Baba – a French or Italian small sweet cake made from enriched yeast dough, often flavored with candied fruits and soaked with a rum or Kirschwasser syrup after baking. This dough is also used to make the larger savarin.
Baba ghanoush – A Middle Eastern specialty that is a mixture of roasted eggplant, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Served as either a dip or a spread. Traditionally garnished with pomegranate seeds and mint.
Bacalao – [Spanish] salt cod; dried codfish.
Bacalaitos fritons – [Spanish] codfish fritters.
Baccala – See “Salt Cod, dried.”
Backstrap – Tenderloin steak.
Bacon (slab) – bacon in a chunk. You must slice it by hand (and may want to remove the rind first). Slab bacon is often the only way to find top-quality bacon.
Bacon rashers – Canadian bacon or ham.
Baekenhofe – an Alsatian stew made of pork, lamb, and beef layered with potatoes and onions. The meat is first marinated in wine and herbs for a minimum of 24 hours, then assembled and baked in a paste sealed casserole until the meat is buttery tender. The juices are reduced and the top is browned under the broiler. Crisp bacon and fried leeks are used to garnish this dish.
Bagel – a hard, glazed, doughnut- shaped roll.
Bagna Cauda – Meaning “warm bath”, this is a dip made of anchovies, olive oil and garlic. Unlike the French anchoiade, this is served warm and is not emulsified. Bread and raw vegetables are served with this dip.
Baguette – A long, narrow loaf of French bread, usually with a crispy brown crust and a soft, but chewy interior.
Bain Marie – [French] Simply a water bath. It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.
Baked Alaska – A dessert comprised of sponge cake topped with ice cream and covered with meringue. The dessert is then placed in a hot oven to brown the meringue before the ice cream can melt.
Baking potato – This term refers to Idaho and russet potatoes, the big potatoes with rough, brown skin and numerous eyes. These potatoes are low in moisture and high in starch, which makes them ideal for baking. They also make good mashed potatoes and French fries.
Baking powder – A chemical leavener combining an acid with bicarbonate of soda to form the gas which enables baked products to rise. The chemical reaction between the acid and the soda produces carbon dioxide to leaven the product. The most common form of baking powder is the double acting variety, which produces gas upon mixing and again at high temperatures. Always store this tightly covered.
Baking soda – Also called bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate is a leavening agent which is used as an essential ingredient in baking powder. When used alone as a leavener, recipes must include some type of acid to neutralize the resulting sodium carbonate in the finished product. Buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, and citrus juice are adequate acid to use. You may also use baking soda to help neutralize the acid in recipes that call for large amounts of fruit.
Baking tray – Cookie sheet.
Baklava – [Middle Eastern – Greek] A very sweet dessert made of layers of flaky pastry filled with a mixture of ground nuts (often pistachios) and sugar. The pastry is sliced, baked, and brushed with a honey syrup flavored with lemon or rose water.
Ballottine – A dish in which forcemeat is stuffed back into the boneless carcass from which the forcemeat was made. This may include fish, poultry, game birds, or even some cuts of meat. The mixture is wrapped in muslin and poached or braised. These dishes may be served hot or cold.
Balsamic vinegar – A wonderfully fragrant vinegar made from the juice of Trebbiano grapes. The juice is then heated and aged in wooden barrels, evaporating and concentrating in flavor. The resulting vinegar is deep rich brown with a sweet and sour flavor. Well aged balsamic vinegars are very costly, some reaching an astronomical $200 an ounce. Most balsamic vinegars found in the US are not “aceto balsamico tradizionale”, but an aged balsamic vinegar. These vinegars lack in body and flavor that the well-aged balsamic vinegars possess, yet have a fair sweet and sour balance of flavor not found in any other vinegars.
Bamboo leaves – Used in Asian cooking to wrap ingredients for steaming. They need to be reconstituted before use.
Bamboo shoots – The young growth of a certain edible bamboo plant. Fresh shoots, tender and ivory-colored occasionally turn up in Asian markets, but rarely. The canned ones are tasteless but provide a decent crunch. found in Asian markets and many supermarkets.
Bangers – British colloquial term for sausages. “Bangers and Mash” are sausages and mashed potatoes.
Barbacoa – [Spanish] barbecued or pit-cooked meat; often refers to the head of a cow, sheep or goat that has been barbecued or pit-cooked.
Barding – The practice of wrapping lean cuts of meat to be with thin slices of back fat. The converse of this is larding, in which long strips of fat are inserted into the cut of meat to keep it moist during cooking.
Baron (of beef or lamb) – The two legs and saddle cooked as a unit.
Barquette – A small oval shaped pastry shell with either sweet or savory fillings.
Basil – Native to India, it has long been a mainstay in Italian cooking. Its leaves have a spicy smell and flavor that work well in everything from seafood cocktails and soups to stews and other meat dishes.
Basil also is one of the main ingredients in pesto, a thick paste made by pounding the herb’s green leaves with Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, pine nuts and olive oil.
Basquaise – Food prepared in the style of Basque which often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.
Baste – To moisten with marinade or with pan juices during broiling or roasting.
Basting – Preparation method which moistens meat or poultry with pan juices or drippings during roasting by using a spoon or bulb baster as a tool. The bulb on the baster is squeezed while in the liquid, then slowly released to draw the liquid into the tube.
Batarde – A French butter sauce made with egg yolks.
Batter – A flour-liquid mixture that is thin enough to pour. One example is pancake batter.
Bavarian cream – A cream made with pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and stabilized with gelatin. This cream may then be poured into molds, or used as a filling for cakes or pastries. Bavarian cream is often flavored with fruit purees or alcohol.
Bay leaf – An aromatic leaf that comes from bay laurel. Whole, halved, or ground, it lends a slightly bitter taste. A pungent seasoning to add to soups, stews, and stocks. One of the primary ingredients in a bouquet garni.
Bean curd – Cheese-like product made from soybean milk. Buy fresh in cakes in most supermarkets. Can be found in cans also but the flavor is far inferior.
Bean sauce – A soybean condiment that is an essential ingredient in stir-fries. It is labeled either “whole bean sauce” or “ground bean sauce,” which tends to be saltier. Available in Asian markets and many supermarkets.
Bean sprouts – Edible sprouts which can be produced from a variety of seeds and beans, from the mung and alfalfa to lentil, radish and even broccoli. Sprouts should be kept in the refrigerator in the ventilated container or plastic bag in which they were sold, and used within a few days. Found fresh in most produce sections. Skip using the canned variety if you can avoid it.
Bear sign or bear claw – Fried pastry similar to the modern doughnut.
Bearnaise – This is the most notable of all the hollandaise sauce variations. It is made with a wine and vinegar reduction, egg yolks, butter and flavored with tarragon or other herbs. This sauce makes a good companion to grilled meats and fish.
Beating – Process of mixing food to introduce air and make it lighter or fluffier. Tools utilized to beat an ingredient or mixture include a wooden spoon, hand whisk or electric mixer.
Bebidas – [Spanish] drinks.
Bechamel sauce – This is a white sauce made with milk or cream and thickened with a roux. Bechamel sauce is generally used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone for binding or moistening.
Beef fillet (filet mignon) – This tender but expensive boneless cut of meat comes from the small end of the tenderloin. It should be cooked quickly by frilling or saut ing. Not an overly flavorful cut of meat.
Beef stock – Real beef stock is superior to any. But consomme or bouillon (mostly salt) may be substituted in a pinch.
Beignet – A French or Creole version of doughnuts. Dough or batter is deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar or glazed with a flavored syrup.
Belle Helene – Best known as the name of a dessert with poached pears, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It is also a term used in French cookery as a name for a garnish to grilled meat dishes.
Bell peppers – Also known as sweet peppers, bell peppers are “mature” when they turn bright green, but they are not yet ripe; their flavor is sharp, even acrid at this point. If picked after they have changed to red, yellow, or orange their flavor will have mellowed considerably.
Benne seeds – [African] sesame seeds.
Bercy – A French sauce with white wine and shallots as a base.
Bermuda onion – This big, sweet, ivory-colored onion truly does not come from Bermuda. A sweet, crisp topping for sandwiches, this onion is also a good choice for everyday cooking. Bermudas have a shorter shelf life than the basic yellow onion. Also called Spanish onion.
Besan – Used in East Indian cooking, besan is a pale yellow flour made from ground, dried chickpeas. This nutritious, high-protein flour is used for myriad preparations including doughs, dumplings, noodles, a thickener for sauces and in batter for deep-fried foods. Besan, also known as gram flour can be found in Indian or Asian markets. Store, wrapped airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Betabel – [Spanish] beet.
Betty – a baked dessert dating to Colonial America, It is a baked pudding made with layers of spiced sweetened fruit (usually apples) and buttered bread crumbs. Apple Brown Betty is made with brown sugar and sliced apples.
Beurre Blanc – An emulsified sauce made of a wine or vinegar reduction blended with softened butter. This may be flavored in many ways, for fish, vegetables, and poultry dishes. This is a very tricky sauce and does not hold for long periods of time. Because of this, modern versions add a touch of cream to stabilize the sauce for longer periods of time.
Beurre Manie – A mixture of flour and butter worked into a paste, either with your fingers or a spoon. This is then used in small quantities to adjust the thickness of sauces and stews. The sauce must then be boiled briefly to remove the starchy taste of the flour. For this reason, beurre manie‚ is used in situations where only a small quantity is needed.
Beurre Noir – A tart sauce made with browned butter mixed with vinegar.
Bigarade – A sauce, usually served with duck, which includes orange juice and orange rind.
Binding – A method of preparation that adds eggs, cream, melted fat or roux to a dry mixture in order to hold it together and keep the mixture from separating.
Birria – Spanish name given to a dish of seasoned meat, then barbecued or steamed.
Biscochitos – Crispy anise-flavored cookies native to New Mexico; cut into stars or other decorative shapes and traditionally served at Christmas.
Biscotti – Dry Italian cookies flavored with almonds, chocolate, or anise seed, used for dunking in coffee and sweet dessert wine. Not unlike zwieback.
Bison – Called “hunchbacked cows” by Coronado when he saw them in Texas; taste is similar to beef, but slightly sweet.
Bisque – A thick, rich creamy soup containing fish or game or pureed vegetables. A rich shellfish soup made with the shells of the animal. The soup is enriched with cream and Cognac and garnished with pieces of the shellfish meat. This name is also used to describe vegetable soups prepared in the same manner as shellfish bisques. Also a frozen creamy dessert.
Bisteces – [Spanish] steaks.
Bistella – See Pastilla for a definition.
Bitok – [Russian] Small meat patty made from raw minced beef and bread, then bound together with an egg.
Bitters – A liquid combination of cloves, cinnamon, quinine, nutmeg, rum, dried fruits, and other root and herbal extracts. Primarily used in cocktails.
Bittersweet chocolate – Often used in cake and cookie recipes. Bittersweet or semisweet chocolates are often used interchangeably, although bittersweet generally has more chocolate liquor, a paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans. Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor while finer bittersweet chocolates contain 50% or more chocolate liquor. Both chocolates have a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of cocoa beans to dairy products. Sugar, vanilla extract, and cocoa butter are added to the chocolate liquor to create an even richer chocolate flavor.
Black (turtle) bean (frijoles negros) – Native of the Yucatan; satiny black on the exterior, creamy white inside, with a hearty, almost smoky flavor; commonly used in soups and low-fat sauces, side dishes, salads and pureed; cooked beans can be rinsed and added to salsas for visual interest. This multipurpose dried bean is medium-sized (up to one-half inch long), round to almost square, and deep black with a white line and interior.
Black beans (frijoles negros) – Small, with a dark blue-purple color; also known as black turtle beans.
Black-eyed peas – Small, slightly kidney-shaped beans marked with one black spot or “eye”; introduced into the Southwest by African slaves.
Black pepper – Green, white, and black peppercorns all come from the berries of the Piper nigrum plant; black peppercorns are the strongest of the three varieties. Pre-ground black pepper is sold is sold cracked and coarsely or finely ground, but loses its flavor quickly and should be stored in a cool dark place for no more than 3 months. Freshly ground black pepper is far superior.
Black rice – Milled rice is white in appearance, but the outer bran layer can be brown, red or black. Raw black rice appears charred and, when cooked, appears much like the color of blackberries.
Blackberries and Raspberries – There are hundreds of types of black and red berries (some are orange, yellow, or almost white), but all are treated basically the same. (Technically, a raspberry leaves its inner core behind when picked; the core comes along when you pick a blackberry). These berries are highly perishable and quite expensive in the market.
Blackstrap Molasses – Thick, black syrup, produced from sugar cane. In the UK and Australia, simply known as molasses. It produces a bitter flavor.
Blade Steak – See “Arm steak”.
Blancmange – A simple stove-top pudding made with milk, sugar, and vanilla, thickened with cornstarch.
Blanco – [Spanish] white.
Blanquette – [French] A white, creamy stew of veal, chicken, rabbit or lamb with small onions and mushrooms. The sauce is thickened with roux and enriched with cream.
Blender – Electric liquefier with a glass or plastic container into which ingredients are added. A set of rotary blades is attached to the base of the vessel and rapidly reduces most ingredients to a smooth, or blended, consistency.
Blending – Preparation method that combines ingredients with a spoon, beater or liquefier to achieve a uniform mixture.
Blind Bake – To bake a pie crust without the filling. Metal weights or dried beans are commonly used to weigh the crust down to prevent it from bubbling.
Blini – [Russian] A small unsweetened pancake made of buckwheat flour and often leavened with yeast. These pancakes are often brushed with large amounts of melted butter and served with caviar and sour cream. Other versions may be made of vegetable purees or semolina flour.
Blintz – A stuffed crepe or thin pancake. The filling is usually made of a fresh cheese or cottage cheese, and often topped with fresh fruit or fruit preserves.
Blue (Bleu) Cheese – A semi-soft, blue-veined cheese produced from cow’s milk. It has a very strong, pungent aroma. Similar in flavor to French Roquefort and Italian Gorgonzola.
Blue corn – A variety of corn with blue-gray kernels; indigenous to the Southwest and originally grown by Pueblo Indians; dried and ground blue corn is more flavorful than yellow cornmeal.
Blueberry – More closely related to the cranberry than to the raspberry, the blueberry (and bilberry, huckleberry, and like berries) is distinctively different from both. Unlike the cranberry, it is sweet enough to eat raw, whole, and out of hand. Unlike the raspberry, it is sturdy enough to store, and it freezes well. With its relatively high sugar and acid content, it’s the closest thing to an all-purpose berry.
Blue cheese – The blue (or green) veins in blue cheese are created by flavor-producing molds injected (or occurring naturally) during the curing process. Roquefort, blue d’Avergne, Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Maytag blue are some of the best varieties. All blue cheeses smell strong but some varieties actually are quite mild.
Boar – Wild pig; served both roasted and smoked.
Bocaditos – [Spanish] little bites.
Boiling – Preparation method which cooks a liquid at a temperature of 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C.
Bok Choy – A vegetable resembling Swiss Chard in shape, but much lighter in color and flavor. Bok choy has a mild flavor that is great raw in salads. It’s also the best cabbage for stir-fries; the stems turn almost creamy after cooking. It can be found fresh in Oriental markets and most supermarkets, year-round. (Also called Chinese Chard)
Bola (bolita) – [Spanish] ball (little ball).
Boletus – A family of wild mushrooms known for their rich taste and meaty texture. Porcinis and cepes are two members of this family of mushroom.
Bolillos – Mexican hard rolls which are similar to French bread; also a short rolling pin 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches or more long which rolls tortillas to a uniform thickness.
Bollito – A boiling bean native to the Southwest; an ancestor of the pinto bean; takes a bit longer to cook; often used in broth-style side dishes of Mexican cuisine.
Bollito Misto – An Italian stew consisting of various cuts of meat, including zampone, boiled in a rich broth with vegetables. The whole dish is served with cornichons, pickled onions and a variation of chutney called mostarda di Cremona. These are whole or large pieces of fruit cooked in a spicy mustard flavored syrup. Other common sauces are salsa verde and mayonnaise.
Bombay duck – A small dried fish served in curry sauce.
Bombe – A rich dessert containing cream or custard mixtures arranged and frozen in a mold.
Boniato – Also called batata, this is a popular tuber in both Latin America and Asia. The blotchy skin may be purplish or reddish, and the inside is white or creamy and slightly mealy when cooked. It tastes like a cross between white and sweet potatoes, and can be treated like either. The flavor somewhat suggests roasted chestnuts.
Boning – Preparation process which removes bones from meat, poultry, game or fish.
Bonito flakes – The dried flakes of a dark, full-flavored fish, used in the Japanese soup stock dashi, which is among the simplest stocks to make. Bonito flakes are available in Asian markets.
Bonne femme – Cooked home-style; often with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Bordelaise – This is a term primarily used to describe a dark brown sauce that includes shallots and red wine, vegetables, and garlic. Some versions of this sauce include slices of bone marrow added at the end of cooking. Fish dishes with this name will be cooked with white Bordeaux wine.
Borracho – [Spanish] drunken; foods containing liquor, beer or wine.
Borrego – [Spanish] baby lamb.
Borscht – A rich soup from Eastern Europe containing beets or cabbage. Other ingredients may include potatoes, beans, meat or sausage. The best known of these soups is a cold version based on beets and served with sour cream, but hot versions are very common.
Boston lettuce – Part of the butterhead family, this simple lettuce sports soft but fairly well-defined heads with lots of loose outer leaves. The bland tenderness mingles nicely with some bitter loose leaf and super-crisp romaine.
Botanas – Plugs; stoppers; appetizers served with drinks.
Bouchee – [French] A small round puff pastry shell baked blind used for sweet or savory fillings.
Boudin – Acadian pork blood sausage, highly seasoned and containing rice. The proportion of blood to rice produces “white” or “red” boudin. It originated among the Bayou communities. Smooth sausages of two types. Boudin blanc contain veal, pork, and chicken. Boudin noir are made with blood and rice or potatoes. The latter type are popular in European and Creole cooking.
Bouillabaisse – A rich fish stew from southern France. This was once a poor man’s meal made of any fish available. Modern versions include lobster and shrimp. The broth is flavored with garlic, orange peel, fennel, and saffron. Olive oil is added to the stew and rapidly boiled to blend it into the broth. The stew may be served with croutons and rouille, a variation of aioli.
Bouilli – Meat used to prepare soup which is then served as a separate course.
Bouillon – A clear, seasoned soup usually made from beef or chicken, vegetables and seasonings; also obtained by dissolving a bouillon cube or envelope in boiling water.
Boule – A ball-shaped loaf of bread that’s baked without a pan in the oven.
Bouquet garni – A French-invented sachet of herbs, traditionally tied together, but now sold in small muslin bags. Usually includes parsley, thyme, a bay leaf and some rosemary, but may also include marjoram, garlic, rosemary, etc. Variations may include fennel, leeks, celery leaves, citrus rinds, garlic and black pepper. Added to stews, soups and sauces for flavoring; the bundle is easily removed when desired.
Bourguignon – [French] Foods cooked in the style of Burgundy. This includes red wine, mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon. Also spelled; Bourgogne or Bourguignonne.
Bourrride – Another fish stew from southern France. Here the broth, in which large pieces of fish are poached, is strained and thickened with aioli. The two are then served together in shallow bowls with bread or croutons.
Braise – To prepare food by browning, then cooking slowly in a small amount of liquid in the coven or in a covered pan on the stove top.
Braising – A cooking method whereby food, typically raw meat, is first browned in oil, then cooked slowly in a liquid of wine, stock or water.
Bran – The outer husk of grains such as wheat, containing a high percentage of fiber. White flours have the bran removed. Whole wheat flours may contain all or part of the bran.
Brandade – A puree of salt cod mixed with olive oil and potatoes. Another version of brandade is covered with Gruyere cheese and browned in the oven. Both are served with croutons.
Breadfruit – The exterior of these melon-sized round fruits is covered with hundreds of scaly bumps. Unripe, they are green and their flesh resembles a potato–hard, white, and starchy. Like plantains, breadfruit is used in savory and sweet dishes according to its ripeness. At the hard stage it is used in savory dishes and cooked like a potato or sweet potato. When slightly ripe, the outside is partly green. Baked at this stage, its flesh is slightly sticky, somewhat fruity, but spongy like bread. When ripe, the exterior is tender and brownish, and the flesh is creamy and sticky but still starchy and rather bland in flavor.
Bread crumbs – There are two kinds of bread crumbs – fresh and dry. They should not be used interchangeably. Fresh crumbs can be made in a food processor or blender/ Dried bread crumbs are lightly browned and may be plain or flavored. They can be bought or made from good quality stale bread.
Bresaola – A cured and dried beef filet from Italy with a more delicate texture but stronger flavor than that of prosciutto. A Swiss version of this is called bundnerfleisch. This style is pressed into a rectangular shape and has a bit drier texture than bresaola. Both are served thinly sliced with bread and fruit or pickled vegetables.
Bretonne – An Espagnole sauce with onions.
Brine – Salt and water solution used for pickling and preserving.
Brinjal – [India] Eggplant.
Brioche – [French] A large light, very rich, yeast roll made with lots of butter and eggs. Brioche is baked in many shapes though the brioche e tete is best known. The dough can be flavored with nuts or candied fruit, as well as herbs and spices. It may also be used to wrap foods like coulibiac. Slices of toasted brioche are the perfect companion to foie gras and gravlax. Brioche is very similar to the Jewish Challah.
Brisket – The chest portion of the beef, usually extending some distance back of the forelegs; flavorful but rather tough, thus best used for pot roasts and for braising.
Broccoli, Broccoflower, Purple broccoli, Chinese Broccoli – Broccoli is a relative of cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. A head of broccoli is a bouquet of tiny flower buds. Each small green stalk is called a floret and contains hundreds of buds. It has a deep emerald-green color with a purple or blue haze, and comes in tight clusters of tiny buds that sit on stout, edible stems. Purple broccoli or purple cauliflower or broccoflower closely resembles broccoli in shape and flavor. Romanesco is a form of broccoli with a conical head formed of small peaks of buds in a wonderful chartreuse color. Chinese broccoli, also known as Chinese kale. It is closely related to both broccoli and our common kale.
Broccoli raab – Broccoli raab, or rape, is more bitter, and has more stems and leaves than head broccoli, which has more florets. It can be found from fall to spring in markets with specialty produce sections, and can be used in any broccoli recipe.
Brochette – [French] A skewer. Food cooked “en brochette” is cooked on a skewer.
Brodo – [Italian] broth.
Broth – Liquid in which meat, poultry or vegetables have been simmered. Closely related to stock.
Brown beans – Smaller and rounder than American beans, these are used in Scandinavian dishes. found in specialty stores or Scandinavian markets.
Brown sugar – Brown sugar is simply white sugar combined with molasses. Dark brown sugar has lots of molasses; light brown sugar contains less. To recreate brown sugar, add two tablespoons molasses to white sugar. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown sugar.
Browned flour – Wheat flour browned in an oven or skillet; favored by Mexican and pioneer cooks for gravies and stews.
Browning – Preparation method, usually in a skillet or pot on the stove top, which sears in the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.
Brulee – [French] Finishing method applied to dishes such as cream custards finished with caramelized sugar glaze. Can be done with a torch or under the broiler.
Brunoise – A very fine dice usually applied to vegetables.
Bruschetta – Grilled slices of bread brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic. This was the original garlic bread.
Brussels sprouts – Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages, and that’s what they are. Many rows of sprouts grow on a single long stalk. They range from 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; the smaller sprouts are more tender. Like cabbage, they must not be overcooked, or they become soggy and strong-flavored. Reject sprouts with yellow leaves, loose leaves, or those that are soft or not tightly packed. Generally, Brussels sprouts are a winter vegetable, found from September or October on.
Bucatini – Long, narrow tubes of pasta usually served with a hearty meat sauce.
Buckwheat – An herb whose seeds impart a distinctive nutty, slightly fermented flavor to pancakes and other baked goods, as well as to noodles and pasta; because of its low gluten content, it is mixed with other flours for baking.
Budin – Pudding; usually a souffle-like dish, made with carrots, spinach or zucchini.
Bufalo – [Spanish] buffalo.
Buffet – A vast array of hot and cold foods, often elaborately garnished.
Bulgur wheat – Processed wheat made from the whole kernel that has been cooked and dried, used a lot in Middle Eastern dishes. Most commonly used in breads and tabbouleh salad. Three grinds; fine, medium, and coarse. Find in fancy supermarkets or gourmet stores.
Bunuelos – [Spanish] bungle; mess up; fritters; sweetened fry bread usually sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Burdock – A root that grows more than 3 feet deep but is rarely more than 1/2 inch wide. Like carrots it is a member of the parsley family, and the white flesh is mildly sweet. Young shoots and large soft leaves are slightly bitter and nice in salads. Japanese cuisine is fond of burdock, and always include it when in season in their mixed vegetable tempuras.
Burrito – Flour tortilla folded like an envelope around a filling.
Burrito desayuno – [Spanish] breakfast burrito.
Burros (Arizona) and burritos (New Mexico and Texas) – Flour tortillas stuffed with meats, beans, cheeses and chile sauces or any combination thereof.
Butcher’s knots – Butcher’s knots are slip knots that make it possible to tighten and loosen string as needed when rolling a boned roast.
Butter – a cooking and eating fat that is made from sweet or sour cream and, by federal law, must contain a minimum of 80% milk fat (butterfat). It comes salted and unsalted (sweet); it also comes whipped for greater volume and easier spreading. Butter absorbs odors easily and is highly susceptible to rancidity. To avoid either of these problems, store butter in the refrigerator no longer than 2 weeks. For longer storage, butter may be frozen for up to 9 months without deterioration.
Butter, Cultured – Cultured butter is butter churned from cultured cream (cream fraiche). Most butter produced in the U.S. before 1920 was cultured butter, but in the 20’s, the U.S. Government guaranteed the sale of every pound of butter produced, so quality became a non-issue and sweet cream butter prevailed.
Buttermilk – Originally a by-product of butter making, buttermilk is commercially produced by adding lactic acid culture to skimmed or partially skimmed milk. Liquid left after butter is churned solid.
Button mushroom – This is the standard, white, cultivated mushroom. Button mushrooms work well in concert with “wild mushrooms,” which are more intensely flavored, but also more expensive.