All Ingredients

ababai
ababai
Ababais resemble small papayas, and can be cooked or grilled without losing their shape. They're hard to find outside of Chile, where they're grown.
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abalone, awabi, ear shells, loco, muttonfish, muttonshells, paua, sea ears
abalone
Asian markets are a good place to find these. Prod them gently before buying to make sure they're alive. The smaller ones are better. Canned or dried abalones are acceptable substitutes for fresh in some dishes. Unopened canned abalone can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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Abondance
Abondance
This French raw milk cheese has a subtle, nutty flavor. It's a good melting cheese.
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absinthe, absynthe
absinthe
This potent anise-flavored liqueur contains the narcotic herb wormwood, so it isn't available in most developed countries. If you wish to live dangerously, you might be able to find it in Spain.
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abura-age, aburage, inariage, usuage, usu-age
abura-age
These are thin slices of tofu that have been deep-fat fried. They can be cut open and filled with rice to make inari sushi, or used as a meat substitute in soups. Before using, you should blanch the cakes twice, each time with fresh water, then press the moisture out when you drain them. Abura-age is widely available in Asian markets, either in cans or fresh in cellophane packages.
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acerola, acerola cherry, Barbados cherry, Puerto Rican cherry
acerola
These are very rich in vitamin C, and somewhat acidic. You can eat them out of hand, but they're better suited for making preserves.
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acesulfame K
An artifical sweetner. Popular brands are Sunett and Sweet One.
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acidophilis milk
Friendly bacteria is reintroduced into this milk after pasteurization.
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acidulated water
This is water that's been mixed with a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to make it slightly acidic. If you put freshly sliced fruits or vegetables in acidulated water, they won't darken.
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acini di pepe, peperini
acini di pepe
Acini di pepe ("peppercorns") are a type of Italian soup pasta. They're very tiny, and usually served in broths.
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ackee, achee, akee, vegetable brains, vegetable egg
ackee
The pulp of this fruit looks and tastes like scrambled eggs when cooked, and Jamaicans like to serve it with salt cod. Look for cans of it in Caribbean markets. Warning: Only the yellow pulp on ripe ackees is edible. Eating underripe ackees that haven't opened on their own, or eating the pink portion of ripe ackees, can cause vomiting and death.
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acorn, oaknut
acorn
These nuts come from oak trees, and they were once an important food for Native Americans. Before they can be eaten, most acorns need to be treated to remove the bitter tannins in them. To do this, boil whole shelled acorns in water, replacing the water with fresh boiling water whenever it turns light brown. Keep doing this for about two hours, until the water no longer changes color. Alternatively, you can soak the shelled acorns in several changes of water for three or four days. Some Native Americans do this by putting whole or pounded acorns into nylon stockings and hanging them so that they're immersed in the water of a toilet tank (repeat: tank, not bowl). Each time the toilet is flushed, the water in the tank is refreshed. This may discolor the toilet, however. After the nuts have been leached of tannins, roast them in a 350° oven for about an hour. They can then be eaten whole or ground into acorn meal and used to make porridges or breads. Acorns from white oaks aren't nearly as bitter as those from red or black oaks, and can be roasted without first soaking them.
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acorn squash, Des Moines squash, pepper squash
acorn squash
This orange-fleshed winter squash is popular because of its small size--it can be cut in half and baked to make two generous servings. The rind, unfortunately, is quite hard and difficult to cut. To avoid injuring yourself, first slice off both the top and the bottom with a sharp knife, and use the stem end as a base for the more treacherous halving cut. Select acorn squash with as much green on the rind as possible, though most will have a single orange spot on one side.
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acorn starch
acorn starch
Look for this in Korean markets.
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active dry yeast
active dry yeast
This is the yeast called for by most bread recipes. It's largely displaced the fresh yeast our grandparents used since it has a longer shelf life and is more tolerant of mishandling. To activate it, sprinkle it on water that's 105° - 115° F and wait for it to begin foaming (about five minutes). Look for it in the dairy case--it's usually sold in strips of three packages or in 4-ounce jars. Always check the expiration date to make sure it's fresh. Dry yeast can be stored at room temperature until the expiration date--or within 4 months of opening--but it lasts even longer in the refrigerator or freezer. Always bring yeast to room temperature before you use it. It's important to keep stored yeast away from air and moisture, so use the smallest container you can find and seal it well.
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advantame
An artifical sweetner.
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advocaat, Bols, Warninks
advocaat
This is a very thick liqueur made from brandy and egg yolks. It's normally eaten with a spoon or added to coffee or hot chocolate. Warninks and Bols are highly regarded brands
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African bird pepper
African bird pepper
This is the North African equivalent of our cayenne pepper.
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agar, agar agar, agar-agar, angel's hair, Chinese gelatin, Chinese isinglass
agar
Since gelatin is made from animal tissue, many vegetarians rely upon this seaweed derivative as a substitute. Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it's dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled. Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature--it can even set at room temperature. Agar, like gelatin, is full of protein (though incomplete), but it also contains the rich array of minerals one would expect from seaweed. To use agar, just soak it in the liquid for about 15 minutes, bring it to a gentle boil, then simmer while stirring until it's completely dissolved. The liquid will gel as it cools. Acids weakens agar's gelling power, so if you're firming an acidic liquid, use more. Like gelatin, agar will break down if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw fruits, like kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs. Cooking these fruits, though, destroys the enzymes. If you plan to add any of these fruits to a gelatin salad, it's a good idea to buy them in cans, since all canned fruit is pre-cooked. Agar comes in flakes, powder, or bars.
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agar noodles
agar noodles
These are strips of agar agar gelatin, which are usually served cold in a salad. Before using, soak them in boiling water until they're soft.
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agnolotti
agnolotti
Italian for "priests' caps," agnolotti are small, stuffed crescents of pasta. A specialty of Italy's Piedmont region, they're great in a broth or pasta salad.
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Agrinion olive
Agrinion olive
This is a large, green Greek olive with very tender flesh.
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ají panca chili - dried, aji panca chile
ají panca chili - dried
This reddish-brown dried chili is fruity, mild, and a little smoky.
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ajwa date, kurma ajwa, ajwa al madina
ajwa date
These dark skinned dates are grown around Medina, Saudi Arabia. They were said to have been a favorite of the prophet Mohammad.
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ajwain, ajowan, ajowan seed, ajwain seed, ajwan, ajwon, bishop's weed
ajwain
These look like small caraway seeds, but they taste like a pungent version of thyme. Indian cooks like to sprinkle them on breads. Look for them in Indian markets.
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ale, pale ale, porter, stout
ale
There are two types of beer: lager, which is pale, light, and effervescent, and ale, which is heavier and more bitter. Types of ale include pale ale, porter, and stout.
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Aleppo olive
This is a black, dry-cured Middle Eastern olive that's hard to find in the United States.
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alfalfa sprouts, lucerne
alfalfa sprouts
These are too wispy to cook, but they're great raw in salads and sandwiches.
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all-purpose flour, all purpose flour, flour, plain flour
all-purpose flour
Bleached and unbleached versions of all-purpose flour can be used interchangeably, though bleached flour is whiter and has less vitamin E than unbleached.
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alligator
alligator
Alligator meat is lean and mild and people say it tastes like a combination of pork, chicken, and rabbit. The best meat comes from the tail.
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allspice, clove pepper, Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, newspice, pimento
allspice
Allspice comes from a single tree, but it tastes like a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You can buy it already ground, but for better flavor and a longer shelf life, buy the berries and grind them yourself.
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almond, sweet almond
almond
Almonds have a crunchy texture and a rich, delicate flavor that's especially good in desserts, like candy, ice cream, tortes, and coffee cake. To intensify their flavor, toast them on a baking pan in a 325° degree oven, stirring occasionally, until they're golden (about 15 minutes for whole almonds). You can buy almonds shelled or unshelled, blanched, sliced, slivered, ground, or chopped.
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almond butter
almond butter
Almond butter is grittier and more expensive than peanut butter, but it can substitute for peanut butter in many recipes.
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almond extract
almond extract
This is made with almond oil and alcohol, and it's especially good in cookies and cakes. It's potent, so recipes usually call for no more than a teaspoon. Bitter almond extract is even stronger.
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almond filling
almond filling
This sweet filling is used to make pastries and cakes.
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almond liqueur
almond liqueur
Almond liqueur is excellent on ice cream or in coffee.
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almond meal
almond meal
Specialty stores carry this, but you can get it for less at Middle Eastern markets.
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almond milk
almond milk
Look for this in aseptic containers. Shake well before using!
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almond oil, expressed almond oil, huile d'amande, sweet almond oil
almond oil
Nut oils are best used in cold dishes; heat destroys their delicate flavor.
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almond paste, Bitter almond paste
almond paste
This is a paste made with finely ground blanched almonds, sugar, glycerin, and sometimes almond extract. Bakers use it to make cakes and cookies. Bitter almond paste is flavored with oil of bitter almonds, and is worth seeking out if you plan to make amaretti. Look for tubes or cans of it among the baking supplies at your supermarket.
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almonds, blanched, blanched almonds
almonds, blanched
Shelled almonds have a slightly bitter brown skin which can be removed by blanching them. To do this, drop shelled almonds into boiling water, remove the pan from the heat source and let it stand for two minutes, then drain the almonds and rub off the skins. Many cooks prefer to skip this step and buy their almonds already blanched.
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Alouette
This is one of several spreadable cheeses that combine cream cheese with various flavorings, like herbs, garlic, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. You can set them out with crackers for guests, but your gourmet friends probably won't indulge.
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