Vaca – [Spanish] beef.
Vacherin – A crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a serving vessel for fruit and ice cream. A dessert of ice cream and raspberry sherbet. A chestnut dessert.
Vainas de maiz seca – [Spanish] dried corn husks.
Vainilla – [Spanish] vanilla; it was cultivated by the Aztecs and is native to the New World; the intensely fragrant bean from a variety of orchid native to Mexico; used to flavor desserts, ice cream and beverages; do not purchase the inexpensive imitations which are made from the tonka bean because it may be a carcinogen.
Valencienne – A sauce for rice containing tomatoes, mushrooms, meat strips, and grated cheese.
Vampiro – [Spanish] drink made with Sangrita and tequila.
Vaniglia – [Italian] vanilla.
Vanilla – A plant native to Mexico now common in areas throughout the West Indies and Indian Ocean. The pod is used to make extracts which we use in cooking. The whole pod may also be purchased and used as a fragrance or split and scraped to allow the tiny seeds to flavor the dish. The split pods are often placed in granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar. Also comes in a liquid extract form, which is made by processing vanilla beans in an alcohol-water solution. Make sure the extract you buy contains vanilla and alcohol only, and not vanillin, for best flavor. Vanillin, is an artificial ingredient made from wood.
Vanilla sugar – Granulated sugar flavored with vanilla by enclosing it with a vanilla pod in an airtight jar.
Veal – meat from a calf no older than eight weeks.
Veau – [French] veal.
Vegetable marrow – A tender egg-shaped gourd, usually served stuffed.
Veloute – [French] an extremely smooth creamy sauce of various stock bases thickened with a roux. This is used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone.
Velveting – [Asian] A Chinese cooking technique used in stir-frying. The chicken breast is coated in a mixture of egg white and cornstarch (rice wine or dry sherry and salt are frequently added), marinated for up to 30 minutes, and then cooked very briefly in hot oil until the color turns to white. After velveting, the chicken is added to the stir-fry, to finish cooking with the other ingredients.
Venado – [Spanish] venison; antelope or deer meat; a lean meat, it needs moist heat to keep it tender.
Venison – The flesh of the deer.
Verde – [Spanish] green.
Verdolagas – [Spanish] purslane (greens).
Verdura – [Italian] vegetables.
Verduras – [Spanish] vegetables.
Vermicelli – [Italian] a very fine round noodle which means “small worms”. These are thinner than spaghetti and thicker than capellini.
Veronique – [French] containing or garnished with green grapes.
Vichyssoise – [French] thick cold smooth soup of potatoes and leeks. Other versions now use zucchini, apples, and carrots.
Victual – Food or other provisions.
Vigo Coloring – Common substitute for the yellow color of saffron. Can be found in small envelopes in any Latin American, Mexican, or Cuban market.
Vinagre – [Spanish] vinegar.
Vinagreta – [Spanish] vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette – [French] a sauce commonly used to dress salads, comprised of oil and acid, such s vinegar or citrus juice. Emulsified vinaigrettes use egg and/or mustard to stabilize the dressing. Other combinations using acids other than vinegar, such as wine or citrus juice, are also called vinaigrettes.
Vinegar – A clear liquid, consisting of chiefly acetic acid, obtained by the fermentation of wine, cider or malt beer.
Vital Gluten – See “Gluten.”
Vitello – [Italian] veal.
Vitello Tonnato – Thinly sliced roast or braised veal, served cold with a creamy, piquant tuna sauce. This combination may sound a bit unusual, but is surprisingly delicious.
Vol-au-Vent – [French] a large round pastry case which is filled with a sauced mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables then topped with a pastry lid. A small puff paste shell with various fillings.
Vorspeisen – [German] appetizers.