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Cooking definitions and terms beginning with


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Acetic Acid - wine or cider, fermented beyond the stage of alcohol. In diluted form, it is vinegar. Also, acetic acid is used in preserving fruits to keep flesh from discoloring, and in freezing.

Achar/Achard - pickles and salt relishes used in the cooking of India

Achira - South American plant used as arrowroot

Acid Rinse - a bath of acidulated water used to prevent discoloration of peeled fruits and vegetables that brown when exposed to air

Acidulated Water - cold water with vinegar, lemon or lime juice added.

Acorn Squash - a small to medium-sized acorn-shaped winter squash with an orange-streaked dark green fluted shell (orange, yellow and creamy white varieties are also available), pale orange flesh, large seed cavity and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.

Ade - a fruit drink made by combining water with sugar, boiling until the sugar dissolves, then adding a citrus juice and ice

Adjust - in cooking, the term means the cook must taste before serving, and add seasonings to suit his or her own sense of what the right flavor is

Adobo - a Philippine national dish of braised pork, chicken, or fish. Also, a seasoned Mexican sauce made with vinegar and chilies

Aemono - a Japanese salad served with dressing, or the dressing itself

Agar-Agar - seaweed used as a thickening agent, as is gelatin

Aiguillettes - thin strips of meat or fish.

Aïoli - A strongly flavored garlic mayonnaise from the Provence region of Southern France. It's a popular accompaniment for fish, meats and vegetables.

Aji-No-Motto - Japanese name for monosodium glutamate, MSG, used by Oriental cooks on occasion to revive a dish that has turned out tasteless.

Akavit/Aquavit - Scandinavian form of distilled alcohol made from grain or potatoes, and flavored with caraway seeds.

à la - French, literally, “prepared in the style of”.

à la King - an American dish of diced foods, usually chicken or turkey, in a cream sauce with pimientos, mushrooms, green peppers and sometimes sherry.

à la Maréchale - small cuts of meat and poultry which are breaded and fried in butter. Green asparagus tips and truffles are usual in the garnish.

à la Mode - literally, “following the fashion”. In the United States, it is food that is served with ice cream; in France it names braised meat smothered in sauce.

à la Nicoise - dishes with black olives, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies and dried cherries. Also, a candy of caramelized sugar and browned almonds.

à la Printanier - to be cooked or garnished with fresh spring vegetables. Printemps is the French word for spring.

à la Provencale - a dish including garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and often black olives.

al Dente - Italian for to the tooth; used to describe a food, usually pasta, that is cooked only until it gives a slight resistance when one bites into it; the food is neither soft nor overdone.

Albondigas - a Mexican dish of spiced meat balls. Also found in Spanish, Brazilian, and Scottish recipes.

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