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Cooking Dictionary - "R"

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Rábanos - [Spanish] radishes.

Radicchio - A member of the chicory family with red and white leaves. The different varieties range from mild to extremely bitter. The round Verona variety are the most common in the US. Radicchio is peppery, crunchy, and bitter -- like all members of the chicory clan -- radicchio usually has bright red leaves and a tight head. Used most often in salads, but is quite suitable to cooked preparations.

Ragoût - A French term for a well seasoned stew made of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Ragu - Meaty, slow-cooked tomato sauce, ideal with lasagne, raviloi, and other fresh pasta.

Rajas - [Spanish] strips; usually refers to strips or ribbons of roasted or sautéed green chiles and onion.

Ramekins - Individual ovenproof baking dishes made of ceramic, porcelain or glass and used in the preparation of custards and other miniature sweet or savory dishes.

Ranchero - [Spanish] country-style.

Ras el Hanout - This is a powdered spice mixture, used in Arabic and north African cooking, with a sweet and pungent flavor. See the definition under charmoula for a description of the ingredients and its applications.

Ratafia - Flavoring made from bitter almonds; liqueur made from fruit kernels; tiny macaroon.

Ratatouille - [French] a vegetable stew consisting of onions, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes flavored with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. 

Ravigote - A velouté sauce with added onions, herbs, white stock and vinegar; served cold.

Ravioli - [Italian] little pasta pillows filled with cheese, meat, vegetable(s), or other fillings served in broth or with sauce.

Raw sugar - Sugar that has not been refined. Appears much like coffee crystals. Coarse or raw sugar is more difficult to dissolve. Makes a wonderful garnish.

Razor clam - A long, thin, razor-shaped clam, considered one of the most delicious of clams; eaten raw or cooked.

Recado - [Spanish] seasoning.

Recess cake tin - Sponge flan pan.

Receta - [Spanish] recipes.

Reconstitute - To bring a dried, dehydrated food back to its original consistency by adding a liquid.

Red beans - Sometimes referred to as "the Mexican strawberry" in the Southwest; brighter in color than the pinto bean and lacks the surface streaks of the slightly smaller pinto bean; similar to and interchangeable with pinto beans. Medium-size, dark red beans akin to kidneys and pintos.

Red Chili Paste with Garlic - See "Garlic and Red Chili Paste."

Red Curry Paste - A spicy condiment used in Thai cooking. Rather hot, with it's main ingredient being red chili peppers. Found in some supermarkets and Oriental markets.

Red pepper flakes - The dried flakes of dried ripe red hot chile pepper. Most are quite hot.

WineByPhone.com - Fine Wines for Sale Online and by PhoneReduce - To cook a liquid, usually a sauce or stock, over high heat, thereby decreasing its volume and intensifying its flavor.

Reduction sauce - A sauce that uses as its base the pan juices that are created from the stove-top cooking or oven-roasting of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables.

Refrito - [Spanish] refried; usually describes beans that are cooked, mashed, and fried in lard.

Reis - [German] rice.

Relish - Sharp or spicy sauce made with fruit or vegetables which adds a piquant flavor to other foods.

Relleno - [Spanish] stuffed.

Rémoulade - This classic French sauce (or salad dressing) is made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It is served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.

Render - To cook a food over low heat until it releases its fat.

Rennet - An extract from the fourth stomach of lambs and calves used in cheese making to coagulate milk or in making junket pudding. There are also rennets obtained from vegetables such as cardoons.

Renuevos de rastrojo - [Spanish] tumbleweed shoots; they have a wild bean flavor and can be used as a vegetable or in salads.

Repollo - [Spanish] cabbage.

Res - [Spanish] beef.

Resquesón - [Spanish] curd cheese; often called queso fresco or queso blanco.

Revoltijo de huevos - [Spanish] scrambled eggs.

Rhubarb - A celery-like vegetable we treat as a fruit (in fact a court case once decided it was a fruit). Never eat the leaves of a rhubarb, which contain poisonous levels of oxalic acid.

Rib steak - A steak cut from the rib portion, that part of the beef from which the standing rib roast or rolled rib roast is also taken; a club steak.

Rice - Long-grain rice (including basmati rice) cooks in firm, dry kernels; short-grain or medium-grain, rice cooks up moist and slightly sticky, as its outer outer layer absorbs more liquid than long-grain rice.

Rice, Arborio - One of the Italian medium-grain rices used to make risotto. Once grown only in Italy, Arborio has become so popular it is now being cultivated in California and Texas.

Rice, Aromatic - A broad term for a group of mostly long-grain rices with a pronounced nutty aroma. Basmati, Texmati, Wild Pecan and Jasmine are all aromatic rices.

Rice, Black - Rice with a black-colored bran layer, popular in Asian cuisine, that sometimes lightens to a deep purple when cooked. There are many varieties of black rice from China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Rice, Brown - Rice that has not had its bran layer removed and therefore has a slight chewy texture and nutty taste. Long-, medium- and short-grain brown and brown basmati are four popular varieties.

Rice, Pearl - A short-grain sticky rice, sometimes called sushi rice. It is grown across Asia, California and Arkansas.

Rice, red - Rice with a reddish-brown bran layer, a nutty taste and chewy consistency. Red rice is often marketed as Wehani (also called Russet), Bhutanese red rice and Thai red rice.

Rice, Valencia - Valencia rice (sometimes sold as paella rice), is a large white oval grain. Grown in Spain, it is similar to Arborio. It's the rice used for paella, the Spanish dish that pairs rice with seafood, chicken, rabbit or chorizo and vegetables.

Rice, Wild - Wild rice looks like rice but is actually an aquatic grass. Native to North America, today most wild rice is cultivated in man-made paddies from the northern Great Lakes to California.

Rice noodles - Common in Southeast Asia, we can find these dried in supermarkets and in Asian markets. Can be served after soaking in hot water, but best when soaked and then boiled quickly.

Rice paper - [China] an edible paper made from rice and used to wrap dumplings, Vietnamese summer rolls, and other Asian foods; edible, glossy white paper made from the pith of a tree grown in China. Frequently used for macaroon base.

Rice sticks - Clear noodles made from ground rice. Available in varying widths. Found in most Asian markets and larger supermarkets.

Rice vinegar - Delicately flavored vinegar with lower acidity than many other commercial vinegars, which makes it nice for vinaigrettes. Sold in most supermarkets and all Asian stores.

Rice wine - Called shao hsing in Chinese markets. A good dry sherry is a fine substitute.

Ricer - A plunger-operated utensil that is the best tool for making mashed potatoes. It also rices potatoes for potato dumplings.

Ricotta - [Italian] rich, fresh, moist cheese resembling cottage cheese, that may be made with whole or skim milk. Originally Ricotta was made from sheep's milk.

Ricotta Salata - [Italian] a lightly salted cheese produced from sheep milk that has been pressed and dried.

Riddling - An important step in removing sediment from Champagne. Bottles are placed in racks and then turned by hand or machine over weeks or months until they are upside down and the sediment has settled on top of the corks, whereby the sediment is readily removed.

Rigatoni - [Italian] large pasta tubes with ribbed sides.

Rijsttafel - A Dutch word, meaning "rice table." It is a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal consisting of hot rice accompanied by several (sometimes 20 or 40) small, well-seasoned side dishes of seafoods, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.

Rillette - A coarse, highly spiced spread made of meat or poultry and always served cold. This is called potted meat because rillettes are often covered with a layer of lard and stored for a period of time to age the mixture.

Rind, rindfleisch - [German] beef.

Ring tin - Baking pan

Riñones - [Spanish] kidneys.

Ris - [French] sweetbreads.

Risotto - A classic dish of Northern Italy whose preparation of rice results in a creamy liaison with stock and butter. Usually made with Arborio rice. This may be served as a first course, main course, or side dish and embellished with meat, seafood, cheese, or vegetables. The best known version of this dish is Risotto a la Milanese, with saffron and Parmagiano Reggiano cheese.

Rissole - Small pies similar to empanadas and piroshki. They are filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese and deep fried.

Ristra - [Spanish] string of red chiles for drying in the sun.

Roasting - Cooking method utilizing the oven with radiant heat, or on a spit over or under an open flame.

Róbalo - [Spanish] bass.

Robert - A spicy brown sauce containing onions and vinegar, served with game and other meats.

Rockfish - Firm, white- and sweet -fleshed fish that is the West Coast equivalent of red snapper. Tasty a highly versatile, although not sturdy enough to grill, then can be considered and all-purpose fish.

Rockmelon - [Great Britain] Cantaloupe.

Roe - A word used to refer to either a female fish's eggs or male fish's milt, or sperm. May come from carp, mackerel, or herring, but Americans seem to focus on the roe of shad. Roe should smell fresh and be firm. Milt of the male fish is called soft roe. Eggs of the female fish are called hard roe. Shellfish roe, called coral, because of its color.

Roggenbrot - Rye bread.

Rognoni - [Italian] kidneys.

Rognons - [French] kidneys.

Rojo - [Spanish] red.

Romaine (Cos) lettuce - This lettuce has long, narrow leaves, crunchy ribs and a slight tang. Also called Cos lettuce because of its origin on the Aegean island of Cos.

Romano - [Italian] prepared in the style of Rome.

Romero - [Spanish] rosemary.

Rompope - Mexican eggnog.

Rosbif - [French] roast beef.

Rose water; rosewater - [Middle East] an aromatic liquid made by distilling rose petals. Frequent found in pastries of the Middle East.

Rosti - A Swiss potato pancake made from cooked potatoes, sometimes flavored with bacon.

Rôti - [French] roast.

Rotisserie - [French] rotating spit used for roasting or grilling meat or poultry.

Rouille - A thick sauce similar to aioli, made of dried chiles, garlic, and olive oil. Rouille is traditionally served with bouillabaisse and soup de poisson. Other recipes also add saffron and tomatoes.

Roulade - [French] rolled meat, chocolate cake, vegetables, etc.

Round steak - Meat from the thick central portion of the hind leg.

Roux - [French] a mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews. Though usually made with butter, roux is also made with bacon or poultry fats, margarine, and vegetable oil. The mixture is cooked for a brief time to remove the raw taste of the starch from the flour. Longer cooking results in a darker color, which is favorable in Creole cooking where roux are cooked for long periods until they reach a dark brown color with a nut-like flavor and aroma.

Russe, à la - Served with sour cream.

Russian dressing - Basically a simple mixture of mayo and ketchup.

Rutabaga - A root vegetable that is not a turnip, but is treated like one, the rutabaga (also sold under the name "Swede" or Swedish turnip) is larger and somewhat coarser in texture than its cousin.