All Ingredients

Appenzell
Appenzell
This is a creamy and pleasantly stinky cheese.
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apple
apple
Crisp, juicy apples are great in lunchboxes, but they can also be made into pies and tarts, pressed into cider, or baked with sugar and spices. Select apples that are firm, deeply colored, and of average size. Reject those that have soft spots or broken skins. They're available throughout the year, but they're usually better and cheaper in the fall. Softer apples are best for applesauce, while firmer apples are best for baking and making pies. You can increase the sweetness or acidity of the product by adding sugar or a few drops of lemon juice to the recipe. Three medium apples weigh about one pound. One medium apple yields about one cup of slices. To learn about different varieties of apples, click here.
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apple brandy
apple brandy
This exquisite brandy has a soft apple fragrance. Calvados = calva (cal-VAH-dohs) is the French version, applejack = apple jack is the inferior American version. Calvados is ranked much like cognac. The very best Calvados are labeled Napoleon, Extra Old (XO), Extra, or Hors D'Age. After that comes VSOP, Vieille Reserve, or VO. Next come Vieux or Reserve Calvados, then those with three stars or three apples on their labels.
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apple butter
apple butter
Apple butter isn't made from real butter. Instead, it's made by cooking apples until the sugar in them caramelizes, turning the sauce a rich brown color. It's used as a spread, and also as a fat-free substitute in many baking recipes.
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apple cider
apple cider
Apple juice and apple cider are very similar, except that all of the apple pulp is filtered out of the juice, while some remains in the cider.
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apple green eggplant
apple green eggplant
These eggplant resemble green apples, and are mild and sweet. You don't need to peel them.
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apple jelly
apple jelly
You can use this like any other jelly, but it's often used as a glaze when roasting pork.
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apple juice
apple juice
Apple juice and apple cider are very similar, except that all of the apple pulp is filtered out of the juice, while some remains in the cider.
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applesauce
applesauce
Applesauce is a purée made from cooked apples. It's often flavored with sugar, lemon juice, and spices like cinnamon and allspice. It's often served as an accompaniment to pork, sausages, and potato pancakes. It can also be used as a fat substitute in baking.
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apricot
apricot
Like other stone fruit, apricots are sweetest--and most prone to bruising--when they're allowed to ripen on the tree. But unless you can pick your own, you'll probably have to make do with the slightly underripe, more durable apricots sold in markets. Allow them to soften at room temperature for a few days before eating them. They're best in the summer.
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apricot brandy
This is distilled from apricot juice. Brands include the French Abricotine, and the Hungarian Barack Pálinka.
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apricot liqueur
This liqueur tastes like both apricots and almonds.
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aprium
aprium
This is an apricot/plum cross, with apricot dominating.
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aquavit
aquavit
This is made by Scandinavians, who distill it from potatoes or grains and flavor it with caraway seeds or other spices. They like to drink it chilled and straight, in small, narrow glasses. Don't confuse it with aqua vitae, or fruit brandy.
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arak
arak
The name comes from the Arabic word for juice, and it's applied to a wide variety of somewhat harsh-tasting alcoholic beverages that are flavored with various herbs and spices, particularly anise. It's fairly potent, and usually served as an apéritif.
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arame
arame
This popular seaweed is very sweet and mild, and it's loaded with iron, calcium, and iodine.
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Arauco olive
Arauco olive
These are large green Spanish olives flavored with rosemary.
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Arbequina olive
Arbequina olive
These are tiny green Spanish olives with a mild, smoky flavor. They're hard to find in the U.S.
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arborio rice
arborio rice
This plump white rice can absorb lots of water without getting mushy, so it's perfect for making risotto. The best comes from Italy. Arborio is very well-regarded
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arctic char
arctic char
A trout relative, the arctic char is highly prized for its sweetness and tenderness. It's often roasted or smoked.
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Ardennes ham
This is an air-dried ham that's similar to prosciutto.
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arepa
arepa
This is a Venezuelan bread that's round and flat and usually made of cornmeal. It's usually split open and stuffed with grated cheese, cooked meats, and other fillings.
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Arkansas Black apple
Arkansas Black apple
This apple is renown for its long shelf life. It's good for making sauce and baking.
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Armagnac
Armagnac
This French brandy is similar to cognac, but with a more pronounced flavor. Since their quality varies, Armagnac brandies don't share cognac's exalted reputation, but a good Armagnac compares favorably with any cognac.
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aromatized wine
These are wines, like vermouth and retsina, that have been flavored, usually with herbs and spices.
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arracacha
arracacha
These come from South America. According to the FAO, they taste like a cross between celery, cabbage, and chestnuts.
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arrowroot
arrowroot
The name arrowroot is more commonly associated with a thickener that's made from the plant. A fresh arrowroot tuber looks like a small onion, only without the layers. It should be peeled, and then it can be boiled or stir-fried. Look for it in Chinese markets during the winter.
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arrowroot starch
arrowroot starch
This starch thickener has several advantages over cornstarch. It has a more neutral flavor, so it's a good thickener for delicately flavored sauces. It also works at a lower temperature, and tolerates acidic ingredients and prolonged cooking better. And while sauces thickened with cornstarch turn into a spongy mess if they're frozen, those made with arrowroot can be frozen and thawed with impunity. The downside is that arrowroot is pricier than cornstarch, and it's not a good thickener for dairy-based sauces, since it turns them slimy. Arrowroot also imparts a shiny gloss to foods, and while it can make a dessert sauce glow spectacularly, it can make a meat sauce look eerie and fake. To thicken with arrowroot, mix it with an equal amount of cold water, then whisk the slurry into a hot liquid for about 30 seconds. Look for it in Asian markets and health food stores. Equivalents: One tablespoon thickens one cup of liquid. Substitutes: tapioca starch (very similar) OR Instant ClearJel® OR cornstarch (Cornstarch doesn't impart as glossy a finish and can leave a starchy taste if undercooked.) OR kudzu powder OR potato starch OR rice starch OR flour (Flour makes an opaque sauce, imparts a floury taste, and can easily turn lumpy. Use twice as much flour as arrowroot.)
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arrowroot vermicelli
These slender white Asian noodles are made from arrowroot starch. They resemble bean threads.
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artichoke
artichoke
Artichokes are the unopened flowers and stems of a kind of thistle. You cook them, then peel off and eat the bases of the thick green petals (called leaves). At the center is the heart, the choicest portion of the artichoke, covered by the choke, a hairy pad that should be peeled off and discarded. Their peak season is early summer.
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arugula
arugula
With its peppery and slightly bitter flavor, arugula is a terrific green to throw into an otherwise boring salad. It can be gently braised, too. Some supermarkets sell it in small bunches, but you're more likely to find it combined with other greens in a spring salad mix.
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asadero
asadero
This stringy Mexican cheese melts nicely, so it's great on quesadillas.
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asafetida
asafetida
This powdered gum resin imparts a very strong onion-garlic flavor to Indian dishes. Use it sparingly—a little goes a long way. Look for it in Indian or health food stores or in the spice section of larger supermarkets.
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asem candis
This is a souring agent used in Indonesia. It's very hard to find
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Asiago (aged)
Asiago (aged)
This grating cheese is similar to Parmesan and Romano, but it's sweeter. It's good on pizza. There's no need to spring for a pricy Italian Asiago--our domestic knock-offs are pretty good. Don't confuse aged Asiago with the relatively obscure fresh Asiago cheese, which is semi-soft.
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Asiago (fresh)
Asiago (fresh)
Don't confuse this with aged Asiago, which is a firm grating cheese.
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Asian barbecue sauce
Asian barbecue sauce
This is made with oil, soy sauce, and other seasonings. Don't confuse it with the much sweeter American barbecue sauce.
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Asian eggplants
Asian eggplants
Include Japanese eggplants and Chinese eggplants, have thinner skins and a more delicate flavor than American eggplants, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter. They're usually more slender than American eggplants, but they vary in size and shape. They range in color from lavender to pink, green, and white.
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Asian noodles
Asian noodles
Until recently, the U.S. government required a noodle to contain flour, water, and eggs to be rightly called a noodle. Since most Asian noodles aren't made with eggs, this left them without much of an identity. The FDA permitted names like "alimentary paste" and "imitation noodles," but Asian noodle producers--from the birthplace of the noodle no less--could not use the n-word. The government finally relented, and we can now use the name "Asian noodles."
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Asian pear
Asian pear
Asian pears are crunchy, juicy, and very fragrant. Growers produce over twenty different varieties in an assortment of sizes and colors. They're often served raw, but they can also be cooked, though they never become as soft as cooked pears.
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