberries are best combined with other fruits, such as apples or dried apricots. Canned cranberry sauce — jelled and whole-berry — is available year-round, as are frozen cranberries in some markets. Sweetened dried cranberries, which can be used like raisins in baked goods or as snacks, are also available in many supermarkets. Fresh cranberries are very high in vitamin C.
cranberry bean Also called shell beans  or shellouts , these beautiful beans have large, knobby beige pods splotched with red. The beans inside are cream-colored with red streaks and have a delicious nutlike flavor. Cranberry beans must be shelled before cooking, and lose their red color during the cooking process. They're available fresh in the summer and dried throughout the year. See also  BEANS.
Cranshaw melon see  CRENSHAW MELON
crappie Found mainly in the Great Lakes and Mississippi regions, crappies are large, freshwater sunfish that are about 12 inches long and range from 1 to 2 pounds. There are both black and white crappies; the latter is also called chinquapin.  Crappies have lean flesh that is particularly suited to broiling or sautéing. See also  FISH.
crawdads see  CRAYFISH
crawfish see  CRAYFISH
crayfish Any of various freshwater CRUSTACEANS that resemble tiny lobsters, complete with claws. Other coastal crustaceans (such as spiny or rock lobster) are sometimes mistakenly called saltwater crayfish.  They are not, however, of the same species. Crayfish range from 3 to 6 inches long and weigh from 2 to 8 ounces. They're very popular in France (where they're called écrevisses ), New Zealand, Scandinavia and parts of the United States — particularly Louisiana, where they're known as crawfish  and crawdads . The great majority of the U.S. harvest comes from the waters of the Mississippi basin, and many Louisianans call their state the "crawfish capital of the world." Crayfish can be prepared in most manners appropriate for lobster and, like lobster, turn bright red when cooked. They're usually eaten with the fingers, and the sweet, succulent meat must be picked or sucked out of the tiny shells. See also  SHELLFISH.
cream n.  Upon standing, unhomogenized milk naturally separates into two layers — a MILK FAT-rich cream on top and almost fat-free (or skimmed) milk on the bottom. Commercially, the cream is separated from the milk by centrifugal force. Almost all cream that reaches the market today has been pasteurized. There are many varieties of cream, all categorized according to the amount of milk fat in the mixture. Light cream, also called coffee or table cream, can contain anywhere from 18 to 30 percent fat, but commonly contains 20 percent. Light whipping cream, the form most commonly available, contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes stabilizers and emulsifiers. Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream, is whipping cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. It's usually only available in specialty or gourmet markets. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped. Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to 12 percent milk fat. Neither half-and-half nor light cream can be whipped. Ultrapasteurized cream, seen more and more in markets today, has been briefly heated at temperatures up to 300°F to kill microorganisms that cause milk products to sour. It has a longer shelf life than regular cream, but it doesn't whip as well and it has a slight "cooked" flavor. All other cream is highly perishable and should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Pressurized whipped cream, contained in cans under pressure, is a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers and gas, such as nitrous oxide. It's not really "whipped" but, more aptly, expanded by the gas into a puffy form. Aerosol "dessert toppings," which are usually made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, have absolutely no cream in them . . . and taste like it. Read the label — the fat content of real cream mixtures must be indicated on the product label. See also  CLOTTED CREAM; CRÈME FRAÎCHE; SOUR CREAM. cream v.  To beat an ingredient or combination of ingredients until the mixture is soft, smooth and "creamy." Often a recipe calls for creaming a fat, such as butter, or creaming a mixture of butter and sugar. When creaming two or more ingredients together, the result should be a smooth, homogeneous mixture that shows neither separation nor evidence of any particles (such as sugar). Electric mixers and food processors make quick work of what used to be a laborious, time-consuming process.
cream cheese Thanks to American ingenuity, cream cheese — the most popular ingredient for cheesecake — was developed in 1872. The appellation comes from the smooth, creamy texture of this mildly tangy, spreadable cheese. The soft, unripened cheese is made from cow's milk and by law must contain at least 33 percent MILK FAT and not more than 55 percent moisture. GUM ARABIC is added to some cream cheese to increase firmness and shelf life. American neufchâtel cheese is slightly lower in calories because of a lower milk fat content (about 23 percent). It also contains slightly more moisture. Light or lowfat cream cheese has about half the calories as the regular style and nonfat cream cheese has zero fat grams. The easily spreadable whipped cream cheese has been made soft and fluffy by air being whipped into it. It has fewer calories per serving than regular cream cheese only because there's less volume per serving. Cream cheese is sometimes sold mixed with other ingredients such as herbs, spices or fruit. Refrigerate cream cheese, tightly wrapped, and use within a week after opening. If any mold develops on the surface, discard the cream cheese. See also  CHEESE.
cabbage The word cabbage is a derivation of the French word caboche , a colloquial term for "head." The cabbage family — of which Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are all members — is wide and varied. Cabbage itself comes in many forms — the shapes can be flat, conical or round, the heads compact or loose, and the leaves curly or plain. In the United States, the most widely used cabbage comes in compact heads of waxy, tightly wrapped leaves that range in color from almost white to green to red. SAVOY CABBAGE and CHINESE CABBAGE are considered culinarily superior but are less readily available. Choose a cabbage with fresh, crisp-looking leaves that are firmly packed; the head should be heavy for its size. Cabbage may be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for about a week. It can be cooked in a variety of ways or eaten raw, as in SLAW. Cabbage, a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable, contains a good amount of vitamin C and some vitamin A.
cabbage turnip see  KOHLRABI
Cabernet Franc [KA-behr-nay FRAHN,  , FRAN , GK] Although similar in structure and flavor to CABERNET SAUVIGNON, this red wine grape is not quite as full-bodied, and has fewer TANNINS and less acid. It is, however, more aromatic and herbaceous. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc grows in cooler climates and ripens early. Therefore, it can be particularly important if weather conditions create a less-than-perfect Cabernet Sauvignon crop. Under such circumstances, the addition of Cabernet Franc might salvage the vintage.
Cabernet Sauvignon [ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YOHN, soh-vee-NYAWN ] The most successful and popular of the top-quality red-wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is the basis for most of California's superb red wines and the primary grape of most of the top vineyards in BORDEAUX's Médoc and Graves districts. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is most often blended with one or more of the following grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot or Malbec. In California, wines are more often made with 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, although some blending is now taking place. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce full-bodied, fruity wines that are rich, complex and intensely flavorful. There are a multitude of well-made Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made throughout the world. Among the most notable are those from France's Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Margaux, and California's Beaulieu Vineyards, Caymus Vineyards, Heitz Wine Cellars and Robert Mondavi Winery.
cabinet pudding This classic English dessert is made with layers of bread, cake or LADYFINGERS (which may be soaked with LIQUEUR), dried fruit and custard. The pudding is baked, unmolded and usually served with CRÈME ANGLAISE. Another version of cabinet pudding uses gelatin and whipped cream; rather than being baked, it's simply chilled until set.
cacao [kah-KAY-oh, kah-KAH-oh] The tropical, evergreen cacao tree is cultivated for its seeds (also called beans), from which COCOA BUTTER, CHOCOLATE and COCOA POWDER are produced.
cacciatore [kah-chuh-TOR-ee] Italian for "hunter," this American-Italian term refers to food prepared "hunter-style," with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, various herbs and sometimes wine. Chicken cacciatore  is the most popular dish prepared in this style.
caciocavallo cheese [kah-choh-kuh-VAH-loh] From southern Italy, caciocavallo  (meaning "cheese on horseback") is said to date back to the 14th century, and believed by some to have originally been made from mare's milk. Today's caciocavallo  comes from cow's milk and has a mild, slightly salty flavor and firm, smooth texture when young (about 2 months). As it ages, the flavor becomes more pungent and the texture more granular, making it ideal for grating. Caciocavallo is one of the pasta filata  types of cheeses (like PROVOLONE and MOZZARELLA), which means it has been stretched and shaped by hand. It may be purchased plain or smoked and comes in string-tied gourd or spindle shapes. See also  CHEESE.
cactus leaves see  NOPALES
cactus pear see  PRICKLY PEAR
Caerphilly cheese [kar-FIHL-ee] This mild yet tangy cow's-milk cheese has a moist, semifirm texture and is generally sold in cylinders or blocks. It's best eaten fresh (the English prefer it only a few weeks old) and is delicious with dark breads and ALE. Though now produced in England, Caerphilly gets its name from the village in Wales where it was first made; it was the traditional lunch of Welsh miners. See also  CHEESE.
Caesar salad [SEE-zer] A salad consisting of greens (classically, ROMAINE LETTUCE) tossed with a garlic VINAIGRETTE dressing (made with WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE and lemon juice), grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, a CODDLED egg and sometimes anchovies. It is said to have been created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini, who owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.
café; cafe [ka-FAY] 1. The French word for "coffee." 2. A small, unpretentious restaurant.
café au lait [ka-fay oh-LAY] French for "coffee with milk." It usually consists of equal portions of scalded milk and coffee.
café brûlot [ka-fay broo-LOH] A traditional New Orleans flaming brew consisting of coffee blended with spices, orange and lemon peel and brandy. Café  brûlot  is generally made in a flameproof bowl and ladled into cups. In French, brûlot  means "burnt brandy."
café filtré [ka-fay FEEL-tr , ay] French term meaning "filtered coffee" and referring to coffee made by pouring very hot water through a filter holding ground coffee. It's traditionally served black, in demitasse cups.
café latte [ka-fay LAH-tay] ESPRESSO combined with a liberal amount of foamy steamed milk, usually served in a tall glass mug.
café macchiato [ka-fay mah-kee-YAH-toh] An ESPRESSO with a dollop of steamed-milk foam, served in an espresso cup.
café mocha [ka-fay MOH-kah] ESPRESSO combined with chocolate syrup and a liberal amount of foamy steamed milk. A café mocha  is usually served in a tall glass mug.
caffeine [ka-FEEN] An organic compound found in foods such as chocolate, coffee, cola nuts and tea. Scientific studies have shown that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, kidneys and heart, causes the release of insulin in the body and dilates the blood vessels.
cajeta [kah-HAY-tah] A thick, dark syrup or paste made from caramelized sugar and milk — traditionally goat's milk, although cow's milk is often used. Cajeta can be found in several flavors (primarily caramel and fruit) in Latin markets. It's used in Mexico and in some South American countries primarily as a dessert by itself or as a topping for ice cream or fruit.
Cajun cooking [KAY-juhn] Today's Cajuns are the descendants of 1,600 French Acadians whom the British forced from their Nova Scotian homeland in 1785. The local Indians transmuted the word Acadians  to Cagians  and, eventually, to Cajuns . Many confuse Cajun cooking with CREOLE COOKING but though there are many points of similarity, there are also distinct differences. Cajun cooking, a combination of French and Southern cuisines, is robust, country-style cookery that uses a dark ROUX and plenty of animal (usually pork) fat. Creole cooking places its emphasis on butter and cream. Some maintain that Creole cooking uses more tomatoes and the Cajuns more spices. Both cuisines make generous use of FILÉ POWDER and the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery. Two of the more traditional Cajun dishes include JAMBALAYA and coush-coush (a thick cornmeal breakfast dish).
Cajun popcorn A popular Louisiana snack and appetizer of crawfish (see  CRAYFISH) tails that have been shelled, battered and deep-fried until extra crispy.
Cajun seasoning; Cajun spice seasoning There are many Cajun seasoning blends on the market today, all with their own distinct characteristics. Most are boldly flavored and sassy and representative of CAJUN COOKING. In general, a Cajun seasoning blend might include garlic, onion, CHILES, black pepper, mustard and celery. However, you can count on the fact that each Cajun seasoning blend on the market will be a little different from another.
cake A sweet, baked confection usually containing flour, sugar, flavoring ingredients and eggs or other LEAVENER such as baking powder or baking soda.
cake comb A flat, small (usually 5- by 5- by 4-inch), triangle-shape tool, generally made of stainless steel. Each of the three edges has serrated teeth of a different size. This tool is used to make decorative designs and swirls in the frosting on a cake.
cake flour see  FLOUR
cala [kah-LAH] The word "cala" comes from an African word for "rice," and refers to a deep-fried pastry made with rice, yeast, sugar and spices. Calas resemble small, round doughnuts without a hole and are usually sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.
calabaza [kah-lah-BAH-sah] A pumpkinlike squash popular throughout the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. The calabaza, which is also called West Indian pumpkin , is round in shape and can range in size from as large as a watermelon to as small as a cantaloupe. Its skin can range in color from green to pale tan to light red-orange; its flesh is a brilliant orange. Calabaza has a sweet flavor akin to that of BUTTERNUT SQUASH; its texture is firm and succulent. It can be found in chunks throughout the year in Latin markets. Choose cut pieces with fresh, moist, tightly grained flesh with no signs of soft or wet spots. If you can find whole calabaza, look for those that are unblemished and heavy for their size; the stem should still be attached. Whole calabaza can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks. Cut calabaza should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for no more than a week. Calabaza may be used in any way suitable for winter squashes like ACORN SQUASH and butternut.
calamari [kal-uh-MAHR-ee] see  SQUID
calamata olive see  KALAMATA OLIVE
calcium A mineral essential in building and maintaining bones and teeth, as well as in providing efficient muscle contraction and blood clotting. Calcium is found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables (such as spinach, turnip greens and broccoli), sardines and canned salmon with bones and rhubarb.
caldo [KAHL-doh] 1. Italian for "warm" or "hot." 2. The Spanish and Portuguese word meaning "broth" or "soup."
caldo verde [KAHL-doh VEHR-deh] Caldo verde  ("green soup") is a Portuguese favorite that combines shredded KALE, sliced potatoes, LINGUIÇA sausage and olive oil for a deliciously satisfying soup.
calf's foot jelly An ASPIC made by boiling calves' feet until the natural GELATIN is extracted. The liquid is strained, then combined with wine, lemon juice and spices and refrigerated until set. If sugar is added, it can be eaten as a dessert. Calf's-foot jelly was once thought to be a restorative for invalids.
calico bean see  LIMA BEAN
California corbina see  DRUM
California Jack cheese see  MONTEREY JACK CHEESE
callaloo [KAL-lah-loo] 1. The large, edible green leaves of the TARO ROOT, popular in the Caribbean islands cooked as one would prepare turnip or collard greens. 2. A Caribbean soup made with callaloo greens, coconut milk, okra, yams and CHILES.
calorie [KAL-uh-ree] A unit measuring the energy value of foods, calibrated by the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by one degree CELSIUS at a pressure of one atmosphere. The four sources from which calories are obtained are ALCOHOL, CARBOHYDRATES, FATS and PROTEINS, however all these sources are not equal. For example, fat packs a hefty 9 calories per gram, over twice as much as the 4 calories per gram carried by both carbohydrates and proteins. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, almost as many as fat. Clearly, fats and alcohol have a much higher caloric density than carbohydrates and proteins, so it's obvious that a 6-ounce serving of steak will be much more expensive calorically than 6 ounces of cauliflower.
Calvados [KAL-vah-dohs] A dry apple BRANDY made in Calvados, in the Normandy region of northern France. It's often used for cooking, particularly in chicken, pork and veal dishes.
calzone [kal-ZOH-nay, kahl-SOH-neh] Originating in Naples, calzone is a stuffed PIZZA that resembles a large turnover. It is usually made as an individual serving. The fillings can be various meats, vegetables or cheese; mozzarella is the cheese used most frequently. Calzones can be deep-fried or brushed with olive oil and baked.
cambric tea [KAYM-brihk] An American term used to describe a hot drink of milk, water, sugar and, if desired, a dash of tea. It was a favorite of children and the elderly in the late 19th and early 20th century. The name is taken from a fabric called cambric, which is white and thin . . . just like the "tea."
Camembert cheese [KAM-uhm-behr] Napoleon is said to have christened this cheese with the appellation "Camembert," naming it after the Norman village where a farmer's wife first served it to him. Now world famous, this cow's-milk cheese has a white, downy rind and a smooth, creamy interior. When perfectly ripe, the cheese should ooze thickly. When overripe, it becomes runny, bitter and rank. Choose Camembert that is plump and soft to the touch. Avoid those with hardened edges, which may forecast overripeness. See also  CHEESE.
camomile; chamomile [KAM-uh-meel, KAM-uh-myl] Resembling a daisy, this aromatic flower is dried and used to flavor camomile tea, reputed to be a soothing drink. The flowers are also used as a fragrance in shampoos and other hair preparations. See also  TEA.
Campari [kahm-PAH-ree] A popular bitter Italian APÉRITIF, which is often mixed with soda. It's also consumed without a mixer and used in some COCKTAILS. Regular Campari has an astringent, bittersweet flavor; sweet Campari is also available.
Canadian bacon Called back bacon  in Canada, this lean smoked meat is a closer kin to HAM than it is to regular bacon. It's taken from the lean, tender eye of the LOIN, which is located in the middle of the back. Canadian bacon comes in cylindrical chunks that can be sliced or cut in any manner desired. It costs more than regular bacon, but it's leaner and precooked (meaning less shrinkage) and therefore provides more servings per pound. It can be fried, baked, barbecued or used cold as it comes from the package in sandwiches and salads.
Canadian whisky Dropping the "e " from WHISKEY is traditionally British and is used in the spelling of Canadian whisky. Made only in Canada, this distilled blend of rye, corn, wheat and barley is smoother and lighter than its cousins, rye and bourbon.
canapé [KAN-uh-pay, KAN-uh-pee] Small, decorative pieces of bread (toasted or untoasted) that are topped with a savory garnish such as anchovy, cheese or some type of spread. Crackers or pastry may also be used as a base. Canapés may be simple or elaborate, hot or cold. They're usually served as an appetizer with COCKTAILS. The word "canapé" is French for "couch." See also  HORS D'OEUVRE.
canard [kah-NARD, kah-NAR] The French word for "duck."
candied apple; candy apple An apple that's coated with a cinnamon-flavored red SUGAR SYRUP. This candy coating can either be crackly-hard or soft and gooey. A candied-apple clone is the caramel apple, which has a thick, soft caramel-flavored coating. Both versions are served on sticks for portable eating.
candied fruit; candied flowers Fruit or flowers that have been boiled or dipped in SUGAR SYRUP, then sometimes into granulated sugar after being dried. Candied fruits (also called glacé fruits ) are generally used in cakes, breads and other sweets. Candied flowers are generally reserved for decorating desserts; candied fruits can also be used in this manner. The most common fruits that are candied are cherries, pineapple and citrus rinds. ANGELICA and GINGER are also candied favorites. Among the crystallized flowers, violets and miniature rosebuds and rose petals are the most common. Candied fruit and flowers can be found at gourmet markets and specialty shops. They should be stored airtight in a cool, dry place.
candlenut Used in Southeast Asian cookery, the tropical candlenut is hard and high in fat. The name comes from the fact that these nuts are also used in Indonesia and Malaysia to make candles. Whole or chopped roasted candlenuts are available in Indian and Asian markets. See also  NUTS.
candy n.  Any of a number of various confections — soft and hard — composed mainly of sugar with the addition of flavoring ingredients and fillings such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, NOUGAT, fruits and so on. Sugar syrup is the foundation for most candies, the concentration of the mixture depending upon its temperature, which can either be checked by a CANDY THERMOMETER or by a series of cold-water tests. The tests and appropriate thermometer readings are as follows: thread stage — the point at which a spoon coated with boiling syrup forms a 2-inch thread when immersed in cold water (230° to 234°F); soft-ball stage — a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water forms a soft ball that flattens of its own accord when removed (234° to 240°F); firm-ball stage — a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water forms a firm but pliable ball (244° to 248°F); hard-ball stage — a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water forms a rigid ball that is somewhat pliable (250° to 265°F); soft-crack stage — a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water separates into hard though pliable threads (270° to 290°F); hard-crack stage — a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water separates into hard, brittle threads (300° to 310°F). Candy may come in tiny bits, small one- or two-bite pieces, or in the form of a candy "bar," containing several bites. Candy bars usually have a chocolate coating. So-called "nutritious" candy bars usually contain honey instead of sugar, and often substitute CAROB for chocolate. candy v.  To sugar-coat various fruits, flowers and plants such as cherries, pineapple, citrus rinds, ANGELICA, GINGER, CHESTNUTS, violets, miniature rose petals and mint leaves. Candying food not only preserves it, but also retains its color, shape and flavor. The candying process usually includes dipping or cooking the food in several boiling SUGAR SYRUPS of increasing degrees of density. After the candied fruit air-dries, it is sometimes dipped in granulated sugar.
candy thermometer A kitchen thermometer used for testing the temperature during the preparation of candy, syrups, jams, jellies and deep fat. It should register from 100° to 400°F. Choose a thermometer that is easy to handle in hot mixtures, such as one with a plastic handle. Many have adjustable hooks or clips so the thermometer can be attached to a pan. There are dual-purpose thermometers with readings both for candy and deep fat. See also  FREEZER/REFRIGERATOR THERMOMETER; MEAT THERMOMETER; OVEN THERMOMETER.
cane syrup Made from sugar cane, this thick, extremely sweet syrup is used in Caribbean and Creole cookery and is available in shops specializing in those cuisines.
cane vinegar see  VINEGAR
cannaroni [kah-nah-ROH-nee] Wide PASTA tubes; also called zitoni .
cannellini bean [kan-eh-LEE-nee] Large, white Italian kidney beans, available both in dry and canned forms. Cannellini beans are particularly popular in salads and soups. See also  BEANS.
cannelloni [kan-eh-LOH-nee] Large PASTA tubes (or squares of pasta that have been rolled into tubes) that are boiled, then stuffed with a meat or cheese filling and baked with a sauce.
cannoli [kan-OH-lee] An Italian dessert consisting of tubular or horn-shaped pastry shells that have been deep-fried, then filled with a sweetened filling of whipped RICOTTA (and often whipped cream) mixed with bits of chocolate, candied citron and sometimes nuts.
canola oil [kan-OH-luh] The market name for RAPESEED OIL which, as might be assumed from the name, is expressed from rape seeds. For obvious reasons, the name was changed to canola by the Canadian seed-oil industry. Canola is, in fact, Canada's most widely used oil. It's commonly referred to there as lear oil,  for "low erucic acid rapeseed" oil. The popularity of canola oil is rising fast in the United States, probably because it's been discovered to be lower in saturated fat (about 6 percent) than any other oil. This compares to the saturated fat content of peanut oil (about 18 percent) and palm oil (at an incredibly high 79 percent). Another canola oil selling point is that it contains more cholesterol-balancing monounsaturated fat than any oil except olive oil. It also has the distinction of containing Omega-3 fatty acids, the wonder polyunsaturated fat reputed to not only lower both cholesterol and triglycerides, but to contribute to brain growth and development as well. The bland-tasting canola oil is suitable both for cooking and for salad dressings. See also  FATS AND OILS.
Cantal [kahn-TAHL] A semifirm cow's milk cheese from the department of Cantal in south-central France. Cantal has a smooth texture and a mellow, nutty flavor similiar to that of CHEDDAR CHEESE. See also  CHEESE.
cantaloupe [KAN-teh-lohp] Named for a castle in Italy, the true cantaloupe is a European melon that is not exported. American "cantaloupes" are actually MUSKMELONS. When perfectly ripe, these cantaloupes have a raised netting on a smooth grayish-beige skin. The pale orange flesh is extremely juicy and sweet. Choose cantaloupes that are heavy for their size, have a sweet, fruity fragrance, a thick, well-raised netting and yield slightly to pressure at the blossom end. Avoid melons with soft spots or an overly strong odor. Store unripe cantaloupes at room temperature, ripe melons in the refrigerator. Cantaloupes easily absorb other food odors so if refrigerating for more than a day or two, wrap the melon in plastic wrap. Just before serving, cut melon in half and remove the seeds. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
can, to; canning A method of preserving food by hermetically sealing it in glass containers. The use of special canning jars and lids is essential for successful canning. The canning process involves quickly heating jars of food to high temperatures, thereby retaining maximum color, flavor and nutrients while destroying the microorganisms that cause spoilage. During processing, the food reaches temperatures of 212°F (with the boiling-water-bath method) to 240°F (using a pressure canner). Any air in the container is forced out between the jar and lid. A vacuum is created as the food cools and contracts, sucking the lid tightly to the jar. This airtight seal is vital to prevent invasion by microorganisms. Refer to a general cookbook for specific instructions on canning foods.
Cantonese cuisine [kan-tn-EEZ] see  CHINESE CUISINE
cape gooseberry Though this intriguing berry grows wild in many locations throughout the continental United States, it's generally cultivated in tropical zones such as Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and China. At first glance the cape gooseberry (also called golden berry, ground cherry, physalis  and poha ), with its inflated, papery skin (calyx), looks somewhat like a Chinese lantern. The bittersweet, juicy berries that hide inside the calyx are opaque and golden in color. To use the berries, peel back the parchmentlike husk and rinse. Because of their piquant aftertaste, cape gooseberries go nicely with meats and other savory foods. They're wonderful in pies, jams and all by themselves. Imported cape gooseberries are available from March to July. Look for those with a bright golden color; green berries are not ripe. Cape gooseberries are high in vitamin C.
capelli d'angelo [ka-PELL-ee DAN-zheh-low] Italian for "angel hair" (which this PASTA is also called), this term describes a long, delicate, extremely thin noodle. Because they are so fine, capelli d'angelo  must be served either in a very light sauce or in a simple broth.
capellini [ka-pel-LEE-nee] Thin PASTA strands that are slightly thicker than CAPELLI D'ANGELO.
caper [KAY-per] The flower bud of a bush native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. The small buds are picked, sun-dried and then pickled in a vinegar BRINE. Capers range in size from the petite nonpareil variety from southern France (considered the finest), to those from Italy, which can be as large as the tip of your little finger. There are also the Spanish-imported stemmed caperberries that are about the size of a cocktail olive. Capers are generally packed in brine but can also be found salted and sold in bulk. Capers should be rinsed before using to remove excess salt. The pungent flavor of capers lends piquancy to many sauces and condiments; they're also used as a garnish for meat and vegetable dishes.
capon [KAY-pahn] see  CHICKEN
caponata [kap-oh-NAH-tah] A Sicilian dish that is generally served as a salad, side dish or relish. Caponata  is composed of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, pine nuts, capers and vinegar, all cooked together in olive oil. It's most often served at room temperature.
cappelletti [kap-peh-LEHT-tee] Small, stuffed squares of PASTA, similar to ravioli. The stuffing is usually ground meat, but can also be made from cheese or vegetables. The name is taken from the plural of the Italian word cappelletto , which means "little hat."
cappuccino [kap-poo-CHEE-noh] An Italian coffee made by topping ESPRESSO with the creamy foam from steamed milk. Some of the steamed milk is also added to the mix. The foam's surface may be dusted with sweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon.
capsaicin [kap-SAY-ih-sihn] A potent compound that gives some CHILES their fiery nature. Most of the capsaicin (up to 80 percent) is found in the seeds and membranes of a chile. Since neither cooking nor freezing diminishes capsaicin's intensity, removing a chile's seeds and veins is the only way to reduce its heat. The caustic oils found in chiles cause an intense burning sensation, which can severely irritate skin and eyes. Capsaicin is known for its decongestant qualities. It also causes the brain to produce endorphins, which promote a sense of well-being.
capsicum [KAP-sih-kuhm] Any of hundreds of varieties of plant-bearing fruits called peppers, all of which belong to the nightshade family. Capsicums fall into two categories — CHILES and SWEET PEPPERS.
carafe [kuh-RAF] A decorative beverage container, usually narrow-necked and fitted with a stopper. Carafes are generally made of glass and used for cold beverages.
carambola [kehr-ahm-BOH-lah] When cut crosswise, this showy fruit has a striking star shape, which is why it's also called star fruit . It favors tropical climates and thrives in the Caribbean countries, Hawaii, Central and South America and parts of Asia. The carambola ranges from 3 to 5 inches long and is easy to identify by the five definitive ribs that traverse its length. Its thin skin is a glossy golden-yellow, its matching flesh beautifully translucent and dotted occasionally with a dark seed. When ripe, the carambola is exceedingly juicy and fragrant. Its flavor, depending on the variety, can range from exotically sweet to refreshingly tart. In general, the broader set the ribs, the sweeter the fruit. Carambolas are available from summer's end to midwinter. Choose firm fruit that has a bright, even color. Those with greening on the ribs may be ripened at room temperature. Use ripe carambolas within a few days or store, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Carambolas, which do not require peeling, are delicious eaten out of hand, or used in salads, desserts or as a garnish.
caramel [KEHR-ah-mehl, KAR-ah-mehl] A mixture produced when sugar has been cooked (caramelized) until it melts and becomes a thick, clear liquid that can range in color from golden to deep brown (from 320° to 350°F on a candy thermometer). Water can be added to thin the mixture. Caramel is used to flavor soups, stocks and sauces — sweet and savory. It's also used in desserts. When it cools and hardens, caramel cracks easily and is the base for nut brittles. Crushed caramel is used as a topping for ice cream and other desserts. A soft caramel is a candy made with caramelized sugar, butter and milk.
caramel apple see  CANDIED APPLE
caramelize [KEHR-ah-meh-lyz, KAR-ah-meh-lyz] To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear syrup ranging in color from golden to dark brown (from 320° to 350°F on a candy thermometer). Granulated or brown sugar can also be sprinkled on top of food and placed under a heat source, such as a broiler, until the sugar melts and caramelizes. A popular custard dessert finished in this fashion is CRÈME BRÛLÉE. Caramelized sugar is also referred to as burnt sugar .
caraway seed [KEHR-uh-way] These aromatic seeds come from an herb in the parsley family. They have a nutty, delicate anise flavor and are widely used in German, Austrian and Hungarian cuisine. Caraway seeds flavor many foods including cheese, breads, cakes, stews, meats, vegetables and the liqueur KÜMMEL. They should be stored airtight in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
carbohydrate A broad category of sugars, starches, fibers and starchy vegetables that the body eventually converts to glucose, the body's primary source of energy. There are two classes of carbohydrates — simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are the sugars, which include GLUCOSE and FRUCTOSE from fruits and vegetables, SUCROSE from beet or cane sugar and LACTOSE from milk. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed by the body very quickly. Complex carbohydrates include starches and fiber and are most commonly found in whole grains and LEGUMES. Complex carbohydrates, which are generally large chains of glucose molecules, take longer to digest and provide more nutrients than simple carbohydrates.
carbonara, alla [kar-boh-NAH-rah] The Italian term describing a PASTA dish of spaghetti (or other noodles) with a sauce composed of cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese and bits of bacon. The sauce is heated only until it begins to thicken (2 to 3 minutes). It's important that the pasta be very hot so that when the sauce is poured over it, the eggs will briefly continue to cook. Fresh green peas are sometimes added for flavor and color.
carbonated water see  SODA WATER
carbonate of ammonia see  AMMONIUM BICARBONATE
carbonnade [kar-boh-NAHD] A French term for meat cooked over hot coals or directly over flames.
carbonnade à la flamande [kar-boh-NAHD ah-lah flah-MAHND] Beer, bacon, onions and brown sugar flavor this thick Belgian beef stew from Flanders. Also referred to as carbonnade of beef .
cardamom [KAR-duh-muhm] A member of the GINGER family, this aromatic spice is native to India and grows in many other tropical areas including Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands. Cardamom seeds are encapsulated in small pods about the size of a cranberry. Each pod contains 17 to 20 tiny seeds. Cardamom has a pungent aroma and a warm, spicy-sweet flavor. It's widely used in Scandinavian and East Indian cooking. Cardamom can be purchased either in the pod or ground. The latter, though more convenient, is not as full-flavored because cardamom seeds begin to lose their essential oils as soon as they're ground. The seeds may be removed from the pods and ground, or the entire pod may be ground. A MORTAR AND PESTLE make quick work of the grinding. If using cardamom to flavor dishes such as stews and curries, lightly crush the shell of the pod and add the pod and seeds to the mixture. The shell will disintegrate while the dish cooks. Be frugal when using cardamom — a little goes a long way. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
cardoon [kahr-DOON] Tasting like a cross between artichoke, celery and SALSIFY, this delicious vegetable is very popular in France, Italy and Spain. The cardoon resembles a giant bunch of wide, flat celery. Cardoons can be found from midwinter to early spring. Look for stalks that are firm and have a silvery gray-green color. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 2 weeks. To prepare, remove tough outer ribs. Cut the inner ribs into the size indicated in the recipe and soak in ACIDULATED WATER to prevent browning. Cardoons can be boiled, braised or baked. Precooking about 30 minutes in boiling water is suggested in many recipes. Though high in sodium, cardoons are a good source of potassium, calcium and iron.
caribou [KEHR-uh-boo] see  GAME ANIMALS
carne [KAHR-nay] Spanish for "meat."
carnitas [kahr-NEE-tahz] Mexican for "little meats," this dish is simply small bits or shreds of well browned pork. It's made from an inexpensive cut of pork that's simmered in a small amount of water until tender, then finished by cooking the pieces in pork fat until nicely browned all over. Carnitas are usually eaten with SALSA and are sometimes used as the filling in TACOS and BURRITOS.
carob [KEHR-uhb] The long, leathery pods from the tropical carob tree contain a sweet, edible pulp (which can be eaten fresh) and a few hard, inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder. It is then used to flavor baked goods and candies. Both fresh and dried carob pods, as well as carob powder, may be found in health-food and specialty food stores. Because carob is sweet and tastes vaguely of chocolate, it's often used as a chocolate substitute. Carob is also known as Saint John's bread  and locust bean .
Carolina rice This is the long-grain rice that is most popular in the United States. It was originally planted in North Carolina in the late 17th century from East African rice brought back by a sea captain. Carolina rice is now cultivated mainly in California, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. See also  RICE.
carom [KAH-rom] see  AJOWAN
carotene [KEHR-uh-teen] A fat-soluble pigment, ranging in color from yellow to orange, found in many fruits and vegetables (carrots, for one). It converts to vitamin A in the liver and is essential for normal human growth and eyesight.
carp The principal ingredient in the Jewish dish GEFILTE FISH, carp is a freshwater fish native to Asia but found throughout the world. It ranges in size from 2 to 7 pounds and favors muddy waters, which often give a mossy flavor to the lean, white flesh. This musky nuance is least evident from November to April. Carp is best baked, fried or poached. See also  FISH.
carpaccio [kahr-PAH-chee-oh] Italian in origin, carpaccio consists of thin shavings of raw beef FILLET, which may be drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice or served with a mayonnaise or mustard sauce. The dish is often topped with capers and sometimes onions. It's generally served as an appetizer.
carpetbag steak Although claimed by many to be of Australian origin, an Australian cookbook, The Captain Cook Book: Two Hundred Years of Australian Cooking , declares that the carpetbag steak came from the United States. It is a thick-cut steak with a pocket cut into it. The pocket is stuffed with seasoned fresh oysters (sometimes with the addition of bread crumbs), skewered shut, then the steak is grilled.
carrageen; carragheen [KEHR-ah-geen] Also called Irish moss , carrageen is a stubby, purplish seaweed found along the west coast of Ireland, as well as America's Atlantic coast. When dried, carrageen is used in cosmetics and medicines and is greatly valued as a thickening agent for foods such as puddings, ice cream and soups.
carrot This member of the parsley family has lacy green foliage and long, slender, edible orange roots. Carrots have been renowned for over 2,000 years for their health-giving properties and high vitamin A content. They're available year-round, making them a highly popular vegetable. If buying carrots with their greenery, make sure the leaves are moist and bright green; the carrots should be firm and smooth. Avoid those with cracks or any that have begun to soften and wither. The best carrots are young and slender. Tiny baby carrots are very tender but, because of their lack of maturity, not as flavorful as their full-grown siblings. Remove carrot greenery as soon as possible because it robs the roots of moisture and vitamins. Store carrots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's vegetable bin. Avoid storing them near apples, which emit ethylene gas that can give carrots a bitter taste. A light rinsing is all that's necessary for young carrots and tiny baby carrots; older carrots should be peeled. If carrots have become limp, recrisp them in a bowl of ice water. The coarse core of older carrots should be removed. Carrots may be eaten raw or cooked in almost any manner imaginable.
casaba melon [kah-SAH-bah] Though it was first cultivated in Persia thousands of years ago, the casaba melon wasn't introduced to the United States until the late 19th century when it was imported from Kasaba, Turkey. A member of the MUSKMELON family, this large, round melon has a thick yellow rind with deep, rough furrows. The creamy-colored flesh is extremely juicy and has a distinctive yet mild cucumberlike flavor. Casabas are now grown in California and are most readily available from September through November. Choose a melon with an even-colored yellow rind with a slightly wrinkled appearance; it should give slightly when gently pressed at the blossom end. Avoid casabas with soft spots or mold. Store at room temperature until completely ripe, then refrigerate. See also  MELON.
cascabel chile [KAS-kuh-behl] A dried, plum-shaped, dark blood-red colored CHILE that ranges in size from about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cascabel  means "little round bell" or "rattle" in Spanish, a name alluding to the rattling sound this chile makes when shaken. This chile, with its rich nutty flavor and medium heat, is excellent in sauces, soups and other cooked dishes. The cascabel chile is also known as chile bola .
casein [KAY-seen, KAY-see-ihn] The prinicipal protein in milk, which coagulates with the addition of RENNIN and is the foundation for cheese. Casein is also used in the production of nonfood items such as adhesives, paints and plastics.
cashew apple Native to Brazil, India and the West Indies, this pear-shaped apple has a yellow-orange skin that is often blushed with touches of red. The flesh is tart and astringent and though not favored for out-of-hand eating, is used to make wine, LIQUEUR and vinegar. The cashew apple's biggest gift to the world is the CASHEW NUT, which grows on the outside of the apple at its base. Cashew apples are not imported to the United States.
cashew nut A kidney-shaped nut that grows out from the bottom of the cashew apple. The shell is highly toxic so great care is taken in shelling and cleaning the nut. Cashew nuts have a sweet, buttery flavor and contain about 48 percent fat. Because of their high fat content, they should be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator to retard rancidity. As with most nuts, roasting cashews brings out their nutty flavor. See also  NUTS.
casing A thin, tubular intestinal membrane that has been cleaned and stuffed with processed meat, such as for salami and other sausages. The membrane may come from the intestines of sheep, hogs or cattle. Casings can be purchased — thoroughly cleaned and packed in salt — from specialty butchers. Today, most commercial sausages have casings of formed collagen.
cassareep [KAS-sah-reep] Used primarily in West Indian cookery, cassareep is a bittersweet condiment made by cooking the juice of bitter CASSAVA with brown sugar and spices until it reduces to a syrup. Bottled cassareep can be found in Caribbean markets.
cassata [kah-SAH-tah] A traditional Italian dessert served at celebrations such as weddings. The word cassata  means "in a case (or chest)." One version of this dessert has a rich filling of RICOTTA, candied fruit and grated chocolate encased by thin slices of liqueur-sprinkled sponge cake. The cake and cheese mixture may also be layered. The dessert is chilled, then decorated with whipped cream, ricotta cheese or chocolate frosting. Another version, cassata gelata, is made by lining a mold with layers of ice cream of contrasting colors, then filling the center with a ricotta-whipped cream-candied fruit mixture. The mold is frozen completely before serving.
cassava [kuh-SAH-vuh] Though native to South America, the majority of cassava now comes from Africa, where it's an important staple. Also called manioc  and yuca , the cassava is a root that ranges from 6 to 12 inches in length and from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. It has a tough brown skin which, when peeled, reveals a crisp, white flesh. There are many varieties of cassava but only two main categories, sweet and bitter. The bitter cassava is poisonous unless cooked. Cassava is available year-round in Caribbean and Latin American markets. It should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 4 days. Grated, sun-dried cassava is called cassava meal. Cassava is also used to make CASSAREEP and TAPIOCA.
cassava flour see  TAPIOCA
casserole This term refers to both a baking dish and the ingredients it contains. Casserole cookery is extremely convenient because the ingredients are cooked and served in the same dish. A "casserole dish" usually refers to a deep, round, ovenproof container with handles and a tight-fitting lid. It can be glass, metal, ceramic or any other heatproof material. A casserole's ingredients can include meat, vegetables, beans, rice and anything else that might seem appropriate. Often a topping such as cheese or bread crumbs is added for texture and flavor.
cassia [KAH-see-uh, KASH-uh] see  CINNAMON
cassis [kah-SEES] A European black currant used mainly to make CRÈME DE CASSIS liqueur and black currant syrup. See also  LIQUEUR.
cassolette [kas-oh-LEHT] A small, individual-size cooking dish.
cassoulet [ka-soo-LAY] A classic dish from France's Languedoc region consisting of white beans and various meats (such as sausages, pork and preserved duck or goose). The combination varies according to regional preference. A cassoulet  is covered and cooked very slowly to harmonize the flavors.
cast iron cookware One of the original metals used for cookware, cast iron is very efficient at absorbing and retaining heat. There are two basic styles — regular and enameled. The latter, which is coated with porcelain enamel, is available in a variety of colors. Regular cast iron requires seasoning (see  SEASON) so that it won't react with or absorb the flavors of some foods cooked in it. Seasoning, which is a simple process of rubbing the inside of a pan with cooking oil and heating it for an hour in a moderate oven, gives cast iron a natural nonstick finish. Clean cast iron pans by first wiping them clean with a paper towel or soft cloth and, if necessary, gently scrubbing with a nylon pad.
castor sugar; caster sugar see  SUGAR
Catawba grape [kuh-TAW-buh] Grown on the East Coast, this purplish-red grape is medium-size and oval in shape. It has seeds and an intense, sweet flavor. The Catawba grape is available from September to November but is mainly used commercially (for jams, jellies and white wines), and is rarely found in the market. See also  GRAPE.
catchup see  KETCHUP
catfish This fish gets its name from its long, whiskerlike barbels (feelers), which hang down from around the mouth. Most catfish are freshwater fish, though there is also a saltwater variety sometimes referred to as hogfish. The majority of the catfish in today's market are farmed. The channel catfish, weighing from 1 to 10 pounds, is considered the best eating. The bullhead is smaller and usually weighs no more than a pound. Catfish have a tough, inedible skin that must be removed before cooking. The flesh is firm, low in fat and mild in flavor. Catfish can be fried, poached, steamed, baked or grilled. They are also well suited to soups and stews. See also  FISH.
cats' tongues Also known as langues-de-chat  (French for "cats' tongues"), these long, thin cookies resemble their namesakes in shape. They are light, dry and slightly sweet. Cats' tongues may be flavored with citrus ZEST, chocolate or flavoring EXTRACTS. Two are sometimes sandwiched together with jam or another sweet filling; they may also be frosted. Cats' tongues are commonly made by pressing a thick batter through a pastry bag. A special langues-de-chat  pan is also available in cookware shops.
catsup see  KETCHUP
caudière; caudrée [koh-DYEHR, koh-DRAY] A French seafood stew or soup based on mussels and onions.
caudle [KAW-dl] A hot drink once popular in England and Scotland, especially with the elderly and infirm because of its purported restorative powers. Caudle was generally a blend of wine or ALE, GRUEL, eggs, sugar and spices.
caul [KAWL] A thin, fatty membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, usually taken from pigs or sheep; pork caul is considered superior. The caul resembles a lacy net and is used to wrap and contain PÂTÉS, CRÉPINETTES, FORCEMEATS and the like. The fatty membrane melts during the baking or cooking process. Caul may be ordered and purchased through your local butcher. To prevent tearing, it may be necessary to soak the membrane in warm salted water to loosen the layers before using.
cauliflower [KAWL-ih-flow-uhr] In Mark Twain's words, "cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." The name of this elegant member of the cabbage family comes from the Latin caulis  ("stalk") and floris  ("flower"). Cauliflower comes in three basic colors: white (the most popular and readily available), green and purple (a vibrant violet that turns pale green when cooked). All cauliflower is composed of bunches of tiny florets on clusters of stalks. Some white varieties have a purple or greenish tinge. The entire floret portion (called the "curd") is edible. The green leaves at the base are also edible, but take longer to cook and have a stronger flavor than the curd. Choose a firm cauliflower with compact florets; the leaves should be crisp and green with no sign of yellowing. The size of the head doesn't affect the quality. Refrigerate raw cauliflower, tightly wrapped, for 3 to 5 days; cooked for 1 to 3 days. To use, separate cauliflower head into florets and wash. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked in a number of ways including boiling, baking and sautéing. Whole cauliflower heads may also be cooked in one piece. Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or one cup milk to the cooking water will prevent discoloration. Cauliflower, which is a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable, is high in vitamin C and is a fair source of iron. See also  BROCCOFLOWER; ROMANESCA CAULIFLOWER.
cavatappi [kah-vah-TAHP-pee] Short, ridged, spiral MACARONI. See also  PASTA.
cavatelli [kah-vah-TEHL-lee] Short, narrow, ripple-edged shell PASTA.
caviar [KA-vee-ahr, KAH-vee-ahr] This elegant and expensive appetizer is simply sieved and lightly salted fish ROE (eggs). Sturgeon roe is premium and considered the "true" caviar. The three main types of caviar are beluga, osetra and sevruga. The best (and costliest) is from the beluga sturgeon that swim in the Caspian Sea, which is bordered by Russia and Iran. Caviar production is a major industry for both countries. Beluga caviar is prized for its soft, extremely large (pea-size) eggs. It can range in color from pale silver-gray to black. Next in quality is the medium-sized, gray to brownish gray osetra, and the smaller, gray sevruga caviar. The small, golden sterlet caviar is so rare that it was once reserved for Russian czars, Iranian shahs and Austrian emperors. Other popular (and much less expensive) types include lumpfish caviar (tiny, hard, black eggs), whitefish caviar (also called American Golden ) with its small yellow-gold eggs and salmon or red caviar (medium-size, pale orange to deep red eggs). The word malossol  on the label doesn't describe the type of caviar but rather the fact that the roe is preserved with a minimum amount of salt; malossol  is Russian for "little salt." Caviar is extremely perishable and must be refrigerated from the moment it's taken from the fish to the time it's consumed. Pasteurized caviar is roe that has been partially cooked, thereby giving the eggs a slightly different texture. It's less perishable and may not require refrigeration before opening. Pressed caviar is composed of damaged or fragile eggs and can be a combination of several different roes. It's specially treated, salted and pressed, and can in no way be compared to fresh caviar. Be sure to read the label for information on how to handle the caviar you purchase. Although only a spoonful of caviar supplies the adult daily requirement of vitamin B-12, it's also high in cholesterol and loaded with salt. Serve caviar very cold, preferably in a bowl that has been set into another container of ice. It should be presented simply, with toast points and lemon wedges. If desired, it may be garnished with sour cream, minced onion, and hard-cooked egg whites and yolks. Two classic caviar accompaniments are iced vodka and champagne.
cayenne chile [KI-yehn] A bright red, extremely hot, pungent CHILE that ranges from 2 to 5 inches long and about 1/2 an inch in diameter. Cayennes are generally sold dried and used in soups and sauces. The majority of these chiles are used to make CAYENNE PEPPER.
cayenne pepper [KI-yehn] A hot, pungent powder made from several of various tropical CHILES that originated in French Guyana. Cayenne pepper is also called red pepper. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
ceci bean [CHEH-chee] see  CHICKPEA
celeriac [seh-LER-ay-ak] This rather ugly, knobby, brown vegetable is actually the root of a special celery cultivated specifically for its root. It's also called celery root  and celery knob . Celeriac tastes like a cross between a strong celery and parsley. It's available from September through May and can range anywhere from the size of an apple to that of a small cantaloupe. Choose a relatively small, firm celeriac with a minimum of rootlets and knobs. Avoid those with soft spots, which signal decay. The inedible green leaves are usually detached by the time you buy celeriac. Refrigerate the root in a plastic bag for 7 to 10 days. Celeriac can be eaten raw or cooked. Before using, peel and soak briefly in ACIDULATED WATER to prevent discoloration. To eat raw, grate or shred celeriac and use in salads. Cooked, it's wonderful in soups, stews and purees. It can also be boiled, braised, sautéed and baked. Celeriac contains small amounts of vitamin B, calcium and iron.
céleri bâtard see  LOVAGE
celery Before the sixteenth century, celery was used exclusively as a medicinal herb. Now it's become one of the most popular vegetables of the Western world. Celery grows in bunches that consist of leaved ribs surrounding the tender, choice heart. There are two main varieties of celery grown today. The most common is the pale green Pascal celery. Golden celery is grown under a layer of soil or paper to prevent chlorophyll from developing and turning it green. Celery is available year-round. Choose firm bunches that are tightly formed; the leaves should be green and crisp. Store celery in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Leave the ribs attached to the stalk until ready to use. Celery should be well washed and trimmed of leaves and at the base. Reserve the leaves for soups and salads. Celery is usually eaten raw, but is delicious cooked in soups, stews and casseroles.
celery cabbage see  CHINESE CABBAGE
celery knob see  CELERIAC
celery root see  CELERIAC
celery salt A seasoning that is a blend of ground CELERY SEED and salt.
celery seed The seed of a wild celery called LOVAGE, most of which comes from India. Celery seed has a strong flavor and should therefore be used sparingly. It's used in pickling and to flavor soups, salads and various meat dishes. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
cellophane noodles [SEHL-uh-fayn] Also called bean threads, these gossamer, translucent threads are not really noodles in the traditional sense, but are made from the starch of green MUNG BEANS. Sold dried, cellophane noodles must be soaked briefly in hot water before using in most dishes. Presoaking isn't necessary when they're added to soups. They can also be deep-fried. Cellophane noodles can be found in the ethnic section of many supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores. Other names for cellophane noodles include bean thread vermicelli  (or noodles), Chinese vermicelli, glass noodles  and harusame .
Celsius [SEHL-see-uhs] A temperature scale (also called centigrade ) in which 0° represents freezing and 100° represents the boiling point. The scale was devised by the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius. To convert Celsius temperatures to FAHRENHEIT, multiply the Celsius figure by 9, divide by 5 and add 32.
centigrade [SIHN-tih-grayd] see  CELSIUS
century egg see  HUNDRED-YEAR EGG
century plant see  AGAVE
century plant see  AGAVE
cèpe [SEHP] see  PORCINI
cephalopod [SEHF-uh-luh-pod] A class of MOLLUSK that includes the OCTOPUS, SQUID and CUTTLEFISH. It's the most biologically advanced of the mollusks. All cephalopods share two common characteristics — tentacles attached to the head, and ink sacs, which they use to evade their predators. Though cephalopods have never been broadly accepted in the United States, they're quite popular with many southern Europeans, Japanese and Chinese.
cereal [SEER-ee-uhl] Breakfast cereals are processed foods (usually ready-to-eat) made from cereal grains. W. H. Kellogg and C. W. Post were the first to begin mass-producing these foods, which have become a morning meal staple in the United States. See also  CEREAL GRAINS.
cereal grains The word "cereal" comes from Ceres, a pre-Roman goddess of agriculture. Cereal includes any plant from the grass family that yields an edible grain (seed). The most popular grains are BARLEY, CORN, MILLET, OATS, QUINOA, RICE, RYE, SORGHUM, TRITICALE, WHEAT and WILD RICE. Because cereals are inexpensive, are a readily available source of protein and have more carbohydrates than any other food, they're a staple throughout the world. See also  SPELT; TEFF.
ceriman [SEHR-uh-muhn] see  MONSTERA
cervelat [SER-vuh-lat] A style of sausage that combines chopped pork and/or beef with various mixtures of herbs, spices and other flavorings like garlic or mustard. Cervelats are uncooked but perfectly safe to eat without cooking because they have been preserved by curing, drying and smoking. They can range from semidry to moist and soft. Many countries make cervelats; two of the more well known are Germany's THURINGER SAUSAGE and Italy's MORTADELLA. These sausages can be sliced and served with bread or cut into pieces and used in a variety of other dishes. See also  SAUSAGE.
ceviche see  SEVICHE
Ceylon tea One of the world's most popular teas, Ceylon is a black PEKOE TEA whose leaves have been fermented before drying. A two-temperature drying process seals in essential oils that give this tea its special flavor. This superior tea originated in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but is now grown in other countries such as India and China. See also  TEA.
cha [CHAH] Japanese for "tea."
Cheshire cheese [CHESH-ur] Hailing from the county of Cheshire, this rich, cow's-milk cheese comes in three varieties — white, red and blue — and has a reputation as one of England's most famous cheeses. The white (actually pale yellow) and red (apricot-colored) Cheshires are very similar, differing mainly in the fact that the red variety has been dyed with ANNATTO. They're young cheeses, having an average age of 8 weeks, with a semifirm texture and a mild, tangy, cheddarlike flavor. Farmhouse Cheshire, rarely exported, is usually aged about 9 months and has a richer, fuller flavor for the effort. Blue Cheshire, boasting a beautiful golden interior veined with blue, is just as rich as STILTON but milder in flavor. Cheshire cheese has long been a favorite for WELSH RABBIT. See also  CHEESE; BLUE CHEESE.
chess pie This is one of the South's favorite pies, with a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter and a small amount of flour. Chess pie can be varied by adding flavorings such as lemon juice or vanilla, or substituting brown sugar for granulated sugar.
Chinese parsley see  CORIANDER
Chinese pear see  ASIAN PEAR
Chinese pepper see  SZECHUAN PEPPER
Chinese pickle see  TEA MELON
Chinese sausage Texturally similar to pepperoni, this dry, rather hard sausage is usually made from pork meat and a goodly amount of fat. It's smoked, slightly sweet and highly seasoned. Probably the most popular Chinese sausage in this country is lop chong. It and others like it are available in specialty meat shops and Chinese markets. Store up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Chinese sausage makes an excellent addition to STIR-FRY dishes. See also  SAUSAGE.
Chinese snow pea see  SNOW PEA
Chinese steelhead see  BLACKFISH
Chinese vermicelli see  CELLOPHANE NOODLES
Chinese white cabbage see  BOK CHOY
chinois [sheen-WAH] A metal conical sieve with an extremely  fine mesh, used for pureeing or straining. The mesh is so fine that a spoon or pestle must be used to press the food through it.
chinook salmon [shih-NUHK] see  SALMON
chinquapin [CHING-kuh-pihn] see  CRAPPIE
chipolata sausage [chee-poh-LAH-tah, chih-poh-LAH-tah] Some-times called "little fingers," these tiny (2- to 3-inch-long), coarse-textured pork sausages are highly spiced with thyme, chives, coriander, cloves and sometimes hot red-pepper flakes. The French term à la  chipolata  refers to a garnish of chipolata, chestnuts and glazed vegetables used to accompany roasts. See also  SAUSAGE.
chipotle chile [chih-POHT-lay] This hot chile is actually a dried, smoked JALAPEÑO. It has a wrinkled, dark brown skin and a smoky, sweet, almost chocolaty flavor. Chipotles can be found dried, pickled and canned in ADOBO SAUCE. Chipotles are generally added to stews and sauces; the pickled variety are often eaten as appetizers. See also  CHILE.
chipped beef These wafer-thin slices of salted and smoked, dried beef are usually packed in small jars and were once an American staple. Chipped beef is also referred to simply as dried beef . "Shit on a shingle," known in polite society as SOS,  is military slang used for creamed chipped beef served on toast.
chips The British word for what Americans call "FRENCH FRIES." Their potato chips are called "crisps."
chirashi [chee-RAH-shee] A term meaning "scattered sushi" and referring to a Japanese dish consisting of SUSHI MESHI (vinegared rice) served with various ingredients including chopped vegetables, SASHIMI, CURED FISH, ROE, NORI and omelet slices. In Japanese homes, the ingredients are either scattered on top of or mixed throughout the rice. In sushi bars, chirashi is more formal — ingredients are separately arranged on top of the rice for a more elegant presentation.
chirinabe [chee-ree-NAH-beh] A Japanese one-pot dish consisting of chunks of a firm-fleshed fish (like COD or SEA BASS), TOFU and various vegetables. All ingredients are brought to the table raw along with a pot of simmering broth, which is placed on a heating element and kept simmering throughout the meal. Each diner adds their own ingredients, letting the food cook until tender before retrieving it from the communal pot. Chirinabe is served with various condiments, which usually include PONZU SAUCE. See also  MIZUTAKI; NABEMONO.
chitlins; chitlings [CHIHT-lihnz] see  CHITTERLINGS
chitterlings [CHIHT-lihnz, CHIHT-lingz] Popular in Southern cooking, chitterlings are the small intestines of animals, usually freshly slaughtered pigs. Once cleaned, chitterlings must be simmered until tender. They can then be served with a sauce, added to soups, battered and fried or used as a sausage CASING.
chive Related to the onion and leek, this fragrant HERB has slender, vivid green, hollow stems. Chives have a mild onion flavor and are available fresh year-round. Look for those with a uniform green color and no signs of wilting or browning. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to a week. Fresh chives can be snipped with scissors to the desired length. They're delicious in many cooked dishes but should be added toward the end of the cooking time to retain their flavor. Both chives and their edible lavender flowers are a tasty and colorful addition to salads. Frozen and freeze-dried chives are also available in most supermarkets. Chives are a good source of vitamin A and also contain a fair amount of potassium and calcium.
chlodnik [CHLAHD-nihk] Of Polish origin, this BORSCHT-like soup is made of beets, onions, cucumbers, herbs and sometimes veal. It's served cold, garnished with sour cream.
chocolate The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec xocolatl , meaning "bitter water." Indeed, the unsweetened drink the Aztecs made of pounded cocoa beans and spices was probably extremely bitter. Bitterness notwithstanding, the Aztec king Montezuma so believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac that he purportedly drank 50 golden goblets of it each day. Chocolate comes from the tropical cocoa bean, Theobroma  ("food of the gods") cacao.  After the beans are removed from their pods they're fermented, dried, roasted and cracked, separating the nibs (which contain an average of 54 percent cocoa butter) from the shells. The nibs are ground to extract some of the COCOA BUTTER (a natural vegetable fat), leaving a thick, dark brown paste called chocolate liquor. Next, the chocolate liquor receives an initial refining. If additional cocoa butter is extracted from the chocolate liquor, the solid result is ground to produce unsweetened COCOA POWDER. If other ingredients are added (such as milk powder, sugar, etc.), the chocolate is refined again. The final step for most chocolate is conching, a process by which huge machines with rotating blades slowly blend the heated chocolate liquor, ridding it of residual moisture and volatile acids. The conching continues for 12 to 72 hours (depending on the type and quality of chocolate) while small amounts of cocoa butter and sometimes LECITHIN are added to give chocolate its voluptuously smooth texture. Unadulterated chocolate is marketed as unsweetened chocolate, also called baking or bitter chocolate. U.S. standards require that unsweetened chocolate contain between 50 and 58 percent cocoa butter. The addition of sugar, lecithin and vanilla (or vanillin) creates, depending on the amount of sugar added, bittersweet, semisweet or sweet chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate must contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor; semisweet and sweet can contain from 15 to 35 percent. Adding dry milk to sweetened chocolate creates milk chocolate, which must contain at least 12 percent milk solids and 10 percent chocolate liquor. Though bittersweet, semisweet and sweet chocolate may often be used interchangeably in some  recipes with little textural change, milk chocolate — because of the milk protein — cannot. Liquid chocolate, developed especially for baking, is found on the supermarket shelf alongside other chocolates. It's unsweetened, comes in individual 1-ounce packages, and is convenient because it requires no melting. However, because it's made with vegetable oil rather than cocoa butter, it doesn't deliver either the same texture or flavor as regular unsweetened chocolate. Couverture is a term describing professional-quality coating chocolate that is extremely glossy. It usually contains a minimum of 32 percent cocoa butter, which enables it to form a much thinner shell than ordinary CONFECTIONERY COATING. Couverture is usually only found in specialty candy-making shops. White chocolate is not true chocolate because it contains no chocolate liquor and, likewise, very little chocolate flavor. Instead, it's usually a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla. Read the label: if cocoa butter isn't mentioned, the product is confectionery (or summer) coating, not white chocolate. Beware of products labeled artificial chocolate  or chocolate-flavored . They are, just as the label states, not the real thing and both flavor and texture confirm that fact. Chocolate comes in many forms, from 1-ounce squares to 1/2-inch chunks to chips ranging in size from 1/2 to 1/8 inch in diameter. Many chocolate chunks and chips come in flavors including milk, semisweet, mint-flavored and white chocolate. Chocolate should be stored, tightly wrapped, in a cool (60° to 70°F), dry place. If stored at warm temperatures, chocolate will develop a pale gray "bloom" (surface streaks and blotches), caused when the cocoa butter rises to the surface. In damp conditions, chocolate can form tiny gray sugar crystals on the surface. In either case, the chocolate can still be used, with flavor and texture affected only slightly. Under ideal conditions, dark chocolate can be stored 10 years. However, because of the milk solids in both milk chocolate and white chocolate, they shouldn't be stored for longer than 9 months. Because all chocolate scorches easily — which completely ruins the flavor — it should be melted slowly over low heat. One method is to place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Remove the top of the pan from the heat when the chocolate is a little more than halfway melted and stir until completely smooth. Another method is to place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and, in a 650- to 700-watt microwave oven, heat at 50 percent power. Four ounces of chocolate will take about 3 minutes, but the timing will vary depending on the oven and the type and amount of chocolate. Though chocolate can be melted with  liquid (at least 1/4 cup liquid per 6 ounces chocolate), a single drop of moisture in melted chocolate will cause it to SEIZE (clump and harden). This problem can sometimes be corrected if vegetable oil is immediately stirred into the chocolate at a ratio of about 1 tablespoon oil to 6 ounces chocolate. Slowly remelt the mixture and stir until once again smooth. See also  CHOCOLATE SYRUP; GIANDUJA CHOCOLATE; MEXICAN CHOCOLATE; TEMPERING.
chocolate-chip cookie see  TOLL HOUSE COOKIE
chocolate syrup A ready-to-use syrup, usually a combination of unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar or corn syrup and various other flavorings. Chocolate syrup is usually quite sweet and is most often used to flavor milk or as a dessert sauce. It cannot be substituted for melted chocolate in recipes.
chokecherry Any of several varieties of wild cherries native to North America. These small cherries turn from red to almost black when mature. They're very astringent and, though not good for out-of-hand eating, make excellent jams and jellies. Chokeberries  are the inedible fruit of an ornamental shrub. See also  CHERRY.
cholent [CHAW-lent, CHUH-lent] Of Central European origin, cholent is a traditional Jewish food served on the Sabbath. It varies greatly from family to family, but generally consists of some kind of meat (such as brisket, short ribs or chuck), lima or navy beans, potatoes, barley, onions, garlic and other seasonings. The ingredients are combined in one pot and simmered on stovetop or baked at a very low heat for many hours. Since cooking is forbidden on the Sabbath, many Jewish families prepare and combine the ingredients and place the cholent in a low oven at sundown on Friday, to be ready the following day, which is the Sabbath.
chop n.  A small cut of meat taken from the rib section and including part of the rib. Pork, veal and lamb chops are the most popular. chop v.  Using quick, heavy blows of a knife or cleaver to cut food into bite-size (or smaller) pieces. A food processor may also be used to "chop" food. Chopped food is more coarsely cut than MINCED food.
chopsticks Thin, tapered eating utensils used throughout Asia. They normally range from 10 to 12 inches long (as short as 5 inches for children) and can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo and plastic. Chopsticks used for cooking or serving can be up to 20 inches long. Japanese chopsticks are pointed at the eating end, whereas Chinese chopsticks are blunt. To use chopsticks for eating, hold them about two-thirds of the distance from the pointed end, with the upper stick between your index finger and the tip of your thumb, much as you would a pencil. The bottom chopstick should remain stationary while the upper stick is moved in an up-and-down, pincerlike motion. Always keep the tips of the chopsticks even.
chop suey [chop SOO-ee] Thought to date back at least to the mid-19th century, this Chinese-American dish includes small pieces of meat (usually chicken) or shrimp, mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and onions. These ingredients are cooked together and served over rice. Chop suey doesn't exist as a dish in China.
chorizo [chor-EE-zoh, chor-EE-soh] A highly seasoned, coarsely ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. It's widely used in both Mexican and Spanish cookery. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork, while the Spanish version uses smoked pork. The CASING should be removed and the sausage crumbled before cooking. Chorizo makes a tasty addition to many dishes including casseroles, soups, stews and ENCHILADAS. See also  SAUSAGE.
chorogi [CHAWR-oh-gee] see  CHINESE ARTICHOKE
Choron sauce [show-RAWHN ] Named for the French chef who created it, Choron sauce is a HOLLANDAISE or BÉARNAISE SAUCE that has been tinted pink by the additon of tomato puree. It can be served with poultry, meat or fish.
choucroute [shoo-KROOT] This French word for "sauerkraut" describes it when cooked with goose fat, onions, juniper berries or caraway seeds and white wine. It can be served as a side or main dish. Choucroute garni  is sauerkraut garnished with potatoes and a variety of meats such as sausages, pork, ham or goose.
choux pastry [shoo] Also called choux paste, pâte à choux  and cream-puff pastry , this special pastry is made by an entirely different method from other pastries. The dough, created by combining flour with boiling water and butter, then beating eggs into the mixture, is very sticky and pastelike. During baking, the eggs make the pastry puff into irregular domes (as with CREAM PUFFS). After baking, the puffs are split, hollowed out and filled with a custard, whipped cream or other filling. Besides cream puffs, choux  pastry is used to make such specialties as ÉCLAIRS, GOUGÈRE and PROFITEROLES.
chow-chow; chowchow Thought to have been brought to America by the Chinese railroad laborers, chow-chow is a mustard-flavored mixed-vegetable-and-pickle relish. Originally, the term was used to describe a Chinese condiment of orange peel and ginger in a heavy syrup.
chowder A thick, chunky seafood soup, of which clam chowder is the most well known. The name comes from the French chaudière , a caldron in which fishermen made their stews fresh from the sea. New England-style chowder is made with milk or cream, Manhattan-style with tomatoes. Chowder can contain any of several varieties of seafood and vegetables. The term is also used to describe any thick, rich soup containing chunks of food (for instance, corn chowder).
chowder clam The largest of the East Coast hard-shell clams, the chowder clam (also called quahog  or large clam ) has a shell diameter of at least 3 inches. As their name implies, these clams are often cut up to use in chowders. They're also excellent stuffed and as clam fritters. See also  CLAM.
chow mein [chow MAYN] A Chinese-American dish that consists of small pieces of meat (usually chicken) or shrimp and vegetables such as bean sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and onions. The ingredients are usually fried separately, then combined at the last minute and served over crisp noodles.
Christmas melon see  SANTA CLAUS MELON
christophene [KRIHS-tuh-feen] see  CHAYOTE
chuck [CHOO-fuh] An inexpensive beef cut taken from between the neck and shoulder blade. The most popular cuts of chuck are roasts and steaks. Chuck roasts usually include a portion of the blade bone, which is why they're sometimes referred to as blade pot roasts . For maximum tenderness, chuck cuts must be cooked slowly, as in stewing or braising. See also  BEEF.
chufa; chufa nuts Actually the tiny, tuberous roots of an African plant of the sedge family, chufa "nuts" are immensely popular in Spain and Mexico, primarily as a base for the refreshing drink, HORCHATA. They have a brown, bumpy skin and a sweet, chestnutlike flavor. Dried chufas are available in bags in many Latin markets and health-food stores. Store them, tightly wrapped, in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Besides their use in horchatas, chufas make an excellent snack. They're also known as earth almonds, earthnuts  and tiger nuts .
churn To agitate cream briskly so that the fat separates from the liquid, thereby forming a solid (butter). The old-fashioned butter churn consisted of a container fitted with wooden blades that, when a crank was rotated, would whirl the cream inside until it turned to butter. The modern household substitute for a butter churn is the food processor.
churro [CHOOR-roh] Similiar to a CRULLER, this Spanish and Mexican specialty consists of a sweet-dough spiral that is deep-fried and eaten like a doughnut. Churros are usually coated with a mixture of cinnamon and confectioners' (or granulated) sugar.
chutney [CHUHT-nee] From the East Indian word chatni , this spicy condiment contains fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices. It can range in texture from chunky to smooth and in degrees of spiciness from mild to hot. Chutney is a delicious accompaniment to curried dishes. The sweeter chutneys also make interesting bread spreads and are delicious served with cheese.
cicely [SIHS-uh-lee] see  CHERVIL
cider Apple cider was a highly popular early American beverage. Cider is made by pressing the juice from fruit (usually apples). It can be drunk straight or diluted with water. Before FERMENTATION, it's referred to as "sweet" cider. It becomes "hard" cider after fermentation, and can range widely in alcohol content. Apple cider is also used to make vinegar and brandy.
cider vinegar VINEGAR made from CIDER, usually apple.
cilantro [sih-LAHN-troh, see-LAHN-troh] The bright green leaves and stems of the CORIANDER plant. Cilantro (also called Chinese parsley  and coriander ) has a lively, pungent fragrance that some describe as "soapy." It is widely used in Asian, Caribbean and Latin American cooking and its distinctive flavor lends itself to highly spiced foods. Cilantro can be found year-round in most supermarkets and is generally sold in bunches. Choose leaves with a bright, even color and no sign of wilting. Cilantro may be stored for up to 1 week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Or place the bunch, stems down, in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag, securing the bag to the glass with a rubber band. Refrigerate, changing water every 2 or 3 days. Just before using cilantro, wash and pat dry with paper towels. Both the leaves and relatively tender stems can be used in fresh or cooked dishes.
cinnamon [SIH-nuh-muhn] Once used in love potions and to perfume wealthy Romans, this age-old spice comes in two varieties — Cinnamomum  zeylanicum  (Ceylon cinnamon) and Cinnamomum  cassia  (cassia). Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. The bark is harvested during the rainy season when it's more pliable. When dried, it curls into long quills, which are either cut into lengths and sold as cinnamon sticks, or ground into powder. Ceylon (or tree) cinnamon is buff-colored and mildly sweet in flavor; cassia cinnamon is a dark, reddish brown color and has a more pungent, slightly bittersweet flavor. Cassia cinnamon is used and sold simply as "cinnamon" in many countries (including the United States). Cinnamon is widely used in sweet dishes, but also makes an intriguing addition to savory dishes such as stews and curries. Oil of cinnamon comes from the pods of the cinnamon tree and is used as a flavoring, as well as a medicinal. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
cinnamon cap mushroom see  NAMEKO
cioppino [chuh-PEE-noh] San Francisco's Italian immigrants are credited with creating this delicious fish stew made with tomatoes and a variety of fish and shellfish.
cipollini [chihp-oh-LEE-nee] These bittersweet bulbs of the grape hyacinth taste and look like small onions, which is why they're also called wild onions . Fresh cipollini are hard to find in the United States but do make an appearance in some Italian markets during the fall. Jars of cipollini preserved in oil are also sometimes available. For peak flavor, fresh cipollini  should be slowly simmered or braised. They can be served as an appetizer or vegetable.
chestnut Mount Olympus, home of the gods, was said to have had an abundance of chestnut trees producing this sweet, edible nut. There are many varieties of chestnuts and the trees are common throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Once peeled of their hard, dark brown outer shells and bitter inner skin, chestnuts can be enjoyed in a variety of ways including roasted, boiled, pureed, preserved and candied. They can be used in desserts or as a savory main-dish accompaniment. Fresh chestnuts, most of which are imported, are available from September through February. Choose firm, plump nuts without shell blemishes. Store unshelled nuts in a cool, dry place; refrigerate shelled nuts in a covered container. Chestnuts can also be found canned whole, in pieces or as a puree. They can be unsweetened, or sweetened as in MARRONS glacés. Dried chestnuts, as well as chestnut flour (dried nuts that have been ground to a powder), are often found in ethnic markets.
chèvre cheese [SHEHV-ruh, SHEHV] French for "goat," chèvre is a pure white goat's-milk cheese with a delightfully tart flavor that easily distinguishes it from other cheeses. Some of the better known chèvres include BANON, BÛCHERON and MONTRACHET. "Pur chèvre"  on the label ensures that the cheese is made entirely from goat's milk; others may have the addition of cow's milk. Chèvres  can range in texture from moist and creamy to dry and semifirm. They come in a variety of shapes including cylinders, discs, cones and pyramids, and are often coated in edible ash or leaves, herbs or pepper. Store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Old chèvre takes on a sour taste and should be discarded. See also  CHEESE; PYRAMIDE.
Chianti [kee-AHN-tee] 1. Named for the Chianti region in Tuscany, Italy, this sturdy, dry red wine was once instantly recognizable by its squat, straw-covered bottles (fiaschi ). However, Chianti — particularly the better brands — is now more often found in the traditional Bordeaux-type bottle. Only a few vintners use the straw-based bottle, which today usually designates a cheaper (and often inferior) product. In Italy, Chianti has long been made from four or five grape varieties, Trebbiano and Malvasia being two of them. Today, however, the CABERNET SAUVIGNON grape is being added to some Chianti blends. The word Riserva  on the label indicates that the wine is of superior quality and has been aged in oak for at least 3 years before being bottled. Labels indicating "Chianti Classico" refer to the central and original (dating back to the 14th century) growing area from which the grapes came. Chianti's bold flavor is particularly suited to highly seasoned foods. 2. A generic name used for rather ordinary, inexpensive red wine made outside of Italy in countries like Argentina and the United States. The grape varieties that go into such wines are varied and unregulated.
chicharrón [chee-chah-RROHN] This crispy rich snack is made from pork skin that has been deep-fried twice, once in 325°F oil, then again in 375°F oil, making it balloon into a honeycombed puff. It is available in Latin American markets.
chicken History tells us that today's chickens are descendants of wild fowl that roamed the dense jungles of primeval Asia. Thousands of years later, France's King Henry IV stated in his coronation speech that he hoped each peasant in his realm would have "a chicken in his pot every Sunday" (a quote later paraphrased by President Herbert Hoover). It surprises many people that chicken wasn't always the reasonably priced meat it is today. Until after World War II, only the affluent (and chicken farmers) could manage even the proverbial Sunday chicken. Today, thanks to modern production methods, almost anyone can afford this versatile fowl, which provides not only meat and eggs but feathers as well. Chickens fall into several classifications. The broiler-fryer can weigh up to 3 1/2 pounds and is usually around 2 1/2 months old. These chickens, as the name implies, are best when broiled or fried. The more flavorful roasters have a higher fat content and therefore are perfect for roasting and rotisserie cooking. They usually range between 2 1/2 and 5 pounds and can be up to 8 months old. Stewing chickens (also called hens, boiling fowl  and just plain fowl ) usually range in age from 10 to 18 months and can weigh from 3 to 6 pounds. Their age makes them more flavorful but also less tender, so they're best cooked with moist heat, such as in stewing or braising. A capon is a rooster that is castrated when quite young (usually before 8 weeks), fed a fattening diet and brought to market before it's 10 months old. Ranging from 4 to 10 pounds, capons are full-breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is particularly suited to roasting. Rock Cornish hen, also called Rock Cornish game hen , is a hybrid of Cornish and White Rock chickens. These miniature chickens weigh up to 2 1/2 pounds and are 4 to 6 weeks old. Because of the relatively small amount of meat to bone, each hen is usually just enough for one serving. Rock Cornish hens are best broiled or roasted. Squab Chicken (poussin  in French), different from the true SQUAB, is a very small, 4- to 6-week-old chicken that weighs no more than 1 1/2 pounds. These tiny birds are best broiled, grilled or roasted. The cock or rooster is an older bird and therefore rather tough. It's best used in soups or to make broths. Free-range chickens are the elite of the poultry world in that, in contrast to the mass-produced birds allotted 1 square foot of space, each range chicken has double that area indoors plus the freedom to roam outdoors. They're fed a special vegetarian diet free (according to most range chicken breeders) of antibiotics, animal byproducts, hormones and growth enhancers. The special diet and freedom of movement is thought by some to give this fowl a fuller, more "chickeny" flavor; the added amenities also make these birds much more expensive than mass-produced chickens. Free-range chickens average 4 1/2 pounds and are usually around 10 to 12 weeks old. Chicken grades: The government grades chicken quality with USDA classifications A, B and C. The highest grade is A, and is generally what is found in markets. Grade B chickens are less meaty and well finished; grade C is usually reserved for scrawny turkeys. The grade stamp can be found within a shield on the package wrapping, or sometimes on a tag attached to the bird's wing. Chicken is available in markets throughout the year either fresh or frozen, and whole or cut into parts. The neck and GIBLETS (liver, gizzard and heart) are either packaged separately and placed in a whole bird's body cavity, or sold individually. Choose a meaty, full-breasted chicken with plump, short legs. The skin — which can range from cream-colored to yellow, depending on the breed and the chicken's diet — should be smooth and soft. Avoid chickens with an off odor, or with skin that's bruised or torn. Store chicken in the coldest part of the refrigerator. If packaged tightly in cellophane, loosen packaging or remove and loosely rewrap chicken in waxed paper. Remove any giblets from the body cavity and store separately. Refrigerate raw chicken up to 2 days, cooked chicken up to 3 days. For maximum flavor, freeze raw chicken no longer than 2 months, cooked chicken up to a month. Salmonella bacteria are present on most poultry (though only about 4 percent of salmonella poisonings are chicken-related). To avoid any chance of bacterial contamination, it's important to handle raw chicken with care. The first rule is never to eat chicken in its raw state. After cutting or working with raw chicken, thoroughly wash utensils, cutting tools, cutting board and your hands. Cook boneless chicken until the internal temperature is 179°F, bone-in chicken to 180°F. Don't let any raw juice come in contact with cooked chicken. The versatile chicken can be prepared in almost any way imaginable, including baking, broiling, boiling, roasting, frying, braising, barbecuing and stewing. Boning chicken will shorten any cooking time but will also slightly diminish the flavor. Chicken is an excellent source of protein, and a good to fair source of niacin and iron. White meat and chicken without skin have fewer calories.
chicken à la king see  À LA KING
chicken cacciatore see  CACCIATORE
chicken-fried steak Particularly popular in the South and Midwest, this dish is said to have been created to use inexpensive beef. It refers to a thin cut of steak that has been tenderized by pounding. It's dipped into a milk-egg mixture and seasoned flour, then fried like chicken until crisp and brown, and served with COUNTRY GRAVY.
chicken Kiev [kee-EHV] A boned chicken breast rolled around a chilled chunk of herbed butter, with the edges fastened so the butter won't escape during cooking. The breast is dipped in egg and then bread crumbs and fried until crisp. When pierced with a fork or cut into, the chicken emits a jet of the fragrant melted butter.
chicken Marengo see  MARENGO, À LA
chicken paprikash see  PAPRIKÁS CSIRKE
chicken Tetrazzini [teh-trah-ZEE-nee] Said to have been named for the opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, this rich dish combines cooked spaghetti and strips of chicken with a sherry-Parmesan cheese cream sauce. Parmesan or bread crumbs are sprinkled over the surface and the dish is baked until bubbly and golden brown. Turkey is sometimes substituted for chicken in this dish.
chickpea; chick-pea Slightly larger than the average pea, these round, irregular-shaped, buff-colored LEGUMES have a firm texture and mild, nutlike flavor. Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans  and ceci ) are used extensively in the Mediterranean, India and the Middle East for dishes such as COUSCOUS and HUMMUS. They've also found their way into Spanish stews, Italian MINESTRONE and various Mexican dishes, and are fast becoming popular in many parts of the Western and Southwestern United States. Chickpeas are available canned, dried and in some areas, fresh. They're most commonly used in salads, soups and stews. See also  BEANS.
chicory [CHIHK-uh-ree] This relative of the ENDIVE has curly, bitter-tasting leaves that are often used as part of a salad or cooked as greens. In the United States, early endive is sometimes erroneously called chicory. Chicory is available year-round. Choose leaves that are brightly colored and crisp. Store unwashed greens in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Today's trendy RADICCHIO is a red-leafed Italian chicory. Roasted chicory (also called succory ) comes from the roasted, ground roots of some varieties of chicory. It's used as a coffee substitute, and added to some coffees for body and aroma and as an "extender." This coffee-chicory blend is often referred to as "New Orleans" or "Creole" coffee and is a popular beverage in Louisiana.
chiffon [shih-FAHN] An airy, fluffy mixture, usually a filling for pie. The lightness is achieved with stiffly beaten egg whites and sometimes gelatin.
chiffonade [shihf-uh-NAHD, shihf-uh-NAYD] Literally translated, this French phrase means "made of rags." Culinarily, it refers to thin strips or shreds of vegetables (classically, sorrel and lettuce), either lightly sautéed or used raw to garnish soups.
chiffonade salad dressing A classic FRENCH DRESSING with the addition of finely chopped or shredded hard-cooked egg, green pepper, chives, parsley, beet and onion.
chiffon cake Said to have been created in the late 1940s by a professional baker, chiffon cake is distinguished from others of its genre by the fact that oil, rather than solid shortening, is used. It contains LEAVENING, such as baking powder, and stiffly beaten egg whites, which contribute to its rather spongecakelike texture.
Chihuahua cheese [chih-WAH-wah] see  ASADERO
chikuwa [cheh-KOO-uh] see  KAMABOKO
chilaca chile [chih-LAH-kuh] A mild to medium-hot, rich-flavored chile that, when dried, is known as the PASILLA. The narrow chilaca can measure up to 9 inches long and often has a twisted shape. It turns from dark green to dark brown when fully mature. About the only place it can be found fresh in the United States is in farmer's markets. See also  CHILE.
chilaquiles [chee-lah-KEE-lehs] Because it was invented to use leftovers, this Mexican entree is sometimes called "poor man's dish." It consists of corn TORTILLA strips sautéed with other foods such as mild green CHILES, cheese, CHORIZO and shredded chicken or beef. The dish may also be layered like LASAGNA and baked.
chile; chili pepper; hot pepper One of the wonders that Christopher Columbus brought back from the New World was a member of the Capsicum  genus, the chile. Now this pungent pod plays an important role in the cuisines of many countries including Africa, China (Szechuan region), India, Mexico, South America, Spain and Thailand. There are more than 200 varieties of chiles, over 100 of which are indigenous to Mexico. They vary in length from a huge 12 inches to a 1/4-inch peewee. Some are long, narrow and no thicker than a pencil while others are plump and globular. Their heat quotient varies from mildly warm to mouth-blistering hot. A chile's color can be anywhere from yellow to green to red to black. Dried chiles are available year-round. The availability of fresh chiles varies according to the variety and season. Choose those with deep, vivid colors; avoid chiles with any sign of shriveling or soft spots. Fresh chiles can be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. As a general rule, the larger the chile the milder it is. Small chiles are much hotter because, proportionally, they contain more seeds and veins than larger specimens. Those seeds and membranes can contain up to 80 percent of a chile's CAPSAICIN, the potent compound that gives chiles their fiery nature. Since neither cooking nor freezing diminishes capsaicin's intensity, removing a chile's seeds and veins is the only way to reduce its heat. After working with chiles, it's extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly; failure to do so can result in painful burning of the eyes or skin (wearing rubber gloves will remedy this problem). Chiles are used to make a plethora of by-products including CHILI PASTE, TABASCO sauce, CAYENNE and the dried red pepper flakes commonly found in pizzerias. Chiles are cholesterol free and low in calories and sodium. They're a rich source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium and vitamin E. See also  ANAHEIM; ANCHO; CASCABEL; CAYENNE; CHARLESTON HOT; CHERRY PEPPER; CHILACA; CHIPOTLE; FRESNO; GUAJILLO; GÜERO; HABANERO; HUNGARIAN WAX; JALAPEÑO; JAMAICAN HOT; MULATO; PASILLA; PEPPERONCINI; PEQUÍN; PIMIENTO; POBLANO; RED PEPPER; RISTRA; SANTA FE GRANDE; SCOTCH BONNET; SERRANO; SWEET PEPPERS; THAI CHILE; TOGARASHI.
chile bean paste A paste or sauce made with fermented soybeans or sometimes FERMENTED BLACK BEANS, chopped dried CHILES, garlic and other seasonings. This spicy, salty paste is popular in CHINESE CUISINE (Szechuan and Hunan) as well as in many Korean dishes. In Korea, chile bean paste is known as kochujang  or kochu chang .
chile bola see  CASCABEL CHILE
chile con queso [CHIH-lee (Sp. , CHEE-lay) kon KAY-soh] A melted cheese dip flavored with mild green CHILES. Served in Mexican restaurants with TORTILLA chips or cut raw vegetables.
chile negro see  PASILLA CHILE
chile pequeño see  PEQUÍN CHILE
chile seco see  SERRANO CHILE
chiles rellenos [CHEE-lehs rreh-YEH-nohs] Literally translated as "stuffed peppers," this Mexican specialty consists of cheese-stuffed mild green CHILES, cloaked with an egg batter and fried until the outside is crisp and the cheese inside is melted.
chili con carne [CHIHL-ee kon KAHR-nay, CHIHL-ee kon KAHR-nee] Spanish for "chili with meat," this dish is a melange of diced or ground beef and CHILES or CHILI POWDER (or both). It originated in the Lone Star State and Texans, who commonly refer to it as "a bowl of red," consider it a crime to add beans to the mixture. In many parts of the country, however, beans are requisite and the dish is called "chili con carne with beans."
chili oil Vegetable oil in which hot red CHILES have been steeped to release their heat and flavor. This spicy-hot oil is red-colored (from the chiles) and is a mainstay of Chinese cookery. It will keep 6 months at room temperature, but will retain its potency longer if refrigerated.
chili paste Widely used in Chinese cooking, this paste is made of fermented FAVA BEANS, flour, red CHILES and sometimes garlic. It's available in Chinese markets and many large supermarkets.
chili powder A powdered seasoning mixture of dried CHILES, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander and cloves. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
chili sauce A spicy blend of tomatoes, CHILES or CHILI POWDER, onions, green peppers, vinegar, sugar and spices. This ketchuplike sauce is used as a condiment.
chiltepín see  PEQUÍN CHILE
chimichanga [chee-mee-CHAN-gah] This specialty of Sonora, Mexico, is actually a BURRITO that is fried or deep-fried. It can contain any number of fillings including shredded chicken, beef or pork, grated cheese, refried beans and rice. To prevent the filling from spilling out during frying, the flour TORTILLA must be rolled around it, with the ends tucked in. Chimichangas are often garnished with SALSA, GUACAMOLE, sour cream and shredded cheese.
chimichurri This thick herb sauce is as common in Argentina as ketchup is in the United States. Chimichurri  is a melange of olive oil, vinegar and finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion and garlic, all seasoned with salt, CAYENNE and black pepper. It's a must with grilled meat and a common accompaniment to a variety of other dishes.
chine n.  This term refers to the backbone of an animal. It can also describe a cut of meat including the backbone with some adjoining flesh. The chine is removed from the rib bones in cuts such as rack of lamb. chine v.  A butchering term meaning to sever the backbone.
Chinese artichoke Also known as Japanese artichoke, knotroot  and chorogi , this hairy plant is a native of China and Japan. It has small white tubers that have a sweet, nutty taste similar to a JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE. They can seldom be found in the United States but, if available, should be purchased when firm and white. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to a week. Chinese artichokes can be eaten raw, or boiled, baked or steamed. See also  ARTICHOKE.
Chinese black beans see  FERMENTED BLACK BEANS
Chinese black mushroom see  SHIITAKE
Chinese cabbage The heading "Chinese cabbage" is confusing, at best. This variety, Brassica  pekinensis , is also called Napa cabbage, hakusai, celery cabbage, wong bok  and Peking cabbage , just to name a few. Another Brassica  subspecies — chinensis  — is better known as BOK CHOY and is also called Chinese white cabbage  and white mustard cabbage . It's clear that the confusion is warranted. The predominant variety of the pekinensis  subspecies of Chinese cabbage has crinkly, thickly veined leaves that are cream-colored with celadon green tips. Unlike the strong-flavored waxy leaves on round heads of cabbage, these are thin, crisp and delicately mild. Chinese cabbage is generally available year-round. Choose firm, tightly packed heads with crisp, green-tipped leaves. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, up to 3 days. Use raw, or sauté, bake or braise. Chinese cabbage is a good source of vitamin A, folic acid and potassium.
Chinese chives see  GARLIC CHIVES
Chinese cuisine The combined cuisines of China have often been compared to French cuisine as having made the greatest contribution to the world of food. Chinese cooking styles have been divided into five main regions: Southeastern (Canton), East Coast (Fukien), Northeastern (Peking-Shantung), Central (Honan) and Western (Szechuan-Hunan). Cantonese cuisine is famous for its meat roasting and grilling, fried rice, and BIRD'S NEST and SHARK'S FIN SOUP. The province of Fukien is noted for its multitudinous selection of soups and for its seafood dishes. The light, elegant Peking-Shantung style originated the famous PEKING DUCK, and is highly acclaimed for its subtle and artful use of seasonings. China's Honan province is the home of SWEET-AND-SOUR cooking, and the Szechuan-Hunan school is known for its hot, spicy dishes. Mandarin cooking and Shanghai cooking are not regional designations, but terms used to describe cooking styles. The word mandarin  means "Chinese official," and mandarin cooking suggests an aristocratic cuisine that gleans the very finest elements from all the regions. Shanghai  cooking refers to a cosmopolitan combination of many Chinese cooking styles.
Chinese date Also called Chinese jujube  and red date , this olive-sized fruit has a leathery skin that, depending on the variety, can be red (most common), off-white or almost black. The flavor of the rather dry, yellowish flesh is prunelike. The Chinese date is generally imported from China, though some are being grown on the West Coast. Some fresh fruit is available (mainly in the West), but those found most often (usually in Chinese markets) are dried and must be soaked in water before using. Chinese cooks use this fruit in both savory and sweet dishes.
Chinese firepot see  MONGOLIAN HOT POT
Chinese five-spice powder see  FIVE-SPICE POWDER
Chinese gooseberry see  KIWI
Chinese grapefruit see  POMELO
Chinese jujube see  CHINESE DATE
Chinese long bean see  YARD-LONG BEAN
citric acid [SIHT-rihk] A white powder extracted from the juice of citrus and other acidic fruits (such as lemons, limes, pineapples and gooseberries). It's also produced by the FERMENTATION of glucose. Citric acid has a strong, tart taste and is used as a flavoring agent for foods and beverages. Small bottles of crystallized sour salt (also called citric salt ) are often found in the kosher-foods section of supermarkets. Sour salt is used to impart a tart flavor to traditional dishes such as BORSCHT. See also  SALT.
citron [SIHT-ron] 1. This semitropical citrus fruit looks like a huge (6 to 9 inches long), yellow-green, lumpy lemon. Citron pulp is very sour and not suitable for eating raw. This fruit is grown instead for its extremely thick peel, which is candied and used in baking. Before candying, the peel is processed in brine and pressed to extract citron oil, used to flavor LIQUEURS and to scent cosmetics. Candied citron can be purchased fresh in specialty markets, or with preservatives (necessary for the expected long shelf life) in supermarkets. Either should be stored in the freezer for maximum freshness. Candied citron halves are sometimes available, but it will more likely be found chopped or in strips. 2. Citron (pronounced see-TRAWN ) is also the French word for "lemon"; citron vert  (VEHR) is "lime."
citronella [sih-truh-NEHL-uh] see  LEMON GRASS
citrus fruits This large family of fruit includes among its members the CITRON, GRAPEFRUIT, KUMQUAT, LEMON, LIME, ORANGE, SHADDOCK, TANGELO, TANGERINE and UGLI FRUIT. Native to Asia, citrus fruits prefer tropical to temperate climates and thrive in many Central and South American countries, as well as the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. All fresh citrus fruits share some degree of tartness and are rich in vitamin C.
citrus stripper A special tool with a stainless-steel notched edge that cuts 1/4-inch-wide strips from the rind of citrus fruits as well as other fruits and vegetables. It's commonly used to make lemon or lime strips, which are used to flavor drinks or garnish dishes such as salads and desserts. The strips can be cut long or short, depending on whether the stripper is pulled from top to bottom (short strips) or in a long spiral around the fruit (long strips). A citrus stripper can also be used to cut decorative designs in vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini.
citrus zester The stainless-steel cutting edge of this kitchen tool has five tiny cutting holes which, when the zester is pulled across the surface of a lemon or orange, create threadlike strips of peel. The zester removes only the colored outer portion (ZEST) of the peel, leaving the pale bitter pith.
civet [SIHV-iht, Fr , . see-VAY] Culinarily, civet is a well-seasoned stew of furred game — usually rabbit — flavored with onions, mushrooms and red wine.
clabber A popular dish of the Old South, clabber is unpasteurized milk that has soured and thickened naturally. Depending on its thickness, icy-cold clabbered milk was (and sometimes still is) enjoyed as a drink. It may also be eaten with fruit, or topped with black pepper and cream or simply sprinkled with sugar.
clafouti [kla-foo-TEE] Originally from the Limousin region, this country-French dessert is made by topping a layer of fresh fruit with batter. After baking it's served hot, sometimes with cream. Some clafoutis have a cakelike topping while others are more like a pudding. Though cherries are traditional, any fruit such as plums, peaches or pears can be used.
clam American Indians used parts of the shell from these BIVALVE MOLLUSKS to make wampum — beads used for barter, ornamental, ceremonial and spiritual purposes. The two main varieties of clams are hard-shell and soft-shell. The HARD-SHELL CLAMS found on the East Coast (where they're also called by the Indian name, quahog ) come in three sizes. The smallest are LITTLENECK CLAMS, which have a shell diameter less than 2 inches. Next comes the medium-sized CHERRYSTONE CLAM, about 2 1/2 inches across. The largest of this trio is the CHOWDER CLAM (also called simply "large" clam), with a shell diameter of at least 3 inches. Among the West Coast hard-shell varieties are the PACIFIC LITTLENECK CLAM, the PISMO and the small, sweet BUTTER CLAMS from Puget Sound. SOFT-SHELL CLAMS, also called soft clams , actually have thin, brittle shells. They can't completely close their shells because of a long, rubbery neck (or siphon) that extends beyond its edge. The most common East Coast soft-shell is the STEAMER CLAM. The most famous West Cost soft-shells are the RAZOR CLAM (so named because its shell resembles a folded, old-fashioned straight razor) and the GEODUCK CLAM (pronounced GOO-ee-duck ). The geoduck is a comical-looking, 6-inch-long clam with a neck that can reach up to about 1 1/2 feet long. On the East Coast and in the Pacific Northwest, clams are available year-round. In California, the season is November through April. Clams are sold live in the shell, fresh or frozen shucked, and canned. When buying hard-shell clams in the shell, make sure the shells are tightly closed. If a shell is slightly open, tap it lightly. If it doesn't snap shut, the clam is dead and should be discarded. To test a soft-shell clam, lightly touch its neck; if it moves, it's alive. The guideline for buying shucked clams is plumpness and clear liquid. Store live clams up to 2 days in a 40°F refrigerator; refrigerate shucked clams up to 4 days. Clams can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming and baking. All clams should be cooked gently to prevent toughening. Clams are high in protein and contain fair amounts of calcium and iron. See also SHELLFISH.
Clamart, à la [kla-MAHR ] A French term referring to dishes garnished with peas. It can also refer to a garnish of potato balls.
clambake; clam bake An informal beachfront meal where clams, corn-on-the-cob and other foods including lobsters, mussels, potatoes and onions are cooked in a pit of hot rocks topped with seaweed, all of which is covered with wet canvas. Clambakes are sometimes replicated indoors by simply steaming all the ingredients in a large pot complete with seaweed.
clam chowder see  CHOWDER
clam knife A small, sturdy, round-tipped knife used for opening live clams.
claret [KLAR-eht] 1. A term used by the English when referring to the red wines from BORDEAUX. 2. Elsewhere, the word claret is sometimes used as a general reference to light red wines. Even though "claret" sometimes appears on labels it has no legal definition.
clarified butter [KLEHR-ih-fide] Also called drawn butter , this is unsalted butter that has been slowly melted, thereby evaporating most of the water and separating the milk solids (which sink to the bottom of the pan) from the golden liquid on the surface. After any foam is skimmed off the top, the clear (clarified) butter is poured or skimmed off the milky residue and used in cooking. Because the milk solids (which make butter burn when used for frying) have been removed, clarified butter has a higher SMOKE POINT than regular butter and therefore may be used to cook at higher temperatures. Additionally, the lack of milk solids prevents clarified butter from becoming rancid as quickly as regular butter. It also means that the butter won't have as rich a flavor. GHEE is an East Indian form of highly clarified butter.
clarify [KLEHR-ih-fi] To clear a cloudy liquid by removing the sediment. The most common method is to add egg whites and/ or eggshells to a liquid (such as a stock) and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The egg whites attract any particles in the liquid like a magnet. After cooling for about an hour, the mixture is poured through a cloth-lined SIEVE to strain out all residue. Rendered fat can be clarified by adding hot water and boiling for about 15 minutes. The mixture is then strained through several layers of CHEESECLOTH and chilled. The resulting top layer of fat should be almost entirely clear of residue.
cleaver Used mainly by butchers and Chinese cooks, a cleaver is an axlike cutting tool. Its flat sides can be used for pounding, as in tenderizing meat. Cleavers are usually heavy for their size, but evenly weighted. A good cleaver can cut through bone just as easily as it can chop vegetables. The butt end can be used as a pestle (see  MORTAR AND PESTLE) to pulverize seeds or other food items; the flat side is also great for crushing garlic.
clementine [KLEHM-uhn-tyn] see  MANADARIN ORANGE
clingstone A term used to describe fruit that has a pit to which the flesh clings tenaciously, one of the most well known being the cling  or clingstone peach . See also  FREESTONE.
clotted cream This specialty of Devonshire, England (which is why it's also known as Devonshire  or Devon cream ) is made by gently heating rich, unpasteurized milk until a semisolid layer of cream forms on the surface. After cooling, the thickened cream is removed. Clotted cream can be spread on bread or spooned atop fresh fruit or desserts. The traditional English "cream tea" consists of clotted cream and jam served with SCONES and tea. Clotted cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
cloudberry Found in northern climes such as New England, Canada and Scandinavia, the cloudberry looks like an amber-colored version of the raspberry to which it's related. The berries are too tart for out-of-hand eating but make excellent jam. Cloudberries are usually wild and therefore hard to find in markets. Other names for this delicious fruit include bake-apple berry, yellow berry  and mountain berry. 
cloud ear see  WOOD EAR
clove 1. Considered one of the world's most important spices, cloves are the dried, unopened flower bud of the tropical evergreen clove tree. Reddish brown and nail-shaped, their name comes from clavus , the Latin word for nail. Cloves are sold whole or ground and can be used to flavor a multitude of dishes ranging from sweet to savory. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART. 2. The term "clove" also refers to a segment of a bulb, such as in garlic clove.
club sandwich; clubhouse sandwich A double-decker sandwich consisting of three slices of toast or bread between which are layers of chicken or turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and whatever else pleases the sandwich maker.
club soda see  SODA WATER
club steak This tender, flavorful beef cut comes from the small end of the SHORT LOIN next to the rib. It has a bone along one side, but includes no portion of the tenderloin. See also  BEEF.
coat In cooking, this term refers to covering food with an outer "coating." It can mean dipping or rolling food (such as chicken) in seasoned bread crumbs or flour. The food can be dipped into beaten eggs before being coated with the dry mixture. Coating food in this manner usually precedes frying. A semiliquid, such as mayonnaise or sauce, can also be used to coat food.
coat a spoon A cooking technique used to test the doneness of cooked, egg-based custards and sauces. The mixture is done when it leaves an even film (thin to thick, depending on the recipe instructions) on the spoon. This film can be tested by drawing your finger across the coating on the spoon. If it doesn't run and leaves a clear path, it's ready.
cobbler 1. A baked, deep-dish fruit dessert topped with a thick biscuit crust sprinkled with sugar. 2. An old-fashioned punch made by mixing liquor (usually rum or whiskey) or wine with fruit juice and sugar. The punch is usually garnished with mint and slices of citrus.
cobb salad Hollywood's Brown Derby Restaurant made this salad famous. It consists of finely chopped chicken or turkey, bacon, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, avocado, scallions, watercress, cheddar cheese and lettuce tossed with a VINAIGRETTE dressing and topped with an ample portion of crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese.
cobnut see  HAZELNUT
cock-a-leekie [KAHK-uh-LEE-kee] A Scottish soup made with chicken broth, chicken, leeks and, sometimes, oatmeal or cream.
cockle [KAHK-uhl] Any of various BIVALVES of the genus Cardi-um  with a heart-shaped, radially ribbed "cockleshell." They have a tendency to be quite gritty and must be washed thoroughly to rid them of sand. Cockles, which have always been more popular in Europe than the United States, can be eaten raw or cooked, as with clams or oysters.
cocktail 1. A beverage that combines an alcohol (such as bourbon, gin, rum, scotch or vodka) with a mixer (such as fruit juice, soda or liqueur). Popular cocktails include MARTINI, OLD FASHIONED and TOM COLLINS. 2. This term also applies to an appetizer served before a meal such as a "seafood" or "fruit" cocktail, which would be a dish of mixed seafood or mixed fruit respectively.
cocktail sauce A combination of ketchup or CHILI SAUCE with prepared horseradish, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce or other hot red pepper seasoning. Cocktail sauce is used with seafood and as a condiment for HORS D'OEUVRES, etc.
cocoa butter [KOH-koh] The natural, cream-colored vegetable fat extracted from cocoa beans during the process of making CHOCOLATE and COCOA POWDER. It's used to add smoothness and flavor in some foods (including chocolate) and in making cosmetics and soaps.
cocoa mix [KOH-koh] Also called instant cocoa,  this mixture of cocoa powder, dry milk and sugar is combined with cold or boiling water to make a cold or hot, chocolate-flavored beverage.
cocoa powder [KOH-koh] Both CHOCOLATE and cocoa powder come from cocoa beans that grow in pods on the tropical Theobroma cacao  tree, which is found in Southeast Asia, Africa, Hawaii, Brazil and other South American countries. Once cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted and cracked, the nibs are ground to extract about 75 percent of the cocoa butter, leaving a dark brown paste called chocolate liquor. After drying again, the hardened mass is ground into the powder known as unsweetened cocoa. The richer, darker Dutch cocoa has been treated with an ALKALI, which helps neutralize cocoa's natural acidity. Cocoa powder is sold plain or mixed with other ingredients such as milk powder and sugar, forming an instant cocoa mix. Cocoa mixes should not be substituted for cocoa powder in recipes. Store cocoa powder airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years.
coconut Malaysia is the motherland of the coconut palm, which now grows in parts of South America, India, Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Islands. This prolific tree yields thousands of coconuts over its approximately 70-year lifespan. Each coconut has several layers: a smooth, deep tan outer covering; a hard, dark brown, hairy husk with three indented "eyes" at one end; a thin brown skin; the creamy white coconut meat; and, at the center, a thin, opaque coconut juice. The smooth outer shell is usually removed before the coconut is exported. The coconut palm maximizes its potential by producing several products including food (coconut meat and buds) and drink (coconut juice, vinegar and toddy — the latter a potent fermented drink made from the tree's sap). Dried coconut meat, called copra , is pressed and used to make coconut oil, which is used in commercial frying and as a component in many packaged goods such as candies, margarines, soap and cosmetics. Coconut oil — one of the few nonanimal saturated fats — is used widely in the manufacture of baked goods such as commercial cookies. Certain major manufacturers have replaced it with the more expensive unsaturated fats with an eye toward cholesterol consciousness. The coconut palm's hard shells can be used for bowls, the fiber for ropes and nets, the wood for building, the roots for fuel and the leaves for baskets, hats, mats and thatching. The flesh of unripe  coconut (usually not exported) has a jellylike consistency and can be eaten from the shell with a spoon. Upon ripening, the flesh becomes white and firm. Fresh coconuts are available year-round, with the peak season being October through December. Choose one that's heavy for its size and that sounds full of liquid when shaken; avoid those with damp "eyes." Whole, unopened coconuts can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months, depending on the degree of ripeness. The liquid in a coconut is drained by piercing two of the three eyes with an ice pick. This thin juice can be used as a beverage, though it shouldn't be confused with coconut "milk". Then the meat is removed and the inner skin scraped off. Chunks of coconut meat can be grated or chopped, either in the food processor or by hand. One medium coconut will yield 3 to 4 cups grated. Grated fresh coconut should be tightly covered and can be refrigerated up to 4 days, frozen up to 6 months. Packaged coconut is available in cans or plastic bags, sweetened or unsweetened, shredded or flaked, and dried, moist or frozen. It can sometimes also be found toasted. Unopened canned coconut can be stored at room temperature up to 18 months; coconut in plastic bags up to six months. Refrigerate both after opening. Coconut is high in saturated fat and is a good source of potassium. Coconut milk and coconut cream are sometimes called for in recipes, particularly in curried dishes. Coconut milk is made by combining equal parts water and shredded fresh or desiccated coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The mixture is then strained through CHEESECLOTH, squeezing as much of the liquid as possible from the coconut meat. The coconut meat can be combined with water again for a second, diluted batch of coconut milk. Coconut cream is made in the same manner, but enriches the mix by using 1 part water to 4 parts coconut. Milk can be substituted for water for an even richer result. Discard the coconut meat after making these mixtures. Coconut milk and cream also come canned and may sometimes be found frozen in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Do not confuse sweetened "cream of coconut" — used mainly for desserts and mixed drinks — with unsweetened coconut milk or cream.
coconut cream see  COCONUT
coconut milk see  COCONUT
coconut oil see  COCONUT
cocotte [koh-KOT] This French word for "casserole" refers to a round or oval casserole with a tight-fitting lid. It can be either individual-size or large and is traditionally made of EARTHENWARE. The phrase en cocotte  means "cooked in a casserole."
cod This popular saltwater fish can range from 1 1/2 to 100 pounds and comes from the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Cod's mild-flavored meat is white, lean and firm. It's available year-round and comes whole (the smaller specimens) or in large pieces. Cod can be baked, poached, braised, broiled and fried. Whole cod are often stuffed before baking. Cod can be preserved by smoking, salting or drying. Salt cod, an important staple in many tropical countries because of its storage properties, has been salted and dried. It's used to make the popular French dish BRANDADE. Cod cheeks and tongues are considered a delicacy. So are scrod, which are young cod (and haddock) weighing under 2 1/2 pounds. HADDOCK, HAKE and POLLOCK are all close relatives of cod. See also  FISH.
coddle A cooking method most often used with eggs, though other foods can be coddled as well. There are special containers with tight-fitting lids called "egg coddlers" made specifically for this purpose. Coddling is usually done by placing the food in an individual-size container that is covered, set in a larger pan of simmering water and placed either on stovetop or in the oven at very low heat. The gentle warmth of this WATER BATH slowly cooks the food. Coddling can also be done by gently lowering the food into water that's come to a boil and removed from the heat.
coeur à la crème [KEWR ah la KREHM] French for "heart with cream," this classic dessert is made in a special heart-shaped wicker basket or mold with holes in it. Cream cheese is mixed with sour cream or whipping cream (and sometimes sugar) and placed into the special mold or CHEESECLOTH-lined basket. The dessert is then refrigerated overnight, during which time the WHEY (liquid) drains out through the basket or perforated mold. To serve, the dessert is unmolded and garnished with fresh berries or other fruit.
coffee Ethiopia is thought to be the motherland of the first coffee beans, which, throughout the ages, found their way to Brazil and Colombia — the two largest coffee producers today. Coffee plantations abound throughout other South and Central American countries, Cuba, Hawaii, Indonesia, Jamaica and many African nations. There are hundreds of different coffee species but the two most commercially viable are coffea robusta  and coffea arabica . The sturdy, disease-resistant coffea robusta , which thrives at lower altitudes, produces beans with a harsher, more single-dimensional flavor than the more sensitive coffea arabica , which grows at high altitudes (3,000 to 6,500 feet) and produces beans with elegant, complex flavors. The coffee plant is actually a small tree that bears a fruit called the "coffee cherry." Growing and tending these coffee trees is a labor-intensive process because blossoms, unripe (green) and ripe red cherries can occupy a tree simultaneously, necessitating hand-picking the fruit. The coffee cherry's skin and pulp surround two beans enclosed in a parchmentlike covering. Once these layers are discarded, the beans are cleaned, dried, graded and hand-inspected for color and quality. The "green" beans (which can range in color from pale green to muddy yellow) are then exported, leaving the roasting, blending and grinding to be done at their destination. Coffee can be composed of a single type of coffee bean or a blend of several types. Blended coffee produces a richer, more complex flavor than single-bean coffees. The length of time coffee beans are roasted will affect the color and flavor of the brew. Among the most popular roasts are American, French, Italian, European and Viennese. American roast (also called regular roast) beans are medium-roasted, which results in a moderate brew — not too light or too heavy in flavor. The heavy-roasted beans are French roast and dark French roast, which are a deep chocolate brown and produce a stronger coffee, and the glossy, brown-black, strongly flavored Italian roast, used for espresso. European roast contains two-thirds heavy-roast beans blended with one-third regular-roast; Viennese roast reverses those proportions. Instant coffee powder is a powdered coffee made by heat-drying freshly brewed coffee. Freeze-dried coffee granules (or crystals) are derived from brewed coffee that has been frozen into a slush before the water is evaporated. Freeze-dried coffee is slightly more expensive than regular instant coffee, but is also reputed to be superior in flavor. Coffee, tea and cocoa all contain caffeine, a stimulant that affects many parts of the body including the nervous system, kidneys, heart and gastric secretions. With the exception of the Madagascar coffee species — mascarocoffea vianneyi  — which actually grows  beans that are decaf-feinated, coffee beans must go through a process to produce decaffeinated coffee. The caffeine is removed by one of two methods, either of which is executed before the beans are roasted. In the first method, the caffeine is chemically extracted with the use of a solvent, which must be completely washed out before the beans are dried. The second method — called Swiss water process  — first steams the beans, then scrapes away the caffeine-rich outer layers. Though there was once concern about the safety of solvent residues, research has found that the volatile solvents disappear entirely when the beans are roasted. Coffee, whether ground or whole-bean, loses its flavor quickly. To assure the freshest, most flavorful brew, buy fresh coffee beans and grind only as many as needed to brew each pot of coffee. Inexpensive grinders are available at most department and discount stores. Store whole roasted beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze whole beans, freezer-wrapped, up to 3 months. Since room-temperature ground coffee begins to go stale within a couple of days after it's ground, it should be refrigerated in an airtight container and can be stored up to 2 weeks. See also  CAFÉ AU LAIT; CAFÉ BRULOT; CAFÉ LATTE; CAFÉ MACCHIATO; CAFÉ MOCHA; CAPPUCCINO; ESPRESSO; GREEK COFFEE; IRISH COFFEE; THAI COFFEE; TURKISH COFFEE; VIENNESE COFFEE.
coffee cake This rich, sweet, cakelike bread is usually eaten for breakfast or brunch. Coffee cakes can be made with yeast, but those using baking soda or baking powder take less time and are also delicious. Coffee cakes often contain fruit, nuts and sometimes a cream-cheese filling. They can be frosted or not and are usually best served slightly warm.
cognac [KON-yak] Hailing from in and around the town of Cognac in western France, this potent potable is the finest of all BRANDIES. Cognac is double-distilled immediately after FERMENTATION. It then begins its minimum 3-year aging in Limousin oak. Stars on a cognac label denote the following oak-aging: 1 star — aged 3 years; 2 stars — aged at least 4 years; 3 stars — aged at least 5 years. Older cognacs are labeled V.S.  (very superior), V.S.O.P.  (very superior old pale) and V.V.S.O.P.  (very, very, superior old pale). A cognac label can no longer legally claim over 7 years aging. It's been difficult for authorities to accurately keep track of Cognacs aged longer than this, so they've limited what producers may claim. Label terms X.O., Extra  and Reserve  usually indicate a Cognac is the oldest a producer distributes. Fine champagne  on the label indicates that 60 percent of the grapes came from a superior grape-growing section of Cognac called Grande Champagne . One designating grande fine champagne  proclaims that all the grapes for that cognac came from that eminent area.
coho salmon [KOH-hoh] see  SALMON
Cointreau [KWAHN-troh, kwahn-TROH] A fine French LIQUEUR that's clear, colorless and orange-flavored.
cola [KOH-lah] A sweet carbonated beverage containing COLA-NUT extract and other flavorings.
colander [KAWL-an-der, KUHL-an-der] Used for draining liquid from solids, the colander is a perforated, bowl-shaped container. It can be metal, plastic or ceramic.
cola nut; kola nut [KOH-lah] Caffeine and theobromine, used in the manufacture of some soft drinks, are derivatives of the cola nut, offspring of the cola tree that grows in Africa, South America and the West Indies. Chewing this nut is a favorite pastime of natives who claim it diminishes fatigue and thirst and (for some) has aphrodisiac properties.
Colbert sauce [kohl-BEHR, KOHL-behr] Named after the chief minister of King Louis XIV, this sauce combines meat glaze, butter, wine, shallots, tarragon and lemon juice. It's served with grilled meats and game.
colby cheese [KOHL-bee] A mild, whole-milk CHEDDAR CHEESE that has a softer, more open texture than regular cheddar. Because it's a high-moisture cheese, it doesn't keep as well as other cheddars. Colby is popular for eating out of hand, in sandwiches and for cooking. See also  CHEESE.
colcannon [kuhl-KAN-uhn] A delicious Irish peasant dish of milk- and butter-moistened mashed potatoes mixed with finely chopped cooked onions and kale or cabbage.
cold cuts Slices of cold meats like BOLOGNA, ham, LIVERWURST, roast beef, SALAMI, turkey and often various cheeses.
cut in To mix a solid, cold fat (such as butter or shortening) with dry ingredients (such as a flour mixture) until the combination is in the form of small particles. This technique can be achieved by using a PASTRY BLENDER, two knives, a fork or fingers (which must be cool so as not to melt the fat). A FOOD PROCESSOR fitted with a metal blade does an excellent job of cutting fat into dry ingredients, providing the mixture is not overworked into a paste.
cutlet 1. A thin, tender cut of meat (usually from lamb, pork or veal) taken from the leg or rib section. Cutlets are best when quickly cooked, such as sautéed or grilled. 2. A mixture of finely chopped meat, fish or poultry that's bound with a sauce or egg mixture and formed into the shape of a cutlet. This type of formed cutlet is often dipped into beaten egg and then into bread crumbs before being fried.
cutting board A "board," which may be wood or plastic (acrylic), used for cutting up foods such as meat and vegetables. Though it has long been thought that plastic boards were safer than wooden with respect to food-poisoning bacteria, that theory has now been discredited. Tests done by two University of Wisconsin microbiologists proved that wooden boards are so inhospitable to bacterial contaminants (such as those from poultry juices) that bacteria actually disappears from wooden surfaces within minutes. Conversely, on plastic boards bacteria multiplies rapidly at room temperature and, even after washing, bacteria can accumulate in knife cuts. The best solution: have one board for vegetables and another (preferably wood) for meats. Always use hot water and detergent to thoroughly scrub a cutting board after each use. Plastic boards may be cleaned in the dishwasher.
cuttlefish Sometimes referred to as the "chameleon of the sea" because it can quickly change its skin color and pattern, the cuttlefish, which resembles a rather large SQUID, has 10 appendages and can reach up to 16 inches in length. It can be prepared like its less tender relatives, the squid and octopus, but must still be tenderized before cooking in order not to be exceedingly chewy. Cuttlefish are most popular in Japan, India and many Mediterranean countries. Dried cuttlefish is available in some Asian markets. It should be reconstituted before cooking. Sarume, also available in ethnic markets, is cuttlefish that has been seasoned and roasted.
cold duck Originating in Germany, this pink sparkling wine is a mixture of champagne, sparkling Burgundy and sugar. Its origin is traced back to the Bavarian practice of mixing bottles of previously opened Champagne with cold sparkling Burgundy so the Champagne wouldn't be wasted. This mixture was called kalte ende  ("cold end"); over the years, ende  transliterated to ente  ("duck"). The wines used to make cold duck are often of inferior quality. The resulting potation is quite sweet with few other distinguishable characteristics.
cold-pressed oils see  FATS AND OILS
cole slaw From the Dutch koolsla , meaning "cool cabbage," cole slaw is a salad of shredded red or white cabbage mixed with a MAYONNAISE, VINAIGRETTE or other type of dressing. Other ingredients such as chopped onion, celery, sweet green or red pepper, pickles, bacon or herbs may be added. There are probably as many variations of cole slaw as there are cooks.
collard; collard greens; collards [KAHL-uhrd] Long a staple of SOUL FOOD, collard (also called collard greens  and just plain collards ) is a variety of cabbage that doesn't form a head, but grows instead in a loose rosette at the top of a tall stem. It's often confused with its close relative KALE and, in fact, tastes like a cross between cabbage and kale. Collard's peak season is January through April, but it's available year-round in most markets. Look for crisp green leaves with no evidence of yellowing, wilting or insect damage. Refrigerate collard in a plastic bag 3 to 5 days. The Southern style of cooking the greens is to boil them with a chunk of bacon or salt pork. They can be prepared in any manner suitable for spinach or cabbage. Collard is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium and iron.
collins A tall, iced cocktail made with liquor (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey or brandy), lemon juice, sugar and soda water, and garnished with a lemon slice. The drink is served in a 10- to 12-ounce "collins" glass. The most popular of this genre is the Tom Collins, which is made with gin and is said to have been named for its creator.
comal [koh-MAHL] A round, flat griddle on which TORTILLAS are cooked. In Mexico, comals used over open fires are usually made of unglazed EARTHENWARE. Those intended for use with electric and gas heat are more often made of a light metal, such as tin. The earthenware and thin metal allow fast heat penetration, thereby cooking the tortillas quickly — important so they don't become dry and brittle.
combine To mix two or more ingredients together until they do not separate.
Comice pear [kuh-MEES] This large, exquisite pear has a meltingly smooth, sweet flesh and fruit-filled fragrance. It ranges in color from greenish-yellow to yellow blushed with red. It's available from October to January and is best eaten uncooked. See also  PEAR.
comino [koh-MEE-noh] see  CUMIN
common brown mushroom see  CREMINO
complete protein A complete protein  food source is one that contains adequate amounts of the nine essential AMINO ACIDS. Most foods derived from animal sources are considered complete protein foods, whereas others such as fruits, vegetables and grains, which are generally lacking one or more of the essential amino acids, are called incomplete protein  foods.
composed salad A salad in which the ingredients are artfully arranged, rather than tossed together. The dressing for a composed salad is usually drizzled over the top of the ingredients. In French the term is known as salade composée .
compote [KAHM-poht] 1. A chilled dish of fresh or dried fruit that has been slowly cooked in a SUGAR SYRUP (which may contain liquor or liqueur and sometimes spices). Slow cooking is important for the fruit to retain its shape. 2. Also called compotier,  a deep, stemmed dish (usually of silver or glass) used to hold fruit, nuts or candy.
compound butter Butter creamed with other ingredients such as herbs, garlic, wine, shallots and so on. The French term for compound butter is beurre composé. 
compressed yeast see  YEAST
concassé [kawn , -ka-SAY] A mixture that is coarsely chopped or ground, such as a tomato concassé .
conch [KONGK] This GASTROPOD MOLLUSK (see both  listings ) is encased in a beautiful, brightly colored spiral shell. Conch is found in southern waters and is particularly popular with Floridians and Caribbeans. Summer is the peak season for fresh conch, which will most likely be available in Chinese or Italian markets or specialty fish stores. Store fresh conch, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Conch can also be purchased canned or frozen. The footlike muscle can be eaten raw in salads, or tenderized by pounding, then quickly sautéed like ABALONE. It's also often chopped and used in chowders. Conch is sometimes erroneously referred to as whelk,  which, though related, is a different species.
conchiglie [kon-KEE-lyay] Italian for "seashells," this shell-shaped PASTA is formed to resemble a CONCH shell. Conchigliette are very tiny shells, conchiglioni are large shells.
conching [KONCH-ing] A manufacturing technique used to give chocolate a smooth texture. See  CHOCOLATE for a more complete description of this process. 
Concord grape Grown mainly on the East Coast, the Concord is a beautiful blue-black grape that often appears to have been powdered with silver. This mild-flavored grape has seeds and a slip-off skin. It's available in September and October and is used mainly for juice, jams and for out-of-hand eating. See also  GRAPE.
condensed milk see  SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
condiment [KON-duh-ment] A savory, piquant, spicy or salty accompaniment to food, such as a relish, sauce, mixture of spices and so on. Ketchup and mustard are two of the most popular condiments.
confection [kuhn-FEHK-shuhn] A piece of candy or sweetmeat; also a sweet dish. A confectionery  is a candy shop.
confectioners' sugar; powdered sugar [kuhn-FEHK-shuh-nehrs] see  SUGAR
confectionery coating [kuhn-FEHK-shuh-nehr-ee] Used as a dip for candies, a confectionery or summer  coating  is a blend of sugar, milk powder, hardened vegetable fat and various flavorings. It comes in a variety of pastel colors. Some have lowfat cocoa powder added, but they do not contain cocoa butter.
confit [kohn-FEE, kon-FEE] This specialty of Gascony, France, is derived from an ancient method of preserving meat (usually goose, duck or pork) whereby it is salted and slowly cooked in its own fat. The cooked meat is then packed into a crock or pot and covered with its cooking fat, which acts as a seal and preservative. Confit  can be refrigerated up to 6 months. Confit d'oie and confit de canard are preserved goose and preserved duck, respectively.
confiture [kawn-fee-TYOOR] French for "jam" or "preserves."
congee [KON-jee] A gruel of boiled rice and water, which serves as a background for a host of other foods including fish, shrimp, chicken, peanuts, sesame seed and eggs. In China, where it's also known as jook  or juk , congee is particularly popular for breakfast. In Thailand this dish is known as khao tom gung .
conger eel [KONG-gur] see  EEL
Congo pea see  PIGEON PEA
conserve [kuhn-SERV, KON-surv] A mixture of fruits, nuts and sugar, cooked together until thick, often used to spread on biscuits, crumpets and so on.
consommé [KON-suh-may, kon-suh-MAY] A clarified meat or fish broth. Consommé can be served hot or cold, and is variously used as a soup or sauce base. A double consommé has been reduced until it is half the volume (and has twice the flavor) of regular (or single) consommé. See also  MADRILÈNE.
Conti, à la [KON-tee] A French term referring to dishes made or garnished with lentils (usually pureed) and sometimes bacon.
continental breakfast A light breakfast that usually consists of a breadstuff (such as toast, croissants, pastries, etc.) and coffee, tea or other liquid. The continental breakfast is the antithesis of the hearty ENGLISH BREAKFAST.
convection oven A special gas or electric oven equipped with a fan that provides continuous circulation of hot air around the food, thereby cooking it not only more evenly, but also up to 25 percent faster. For most foods, the oven temperature can be reduced 25°F as well. Because convection ovens heat up so fast, there's usually no need for preheating. Convection ovens, unlike microwave ovens, do not require special cookware or major adjustments in cooking time or technique. There are also microwave-convection oven combinations, which combine the even cooking of convection with the speed of microwaving.
converted rice A term created by the brand name Uncle Ben's, used to describe parboiled rice. See also  RICE.
cookie A cookie can be any of various hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes — either crisp or soft. The word cookie  comes from the Dutch koekje , meaning "little cake." The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to seventh-century Persia, one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. There are six basic cookie styles, any of which can range from tender-crisp to soft. A drop cookie is made by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet. Bar cookies are created when a batter or soft dough is spooned into a shallow pan, then baked, cooled and cut into bars. Hand-formed (or molded) cookies are made by shaping dough by hand into small balls, logs, crescents and other shapes. Pressed cookies are formed by pressing dough through a COOKIE PRESS (or PASTRY BAG) to form fancy shapes and designs. Refrigerator (or icebox) cookies are made by shaping the dough into a log, which is refrigerated until firm, then sliced and baked. Rolled cookies begin by using a rolling pin to roll the dough out flat; then it is cut into decorative shapes with COOKIE CUTTERS or a pointed knife. Other cookies, such as the German SPRINGERLE, are formed by imprinting designs on the dough, either by rolling a special decoratively carved rolling pin over it or by pressing the dough into a carved COOKIE MOLD. In England, cookies are called biscuits , in Spain they're galletas , Germans call them keks,  in Italy they're biscotti  and so on.
cookie cutter A metal or plastic device used to cut decorative shapes out of dough that has been rolled flat. Cookie cutters are available singly or in sets. Dipping a cookie cutter into flour or granulated sugar will prevent it from sticking to soft doughs. A rolling cookie cutter has a wooden handle at the end of which is a metal or plastic cylinder marked with raised designs. When the cutter is rolled across the dough, it cuts a jigsaw-puzzle pattern of differently shaped cookies without any wasted dough.
cookie gun see  COOKIE PRESS
cookie mold Most often made of wood, these decorative molds are used to create designs in some European cookies. The cookie dough is pressed into a floured mold, leveled off with a knife, then inverted onto a baking sheet. Cookie molds come in all sizes and shapes and are available at specialty kitchenware shops.
cookie press Also called a cookie gun , this tool consists of a hollow tube fitted at one end with a decorative template or nozzle, and at the other with a plunger. The tube is filled with a soft cookie dough that the plunger forces out through the decorative tip to form professional-looking pressed cookies. Cookie presses come with a selection of interchangeable templates and other tips. SPRITZ are one of the best-known cookies formed by this tool.
cookie stamp A small, decorative, round or square cookie imprinter, usually made of glass, ceramic or wood. When the stamp is pressed into a ball of cookie dough, it not only flattens it, but imprints a relief design on the surface. Cookie stamps come in many designs and are available at specialty kitchenware shops.
cooking wine A wine labeled "cooking wine" is generally an inferior wine that would not be drunk on its own. It lacks distinction and flavor and in times past has often been adulterated with salt. The rule of thumb when cooking with wine is only to use one you'd drink and to be sure the wine's flavor complements the food with which it's paired.
cooling rack Used to cool baked goods such as cakes and breads, a cooling rack is made of a network of closely arranged wires, set on short legs to raise it above the level of the countertop. The raised surface provides air circulation so the baked goods won't get soggy on the bottom. It's important that the rack have thick, strong wires so it won't sag in the center. Cooling racks can be round, square or rectangular and can range from small to large.
copper cookware An excellent heat conducter, copper is generally lined with tin or stainless steel to keep it from interacting with certain foods. Copper should be washed in hot, soapy water and dried immediately. Though copper is relatively expensive and requires polishing, it is the cookware of choice of many professionals. It will also eventually require retinning.
coq au vin [kohk-oh-VAHN, kohk-oh-VAHN ] This classic French dish is composed of pieces of chicken, mushrooms, onions, bacon or salt pork and various herbs cooked together with red wine.
coquille [koh-KEEL, koh-KEE] French for "shell"; it can also mean "scallop."
coquilles St. Jacques [koh-KEEL sahn , -ZHAHK, koh-KEE sahn , -ZHAK] Classically served in a SCALLOP shell, this special dish consists of scallops in a creamy wine sauce, topped with bread crumbs or cheese and browned under a broiler.
coral Eaten plain or used in a sauce or COMPOUND BUTTER, coral is simply the ROE (eggs) of a CRUSTACEAN such as lobster or scallop. When cooked, it turns a beautiful coral-red color.
coralli [koh-RAHL-lee] Tiny PASTA tubes, generally used in soup.
corbina [kor-BEE-nuh] see  WEAKFISH
cordial see  LIQUEUR
cordial see  LIQUEUR
cordon bleu [kor-dohn- , BLUH] 1. A French term (literally translated as "blue ribbon") that referred originally to an award given to women chefs for culinary excellence. The term now can apply to any superior cook. 2. The term also refers to a dish — chicken (or veal) cordon bleu —  in which a thin scallop of veal or chicken is topped with a thin slice each of prosciutto or other ham and Gruyère or other Swiss cheese, then another meat scallop. The stacked meats and cheese are then breaded and sautéed until golden.
core n.  The center of a fruit such as an apple, pear or pineapple. Cores may contain small seeds, or they may be tough and woody. core v.  As a verb, the word refers to removing the core from the fruit.
corer A utensil designed to remove the core (or center) from fruit or vegetables. Corers are usually made of stainless steel and come in different shapes for different uses. An all-purpose corer, used for apples, pears and the like, has a medium-length shaft with a circular cutting ring at the end. The core can be cut and removed with this tool. Another kind of apple corer is shaped like a spoked wheel with handles and not only cores the apple, but cuts it into wedges as well. A zucchini corer has a long, pointed, trough-shaped blade that, when inserted at one end of the zucchini and rotated, will remove the center, leaving a hollow tube for stuffing. A pineapple corer is a tall, arch-handled utensil with two serrated, concentric cutting rings at the base. After the top and bottom of the pineapple are sliced off, the corer is inserted from the top and twisted downward. The tool not only removes the core, but also the outer shell, leaving pineapple rings.
coriander [KOR-ee-an-der] Native to the Mediterranean and the Orient, coriander is related to the parsley family. It's known for both its seeds (actually the dried, ripe fruit of the plant) and for its dark green, lacy leaves. The flavors of the seeds and leaves bear absolutely no resemblance to each other. Mention of coriander seeds was found in early Sanskrit writings and the seeds themselves have been discovered in Egyptian tombs dating to 960 b.c. The tiny (1/8-inch), yellow-tan seeds are lightly ridged. They are mildly fragrant and have an aromatic flavor akin to a combination of lemon, sage and caraway. Whole coriander seeds are used in pickling and for special drinks, such as mulled wine. Ground seed is used in many baked goods (particularly Scandinavian), curry blends, soups, etc. (See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.) Both forms are commonly available in supermarkets. Coriander leaves are also commonly known as cilantro  and Chinese parsley . Fresh coriander leaves have an extremely pungent (some say fetid) odor and flavor that lends itself well to highly seasoned food. Though it's purported to be the world's most widely used herb, many Americans and Europeans find that fresh coriander is definitely an acquired taste. Choose leaves with an even green color and no sign of wilting. Store a bunch of coriander, 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. Coriander leaves are used widely in the cuisines of India, Mexico, the Orient and the Caribbean.
corkage [KORK-ihj] A fee charged by some restaurants to open and serve a bottle of wine brought in by the patron. A quick call to the restaurant will confirm the amount of the corkage fee. Some restaurants charge a lower fee if the patron's wine is not on the restaurant's wine list, such as might be the case with an older wine or a particularly distinctive vintage.
cream of tartar A fine white powder derived from a crystalline acid deposited on the inside of wine barrels. Cream of tartar is added to candy and frosting mixtures for a creamier consistency, and to egg whites before beating to improve stability and volume. It's also used as the acid ingredient in some baking powders.
crevette [kruh-VEHT] The French word for "shrimp."
crimp 1. To pinch or press two pastry edges together, thereby sealing the dough while forming a decorative edge with fingers, fork or other utensil. The pastry for a single-crust pie is crimped by turning it under to form a ridge, then shaping (or fluting ) the raised edge into a fancy pattern. A raised crimped edge not only seals the pastry but acts like a dam to contain the filling during cooking. 2. To cut gashes at 1- or 2-inch intervals along both sides of a freshly caught fish. The fish is then soaked in ice water for up to an hour. Crimping a fish creates a firmer-textured flesh and skin that quickly becomes crisp when cooked.
crisp v.  To refresh vegetables such as celery and carrots by soaking them in ice water until they once again become crisp. Other foods, such as crackers that have lost their snap, may be heated in a moderate oven until their crispness returns.
crisphead lettuce One of two varieties of head lettuce (the other being BUTTERHEAD). It's commonly known as iceberg, which, in truth, is a variety of crisphead. Other varieties include Great Lakes, Imperial, Vanguard and Western. Crisphead lettuce comes in large, round, tightly packed heads of pale green leaves. Though crisp, succulent and wilt-resistant, all crispheads have a rather neutral flavor. Choose those that are heavy for their size with no signs of browning at the edges. See also  LETTUCE.
criterion apple This slightly tart apple has a bright red skin with green highlights. It's good for baking as well as out-of-hand eating. See also  APPLE.
croaker see  DRUM
crockpot see  SLOW COOKER
croissant [kwah-SAHN,  , KWAH-sawn , , kruh-SAHNT] The origin of this flaky, buttery-rich yeast roll dates back to 1686, when Austria was at war with Turkey. In the dead of night a group of bakers, hearing Turks tunneling under their kitchens, spread the alarm that subsequently led to the Turkish defeat. In turn, the vigilant bakers were awarded the privilege of creating a commemorative pastry in the shape of the crescent on the Turkish flag. Croissant  is the French word for "crescent." Originally, the croissant was made from a rich bread dough. It wasn't until the early 1900s that a creative French baker had the inspiration to make it with a dough similar to puff pastry . . . and so a classic was born. Croissants can be made with buttered layers of yeast dough or puff pastry. They're sometimes stuffed (such as with a stick of chocolate or cheese) before being rolled into a crescent shape and baked. Croissants are generally thought of as breakfast pastries but can also be used for sandwiches and meal accompaniments.
crookneck squash Any of several varieties of summer squash with a long, curved neck that is slightly more slender than the bulbous base. Crookneck squash have a light to deep yellow skin that can range in texture from almost smooth when quite young to slightly bumpy as the squash matures. The creamy-yellow flesh has a mild, delicate flavor. Crooknecks average from 8 to 10 inches long, but are best when a youthful 6 inches. Choose firm squash with no sign of shriveling; the skin should be easily pierced with a fingernail. See also  SQUASH.
croonack see  GURNARD
crooner see  GURNARD
croquant [kroh-KAWN ] French for "crispy" or "crunchy."
croque madame [KROHK mah-DAHM] In France, this is a CROQUE MONSIEUR (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) with the addition of a fried egg. In Britain and America, a croque madame simply substitutes sliced chicken for the ham, with no sign of an egg.
croquembouche [kroh-kuhm-BOOSH] French for "crisp in mouth," this elaborate dessert is classically made with PROFITEROLES (tiny, custard-filled cream puffs), coated with CARAMEL and stacked into a tall pyramid shape. As the caramel hardens, it becomes crisp. For added glamour, the croquembouche can be wreathed or draped with SPUN SUGAR.
croque monsieur [KROHK muhs-YOOR] A French-style grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped into beaten egg before being sautéed in butter. Croque monsieur is sometimes made in a special sandwich-grilling iron consisting of two hinged metal plates, each with two shell-shaped indentations. See also  CROQUE MADAME.
croquette [kroh-KEHT] A mixture of minced meat or vegetables, a thick white sauce and seasonings that is formed into small cylinders, ovals or rounds, dipped in beaten egg and then bread crumbs, and deep-fried until crisp and brown.
crostini [kroh-STEE-nee] 1. Meaning "little toasts" in Italian, crostini are small, thin slices of toasted bread, which are usually brushed with olive oil. 2. The word also describes CANAPÉS consisting of small slices of toast with a savory topping such as cheese, shrimp, pâté or anchovies. 3. Sometimes crostini refers to the equivalent of a CROUTON used for soups or salads.
croustade [kroo-STAHD] An edible container used to hold a thick stew, creamed meat or vegetable mixture, puree and so on. A croustade can be made from pastry, a hollowed-out bread loaf or pureed potatoes or pasta that have been shaped to form a casing for food. Before filling it with food, the container is deep-fried or toasted until golden-brown and crisp. Small filled croustades can be served as an appetizer or first course.
croûte [KROOT] French for "crust," croûte  generally describes a thick, hollowed-out slice of bread (usually toasted) that is filled with food. It can also refer to a pastry case used for the same purpose. Additionally, the word croûte  describes simply a slice of bread either toasted or fried. For example, croûte landaise  is fried bread with FOIE GRAS topped with a cheese sauce. En croûte describes a food (usually partially cooked) that is wrapped in pastry and baked.
crouton [KROO-tawn] A small piece or cube of bread that has been browned, either by sautéing or baking. Croutons are used to garnish soups, salads and other dishes. They're available packaged either plain or seasoned with herbs, cheese, garlic and so on.
crown roast This special-occasion roast is formed from the rib section of pork or lamb LOIN by tying it into a circle, ribs up. After it's cooked, the tips of the bones are often decorated with paper FRILLS. The roast's hollow center section is usually filled with mixed vegetables or other stuffing.
cruciferous vegetables [krew-SIH-fer-uhs] The scientific name for a group of vegetables that research has proven may provide protection against certain cancers. Cruciferous vegetables contain ANTIOXIDANTS (BETA CAROTENE and the compound sulforaphane). These vegetables, which are all high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kale, mustard greens, rutabagas and turnips.
crudités [kroo-dee-TAY] Often served as an appetizer, crudités are raw seasonal vegetables, frequently accompanied with a dipping sauce, such as BAGNA CAUDA.
cruller [KRUHL-uhr] A doughnut-style dough (usually LEAVENED with baking powder) that's shaped into a long twist, fried and sprinkled with granulated sugar or brushed with a sweet glaze. The extremely light French cruller is made with CHOUX PASTRY (cream-puff dough). The word "cruller" comes from the Dutch krulle,  meaning "twisted cake."
crumble n.  A British dessert in which raw fruit is topped with a crumbly pastry mixture and baked. crumble v.  To break food up (usually with the fingers) into small pieces, such as "crumbled" bacon.
crumpet [KRUHM-piht] Hailing from the British Isles, crumpets are small, yeast-raised breads about the size of an English muffin. The unsweetened batter is poured into special crumpet rings  (which have been arranged on a griddle), then "baked" on stovetop. The finished crumpet has a smooth, brown bottom and a top riddled with tiny holes. Crumpets are toasted whole (unlike ENGLISH MUFFINS, which are split) and spread with butter and jam, as desired.
crush To reduce a food to its finest form, such as crumbs, paste or powder. Crushing is often accomplished with a MORTAR AND PESTLE, or with a rolling pin.
crust This multipurpose word has many meanings, including the hardened outer layer of a cooked food such as bread; a thin layer of pastry covering a pie, pâté, etc.; and the sediment of organic salts deposited in a bottle of aged red wine.
crustacean [kruh-STAY-shuhn] One of two main classifications of SHELLFISH (the other being MOLLUSK), crustaceans have elongated bodies and jointed, soft (crustlike) shells. The crustacean family includes BARNACLES, CRABS, CRAYFISH, LOBSTER, PRAWNS and SHRIMP.
crystallized flowers see  CANDIED FRUIT; CANDIED FLOWERS
crystallized fruit see  CANDIED FRUIT; CANDIED FLOWERS
crystal sugar see  SUGAR
Cuba libre [KYOO-buh LEE-bruh, KYOO-buh LEE-bray] An iced COCKTAIL made with rum, lime juice and cola.
cube 1. To cut food (such as meat or cheese) into 1/2-inch cubes. Cubes of food are larger than diced or mirepoix. 2. A term also used to describe tenderizing meat with an instrument that leaves cube-shaped imprints on the surface (see  CUBE STEAK).
cube steak A flavorful cut of beef taken from the top or bottom ROUND and tenderized (or cubed) by running it through a butcher's tenderizing machine once or twice. Cube steak would be too tough to eat without being tenderized.
cucumber Believed to have originated in either India or Thailand, the cucumber has been cultivated for thousands of years. This long, cylindrical, green-skinned fruit of the gourd family has edible seeds surrounded by a mild, crisp flesh. The thin skin, unless waxed, does not require peeling. Cucumbers are usually eaten raw, as in salads. The smaller cucumber varieties are used for pickles. As a cucumber matures, the seeds grow larger and more bitter. Therefore, the seeds of an older cucumber should be removed before it's used. The more expensive English (or hothouse) cucumber can grow up to 2 feet long and is virtually seedless. Cucumbers are available year-round, with the peak crop from May to August. Choose firm fruit with smooth, brightly colored skins; avoid those with shriveled or soft spots. Store whole cucumbers, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 10 days. Wash thoroughly just before using. Cut cucumbers can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 5 days.
cuisine [kwih-ZEEN, kwee-ZEEN] A French term pertaining to a specific style of cooking (as in Chinese cuisine), or a country's food in general. Haute cuisine refers to food prepared in a gourmet or elaborate manner.
cuisine bourgeoise [kwih-ZEEN boor-ZHWAHZ] French for "middle-class cooking," referring to plain but good, down-to-earth cooking.
cuisine, haute see  HAUTE CUISINE
cuisine maigre [kwih-ZEEN may-GREH] French for "meatless, lean or lowfat cooking." Strict vegetarian cooking is referred to as cuisine vegetarienne .
cuisine minceur [kwee-ZEEN man-SEUR] Developed by French chef Michel Guérard in the 1970s, cuisine minceur  is light-style, healthful cooking that avoids fat and cream.
cuitlacoche [wheet-lah-KOH-chay] Also called corn smut, maize mushroom  and huitlacoche , this gourmet rage is actually a bulbous fungus (technically known as Ustilago maydis ) that attacks ears of corn and makes the kernels swell to 10 times their normal size. The corn's color turns an ugly medium- to dark-gray verging on black. Although most U.S. farmers consider it a plague and destroy infected ears, the Aztecs are said to have prized cuitlacoche (in Nahuatl cuitlatl  means "excrement," cochi  means "black"). Enthusiasts say that cuitlacoche has a smoky-sweet flavor that's a cross between that of corn and mushroom. Cuitlacoche is currently being cultivated in limited quantities in California, Florida, Georgia and Virginia. It's sold canned and frozen in some gourmet markets. It can occasionally be found in specialty produce and farmer's markets (during corn season) and can also be purchased by mail order. Cuitlacoche is used in a variety of dishes including sautés, soups, casseroles — in general, any preparation where cooked mushrooms would be appropriate.
culatello [koo-lah-TEHL-oh] A lean, rosy red, raw Italian ham that has been cured and soaked in wine during aging. Considered superior, culatello has a clean, delicate flavor. It's often served as part of an ANTIPASTO platter. See also  HAM.
Cumberland sauce A favorite with the English, this full-flavored sauce is a combination of red currant jelly, PORT, orange and lemon ZESTS, mustard and seasonings. It's excellent served with venison, duck and other game.
cumin [KUH-mihn, KYOO-mihn, KOO-mihn] Also called comino , this ancient spice dates back to the Old Testament. Shaped like a caraway seed, cumin is the dried fruit of a plant in the parsley family. Its aromatic, nutty-flavored seeds come in three colors: amber (the most widely available), white and black (both found in Asian markets). White cumin seed is interchangeable with amber, but the black seed has a more complex, peppery flavor. Cumin is available in seed and ground forms. As with all seeds, herbs and spices, it should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Cumin is particularly popular in Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cooking. Among other things, it's used to make curries, chili powders and KÜMMEL LIQUEUR. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
cupcake A small, individual-size cake that's usually baked in a MUFFIN pan. Sometimes the cupcake mold is lined with a crimped paper or foil cup. After baking, the paper or foil is simply peeled off before the cupcake is eaten.
curaçao [KYOOR-uh-soh, KOO-rah-soh] An orange-flavored LIQUEUR made from the dried peel of bitter oranges found on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.
curd 1. When it coagulates, milk separates into a semisolid portion (curd) and a watery liquid (WHEY). CHEESE is made from the curd. 2. A creamy mixture made from juice (usually lemon, lime or orange), sugar, butter and egg yolks. The ingredients are cooked together until the mixture becomes quite thick. When cool, the lemon (or lime or orange) curd becomes thick enough to spread and is used as a topping for breads and other baked goods. Various flavors of curd are available commercially in gourmet markets and some supermarkets.
curdle To coagulate, or separate into curds and whey. Soured milk curdles, as do some egg- and milk-based sauces when exposed to prolonged or high heat. Acids such as lemon juice also cause curdling in some mixtures.
cure; curing To treat food (such as meat, cheese or fish) by one of several methods in order to preserve it. Smoke-curing is generally done in one of two ways. The cold-smoking method (which can take up to a month, depending on the food) smokes the food at between 70° to 90°F. Hot-smoking partially or totally cooks the food by treating it at temperatures ranging from 100° to 190°F. Pickled foods are soaked in variously flavored acid-based BRINES. Corned products (such as corned beef) have also been soaked in brine — usually one made with water, salt and various seasonings. Salt-cured foods have been dried and packed in salt preparations. Cheese curing can be done by several methods, including injecting or spraying the cheese with specific bacteria or by wrapping the cheese in various flavored materials. Some of the more common cured foods are smoked ham, pickled herring and salted fish.
curly endive see  ENDIVE
currant [KUR-uhnt] There are two distinctly different fruits called currant. 1. The first — resembling a tiny, dark raisin — is the seedless, dried ZANTE GRAPE. Its name comes from its place of origin — Corinth, Greece. In cooking, this type of currant (like raisins) is used mainly in baked goods. 2. The second type of currant is a tiny berry related to the gooseberry. There are black, red and white currants. The black ones are generally used for preserves, syrups and liqueurs (such as CASSIS), while the red and white berries are good for out-of-hand eating and such preparations as the famous French preserve BAR-LE-DUC and (using the red currants) CUMBERLAND SAUCE. Fresh currants are in season June through August. Choose those that are plump and without hulls. They can be refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 4 days. Currants are delicious in jams, jellies, sauces and simply served with sugar and cream.
curry From the southern Indian word kari , meaning "sauce," comes this catch-all term that is used to refer to any number of hot, spicy, gravy-based dishes of East Indian origin. CURRY POWDER is an integral ingredient in all curries.
curry leaf From a plant native to southern Asia, this fragrant herb looks like a small, shiny lemon leaf and has a pungent curry fragrance. Its flavor is essential in a substantial percentage of East Indian fare. Most Indian markets sell fresh curry leaves. Choose those that are bright green, with no sign of yellowing or wilting. They can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. Packaged, dried curry leaves — also available in Indian markets — can be substituted for fresh but lack their snappy flavor.
curry paste Available in East Indian and Asian markets and the gourmet section of some supermarkets, curry paste is a blend of GHEE (clarified butter), CURRY POWDER, vinegar and other seasonings. It's used in lieu of curry powder for many curried dishes.
curry powder Widely used in Indian cooking, authentic Indian curry powder is freshly ground each day and can vary dramatically depending on the region and the cook. Curry powder is actually a pulverized blend of up to 20 spices, herbs and seeds. Among those most commonly used are cardamom, chiles, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, red and black pepper, poppy and sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and turmeric (the latter is what gives curried dishes their characteristic yellow color). Commercial curry powder (which bears little resemblance to the freshly ground blends of southern India) comes in two basic styles — standard, and the hotter of the two, "Madras." Since curry powder quickly loses its pungency, it should be stored, airtight, no longer than 2 months. For information on specific spices used in this blend, see individual listings. See also  HERB AND SPICE CHART.
© The Residential Chef 2019