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194 results found.
Term Pronounciation Definition
fromage blanc [froh-MAHZH BLAHN , , froh-MAHZH BLAHNGK] An extremely soft, fresh cream cheese that has the consistency of sour cream. Fromage blanc is usually eaten with fruit and sugar as dessert, but can also be used in cooking. See also  CHEESE.
food mill A kitchen utensil that can be best described as a mechanical SIEVE. It has a hand-turned paddle that forces food through a strainer plate at the bottom, thereby removing skin, seeds and fiber. Some food mills come equipped with several interchangeable plates with small, medium and large holes.
food processor This kitchen appliance was brought to the United States from France in the 1970s and has since revolutionized a majority of home kitchens. It consists of a sturdy plastic work bowl that sits on a motorized drive shaft. The cover of the bowl has a feed tube through which foods can be added. An expanded feed tube — large enough for some whole items such as a tomato or onion — is available with some machines. The food processor is efficient and speedy and can easily chop, dice, slice, shred, grind and puree most food. The larger machines can also knead dough. Most processors come with a standard set of attachments including an S-shaped chopping blade and several disks for slicing and shredding. There are special attachments including juicers and pasta makers, as well as accessories such as French-fry cutters, julienne disks and beaters. Food processors range from large to small in motor size and bowl capacity.
fool England is the home of this old-fashioned but delicious dessert made of cooked, pureed fruit that is strained, chilled and folded into whipped cream. The fruit mixture may be sweetened or not. Fool is traditionally made from gooseberries, though today any fruit may be substituted.
foo yong see  EGG FOO YONG
forcemeat A mixture of finely ground, raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish, vegetables or fruit mixed with bread crumbs and various seasonings. The ingredients are usually ground several times to obtain a very smooth texture. A forcemeat can be used to stuff other foods or by itself, such as to make QUENELLES.
forestière, à la [ah lah foh-rehs-TYEHR] French term meaning "of the forest," referring to dishes (usually poultry, meat or game fowl) garnished with butter-sautéed potatoes or potato balls, bacon or SALT PORK and wild mushrooms such as CHANTERELLES, MORELS and PORCINI.
forest mushroom see  SHIITAKE
formaggio [for-MAH-jhee-oh, for-MAH-zhoh] The Italian word for "cheese."
Formosa Oolong tea Hailing from Taiwan (previously known as Formosa), this tea is considered one of the world's best, which also makes it quite expensive. It creates a pale yellow brew that has a flavor reminiscent of peaches. See also  TEA.
forno, al [ahl FOHR-noh] Forno  is Italian for "oven," and this term refers culinarily to dishes baked in the oven.
fortified wine A wine to which BRANDY (or other spirit) has been added in order to increase alcoholic content. Such wines include PORT, SHERRY and many DESSERT WINES.
fortune cookie This Chinese-American invention consists of a plain, griddle-baked wafer cookie that, while warm, is folded around a small strip of paper with a fortune printed on it. The cooled cookie becomes crisp and must be broken in order to retrieve the fortune.
fouet [foo-AY] French for "WHISK."
fowl The term fowl is used generally to refer to any edible, mature, wild or domestic bird. Specifically, a fowl (also called hen  or stewing chicken ) is a female chicken over 10 months old and usually weighing 3 to 6 pounds. Because of its age, a fowl is best when cooked with moist heat, as in braising.
fraise [FREHZ] The French word for "strawberry."
fraise des bois [frehz day BWAH] 1. Intensely sweet, tiny wild strawberries from France. 2. A colorless, strawberry-flavored EAU DE VIE.
framboise [frahm-BWAHZ] 1. The French word for "raspberry." 2. A colorless, potent EAU DE VIE made from raspberries.
Frangelico [fran-JELL-ih-koh] A hazelnut-flavored LIQUEUR enhanced with a secret formula of flower and berry essences.
frangipane [FRAN-juh-payn, Fr. , FRAWN-zhee-pan] 1. A type of pastry made with egg yolks, flour, butter and milk that is very similar to CHOUX PASTRY. Baked frangipane puffs are often filled with FORCEMEAT. 2. A rich CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE flavored with ground almonds and used as a filling or topping for various pastries and cakes. Also called frangipani .
frankfurter This smoked, seasoned, precooked sausage — also known as hot dog, wiener  and frank  — is America's favorite. Frankfurters can be made from beef, pork, veal, chicken or turkey. They may have casings or not and can contain up to 30 percent fat and 10 percent added water. They range in size from the tiny "cocktail frank" to the famous foot-long giants. The most common size is about 6 inches long. Frankfurters labeled "beef" or "all-beef" must, by law, contain only beef; fillers like soybean protein and dry milk solids are forbidden. Kosher frankfurters are all-beef sausages, usually liberally seasoned with garlic. Those labeled "meat" can't contain fillers either, but can be made with a combination of pork and beef. A typical proportion would be 40 percent pork to 60 percent beef. Sausages simply labeled "frankfurters" can contain up to 3 1/2 percent fillers and are usually made from a combination of meats. Almost all frankfurters contain sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, chemical salts that are reported to be carcinogenic. To store frankfurters, refrigerate in original package up until the manufacturer's pull date. Although precooked, frankfurters benefit from heating and may be prepared in a variety of ways including grilling, frying, steaming and braising. See also  HOT DOG; PIGS IN BLANKETS; SAUSAGE.
frappé [fra-PAY] 1. A mixture made of fruit juice or other flavored liquid that has been frozen to a slushy consistency. It can be sweet or savory and served as a drink, appetizer or dessert. 2. An after-dinner drink of LIQUEUR poured over shaved or crushed ice.
free-range Poultry or animals allowed to roam and feed without confinement, as opposed to the majority of commercially bred animals, which are caged. See also  CHICKEN.
freestone A term used to describe fruit that has a pit to which the flesh does not cling, as in a freestone peach . See also  CLINGSTONE.
freezer burn Frozen food that has been either improperly wrapped or frozen can suffer from freezer burn — a loss of moisture that affects both texture and flavor. Freezer burn is indicated by a dry surface, which may also have white or gray spots on it.
freezer/refrigerator thermometer A kitchen tool that registers temperatures from about -20° to 80°F. This thermometer is important because frozen food that's not maintained at 0°F or below will begin to deteriorate, thereby losing both quality and nutrients. Likewise, fresh food risks potential spoilage if refrigerated at a temperature higher than 40°F. A freezer/refrigerator thermometer should be positioned near the top and front of the freezer and left there for at least 6 hours (without opening the door) before the temperature is checked. If the thermometer's temperature doesn't read 0°F or below, adjust the freezer's temperature regulator and check in another 6 hours. Refrigerator temperature may be checked in the same way. See also  CANDY THERMOMETER; MEAT THERMOMETER; OVEN THERMOMETER.
French bean Any young, green string bean, all of which (including the pod) can be eaten. Frenched or French green beans are those that have been cut lengthwise into very thin strips. See also  BEANS.
French bread A light, crusty, yeast-raised bread made with water instead of milk. The dark brown, intensely crisp crust is created by brushing or spraying the loaf's exterior with water during the baking process. French bread comes in many shapes, including the classic long, thin BAGUETTE, rounds and fat ovals.
French Colombard One of California's top two white-wine grapes, French Colombard is used extensively in blending as well as for a VARIETAL WINE. It produces a crisp, moderately dry, spicy wine that goes well with lightly seasoned dishes. It should be drunk young (under 4 years) and always served chilled.
French dressing 1. A simple oil-and-vinegar combination, usually seasoned with salt, pepper and various herbs. This classic dressing is also referred to as VINAIGRETTE. 2. A commercial American dressing that is creamy, tartly sweet and red-orange in color.
French endive see  ENDIVE
french fries Potatoes that have been cut into thick to thin strips, soaked in cold water, blotted dry, then DEEP-FRIED until crisp and golden brown. They are called pommes frites  in France and chips  in Britain. The name does not come from the fact that their origin is French, but because the potatoes are "frenched" — cut into lengthwise strips. Other versions of french-fried potatoes are shoestring potatoes  (matchstick-wide) and steak fries  (very thick strips).
french fry see  DEEP-FRY
french, to 1. To cut a vegetable or meat lengthwise into very thin strips. Beans and potatoes are two vegetables that are commonly "frenched." 2. To cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop, so that part of the bone is exposed.
French toast A breakfast dish made by dipping bread into a milk-egg mixture, then frying it until golden brown on both sides. It's usually served with syrup, jam or powdered sugar. In England, French toast is called "poor knights of Windsor." The French call it "pain perdu " (lost bread) because it is a way of reviving French bread, which becomes dry after only a day or two.
freshness date see  OPEN DATING
Fresno chile [FREHS-noh] Short and cone-shaped, the Fresno is as hot as the more well-known JALAPEÑO CHILE. It ranges in color from light green to bright red when fully mature. Because of its heat, the Fresno is best used in small amounts as a seasoning. See also  CHILE.
friandise [free-yawn , -DEEZ] A French term for confections — such as TRUFFLES, mints or PETITS FOURS — served after the dessert course.
fricassee [FRIHK-uh-see] n.  A dish of meat (usually chicken) that has been sautéed in butter before being stewed with vegetables. The end result is a thick, chunky stew, often flavored with wine. fricassee v.  This word is also used as a verb, as in to "fricassee a chicken."
fried rice An Asian dish of rice that has been cooked and refrigerated for a day before being fried with other ingredients, such as small pieces of meat and vegetables, and seasonings such as SOY SAUCE. An egg is also often added to the mix. The name of the rice depends on the main ingredient (besides rice), such as "chicken" fried rice, "shrimp" fried rice and so on.
fries 1. Abbreviated term for FRENCH FRIES. 2. Another name for MOUNTAIN OYSTERS.
frijoles [free-HOH-lehs] The Mexican word for "beans."
frijoles refritos [free-HOH-lehs reh-FREE-tohs] see  REFRIED BEANS
frill A decorative, fluted paper "sock" that is slipped over a protruding meat bone, such as in a CROWN ROAST.
frisée [free-ZAY] A member of the CHICORY family, frisée  has delicately slender, curly leaves that range in color from yellow-white to yellow-green. This feathery vegetable has a mildly bitter flavor and is often used in the special salad mix, MESCLUN. Choose frisée with crisp leaves and no sign of wilting. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Wash just before using.
frittata [frih-TAH-tuh] An Italian OMELET that usually has the ingredients mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside, as with a French omelet. It can be flipped or the top can be finished under a broiling unit. An omelet is cooked quickly over moderately high heat and, after folding, has a flat-sided half-oval shape. A frittata is firmer because it's cooked very slowly over low heat, and round because it isn't folded.
fritter A small, sweet or savory, deep-fried cake made either by combining chopped food with a thick batter or by dipping pieces of food into a similar batter. Some of the more popular foods used for fritters are apples, corn and crab.
fritto [FREE-toh] Italian for "fried."
fritto misto [FREE-toh MEES-toh] Italian for "mixed fried (food)" or "mixed fry," fritto misto is a selection of small, bite-size pieces of meat, fish or vegetables, dipped in a batter and deep-fried.
frizzes [FRIHZ-ihs] A dry Italian pork or beef SALAMI flavored with garlic and anise. Its name comes from its squiggly, contorted shape. The hot style is corded with red string and the mild (or "sweet") is corded with blue string. Frizzes are most often used as a garnish, as on pizza or in pasta. See also  SAUSAGE.
frizzle To fry thinly sliced meat (such as bacon) over high heat until crisp and slightly curly in shape.
frogfish see  ANGLER
frog's legs The only edible part of a frog is its hind legs. The delicate meat is tender and lightly sweet and can be most closely compared to the white meat of a very young chicken. Fresh frog's legs can be found from spring through summer in the fish section of many gourmet markets. They're usually sold in connected pairs ranging from 2 to 8 ounces. Look for those that are plump and slightly pink. Store, loosely wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Frozen frog's legs can usually be purchased year-round, though the flavor doesn't compare to fresh. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking. Because their flavor is so subtle, frog's legs should be cooked simply and briefly. A quick dusting of seasoned flour before sautéing in butter or olive oil will gild the lily perfectly. Overcooking frog's legs will cause them to toughen.
froid [FR , WAH] The French word for "cold" or "chilled."
fromage [froh-MAHZH] French for "cheese."
faba bean see  FAVA BEAN
fagioli [fa-ZHOH-lee] The Italian word for "beans," usually white kidney beans. String beans are called fagiolini . See also  BEANS.
Fahrenheit [FEHR-uhn-hite] A temperature scale in which 32° represents freezing and 212° represents the steam point. The scale was devised by Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, an 18th-century German physicist. To convert Fahrenheit temperatures to CELSIUS, subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit reading, multiply by 5 and divide by 9.
fajitas [fah-HEE-tuhs] SKIRT STEAK that has been marinated in a mixture of oil, lime juice, red pepper and garlic for at least 24 hours before being grilled. The cooked meat is cut into strips that are then usually wrapped (BURRITO-style) in warm TORTILLAS, accompanied by a variety of garnishes including grilled onions and sweet peppers, GUACAMOLE, REFRIED BEANS and SALSA.
falafel; felafel [feh-LAH-fehl] A Middle Eastern specialty consisting of small, deep-fried CROQUETTES or balls made of highly spiced, ground CHICKPEAS. They're generally tucked inside PITA bread, sandwich-style, but can also be served as appetizers. A yogurt- or TAHINI-based sauce is often served with falafel.
farce; farci [FAHRS, fahr-SEE] Farce is the French word for "stuffing." Farci  means "stuffed."
farfalle; farfallini; farfallone [fahr-FAH-lay] PASTA shaped like small butterflies or bow ties. Farfallini  are the smallest butterflies, farfallone  the largest.
farfel [FAHR-fuhl] 1. An egg-noodle dough that is grated or minced and used in soups. 2. In Jewish cookery, farfel  refers to food — such as dried noodles — broken into small pieces.
farina [fuh-REE-nuh] Made from CEREAL grains, farina is a bland-tasting flour or meal that, when cooked in boiling water, makes a hot breakfast cereal. It's very easily digested and rich in protein.
farl; farle [FAHRL] 1. A thin Scottish griddle cake made of oatmeal or flour and cut into triangular wedges. Farls, which are similar to SCONES, take their name from the word fardel  meaning "fourth part" and referring to a fourth part or quarter cut of a round cake. 2. The triangular wedge shape of such a cut cake is also referred to as a "farl."
farmer cheese; farmer's cheese This fresh cheese is a form of COTTAGE CHEESE from which most of the liquid has been pressed. The very dry farmer cheese is sold in a solid loaf. It has a mild, slightly tangy flavor and is firm enough to slice or crumble. It's an all-purpose cheese that can be eaten as is or used in cooking. See also  CHEESE.
fasnacht; fastnacht [FAHS-nahkt] A yeast-raised potato pastry that's deep-fried like a doughnut. Fasnachts  were originally made and served on Shrove Tuesday to use up the fat that was forbidden during Lent. They're diamond-shaped and often have a slit cut down the center before frying. They first appeared in Pennsylvania, though there is some argument whether the actual origin is German or Dutch.
fatback Often confused with SALT PORK (which comes from the sides and belly of a pig), fatback is the fresh (unsmoked and unsalted) layer of fat that runs along the animal's back. It is used to make LARD and CRACKLINGS and for cooking — especially in many Southern recipes. Salt-cured fatback is also sometimes available. All fatback should be refrigerated: fresh up to a week, cured up to a month.
fat mop see  GREASE MOP
fats and oils There are myriad culinary uses for fats and oils including cooking, tenderizing baked goods and adding richness, texture and flavor to foods. Fat is one of the body's basic nutrients, providing energy by furnishing CALORIES. All forms of fat are made up of a combination of fatty acids, which are the building blocks of fats much as amino acids are the building blocks of PROTEINS. Fats and oils are either saturated or unsaturated, the latter classification being broken down into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. To illustrate the difference between the terms saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, picture a fat molecule as a train of passenger cars (carbon atoms). If every seat on the train is filled by a "passenger" (hydrogen atom), then this is a saturated fat  molecule. If there's one seat open in each car where a hydrogen-atom "passenger" can sit, the molecule is monounsaturated ; if there are several seats available, it's polyunsaturated . In general, saturated fats come from animal sources and are solid enough to hold their shape at room temperature (about 70°F). Exceptions to this rule are tropical oils such as COCONUT oil and PALM oil, which, though of plant origin, are semisolid at room temperature and highly saturated. Saturated fats are the nutritional "bad guys" because they're known to be associated with some forms of cancer and to increase cholesterol levels, which can be a contributing factor to heart disease. In addition to the two aforementioned tropical oils, the most commonly commercially used saturated fats are BUTTER, LARD, SUET and hydrogenated vegetable oils such as MARGARINE and VEGETABLE SHORTENING. Hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils have been chemically transformed from their normal liquid state (at room temperature) into solids. During the hydrogenation procedure extra hydrogen atoms are pumped into unsaturated fat. This process creates trans fatty acids, converting the mixture into a saturated fat and obliterating any benefits it had as a polyunsaturate. Some researchers believe that hydrogenated oils may actually be more damaging than regular saturated fats for those limiting cholesterol in their diets. Unsaturated fats are derived primarily from plants and are liquid (in the form of an oil) at room temperature. Generally speaking, oils are composed (in varying percentages) of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are known to help reduce the levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol. The three most widely used oils that are high in monounsaturates are OLIVE OIL, CANOLA OIL and PEANUT OIL. Polyunsaturated fats are also considered relatively healthy and include the following, ranked in order, most to least, of polyunsaturates: SAFFLOWER OIL, SOYBEAN OIL, CORN OIL and SESAME OIL. Omega-3 oils are a particular classification of fatty acids found in some plants (such as FLAX SEED) and in the tissues of all sea creatures. These special polyunsaturated oils have been found to be particularly beneficial to coronary health (purportedly lowering the bad LDL cholesterol and elevating the good HDL) as well as to brain growth and development. Among the popular fish that are particularly good sources of Omega-3 oil (in order of importance) are sardines, herring, mackerel, bluefish, tuna, salmon, pilchard, butterfish and pompano. High cooking temperatures can destroy almost half the Omega-3 in fish, whereas microwave cooking doesn't appear to have an adverse effect on it. Canned tuna packed in water is a quick and easy way for many people to get their Omega-3 oil, but it's worth noting that combining it with the fat in mayonnaise offsets any positive effects. Canned salmon and sardines are also excellent Omega-3 sources. Storing fats and oils. Saturated fats such as butter, margarine and lard should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated. They can usually be stored this way for up to 2 weeks. Hydrogenated vegetable shortening can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 3 months. Refined oils, sealed airtight, can be stored on the kitchen shelf up to 2 months. Oils with a high proportion of monounsatu-rates — such as olive oil and peanut oil — are more perishable and should be refrigerated if kept longer than a month. See also  ALMOND OIL; ANIMAL FAT; CHILI OIL; COCOA BUTTER; COTTONSEED OIL; FAT SUBSTITUTES; GRAPESEED OIL; GREASE; HAZELNUT OIL; MILK FAT; OILS; PUMPKIN SEED OIL; SUNFLOWER SEED OIL; TRANS FATTY ACIDS; WALNUT OIL.
fat substitutes Synthesized substances created to replace fat in a variety of foods. To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved two of these substitutes — Simplesse and Leanesse. Simplesse, manufactured by NutraSweet, is composed of milk protein and egg whites. This all-natural fat substitute is very low in calories and cholesterol free. It's used in a variety of foods including frozen dairy products, yogurt, cheese spreads and salad dressings. Leanesse, a ConAgra product, is made from oat flour (Oatrim) through a heating-and-cooling process that produces a flavorless gel that imitates the texture of fat. It's used in foods such as frozen dinners and energy bars. Yet to receive FDA approval is the much-touted Procter & Gamble product, Olestra. This no-calorie, sucrose-polyester fat substitute is a composition of sugar and fatty acids, embodied in a molecule so large that it moves right through the human system without a trace. Olestra contributes the same cooking benefits (such as crispy French fries) and flavor as fat, but without the associated risks. Although it was discovered in 1968 and has a decade-old petition filed with the FDA for use (in shortening, oils and snacks), Procter & Gamble still awaits approval for this landmark food additive that could change the way America eats (or certainly the way it gains weight). See also  FATS AND OILS.
fatty acids see  FATS AND OILS
fava bean [FAH-vuh] This tan, rather flat bean resembles a very large LIMA BEAN. It comes in a large pod that, unless very  young, is inedible. Fava beans can be purchased dried, cooked in cans and, infrequently, fresh. If you find fresh fava beans, choose those with pods that aren't bulging with beans, which indicates age. Fava beans have a very tough skin, which should be removed by BLANCHING before cooking. They're very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, can be cooked in a variety of ways and are often used in soups. Also called faba bean, broad bean  and horse bean . See also  BEANS.
fedelini [fay-day-LEE-nee] Italian for "little faithful ones," referring culinarily to very fine SPAGHETTI. See also  PASTA.
feijoa [fay-YOH-ah, fay-JOH-ah] This small, egg-shaped fruit is native to South America, though New Zealand is now a major exporter and California cultivates a small crop. It's also referred to as a pineapple guava , and is often mislabeled in produce sections as GUAVA. A thin, bright green skin surrounds the feijoa's exceedingly fragrant, cream-colored flesh that encases a jellylike center. The flavor is complex, with sweet notes of quince, pineapple and mint. New Zealand feijoas are available from spring to early summer; those from California reach the market in the fall. Choose fruit that has a rich, perfumy fragrance and gives slightly to the touch. Ripen by placing it in a paper bag with an apple for several days at room temperature. Ripe feijoas can be refrigerated 3 to 5 days. Before using, remove the slightly bitter peel. Feijoas are naturals in fruit salads, desserts and as garnishes. They contain a fair amount of vitamin C.
feijoada [fay-ZHWAH-duh] Brazil's most famous regional dish, feijoada is an assorted platter of thinly sliced meats (such as sausages, pig's feet and ears, beef and smoked tongue) accompanied by side dishes of rice, black beans, shredded KALE or COLLARD greens, HEARTS OF PALM, orange slices and hot peppers.
fennel [FEHN-uhl] There are two main types of this aromatic plant, both with pale green, celerylike stems and bright green, feathery foliage. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and in the United States. It has a broad, bulbous base that's treated like a vegetable. Both the base and stems can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of methods such as braising, sautéing or in soups. The fragrant, graceful greenery can be used as a garnish or snipped like dill and used for a last-minute flavor enhancer. This type of fennel is often mislabeled "sweet anise," causing those who don't like the flavor of licorice to avoid it. The flavor of fennel, however, is sweeter and more delicate than anise and, when cooked, becomes even lighter and more elusive than in its raw state. Common fennel is the variety from which the oval, greenish-brown fennel seeds come. The seeds are available whole and ground and are used in both sweet and savory foods, as well as to flavor many LIQUEURS. As with most seeds, they should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Though common fennel is bulbless, its stems and greenery are used in the same ways as those of Florence fennel. Fennel is available from fall through spring. Choose clean, crisp bulbs with no sign of browning. Any attached greenery should be a fresh green color. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 5 days. Fennel is rich in vitamin A and contains a fair amount of calcium, phosphorus and potassium. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
fennel seeds see  FENNEL
fenugreek [FEHN-yoo-greek] Native to Asia and southern Europe, this aromatic plant is known for its pleasantly bitter, slightly sweet seeds. Its leaves (not generally available in the United States) can be used in salads. Fenugreek seeds, which come whole and ground, are used to flavor many foods including curry powders, spice blends and teas. Fenugreek seeds should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months.
fermentation A process by which a food goes through a chemical change caused by enzymes produced from bacteria, microorganisms or yeasts. Fermentation alters the appearance and/or flavor of foods and beverages such as beer, buttermilk, cheese, wine, vinegar and yogurt.
fermented black beans Also called Chinese black beans  and salty black beans , this Chinese specialty consists of small black soybeans that have been preserved in salt before being packed into cans or plastic bags. They have an extremely pungent, salty flavor and must be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes before using. Fermented black beans are usually finely chopped before being added to fish or meat dishes as a flavoring. They can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a year. If the beans begin to dry out, a few drops of peanut oil will refresh them.
feta cheese [FEHT-uh] This classic Greek cheese is traditionally made of sheep's or goat's milk, though today large commercial producers often make it with cow's milk. Because it's cured and stored in its own salty WHEY BRINE (see both listings ), feta is often referred to as pickled cheese . White, crumbly and rindless, feta is usually pressed into square cakes. It has a rich, tangy flavor, contains from 45 to 60 percent milk fat and can range in texture from soft to semidry. Feta makes a zesty addition to salads and many cooked dishes. See also  CHEESE.
fettucce; fettuccelle [fay-TOO-chay, fay-too-CHEHL-lay] Both are FETTUCCINE noodles, with fettucce  the broadest, at about 1/2 inch wide; the 1/8-inch wide fettuccelle  are the narrowest. See also  PASTA.
fettuccine; fettuccini [feht-tuh-CHEE-nee] Egg noodles cut into flat, narrow (about 3/8-inch) strips. See also  PASTA.
fettuccine Alfredo [feht-tuh-CHEE-nee al-FRAY-doh] Roman restaurateur Alfredo di Lello is credited with creating this dish in the 1920s. The FETTUCCINE is enrobed in a rich sauce of butter, grated PARMESAN CHEESE, heavy cream and plentiful grindings of black pepper. Other noodles may be substituted for the fettuccine.
feuilletage [fuh-yuh-TAHZH] French for "flaky" or "puff pastry." Also called pâté feuilletée . See also  PUFF PASTRY.
fiber, dietary Also referred to as roughage , dietary fiber is that portion of plant-related foods (such as fruits, legumes, vegetables and whole grains) that cannot be completely digested. Statistics maintain that high-fiber diets reduce cholesterol levels and cancer rates.
ficelle [fee-SEHL] French for "twine" or "string," referring culinarily to a long, very thin loaf of French bread, about half the size of a BAGUETTE.
fiddlehead fern A young, edible, tightly coiled fern frond that resembles the spiral end of a violin (fiddle). It is also referred to as ostrich fern  and pohole.  The shoots are in their coiled form for only about 2 weeks before they unfurl into graceful greenery. Fiddlehead ferns are a rich, deep green color and are about 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They have a flavor akin to an asparagus-green bean-okra cross and a texture that's appealingly chewy. Fiddleheads can be found throughout the eastern half of the United States, ranging from as far south as Virginia north to Canada. They're available in specialty produce markets from April through July, depending on the region. Choose small, firm, brightly colored ferns with no sign of softness or yellowing. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, for no more than 2 days. Fiddleheads should be washed and the ends trimmed before being briefly cooked by steaming, simmering or sautéing. They may be served cooked as a first course or side dish or used raw in salads. Fiddlehead ferns are a good source of vitamins A and C.
fideos [fih-DAY-ohs] Very thin, VERMICELLI-type noodles. In Spain, they're often tossed with vegetables; in Mexico, they're used to make one version of SOPA SECA (dry soup).
field lettuce see  CORN SALAD
field pea A variety of yellow or green pea grown specifically for drying. These peas are dried and usually split along a natural seam, in which case they're called split peas . Whole and split dried field peas are available packaged in supermarkets and in bulk in health-food stores. Field peas do not usually require presoaking before cooking. See also  PEA; LEGUME.
field salad see  CORN SALAD
fig Originally hailing from southern Europe, Asia and Africa, figs were thought to be sacred by the ancients; they were also an early symbol of peace and prosperity. Figs were brought to North America by the Spanish Franciscan missionaries who came to set up Catholic missions in southern California . . . hence the now-popular Mission  fig. There are hundreds of varieties of figs, all having in common a soft flesh with a plenitude of tiny edible seeds. They range in color from purple-black to almost white and in shape from round to oval. The most well-known varieties today include the green-skinned, white-fleshed Adriatic; the pear-shaped, violet- to brown-skinned Brown Turkey; the large, squat white-fleshed, green-skinned Calimyrna (when grown in California) or Smyrna (when from Turkey); the Celeste, medium and pear-shaped, with a purple skin and pinkish pulp; the Kadota, a small, thick-skinned, yellow-green fruit; the Magnolia (also called Brunswick ), large, with a pinkish-yellow flesh and amber skin; and the purple-black Mission (or Black Mission ), with its extremely small seeds. Fresh figs are available from June through October. They're extremely perishable and should be used soon after they're purchased. Figs may be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. They're also sold candied, dried or canned in sugar syrup or water. Fig concentrate is a thick, syrupy, seedless puree of figs. It's used to flavor cakes and other desserts, as well as for a topping over ice cream, fruit, cake and so on. Fig concentrate can be found in health food stores and some supermarkets. All figs are a good source of iron, calcium and phosphorus.
figaro sauce [FIHG-uh-roh] Tomato puree and minced parsley are added to HOLLANDAISE SAUCE for this rich accompaniment to fish or poultry.
filbert see  HAZELNUT
filé powder [FEE-lay, fih-LAY] Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana bayou country are said to have been the first users of this seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It's since become an integral part of CREOLE COOKING and is used to thicken and flavor GUMBOS and other Creole dishes. Filé has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer. It must be stirred into a dish after it's removed from the heat because undue cooking makes filé tough and stringy. Filé powder is available in the spice or gourmet section of most large supermarkets. As with all spices, it should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months.
filet see  FILLET
fromage de tête [froh-MAHZH duh TEHT] see  HEAD CHEESE
frost 1. In cooking, frost means to cover and decorate a cake with a FROSTING or icing. 2. To chill a glass in the freezer until it's frosted with a thin coating of ice crystals.
frosting Also called icing , this sweet, sugar-based mixture is used to fill and coat cakes, pastries, cookies, etc. In addition to sugar, frosting can contain a combination of other ingredients including butter, milk, water, eggs and various flavorings. It can be cooked (as with BOILED ICING) or uncooked (as with BUTTERCREAM), and can range from thick to thin. The main requirement for frosting is that it be thick enough to adhere to the item being coated, yet soft enough to spread easily.
frothy A descriptive cooking term referring to mixtures that are foamy, having a formation of tiny, light bubbles.
frozen daiquiri see  DAIQUIRI
frozen yogurt see  YOGURT
fructose [FRUHK-tohs, FROOK-tohs] Also called fruit sugar  and levulose , this extremely sweet substance is a natural by-product of fruits and honey. It's more water-soluble than GLUCOSE and sweeter than SUCROSE (though it contains half the calories). Unlike glucose, it can be used by diabetics. Fructose comes in granulated and syrup forms. Except in the case of some liquids, such as a sauce or beverage, it should not be substituted for regular sugar (sucrose) unless a recipe gives specific substitution. When heated, fructose loses some of its sweetening power.
fruit beer Mild ALES flavored with fruit concentrates. See also  BEER.
fruit butter A sweet spread for bread made by stewing fresh fruit with sugar and spices until it becomes thick and smooth. See  APPLE BUTTER.
fruitcake Traditional winter holiday cakes made with an assortment of CANDIED FRUIT and fruit rind, nuts, spices and usually liquor or BRANDY. Fruitcakes can have a moderate amount of cake surrounding the chunky ingredients, or only enough to hold the fruits and nuts together. Dark fruitcakes are generally made with molasses or brown sugar and dark liquor such as bourbon. Dark-colored fruits and nuts, such as prunes, dates, raisins and walnuts, may also contribute to the blend. Light fruitcakes are generally made with granulated sugar or light corn syrup and light ingredients such as almonds, dried apricots, golden raisins, etc. Fruitcakes are baked slowly and, after cooling, usually covered in CHEESECLOTH moistened with liquor or brandy and tightly wrapped in foil. Stored in this manner, they have tremendous staying power and, providing they are occasionally remoistened, can be kept for years.
fruit cocktail A mixture of various chopped fruits, served chilled as an appetizer. Any combination of fruit can be used, though a mixture of tart fruit (such as oranges and pineapples) and sweet fruit (peaches, melons or berries) is most appealing. The fruit may be spiced or drizzled with CHAMPAGNE or LIQUEUR for added flavor. Canned fruit cocktail is available, although the flavors of the individual fruits are barely discernible.
fruit leather; fruit roll-up Pureed fruit that is spread in a thin layer and dried. The puree sometimes has sugar or honey added to it. After drying, the sheet of fruit is often cut into strips or rolled into cylinders for easy snacking. Rolls of fruit leather in a variety of flavors are available in health-food stores and most supermarkets. It can also be made at home.
fruits de mer [frwee duh MEHR] The French term translating as "fruits of the sea," referring to a combination of seafood.
fruit soup A Scandinavian specialty of cooked, pureed fruit combined with water, wine, milk or cream, spices and other flavorings. Danish apple soup is made, for example, with apples, cloves, lemon juice, wine, cream, sugar and curry powder. Though sugar is added to most fruit soups, they are not generally overly sweet. They may be served hot or cold.
fruit sugar see  FRUCTOSE
fry v.  To cook food in hot fat over moderate to high heat. DEEP-FRIED food is submerged in hot, liquid fat. Frying (also called pan frying ) or SAUTÉING refers to cooking food in a lesser amount of fat, which doesn't cover the food. There is little difference in these two terms, though sautéing is often thought of as using less fat and being the faster of the two methods. fry n.  1. A special (usually outdoor) occasion at which fried foods are served, such as a fish fry . 2. The young of fish.
fry bread This specialty of many Southwest Indians (mainly Navajo and Hopi) is made of flour, water or milk and salt. It's formed into very thin rounds, deep-fried and served hot. It can be eaten with savory foods or drizzled with honey and enjoyed as a sweet.
frying pan [FOO] Also called a skillet , this long-handled, usually round pan has low, gently sloping sides so steam doesn't collect within the pan. It's used for frying foods over high heat, so it should be thick enough not to warp and should be able to conduct heat evenly. Frying pans come in various sizes, usually 8, 10 and 12 inches in diameter. Electric frying pans or skillets are often square or oblong in shape. Their heat is controlled by an adjustable thermostat unit that can be detached when the skillet is washed.
fu A Japanese specialty made of dried wheat gluten made into a spongy dough. Fu is available fully cooked (roasted, deep-fried or baked), partially cooked and fresh or fresh-frozen. It's sometimes colored and comes in a variety of shapes including namu fu  (fresh gluten cakes), yaki fu  (cubes that have been roasted and dried) and kohana fu  (little flower shapes that are cooked and dried and frequently used in instant noodle mixes). Fu is used in numerous Japanese dishes such as soups and other simmered dishes.
fudge A creamy, semisoft candy most often made with sugar, butter or cream, corn syrup and various flavorings. The most popular fudge flavor is chocolate, though maple (made with maple syrup), butterscotch (made with brown sugar or dark corn syrup) and vanilla are also favorites. Fudge can be plain and perfectly smooth or it may contain other ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chips, candied or dried fruit, etc. It may be cooked or uncooked, but both styles must be allowed to set before cutting.
fugu [FOO-goo] The Japanese name for certain species of puffer fish or blowfish, which, though considered delicacies, contain a poison so toxic it can kill. It's so imperative that fugu be cleaned and prepared properly that entire books have been written on the subject. In commercial Japanese kitchens, where this fish is used in both SASHIMI and NABEMONO preparations, only qualified cooks may deal with fugu. See also  FISH.
Fukien cuisine [FOO-kyen] see  CHINESE CUISINE
fumé [fyoo-MAY] French word for "smoked," referring culinarily to foods that are prepared in this manner.
Fumé Blanc [FOO-may BLAHN , (BLAHN , GK)] see  SAUVIGNON BLANC
fumet [fyoo-MAY, foo-MAY] A concentrated STOCK, particularly one made from fish or mushrooms, used to add flavor to less intensely flavored stocks or sauces. See also  FOND.
fundido [fuhn-DEE-doh] Spanish for "melted." See also  QUESO FUNDIDO.
funghi [FOON-gee] Italian for "mushrooms."
funnel cake This pastry is a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot, deep fat and frying the resulting spirals until crisp and brown. Funnel cakes are served hot, often with sugar or maple syrup.
Furmint grape see  TOKAY GRAPE
fusille; fusilli [fyoo-SEE-lay, fyoo-SEE-lee] A spiraled SPAGHETTI that can range from about 1 1/2 to 12 inches long. See also  PASTA.
futomaki [foo-toh-MAH-kee] see  SUSHI
fuzzy melon Of Chinese origin, this cylindrical (6 to 10 inches long, 2 to 3 inches thick) melon has a medium green skin covered with fine, hairlike fuzz. Its creamy-colored, medium-firm flesh is mildly flavored and has a tendency to take on the flavor of whatever food it's cooked with. Fuzzy melons — also called hairy melons  and fuzzy squash  — can be purchased in Asian markets and some specialty produce markets. Choose those that are fairly heavy for their size with wrinkle-free skins. Store ripe melons in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Fuzzy melons must be peeled before using. They're a popular addition to Chinese soups and STIR-FRIES.
fuzzy navel A cocktail made with orange juice and peach SCHNAPPS. The name is a conflation of peach "fuzz" and "navel" orange.
fuzzy squash see  FUZZY MELON
filet mignon [fih-LAY mihn-YON] This expensive, boneless cut of beef comes from the small end of the tenderloin. The filet mignon is usually 1 to 2 inches thick and 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. It's extremely tender but lacks the flavor of beef with the bone attached. Cook filet mignon quickly by broiling, grilling or sautéing. See also  BEEF; SHORT LOIN.
fillet [fih-LAY, FILL-iht] A boneless piece of meat or fish. Filet  is the French spelling. fillet v.  To cut the bones from a piece of meat or fish, thereby creating a meat or fish fillet.
filo see  PHYLLO
filter To strain through a paper filter or several layers of CHEESECLOTH.
filtered coffee see  CAFÉ FILTRÉ
fines herbes [FEEN erb, FEENZ ehrb] A mixture of very finely chopped herbs. The classic quartet is CHERVIL, CHIVES, PARSLEY and TARRAGON, though BURNET, MARJORAM, SAVORY or WATERCRESS are often used as part of the blend. Because they quickly lose their flavor, fines herbes should be added to a cooked mixture shortly before serving. Unlike BOUQUET GARNI, they're not removed from the dish before serving.
fining [FI-ning] A term usually referring to the process of removing minute floating particles that prevent wines and beers from being clear (see  CLARIFY). Besides egg whites and eggshells, other substances used to fine these liquids include GELATIN, ISINGLASS and diatomaceous earth.
finnan haddie; finnan haddock [FIHN-uhn HAD-ee] Named after Findon, Scotland, a fishing village near Aberdeen, finnan haddie is partially boned, lightly salted and smoked HADDOCK. It was originally smoked over peat fires, a rarity now in wide commercial production. In the British Isles, finnan haddie has long been a favorite breakfast dish. Though once exclusively from Scotland, it's now being produced in New England and other eastern coastal states. It's available whole or in fillets and can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to a month. Finnan haddie is best baked, broiled or poached. It's generally served with a cream sauce. See also  FISH.
fino [FEE-noh] This pale, delicate, very dry Spanish wine is considered by many to be the world's finest SHERRY. Finos are excellent when young, but should not be aged because they don't improve and may lose some of their vitality. They are often served chilled as an APÉRITIF.
finocchio [fih-NOH-kee-oh] The Italian word for FENNEL.
Fiorentina, alla Italian for "in the style of Florence" (see  FLORENTINE).
firepot; fire pot see  MONGOLIAN HOT POT
firm-ball stage A test for SUGAR SYRUP describing the point at which a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water forms a firm but pliable ball. On a CANDY THERMOMETER, the firm-ball stage is between 244° and 248°F.
fischietti [fee-SKYEHT-tee] Italian for "small whistle," referring culinarily to the smallest of the tubular PASTAS.
fish All fish are broken down into two very broad categories — fish and shellfish. In the most basic terms, fish are equipped with fins, backbones and gills, while shellfish have shells of one form or another. (For details  on  SHELLFISH, see that listing .) Fish without shells are separated into two groups — freshwater fish and saltwater fish. Because salt water provides more buoyancy than fresh water, saltwater fish — such as COD, FLOUNDER and TUNA — can afford to have thicker bones. Freshwater fish — like CATFISH, PERCH and TROUT — can't be weighted with a heavy skeletal framework. Instead, their structure is based on hundreds of minuscule bones, a source of frustration to many diners. Additionally, fish are separated into two more categories: FLATFISH and roundfish. Flatfish, which swim horizontally along the bottom of the sea, are shaped like an oval platter, the top side being dark and the bottom white. Both eyes are on the side of the body facing upward. Roundfish have a rounder body, with eyes on both sides of the head. Further, fish are divided into three categories based on their fat content — lean, moderate-fat and high-fat. The oil in lean fish is concentrated in the liver, rather than being distributed through the flesh. Their fat content is less than 2 1/2 percent and the flesh is mild and lightly colored. Fish in the lean category include BLACK SEA BASS, BROOK TROUT, COD, DRUM FLOUNDER, HADDOCK, HAKE, HALIBUT, POL-LACK, OCEAN PERCH, red SNAPPER, ROCKFISH and TILEFISH. Moderate-fat fish usually have less than 6 percent fat and include BARRACUDA, STRIPED BASS, SWORDFISH, BONITO TUNA and WHITING. The fat content of high-fat fish can reach as high as 30 percent (as with EEL), but the average is closer to 12 percent. Some of the more popular high-fat fish are Atlantic HERRING, BUTTERFISH, MACKEREL, SMELT, STURGEON and YELLOWTAIL. The wider distribution of fat in moderate- and high-fat fish gives their flesh a darker color, firmer texture and more distinctive flavor. When buying fresh, whole fish, look for the following characteristics: bright, clear, full eyes (cloudy or sunken eyes denote stale fish); shiny, brightly colored skin; a fresh, mild odor; firm flesh that clings tightly to the bones and springs back when pressed with your finger; and red to bright pink gills, free from any slime or residue. Whole fish comes either ungutted or DRAWN, meaning its entrails and sometimes its gills have been removed. A fish that has been DRESSED has, in addition to being drawn, had the scales removed. Whole-dressed  usually refers to the whole fish; pan-dressed  to a fish with head, tail and fins removed. Fish fillets and steaks should have a fresh odor, firm texture and moist appearance. Fillets are a boneless, lengthwise cut from the sides of a fish. They are usually single pieces, though butterfly fillets  (both sides of the fish connected by the uncut strip of skin on the belly) are also available. Fish steaks are cross-sectional cuts from large, dressed fish. They're usually 5/8 to 1 inch thick and contain a small section of the backbone. Fresh fish should immediately be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, and used within a day — 2 days at most. Never store ungutted fish, as the entrails decay much more rapidly than the flesh. When purchasing raw frozen fish, make sure it's solidly frozen. It should be tightly wrapped in an undamaged, moisture- and vaporproof material and should have no odor. Any white, dark, icy or dry spots indicate damage through drying or deterioration. Avoid fish that is suspected of having been thawed and refrozen, a process that reduces the overall quality of both texture and flavor. Frozen fish should be stored in a moisture- and vaporproof wrapping in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours (for a 1-pound package) before cooking. Quick-thawing can be accomplished by placing the wrapped, frozen fish in cold water, allowing 1 hour to thaw a 1-pound package. Never refreeze fish. Canned fish, such as tuna, salmon and sardines, will generally keep for about a year stored at 65°F or less. However, since the consumer doesn't know under what conditions canned goods have been stored in warehouses, the best idea is to buy only what will be used within a few months. Fish are an excellent source of protein, B complex vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. Both saltwater and freshwater fish are low in sodium content and, compared to meat, also low in calories. Cooking fish: Fish can be cooked in myriad ways including baking, broiling, frying, grilling and steaming. A general rule for cooking fish is to measure it at its thickest point, then cook 8 to 10 minutes per inch (4 to 5 minutes per half inch). To test fish for doneness, use a fork to prod it at its thickest point. The fish should be opaque, its juices milky white. Undercooked fish is transluscent, its juices clear and watery; overcooked fish is dry and falls apart easily. Another test is to insert an instant-read thermometer at the thickest point — fish that's done will register 145°F. For further questions, call the free government-sponsored fish and shellfish hotline at 800-332-4010 . See also  AKULE; AMBERJACK; ANCHOVY; ANGLER FISH; AQUACULTURE; BASS; BLACKFISH; BLENNY; BLUEFISH; BREAM; BRILL; BUFFALO FISH; BURBOT; CARP; CHAR; CRAPPIE; CUSK; DAB; DOGFISH; FLYING FISH; FUGU; GASPERGOO; GOATFISH; GREENLING; GROUPER; GRUNION; GRUNT; GURNARD; JACK; JELLYFISH; JEWFISH; JOHN DORY; KINGFISH; LAMPREY; LINGCOD; MAHI MAHI; MULLET; OPAH; OPAKAPAKA; ORANGE ROUGHY; PETRALE SOLE; PIKE; PILCHARD; POMPANO; PORGY; RED MULLET; SABLEFISH; SALTFISH; SAND DAB; SARDINE; SEA BASS; SHARK; SKATE; SOLE; SPRAT; SUNFISH; SURIMI; TILAPIA; TRASH FISH; TURBOT; WAHOO; WEAKFISH; WHITEFISH.
fish and chips A traditional British dish of deep-fried fish FILLETS and FRENCH FRIES, most often served with malt VINEGAR.
fish boil see  1. An herb and spice mixture specifically created to complement fish and shellfish. The blend varies depending on the manufacturer, but typically includes allspice, bay leaves, cloves, ginger, mustard seeds, peppercorns and red chiles. Packages of fish boil (also called crab boil  and shrimp boil ) can be found in supermarkets. The contents are combined with the boiling water in which fish or shellfish are cooked. 2. An outdoor "picnic" in which fish, new potatoes and usually onions are cooked in huge pots of salted water over an intensely hot open fire.
fish gravy see  FISH SAUCE
fish sauce Popular throughout Southeast Asia, fish sauce can be any of various mixtures based on the liquid from salted, fermented fish. This extremely pungent, strong-flavored and salty liquid can range in color from ochre to deep brown. It's used as a condiment and flavoring, much as SOY SAUCE would be used. Fish sauces may be flavored variously — such as with chiles or sugar — depending on the use. Asian markets carry a wide variety of these pungent sauces including NAM PLA (Thai), nuoc nam  (Vietnamese), PATIS (Philippines) and shottsuru  (Japanese). Fish sauce is also referred to as fish gravy . See also  GARUM; SHRIMP SAUCE.
five-spice powder Used extensively in CHINESE COOKING, this pungent mixture of five ground spices usually consists of equal parts of CINNAMON, CLOVES, FENNEL seed, STAR ANISE and SZECHUAN PEPPERCORNS. Prepackaged five-spice powder is available in Asian markets and most supermarkets.
fizz GIN FIZZ is the most popular of this genre of drinks made with liquor, lemon juice, sugar and soda, and served over ice. An egg white is added to some fizzes, in which case a gin fizz becomes a silver fizz.
flageolet [fla-zhoh-LAY] These tiny, tender French kidney beans range in color from pale green to creamy white. They're rarely available fresh in the United States but can be purchased dried, canned and occasionally frozen. Flageolets are usually prepared simply, in order to showcase their delicate flavor. They're a classic accompaniment to lamb. See also  BEANS.
flake, to To use a utensil (usually a fork) to break off small pieces or layers of food.
flaky adj.  A term describing a food, such as pie crust, with a dry texture that easily breaks off into flat, flakelike pieces.
flamande, à la [flah-MAHND] À la flamande  is French for "in the Flemish style," indicating a garnish of braised cabbage, carrots, turnips, potatoes and sometimes pork or sausages. It's a classic accompaniment for meat or poultry.
flambé [flahm-BAY] French for "flamed" or "flaming," this dramatic method of food presentation consists of sprinkling certain foods with liquor, which, after warming, is ignited just before serving.
flamed The American word for FLAMBÉ.
Flame Tokay grape see  TOKAY GRAPE
flan [FLAHN] 1. A round pastry tart that can have a sweet filling (such as CUSTARD or fruit) or savory filling (vegetable, meat or savory custard). The pastry is usually formed and baked in a special flan ring, a bottomless metal ring with straight (about 1 1/2-inch-high) sides. The flan ring is set on a baking sheet before the dough is baked. 2. A famous Spanish baked custard coated with caramel. See also  CRÈME CARAMEL.
flanken [FLAHNG-kuhn] 1. A strip of beef from the CHUCK end of the SHORT RIBS. 2. A Jewish dish using this cut of beef, which is boiled and usually served with HORSERADISH.
flank steak Long, thin and fibrous, this boneless cut of beef comes from the animal's lower hindquarters. It's usually tenderized by marinating, then broiled or grilled whole. In the case of London broil , the flank steak is cut and cooked in large pieces, then thinly sliced across the grain. See also  BEEF.
flapjack see  PANCAKE
flat bread; flatbread; flatbrod These traditional Scandinavian crisps are thin, crackerlike breads usually made with rye flour. Many are also based on combinations of flours including wheat, barley or potato. Flat breads (flatbrod  in Norwegian) are most often served with soups, salads or cheeses.
flatfish A species of fish (including FLOUNDER, HALIBUT and SOLE) characterized by a rather flat body, with both eyes located on the upper side. Flatfish swim on one side only; the side facing downwards is always very pale. See also  BRILL; DAB; FISH; SAND DAB; TURBOT.
flauta [FLAUW-tah] Meaning "flute," a flauta is a corn TORTILLA rolled around a savory (usually shredded meat or poultry) filling, then fried until crisp.
flavoring extracts see  EXTRACTS
flax seed Though the most universal function of flax seed is to produce linseed oil (commonly used in paints, varnishes, linoleums and inks), this tiny seed contains several essential nutrients including calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorous and vitamin E. It's also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids (see  FATS AND OILS). Flax seed can be found in health-food markets and some supermarkets. It has a mild nutty flavor and is often used simply sprinkled over hot dishes such as cooked cereal or stir-frys. The seed can also be sprouted and used in salads and sandwiches. Flax seed is naturally mucilaginous and, when ground into a flour and mixed with liquid, produces a blend with a texture akin to that of egg whites. This gelatinous mixture can be used in place of eggs to add body to baked goods — unlike eggs, however, it does not have a leavening effect. Because it has a high fat content, flax seed should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, where it will keep for up to 6 months. Though it is considered a digestive aid, it should also be noted that, for some people, flax seed also has a laxative effect.
fleuron [FLUR-awn, FLOOR-ahn] A tiny, crescent-shaped piece of puff pastry used as a garnish, usually atop hot food.
flip A cold drink made with liquor or wine mixed with sugar and egg, then shaken or blended until frothy. Early flips made in England and Colonial America were warmed by plunging a red-hot poker into the brew just before serving.
floating islands 1. A light dessert of stiffly beaten, sweetened egg white mounds that have been poached in milk. These puffs are then floated in a thin CUSTARD sauce. The dessert is also known as oeufs à la neige , "snow eggs." 2. In France, île flottante  ("floating island") is LIQUEUR-sprinkled sponge cake spread with jam, sprinkled with nuts, topped with whipped cream and surrounded by a pool of custard.
florentine [FLOHR-uhn-teen, FLAWR-uhn-teen] Though Austrian bakers are credited with inventing these cookies, their name implies an Italian heritage. They're a mixture of butter, sugar, cream, honey, candied fruit (and sometimes nuts) that is cooked in a saucepan before being dropped into mounds on a cookie sheet and baked. The chewy, candylike florentines often have a chocolate coating on one side.
Florentine, à la French for "in the style of Florence (Italy)," and referring to dishes (usually of eggs or fish) that are presented on a bed of spinach and topped with MORNAY SAUCE. A "Florentine" dish is sometimes sprinkled with cheese and browned lightly in the oven. The Italian term is alla Fiorentina .
flounder Members of this large species of FLATFISH are prized for their fine texture and delicate flavor. Some of the better known members of the flounder family are DAB, ENGLISH SOLE and PLAICE. In America, flounder is often mislabeled as fillet of sole  — a misnomer because all of the fish called "sole" (except for imported European DOVER SOLE) are actually varieties of flounder. Flounder is available whole or in fillets. It can be baked, broiled, poached, steamed or sautéed. See also  FISH.
flour n.  The finely ground and sifted meal of any of various edible grains. Giant steel or stone rollers are used to break and grind the grain. Most supermarkets carry steel-ground flour, meaning it's crushed with huge, high-speed steel rollers or hammers. The heat that is generated with these high-velocity machines strips away the WHEAT germ and destroys valuable vitamins and enzymes. The more naturally nutritious stone-ground flour is produced by grinding the grain between two slowly moving stones. This process crushes the grain without generating excess heat and separating the germ. Stone-ground flours must usually be purchased in health-food stores, though some large supermarkets also carry them. A flour can range in texture from coarse to extremely soft and powdery, depending on the degree of bolting (sifting) it receives at the mill. Wheat is the most common source of the multitude of flours used in cooking. It contains gluten, a protein that forms an elastic network that helps contain the gases that make mixtures (such as doughs and batters) rise as they bake. All-purpose flour is made from a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. It's a fine-textured flour milled from the inner part of the wheat kernel and contains neither the germ (the sprouting part) nor the bran (the outer coating). U.S. law requires that all flours not containing wheat germ must have niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and iron added. (Individual millers sometimes also add vitamins A and D.) These flours are labeled "ENRICHED." All-purpose flour comes in two basic forms — bleached and unbleached — that can be used interchangeably. Flour can be bleached either naturally, as it ages, or chemically. Most flour on the market today is presifted, requiring only that it be stirred, then spooned into a measuring cup and leveled off. Bread flour is an unbleached, specially formulated, high-gluten blend of 99.8 percent hard-wheat flour, a small amount of malted barley flour (to improve yeast activity) and vitamin C or potassium bromate (to increase the gluten's elasticity and the dough's gas retention). It is ideally suited for YEAST BREADS. The fuller-flavored whole-wheat flour contains the wheat germ, which means that it also has a higher fiber, nutritional and fat content. Because of the latter, it should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity. Cake or pastry flour is a fine-textured, soft-wheat flour with a high starch content. It makes particularly tender cakes and pastries. Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour to which baking powder and salt have been added. It can be substituted for all-purpose flour in yeast breads by omitting the salt and in QUICK BREADS by omitting both baking powder and salt. Instant flour is a granular flour especially formulated to dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquids. It's used mainly as a thickener in sauces, gravies and other cooked mixtures. Gluten flour is high-protein, hard-wheat flour treated to remove most of the starch (which leaves a high gluten content). It's used mainly as an additive to doughs made with low-gluten flour (such as RYE FLOUR), and to make low-calorie "gluten" breads. All flour should be stored in an airtight container. All-purpose and bread flour can be stored up to 6 months at room temperature (about 70°F). Temperatures higher than that invite bugs and mold. Flours containing part of the grain's germ (such as whole wheat) turn rancid quickly because of the oil in the germ. Refrigerate or freeze these flours tightly wrapped and use as soon as possible. Other grains — such as BARLEY, BUCKWHEAT, CORN, OATS, RICE, rye and TRITICALE — are also milled into flours. flour v.  To lightly coat a food, utensil or baking container with flour. Flouring food to be fried facilitates browning, and coating foods that tend to stick together (such as chopped dried apricots) helps separate the pieces. Flouring a pie, pastry or cookie dough will prevent it from sticking to a work surface; flouring your hands, rolling pin or work surface prevents dough from sticking. Dusting greased baking pans with flour provides for easy removal of cakes, breads and other baked goods.
flowering kale Looking like a giant, multipetaled, ruffled flower, this vegetable comes in colors that range from white to pink to purple, all encircled by curly green leaves. Flowering kale (Brassica oleracea ), which is the oldest member of the cabbage family, has a slightly bitter taste and semicrisp texture. It's available from September through December. Choose heads with fresh-looking, brightly colored leaves with no sign of wilting. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. See also  KALE.
flower pepper see  SZECHUAN PEPPER
flowers, crystallized see  CANDIED FRUIT; CANDIED FLOWERS
flowers, edible Flowers that are used as a garnish or as an integral part of a dish, such as a salad. Not all flowers are edible. Those that are must usually be purchased from specialty produce markets or supermarkets that carry gourmet produce. They can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator up to a week. Flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides (such as those found at florists') should never be eaten. Some of the more popular edible flowers are: the peppery-flavored nasturtiums; chive blossoms, which taste like a mild, sweet onion; pansies and violas, both with a flavor reminiscent of grapes; and perfumy, sweet roses. Other edible flowers include: almond, apple, borage, chamomile, lavender, lemon, lovage, mimosa, orange, peach, plum and squash blossoms, chrysanthemums, daisies, geraniums, jasmine, lilacs, marigolds, and violets. Edible flowers may be used culinarily in a variety of ways. They make colorful, striking garnishes for drinks as well as food — for everything from salads to soups to desserts. Some of the larger flowers such as squash blossoms can be stuffed and deep-fried.
flummery [FLUHM-muh-ree] 1. A sweet soft pudding made of stewed fruit (usually berries) thickened with CORNSTARCH. 2. Old-time British flummeries were made by cooking oatmeal until smooth and gelatinous; sweetener and milk were sometimes added. In the 18th century, the dish became a gelatin-thickened, cream- or milk-based dessert, flavored generously with SHERRY or MADEIRA.
flute [FLOOT] 1. To press a decorative pattern into the raised edge of a pie crust (see also  CRIMP). 2. To carve slashes, grooves and other decorative markings in vegetables (such as mushrooms) and fruits. 3. A thin, lightly sweet, flute-shaped cookie served with ice cream, pudding and so on. 4. A stemmed champagne glass with a tall, slender, cone-shaped bowl. 5. A thin, flute-shaped roll or loaf of bread.
flying fish; flyingfish Members of the family Exocoetidae , which are commonly found in tropical waters, especially throughout the Caribbean. The name of this fish comes from its ability to soar through the air for great distances, sometimes up to almost 350 yards. To manage this feat, the flying fish builds up speed in the water, then leaps into the air, extending its large, stiff pectoral fins, which act like wings. Flying fish are good food fish with a firm texture and a pleasant, savory flavor. See also  FISH.
focaccia [foh-KAH-chee-ah] This Italian bread begins by being shaped into a large, flat round that is liberally brushed or drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Slits cut into the dough's surface may be stuffed with fresh ROSEMARY before the bread is baked. Focaccia can be eaten as a snack, or served as an accompaniment to soups or salads.
foie gras [FWAH GRAH] Although the literal translation from French is "fat liver," foie gras  is the term generally used for goose liver . This specialty of Alsace and Perigord, is in fact, the enlarged liver from a goose or duck that has been force-fed and fattened over a period of 4 to 5 months. These specially bred fowl are not permitted to exercise — which, combined with the overeating, creates a huge (up to 3 pounds), fatty liver. After the bird is killed, the liver is soaked overnight in milk, water or port. It's drained, then marinated in a mixture usually consisting of ARMAGNAC, PORT or MADEIRA and various seasonings. The livers are then cooked, usually by baking. The preparation, of course, depends on the cook. In general, goose liver is considered superior to duck liver; all foie gras is very expensive. At its best, it is a delicate rosy color with mottlings of beige. The flavor is extraordinarily rich and the texture silky smooth. Pâté de foie  gras is pureed goose liver (by law, 80 percent) that usually contains other foods such as pork liver, TRUFFLES and eggs. Mousse or puree de foie gras must contain at least 55 percent goose liver. Foie gras should be served chilled with thin, buttered toast slices. A SAUTERNES is the perfect accompaniment.
fold, to A technique used to gently combine a light, airy mixture (such as beaten egg whites) with a heavier mixture (such as whipped cream or custard). The lighter mixture is placed on top of the heavier one in a large bowl. Starting at the back of the bowl, a rubber spatula is used to cut down vertically through the two mixtures, across the bottom of the bowl and up the nearest side. The bowl is rotated a quarter turn with each series of strokes. This down-across-up-and-over motion gently turns the mixtures over on top of each other, combining them in the process.
fond [FAWN ] A French term used in culinary parlance for "STOCK." There are three primary fonds in classic French cooking: fond blanc ("white stock"), made from veal and poultry meat and bones and vegetables; fond brun ("brown stock"), made with browned beef, veal and poultry meat and bones and vegetables; and fond de vegetal ("vegetable stock"), made with butter-sautéed vegetables. See also  FUMET.
fondant [FAHN-duhnt] Used as both candy and icing, fondant is a simple sugar-water-CREAM OF TARTAR mixture cooked to the SOFT-BALL STAGE. After cooling, the mixture is beaten and kneaded until extremely pliable. It can be formed into decorations or candy, which can be dipped in chocolate. Heating fondant makes it soft enough to be used as an icing to coat large and small cakes. FOOD COLORING and a variety of flavorings can be added to fondant for visual and taste appeal. It can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.
fondue [fahn-DOO] From fondre , the French word for "melt," the term "fondue" has several meanings. The first three definitions pertain to food cooked in a central pot at the table. 1. Fondue au fromage is a classic dish of Swiss heritage consisting of cheese (usually EMMENTALER and GRUYÈRE) melted and combined with white wine, KIRSCH and seasonings. Bite-size chunks of French bread are dipped into the hot, savory mixture. 2. Fondue bourguignonne is a variation whereby cubes of raw beef are cooked in a pot of hot oil, then dipped into various savory sauces. 3. Another version is chocolate fondue, a combination of melted chocolate, cream and sometimes LIQUEUR into which fruit or cake may be dipped. 4. In French cooking, the term "fondue" refers to finely chopped vegetables that have been reduced to a pulp by lengthy and slow cooking. This mixture is often used as a garnish, usually with meats or fish.
fontina cheese [fahn-TEE-nah] Also called Fontina Val d'Aosta  after the Italian valley from which it comes, this is one of Italy's great cheeses. Semifirm yet creamy, fontina is a cow's-milk cheese with about 45 percent milk fat. It has a dark golden brown rind with a pale yellow interior dotted with tiny holes. The mild, nutty flavor, and the fact that it melts easily and smoothly, make fontina perfect for almost any use. Besides Italy, fontinas are made in other countries including Denmark, France and the United States. Many of these fontinas, especially when young, tend to be blander and softer than the Italian original. See also  CHEESE.
food additives see  ADDITIVES
food coloring Dyes of various colors (most commonly blue, green, red and yellow) used to tint foods such as frostings and candies. The most familiar form of food coloring is liquid, which comes in little bottles available at any supermarket. Food coloring paste, which comes in a wider variety of colors, can usually only be found in specialty stores such as cake-decorating shops. It's particularly suitable for mixtures that do not combine readily with liquid, such as WHITE CHOCOLATE. A little of any food coloring goes a long way, so it's best to begin with only a drop or two, blending it into the mixture being tinted before adding more.
food label terms see  LABEL TERMS
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