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Cooking Dictionary - "H"

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Haba - [Spanish] large bean.

Habanero chile - A dried chile; Havana-like; small orange or red chiles from the Caribbean and Yucatan; originally from Havana, Cuba; they are the hottest peppers in the world, about 40 times hotter than a jalapeño; they are lantern shaped (resembling a tam or bonnet), pungent and fruity, with an apricot-like aroma; has tones of coconut and papaya; other names include Scot's Bonnet or Scotch Bonnet; jalapeños or serranos may be substituted.

Habichuelas rositas - [Spanish] red beans.

Habichuelas tiernas - [Spanish] string beans.

Haggis - [Scottish] a steamed pudding made of finely minced sheep heart, lungs and liver.

Halbtrocken - [German] means half-dry in German. Term used in reference to German wines with 9 to 18 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Half-and-Half - This combination of equal parts cream and milk cannot be whipped, and has between ten and fifteen percent milk fat. Although it can be substituted for cream in some recipes, it is mostly used on cereal and in coffee.

Halvah - Halvah is a unique natural delicacy that "goes with everything" and is at the same time a perfect food supplement. It first appeared in Northern Epirus, during the Byzantine period of Greek history, where renowned halvah-makers used to live, and it soon became a favorite food of the various peoples that lived in the eastern parts of the empire. Today, it is traditionally produced in countries of the Middle East .

It is made from only two natural ingredients: up to 50-55% tahini (sesame seed cream) and sweeteners. Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which have a high oil content and are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorous, protein, niacin and lecithin. Halvah contains all three groups from which humans obtain nutrients, i.e. carbohydrates from the sugar, and proteins and vegetable fats from the tahini. It also contains many B complex vitamins. 

Halvah goes very nicely with breakfast meals. It provides energy and calories, and is on its own - or with fresh bread - a tasty snack. It supplements lunch, especially pulses and green salads. Also, halvah with a little ground cinnamon sprinkled over it is a pleasant way to end one's evening wine. Halvah is also a tasty and healthful mid-morning snack. In reality, it is a daily delicacy made of natural raw materials, without animal fats, and it can even accompany - topped with ground cinnamon, honey, lemon, or chopped walnuts - a glass of wine at a wine bar or pub.

Ham hock - Cut from the hog's lower leg, often smoked or cured. Great in bean soups and other slow-cooked soups and stews, where they lend rich, smoky flavors.

Hamburger - Ground meat, usually beef, shaped into large patties, and sautéed, broiled or grilled. Also the ground meat used loose in other dishes.

Hanging - Suspending meat or game in a cool, dry place until it is tender.

Hangtown fry - Gold rush-style fried oysters.

Hard sauce - A sweet white sauce made with butter, sugar and lemon juice, chilled until thick, served as a dessert topping.

Hardtack - hard biscuit or bread made with flour and water only.

Haricot - A generic term for all New World beans, which includes almost everything; kidney, pinto, navy, pea, Great Northern, anasazi, cannellini, flageolets, appaloosa, and more.

Haricots vert - Very small and slender green bean [syn: haricot vert, French bean]

Harina - [Spanish] flour; usually refers to wheat flour.

Harina de maíz - [Spanish] flour made from dried corn; cornmeal; Masa Harina is the brand name of the product made by Quaker.

Harina de trito - [Spanish] wheat flour.

Harina enraizado - [Spanish] flour made from sprouted wheat; also called panocha.

Harinilla; harinela - [Spanish] meal made of finely ground chicos; can be used interchangeably with masa harina.

Harissa - [North African] a spice mixture used as both a condiment and a seasoning. Harissa contains chiles which are ground with cumin, garlic, coriander, and olive oil. It becomes a thick paste that is used as is in cooking or diluted with oil or stock to be used as a condiment.

Hartshorn - a source of ammonia used in baking cookies or, as "salt of hartshorn," as smelling salts. Once the word meant literally the ground horn of a hart's (male deer's) antlers, but ammonium carbonate was later used as a substitute, which also went by the name of "salt of hartshorn." it is available in American pharmacies. It is also an old-time leavening agent, and is used occasionally in making cookies. It is also the ingredient in some homemade pesticides.
 

Hasenpfeffer - [German]Rabbit stew.

Hash - From the French hatcher, which means "to chop," hash is a dish of chopped meat, usually roast beef or corned beef, combined with vegetables and seasonings and sautéed until lightly browned. It is frequently served with a sauce or gravy.

Hatch chiles - A fresh chile; close relative of the New Mexico green chile.

Haunch - Hindquarters; ham.

Hazelnuts - Also called filberts, hazelnuts are rich, sweet nuts that are often ground or roasted in pastries, cookies, and other desserts.

Hearts of palm - Tender inner portion of a palm tree; eaten as a vegetable or used as a garnish for salads; available only canned in the United States, but is eaten fresh in Latin America.

Helado - [Spanish] ice cream.

Herba santa - [Spanish] holy herb; often labeled as hoja santa, it contains licorice and sassafras flavors; has a broad, flat leaf; equal parts fresh basil and tarragon may be substituted using about half as much by volume as hierba santa.

Herbaceous - A term used in describing the aroma of herbs in the following wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabarnet Sauvignons, and Merlots.

Herbs - Culinary herbs, which are available fresh or dried, include basil, bay leaf, chervil, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon and thyme. Used for their aromatic properties, flavor and texture.

Hermitage - A French appellation located in northern Rhone. Its highly regarded red wines, made from Syrah grapes, and white wines, made from Marsanne and Rousanne, are the epitome of a world class wine.

Hibachi - Small, portable charcoal grill.

Hibiscus blossoms - Also called sorrel blossoms, these make a delicious iced tea. Find in Latin and Caribbean markets. Jamaica is the Spanish name; the blossoms of this tropical plant provide a brilliant color and an intense blackberry and dried cherry flavor to cocktails, marinades and vinaigrettes; Jamaica is also a beverage made from this blossom.

Hígado - [Spanish] liver.

High-altitude baking - At altitudes above 5,000 feet, batters and doughs behave differently from the way they do at sea level. You may compensate for the lower atmospheric pressure in several ways. Increase oven temperature by 25°F. Shorten rising time for yeast doughs, letting your eye or the finger poking method be your guide. In batters containing baking powder, reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon called for; do not change the amount of baking soda. In batters containing beaten egg whites, underbeat the egg whites somewhat. For more information about high-altitude cooking, consult the home economics department of your state university.

Hijiki - A form of dried seaweed. Found in Japanese markets.

Hinojo - [Spanish] fennel.

Hock - A joint in the hind leg; British term for Rhine wines derived from the German wine town of Hochhheim.

Hoe cakes - Corn cakes cooked on a hoe. Also known as johnny cakes -  pancakes made with cornmeal.

Hog side - Salt pork used in cooking and some baking; also called Old Ned.

Hoisin Sauce - A rich, dark, sweet barbecue sauce made of soy beans and seasonings, used in Chinese cooking for marinades and basting. Hoisin sauce is easily recognizable in Mu Shu pork and Peking duck. The sauce is made from soybean flour, chiles, red beans, and many other spices. Sold in cans or jars. Store tightly sealed, refrigerated. It is also known as Peking sauce.

Hoja santa - [Spanish] large leaf used in cooking in southern Mexico.

Hojas - [Spanish] leaves.

Hojas de maíz - [Spanish] corn husks.

Hojas de platano - [Spanish] banana leaves.

Hollandaise Sauce - This is the most basic of the egg and oil emulsified sauces. The only flavoring is fresh lemon juice. This sauce must be kept warm, as excessive heat will cause it to break. Because this is kept warm, it is not safe to keep it for long periods of time and should never be reused from another meal period.

"Holy Trinity" of chiles - ancho, mulato and pasilla.

Homard - [French] Lobster.

Hominy - A traditional Native American food (also known as pozole or posole), hominy is dried yellow or white field corn kernels that have been soaked in slaked lime to remove their husks with the hull and germ removed. When ground, hominy is called grits.; available canned, frozen or dried.

Homogenized - With fat broken down into such small particles that it stays suspended in liquid, rather than rising to the top.

Honey - The original and all-natural sweetener. Honey is a sweet, thick syrup produced by honey bees. Sold in the comb, as the extracted liquid, and in solid and granular forms.

Hongos - [Spanish] mushrooms.

Horchata - [Spanish] beverage made with rice or melon.

Horn of Plenty Mushroom - This is a wild mushroom with a hollow, funnel-shaped cap and is dark gray or black in color. Because of this, it also has the name etrumpet of deathe. This mushroom is somewhat stringy, but has a robust flavor and may be used to flavor sauces, soups, or any other mushroom preparation.

Hornos - [Spanish] outdoor ovens; beehive ovens.

Hors d'oeuvres - Savory, usually small, foods served before or as an introduction to the main meal; appetizers.

Horseradish - Long, coarse-looking root whose intense heat nearly vanishes during cooking. Fresh horseradish is simply grated; "prepared" horseradish is combined with vinegar and sold in jars (red horseradish is colored with beet juice). Used mostly as a condiment.

Hot Cross Buns - Sweet yeast buns with currants, slashed crosswise before baking, then glazed as they come from the oven.

Hot Pepper Oil or Chili Oil - May be purchased in Oriental markets and finer supermarkets.

Hot-pot - Mutton and vegetable stew.

Hotte - Grape picking basket worn on the backs of French grape pickers. It is traditionally made of wood, but today can be found made of metal or plastic.

Huachinango - [Spanish] red snapper.

Huauzoncle (guauzontle) - [Spanish] wild green with thin serrated leaves.

Huevo - [Spanish] egg.

Huevos - [Spanish] eggs

Huevos con tostaditos - [Spanish] eggs with tortilla chips; migas.

Huevos rancheros - [Spanish] ranch-style eggs. A Mexican dish of fried eggs served atop a tortilla and covered with a tomato sauce.

Huitlacoche - [Spanish] corn fungus delicacy; sleepy excrement (Aztec); common in central Mexico; during the rainy season, a fungus develops between the husks and the ripe kernels where the kernels will blacken, contort and swell to form this musty fungus; valued for centuries in Mexico; has an earthy and distinct taste finally similar to mushrooms or truffles; lends a black hue and resonant aroma to stuffings for empanadas, tamales and quesadillas; makes distinctive sauces; usually sold cut from the cob and frozen; needs cooking to release flavor and aroma; often sautéed with roasted garlic and onions, and either fresh marjoram, oregano or epazote, then simmered with a little water or stock; harvested during the rainy season, usually late spring to early fall.

Huîtres - [French] Oysters

Hull - To remove the outer covering, or pull out the stem (the green calyx) and leafy top portion, of berries, especially strawberries.

Hummus - Thick Middle Eastern purée of mashed chickpeas seasoned with tahini (sesame paste), garlic. lemon juice, and other varying spices. Great dip and sandwich spread. 

Hyssop - Any of various herbs belonging to the mint family with aromatic, dark green leaves that have a slightly bitter, minty flavor. Hyssop adds intrigue to salads, fruit dishes, soups and stews. It is also used to flavor certain liqueurs such as Chartreuse.