Cooking terms beginning with the letter "P"

•Paella - A Spanish rice dish originating in the town of Valencia. There are hundreds of recipes for paella, all claiming to be authentic. The only ingredients that are necessary for paella are rice, tomatoes, and saffron. Other ingredients are chicken, chorizo, mussels, squid, peppers, and beans. More elaborate preparations include shrimp, lobster, and duck.

• Paillard - A piece of meat or fish that has been pounded very thinnly and grilled or sautéed.

•Paklava - A very sweet Armenian dessert made of layers of flaky pastry filled with a mixture of ground nuts and sugar. The pastry is sliced, baked, and brushed with a honey syrup flavored with lemon or rosewater. Identical to Greek baklava

•Palmier - A cookie made of sheets of puff pastry that are rolled in sugar and folded to resemble palm leaves. These cookies are baked until the sugar becomes caramelized.

•Panada - A thick paste used as a binding agent for forcemeats. Flour panadas are made in a style similar to choux paste. Other types use bread crumbs or potato puree.

• Pan-bagnat - A sandwich from southern France, consisting of small round loaves of bread which have been hollowed out and filled with onions, anchovies, black olives, and tuna, then drenched in extra virgin olive oil.

•Pancetta - Cured pork belly that is rolled and tied. Unlike American bacon, this is not smoked.

•Panforte - A rich dense torte made of candied fruit and nuts.

•Panino - The Italian word for sandwich.

•Pannetone - An Italian cake made with a dough rich in egg yolks, traditionally served around Christmas time. The dough is studded with raisins, candied fruits, and occasionally pistachios.

•Pasta e Fagioli - A rich bean soup with pasta, in which a large sausage(such as cotechino) has been cooked. The soup is eatenfirst, followed by the sausage served with mustard and bread.

•Pasterma or Basterma - Armenian beef jerky.

•Panzanella - A salad consisting of toasted cubes of bread tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette. The salad is then marinated for at least one hour. The bread should be very firm so that it will endure the soaking of dressing. Vegetables can include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Lots of garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are added to the salad.

•Pappardelle - Wide flat pasta noodles served with rich, hearty sauces.

•Pasilla Chili Pepper - Called a chilaca in its fresh form. The mature chilaca turns from dark green to dark brown. After drying (when it becomes a pasilla) it changes to a blackish-brown. It has a rich hot flavor and is generally ground and used for sauces.

•Pastilla(Bistella) - A Moroccan pie made with chicken wrapped in phyllo dough. When finished cooking, the pastilla is dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

•Pastry Cream - A cooked custard thickened with flour. Some versions may use cornstarch or a mixture of the two starches.

•Pâté - A French term referring to pastes or pastry.

•Pâté Choux - A paste used to make cream puffs, eclairs, and other more elaborate pastries. It is made by adding flour to boiling water or milk, which has been enriched with butter. Eggs are then added into the paste to leaven it. Savory pastries such as gougere may also be made with this paste.

•Pâté a Foncer - A shortcrust pastry dough made with butter and strengthened with water. Used as a lining for meat or fish pies.

•Pâté Feuilletae - A dough comprised of many alternating layers of butter and pastry. This is an extremely versatile dough though preparation of it is labor intensive and very difficult.

• Pâté Brisée - A short crust pastry dough made with butter and eggs.

•Pâté Sucrée - A sweet, short crust dough for tarts and tartlets.

•Pâté Sablée - Another type of sweet, short crust dough.

•Pâté - A term referring to many different preparations of meat, fish and vegetable pies. The definitions of which have been altered through the years. Originally pate referred to a filled pastry much like American or English pies. Now the term pâté en croute is used to describe these preparations. Pâté en terrine has been shortened to either pâté or terrine. A terrine is generally a finer forcemeat than that used for pâté, and is always served cold. Pâtés are coarser forcemeats and, as stated before, are often prepared in a pastry crust. We now use these terms interchangeably and inclusive of all styles of forcemeat. Look for definitions under ballottine and galantine.

•Patligan - (Armenian) Aubergine or eggplant.

•Paupiette - A thin slice of meat, like a scallopine, which is stuffed and rolled. These may also be made of fish or vegetables.

•Penne - Quill-shaped pasta tubes with smooth sides. Those with ridges are called penne rigati. These are also called mostaciolli. Large quill-shaped tubes are called manicotti.

•Perilla - A Japanese herb that has a dark, russet-purple dentate leaf. It has a complex sweetness, and is wonderful in meat sauces and to make vinegar with.

•Persillade - A mixture of chopped parsley and garlic, added to recipes at the end of cooking.

•Pesto - A delicious sauce used for pastas, grilled meats, and poultry. This is made of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Some versions will also add parsley and walnuts or pine nuts. The ingredients are ground into a paste and moistened with the olive oil. Pesto is also used to describe similar sauces that contain other herbs or nuts.

•Petit Four - A small cookie or cake served on elaborate buffets or at the end of a multi-course meal.

•Pico de Gallo - Literally meaning "rooster's beak", this is a very hot, raw salsa made of fresh chiles, onions, and tomatoes.

•Pilaf - (Armenian) A rice or bulghour dish made with vermicelli.

•Piroshki - Small Russian meat pies, like empanadas, eaten for lunch or snacks.

•Pissaladiere - A southern French pizza consisting of a thick bread crust covered with cooked onions flavored with garlic. The pizza is then topped with black olives and anchovies.

•Pita Bread - Flat round bread made with or without a pocket.

•Plaki - (Armenian) Cooked with olive oil and assorted vegetables.

•Poblano Chili Pepper - A dark, sometimes almost black green chili pepper with a mild flavor. Best known for its use in "Chili Rellenos".

• Polenta - The Italian version of cornmeal mush. Coarsely ground yellow cornmeal is cooked with stock or water and flavored with onions, garlic, and cheese. Polenta may be eaten fresh out of the pot, as a perfect accompaniment to stews. Polenta may also be poured into a greased pan and allowed to set. It is then sliced, sauteed, and topped with cheese or tomato sauce. When cooked properly, polenta is a simple treasure.

•Posole - Pozole - A Mexican soup containing hominy served with various ingredients to be added by each diner. The base of the soup is water flavored with onions, tomatoes(or tomatillos), and herbs. Hominy is cooked into this broth and condiments include minced onion, avocado, lime wedges, oregano, queso fresco, and fried pork skin. A similar soup to this is menudo. Without the pork skin, this makes a perfect vegetarian soup.

• Praline - In French cookery this is a powder or paste made of caramelized almonds and/or hazelnuts. American cookery refers to a candy consisting of caramel and pecans.

•Profiterole - A small puff made with pate choux usuall filled an served as an appetizer.

•Prosciutto - The Italian word for ham, usually referring to the raw cured hams of Parma. Though once impossible to obtain in the United States due to USDA regulations, fine prosciuttos from Italy and Switzerland are now being imported. These hams are called prosciutto crudo. Cooked hams are called prosciutto cotto. Prosciutto is best when sliced paper thin served with ripe figs or wrapped around grissini.

•Pumate - Italian for sun-dried tomatoes.

• Puttanesca - A piquant pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chile flakes. The hot pasta is tossed in this sauce prior to serving. Some recipes leave the ingredients raw, allowing the heat of the pasta to bring out the flavors.

• Pyramide Cheese - A truncated pyramid is the shape of this small French chevre that is often coated with dark gray edible ash. The texture can range from soft to slightly crumbly and depending upon it’s age, in flavor from mild to sharp. It is wonderful served with crackers or bread and fruit.


Cooking terms beginning with the letter "Q"

•Quahog - The American Indian name for the East Coast hard shell clam. It is also used to describe the largest of these hard shell clams. Other names used are, chowder or large clam.

•Quatre-epices - A French spice mixture containing ground mixture is used to season stews and pâtes.

•Quenelle - A dumpling made from fish or meat forcemeat.

•Quesadilla - Originally a corn masa empanada filled with meat then deep fried. Modern versions found throughout restaurants in the US are made with flour tortillas that are filled with cheese and folded over when cooked.

• Quiche - An open top pie made of eggs, milk or cream, and anything else within reach. The most famous of these is the quiche Lorraine of Alsace, made with bacon and Gruyere cheese.

•Quince - This yellow-skinned fruit looks and tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear. Its texture and flavor make it better cooked than raw. Its high pectin content make it ideal for use in jams, jellies, and preserves.

• Quinoa - Pronounced (KEEN-wah). A natural whole grain grown in South America. Originally used by the Incas, it can be substituted for rice in most recipes. It is a unique grain in that it serves as a complete protein containing essential amino acids.


Cooking terms beginning with the letter "R"

•Radicchio - A member of the chicory family with red and white leaves. The different varities range from mild to extremely bitter. The round Verona variety are the most common in the US. Radicchio is used most often in salads, but is quite suitable to cooked preparations.

•Ragout - A French term for stew made of meat, fish, or vegetables.

•Ras el Hanout - This is a powdered spice mixture, used in Arabic and north African cooking, with a sweet and pungent flavor. See the definition under charmoula for a description of the ingredients and its applications.

•Ratatouille - A vegetable stew consisting of onions, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes flavored with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Traditionally simmered until all of the vegetables are quite soft and the flavor has blended into one, ratatouille takes on the appearance of marmalade. Newer versions reduce the cooking time, allowing the vegetables to retain some of their original identity. • Ravioli - Stuffed pasta dough served in broth or with sauce.

• Remoulade - This classic French sauce is made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It's served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.

•Rennet - An extract from the stomach of lambs and calves used in cheese making to coagulate milk. There are also rennets obtained from vegetables such as cardoons.

•Rigatoni - Large pasta tubes with ridged sides.

•Rijsttafel - A Dutch word, meaning "rice table". It is a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal consisting of hot rice accompanied by several (sometimes 20 or 40) small, well-seasoned side dishes of seafoods, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.

•Rillette - A coarse, highly spiced spread made of meat or poultry and always served cold. This is called potted meat because rillettes are often covered with a layer of lard and stored for a period of time to age the mixture.

•Rissole - Small pies similar to empanadas and piroshki. They are filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese and deep fried.

•Rissole - The British version of small savory pies.

•Risotto - An Italian preparation of rice resulting in a creamy liaison with stock and butter. This may be served as a first course, main course, or side dish and embellished with meat, seafood,cheese, or vegetables. The best known version of this dish is risotto ala Milanese, with saffron and Reggiano parmesan cheese.

•Rojeeg - (Armenian) Grape juice and walnut candy.

•Rosti - A Swiss potato pancake made from cooked potatoes, sometimes flavored with bacon.

•Rouille - A thick sauce similar to aioli, made of dried chiles, garlic, and olive oil. Rouille is traditionally served with bouillabaisse and soup de poisson. Other recipes also add saffron and tomatoes.

•Roux - A mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews. Though usually made with butter, rouxs are also made with bacon or poultry fats, margarine, and vegetable oil. The mixture is cooked for a brief time to remove the raw taste of the starch from the flour. Longer cooking results in a darker color, which is favorable in Creole cooking where rouxs are cooked for long periods until they reach a dark brown color.


Cooking terms beginning with the letter "S"

•Sabayon - See the definition under zabaglione.

•Sable - A rich short cookies similar to shortbread.

•Saffron - A spice consisting of the dried stigma of the Crocus sativus plant, originating in the eastern Mediterranean, now grown as well in Spain, France, and South America. It has a characteristic pungent aroma and flavor and bright yellow color. It is also very expensive and used sparingly. Saffron is indispensable in paella and bouillabaisse. A good substitute for the yellow color is tumeric, though nothing can replace its unique flavor.

•Salt Cod - Cod that has been salted and dried to preserve it for long periods of time. Salt cod is evident in cuisines of the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. To reconstitute the fish, you must soak it in many changes of fresh water to remove the excess salt. You may then poach the fish until it is just flaking off the bone, or use it raw for other preparations.

•Saltimbocca - An Italian dish comprised of thin slices of veal, rolled around ham and cheese, seasoned with sage and braised until tender.

•Saltpeter - The name for potassium nitrate, which is used primarily in the meat industry to help preserve cured meats. It gives a distinctive pink color to hams and bacon. There are recent reports from the USDA that nitrates, and nitrites are carcinogenic.

•Sambuca - An anise-flavored, not-to-sweet Italian liqueur which is usually served with 2 or 3 dark-roasted coffee beans floating on top.

•Samosa - An Indian snack of deep fried dumplings stuffed with curried vegetables. Most common of the fillings is potatoes or cauliflower with peas.

•Sarma - (Armenian) Ground lamb or beef mixed with onions, rice and spices; rolled up in grape or cabbage leaves and cooked in a tomato sauce.

•Sashimi - A Japanese dish of raw fish, shellfish, and mollusks served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled vegetables. Sushi is similar but it is served with vinegared rice, and may also include nori seaweed, vegetables, and strips of cooked eggs similar to omelets. A common accompaniment to this is pickled ginger.

• Satay - Also spelled sate and sateh. These are pieces of meat or fish threaded onto skewers and grilled over a flame. Several variations of these are seen throughout Southeast Asia. A spicy peanut sauce is served with meat satay in Vietnam and Thailand.

•Savarin - A ring-shaped cake made of a rich yeast dough, soaked with a rum syrup, and filled with pastry or whipped cream.

•Scampi - Another word for langoustine. This word is used in the US as a description of shrimp broiled with butter, lemon, and garlic.

•Scone - A small, lightly sweetened pastry similar to American biscuits, often flavored with currants.

•Sea Urchin - A round spiny creature found off the coasts of Europe and America. The only edible portion is the coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.

•Semifreddo - Meaning "half cold", this is gelato with whipped cream folded into it.

•Semolina - A coarse flour made from durum wheat, used in making pasta and bread.

•Seviche - A Spanish dish of raw fish, scallops, or shrimp marinated in citrus juices until the flesh becomes "cooked". Onions, peppers, and chiles are then added to finish the dish.

•Shakareeshi - (Armenian) Shortbread-like sugar-butter cookie that melts in your mouth.

•Shish - Armenian word for skewer.

•Shortbread - A butter-rich cookie from Scotland, often seasoned with lemon, cinnamon, ginger, almonds, and cumin.

•Shoyu - Japanese for Soy Sauce.

•Skate wings - This is the edible portion of the skate. The flesh, when cooked, separates into little fingers of meat and has a distinctive rich, gelatinous texture. The taste is similar to that of scallops.

•Smorgasbord - A Swedish buffet of many dishes served as hors d'oeuvres or a full meal. Similar buffets are served throughout Scandinavia, as well as the Soviet Union. Common elements of a sm"rgasbord are pickled herring, marinated vegetables, smoked and cured salmon and sturgeon, and a selection of canapés.

•Soba Noodle - Buckwheat noodles resembling spaghetti, used in Japanese cooking.

•Soojukh - Armenian spicy air dried sausage. Strong cumin flavor.

•Soy Sauce - A condiment from Southeast Asia and Japan made from fermented soy beans. There are different varieties of soy sauce available. Darker, stronger sauces are used for cooking while lighter ones are used as sauces and seasonings. Japanese soy sauce is called shoyu.

•Spatzle -This is a coarse noodle from Alsace and Germany made of flour, eggs, oil, and water. The soft dough is dropped into boiling water(with a spatzle press) and poached until cooked through. The noodle is then fried in butter or oil and served as a side dish to meat dishes. Spatzle may also be flavored with cheese, mushrooms, and herbs.

•Speck - Cured and smoked pork flank.

•Spiedini - An Italian word for skewers of meat or fish grilled over a flame or under a broiler.

•Spring Roll - Thin sheets of dough which are filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables and rolled into logs. Spring rolls are most often deep fried, though they may also be steamed. Chinese versions use wheat doughs, while the Vietnamese and Thai versions use a rice paper wrapper.

•Stock - A flavored broth from meats, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. These are the basis of sauce and soup making.

•Strudel - Paper thin pastry rolled around sweet fillings of fruit, nuts, or cheese. Savory versions of this are similar to the Russian coulibiac.

•Sughtor - Armenian word for garlic.

•Sweetbread - The culinary term for the thymus gland of an animal. Those of veal and lamb are most commonly eaten. The pancreas is also considered a sweetbread, but its taste and texture is inferior to that of the thymus gland.

•Syllabub - An English dessert comprised mainly of whipped cream sweetened with sugar and flavored with sherry, brandy, or cointreau. Lemon zest, fruit preserves or puree may also be swirled into the cream.

•Sugar Syrup - Differentiating from natural syrups, this term refers to a solution of sugar and water. Simple syrups are made with equal quantities of water and sugar. Heavy syrup is made with twice as much sugar as water. These types of syrups are used in making sorbets, soft drinks, and for soaking cakes.


Cooking terms beginning with the letter "T"

•Tabasco Sauce - A thin spicy sauce made of vinegar, red peppers, and salt, developed in America by Edmund McIlhenny at his home on Avery Island before the U.S. Civil War. McIlhenny Company is the sole supplier of Tabasco® Pepper Sauce to this day. This sauce is commonly used with Creole food, chili con carne, and eggs.

•Tabbouleh - A Lebanese salad made of softened bulgur tossed with vegetables and seasoned with lemon and mint.

•Tagine - A Moroccan dish named after the cooking utensil in which it has been cooked. These stews may contain poultry, fish, meat, or vegetables and are highly spiced with sweet overtones common in North African cuisine.

•Taglierini - A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than tagliatelle, measuring approximately 3mm across.

•Tagliatelle - A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than fettucine, measuring approximately 6mm across.

•Taheen - (Armenian) Sesame oil or the juice of roasted sesame seeds. (See Tahini).

•Tahn - An Armenian yogurt drink made from diluted plain yogurt.

•Tahini - A paste made from sesame seeds, used primarily in hummus and baba ganoush.

•Tamarind - This is the fruit pod of trees originally from Africa, now common in Asia, India, and the West Indies. The taste is bittersweet with citrus overtones. The pulp is very sticky and difficult to work with. Common forms sold are syrups and bricks of the pulp. It is used extensively in dishes of these regions as well as in candy and drinks.

•Tapenade - A paste made from cured black olives seasoned with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, capers, lemon, and marc or cognac. This is common in Provence, where it is served with croutons and raw vegetables to dip. This also makes a good sauce for grilled meats and strong flavored fish.

•Tarama - (Armenian) Caviar or fish roe. Note: Taram is the Armenian word for money.

•Taramasalata - A Greek dip made of olive oil and fish roe with the consistency similar to that of mayonnaise. American versions commonly use salmon, whitefish, or carp roe. This is served with raw vegetables and bread or croutons.

•Tartare - This is a term which has several meanings. It is often used to describe the preparation of raw beef called steak tartare. Raw beef is chopped finely and served with minced onion, parsley, capers, and seasoned with anything from Worcestershire sauce to Tabasco sauce. Tartare sauce describes a mayonnaise based sauce with capers, onion, hard cooked eggs, cornichons, and herbs.

•Tarte Flambé - An Alsatian pizza with a thin crust topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon. This is also called an Alsatian firepie.

•Tarte Tatin - A type of tart in which the pastry is baked on top of the fruit, then inverted when finished baking. Apples are traditionally used, becoming soft and caramelized during baking.

•Terrine - See the description under pates.

•Tiramisu - An Italian dessert which gained dramatic popularityin the US. Tiramiso consists of sponge cake, soaked with an espresso syrup and layered with a sweetened mascarpone cheese and chocolate sauce.

•Toad in the Hole - An English dish consisting of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.

•Tocino - Cured ham with added color.

•Tofu - Also called bean curd, this is made from processed soy beans. It comes in various degrees of firmness and is a very high source of protein.

•Torta Rustica - A large pie similar to coulibiac, filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Other versions use meat or sausage in the filling. The crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt before using.

•Tortellini - A stuffed pasta made from little rounds of dough, then twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything and are served sauced or in a simple broth.

•Tortelloni - This is a larger version of the tortellini.

•Tortilla - A thin pancake made of cornmeal or flour. They are served both soft and fried, being an integral part of Mexican and Latin American cooking.

•Tournedo - A slice of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, approximately an inch thick. This term is rarely used in America today, being replaced by filet of beef or filet mignon.

•Tourte - Similar to pâté en croute, these are pies made in a round shape and served cold. They are generally highly seasoned and preparations are indicative to the region they are from.

•Trennette - Flat noodles, wider than fettucine, that have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.

•Tripe - The stomach of beef, pork, and sheep.

•Truffle - This is a tuber of unusual flavor and aroma. It is savored in Italian and French cookery, and due to its scarcity, draws a very high price. The truffle has yet to be successfully cultivated, though a fine substitute is now being grown in California. The black truffle of Perigord and the white truffle of Piedmont are highly prized for their exceptional flavors. The black truffle requires cooking to allow the flavors to be fully achieved. Conversely, the white truffle is best when shaved directly on the dish before eating. The aroma of truffles is strong enough to permeate egg shells when the two are stored together. Due to their short growing season and large demand, truffles can reach a price of up to $800 per pound. Frozen and canned forms are more accessible, but their taste never reaches that of fresh truffles.

• Tuiles - Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance. They are often flavored with almond slices, lemon, and vanilla.

•Tumeric - A bright yellow spice used primarily in commercial curry powder. It is also used in sweet pickles and for various dishes requiring a yellow color. This is used as a coloring substitute for saffron.

•Tzatziki Sauce - Dipping sauce derived from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice. Served with calamari.

•Tzimmes - Traditionally served on Rosh Hashana, this sweet Jewish dish consists of variuos combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables. All are flavored with honey and often with cinnamon as well. The flavors of this casserole-style dish develop by cooking it at a very low temperature for a very long time.

•Tzoog - Armenian general word for fish.

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