Faggot - [French] a stalk of celery tied with parsley, bay leaf
and thyme. Used in cooking soups, then discarded; Small savory cake made of pork
offal, onion and bread, then baked.
Faison - [Spanish] pheasant; name given to many game birds.
Fajitas - [Spanish] little belts; marinated and grilled skirt
steak; called arracheras in Mexico; refers to the cut of meat, not the way it is
served; a lower-fat substitute is flank steak.
Falafel - A Middle Eastern specialty made up of small, deep-fried
croquettes or balls made of highly spiced, ground chickpeas (garbanzos). They are
generally served inside pita bread, sandwich style, but can also be served as appetizers.
A yogurt or tahini-based sauce is often served with falafel.
Farce - [French] forcemeat.
Farci - [French] stuffed.
Farfalle - Bow tie shaped pasta.
Farina - [Italian] a fine meal or flour made from wheat, nuts
and potatoes. In the United States it is known as cream of wheat.
Farmer's cheese - Uncreamed cottage cheese; also called baker's
or pot cheese; dry-cured cottage cheese may be substituted.
Fava Beans - Broad beans. A Mediterranean bean similar to lima
beans. It comes in a large pod which, unless very young, is inedible. Fava beans
can be purchased dried, cooked in cans and, infrequently, fresh. If you find fresh
fava beans, choose those with pods that are not bulging with beans, which indicates
age. Fava beans have a very tough skin, which should be removed by blanching before
cooking. They are very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. They
can be cooked in a variety of ways and are often used in soups. Also called faba
bean, broad bean and horse bean.
Feed bag - Ranch eating place; also mess house or nose bag.
Fegato - [Italian] liver
Feijoa - Fruit native to Mexico; has a thick green skin, which
should always be peeled, and pale yellow flesh; has a subtle flavor, which is as
flavorful as pineapple, with a hint of mint; the flesh yields to gentle pressure
when ripe and can be used in fruit sauces; pineapple with a touch of lime juice
can be substituted. Also a fruit grown in New Zealand with a thin green skin and
a flavor reminiscent of strawberry, banana and pineapple.
Feijoada - A Brazilian dish very similar to cassoulet, made
with black beans. Sausage, bacon, ham, and various cuts of pork cooked in with the
beans. The traditional accompaniments are plain white rice, cooked greens, fresh
orange slices, and a very hot sauce, similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca.
Toasted cassava flour is used as a condiment, to be added by each diner.
Fen Berry - Another name for a small variety of cranberry -
also known as cram-berry, crawberry, moss-millions, sow-berry, sour-berry, marsh
wort, bog-berry and swamp red-berry. It is found in many English recipes.
Fennel - Fennel is a crisp, aromatic vegetable with a licorice
flavor and celery-like texture. the bulb is delicious raw in salads (and great cooked
as well), and the feathery fronds can be used as seasoning. The rounder bulbs seem
to be more tender than those that are really flat. (Some markets label it anise,
which it is not.)
Fennel seeds - These oval, greenish seeds come from a bulbless
variety of fennel. Available whole or ground, they have a slight licorice flavor
Fenugreek - A very hard seed grown in the Middle East, which
is used as a spice. Its dominant flavor and aroma is recognizable in commercial
Fermented black beans - This pungent Chinese specialty consists
of small black soybeans preserved in salt and sold in covered jars or plastic bags.
Available in Asian markets, sometimes under the name "salty black beans." They will
Feta cheese - A classic white Greek cheese, usually made with
sheep's milk. It's crumbly, and has a tangy flavor.
Fettuccini - Flat narrow pasta egg noodles less than wide and
a bit thicker than tagliatelle.
Fiambre - [Spanish] cooked meat and vegetable salad that is
Ficelle - [French] string. This term is used in cooking to describe
foods that have been tied to a string and cooked in a broth. This was a practice
in villages when a communal pot was used to cook food. The string was used in order
to allow the owners to identify and recover their piece of meat. This is generally
applied to tough cuts of meat that require long periods of cooking. Yet, some restaurants
are using the term to describe a more tender cut of meat that is poached in a rich
broth. Beef filet and duck breasts are two good choices for this type of preparation.
Fiddlehead ferns - A barely emerged, tightly coiled (hence the
name) shoot of the ostrich fern. Their flavor is reminiscent of asparagus and artichoke--
some say with a touch of green beans. Available only in spring, and locally - they
will not ship.
Fideo - [Spanish] vermicelli; nest of thin pasta.
Figs - Fresh figs have soft flesh with many tiny, edible seeds,
and range from purple to green. Also readily available dried.
Filberts - Hazelnuts.
File powder - A powder made of dried sassafras leaves which
has a glutinous quality and gives to certain dishes (as gumbos) a delicate flavor
Filet (or fillet) - A piece of meat, fish or poultry which
is boneless or has had all the bones removed.
Filet mignon - A thick, boneless and extremely tender cut of
beef from the tail side of the tenderloin. (Not however the most flavorful of steaks.)
Filete - [Spanish] filet.
Filete migon - [Spanish] filet mignon.
Financier - A small cake or cookie that is made with ground
nuts and whipped egg whites. These are soft like sponge cake, and have a rich flavor
Fines Herbes - A combination of very finely chopped fresh herbs
used for seasoning. Traditionally includes chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon.
Dried herbs may also be used, but their delicacy is lost.
Fingido - [Spanish] false; ersatz.
Finnan Haddie - [Scottish] smoked haddock.
Firkin - The sourdough container on a chuck wagon; also dough
Fish Cakes, Japanese - Fish paste molded into cakelike shapes
and grilled or deep fried. Available frozen in Japanese markets.
Fish Sauce - A condiment made from fermented anchovies, salt
and water. Common in Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai cooking. The Cambodian version
nam pla, is considered the finest, and has the richest flavor. The Vietnamese
variety, nuoc mam, most widely available, is milder. The different varieties
are interchangeable. Available in Oriental, Asian and some supermarkets.
Five spice powder - A dry spice mix used in Chinese cooking
consisting of cinnamon, star anise, Szechuan pepper, clove, and fennel.
Flageolet - These immature kidney beans harvested before maturity
are medium in size (about one-half inch long), kidney shaped, and a pale green.
Quick-cooking and very fresh-tasting, the classic treatment features cream and herbs.
Flake - Separate cooked fish into individual flaky slivers;
grate chocolate or cheese into small slivers.
Flambe - [French] served flaming, accomplished by pouring spirits
over food and igniting them.
Flameado - [Spanish] flamed; flamb ; served flaming.
Flameproof - Cookware that can be used directly on a burner
or under a broiler without damage.
Flan - This is a term that may be used to describe two different
preparations. The first use of this word is describes an open top tart that is filled
with pastry cream and topped with fruit. Flan is used in Spanish and Mexican cooking
to describe an egg custard that is baked in a large shallow dish, and flavored with
caramel. The dish is inverted when served and the excess caramel is used as a sauce
for the flan. The flan may be flavored with orange, anise, cinnamon, or liqueur.
[Spanish] traditional Mexican and Southwestern baked caramel custard dessert; similar
to the French "creme caramel" or "creme brulee."
Flan ring - A metal pan for baking tarts, with low sides and
a detachable side ring.
Flank steak - The triangular-shaped muscle from the underside
of a flank of beef; when broiled, served rare and sliced thin, as horizontally as
possible, this is tender and juicy, and is called London Broil. Flank steak is also
served with a stuffing, rolled and baked.
Flat-Iron Steak - Beef shoulder top blade cut.
Flatfish - Includes flounders, flukes, sole, dabs, and plaices.
Distinguished by their eyes (on top of their head), and swimming style (on their
side). Have thin, fine-grained flesh; all can be used interchangeably.
Flautas - [Spanish] flutes; filled, tightly rolled, and deep-fried
Fleisch - [German] meat.
Fleur de sel - [French] "flower of the salt." A rare sea salt
harvested by hand in Brittany, France and available only in limited quantities.
Composed of the natural crystal formations found on the surface of a salt marsh.
The crystals are sun-dried only, thereby maintaining many of the nutrients not found
in typical prepared salts. Fleur de Sel's unrefined nature lends itself to be served
as a condiment, rather than a seasoning, adding both texture and flavor to a meal.
Fleuron - A small crescent shaped pastry made of puff dough
that is used to garnish fish dishes and soups.
Flor - [Spanish] flower.
Florentine - [French] This is used to describe foods that are
cooked in the style of Florence. The word is most commonly associated with dishes
containing spinach and sometimes a cream sauce. Steak cooked ala Florentine is a
large T-bone steak, rubbed with olive oil and garlic, grilled and served with fresh
lemon on the side.
Flores - [Spanish] blossoms.
Flour - This is the finely ground grain of wheat, corn, rice,
oat, rye, or barley. Unless specified, this term refers to wheat flour. Flour is
milled from a variety of wheats containing different amounts of protein. The different
levels of protein give each flour unique qualities.
All-purpose flour sometimes called general-purpose or family flour is the most
commonly used, especially by the domestic market. This flour is milled from both
hard and soft wheats, giving it the strength needed in bread baking, but leaving
it tender enough for cakes and pastries.
Bread flour has a higher protein content so that it may withstand the constant
expansion of the cell walls during proofing and baking.
Cake flour is milled from soft wheat, thus containing a very low protein content
and preventing the development of gluten. Pastry flour is of relatively low protein
content, containing just enough to help stabilize the products during leavening.
Whole-wheat flours also called graham flour or entire wheat flour are milled
from the whole kernel, thus giving it a higher fiber content and a substantial protein
content. Semolina is milled from hard durum wheat, being used mainly for commercial
baking and pasta production.
Cake Flour: A high starch flour made from
soft wheat. Ideal for baking.
Bread Flour: A high gluten flour made from
hard wheat. Perfect for yeast breads.
All-Purpose Flour: Half cake flour, half
bread flour. Suitable for all applications.
Whole Wheat Flour: A high fiber flour that
contains the wheat germ. Usually blended with other flours.
Self-Rising: A mixture of all-purpose flour,
baking powder and salt.
Stone Ground: Wheat that is ground between
two slowly moving stones. This process creates less heat than the usual high speed
steel grinding. Some cooks believe the stone grinding method produces a better product.
Semolina: Coarsely ground, hard flour (usually duram). Used
for making pasta.
Other flours which are not as common are buckwheat, corn, potato, rice, rye and
soy. These are used for special recipes or for special diets and can be found in
health food, specialty stores and some supermarkets.
Fluff-duff - Ranch term for fancy foods such as cakes or puddings.
Flute - To make decorative indentations, as on the rim of a
Focaccia - An Italian flatbread made with pizza or bread dough,
that can be baked plain or topped with onions, zucchini, eggplant, cheese, or whatever
Foie Gras - [French] literally translated, "fat liver"; but
the term is used to describe the fattened liver of both duck and geese. The birds
are force fed a rich mixture to help expedite this process. The largest production
of commercial foie gras is done in France and Israel. The US will only allow this
product to be imported in a cooked stage, either canned, vacuum-sealed, or frozen.
These are inferior products and will never highlight the true delicacy of foie gras.
Fold - To add one ingredient or mixture to another using a large
metal spoon or spatula. Gentle process that often keeps mixed air fluffed throughout
a mixture, such as in angel food cakes.
Fond - The brown bits which stick to the bottom of a pan. Packed
with incredible flavors from the food you have cooked. It is easy to remove by adding
a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called
deglazing and can be done with wine, brandy, fortified wines, stock, cider, fruit
juices or most typically a combination of two. Be careful if you use wine to remove
the pan from the heat so the alcohol doesn't ignite and blow up in your face.
Fondant - An icing made of sugar syrup and glucose, which is
cooked to a specific temperature and then kneaded to a smooth, soft paste. This
paste can then be colored or flavored and used as an icing for cakes and petit fours.
Fondue - There are several different types of fondue, the most
notable of which is cheese fondue. This is a Swiss specialty in which cheese is
melted with wine, eggs, and seasonings and served with bread and fresh vegetables.
Fondue Bourguignonne is a pot of hot oil into which the diners will cook strips
of meat and dip them into an array of sauces on the table.
Similar to this is fondue Chinois where the hot oil is replaced by a rich chicken
or meat broth. The meat, and fish too, are then cooked in this stock and dipped
The Japanese have a dish called shabu shabu, which is similar to this type of
fondue. Named for the swishing sound that the meat makes in the broth, this dish
is also served with vegetables and noodles in to be eaten along with the meat.
A chocolate fondue is a chocolate bath, flavored with liqueur and eaten with
bread, cakes and fruit, like fresh berries.
Fonduta - An Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and
served over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.
Fool - Cold dessert consisting of fruit puree and whipped cream.
Forcemeat - A rich, highly seasoned paste containing meat or
fish, herbs and vegetables finely minced and pounded, used as a stuffing or garnish.
Formaggio - An Italian cheese.
Fortified - Supplied with more vitamins and minerals than were
present in the natural state.
Fougasse - A flatbread from France that was once served sweetened
with sugar and orange water. It is now more commonly seen as a bread eaten with
savory dishes. In this case, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with
herbs or salt before baking.
Foyot - This is a variation of a bearnaise sauce with the addition
of a well reduced meat glaze.
Fraises - [French] strawberries.
Framboise - [French] a raspberry-flavored liqueur with a high
Frangipane - A candy-like pastry cream made of butter, eggs,
flour, and finely ground almonds or macaroons. Modern versions will use a combination
of cornstarch and flour.
Frapp - Sweetened fruit juices frozen until semi-hard, then
Free-range chicken or turkey - In theory, these birds are much
better than the standard. They're fed differently, given fewer drugs, and have more
room to roam. However, the quality is inconsistent and the price often outrageously
Freezing - Process whereby food is solidified or preserved through
chilling and storing it at 0C or 32F degrees.
French chop - A rib lamb chop.
French fry - To cook in hot fat which entirely covers the food,
often in a special wire basket.
Fresas - [Spanish] strawberries.
Fresco - [Spanish] fresh.
Fresno chile - A fresh chile; similar in size and appearance
to a ripe jalape o; bright red and thick-fleshed; great in salsas and ceviches;
usually available only in the fall; substitute ripe jalape os if unavailable.
Fricadillee - [French] meat balls, made with minced pork and
veal, spices, white bread crumbs, cream and egg, then poached in stock or shallow-fried
in a pan.
Fricassee - [French] stew made of chicken or veal cut into pieces
and cooked in a gravy. Though chicken is the most common form of this type of stew,
fish, vegetables, and other meats are prepared in this manner.
Frijol blanco - [Spanish] navy bean.
Frijoles - [Spanish] beans; usually refers to stewed pinto beans;
varieties are Anasazi, black turtle, bollito, pinto or red (Mexican strawberry).
Frijoles refritos - [Spanish] refried beans; a paste of stewed
pinto beans fried in fat with onions and garlic and frequently includes chiles.
Fritada - [Spanish] stew usually made with goat meat, which
always contains some animal blood.
Frito - [Spanish] fried.
Frittata - An Italian open-faced omelet.
Fritter - Food that has been dipped in batter and deep fried
or saut ed. These may consist of vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, or fruit. The
food may be dipped in the batter or mixed with the batter and dropped into the hot
fat to form little balls. Japanese tempura fried foods are a type of fritter, though
this term is not applied to it.
Fritto - [Italian] fried
Fritto Misto - An Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the
Japanese tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and fish are dipped in
a light batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the
Frituras - [Spanish] fritters.
Fromage - A French cheese.
Frost - to coat a cake or petit fours with an icing; to dip
the rim of a glass in egg white and caster sugar and then chill in a refrigerator
until set; to dip the rim of a glass in lemon juice and coat with salt, then chill
in the freezer.
Fruit paste - A firm, but gelatinous, sweet paste of a fruit
such as mango, papaya or guava, eaten for dessert.
Fruit pectin - A substance found naturally in fruits such as
apples, quince, and all citrus fruits. Pectin's ability to gel liquids makes it
a key ingredient in jelly and jam making. Pectin from citrus fruit is refined and
bottled or powdered. You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid form, or use high
pectin fruits in the recipe. Do not substitute one for the other.
Fruit Sweetener - If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup fruit sweetener,
substitute 1/4 cup concentrated apple juice plus 1/4 cup granulated fructose. Granulated
fructose can be found among the dietary foods or sugars in the supermarket.
Fry - To cook in fat in a skillet. Food must be turned to brown
and fry on all sides.
Fry bread - Native American fried bread; flat discs of dough that
are deep-fried and topped with honey or refried beans; usually found in Arizona
and New Mexico.
Fugu - [Japanese] swellfish; globefish; blowfish; ballonfish;
puffer. Fugu is caught in winter only, and it is eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or
fugu-sashi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed to
prepare this fish in Japan, since it contains a deadly poison.
Ful - An Egyptian dried bean. Available in specialty food shops.
The best are the small variety.
Fumet - [French] an aromatic broth made for use in soups and
sauces. The flavor of a fumet is usually concentrated on one item, though multiple
ingredients may be used. The stock is then reduced to concentrate this flavor. Fish
and vegetable broths are more commonly called fumets, but meat may also be used.
Fundido - [Spanish] fondue.
Fungi - Mushrooms.
Fusilli - [Italian] spiral shaped pasta. Some versions are shaped
like a spring. Other versions are shaped like a twisted spiral.