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Cooking Dictionary - "D"

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Dacquoise - A cake made of nut meringues layered with whipped cream or buttercream. The nut meringue disks are also referred to as dacquoise.

Daikon Radish - From the Japanese words dai (large) and kon (root). A large, long, white tubular radish with a sweet, fresh flavor. Eaten in many Asian cultures. Can be as fat as a football but is usually 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Use raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cook in a variety of ways including stir-fry. Found in Oriental markets and some supermarkets.

Dal - This is the Indian term for all varieties of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. There are many different varieties of dal, all of which have a specific use in Indian cooking.

Dampfbraten - [German] beef stew.

Dandelion - A strong-tasting green that is among the most vitamin-packed foods on the planet; when young it's relatively mild, but when it matures, it's the most bitter of all greens.

Darne - [French] The Larousse Gastronomique describes a 'darne' as a transverse slice of a large raw fish, such as hake, salmon or tuna.

Dariole - Small, cup-shaped mold used for making puddings, sweet and savory jellies, and creams

Dashi Stock - A broth that is a basic ingredient in Japanese cooking. The stock is made from dried seaweed or from dried tuna shavings. Instant dashi stock is also available.
A Japanese fish stock made with dried bonito and kombu seaweed. This is used for soups, sauces, and marinades.

Date - The brown, oval shaped staple of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia. Intensely sweet; Deglet Noor is a good, and common, dried brand. Fresh dates are increasingly available.

Dátiles - [Spanish] dates.

Daube - A classic French stew or pot roast consisting of a single piece of meat such as a shoulder or joint. The meat is stewed in a rich, wine laden broth with herbs and vegetables. The broth is then thickened, reduced and served with the slices of meat and accompanying vegetables.

Dauphine - The name for little puffs made of potato puree, that are mixed with choux paste and deep fried.

Dauphinoise - The name of a potato gratin with lots of cream and garlic, all topped with Gruyere cheese.

Deba knife - Deba is a Japanese name. The deba knife cuts thinner slices than any other knife. Its super-sharpness makes it ideal for juliennes and for cutting herbs without destroying their fragile membranes. You can find a deba knife wherever gourmet kitchen products are sold.

Deep fat - Hot fat or oil which is deep enough to cover food during frying. Ensure that you put oil into a deep enough pot or deep fryer to prevent burning yourself.

Deep frying - Method of frying food by immersing it in hot fat or oil.

Deglaze - A process of adding liquid to a hot pan in order to collect the bits of food which stick to the pan during cooking. This is most common with saut‚ed and roasted foods. Wine, stock, and vinegar are common deglazing liquids.

Delmonico steak - Sometimes called a shell steak; a tender cut from the short loin.

Demerara sugar - [Great Britain] Brown sugar.

Demi-Glace - [French] a rich brown sauce comprised of espagnole sauce, which is further enriched with veal stock and wine and reduced to proper consistency. This is a very long procedure and requires constant skimming. A quick version of this involves reducing brown veal stock to which has been added mirepoix, tomato paste, wine, and brown roux. The latter recipe saves time, but never reaches the intensity of flavor as does the former method. Due to the quantity and length of time required to prepare it, it is not usually made in the home. However it is available for home gourmands.

Demitasse - A small cup ("half cup") of black coffee, usually served after dinner.

Dente, al - [Italian] "to the teeth." Not too soft; offering a slight resistance to the teeth.

Derretida - [Spanish] melted.

Desayuno - [Spanish] breakfast.

Deshebrar - Spanish term meaning "to shred."

Dessicated coconut - [Great Britain] Shredded coconut.

Deviled - Highly seasoned, often containing mustard; frequently topped with bread crumbs and grilled.

Devon Cream - See "Clotted Cream"

Diable - A brown sauce with shallots, white wine, vinegar and herbs.

Diane - A peppery sauce flavored with game essence, with added butter and cream.

Dice - To cut into small cubes (smaller than 1/2 inch).

Digestive Biscuits - [Great Britain] Graham crackers.

Dijon Mustard - A prepared mustard (originally made in Dijon, France) which may be either mild or highly seasoned. Most recipes when calling for Dijon mustard are referring to the highly seasoned variety. A good American Brand is Grey Poupon®.

Dijonnaise - This is a name given to dishes that contain mustard or are served with a sauce that contains mustard.

Dim Sum - A selection of small dishes served for snacks and lunch in China. These dishes include a wide selection of fried and steamed dumplings, as well as, various other sweet and savory items. The term for this Chinese style of eating translates as "Heart's Delight." Originally dim sum referred to the Cantonese practice of serving small dishes in the teahouses. The method involved food being brought to the table on a cart or tray. The customer would then select the items they desired. Often their bill would be calculated by counting the number of empty plates each person had in front of them. This was usually a daytime meal service. Sweet and savory dishes were offered. Items such as steamed or fried dumplings, spring rolls, spare ribs, pastries, and steamed buns were commonly presented. Today dim sum is also a term used to describe a Chinese style appetizer or snack served in any manner. Frequently the steamed and fried dumplings are also referred to as dim sum.

Ditalini - Diagonally cut thick tubular noodles, 2 to 4 inches long. Short pasta tubes.

Dogfish - Also known as cape shark. Fillets are longer, more narrow, and sturdier than those of any other white-fleshed fish. Can be substituted in recipes that call for less tender fillets. This is the fish most frequently used in England's fish and chips.

Dolma - A cold hors d oeuvre made of grape leaves stuffed with cooked rice, lamb, and onion. They are marinated with olive oil and lemon. Vegetarian versions of this are also made.

Dorado - [Spanish] golden.

Double boiler - Cooking utensil much like a bain-marie method of cooking without using direct heat. It usually consists of two saucepans that fit together. The bottom saucepan is filled with water and the top saucepan is filled with a mixture requiring non-direct heat to prepare. It is most often used to prepare custards or melt chocolate. The saucepans can be made from stainless steel, aluminum, or glass.

Double cream - [Great Britain] Whipping cream.

Dough - Dough is a mixture of four, liquid, and usually a leavening agent (such as eggs or yeast), which is stiff but pliable. The primary difference between dough and batter is the consistency -  Dough is thicker and must be molded by hand, while batter is semi-liquid, thus spooned or poured.

Dough keg - An old Western term for the wooden barrel which held the sourdough starter.

Dredge - To coat a food, as with flour or sugar.

Dress - To pluck, draw and truss poultry or game; to arrange or garnish a cooked dish; to prepare cooked shellfish in their shells.

Dried fruit - When it is dried, fruit becomes very concentrated in nutrients and fiber, which is why a standard serving is quite small. Just a quarter-cup (a scant handful) of dried fruit counts as a serving, yet it contains the same amount of fiber found in a whole piece of fruit or a half-cup of diced fruit – about two or three grams. Because dried fruit is so portable, it makes an excellent snack. The trick is to watch your portions, because calories are concentrated and they can add up quickly. One serving of most dried fruit contains 50 to 80 calories. That's a great bargain, because it provides more nutrients and will probably satisfy your hunger longer than a cookie with 100 calories or a low-fat granola bar containing 150 calories.

Drippings - Fat and juices drawn and left from meat or poultry as it cooks.

Dry Aging - A process usually referring to beef. This process not only adds flavor but tenderizes the beef through enzyme action. Maximum flavor and tenderness is achieved in 21 days.

Dry-Curd Cottage Cheese and Farmers Cheese - Cottage cheese with no cream added. Farmer cheese, like cottage cheese, is curdled milk that has been drained of whey. The major difference is that farmer cheese is a smaller curd.

Duchess - The name for potato purée that is enriched with cream, then piped into decorative shapes and browned in the oven. They are often piped around the rim of a platter onto which a roast or whole fish may be served.

Dulce - [Spanish] sweet; mild (to taste).

Dulces - [Spanish] desserts and sweet dishes.

Dumplings - A small mound of dough usually pan-fried, deep-fried, or cooked in a liquid mixture, such as broth or stew. Sometimes the dumplings are flat squares or strips.

Durazno - [Spanish] peach.

Durian - A large fruit from southeast Asia that has a creamy, gelatinous texture and a nauseating smell similar to that of stinky feet. The flesh is savored by many from this area, but outsiders find it a difficult flavor to become accustomed.

Dust - To sprinkle lightly, as with sugar, crumbs, flour.

Dutch process cocoa powder - Treated with an alkali to neutralize its naturally acidic taste, making it a little more mellow than American cocoa powder; intense flavor. (See Cocoa Powder)

Dutch oven - A heavy cooking pot, usually of cast iron or enamel-on-iron, with a heavy cover.

Duxelle - Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. When cooked dry, duxelle make a good filling for omelets, fish, and meat. They may also be moistened with wine or broth and served as a sauce. Duxelle are also flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira.