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Glossary - A
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ABSINTHE: Bitter anise-flavored green liqueur. Because it contains the dangerous oils of wormwood, the sale of true absinthe is prohibited in most countries.
ACCRA (akkra, akra): Originally a West African fritter, made throughout the islands. The traditional Jamaican akkra is a fritter made of ground blackeyed peas or soybeans; the same thing is known as cala on the Dutch Islands. Accras are also made of a heavy batter into which a variety of ingredients are mixed, salt cod being the most popular. This combination is called stamp and go in Jamaica, acrat de morue in the French islands and bacalaitos in Puerto Rico
AJI-NO-MOTO: Japanese trade name for MSG (monosodium glutamate), a flavor-enhancing agent used in very small quantities. Available in containers in Oriental markets, or sold in supermarkets as MSG
AKEE (ackee): Oblong or eggshaped fruit of an evergreen tree widely cultivated in Jamaica. The scarlet pod encloses cream-colored flesh whose bland texture and taste is often compared to scrambled eggs. It is traditionally served in Jamaica with salt fish. Available canned in some Latin American markets
ALLSPICE (pimento, jamaica pepper, jamaica pimento): Dark-brown berries of an evergreen tree native to the West Indies. The berries resemble smooth oversized peppercorns and their aroma and flavor suggest a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Allspice may be used sparingly in fruit, carrot, red cabbage, and tomato salads. Available whole and ground. Buy it whole or already ground.
ALLSPICE OIL: Oil extracted from the leaves of the allspice tree and used in making a Jamaican liqueur called Pimento Dram.
ANAHEIM PEPPER, FRESH: Slightly hot light-green pepper. Found in most supermarkets. There is also a red Anaheim pepper. These are usually found in the dried form, but don't substitute the dried for the fresh.
ANISE: A member of the parsley family with a licorice flavor. The leaves impart an unusual, slightly sweet flavor to mixed green, fruit, and vegetable salads. They may also be used as a garnish
ANISE SEED: A pungent spice resembling fennel seed. The greenish-gray seeds have an aromatic, sweet licorice flavor. They are good flavorings for fruit salads as well as some salad dressings. Buy in good spice shops.
ANNATTO SEED (achiote seed): Rusty-red dried seed of the fruit of a tropical West Indian or South American tree. When used as a seasoning, it is an inexpensive substitute, both in flavor and for the orange color it imparts, for the more expensive saffron. In crushed form it gives food a delicate flavor and a deep golden-orange color. Available in 1-ounce packs and jars at Latin American groceries or stores specializing in foods from India. Keeps indefinitely in a tightly covered jar. No substitute.
ANTHOTYRO: A Greek soft (though firmer than cream cheese) white goat's milk cheese, with a mild, sweet taste
AONORIKO: Powdered green laver, a member of the seaweed family. Used as a seasoning agent. Available in bottles in Japanese markets
APIO (arracacha): Root of a tropical plant popular in the Caribbean, used as a starchy vegetable and as an ingredient in SANCOCHO. Available in some Latin American markets
ARROWHEAD (arrowleaf, wapato, duck potato): The native American arrowhead is an ancient vegetable that has long been used by the Indians as a potato substitute. The plant, which grows along streams and swamps and around ponds, has leaves that are shaped like an arrowhead. A related species grows in Europe and Asia. The raw bluish-gray or yellowish tubers have an unpleasant taste, but the cooked pale-yellow or buff-colored flesh has an appealing, nutty flavor somewhat like that of a water chestnut. The tubers are cooked like potatoes, in a small amount of salted boiling water, or may be roasted.
ARROWROOT: Starch obtained from the roots of a plant native to tropical America. Finely ground to the consistency of cornstarch, it is used as a flavorless thickening agent in light sauces and glazes
ARUGALA (rocket, garden rocket): A pungent salad green with small green leaves, originally from Italy, which has a distinctive bitter flavor. It is an interesting addition to other greens in salads. It is usually sold in Italian or specialty food stores
ASAFETIDA: Dried gum resin from the roots of various Iranian and East Indian plants. Depending on the variety of plant, it may be reddish brown or pale buff. It has a strong fetid odor and somewhat garlicky flavor; it is definitely an acquired taste and may be omitted from any recipe that calls for it
ASOPAO: The word literally means "soupy" in Spanish and is used to describe a thin stew made with rice and with chicken, meat or fish; a traditional Puerto Rican dish
ASPARAGUS: In Belgium, France, and Germany one of the most treasured foods is tender, thick, pearl-white asparagus, grown underground and carefully harvested by hand each spring. In season only a short time, it is prized as the "king of vegetables" and is carefully cooked to preserve both nutrients and appearance. When purchased, asparagus must be carefully peeled from just below the tip to the base. Then it’s boiled and served warm, or it may be left to cool and be served cold. As a salad, it may be served with vinaigrette, hollandaise, maltaise (orange-flavored hollandaise), mousselline (hollandaise enriched with cream), or herb-flavored sour cream dressing. Fresh white asparagus is available in season in some American locales. Canned white asparagus can be purchased in specialty food stores. The following salad may be prepared with white or green asparagus.
AVGOLEMONO (Greece): An egg and lemon mixture generally used as a sauce or soup base
AVOCADOS: Pear-shaped bland, buttery fruit available the year round at fine groceries and fruit and vegetable stands. Especially plentiful from January to April. Avocados vary widely in color, texture of skin, and size. Skin may range from smooth light green to pebbled dark green or purple. Avocados may weigh from a few ounces to as much as 2 pounds. Their flavor has no relationship to their color and size. When ripe, this fruit yields to gentle pressure of the fingers. Hard avocados will ripen in a day or so. If a ripe avocado is not to be used at once, it may be refrigerated for a day or two. When the fruit is cut or peeled, sprinkle its exposed surfaces at once with fresh lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring
AZUKI: Red beans, usually cooked in rice or made into a dessert. Available in Japanese markets. its exposed surfaces at once with fresh lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring
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