Flavorings

Flavorings
Includes sweeteners, herbs, spices, chocolate, and extracts.
basa genep
See the Basa Genep posting on RecipeSource.com.
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basil
basil
Basil is widely used in Mediterranean countries, where it flavors everything from pasta sauces to pesto, and in Southeast Asia, where it's often stir-fried with other ingredients. There are numerous varieties, ranging from the more pungent Asian basils to the sweeter and milder European varieties. Use dried basil only in a pinch--it's not nearly as flavorful as fresh.
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basil seed
basil seed
Look for it in Southeast Asian markets.
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bay leaf
bay leaf
Bay leaves are a staple of Mediterranean cuisines, lending a woodsy flavor to sauces, stews, and grilled meats. It's best to add whole leaves, then remove them before serving the dish. The Turkish bay leaf is smaller and less potent than the California bay leaf, but more highly prized due to the complexity of its flavor. Dried leaves are a good substitute for fresh.
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bean sauce
bean sauce
This salty brown sauce is made from fermented soybeans, and is available in cans or jars. If you buy it in a can, transfer it into a jar. It can then be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator. Chinese bean sauce isn't as salty as Thai bean sauce.
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Beau Monde seasoning
Beau Monde seasoning
This is a seasoning mix manufactured by Spices Islands that combines salt, onion, and celery flavors.
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Beaujolais
Beaujolais
This is a region in Eastern France that produces light, fruity, fresh-tasting red wines that are relatively low in alcohol. Beaujolais wines should be drunk while young.
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berry syrup
berry syrup
Berry syrups make a wonderful topping to pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal, ice cream, pies, and other dishes. To make your own: See the recipe for Sweet Berry Syrups on recipegoldmine.com, or for Berry Syrup on RecipeSource.
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berry wine
berry wine
These wines are made from berries, including blackberries, loganberries, cranberries, elderberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, boysenberries, and currants. They tend to be very sweet, and some are fortified to raise the alcohol level. They're usually served chilled as a beverage, or poured on ice cream or fruit as a dessert.
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betel leaf
betel leaf
The Vietnamese wrap beef in these leaves, while others chew them like gum.
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bittersweet chocolate
bittersweet chocolate
This is a sweetened chocolate that's heavy on the cocoa solids and light on the sugar, giving it a rich, intense chocolate flavor. Many pastry chefs prefer bittersweet to semi-sweet or sweet chocolate, but the three can be used interchangeably in most recipes. The best bittersweet chocolates contain at least 50% cocoa solids.
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black bean sauce
black bean sauce
This is made from fermented black beans. A variation is hot black bean sauce, which has chile paste added, and black bean sauce with garlic. See the Asian Black Bean Sauce posting on RecipeSource.com.
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black cumin seeds
black cumin seeds
Indian cooks use this spice in many of their curries and tandoori dishes. It's darker and sweeter than ordinary cumin. To bring out its nutty flavor, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.
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black currant jelly
black currant jelly
Black currant jelly is sweeter than more common red currant jelly.
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black muscat wine
black muscat wine
This is a late harvest dessert wine made with black muscat grapes and sometimes fortified with brandy. Unlike many dessert wines, it goes well with chocolate.
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black mustard seeds
black mustard seeds
Indian cooks prefer these over the larger yellow mustard seeds that are more common in the west. Look for this in Indian markets or health food stores.
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black salt
black salt
Look for this in Indian markets, either ground or in lumps. It's more tan than black, and has a very strong, sulfuric flavor.
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black sesame seeds
black sesame seeds
Look for this in Asian markets
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black treacle
black treacle
This is the British version of America's blackstrap molasses. It's common in Britain, but hard to find in the United States. Look for it in specialty markets. Don't confuse this with golden syrup, which is sometimes called light treacle.
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blackstrap molasses
blackstrap molasses
This has a strong, bitter flavor, and it's not very sweet. It's sometimes used to make chili. Look for it in health food stores.
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blush Wine
blush Wine
"Blush" is displacing "rosé" as the name given to pink wines, though some people use the name rosé to describe darker pink wines. Whatever name you give them, they're usually made from red grapes that are only allowed to ferment a few days--too short a time for the grape skins to impart a deeper color to the wine. The result is a pink, fruity wine that's best served chilled and goes best with poultry, seafood, and spicy dishes. These wines are quite popular, but wine snobs think they're boring. Don't cook with these wines--they aren't flavorful enough.
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boldo leaves
boldo leaves
These small leaves have a strong woodsy aroma. They're hard to find, but Hispanic markets sometimes carry dried leaves in cellophane bags.
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borage
borage
Borage is best known for its attractive blue flowers, but Europeans sometimes use the leaves as an herb in salads and soups. Borage has a mild flavor that's been likened to that of cucumbers. The leaves are covered with prickly, throat-catching hairs, so it's best to either blanch them or chop them finely before serving them.
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Bordeaux wine (red)
Bordeaux wine (red)
The Bordeaux region in France produces excellent red wines, especially in the districts of Médoc, Haut-Médoc, and St. Emilion. These wines are rich and complex, and usually made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes. Bordeaux wines with the generic label "Bordeaux Wine" usually aren't as good as those with more specific appellations, like "St. Emilion Wine." Red Bordeaux wines go especially well with lamb and poultry.
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Bordeaux wine (white)
Bordeaux wine (white)
The Bordeaux region in France is renown for its red wines, but it also produces excellent white wines, made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes.
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brandy
brandy
Brandy is often served as an after-dinner drink, or added to coffee. According to legend, it was first produced when an enterprising sea captain distilled wine in order to save space on his ship. He planned to reconstitute it with water when he arrived at his home port, but those who sampled the new concoction liked it just the way it was. Today, most brandy is distilled from white wine, though red wine and other fermented fruit juices are also used. It's then aged in oak barrels for several years. To learn about different varieties of brandy, click here.
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brandy extract
People use this to impart the flavor of brandy without the alcohol. Though brandy extracts are made with alcohol, such a small amount is needed in any recipe that the end product is virtually non-alcoholic.
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brown cardamom
brown cardamom
Pods of this spice are sold in Indian markets. Some recipes call for the entire pod to be used, others call for the ground seeds. Don't confuse this with the more common (green) cardamom, which comes in round green or tan pods.
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brown mustard seeds
brown mustard seeds
These are smaller and hotter than the yellow mustard seeds that most western cooks are familiar with. Look for this in Indian markets.
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brown rice syrup
brown rice syrup
Health buffs like this because it contains complex sugars, which are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. It's about half as sweet as ordinary table sugar. Some rice syrups include barley malt, and may pose a problem for people with gluten allergies.
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Burgundy wine (red)
Burgundy wine (red)
Burgundy is a region in eastern France that produces excellent red wines, but the Burgundy wines produced in the United States are usually inexpensive jug wines made from different grape varieties.
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Burgundy wine (white)
Burgundy wine (white)
Burgundy is a region in eastern France that produces excellent red and white wines. Some of the better wine-producing areas in Burgundy are Chablis and Pouilly-Fuissé, both of which produce exquisite white wines from Chardonnay grapes. Burgundy wines produced in the United States are usually inexpensive blends of different grape varieties.
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butter salt
This salt has extremely fine grains. It's used to salt butter.
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Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc grapes are related to Cabernet Sauvignon, but they make for a lighter, fruitier wine. The wine is often blended with others, but sometimes sold as a varietal wine.
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Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make a hearty, complex red wine that's especially good with roasted meats and heavy stews. Domestic Cabernets are often excellent.
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