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Cooking Terms & Definitions

This list will give you a basic overview of terms/ingredients and their meanings. 
Most foods are discussed in more detail in specific recipes in Seasoned with Love
Where space was limited, a more detailed description is given here. 

Welcome to the world of fascinating foods,
essential ingredients, secrets and cooking terms.  



To mix or stir in the ingredients listed in the instructions.


Adjust seasonings

Always taste food, before you add more salt, freshly ground black peppercorns, herbs or spices. Remember, you can add, however you can't remove too much seasoning.


À la mode

Topped with ice cream. 


Al dente

Pasta cooked just firm to the bite. Tender but not mushy. Never crunchy. The pasta will still offer some resistance when being chewed. This is also called “To the tooth.” 


All-purpose flour/Hard wheat and Soft wheat

All-purpose flour is usually a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. Flour should not be used directly from the bag and should be "fluffed up" by stirring it with a knife just before measuring. The hardness of a wheat kernel is an indication of the protein content. Hard wheat has less starch and is preferred for bread making. Duram wheat is the hardest wheat and is milled to form semolina which is then used to make pasta. Soft wheat has a high starch content and is made into cake flour. Soft wheat flour is powdery when compared to the coarser hard wheat flour. All-purpose flour is in-between and is therefore more versatile for general baking needs. For baking in this cookbook I recommend using either King ArthurÒ all-purpose, which is made from hard wheat and is well suited to recipes for breads and baked goods and gives chocolate chip cookies a crisp finish with a chewy texture, or Gold MedalÒ all-purpose flour which is better suited to cookies and cakes where all-purpose flour is recommended. While you can use these flours interchangeably, you will notice that in some recipes less flour is needed when using a hard wheat flour. This is more important in bread making. Experience will tell you if there is too much or too little flour. If you have a problem with the flour you are using, switch to King ArthurÒ or Gold MedalÒ unbleached flours, which also have a better taste than bleached flours. 


All-purpose stabilizer

A versatile product used to stabilize egg whites. I use it in buttercream icing to prevent the butter from separating out. Use a 1/4 teaspoon in meringue toppings for pies or 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of whipping cream before whipping. You will find many uses for this white powdery product.


Almond paste

A creamy mixture of ground blanched almonds mixed with sugar.


Angel Food Cake Pan

This is a pan with high sides and a center tube which promotes the even distribution of heat through the air-leavened batter.  These pans are also known as tube pans. 



An Italian selection of appetizers including: olives, pickles, peppers, vegetables and cold meats. 



Bite-sized food served before a meal. Hors d'oeuvre is a more specific word for finger foods or "extra" food. They originated as small foods to stimulate the appetite. 



A fine, dry white powder derived from a tropical tuber. Use half as much arrowroot powder as flour in recipes for thickening. 


Au gratin

Topped with crumbs or cheese and a sauce which is then browned in the oven, e.g., cauliflower au gratin.


Au jus

To cook a meat in its own natural juices. Can also be made with water, beef base and seasoning. 


Au lait

Beverage served with milk, e.g., coffee au lait. 



Bacteria causes food-borne illness and is present in many foods.  Handling foods properly will greatly reduce the risk of illness.



This is simply a hot water bath around a baking dish. The dish is set in a larger pan and water is poured around it. 



Food which is cooked covered or uncovered in dry heat. Preheat oven to the desired temperature. Allow air to circulate freely around the food. Unless specified, the oven rack should be placed in the middle setting of the oven. 


Baker's Peel

This is a wooden or flat metal shovel used to slide yeast breads and pizzas into the oven and retrieve them when cooked. 


Bakewell Cream Baking Powder

An aluminum-free baking powder carried by King Arthur Flour.  It contains sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate and cornstarch. It was developed in 1943 in Maine.


Baking dish

A glass or ceramic dish used for cooking in the oven. 


Baking pan

A metal dish used for cooking in the oven. 


Baking powder

This is the main leavening agent used for making baked goods.  Double-acting baking powder is used in all the recipes in this book and is unique as it releases a small amount of gas when it comes in contact with moisture. It does however require heat for a full reaction and to cause the cake, biscuits or muffins to rise.


Baking soda/Sodium bicarbonate

An alkali produces carbon dioxide when mixed with an acid and therefore rising will occur. Most recipes which use baking soda will also contain an acid ingredient such as buttermilk or molasses. Baking soda can also be used to extinguish grease fires, clean pots, deodorize refrigerators, scrub crystal flower vases, freshen drains and clean disposal units. America is the main source for baking soda which is formed from a peculiar mixed salt mined in the form of an ore called trona from the Green River Basin in Wyoming. Trona is a natural white mineral which is converted to sodium carbonate, then to sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. 


Baking stone

To produce bakery-style breads or restaurant-style pizza, a baking stone is essential. The stone not only absorbs moisture from the crust, it also helps distribute the heat evenly. The stones will crack if exposed to sudden changes in temperature. It is best to leave them in the oven until they have cooled completely. They may be rinsed with water but never cleaned with soap and water, as the porous material will absorb the soapy taste. 


Balsamic vinegar

This distinctive vinegar comes from the area around Modena, Italy. It is made from white Trebbiano grape juice. After being aged in wooden barrels for at least 10 years, it is then bottled. It is the perfect acidity and may be used in salad dressings. 


Bamboo shoots

These are the young shoots of the tropical bamboo plant in Asia. When very young they are crisp and the perfect addition to any stir-fry meal or a healthy addition to a sandwich.



The most current meaning is to grill meat or vegetables over charcoal or natural wood. According to Smoky Hale, the guru of barbecue, authentic barbecue is: “meat cooked in the dry heat of wood coals at 180-215º.” You will need a hardwood/charcoal-burning grill for authentic barbecue. Long-handled tongs and basting brush are essential to prevent heat burns. Wearing an apron and having a pair of oven mitts is highly recommended. Smoky Hale’s book: The Great American Barbecue & Grilling Manual is your best source for information on barbecue. 



Chicken or beef base is a paste stock. It may be ordered from www.gazins.com. Similar to bouillon granules, it is much more flavorful and less salty. Base is superior to canned stocks and is essential to gourmet soups and sauces. 



Spoon or use a turkey baster to drizzle drippings over cooking meats. This helps to moisten and marinade food and enhance the color and flavor. A baster/injector is a stainless tube with a rubber bulb on one end; it may also have a screw-on injector needle for deep seasoning meats and poultry. When basting with a brush, look for a high-quality brush made of natural boar bristles which will not fall out easily. 



A mixture of flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and butter. This mixture varies, however all batters must be thin enough to pour.



To introduce air into a mixture by beating a batter rapidly with a wooden spoon, wire whisk or electric mixer until batter is very smooth.


Beurre manié

An equal weight of butter and all-purpose flour which has been blended together to be used in soups or gravies. Works as a thickening agent which will not cause lumps when added to hot liquids like gravies or soups. 



To slice a vegetable crosswise at a 45 or higher angle. This technique is used in Chinese foods. 



A creamed or puréed soup with additions of fish or vegetables. 



To immerse food briefly into boiling water, then allow it to cook slightly. This method is also used to loosen the skins of tomatoes, which makes peeling much easier. 



To process ingredients in an electric blender or food processor or to mix ingredients of different textures into a smooth mixture. A blender is best used for puréed soups, sauces, drinks, and salad dressings. A food processor works better with less liquid ingredients and handles chopping, grating, shredding and makes pastry dough. It kneads bread dough much more quickly than by hand. Hand mixers work well when making batters, beating egg whites and cream and may have the option of a balloon whisk.  Standing mixers have other options which include food grinding, dough hooks, a juicer, copper liners for bowls, pasta plates, shredders and mixing paddles. An egg beater is useful for blending small batches of eggs for scrambled eggs and operates with a handle and gears to spin the beaters. 



To heat a liquid until bubbles rise rapidly to the surface. A rolling boil occurs when bubbles rise to the surface vigorously. 



A fish and shellfish stew made in Provence, France. It usually contains tomatoes, wine, fish, onions, garlic, saffron and herbs. 


Bouillon granules

The granular form of bouillon cubes made from dehydrated beef, chicken or vegetable stock. Substitute with beef base which may be ordered from Gazin's Cajun-Creole Cuisine catalog. 


Bouquet garni

A bouquet of parsley, thyme and bay leaves tied with a string or placed in a cheesecloth bag which is removed before serving. 



Meat which has been browned and cooked with a minimum amount of liquid for a long time. The lid should cover the pan tightly; this process will produce tender meat. 



The outer layer of a cereal grain removed during milling.


Brand names

Your favorite product may be substituted (at your own risk :) for a brand name item in a recipe. These items may also be ordered through mail order or found at your local store. 



To coat a piece of meat, fish or poultry with soft or dry bread crumbs. 


Bread machines

When using flours other than the recommended Gold Medal® and King Arthur®, you may need less flour or more water. The texture of the dough is a good indicator. If it is very dense, you can add a teaspoon or more water. If the dough fails to hold its shape, add a few teaspoons flour. 


Bristle brushes

The best brushes have a handle and are made with natural fibers or nylon bristles. Use, then place or keep in dishwasher to keep sanitary in-between uses. 



To cook food on a broiler pan 2-3 inches from the radiant element in oven. 



The liquid which results from the simmering of meat, poultry, vegetables, or bones with seasonings, herbs and vegetables.  Also called bouillon. To save time, purchase "base" which is a ready-to-use paste. One teaspoon beef base, chicken or vegetable base + 1 cup water = 1 cup stock. Order from Gazin's Cajun-Creole Cuisine catalog. www.gazins.com



To fry food on medium high to high heat in order to develop a rich color on the outside and add flavor to the dish.



To use a pastry brush to apply a thin coating over food. Look for brushes which have bristles which won't fall out.


Bundt Pan

These deep tube pans are used to bake densely textured cakes.  The sides are curvy and produce cakes with attractive patterns. 


Butter, table or salted

Cream which is beaten until it becomes a solid and to which salt has been added.  Also see unsalted butter. Regular table butter is the salted version. This regular table butter is used whenever butter is listed in the ingredients. Unsalted butter is only used when it is specifically called for. Butter may be used straight from the refrigerator as it is easy to soften in the microwave.  Cold butter is often desired, especially in pastries. 



A cultured dairy product produced by adding special bacteria to low-fat milk to make it thick and tangy. Originally buttermilk was the liquid left after butter was churned, it did once contain small flecks of butter.



There is no substitute for a homemade cake. A cake is made from a thin batter which is usually made from flour, eggs, butter, baking powder, sugar and other liquids and flavorings. Flour gives the cake its structure, butter or oils provide tenderness, sugar helps to tenderize and sweeten, eggs give leavening as does baking powder. Other liquids and flavorings give added dimension to our favorite celebratory treat. Some of the best cakes often contain melted chocolate which makes them even more moist and appealing.


Cake pan

Usually a round pan, preferably nonstick in a variety of sizes.

The 8 and 9-inch pans are the most common. Rectangular, square, springform, tube, fluted tube and Bundt pans are common versions of the cake pan.


Calculating fat percentages

Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Multiply the grams of fat by 9 to give you the total calories from the fat. Divide this number by the total calories and multiply this number by 100 to = the % of total calories from fat.

A good example is a food containing 2.5 grams of fat (as stated on the package or according to the individual serving size). 2 multiplied by 9 and divided by the 40 calories stated on the package must be multiplied by 100 to give you 45% total calories from fat. This is above the recommended 30%. These calculations will help you to make better food choices. 



Citrus peel or fruits are candied by boiling them in sugar syrup.  Flowers are sometimes preserved by dipping in boiling syrup. 



Sugar which is browned by melting slowly in a pan until it becomes golden brown. Watch as it burns easily. A drop will form a hard brittle ball in cold water. A candy thermometer will read between 320 and 350 . Light caramel will be between

320 and 338 . Caramel should not go past 350 . While it isn't essential, a copper pan is perfect for caramelizing and working with sugar syrups. The heat is more easily controlled; and this is important when sugar is heated to a high temperature as the sugar can burn easily. The perfect 1.3-quart sugar pan may be ordered from the Making a Home from Betty Crocker catalog.  The pan is made by Mauviel . www.bettycrockercatalog.com



To slice cooked meats and poultry into serving-size pieces.



A deep round, oval, square, or rectangular oven-proof cooking vessel with a lid. 


Chapters in this cookbook

Each chapter containing recipes lists them in alphabetical order.  The chapters themselves are listed according to the natural progression of meals for a day. The last 12 chapters are designed to answer questions, provide an extensive list of terms and definitions and give ideas for substitutions and meal planning.  The Catalog chapter will lead you into the wide world of kitchen supplies. The Sources for Ingredients chapter will help you find ingredients not found at your local grocery store. 



When bacteria is added to milk it becomes coagulated. The curds and liquid whey form. The whey is drained off and the curds are pressed together. Most cheese is aged or ripened to develop flavor and cause it to lose moisture. The longer the ripening, the drier and sharper the cheese will be. 



Thin strips of dark green lettuce or herbs such as basil used to garnish soups. Toss strips so they become intertwined, then place a small "heap" onto a bowl of soup.



Chili powder is made from ground dried chiles and spices. Fresh chiles are available seasonally, while dried chiles may be purchased and kept for use year-round. Find a chili powder you are happy with and use it in every recipe calling for chili powder. The heat is not specified as all tastes vary. Chili powder is mostly found in mild, medium and hot varieties. Ground cayenne is different from chili powder, although chili powder contains chiles. Look for chili powder for recipes calling for this mix and look for ground cayenne for use in other dishes. The two are not interchangeable. 



To cool a food in the refrigerator or freezer. 


Chocolate leaves

Use leaves from unsprayed (no insecticide) lemons, oranges and roses. Rinse and dry leaves. Melt 1/4 cup chocolate with 1 teaspoon shortening in microwave, stir well. Use an artists paint brush to apply chocolate to underside of leaves. Place in refrigerator, or chill, then peel off carefully. Set on waxed paper. They look pretty next to orange slices or brush edges with “luster dust” from Sur La Table at 1-800-243-0852. 



Cutting food into smaller pieces on a cutting board. When the term "chopped" is used before an ingredient, chop and then measure, e.g., 1 cup chopped walnuts. When used after an ingredient, measure then chop, e.g., 1 cup walnuts, chopped. 

To chop an onion, cut off both top and base. Stand onion on cut end, slice in half. Turn onion so the largest cut surface is flat on chopping board. Pull off the top outer skin. Slice the onion in 1/4-inch slices or as thin as 1/16-inch slices for finely chopped onions. Turn so slices run from left to right and slice again.

When a recipe calls for 1 cup chopped yellow onion, use 1 medium onion. A large yellow onion should yield 1 1/2 cups chopped onion. Leftover chopped onion may be frozen for use in another recipe. Keep onions in a refrigerator drawer and slice them near an open flame/candle to prevent your eyes from watering.



A thick soup containing potatoes and fish and sometimes tomatoes, e.g., clam chowder. 



To remove solid impurities from a liquid, traditionally used on butter and soup stocks, e.g., consommé—a clarified broth. 



The clumping of protein by heat or acid, e.g., egg white coagulates when fried.



To remove the center of an apple which contains seeds.



To cover the surface of a food with flour or seasoned bread crumbs before cooking.


Cocoa beans

Cocoa beans – from the tropical Theobroma Cacao tree – are the basis for chocolate. The Crillo tree produces the best quality beans. The Forastero tree produces a more bitter bean. Deriving chocolate from beans of the cacao evergreen tree was originally only known to ancient Latin Americans, but the secret soon spread to Mexico. Seed pods, growing on the trunk and main branches are harvested and opened with sharp blades to reveal creamy white cacao beans which darken, then ferment under banana leaves for up to nine days as they lay in the sun. 

After a 250 to 350 degree hour-long roasting process, the beans are dehulled leaving small pieces called nibs. Cocoa powder results from ground roasted beans which have the cocoa butter removed. After the cocoa butter is extracted, dry cakes of cocoa are ground and sifted to make fine cocoa powder. The Dutch chemist Coenraad Van Houten added alkali to neutralize the acidity of chocolate and mellow the flavor. This is how the darker Dutch-process cocoa was created. Black cocoa is slightly more bitter and is the darkest cocoa powder available. 

It is best combined with a Dutch-process cocoa powder. When manufacturers make chocolate bars, the roasted beans are crushed with sugar and vanilla to make chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is refined to evaporate excess moisture and acidity, then it is ground so fine that the mouth no longer perceives the beans as individual particles. After heating and cooling, chocolate is poured into molds, cooled and wrapped to be sold as bittersweet, semisweet or unsweetened chocolate bars, depending on sugar content or lack of it. 

Cocoa powder is naturally 97.75% caffeine-free. A 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder contains about .0002 ounces of caffeine. There is 10 times as much caffeine in a 6-ounce cup of coffee.



Indispensable for draining everything from pasta to salad greens, it is also perfect for collecting vegetable peels.



Fruit which has been simmered in syrup with spices.



A fancy sweet or candy served anytime, e.g., fudge, chocolate- covered cherries, chocolate truffles and wedding mints.



To place baked goods on a cooling rack until cool to the touch.


Cooling racks

The best racks have a nonstick coating and are as large as a breadboard. They should also have wires crossing in both direction to avoid food falling through.



To remove the center of a fruit containing seeds, e.g., apples can be cored with an apple corer.



Fine powder milled from the endosperm of dried corn.



Pellets of semolina (duram wheat/also called hard wheat) usually cooked by steaming.



To soften butter by beating at room temperature or use an instant-read thermometer to bring refrigerated butter down to at least 67 degrees before using.


Cream of tartar

This is the deposit remaining on the inside of a wine cask after the fermentation process. It is refined to produce a white powder. Cream of tartar promotes the coagulation of beaten egg whites and will also stop crystallization in sugar syrups.



Made from partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, Mono- and Diglycerides. Used to make very flaky pastry or melted to fry chicken.



Bite-size vegetables, preferably with a divine dip. The easiest dip to make is to mix half mayonnaise and half Italian dressing. Adjust by adding more of one or the other to form a creamy dip which is delicious with peeled baby carrots, broccoli, radishes, endive and other favorite vegetable. Vegetables should be sized so they can be easily picked up and dipped into a sauce. Add grated parmesan cheese if desired.



Crackers or cookies which have been placed in a plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin.



Use a mortar with pestle or use a garlic press for garlic.



When molecules in a sugar syrup join together, they form crystals. Corn syrup in pecan pie recipe prevents this process. The sugar particles are prevented from clumping together to form sugar crystals.



Food which has been cut into strips, then sliced into 1/2-inch squares.



Separating by over-heating or adding an acid to a milk- or cream-based sauce. Happens most in dishes with eggs. Can be prevented by cooking custards in a double boiler.


Cut in

To work butter into all-purpose flour using 2 knives or a pastry cutter.


Cutting boards

Referred to as breadboards in some recipes. Buy a variety of sizes and at least one which is dishwasher safe to use with raw meat. Keep one board just for bread making and several small ones for quickly chopping an onion.  A tiny cutting board is handy for slicing lemons.


Cut up

Ingredients cut into smaller pieces with a knife or scissors.



About 1/16 teaspoon or less than 1/8 teaspoon. 



A French cake comprised of three discs of almond meringue which are layered and covered with buttercream icing. 



Immersion of meat, potatoes, onion, fritters or bread in hot oil. 



To loosen pan drippings by stirring in liquid and re-heating. 



To skim fat off the surface of a stock, gravy or soup. 



Sweet treats presented after a meal, e.g., cakes, tortes, ice cream, pudding, custard, etc. 



The intestinal tract in shrimp should be removed. A small knife works just as well as a special utensil. The shrimp should then be rinsed.



Ingredients which have been cut into uniform pieces about 1/4 inch on each side or for other foods at least smaller than 1/2-inch cubes.


Dietary cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-type substance found in all animal tissues.  Egg yolks, organ meats, meat, poultry, fish and other seafood and dairy products contain dietary cholesterol. Choose the lowest fat content available and make low-fat choices such as beef-round, sirloin, rump steak, loin, poultry without skin, turkey or chicken breast, pork tenderloin, fat-free milk, low-fat buttermilk, low-fat evaporated milk, low-fat cheeses, fat-free yogurts, egg whites and fat-free egg substitutes. Limit your daily cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less. 



To make a liquid less strong by adding more water or other specified liquid. 



To immerse a piece of food into a liquid or dry mixture like bread crumbs. 



To make a solid, such as sugar, melt into a liquid, such as water. 



Piercing holes at intervals in a pastry dough to prevent air bubbles forming while cooking. 



To drop a small portion of cream on a slice of pie, in a bowl of soup or on a serving of strawberries.



To scatter bits of butter over a pie before the top crust is in place. Can also mean to place an ingredient in a random fashion over the specified item. 


Double boiler

A set of two special saucepans, one nested inside the other, to gently cook egg based sauces. 



A mixture of flour, water and other ingredients which is firm enough to knead or to be shaped with the hands. 



Shiny silver or gold balls made with sugar. This may also refer to almonds covered in a sugar coating. 



A term used to describe fish or poultry which has had the internal organs removed. If the fish was dressed it would also have the scales removed. 



To sprinkle meat with flour to encourage browning when frying. 



Prepared for cooking, e.g., a dressed chicken. This means the head, feet and feathers are removed along with internal organs. A dressed fish has the scales and entrails removed and is ready to cook.



The fat and meat particles remaining in a pan after meat has been roasted or fried. 



To randomly pour icing in a thin stream over a cake or pastry. 



To allow a soft cookie dough to fall from a spoon onto a baking sheet. 



To sprinkle a fine powdery layer of confectioners' sugar over baked goods, or flour on a breadboard. 


Dutch oven

Originally used by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1700s. The cast-iron pot was hung from a special hook over a fire and used for stews and slow-cooked meats. Today a nonstick Dutch oven is available through many companies. 



The oblong French pastries filled with whipped cream or custard called pastry cream. Traditionally topped with melted chocolate. 


Edible flowers

Since many flowers are grown with pesticides, it is only safe to use flowers you grow yourself or purchase from a qualified supplier like Earthy Delights at 1-800-367-4709. I don't recommend eating flowers even if they are edible unless they are for a salad and then usually just the petals are used for color. Some nontoxic flowers for decorating include: 



Bachelor's Buttons (Centaurea cynaus)

Borage (Borago officinalis) - tastes a little like cucumber

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Calendula (Calendula officinalus) - adds color like saffron

Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus cultivars)

Chive Blossom (Allium schoenoprasum), - onion flavor


Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

Daisies, Dandelion

DayLily (Hemerocallis spp.)

Dianthus (miniature member of the carnation family)

Dill (Anethum graveolens),

English Lavender Blossoms (Lavandula officinalis),

English Primroses, Fuchias, Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hybrid tuberous begonia (begonia x tuberhybrida)

Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule)

Lavender - Good in sugar cookies! See Recipe

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia)



Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) - taste a little like radishes



Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)

Passion Flower (Passiflora)

Pink (Dianthus spp.) - Spicy flavor

Rose (Rosa Species and cultivars)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium cultivars)


Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violcea)

Stock (Matthiola incana)

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)



Violas (Viola tricolor)

Violets (Viola odorata) - Delicious when candied for baked goods. 

Yucca (Yucca elephantipes),

Zucchini (curcurbita pepo cultivars)

Almond, Peach, Plum, Orange, Lemon and Mimosa blossoms. 

I have also eaten batter-dipped squash blossoms (Cucubita spp.) and lived to tell about it. Sugar flowers or gumpaste flowers are perfect for most cakes and may be ordered from Sweet Celebrations Inc. 


The Edible Flower Garden


Egg wash

To beat eggs and brush over breads or pastry before baking. 



When you see eggs are to be separated, usually the whites go in a deep medium bowl to be beaten to soft or stiff peaks, the yolks go into a large or small bowl to be added to the batter or beaten with the sugar. In the event where only whites or yolks are called for, the leftover white or yolk may be frozen in an ice cube tray then placed in a bag for use later in another recipe. Simply thaw and use. Check the freshness of eggs by placing the whole egg in a glass of cold water. Fresh eggs will stay at the base of glass, older eggs will float or turn sideways and stand upright. 



These are agents that stabilize a fat and liquid mixture to prevent separation. Eggs act as the stabilizer/emulsifier in mayonnaise and keep oil from separating from vinegar or lemon juice. 



A mixture of fat and water or another liquid in which the fat has been suspended and is no longer separated from the mixture. 



Planning ahead will make all your entertaining so much easier. The more you can cook and prepare the day before, the quicker and more enjoyable your party will be. A buffet is the easiest, as everyone can serve themselves and dishes may be made the day before. For a sit-down dinner, the entire table, flower arrangements and decorations may be finished the night before and covered with a large paper tablecloth. Remember to make more ice than you think you will need or purchase bags of ice on the day of the party. Lasagna is perfect in the winter and can be easily served with a tossed salad and garlic bread. In the summer, trays of items may be refrigerated right up until serving time. 

Don't forget to have plenty of drinks in the summer and set up your coffee maker before the party so all you have to do is hit the on switch just as dinner is being served. Waiting for coffee to brew when everyone is ready for dessert is always annoying, unless you want to wait for dessert. For a finishing touch, think of something unique to place at each place setting. 

A small arrangement of flowers, a specially folded napkin, a small votive candle or little chocolate truffles set in pretty candy cups make the table more festive. 

Take pictures of your ideas and keep them in your photo album to remember them the next year or party. Cooking magazines are great inspiration for seasonal parties. Cooking shows also have great decorating ideas. 



The main course in America, or the course between fish and meat in Europe. 



Strong coffee made by forcing boiling water through ground coffee in an espresso maker. One fluid ounce of straight coffee liquid drawn from 7 grams of ground coffee. A double shot would be two ounces. Use beans which are recommended or use espresso beans which are specially blended and roasted to an almost black color. 



An extract which has the essential properties of a substance in a concentrated form, usually suspended in alcohol, e.g., vanilla. 


Essential oil

A strong flavor extracted from the leaves, stems or flowers of plants.


Evaporated milk

Milk which has 60 percent of the water removed. This is not a substitute for sweetened condensed milk which is much thicker with more water removed and sugar added, e.g., Eagle Brand. 



An aromatic concentrated natural oil suspended in alcohol, e.g., vanilla. 



Dietary fat is divided into three different types of fat, namely saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The foods we eat contain percentages of these fats. A high-fat diet will contribute to obesity and heart disease. In order to stay healthy, limit your daily fat intake to 30% or less of the total calories. Up to one-third can be saturated fat and the remaining two-thirds should be from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. 



Fenugreek seeds come from the pods of the fenugreek plant. They are legumes which are highly aromatic when dried and roasted. This is an essential component of curry powder. 



A piece of boneless meat or fish. 


Fine Chocolates

Chocolate varies in taste and texture, not to mention intensity. Valrhona chocolates (Manjari, item "Valmanj" from New York Cake & Baking Distributor) are one of the most aggressive chocolates with an almost winey flavor; perfect for use when flavoring ice cream. The entire line of Peter's Chocolates is superior in taste and texture. Peter's Dark Sweet Chocolate (Item 11231) from Sweet Celebrations Inc. is excellent for coatings or making chocolate spoons. Peter's Milk Chocolate can be used for anything calling for milk chocolate. Nestlé® White Cocoa Butter Coating (Item 74470) from Sweet Celebrations Inc. is excellent for decorating or use as a coating. Callebaut semisweet chocolate bars (Item 77143) from Sweet Celebrations Inc. is a mellow chocolate perfect for coatings. Ghiradelli milk chocolate is also an excellent smooth chocolate. 


Firm ball stage for candy

Drop 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy into cold water. Candy should form a firm ball which will flatten out after being removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read between 244 and
degrees. Caramels and divinity are examples of this stage. 



A term usually used to describe the process of separating fish with a fork. Fish is done when flakes easily with a fork. 



An imitation of an extract, e.g., Imitation Vanilla.


Fleur de Sel

Salt which is described as the flower of the ocean. Large light salt crystals float in large sheets on the surface of the water. It is then gently lifted off the water with a hand tool and placed in baskets to dry in the sun. July and August are the main months for harvesting when the wind comes from the east. Purchase Fleur de Sel from www.zingermans.com. 



To press a pastry edge with your left thumb and right thumb and index finger to form a scalloped edge. If your nails are too long, use the bent index finger of right hand and the bent index and middle fingers of left hand. 



Different flours will affect the outcome of a recipe. I recommend using Gold Medal® brand all-purpose flour if it is available in your area. You may also wish to order King Arthur® all-purpose flour. Both flours should not be used straight from the bag as flour compresses when packed and shipped. It is advisable to pour the flour into a container with a sealed lid. 

Flour should also be "fluffed up" with a knife just before measuring. Flour may then simply be scooped up and the knife may be used to level off the flour. Try weighing flour scooped directly from the bag, and then after using the method above. You will be surprised by the weight difference. 



To mix a lighter mixture such as beaten egg whites with a heavier one such as cake batter, without releasing air bubbles. This can be easily done with a large spatula. Use the spatula to cut vertically through the mixture and then slide the spatula across the base of the bowl and up the side while holding bowl at an angle. An extra-large bowl is perfect for this task. 



Icing made with sugar, water and corn syrup or glucose. The mixture is heated to 238 -240 degrees , cooled and then kneaded, e.g., fondant used in chocolate-covered cherries on page 650.


Food pyramid

This is an outline of what constitutes a healthy diet. A copy of the pyramid and suggestions can be ordered from the Sources Guide.



A food label stating a product is fat free, cholesterol free, sugar free or sodium free must contain no amount or only an insignificant amount of the stated items. 



Unconfined livestock, e.g., chickens which were not raised in a coop and lived a better life. 



To allow an ingredient or food to reach 0 in a freezer. The freezer is also useful for quickly cooling ingredients or freezing foods before packing in a bag or wrapping, this keeps foods separated. Label and date all foods. Leftovers are best frozen immediately, you may not decide to eat them the next day and later in the week you can heat it easily in the microwave. Leftover onions, herbs and chopped bell peppers can be frozen in little plastic containers for use on pizza or use in other recipes. 



Foods which have not been processed, frozen or cooked. Also known as uncooked foods in their natural state. 



To cover a cake or cookie with icing. 


Fruitcake blend

A mixture of candied diced lemon peel, orange peel, citron, red cherries and pineapple. 



To cook food in oil or butter over medium-high heat. 



A semi-soft creamy candy often made with chocolate. 


Ganache (ga-nosh)

A mixture of chocolate and warm heavy cream. Melt 12 ounces of chocolate chips or shaved chocolate in 1 1/2 cup heated heavy cream. Refrigerate half the mixture and whisk occasionally to form an firm icing. I use a chocolate cake recipe and bake the batter in a bundt pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees

When completely cooled, you first spread on the firm icing, then you pour the room temperature mixture over the cake. You will have some firm icing left for decorating with a piping tool. I melt a square of white chocolate and drizzle it across the cake. Then a toothpick is pulled through the drizzles to form a pattern. 

We sprinkle the cake with nonpareils and then decorate the top with little icing stars. You can also pipe around the base of the cake. One silver dragée looks wonderful on each star. The cake could also be cut and layered with a filling before icing with ganache.



Use a garlic press and forget about peeling each clove. 



The process of decorating and adding visual appeal to dishes of prepared food with edible foods. Lemon twists, fresh herbs, tomato roses, fruit and vegetables cut into shapes.



To allow a liquid to congeal so that it is firm enough to retain the shape of the bowl or container it is in. 



A tasteless thickening agent derived from collagen in the connective tissue and bones of animals. 



A light sponge cake developed in Genoa, Italy and adapted by the French. 



In India, the heat of the climate causes butter made from water buffalo milk to go rancid. To solve this problem, butter is slowly melted to reveal a golden liquid below the milk solids. It is then simmered until moisture evaporates from the milk solids and they turn a light brown. Butter can be kept longer and gives a nutty flavor to dishes. Spices may also be added. 



The edible liver, heart, gizzard and neck of poultry usually found wrapped inside the chicken or turkey cavity. 



Food gifts provide immediate gratification and show you took the time not only to remember the recipient but made a special treat you knew they would love. Present your treasures in small cellophane bags, decorative boxes, decorated paper bags, or cookie tins. A food basket is always appreciated. A tower of decorated boxes containing different items will not just be a feast for the eyes. The Sweet Celebrations Inc. catalog has a huge variety of bags, boxes, etc. 



French for iced, candied or crystallized. Food with a glossy sheen coating. Cherries are often found this way for use in baking. Candied mixed fruit peels are also called a glacé fruit mix. 



To brush or coat with a savory or sweet glossy sauce or icing. 



This is a combination of gliadin and glutenin found in flour. When flour is moistened and stirred it becomes a tough and elastic protein. It is responsible for giving foods structure, volume and texture. Strands of gluten form as dough is kneaded; and trap air and gas released by leavening agents. 



A connoisseur of fine food and wine. 



To change solid food into fine shreds by moving food carefully and deliberately over a grater. Hard cheeses are grated. 



The best grater is an ergonomically built one from the Practica catalog. It has a smooth round top and pyramid-like sides. A grater should have large, medium and small holes and possibly a slot for slicing cheese. 



To coat a pan with butter or fat. Butter wrappers may be saved for this purpose. A small square of waxed paper can be dipped into butter and then used to grease a pan.



To place food on a rack over direct heat. This may be an indoor grill on a stove top or an outdoor gas/charcoal grill. Clean your grill with a metal-bristle brush. Look for one with a scraper attachment. When grilling fish or vegetables, first spray grill with nonstick spray. 



The process of pulverizing ingredients such as herbs and spices into even smaller particles for more even distribution in foods.



A fruit native to Brazil, also grown in South Africa, California and Hawaii. Fresh guavas have a green skin with an beautiful peachy-pink flesh—with edible seeds inside—which softens when boiled in sugar syrup, it can then be served with a custard sauce made with custard powder. Also used in fruit salads and fruit punch in Africa. 



Gumbo is a derivative of the African word for okra. Gumbo is a soup/stew which starts with the making a French/Cajun roux. Ground leaves of the sassafras tree called filé powder were originally used by the Choctaw Indians and help to thicken and give a thyme/savory flavor to Cajun/Creole soups. This Creole specialty may also include okra which was brought to America by Ethiopians. Okra is a favorite addition in the South where it is used for flavor and produces a thickening substance when cooked in a liquid. 


Hard Ball stage for candy

Drop a 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy mixture into cold water. Use your fingers to form a hard ball. The ball will roll around if removed from the water. Taffy is a good example of the hard ball stage and will reach a temperature of 250 to 265 degrees .


Hard Crack stage for candy

Drop a 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy mixture into cold water. The candy will form brittle threads in the water and remain brittle once removed from water. A candy thermometer will read from 300 to 310 degrees.



To make a food or liquid hot by placing it in oven or on the stove top in an appropriate pan. Foods may also be heated on a grill outdoors or in a microwave oven. 



Herbs come from the aromatic leaves of many plants. The best way to find fresh dried herbs is through mail order. It is impossible to tell how long a bottled dried herb has been sitting on a store shelf. Penzeys Spices has a wonderful catalog and the packaging is practical. When purchasing an ounce of dried herbs, remember this will almost fill two 1/2-cup spice bottles. The remaining herbs may be saved in the re-sealable packages.



To decorate cakes for the holidays, roll out marshmallows with a little cornstarch. Then moisten the marshmallows with a little water and press them into colored sugar. Cut out desired shapes, e.g. red sugar hearts for valentines day. Use mini cookie cutters for the best results. Let the cutouts dry 1 hour before using. 


Hors d'oeuvre

Appetizers and portions of savory foods served with toothpicks or eaten as finger food. 



Removing the stem and leaves from berries, e.g., strawberries. 



The chemical process by which hydrogen atoms are pumped into unsaturated oils/fats to make them firmer at room temperature. Shortening and margarine are more saturated than the oils from which they are made. 



Sweet coating for cakes, breads or cookies. 



The basic elements of each recipe. The best ingredients will give superior results. My top 20 favorite basic ingredients are: Fleur de Sel, Tellicherry peppercorns, Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla, Gold Medal® or King Arthur® flours, Aluminum-free baking powder, balsamic vinegar, beef and chicken base, fat-free milk, Peter's, Valrhona and Callebaut Chocolates, canola and olive oil, Fiori di Sicilia flavoring, Dutch cocoa, and meringue powder, orange blossom honey, Johnny's Dock® seasoning salt and Lawry's® garlic salt. Organic meats and free-range eggs will also enhance your meals. 


Inside out

This term is used when making rolls. Simply take the cut piece of dough, cut side up. Take both thumbs and pull over until a rounded surface develops. Pinch dough underneath and set on baking sheet. This is easier than trying to roll the perfect roll.



To turn a food upside down. Inverting gelatin means turning the bowl or mold upside down so that the set gelatin can slide onto a serving plate. 



A fruit and sugar mixture cooked with pectin. 



A clear mixture of fruit juice and sugar which jells or sets to a soft yet firm texture. 


Jellyroll pan

A shallow 18 x 13 x 1-inch pan with a rim. Used to make jellyroll cakes or to toast items you wouldn't trust on regular baking sheets, e.g., nuts and coconut. 



The extracted natural liquid from fruits and vegetables. 



To cut food into thin match-shaped strips about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. The common term used to describe the process of cutting carrots, beets and other vegetables. 


Kitchen Essentials

In France the term "Batterie De Cuisine," meaning artillery of the kitchen, may be a more appropriate term than essentials for some cooks when you see their kitchen after they have had a creative cooking spree. There are many tools which are essential to basic cooking. Pots, pans, measuring spoons, measuring cups, bowls, wooden spoons and forks are about the most basic tools. For serious cooks, this list can go and on, ad infinitum.


Kitchen Scissors/Shears

Perfect to have on hand, especially if mounted in a butcher block. Use for trimming fat off poultry, removing fat from bacon, snipping herbs, cutting flower stems, opening bags and cutting kitchen twine. A kitchen shears or poultry shears is also useful for cutting up whole chickens. 



Dough shaped into a ball which is pushed with the "heels" of your right hand while holding the dough with the fingers of left hand or vice versa. Fold dough, turn and repeat. If you are short on time and have purchased a food processor, use the kneading blade and knead for one minute. Bread machines are the best shortcut―simply run on a bread dough cycle and take care of the first rise at the same time. Don't worry about over kneading dough. According to most experts―this is almost impossible to do at home. Most recipes in this book use short kneading times. 



Prepared in accordance with strict Jewish dietary laws. Milk and meat may not be cooked in the same pans or served on the same dishes. This law came from the Hebrew prohibition of boiling an animal in its mother's milk. The life-giving milk which would have sustained it could not be used to cook the animal. Salting a chicken before cooking it is also a Kosher custom. The blood of an animal was also never to be eaten with the meat. Today a rabbi will supervise the preparation of "Kosher" foods in stores. 



The best is called "leaf lard," and is made from rendered (melted and clarified) pork fat found around the pork kidneys. Used to make very flaky pastries and for frying "sopaipillas.”



Meat, poultry and seafood which are considered lean should contain less than 10 grams total fat, and containing less than 4 grams saturated fat.  This meat should also contains less than 95% cholesterol per 3.5 ounce serving. Extra lean meats contains less than 5 grams total fat and less than 2 grams saturated fat.


Leavening agents

Yeast and baking powder help to "leaven" or raise the bread.

Leavening may have been discovered when ale instead of water was used to make bread dough. The spores of yeast then grew and a lighter bread resulted. The sourdough starter evolved from using a piece of dough from the previous day's batch. It was added to the new bread dough. Starters can be ordered from the Baker's Catalogue® along with yeast and baking powder. 


Leftover ingredients

Most recipes will call for a certain size container or package where possible. When using green bell peppers and only a half is called for, you may want to chop the leftover half and place in a small container in the freezer. This is also a good idea for leftover onions. Soon you will have enough and won't have to chop a whole onion. An egg white or egg yolk which is left out of a recipe may also be frozen in ice cube trays (wash in dishwasher before using again for ice cubes).



A product to help prevent white specks from forming in chocolate.


Light or Lite

A product claiming it is light is a nutritionally altered product containing one-third less calories or half the fat of the original food. The food's sodium content may also be cut by 50% or more.


Lime juice

You may choose to use regular lime juice, however there is a special blend which comes from Key limes grown in the mountains of Mexico which is simply the best for use in Key Lime Pie. This may be ordered through www.KingArthurFlour.com and is called FloribbeanÒ Key Lime Juice.



To line a baking dish with baking parchment you should set the baking pan on the parchment and draw a line around the base. Cut out the shape and place inside the greased pan. It may also refer to lining a pan with aluminum foil when preparing a pan for roasting meats. 


Loaf pan

The essential pan for bread making. Standard size is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch.



A product stating that it contains low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium and low calories must contain small amounts of the same items. 



To swirl two different colors of batter, usually chocolate and vanilla with a knife. The batters will blend slightly but should look separate. 



To soak food in a seasoned liquid to tenderize and add flavor.
To prevent wasting plastic bags, use a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish to marinate meats. 



If you wish to substitute margarine for butter, do so at your own risk. Margarines vary in fat content and this makes it tricky. Look for one containing 60% - 80% vegetable oil or fats and purchase the ones in stick form for baking. 



Ground blanched almonds, sugar and egg whites. Make your own marzipan by mixing a quarter of a pound almond paste with one cup sugar and two tablespoons light corn syrup. Mix until smooth. Used to decorate cakes and to make candies or can be shaped into miniature fruits and vegetables, painted with food coloring to resemble the real thing. 



A common term used to describe the process of crushing potatoes with a potato masher. 


Measuring brown sugar

Brown sugar should be lightly packed into the measuring cup, unlike many recipes which call for firmly packed sugar. 


Measuring butter
Butter can be easily measured by buying the butter in pre-measured sticks. 1 stick of butter is equal to 1/2 cup. Cut the butter into the desired measure at the markings on the wrapper. Some wrappers may be unclear or not centered right and may need to be removed and re-wrapped around the butter. In this case, cut the butter in half then proceed with measuring. There are 8 tablespoons of butter in 1 cube. Half a cube would be 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup, and one quarter would be 2 tablespoons, etc. Soon you will be able to measure 1 tablespoon butter by eyeing out the size. 


Measuring dry ingredients

Stainless steel or plastic measuring cups and measuring spoons are a must for dry ingredients. When using measuring spoons, remember to never measure the ingredients over the mixing bowl or pan in case the spoon overflows. Measure dry ingredients and then use the straight side of a dinner knife or kitchen knife to level off the surface. 


Measuring flour

All recipes in this cookbook use the "dip and sweep" method as it is quicker than spooning flour into the cup. When measuring flour into a measuring cup the "dip and sweep" method is only accurate as long as you make sure flour is "fluffed up." This is easily done by using a knife to stir flour around until it is aerated, dip cup, then simply sweep off the top with a knife. When purchasing flour, I always dump the bag into a more usable plastic container. Flour tends to get packed down in shipping and this helps to fluff up the flour. 


Measuring liquid ingredients

Use glass liquid measuring cups or fill stainless or plastic measuring cups to the brim. When liquids are under two cups it is often easier to use stainless or plastic measuring cups instead of trying to read the measurement in a larger glass container. 


Measuring spices

When measuring spices, use special spice spoons which are thinner and can easily fit into the spice bottle. Fill the spoon and shake in the bottle to even out the surface. You can be a little more liberal with herbs. 


Melon baller

A tool resembling a tiny ice cream scoop. Perfect for scooping perfect balls of cantaloupe or watermelon. Look for a tool with two different size scoops.



To turn solid food into a semi-liquid by applying low heat. This is a term used often in connection with butter and chocolate. 



Egg whites beaten until stiff and then sweetened with sugar. Baked to form a crunchy sweet topping for pies or used to make crisp meringues which can served with cream. 



A mixture of delicate young salad greens. The mixture is colorful and can be added to your own salad mixture to add variety and flavor. 


Microwave oven

I don't recommend a microwave oven for cooking meats but it is helpful when defrosting them. Foods may be kept in the freezer and brought to room temperate when needed, e.g., butter. A temperature probe which can be inserted into foods or liquids to bring them to exact temperatures is very helpful. This feature is excellent for bringing water to a boil or to an exact temperature for bread making or to bring frozen butter to room temperature for making buttercream icings. 


Middle celery/heart celery

The part of celery literally in the middle of the bunch. This is the tender celery with some light green leaves which are also a delicious addition to soups. A stalk may also be called a rib. Technically the celery ribs are attached to the stalk. The whole celery plant is then called a bunch of celery. 



Fat-free milk is used in most recipes. When substituting whole milk or skim milk be aware of the consistency of the recipe. It is advisable to add more whole milk than fat-free milk. Fat-free milk is also used in many recipes in place of water. Use a substitution at your own risk as fat-free milk does not have the fat contained in whole milk. This changes the recipe slightly. 



To chop foods as finely as possible. This is often used to describe chopped parsley, or garlic when a crushed paste is not desired. 


Mise en place

Means to prepare ingredients up to the point of cooking. Read through each recipe before making it the first time. I have tried to list all the ingredients and the way they should be prepared to save time in the directions. You can prepare all the ingredients and have them waiting or prepare them as you need them. The latter will save you a lot of dishes. Some recipes demand that you prepare the ingredients first. These are recipes in which timing is essential, such as stir-fry. This philosophy also requires you to take stock of your kitchen each week to make sure you have enough essential ingredients. The shopping list in this cookbook will help you prepare for each recipe. If you are unsure about an ingredient check, before you start. Running to the store in the middle of making candy or bread can be disastrous. 



Stir with a spoon or fork so that the ingredients are evenly distributed.


Mixing bowls

A set of glass and stainless steel bowls are the most useful. Purchase deep and extra large bowls for many uses.



Coffee and chocolate. Either strong-brewed coffee or instant coffee granules are mixed into a chocolate mixture, e.g., chocolate cake batter. 



To add enough liquid to a dry ingredient to make it damp. 


Monounsaturated fats

Olive and canola oils are excellent and have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. These fats can be solid or liquid. Olive oil tends to become more solid when refrigerated. 


Mortar and pestle

The perfect set to grind fresh or dried herbs. The pestle resembles a mini-baseball bat which is pressed into the bowl which may have a textured base to make grinding easier. Marble is my preference. These come in a variety of sizes, a medium size is handy to have sitting on the counter for spices. 



A slowly heated and spiced apple cider or red wine.



Tiny multicolored sugar pellets used to decorate cakes.



This term is used to describe pans or bakeware which have been coated with a interior surface which allows food to release easily and speeds up cleaning. Not all surfaces are durable. I recommend Calphalon® for great food release. Scanpan® is better for moist cooking, while Calphalon® excels in the area of frying and baking. I choose to have both of these fine lines of products in my kitchen for various tasks. You may wish to order all nonstick items for your baking needs. Nonstick pots and pans are not essential, but make life easier. The heavy-based Scanpan® line is perfect for stew, soups and sauces. Calphalon® nonstick pans are best when frying potatoes, steaks, pancakes or other foods where you wish to cook in very little oil. 


Olive oil

After harvesting, olives are cold pressed to produce olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the best you can buy. The best oils come from Greece, Italy and France. Zingerman's® catalog has a unique oil similar to those sold in Cassis, France on the Mediterranean Sea. Look for "Maussane-les-alpilles" which runs around $30 a bottle. Use in salad dressings, over meats or anytime when a distinctive herbal character is desired. Extra virgin olive oil is best when used during the first year after opening and can be kept in the refrigerator, but needs to warm to room temperature before using. 



This term is used for those who prepare food during the day and use the night to let foods marinate, etc. If you are on a different time schedule, use 12 hours as a guide where logical.



To cook uncovered over high heat in an ungreased pan. 



The term given to fish which has the scales, gills and viscera removed. The fins and tail should be trimmed with a scissors.
To scale your own fish, place fish on newspaper next to the sink. Hold the fish by the tail, using a little salt to keep a firm grip. Scrape the scales with the back of a knife. Rinse and repeat on the other side. To skin: place skin side down on clean paper and use a sharp knife to separate flesh from skin while holding tail tightly. 



To cook uncovered over high heat in a small amount of fat. 



To partially cook a vegetable or food in boiling water. This is often done to fresh vegetables just before freezing to help maintain a bright color. If freezing, plunge the blanched vegetables in an ice-water bathe to stop the cooking process; drain and freeze. 


Parchment paper

A paper which is grease and heat resistant. It is used to line baking pans and wrap foods. It can also be made into a disposable pastry bag. 



To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable, also know as peeling a fruit or vegetable.



When you plan a party, begin with a list. You will get ideas weeks or days before, so write them down. Send out invitations early so you have time to plan efficiently. It is better to have too much food than too little, everyone will enjoy taking an extra plate home to snack on later. Stock up on ice or delegate the job of bringing a large bag. An ice chest is perfect for storing beverages for a picnic or barbecue. Try to provide vegetarian and meat choices. Flowers are a must at parties and help to brighten a buffet table. Serve the food at various levels for eye appeal. 



Sweet treats served after dinner, for breakfast or at tea time, e.g., pies, tarts, cream puffs and Danish pastries. 


Pastry bag

A cone-shaped bag with a pointed end. May be fitted with a pastry tip which is held by a coupler. Tips are sold individually or in sets. See "piping" for directions on using pastry bags. 


Pastry brush

The most useful brush resembles a paint brush and has bristles which are firmly attached so they do not fall out while using. Natural bristles work well for brushing melted butter over pastry. Pastry brushes should be washed well after each use. Dipping them in boiling water after washing is also a good idea after use with meats and eggs and it helps to remove soap residues. 



A natural gelatin-like substance prepared from apples or citrus fruits, used in jelly making.



To remove the skin from fruits or vegetables. Can also refer to citrus peel or the rind of the citrus fruit. Citrus peel is the same as zest, however zest contains none of the white pith. 



Two pepper mills are recommended, one for Tellicherry peppercorns and one for regular store-bought peppercorns. The Tellicherry peppercorns are larger in size and may need a special grinder. Place mills in their own small bowl to catch the leftover milled pepper, useful when a "pinch" of pepper is needed. 


Pie plate

Usually a standard 9-inch plate. Glass is highly recommended in this cookbook as it will give an even crisp crust. The deep-dish pie plate is also highly recommended to prevent spills. If you have trouble getting the pie crust into the pie plate, either roll the pastry halfway around your rolling pin, or use a plastic pastry sheet and turn it upside down over pie plate. 



The amount of a dry ingredient you can hold between tips of the thumb and index finger. Usually 1/16 teaspoon. To obtain this amount, simply add spice/herb onto food in one or two shakes from a regular spice bottle with a perforated inner lid. 



The best piping bags have a plastic lining and have an apparatus which allows you to change the nozzles or tips without changing bags. To pipe: hold the top of the bag over your hand to form a collar or stand the bag in a tall glass with the nozzle pointing down. Spoon the mixture, icing, filling, etc., into the bag until it is no more than 2/3 full. Twist the top of the bag down and remove any air bubbles. Hold the twisted end in one hand and use the other hand to guide the nozzle. Squeeze the top of the bag with the first hand. The pressure should be even and constant. When you have completed the piping, stop applying pressure and press down slightly and then quickly lift the nozzle. Hold vertically for meringues and at an angle for éclairs. Plastic squeeze bottles and strong plastic bags also work well as piping bags. 



The stone of apricots, peaches, avocados and cherries. This word is often used to describe the removal of the stone, e.g., to pit the cherries. Could also mean a “barbecue pit.” 



To cook gently in a hot liquid just below boiling point. 


Polyunsaturated fats

These fats will actually help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats are generally found at room temperature and include fats such as sunflower oil and corn oil. 


Potato masher

A utensil with a grid pattern which is pressed into potatoes and other vegetables after they are cooked. They can then be fluffed with a hand beater or wooden spoon. 



Use a meat mallet to pound chicken or beef to tenderize tough meats or to create a uniform size.



The process of turning on oven so that it will be at the recommended temperature to cook a food by the time the food has been prepared. This is especially important when baking cakes or roasting meats. 



To preserve food in canning bottles or to prepare food in a food processor. 



To allow a yeast dough to rise. Also refers to the process of dissolving yeast in warm water (110 ) with sugar to see if it is alive and bubbling. A proofing box is a warm place for dough to rise. This may be obtained in an oven which has been turned on to 200 and turned off when heat is felt on hand from open oven. 


Punch down

To use your fist to literally punch a risen dough. 



To convert food to a smooth, thick mixture by pressing it through a fine sieve or food mill. The food may also be blended in an electric blender or food processor until smooth.


Quick tips

When you are in a hurry it isn't always fun to have to make your own pastry dough or bread dough. Don't feel guilty. There are ways you can cut corners, especially when you are making many different recipes. Use frozen bread dough or frozen pie crusts when time is limited. There are many prepared vegetables which may be found in the frozen foods section, e.g., chopped onions. If you discover a quicker way to make any of the recipes in this book, please e-mail me. I am always looking for ways to save time. 



A recipe is a list of ingredients with instructions. This is a starting point for your own creativity. 



To add a liquid to a condensed food such as soup or juice to bring it to original strength. 



To decrease the quantity of a liquid by simmering a liquid, such as beef stock, in an uncovered pan until the quantity is noticeably decreased and the flavor concentrated. 



The outer skin of watermelon, bacon, cheese and citrus.



To cleanse foods with cold running water. Lettuce should be rinsed. 



Place meat fat side up on a flat or V-shaped rack in a shallow or deep square or oval roasting pan for cooking in an oven.


Roasting pan

A large, deep pan made of stainless or preferably aluminum covered with a nonstick coating. Both a deep pan and a shallow pan are acceptable. 



To use a rolling pin to flatten dough or pastry. 


Rolling pins

Both a French tapered and traditional two-handled rolling pin are the best to have on hand. The tapered rolling pin is very useful when rolling pie crust or tortillas, as it seems to encourage a rounding of the dough. Never wash in the dishwasher. 


Room temperature

The temperature should be around 68º. Butter is best at 67º as it may be easily creamed with sugar or incorporated into egg whites, e.g., buttercream icing. 



A mixture of butter and flour used to thicken soups and gravies. The butter is melted and then the flour is whisked into the butter. A liquid is added to form a gravy or soup. 



A handy tool for measuring baking pans and checking measurements of dough or pastry for baking. Can also be used to cut straight lines by using ruler and a knife. 



Made from the yellow-orange stigmas of crocus flowers. Kashmir saffron from Northern India comes in a small vial and is usually not crushed. It is deep red with a distinctive sharp, bitter-floral flavor. Spanish saffron is more versatile in all recipes and may be found in a powdered form. Expensive, however a little goes a long way. 


Salad spinner

Good Grips salad spinner has a removable drainer and a press top to easily spin salad after it has been rinsed. Removing water helps to prevent soggy salad. 



Two types of salt are recommended. One in a salt "crock" or glass jar with a cork lid which is easy to remove. This salt is called Fleur de Sel and is sea salt. The other salt is finer milled, regular salt found in the grocery store. It is useful to put this salt in a small spice container with a sprinkling side and a measuring side lid. This makes it easy to level salt for most recipes. 


Saturated fat

A fat generally found in a solid form at room temperature. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as butter, milk, cream and lard. The percentages of saturated fats in vegetable oils are as follows: coconut (89%), palm-kernel oil (83%), cottonseed (26%), avocado (20%), sesame seed (18%), peanut (17%), walnut (16%), soybean (14%), olive (14%), grapeseed (13%), corn (13%), sunflower (12%), hazelnut (11%), safflower (9%), almond (9%) and finally the lowest canola (6%). Saturated fats have been found to increase blood cholesterol levels. See the substitutions list for heart-healthy alternatives.



Cook the food lightly in oil or butter with higher sides than a frying pan. A 5-quart sauté pan works well, however a frying pan may also be used when necessary. 



To heat just to the boiling point in a pan. Small bubbles will appear around the edge. This is done to retard milk spoilage. 



To make shallow cuts across the surface of a food before cooking. This is seen in French bread or may be done to a flank steak before cooking in order to keep the edges of the meat from curling up. 



To remove the outer peel from vegetables with a sharp knife. The knife is rubbed across the vegetable to partially or completely remove the skin. 



To cook meat briefly in a Dutch oven or frying pan to brown and seal in meat juices. 



To remove the segments from a citrus with a sharp knife. 


Separating eggs

To separate the yolk from the white, use an egg separator. The easy method used by chefs is to hold the egg in the right hand, rap the egg against the metal or ceramic rim of a bowl and then use both thumbs to ease open the egg. Transfer the egg yolk back and forth between the two egg shell halves until all the egg white has dripped down into the bowl. If you get some egg yolk in the whites you can soak it up with a piece of bread.



To remove the rigid outer covering of foods such as nuts and eggs.



This is a vegetable oil which has been process to form a solid form. Crisco® is a solid vegetable shortening. 



To push food across a sharp grating surface. Cheddar cheese and other soft cheeses are "shredded" across the large holes of a grater. Parmesan and other hard cheese is "grated" on a grater. 



When purchasing shrimp by the pound you will get an approximate number according to the size of the shrimp. When you need an exact amount, request that amount. When purchasing miniature shrimp you will receive approximately 100; small shrimp (36-45); medium shrimp (31-35); large shrimp (21-30); extra-large shrimp (16-20); and jumbo shrimp will have 11-15 shrimp per pound. Look for this information at your seafood counter when purchasing shrimp. 



To remove the shells from shellfish or to remove the husks from ears of corn. To shuck an oyster: rinse oysters, use a rubber oyster glove and oyster knife. Pry tip of knife between shell into soft spot on hinge. Twist knife to break the hinge and pry open shell. Slide knife in and sever connector muscle from top of the shell. Discard top shell. Sever connector muscle from bottom shell. Use tip of knife to remove bits of shell or sand from oyster. Rinse off sand. Remember to discard any oysters which are open before shucking. 



To press foods through a strong metal mesh strainer. This is done to remove seeds or other undesirable particles from foods.
A sieve or strainer is also useful to sift dry ingredients. Purchase at least 3 sizes. 



To pass dry ingredients through a mesh strainer to remove lumps. 



To cook a liquid over low heat without boiling; it must stay below a temperature of 185 -205



Long wooden "spears" which are thicker than toothpicks. Metal skewers work better when grilling outdoors or when ingredients are heavy. Bamboo skewers should be soaked in water before using on a grill. 



This is used frequently in cookbooks and is just a thick-based fry pan. The thick base allows the heat to spread evenly.



To remove fat or foam from the surface of a soup or sauce with a spoon. This can also be done after a soup has been chilled. The congealed fat can then be easily lifted off. 



To cut food into thick or thin slices, usually 1/4-inch thick. 



Fresh herbs should be placed in a cup and then snipped with a kitchen shears into tiny pieces.



Found in many foods but especially in salt. Table salt makes up the majority of our sodium intake. One teaspoon of salt contains 2,000 milligrams of sodium. 1,100 to 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day is considered normal consumption for the average adult. 


Soft Ball stage for candy

Fill a cup full of cold water and drop in about 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy. Use your fingers to roll the candy mixture into a soft ball. The ball will quickly lose shape if removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read from 234 -240 . Fondant and fudge are examples of this stage. 


Soft Crack stage for candy

Fill a glass with cold water and drop in 1/2 teaspoon boiling candy. The candy will form brittle threads which will soften when they are removed from the water. A candy thermometer will read between 270 and 290 . Butterscotch is a good example of this stage.


Softened, butter

To leave butter on the counter until it comes to room temperature or to mash cold butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft and workable. The quickest way to soften frozen and refrigerated butter is in the microwave. Experiment with your microwave as each one is different. Try 20 to 30 seconds on full power if frozen. Refrigerated butter will take less time. 



Originally soy beans were grown in Asia for thousands of years. This protein-rich food is commonly eaten as tofu, miso and soy sauce. While it is bland on its own; it will absorb flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. Your best source for soy products is Dixie USA, Inc. in the Source section. 



Spices come from the seeds, bark, fruit, flower or roots of plants and add dimension to foods. The best way to purchase spices is through mail-order sources. Penzeys Spices is one of my favorites. If you are purchasing spices at your local store, you are most likely spending an exorbitant amount of money on each glass jar. The most economical way to purchase dried or whole spices is in bulk. Once you have invested money in a spice jar rack, there is no need to keep buying more jars. Many stores have a bulk section, however freshness is never guaranteed. Spices vary in price and weight. When purchasing a 4-ounce bag of crushed dried spices like cinnamon, remember this will fill about three 1/2-cup size spice jars. If you cook less frequently, the small plastic jars may be more practical. Family and friends are more than willing to take any extra spices which don't fit in the spice jars. On the other hand, you might just reseal the packages and store them in you cupboard. 


Make Custom Blends

Apple-Pie Spice: 

1/4 cup cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg, 2teaspoons ground ginger.

Sugar-and-Spice Blend: 

1/2 cup granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. 

Pumpkin-Pie Spice:

1/4 cup ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cloves. 

Tandoori Spice: 

1 tablespoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 2 teaspoons each: cayenne, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger. 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 

Curry Blend: 

2 tablespoons ground cumin, 4 teaspoons ground coriander, 4 teaspoons powdered mustard, 2 tablespoons ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon each: ground allspice, cayenne, ground cinnamon and ground ginger. 

Seafood Spice

2 tablespoons ground allspice, 2 tablespoons celery salt, 2 tablespoons powdered mustard, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 tablespoon paprika, 3/4 teaspoon cayenne. 

Meat & Poulty

2 tablespoons ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons onion powder, 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon ground thyme. 

Fajita Blend

4 tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons ground oregano, 2 teaspoons garlic salt. 




To scoop up a food such as soup or batter with a spoon and to transfer it to another container or baking dish. 



The mix between the convenience of a spoon and the versatility of a spatula. Essential for folding ingredients into a batter.



To apply butter or preserves with a knife. 


Springform pan

The best pan to look for is one with a glass base which does not need to be removed before serving cheesecake. The high metal sides have a clamp which releases them from the base. 



To cook food in a steamer over boiling water so that only the steam reaches the food. Steam may also be used in bread making and when moisture is needed in oven. Simply place a pan of water on lowest shelf in oven before baking. Some rice cookers have a steaming option. Vegetables can also be steamed while rice is cooking, which saves energy. 



To let food stand in hot liquid to extract or enhance flavor, e.g., tea bags in hot water or poached fruit in sugar syrup. 



To cook meats and vegetables slowly in liquid for a long period of time.



To blend ingredients using a spoon or fork in a circular motion. 



A quick method of cooking in a wok over high heat. The wok is heated and the vegetables and meats are stirred to cook quickly. This technique was born out of necessity in Canton. In the ancient capital of China, fuel for cooking and meat was in short supply. The Cantonese (Southern Chinese) people used small amounts of meats, lots of vegetables and a wok to cook food quickly, saving fuel. Meat is cooked first, then vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their tender crisp texture. A sauce is made at the end. 



The flavorful liquid produced when meats, herbs and vegetables are simmered for a long time. Stock can be made by mixing water with chicken or beef base. Some stock bases are also made with fish or just vegetables. Ham base is also available through mail order.



This is a tall narrow pot used to make stock as well as boiling crab legs, corn on the cob, etc. An 8 to 12-quart pot should be sufficient for all needs. 



To pour a liquid through a mesh sieve to remove solids. 



A sweetener and preservative, sugar hinders the growth of bacteria, yeast and molds or encouraging rising in baked goods. This sweet-tasting carbohydrate, formed naturally in many plants as an energy reserve is also called sucrose. The sugar we use today comes from sugar cane, grown first in India in 325 BC then China, Persia and the Middle East. Juice is extracted from sugar cane, then mixed with water and heated. When the impurities are filtered, a clear syrup remains. The syrup then goes through a process of evaporation to induce crystallization. Inferior brown sugar is white sugar which has been refined and coated with molasses. True brown sugar is never refined to white sugar and retains the natural molasses. Muscovado sugar from India Tree 1-800-369-4848, has a depth and complexity not found in supermarket brands. C&H® brown sugar is the closest to this texture, but without the intensity and rich brown molasses flavor. When muscovado sugar is used in recipes the salt content may sometimes be reduced. White sugar is also found in many forms. Granulated white sugar is the most common. Confectioners’ sugar is a white powdery sugar used to make icings and dissolves quickly. Sparkling sugar crystals are larger than regular granulated sugar and may be used to decorate baked goods. Look for a rainbow blend or individual colors. 


Table serving and etiquette

"Left is right," is the way to remember to serve food to guests from their left. Beverages are served from their right. Serve women, older guests and children first. When you are seated at a table, serve the person to the right of yourself if you are the host and proceed counterclockwise. Everyone should pass the food in the same direction. Clear dishes from the right and never stack or scrape dishes in front of a guest. 


Table set-up for a daily meal

The simplest meals will have a dinner plate with a fork on the left and a knife on the right. The glass should be in the upper right above the knife. The napkin should be on the plate or next to the dinner fork. A salad fork may be added to the left of the fork. A teaspoon can be added to the right of the knife. The bread plate should be above the forks on the left. The salad plate can be placed on top of the dinner plate. Soup bowls may be used in place of salad plates. A coffee cup should be placed to the right of the knife. 


Tart pan

A shallow pan, preferably with a removable base. The edges should be fluted. The round 9 by 1-inch and 11 by 1-inch are common sizes. Pans are measured straight across the top of a dish from the inside edge to the other opposite edge. 


The temperature of your burners is essential to the results you achieve. Too high and the heat will burn the food, too low and the food will cook too slowly and affect the taste – especially in preparing steaks. While rice may be cooked on low to allow the rice to slowly absorb the water, meats are cooked at higher temperatures to seal in juices. Use high heat to boil or reduce liquids. Use medium to medium-high heat for sautéing, stir-frying and frying most foods. Use low heat for warming foods, simmering sauces and preparing delicate foods which burn easily. Learn to adjust the temperatures based on your experience with your cookware. Some pots and pans will conduct heat more quickly than others.



I have done about everything wrong to learn the correct way to handle real chocolate. Fine chocolates are highly recommended for tempering. I usually don't temper chocolate as it takes more time than I usually have and I discovered an easy way to heat the chocolate in a crockery cooker. If you are feeling ambitious try the method here. Tempering is a term used for the process of stabilizing chocolate by heating chocolate from 104 to 115 and then spreading two thirds of the warm chocolate on a large marble slab. The chocolate is then worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches 80 . Transfer the thickened chocolate back to the melted chocolate and heat to 89 for semisweet chocolate and 85 for milk or white chocolate. Chocolate for use in tempering should always be chopped/shaved into small pieces (use a chef's knife to "shave" chocolate off bar), the larger pieces take too long and the melted chocolate can start to freeze up before all the chocolate is melted. To test the chocolate, spread a small amount on a piece of aluminum foil. When it cools it should be smooth and shiny. To keep chocolate smooth, I add a 1/2 teaspoon Crisco. If you overheat or scorch the chocolate it can also become very grainy. If some of your chocolate does start to freeze up, the mixture can be strained and still used. I prefer to melt chocolate in a crockery cooker. Professional chocolate temperers are very expensive and a double boiler is too risky with the presence of steam which causes the chocolate to thicken. When working with chocolate, make sure there are no strong odors like garlic. Once when I was making truffles for a party, they smelled like garlic because I was making lasagna. I had to remake all of them, but actually created a new recipe so it was worth it. If you have leftover chocolate in the crockery cooker, add some vanilla syrup or syrup from candied chestnuts. Place in a small bottle and reheat later for a delicious chocolate sauce for ice cream or spread graham crackers with marshmallow creme and the chestnut chocolate sauce. 



To bring a frozen food to room temperature. Meats should be thawed in the refrigerator. 



An instant-read thermometer is great for meats. A candy thermometer is practical as you can clip it to the side of the pan and monitor the temperature changes. A new thermometer on the market is a boon for the busy cook and has the features of a timer with a long wire which allows meat to be cooked to a specific temperature in the oven. Call 1-800-866-5478 for a infrared sensor thermometer which is much more expensive.


Thread stage

When a sugar syrup reaches between 230 and 234 F. The syrup will form threads when dropped into ice water but will not form a ball when rolled between fingers.



To lightly brown a piece of bread in a toaster, oven or frying pan. Nuts can also be toasted in oven or a frying pan.



Helpful when frying foods or to pick up and turn pieces of chicken. Also useful to serve salads.



These can be purchased in multicolors or with little decorations, such as an American flag for the Fourth of July. Handy for appetizers or for special occasions. 



To gently mix ingredients using a large spoon and fork with a lifting motion then allow ingredients to drop back into bowl. 


Truffles, chocolate

A chocolate ganache (ga-nosh) is made with chocolate, warm whipping cream and butter. After refrigerating or freezing, the chocolates are dipped in more chocolate, creating a hard shell. 


Truffles, Subterranean mushrooms

Discovered in Babylonian times, mushrooms, called truffles, are actually subterranean fungi which grow in the soil by oak trees in France and in the deserts of Arabia. They can be white or dark brown and are very expensive due to the high demand. Like most expensive ingredients, a little often goes a long way. Black truffles are from the Perigord region in France. They are only in season from August to December. Dogs are trained to hunt out truffles then they are carefully removed from the earth without being touched by even a human hand, this would cause them to rot. Truffles may be ordered from Dean & Deluca or Urbani and should be used immediately. Truffle butter will last much longer and can be frozen. I recommend the truffle butter which is more practical. White truffle oil will also go a long way and can be used easily.



The method of securing the wings and legs of a turkey or chicken using skewers and kitchen twine so that it keeps shape during cooking. Unflavored dental floss works in a pinch. 



A food claiming to be unsalted should be sodium free unless the food naturally contains sodium and no salt has been added. In order to cut back on sodium intake, use salt sparingly at the table and avoid over-processed meats and cheeses. Experiment with recipes using less salt each time. Use low sodium substitutes for salt. Limit broth, snack foods, pickled vegetables, sauces and frozen dinners. Use herbs and spices in place of salt. Use onion and garlic powder in place of onion and garlic salt. 


Unsalted butter

Cream which is churned until it forms a solid and to which no salt has been added. Perfect for buttercream icings. 



An extract made from vanilla beans soaked in alcohol. Comes in many forms including vanilla powder, vanilla paste which contains flecks of vanilla bean and vanilla marinade. These are not as common as vanilla extract. Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla extract is superior in quality. You can also make your own vanilla extract with vanilla beans and Bourbon. 


Vegetable peeler

A fixed blade is more useful than a swivel blade, however the choice is up to you.



There are several types of vegetarians. Most will eat vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and tofu. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat dairy products and eggs. Lacto vegetarians will also eat dairy products. The vegetarian diet should include all the amino acids for it to be effective. Mixing beans and rice will give you a complete protein meal. 



The internal organs, e.g., heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, etc. 



Bottled water or purified water is preferred in all recipes calling for water in the ingredients. This is a personal preference. There is a difference in taste especially in drinks. Try freezing one ice tray with pure water, and one with tap water. There is a "clear" difference. When a recipe calls for ice water, place water with ice cubes and measure out the amount of water needed, leaving the ice cubes behind. Warm water for bread making is perfect around 110 .



When the liquid separates from a solid food. Meringues are famous for this problem with droplets of liquid visible on them. 


Weight loss

The Nutritional Facts Food Label can be very useful if you buy many prepared foods. If you are trying to lose weight, look for recipes which have very little or no fat, in the ingredient list. You still need a small amount of fat but a recipe which contains a large amount will hinder your weight loss goals. Limit desserts and sweet foods to two times a week and try to eat dinner as far ahead of bed time as possible. People who eat breakfast are generally more successful at weight lose. Eat more slowly so your body has time to signal when you are full. Exercise, and make good food choices. Never starve yourself, as this will cause your metabolism to slow down. Set reasonable weight goals and remember to enjoy life and reward yourself when you have met your goals. 



One of the first cultivated plants grown in the Fertile Crescent. It took thousands of years to reach southern Europe. European colonists finally introduced it to the Americas, South Africa and Australia. 



To beat rapidly to add air and increase volume of a cream or egg white mixture. Use a wire whisk or electric mixer. 


Whipping cream

There are two types of whipping cream. One is sold as whipping cream, the other as heavy cream. Heavy cream has a higher fat content. Heavy cream is fine for whipped cream topping but should not be used when whipping cream is called for. 



Use a looped wire kitchen utensil to mix in a swift circular motion. A coated or plastic whisk is very handy to use in nonstick pans when making gravies as they help prevent lumps from forming. Buy several sizes and at least two large ones.


Xanthan gum

Produced from corn sugar which is fermented and used to thicken or simulate the texture of sugar and oil in low calorie products. It also replaces starch in puddings. 



With many manufacturers using different strains of this organism, the choices can be very confusing. Using a package of yeast in one recipe may be sufficient while in another more may be needed. If you measure yeast by the teaspoon or tablespoon, you will have the exact quantity needed. Yeast, a natural leavening for bread, is found in many forms. Cakes of yeast, instant yeast, active dry yeast, instant active dry, and rapid-rise yeast can all be used at different times. You can substitute the same amount of rapid-rise yeast for regular active dry yeast and cut the rising time of a dough in half. This may not always be desired, as some breads benefit from a slow rising. Sweet breads seem to benefit from a rapid yeast. Rapid yeast is also faster and has all the qualities of the best yeast around the world. Rapid rise yeast is an excellent choice for the cook who wants to get bread on the table fast. Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast seems to be the best and most popular yeast on the market. Instant yeast, an all-purpose yeast which has smaller granules, can be added to a mixture without being "proofed" (dissolved in water to reactivate the live cells covered by dead cells). Instant yeast is more aggressive as it is dried at a lower temperature, thus it produces more live cells ready for action. Fleischmann's Instant Yeast is an excellent choice. The process of proofing is no longer necessary, as modern yeast – unless the plant (fungi) has completely died by being subjected to high temperatures – works well all the time. Active yeast, which is deactivated when dry, is the favorite store variety. Purchase dry yeast in a bottle, three linked individual packets or use Bob's Red Mill refrigerated variety, which is an excellent yeast as long as the expiration date has not passed. Find the yeast which works best for you. If you are using a yeast which does not work at all, purchase a fresh container immediately to prevent the wasting of ingredients. Most dry yeast will last longer if kept in the refrigerator in a closed container. To test yeast, mix 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1/4 cup warm water (110 ), 1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) in a 1/2 cup measuring cup. The mixture should swell to fill the measuring cup. For more information please call Fleischmann's Yeast Baking Experts at 1-800-777-4959. I mostly use SAF Instant Yeast from www.kingarthurflour.com for all places I mention active dry yeast. I find it doesn't have a "yeasty" flavor and works well every single time. I keep it in the refrigerator in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid. 



Fine strips of the peel of citrus fruit without the bitter white pith. To remove the zest, scrape a zester (a tool with small holes in one end) against the skin of the citrus fruit. A fine grater will also work but is more time consuming. Organic citrus fruit is recommended or wash lemons with a vegetable wash to remove pesticide residues. Some zesters have a special channel cutter which can be used to remove strips of lemon peel from end to end evenly spaced around lemon. Thinly slice the lemon to make lemon wheels. To obtain a piece of lemon peel, simply cut a section about an inch wide and 2 inches long from the side of the lemon being careful not to cut too deeply, to avoid bitter white pith. A vegetable peeler or small sharp knife works well to cut off pieces of lemon peel.



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