Ladyfingers - Known in Italy as "savoiardi." Sweet, light, delicate
sponge cake roughly shaped like a rather large, fat finger. It's used as an accompaniment
to ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Ladyfingers are also employed as an integral
part of some desserts, including Charlottes. Ladyfingers can be made at home or
purchased in bakeries or supermarkets."
According to the Parisian cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, leftover sponge cake,
brioche, or genoise cake may be used in place of ladyfingers. They advise cooks
to be careful, for ladyfinger batter is very fragile. They recommend folding the
flour and yolks in very carefully into the meringue so that the whites don't lose
Ladyfingers may be stored up to a week in an airtight container. They may also
be frozen to extend their useful life.
Lagniappe - An old Creole word for "something extra." Soup meat
is the lagniappe from vegetable soup preparation.
Lait, au - Food prepared with milk.
Lamington tin - [Australia] 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
Land cress - Land cress, curly cress, broadleaf cress and upland
cress are all quick-growing, delicate textured greens that have the sharp, peppery
flavor of watercress. Great in salads and sandwiches or paired with delicate vegetables
such as beets or potatoes.
Langouste - [French] spiny lobster, differentiating from Maine
lobsters in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that
can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coasts
of South America, Australia and the West Indies.
Langoustine - [French] Dublin prawn. These are small pink crustaceans
resembling crayfish, with a taste and texture closest to lobster. Their claws are
quite long but have no edible meat in them. Like the langouste, these are found
in warm waters.
Langue - [French] tongue
Langue de chat - [French] Flat, finger-shaped, crisp biscuit
or cookie served with cold desserts.
Lapin - [French] rabbit
Lard - The fat separated from the fatty tissue of pork. It has
a characteristic nutty flavor, and is usually white in color. Often used in pie
crusts, biscuits and other baked goods. The mainstay of AmeriMex cooking. Used in
making tamales. Also, to cover with strips of fat, or to insert fat strips into
meat with a larding needle.
Larding - To introduce fat to lean meat by threading slivers
of bacon or salt pork through it. Or to thread vegetables into the meat. Larding
with vegetables gives the meat a contrast of color plus the addition of flavor.
This practice is not used as often now because of the higher quality of meat available.
Lardons - Strips of fat, bacon or salt pork for larding meat;
inserted in lean meats to add flavor.
Larrup - molasses; also called blackstrap.
Lasagna, Lasagne - Sheets of pasta which are layered with sauce
and cheese and baked au gratin. Meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables are all used
as fillings for this dish.
Lassi - [Indian] A frothy yogurt drink, sweet or salty, flavored
with pistachios, cardamom, cumin or rose water.
Lattice topping - A topping consisting of strips of dough crisscrossed
atop a pie.
Laurel - Tree on which bay leaves are grown; used as a seasoning
in many dishes, the leaves should always be removed before serving.
Leaf Lard - Leaf lard is the highest grade of lard (lard is
pork fat, the term is usually used to refer to rendered pork fat suitable for cooking).
It comes from the visceral, or "soft," fat from around the kidneys and loin of the
pig. It lacks any real pork or meaty flavor, making it an excellent neutral-flavored
cooking fat with a high smoking point.
Leaf lard is particularly prized by bakers for use in producing moist, flaky
Leaf lard can be tricky to track down. Some small butcher shops make and sell
it. Rendering your own is quite simply if you can find the fat. Simple put the pork
fat in a pot and gently heat it on the stove or in the oven until the fat is melted
and any bits of meat are rendered out (they will be browned and crisp and delicious,
by the way). Transfer the lard to a container with a sealable lid and store, chilled,
for up to a month.
Leavening agent - An ingredient that causes dough or batter
to rise, lightening its texture and increasing its volume, such as beaten eggs or
egg whites, baking powder, baking soda and yeast.
Leber - [German] liver
Leche - [Spanish] milk
Leche de cabra - [Spanish] goat's milk
Leche de coco - [Spanish] coconut milk
Leche quemada - [Spanish] burned milk
Lechuga - [Spanish] lettuce
Leeks - Leeks look like very large green onions (scallion) in
the produce section. The leek is related to both garlic and the onion even though
its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle. Because they are so sweet,
leeks are often cooked and served as a side vegetable. Wash carefully to remove
the dirt between the layers. Look for leeks with lots of white.
Lefse - [Norwegian] A thin, flat potato pancake, about the consistency
of a tortilla and cooked by similar method. Very mild, starchy, slightly sweet taste.
Lefse is enhanced by the addition of peanut butter, brown sugar or lutefisk.
Legumes - [French] vegetables; plants with seed pods, such as
peas and beans. Seeds of a legume are most often soaked and used in soups, stews
and baked dishes.
Lekvar - a Hungarian-style fruit puree, usually made from dried
plums or apricots cooked with sugar to make a smooth, thick fruit filling. Lekvar
is used in hamantaschen, Danish pastries, and sweet yeast breads.
Lemon - The most useful of all fruits in European cooking (the
lime being the most useful in Asian and tropical cooking), the lemon adds mild,
flavorful acid to dishes.
Lemon sole - A small flat fish resembling sole or flounder.
Lemon verbena - Fragrant, sweet, lemony herb that makes a good
tea and adds delicate flavor to custards and similar desserts.
Lemon zest - The outer part of the lemon skin (yellow part of
the peel only), grated fine and used as a flavoring agent or garnish.
Lemon grass - Pale green stalk about 18 inches long, resembling
a scallion or green onion. While not related to a lemon, it imparts a flavor much
like the fruit. Found in Asian markets and some supermarkets.
Lengua - [Spanish] tongue
Lenteja - [Spanish] lentil
Lentils - Flat and round, lentils are the fastest cooking of
all dried beans. The three major varieties are Le Puy, the most intensely flavored
lentil; common green or brown lentils; and yellow or red lentils, which are popular
in Indian cooking-- particularly Dal.
Levadura - [Spanish] yeast
Liaison - The process of thickening a sauce, soup or stew. This
includes all rouxs, starch and water mixtures (slurries), beurre marni and egg yolks
with or without cream. Egg yolks must be tempered with hot liquid before adding
to the liquid in order to prevent curdling.
Lick - molasses; also called blackstrap or larrup.
Licuadora - [Spanish] electric blender.
Lighter Bake - made by Sunsweet - a 100% fat- and cholesterol-free
baking ingredient that replaces butter, margarine, oil or shortening in scratch
recipes and packaged mixes. Made from a blend of dried plums and apples, this new
fat "imposter" creates moist, chewy baked goods that are lower in fat. Lighter Bake
is located in the cooking oil or baking ingredients section of supermarkets nationwide.
Lightnin' bread - Quick breads leavened with baking soda or
Lily buds - [Chinese] Also known as tiger lily buds or golden
needles. Dried day lily buds that are nutritious and sweet.
Lima - [Spanish] lime
Lima agria - [Spanish] Bitter lime used in Yucatan.
Lima beans - Flat, green-tinged beans (called butter beans in
the South), which can be parboiled and buttered or used in stews and soups.
Lime - Stronger and less fragrant than the lemon. Its juice
can be used instead of lemon in almost every instance. The zest of the lime is as
useful as lemon zest.
Limon - [Spanish] Lemon; in Mexico it usually refers to the
small tart Mexican lime.
Limoncello - [Italian] Lemon liqueur; a digestif made only in
Italy along the Amalfi Coast and on the islands of Ischia and Capri. It is pronounced
Limones - [Spanish] Limes
Limousin Beef - A breed of cattle which is naturally lower in
fat and cholesterol. These cattle were brought to the United States from France
Linguine - Long, oval-shaped pasta noodles. Hand cut versions
of this are very narrow flat noodles.
Linzertorte - An Austrian pastry comprised of a short crust
dough flavored with ground almonds and hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest. This
is then spread with raspberry jam and topped with a cross-hatch of dough. Almond
paste is sometimes layered underneath the raspberry jam. Other versions of this
use fresh cranberries or apricots in the filling.
Liquados - [Spanish] Fresh fruit drinks.
Liqueur - Sweet alcoholic beverages flavored with fruits, herbs
or spices, usually served after dinner. Some, such as Amaretto and Grand Marnier,
are useful as flavorings in desserts.
Liquid Smoke - Find in the condiment section of supermarkets.
Littleneck clams - There are essentially two types of clams
- the softshell (or steamer) and the hardshell (or quahog). Littlenecks are the
smallest of the hardshells.
Livornaise - A sauce made with olive oil, egg yolks and anchovy
Lobster - Lobster is available in many forms - frozen, canned,
and as fresh cooked meat. But for "live lobster" the most crucial part of preparing
lobster is in the purchase. Be sure to chose a freshly caught, lively one, that
flips its tail and legs about in and out of the water, and one with a rock-hard
shell if possible. A 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pound live lobster will serve one person amply
and, if prepared with a stuffing or crumb topping, two persons.
Lobster mushroom - A wild mushroom that has a firm texture and
a red and orange color like lobster shells.
Lomo de puerco - [Spanish] pork loin
London broil - See "Flank steak."
Longhorn cheese - Mild Cheddar cheese produced in the United
States; any mild Cheddar can be substituted.
Lop Chong - [Chinese] sweet pork sausage. Find in any Oriental
Lotus leaves, dried - Very large leaves that, after reconstituting,
can be used as wrappers in Asian cuisine.
Lox - Smoked, oiled salmon.
Lumpia - Very large egg roll wrappers. Find frozen in Filipino
and Asian markets.
Lutefisk - [Norwegian] fish dish of dried cod, cured in lye,
then reconstituted by boiling. Traditionally served with clarified butter or in
white sauce and served with lefse. In its finest form, lutefisk has a delicately
mild buttery flavor and flaky consistency. In its not-so-fine form, it is reminiscent
of fish-flavored gelatin.
Lychee - A small fruit from China and the West Indies, with
a hard shell and sweet, juicy flesh. The flesh is white with a gelatinous texture
and a musky, perfumed flavor.
Lyle's Golden Syrup - [Great Britain] Light Karo syrup is the
Lyonnaise - [French] In the Lyons style, traditionally with
Lyonnaise Sauce - A classic French sauce preparation made with
sautéed onions, white wine and demi-glace. The sauce is strained before being served
with meats and sometime poultry.