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Term Pronounciation Definition
Olympia oyster [oh-LIHM-pee-uh] Native to the Pacific Coast, the Olympia oyster is found primarily in the Pacific Northwest around Washington's Puget Sound. It's very small, seldom exceeding 1 1/2 inches. The Olympia has an excellent flavor and is a favorite for eating ON THE HALF SHELL. Because they are so small, it takes a fair number to satisfy most oyster aficionados. See also  OYSTER.
Omega-3 oils see  FATS AND OILS
omelet; omelette [AHM-leht] A mixture of eggs, seasonings and sometimes water or milk, cooked in butter until firm and filled or topped with various fillings such as cheese, ham, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sausage and herbs. Sweet omelets can be filled with jelly, custard or fruit, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar or flamed with various LIQUORS or LIQUEURS. For fluffy omelets, the whites and yolks can be beaten separately and folded together. They can also be served flat or folded. See also  FRITTATA.
omelet pan A pan with shallow sloping sides, a flat bottom and a long handle. It's designed for easy movement, turning and removal of an OMELET or other egg mixtures. Omelet pans range from 6 to 10 inches in diameter and can be made of aluminum, plain or enameled cast iron or stainless steel. Many of today's omelet pans have NONSTICK FINISHES.
onion Related to the lily, this underground bulb is prized around the world for the magic it makes in a multitude of dishes with its pungent flavor and odor. There are two main classifications of onion — green onions (also called SCALLIONS) and dry onions, which are simply mature onions with a juicy flesh covered with dry, papery skin. Dry onions come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and flavors. Among those that are mild flavored are the white or yellow Bermuda onion, available March through June; the larger, more spherical Spanish onion, which is usually yellow skinned (but can be white) and in season from August to May; and the red or Italian onion, which is available year-round. The stronger-flavored globe onions can have yellow, red or white skins. They can range from 1 to 4 inches in diameter and in flavor from mildly pungent to quite sharp. Among the special onion varieties are three exceedingly juicy specimens. The Maui onion, hailing — as its name implies — from the Hawaiian island of the same name, is sweet, mild and crisply moist. It can range in color from white to pale yellow and is usually shaped like a slightly flattened sphere. The Maui onion's season is from April to July. Vidalia onions are the namesake of Vidalia, Georgia, where they thrive. At their best, these large, pale yellow onions are exceedingly sweet and juicy. They're usually available from May through June only in the regions where grown or by mail order. The state of Washington is the source of Walla Walla onions, named after the city of the same name. Large, round and golden, they're in season from June to September but are usually available outside their growing area only by mail order. Oso Sweet onions hail from South America and, as their name suggests, are extremely succulent and sweet and, in fact, contain almost 50 percent more sugar than Vidalias. They're available in specialty produce markets from January through March. Another import is the Rio Sweet onion, which is predictably sweet and available from October through December. Tiny pearl onions are mild-flavored and about the size of a small marble. They can be cooked (and are often creamed) and served as a side dish or pickled and used as a CONDIMENT or garnish (as in the GIBSON cocktail). Boiling onions are about 1 inch in diameter and mildly flavored. They're cooked as a side dish, used in stews and pickled. When buying onions, choose those that are heavy for their size with dry, papery skins with no signs of spotting or moistness. Avoid onions with soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to 2 months (depending on their condition when purchased). Humidity breeds spoilage in dry onions. Once cut, an onion should be tightly wrapped, refrigerated and used within 4 days. Most onions cause tearing (caused by sulfuric compounds) to some extent — some just watery eyes, others giant crocodile tears. Freezing the onion for 20 minutes before chop-ping helps, but then so does wearing safety goggles. Dried or freeze-dried onion by-products include onion powder (ground dehydrated onion), onion salt (onion powder and salt), onion flakes and onion flavoring cubes. Onions are also sold canned or pickled (usually pearl onions) and frozen (whole or chopped). Onions contain a fair amount of vitamin C with traces of other vitamins and minerals. See also  CHIVE; LEEK; SCALLION; SHALLOT.
onion powder see  ONION
onion salt see  ONION
ono [OH-noh] see  WAHOO
on the half shell A phrase commonly used to describe raw oysters served on the bottom shell only, usually on a plate of crushed ice or, in the case of cooked dishes such as OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER, on a bed of rock salt. Some oyster lovers eat these fresh oysters without any CONDIMENTS, sipping the oyster liquor from its bottom shell. Others adorn theirs with lemon juice, horseradish, tabasco sauce, cocktail sauce, ketchup or vinegar.
on the rocks When a beverage (usually liquor) is served over ice without added water or other MIXER, it's usually referred to as "on the rocks."
oolong tea [OO-long] see  TEA
opah [OH-pah] Also called moonfish , the opah is a marine fish that can reach up to 200 pounds. It's found in warm waters throughout the world but that which is available in the United States usually comes from Hawaii. The pinkish flesh of this fish is rich, full flavored and fine textured. It's suitable for baking, poaching and steaming. See also  FISH.
opakapaka; opaka-paka [oh-pah-kah-PAH-kah] A deep water marine fish found in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. Its sweet, delicate flesh ranges from white to pink in color, however, cooked opakapaka is always white. It can run from lean to fat, depending on the season (they're fattier in the winter). Opakapaka is suitable for almost any cooking method. In Hawaii, it's also referred to as pink snapper. See also  FISH.
open dating A system required by the Food and Drug Administration whereby food products are dated as an indicator to shelf life and perishability. Most perishables are stamped with a pull (or sell ) date by which the retailer should remove the product if not sold. A freshness date may be found on highly perishable products (like baked goods), stipulating the date when a product will no longer seem fresh. Some products bear a pack date, indicating when it was packaged, although this date is often coded so that only manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers can read it; most retailers will explain the codes if asked. The pack date on some products, such as eggs, is shown by a Julian date (1 through 365), whereby January 1 is number 1, and December 31 is number 365. There's generally leeway for home storage allowed by the open dating system. Obviously, for perishables like dairy products and baked goods, the farther out they're dated, the longer the food will remain useable at home. An expiration date may be found on some longer-lived products and tells the consumer when the manufacturer anticipates the product will no longer likely be useable.
open-faced A descriptor used culinarily for a "sandwich" consisting of one slice of bread topped with various ingredients such as sliced meat, cheese, pickles, etc. Open-faced sandwiches are very popular in Scandinavia, where they've become an art form with elaborately arranged and decorated combinations. For the most part, open-faced sandwiches are cold, but there are also hot ones, which usually consist of bread topped with meat slices and gravy.
oplet see  SEA ANEMONE
orange Contrary to what most of us think, this fruit was not named for its color. Instead, the word orange  comes from a transliteration of the sanskrit naranga  . . . which comes from the Tamil naru  . . . which means "fragrant." It's thought that the reason oranges have long been associated with fertility (and therefore, weddings) is because this lush evergreen tree can simultaneously produce flowers, fruit and foliage. Though oranges originated in Southeast Asia, they now also thrive around the world in warm-climate areas including Portugal, Spain, North Africa and, in the United States (the world's largest producer), Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. There are three basic types of orange — sweet, loose-skinned and bitter. Sweet oranges are prized both for eating and for their juice. They're generally large and have skins that are more difficult to remove than their loose-skinned relatives. They may have seeds or be seedless. Among the more popular sweet oranges are the seedless NAVEL, the juicy, coarse-grained VALENCIA and the thin-skinned, red-fleshed BLOOD ORANGE. Sweet oranges are better eaten fresh than cooked. Loose-skinned oranges are so named because their skins easily slip off the fruit. Their segments are also loose and divide with ease. Members of the MANDARIN ORANGE family are all loose skinned; they vary in flavor from sweet to tart-sweet. Bitter oranges, the most well-known of which are the SEVILLE and the BERGAMOT, are — as their name implies — too sour and astringent to eat raw. Instead, they're cooked in preparations such as MARMALADE and BIGARADE SAUCE. Bitter oranges are also greatly valued for their peel, which is candied, and their essential oils, which are used to flavor foods as well as some LIQUEURS, such as CURAÇAO. Most of the bitter orange supply comes from Spain. USDA grading of oranges is voluntary and not considered necessary by most growers. The two grades used are U.S. Fancy (best) and U.S. No. 1. Fresh oranges are available year-round at different times, depending on the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and heavy for its size, with no mold or spongy spots. Unfortunately, because oranges are sometimes dyed with food coloring, a bright color isn't necessarily an indicator of quality. Regreening sometimes occurs in fully ripe oranges, particularly with Valencias. A rough, brownish area (russeting) on the skin doesn't affect flavor or quality either. Oranges can be stored at cool room temperature for a day or so, but should then be refrigerated and can be kept there for up to 2 weeks. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain some vitamin A. Once cut or squeezed, however, the vitamin C quickly begins to dissipate. After only 8 hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the refrigerator, there's a 20 percent vitamin C loss. Canned, bottled and frozen-concentrate orange juices have a greatly decreased vitamin C content. See also  KING ORANGE; TEMPLE ORANGE.
orange-flower water A perfumy distillation of bitter-orange blossoms. Orange-flower water is used as a flavoring in baked goods, various sweet and savory dishes and a variety of drinks, such as the Ramos GIN FIZZ  cocktail.
orange pekoe tea see  PEKOE
orange roughy [RUHF-ee] This New Zealand fish (also known as slimehead ) is fast becoming popular in the United States. It's low in fat, has firm white flesh and a mild flavor. Orange roughy is available in specialty fish markets and some supermarkets. It can be poached, baked, broiled or fried. See also  FISH.
orecchiette [oh-rayk-kee-EHT-tay] Italian for "little ears," referring culinary to tiny disk-shaped PASTA.
oregano [oh-REHG-uh-noh] Greek for "joy of the mountain," oregano was almost unheard of in the United States until soldiers came back from Italian World War II assignments raving about it. This herb, sometimes called wild marjoram , belongs to the mint family and is related to both marjoram and THYME. Oregano is similar to marjoram but is not as sweet and has a stronger, more pungent flavor and aroma. Because of its pungency, it requires a bit more caution in its use. Mediterranean oregano is milder than the Mexican variety, which is generally used in highly spiced dishes. Fresh Mediterranean or European oregano is sometimes available in gourmet produce sections of supermarkets and in Italian or Greek markets. Choose bright-green, fresh-looking bunches with no sign of wilting or yellowing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Dried Mediterranean oregano is readily available in any supermarket in both crumbled and powdered forms. The stronger-flavored Mexican oregano can generally be found in its dried form in Latin markets. As with all dried herbs, oregano should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Oregano goes extremely well with tomato-based dishes and is a familiar pizza herb. See  also HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART; A FIELD GUIDE TO HERBS
organic food Food that is cultivated and/or processed without the use of chemicals of any sort including fertilizers, insecticides, artificial coloring or flavoring and additives. Although consumers assume that foods labeled organic are as pure as possible, the truth is that — while many states have their own organic food laws — there are no consistent  regulations guiding and/or governing the standards of organic food producers. This means that chemical cross-contamination (through shipping, wind, water leeching, etc.) is, with some growers and shippers, a possibility. In 1990, Congress passed the Federal Organic Foods Production Act, which called for national organic food guidelines including certification of growers and standards for organic food production, monitoring crops for chemical contamination and livestock for living conditions and screening organic imports. At this writing, however, this Act has yet to go into effect. That same year (1990), California, long at the vanguard of the organic food movement, established the United States' toughest state food standards with its California Organic Food Act, which goes so far as to inspect produce on market shelves. Until the Federal Organic Foods Production Act is implemented, the consumer's best safeguard for reliable organic food is to buy from a reputable purveyor.
orgeat syrup [OHR-zhat] The original version of this sweet syrup was made with a barley-almond blend. Today, however, it's made with almonds, sugar and ROSE WATER or ORANGE-FLOWER WATER. Orgeat syrup has a pronounced almond taste and is used to flavor many cocktails including the MAI TAI and SCORPION.
oriental radish see  DAIKON
ormer [OHR-muhr] see  ABALONE
orzo [OHR-zoh] In Italian this means "barley," but it's actually a tiny, rice-shaped PASTA, slightly smaller than a PINE NUT. Orzo is ideal for soups and wonderful when served as a substitute for rice.
osso buco; ossobuco [AW-soh BOO-koh, OH-soh BOO-koh] An Italian dish made of veal shanks braised with olive oil, white wine, stock, onions, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, carrots, celery and lemon peel. Traditionally, osso buco is garnished with GREMOLATA and served accompanied by RISOTTO.
ostrich [AWS-trihch] Hailing from Africa and parts of southwest Asia, the ostrich is a huge flightless bird that can weigh up to 250 pounds and reach up to 7 feet in height. Ostriches have long been raised for their skin, feathers and meat, the latter of which is compared to very lean beef. Ostrich meat is showing up more and more on restaurant menus, a direct correlation to the fact that the United States now boasts hundreds of ostrich ranches. Though some specialty meat markets may carry (or will special order) ostrich meat, it is still uncommon.
ostrich fern see  FIDDLEHEAD FERN
ouzo [OO-zoh] From Greece, this clear, sweet anise-flavored LIQUEUR is usually served as an APÉRITIF. It's generally mixed with water, which turns it whitish and opaque.
oven thermometer A thermometer designed to read oven temperatures, which are often inaccurately indicated by the oven dial. Erroneous oven temperatures can create all kinds of culinary havoc, from gooey centers in baked goods to burning or drying of a wide range of foods. Oven thermometers can vary in quality and, consequently, price. The spring-style thermometer available in most supermarkets can become unreliable with a small jolt or with continual use. Mercury oven thermometers, available in gourmet supply shops, are more accurate and reliable. See also  CANDY THERMOMETER; FREEZER/REFRIGERATOR THERMOMETER; MEAT THERMOMETER.
oxalic acid [ok-SAL-ihk] This acid occurs in many plants and is poisonous in excessive amounts. Some of the plants that contain a measurable amount of oxalic acid are SORREL, SPINACH and RHUBARB. Because it forms insoluble compounds with calcium and iron, inhibiting their absorption by the human body, oxalic acid greatly diminishes the purported nutritional punch of spinach.
oxtail The oxtail was once really from an ox but nowadays the term generally refers to beef or veal tail. Though it's quite bony, this cut of meat is very flavorful. Because it can be extremely tough (depending on the age of the animal), oxtail requires long, slow braising. It's often used for stews or soups such as the hearty English classic oxtail soup, which includes vegetables, barley and herbs and is often flavored with SHERRY or MADEIRA.
oyster Though 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift once wrote, "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster," this BIVALVE has been a culinary favorite for thousands of years. The hard, rough, gray shell contains a meat that can vary in color from creamy beige to pale gray, in flavor from salty to bland and in texture from tender to firm. There are both natural and cultivated oyster beds throughout the world. In the United States, there are three primary species of oysters that are commercially harvested — Pacific (or Japanese), Eastern (or Atlantic) and the Olympia. Each species is sold under different names depending on where they're harvested. OLYMPIA OYSTERS are rarely larger than 1 1/2 inches and hail from Washington's Puget Sound. The PACIFIC OYSTER (or Japanese oyster ) is found along the Pacific seaboard and can reach up to a foot long. Considered culinarily superior to the Pacific oysters are ATLANTIC OYSTERS (or Eastern oysters ), the most well known of which is the BLUEPOINT. Others from the Atlantic seaboard — named for their place of origin — include Apalachicola, Cape Cod, Chincoteague, Indian River, Kent Island, Malpeque and Wellfleet. In Europe, the French are famous for their BELON OYSTERS (which are now also being farmed in the United States) and their green-tinged Marennes oysters; the English have their Colchester, Helford and Whitstable oysters; and the Irish have Galway oysters. Fresh oysters are available year-round. Today's widespread refrigeration keeps them cool during hot weather, debunking the old myth of not eating them during months spelled without an "r." However, oysters are at their best — particularly for serving raw ON THE HALF SHELL — during fall and winter because they spawn during the summer months and become soft and fatty. Shipping costs generally prohibit movement of oysters far from their beds, limiting the abundant supply to local varieties. Live oysters are best as fresh as possible and therefore should be purchased from a store with good turnover. Reject those that do not have tightly closed shells or that don't snap shut when tapped. The smaller the oyster is (for its species) the younger and more tender it will be. Fresh, SHUCKED oysters are also available and should be plump, uniform in size, have good color, smell fresh and be packaged in clear, not cloudy oyster LIQUOR. Live oysters should be covered with a damp towel and refrigerated (larger shell down) up to 3 days. The sooner they're used the better they'll taste. Refrigerate shucked oysters in their liquor and use within 2 days. Oysters are also available canned in water or their own liquor, frozen and smoked. Oysters in the shell can be served raw, baked, steamed, grilled or in specialty dishes such as OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER. Shucked oysters can be batter-fried, sautéed, grilled, used in soups or stews or in special preparations such as dressings, poultry stuffings or appetizers like ANGELS ON HORSEBACK. Oysters are high in calcium, niacin and iron, as well as a good source of protein. See also  SHELLFISH.
oyster cap see  OYSTER MUSHROOM
oyster crab A diminutive (less than 1 inch wide) soft-shell crab that makes its home inside an oyster and lives off the food its host eats. Oyster crabs are certainly not found in all oysters, and most oyster processing plants don't bother to collect them during shucking so the supply is very limited. They're best prepared simply sautéed in butter. Gourmets consider these pale-pink CRUSTACEANS a delicacy. See also  CRAB.
oyster mushroom This fan-shaped mushroom grows both wild and cultivated in close clusters, often on rotting tree trunks. They're also called oyster caps , tree mushrooms , tree oyster mushrooms , summer oyster mushrooms , pleurotte  and shimeji . The cap varies in color from pale gray to dark brownish-gray. The stems are grayish-white. The flavor of raw oyster mushrooms is fairly robust and slightly peppery but becomes much milder when cooked. They're available in some areas year-round, particularly in specialty produce and Asian markets. Young oyster mushrooms (1 1/2 inches in diameter and under) are considered the best. Also available are canned oyster mushrooms, which should be rinsed before using. See also  MUSHROOM.
oyster plant see  SALSIFY
oyster sauce A dark-brown sauce consisting of oysters, brine and soy sauce cooked until thick and concentrated. It's a popular Asian seasoning used to prepare a multitude of dishes (particularly STIR-FRIES) and as a table CONDIMENT. Oyster sauce imparts a richness to dishes without overpowering their natural flavor. It's available in many supermarkets and all Asian markets.
oysters Bienville A dish named in honor of Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, the founder of New Orleans. Oysters Bienville was created in the late 1930s at one of New Orleans's most famous restaurants, Antoine's. It consists of oysters ON THE HALF SHELL topped with a BÉCHAMEL sauce flavored with SHERRY and CAYENNE and mixed with sautéed garlic, shallots, mushrooms and minced shrimp. A bread crumb-grated cheese mixture is sprinkled over the top and the oysters are baked on a bed of rock salt until bubbly and browned.
oysters on the half shell see  ON THE HALF SHELL
oysters Rockefeller Created at Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans in the late 1890s, this popular dish was reportedly named for John D. Rockefeller because it's so rich. Today there are many versions of this classic, the most common being oysters ON THE HALF SHELL topped with a mixture of chopped spinach, butter, bread crumbs and seasonings and either baked or broiled. The shells are usually placed on a bed of rock salt, which keeps them from toppling and spilling the ingredients. The original oysters Rockefeller is said to have been made with watercress, not spinach.
ozoni [oh-ZOH-nee] A Japanese soup that's traditionally served at New Year's festivities, although it's popular at other times of the year as well. Also called simply zoni , this soup contains pieces of chicken and various other ingredients (depending on the cook) including DASHI, DAIKON and other vegetables. Ozoni is served in deep bowls over rice cakes.
oakleaf lettuce see  LEAF LETTUCE
oat bran see  OATS
oat flour see  OATS
oatmeal see  OATS
oats According to a definition in Samuel Johnson's 1755 Dictionary of the English Language , oats were "a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people." Since oats are by far the most nutritious of the cereal grasses, it would appear that the Scots were ahead of the rest of us. Today, whole oats are still used as animal fodder. Humans don't usually consume them until after the oats have been cleaned, toasted, hulled and cleaned again, after which time they become oat groats (which still contain most of the original nutrients). Oat groats can be cooked and served as cereal, or prepared in the same manner as rice and used as a side dish or in a dish such as a salad or stuffing. When steamed and flattened with huge rollers, oat groats become regular rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats ). They take about 15 minutes to cook. Quick-cooking rolled oats are groats that have been cut into several pieces before being steamed and rolled into thinner flakes. Though they cook in about 5 minutes, many think the flavor and texture are never quite as satisfying as with regular rolled oats. Old-fashioned oats and quick-cooking oats can usually be interchanged in recipes. Instant oats, however, are not interchangeable because they're made with cut groats that have been precooked and dried before being rolled. This precooking process so softens the oat pieces that, after being combined with a liquid, the mixture can turn baked goods such as muffins or cookies into gooey lumps. Most instant oatmeal is packaged with salt, sugar and other flavorings. Scotch oats or steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal are all names for groats that have been cut into 2 to 3 pieces and not rolled. They take considerably longer to cook than rolled oats and have a decidedly chewy texture. Oat flour is made from groats that have been ground into powder. It contains no gluten, however, so — for baked goods that need to rise, like yeast breads — must be combined with a flour that does. Oat bran is the outer casing of the oat and is particularly high in soluble fiber, thought to be a leading contender in the fight against high cholesterol. Oat bran, groats, flour and Scotch oats are more likely to be found in health-food stores than supermarkets. Oats are high in vitamin B-1 and contain a good amount of vitamins B-2 and E.
Oaxaca cheese [wuh-HAH-kuh] see  ASADERO CHEESE
O'Brien potatoes Although the origin of the name is vague, it seems to come from the longtime association between the Irish and potatoes. The dish consists of diced potatoes (sometimes precooked) that are fried with chopped onions and PIMIENTOS until the potatoes are crisp and brown. Some variations use sweet red or green peppers instead of pimientos.
oceanic bonito see  TUNA
ocean perch see  PERCH
octopus [OK-tuh-puhs] Though there are some 50-foot specimens — and despite the fact that it's also called devilfish  — this monster of the deep is not particularly fearful and seldom reaches the size seen in the movies. In fact, the majority reach only 1 to 2 feet (tentacles extended) and weigh about 3 pounds. As a member of the CEPHALOPOD class in the MOLLUSK family, the octopus is related to the SQUID and CUTTLEFISH. Its rich diet of clams and scallops gives it a highly flavorful meat that, though rubbery, is extremely popular in Japan and the Mediterranean countries. Predressed fresh and frozen octopus is available in many supermarkets and specialty fish markets. As with most species, those that are younger and smaller are more tender. The 8 tentacles and the body to which they're attached are edible, but the eyes, mouth area and viscera are discarded. The ink sac contains a black liquid that can be used to color and flavor foods such as pasta, soups and stews. Smoked and canned octopus are also available. Octopus can be eaten in a variety of ways including raw, boiled and pickled, sautéed, deep-fried or for more mature specimens, simmered or boiled for several hours. See also  SHELLFISH.
oenology [ee-NAHL-uh-jee] see  ENOLOGY
oenophile [EE-nuh-file] see  ENOPHILE
oeuf [OUF] The French word for "egg."
oeufs à la neige [OUFS ah lah nehzh] see  FLOATING ISLANDS
offal [OH-fuhl, OFF-uhl] see  VARIETY MEATS
o-hashi [oh-HAH-shee] see  HASHI
oil of peppermint; oil of spearmint see  MINT
oils Oils have been used for cooking since prehistoric times. In general, oils come from vegetable sources — plants, nuts, seeds, etc. An oil is extracted from its source by one of two methods. In the solvent-extraction method, the ground ingredient is soaked in a chemical solvent that is later removed by boiling. The second method produces cold pressed oils, which is somewhat a misnomer because the mixture is heated to temperatures up to 160°F before being pressed to extract the oil. After the oil is extracted, it's either left in its crude state or refined. Refined oils — those found on most supermarket shelves — have been treated until they're transparent. They have a delicate, somewhat neutral, flavor, an increased SMOKE POINT and a longer shelf life. Unrefined (or crude) oils are usually cloudy and have an intense flavor and odor that clearly signals their origin. Most oils can be stored, sealed airtight, on the kitchen shelf for up to 2 months. Oils with a high proportion of monounsaturates — such as olive oil and peanut oil — are more perishable and should be refrigerated if kept longer than a month. Because they turn rancid quickly, unrefined oils should always be refrigerated. See  FATS AND OILS listing for detailed information on hydrogenated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. See also  ALMOND OIL; CANOLA OIL; CHILI OIL; COCONUT OIL; CORN OIL; GRAPESEED OIL; HAZELNUT OIL; MUSTARD OIL; OLIVE OIL; PALM OIL; PEANUT OIL; SAFFLOWER OIL; SESAME OIL; SUNFLOWER SEEDS; SOYBEAN OIL; TRANS FATTY ACIDS; VEGETABLE OIL; WALNUT OIL.
oilstone see  WHETSTONE
okara [oh-KAH-rah] The residue that is left after the liquid is drained off when making soybean curd (TOFU). This white by-product resembles wet sawdust. Okara, which is high in protein and fiber, is used in Japanese cooking for soups, vegetable dishes and even salads. It can be found in Asian markets that sell fresh tofu.
okashi [oh-KAH-shee] Japanese for confections, pastries and sweets. Sometimes spelled simply kashi .
oke [OH-kee] see  OKOLEHAO
okolehao [oh-koh-leh-HAH-oh] An 80 PROOF Hawaiian liquor made from a mash of the TI plant. It's often substituted for rum and, like rum, comes in white (colorless) and golden versions. Okolehao is known on the islands as oke .
okra [OH-kruh] Ethiopian slaves brought the okra plant to America's South, where it's still popular today. The green okra pods have a ridged skin and a tapered, oblong shape. Although available fresh year-round in the South, the season for the rest of the country is from about May through October. When buying fresh okra look for firm, brightly colored pods under 4 inches long. Larger pods may be tough and fibrous. Avoid those that are dull in color, limp or blemished. Refrigerate okra in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Canned and frozen okra is also available. These green pods can be prepared in a variety of ways including braising, baking and frying. When cooked, okra gives off a rather viscous substance that serves to thicken any liquid in which it is cooked. Throughout the South, it's a favorite ingredient in many dishes, the best known being GUMBO, where it's used both for thickening and for flavor. Fresh okra contains fair amounts of vitamins A and C.
olallieberry; olallie berry [AHL-uh-lee] Grown mainly on the West Coast, this cross between a YOUNGBERRY and a LOGANBERRY has a distinctive, sweet flavor and resembles a large, elongated BLACKBERRY. It's delicious both fresh and cooked and makes excellent jams and jellies.
old-fashioned Said to have been made initially with a brand of Kentucky bourbon called "Old 1776" in the late 1800s, this drink is made by combining WHISKEY (usually BOURBON or RYE), a small amount of water, a dash of BITTERS and a sugar cube (or the equivalent amount of sugar syrup). It's served over ice in a squat glass — commonly called an old-fashioned glass — and garnished with an orange slice and a MARASCHINO CHERRY.
oleomargarine see  MARGARINE
olivada [oh-lee-VAH-dah] An Italian olive spread, which is generally a simple combination of pureed Italian black olives, olive oil and black pepper.
olive The olive branch has long been a symbol of peace, and the silvery-leaved olive tree has been considered sacred at least as far back as the 17th century b.c. Native to the Mediterranean area, the olive is a small, oily fruit that contains a pit. It's grown both for its fruit and its oil in subtropical zones including the United States (Arizona, California and New Mexico), Latin America and throughout the Mediterranean. Olive varieties number in the dozens and vary in size and flavor. All fresh olives are bitter and the final flavor of the fruit greatly depends on how ripe it is when picked and the processing it receives. Underripe olives are always green, whereas ripe olives may be either green or black. Spanish olives are picked young, soaked in lye, then fermented in brine for 6 to 12 months. When bottled, they're packed in a weak brine and sold in a variety of forms including pitted, unpitted or stuffed with foods such as PIMIENTOS, almonds, onions, JALAPEÑOS, etc. Olives picked in a riper state contain more oil and are a deeper green color. The common black olive or Mission olive is a ripe green olive that obtains its characteristic color and flavor from lye curing and oxygenation. Olives that are tree ripened turn dark brown or black naturally. The majority of these olives are used for oil but the rest are brine or salt-cured and are usually packed in olive oil or a vinegar solution. The Greek KALAMATA and the French NIÇOISE OLIVES are two of the more popular imported ripe olives. Dry-cured olives have been packed in salt, which removes most of their moisture and creates dry, wrinkled fruit. These olives are sometimes rubbed with olive oil or packed with herbs. Both domestic and imported olives are available bottled, canned and in bulk year-round in a variety of forms including whole (pitted, unpitted and stuffed), sliced and chopped. Unopened olives can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 years. Once opened they can be refrigerated in their own liquid (in a nonmetal container) for several weeks. See also  OLIVE OIL.
olive oil Pressing tree-ripened olives extracts a flavorful, monounsaturated oil that is prized throughout the world both for cooking (particularly in Mediterranean countries) and for salads. Today's marketplace provides a wide selection of domestic olive oil (most of which comes from California) and imported oils from France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The flavor, color and fragrance of olive oils can vary dramatically depending on distinctions such as growing region and the crop's condition. All olive oils are graded in accordance with the degree of acidity they contain. The best are cold-pressed, a chemical-free process that involves only pressure, which produces a natural level of low acidity. Extra virgin olive oil, the cold-pressed result of the first pressing of the olives, is only 1 percent acid. It's considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils and is therefore also the most expensive. Extra virgin olive oil can range from a crystalline champagne color to greenish-golden to bright green. In general, the deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. After extra virgin, olive oils are classified in order of ascending acidity. Virgin olive oil is also a first-press oil, with a slightly higher level of acidity of between 1 and 3 percent. Fino olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and virgin oils (fino  is Italian for "fine"). Products labeled simply olive oil (once called pure olive oil ) contain a combination of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin oil.The new light olive oil contains the same amount of beneficial monounsaturated fat as regular olive oil . . . and it also has exactly the same number of calories. What the term "light" refers to is that — because of an extremely fine filtration process — this olive oil is lighter in both color and fragrance, and has little of the classic olive-oil flavor. It's this rather nondescript flavor that makes "light" olive oil perfect for baking and cooking where regular olive oil's obvious essence might be undesirable. The filtration process for this light-style oil also gives it a higher SMOKE POINT than regular olive oil. Light olive oils can therefore be used for high-heat frying, whereas regular olive oil is better suited for low- to medium-heat cooking, as well as for many uncooked foods such as salad dressings and MARINADES. The International Olive Oil Institute recommends using pure olive oil for frying, since the flavor of extra virgin olive oil tends to break down at frying temperatures, making the added expense a waste. Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. It can be refrigerated, in which case it will last up to a year. Chilled olive oil becomes cloudy and too thick to pour. However, it will clear and become liquid again when brought to room temperature. See also  FATS AND OILS.
oloroso [oh-loh-ROH-soh] A full-flavored SHERRY that has a dark, rich color. Olorosos are usually aged longer than most sherries and are therefore also more expensive. They're often labeled cream  or golden  sherry.
© The Residential Chef 2018