Tuesday June 18th 2019


Achiote: Annatto seeds, used for seasoning and coloring

Adobo: A sauce made with vinegar, ohilies, and other seasonings

Almuerzo: Late breakfast or brunch

Antojito: Spanish word for “little whim,” a name for appetizers and snacks,

Atole: A thick, grainy beverage made with masa

Burrito: Large flour tortilla wrapped around a filling

Cazuela: Earthenware casserole

Cena: Late supper

Cerveza: Mexican beer

Chayote (vegetable pear).  - A tropical summer squash, the female chayote has a pale green skin and corrugated surface.  The male chayote, more commonly found in home gardens, is often covered with spines. If the chayote skin is not tough or spiny, there’s no need to peel before cooking.  When cooked, the seed is edible.

Chili Powder: Dried chilies are the main ingredients in this blend of ground spices commonly associated with “a bowl of red.” Depending on the chilies used, the powder varies in color, from reddish to dark brown, and in flavor; from spicy and slightly sweet to very peppery

Chiles: Chilies are the fiery soul of Mexican Recipes. While dozens of varieties are grown, the chilies necessary for Mexican Recipes are limited to those readily available in well-stocked markets. A note of caution: Chilies contain volatile oils which may burn your skin and make your eyes smart. When handling them, it is best to wear rubber gloves and avoid touching your face or eyes. Thoroughly wash any skin that comes into contact with chili oil.

Chimichanga: Fried burrito

Chorizo: Spicy Mexican sausage

Cilantro: Also known as coriander or Chinese parsley;  cilantro looks like green broadleaf parsley but the flavor is pungent, aromatic and peppery. Coarsely chop cilantro leaves and tender stem tips to add a unique flavor or use whole sprigs as a garnish. To store, stand in a jar of water; loosely cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate.

Comal: Round griddle used to bake tortillas

Comida: Main meal of the day, eaten in the afternoon

Coriander seeds: Dried, roasted seeds of the fresh cilantro plant are packaged whole or ground. Although the same plant produces cilantro and coriander; the coriander seed has a warmer; less pungent flavor than the cilantro leaf and is therefore not a substitute for the fresh herb.

Cumin: Sold as whole seeds or ground. Similar in taste to caraway seeds, has a warm, slightly bitter flavor It is commonly used in chili powder blends.

Desayuno: Light breakfast

Dried Red Chilies: - These are more important in Southwestern cooking than fresh ones because they are less seasonal. Look for cellophane bags of the 6- to 7-inch whole dried red New Mexico or California chilies or the shorter Ancho chilies in a Mexican grocery store or in the Mexican products section of a well-stocked market. Dried chilies are simmered or soaked in hot water before using. These chilies are also sold ground in small cellophane bags if you prefer to use pure ground chili rather than a blended chili powder.

Enchilada: Tortilla with filling and sauce

Epazote: A Mexican herb

Escabeche: Pickle or marinade

Frijoles: Spanish word for beans

Green Chilies: These 6- to 7~inch mild chilies are widely available canned, either whole or diced. Or you can buy fresh Anaheim or California green chilies and prepare them for cooking in the following way: Cut a small slit near the stem end of each chili. Place in a shallow-rimmed pan, 2 inches below preheated broiler, and broil, turning frequently; until blistered and lightly charred; Immediately place chilies in a plastic bag; seal. Let sweat until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skins, then remove and discard the stems, seeds and veins. Chilies may be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen.

Guacamole: Sauce made of seasoned, mashed avocados

Hominy:  A form of corn

Jalapeno peppers and Serrano chilies: These small green garnish chilies can be used interchangeably to give food a fiery punch. Although available canned or pickled, they are generally used fresh with the stems, seeds and membranes removed to make them less hot.

Jicama: This root vegetable, which looks like a giant-size turnip with brown skin, can be eaten raw or cooked. Cut off the peel with a knife to reach the crisp, white, slightly sweet flesh. Chinese cooks often use jicama as a substitute for water chestnuts.

Masa: Dough made from ground corn; used to make tortillas, tamales, and atoles

Masa Harina tortilla flour:  Dried masa flour

Merienda: Snack or light supper in late afternoon

Mezcal: Distilled liquor made from the century plant

Mole: Concoction or sauce made with chilies

Molinillo: Carved wooden beater used to prepare hot chocolate

Nacho: Appetizer made with chilies, cheese, and tortilla chips

Nopal: These leaves of the prickly pear cactus taste similar to pickled green beans. Look for ready-to-eat, diced nopales in jars or cans in the Mexican food section of well-stocked markets.

Olla: An earthenware pot

Oregano: Available fresh, dried or ground. Also called wild marjoram, this is a strong aromatic herb with a pleasant bitter undertone.

Panucho: A stuffed, fried tortilla

Pepitas: Pumpkin seeds

Piloncillo: Hard cone of dark brown sugar

Plantain: A variety of hard green banana, always eaten cooked

Pulque: Fermented sap of the century plant

Relleno: A filling or a stuffed poblano chili

Salsa: Spanish word for sauce; also the name for a specific table sauce

Sopa Seca:  “Dry soup”~a starchy casserole served as a separate course at comida

Taco: A tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling; may be crisp or soft

Tamales: Corn-based breads, often filled with meat or sweets, and steamed

Tamarind: A fruity pod

Tequila: Distilled liquor made from the century plant

Tomatillos: Similar in appearance to green cherry tomatoes enclosed in a papery husk, tomatillos have a mild acidic flavor. Remove husks and wash the sticky-skinned fruit before using. Both fresh and canned tomatillos are sold in well-stocked markets.

Tortilla: Thin pancake made of masa or wheat flour, also an Omelet

Tostada: A flat, fried tortilla topped with assorted fillings

Herbs and Seeds

Dill – Both leaves and seeds of dill are used. Leaves may be used as a garnish or to cook with fish. Leaves or the whole plant may be used to flavor dill pickles.

Fennel – Has a sweet hot flavor. Both seeds and leaves are used. Seeds may be used as a spice in very small quantity in pies and baked goods. Leaves may be boiled with fish.

Marjoram – May be used both green and dry for flavoring soups and ragouts; and in stuffing for ali meats and fish.

Tarragon – Leaves have a hot, pungent taste. Valuable to use in all salads and sauces. Excellent in Tartar sauce. Leaves are pickled with gherkins. Used to flavor vinegar.

Curry Powder – A number of spices combined to proper proportions to give a distinct flavor to such dishes as vegetables of all kinds, meat, poultry and fish.

Chives – Leaves are used in many ways. May be used in salads, in cream cheese, in sandwiches, omelets, soups, and in fish dishes. Mild flavor of onion.

Sage - Used fresh and dried. May be used in poultry and meat stuffings; in sausage and practically all meat combinations; in cheese and vegetable combinations, as in vegetable loaf, or curry. The flowers are sometimes used in salads.

Caraway – Seeds have a spicy smell and aromatic taste. Used in baked goods, in cakes, breads, soups cheese, and sauerkraut.

Paprika – A Hungarian red pepper. Bright red in color May be used in all meat and vegetable salads. In soups, both cream and stock. As a garnish for potatoes, cream cheese, salads or eggs.

Basil - Aromatic odor, warm sweet flavor, used whole or ground. Used with lamb, fish and vegetable dishes.

Oregano – Whole or ground, strong aromatic odor, used with tomato sauces, pizza and veal dishes.

Bay Leaf – A pungent flavor: Available as whole leaf. Good in vegetable and fish soups, tomato sauces and juice. Remove before serving.

Ginger – An aromatic, pungent root, sold fresh, dried, or ground. May be used in pickles, preserves, cakes, cookies, puddings, soups, pot roasts.

Chervil – Aromatic herb of carrot family, like parsley but more delicate. Used fresh or dry in salads, soups, egg and cheese dishes.

Shallots - Small type onion producing large clusters of small bulbs. Used like garlic to flavor meats, poultry, sausage, head cheese.

Vinegar – Low percentage natural acid, generally acetic acid. Used as a preservative for all pickling of vegetables and fruit. To give zest or tangy flavor to salad dressings; for meat, fish and vegetable sauces. Different kinds

are wine vinegar, malt or beer vinegar, white vinegar, cider vinegar, tarragon vinegar.

Other Food Processes and Definitions

Appetizer - A small serving of food served before or as the first course of a meal.

Aspic – A transparent jelly, usually meat, which has been boiled down to become firm when cold.

Batter – A mixture of flour or liquid that can be beaten or stirred.

Bisque – A rich thick cream soup made from fish

Blanch – To place fruits or nuts in boiling water to remove skins, also to dip vegetables in boiling water in preparation for freezing, canning or drying.

Bouillabaise – A chowder made from several varieties of fish and wine.

Bouillon – Clear soup made from lean beef or chicken.

Braise – To brown meat or vegetables in hot fat, then to cook slowly in small amount of liquid.

Caramel – Burnt sugar syrup used for coloring and flavoring. Also a chewy candy.

Chicory - A plant root that is cut into slices, dried and roasted into coffee. The plant leaves are used for salad and sometimes call curly endive.

Cider – The juice from pressed apples used as a beverage or to make vinegar

Clarify – To make a liquid clear by adding beaten egg white and egg shells. The egg coagulates in hot liquid and cloudiness adheres to it. The liquid is then strained.

Cobbler – A fruit pie with a rich biscuit dough made in a deep-dish.

Cocktail - An appetizer served before or as the first course of a meal.  An alcoholic beverage served before the dinner; or cut shellfish with tart sauce served at the start ofa meal.

Cracklings – Crisp particles left after fat has been fried out.

Croquettes – Chopped meat held together by eggs, shaped and dipped into crumbs, then fried.

Dough – A mixture of flour and liquid that is stiff enough to be kneaded.

Drippings – Liquids resulting from meat being cooked.

Entree – The main course of a meal.

Fondue – A dish made of cheese, eggs, etc.

Fritters – Vegetables or fruit covered with batter then fried in deep fat.

Frosting – A sugar that has been cooked and used to cover cakes, and other foods.

Giblets - The liver, gizzard or heart of poultry.

Ginger – An aromatic, pungent root sold fresh, dried or ground. May be used in pickles, preserves, cakes, cookies, puddings, soups, pot roasts.

Glace - Ice or glossed over: Meats are glazed by covering with concentrated stocks or jellies.

Grate - Cut into tiny particles, using small holes of grater

Hors d’Oeuvres – Tart, salty or crisp foods served as appetizers.

Infusion – Liquid extracted from tea, herbs or coffee.

Julienne - Cut in fine strips or strings.

Knead – To place dough on flat surface and work it, pressing down with knuckles, then foid oven repeating several times.

Legumes - The seeds of certain plants, as peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils.

Macedoine – A mixture of fruits or vegetables.

Marjoram – May be used both green and dry for flavoring soups and ragouts, and in stuffing for all meats and fish.

Marinate - Let food stand in liquid that will add flavor or tenderize.

Mince – To cut foods in very fine pieces.

Mornay – A white sauce containing cheese.

Oregano – Whole or ground, strong aromatic odon used with tomato sauces, pizza and veal dishes.

Shred – Cut into thin pieces, using large holes of grater or shredder (cheese).

Pare - Cut off outer covering with a knife or other sharp tool (potatoes, apples).

Peel – Strip off outer covering (oranges).

Piquant - A sharp sauce.

Scald – Heat milk to just below the boiling point. Tiny bubbles form at edge.

Simmer – Cook in liquid just below the boiling point. Bubbles form slowly and collapse below the surface.

Tarragon – Leaves have a hot, pungent taste. Valuable to use in all salads and sauces. Used to flavor vinegar.

Bake – To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven.

Barbecue – To roast or broil whole, as a hog, fowl, etc. Usually done in a revolving frame over coals or upright in front of coals. To cook thin slices of meat in a highly seasoned vinegar sauce.

Boil - To cook in liquid, usually water; in which large bubbles rise rapidly and continually so that all the liquid is agitated.

Boiling Point – The temperature reached when a mixture maintains a full bubbling motion on its surface.

Brew – To cook in hot liquid until flavor is extracted.

Broil - To cook by exposing the food directly to the heat.

Braise – To cook meat by searing in fat, then simmering in a covered dish in small amount of moisture.

Candy – To conserve or preserve by boiling with sugar. To incrust or coat with sugar.

Coatspoon – When a mixture forms a thin even film on the spoon.

Coddle – To cook slowly and gently in a liquid just below the boiling point.

Cream - To beat until soft and fluffy. Usually applied to shortening and sugar.

Cube – To cut in even sized pieces.

Cut – To divide foods with a knife or scissors.

Dice – To cut into small cubes.

Dissolve – To pass into solution.

Fold – To combine, using a motion beginning vertically down through the mixture, continuing across the bottom of the bowl and ending with an upward and over motion.

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