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Cooking Dictionary - "T"

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Tabasco chile - The famous chile from Tabasco, Mexico; seeds were introduced to Louisiana in the 1860s.

Tabasco Sauce - A brand-name very hot red sauce made from hot ground peppers, fermented and mixed with vinegar. Tabasco® Pepper Sauce is made on Avery Island in Louisiana, United States. This sauce is commonly used with Creole food, chili con carne and eggs.

Tabbouleh - A Lebanese salad made of softened bulgur tossed with vegetables and seasoned with lemon and mint.

Table d'hôte - [French] meal of a definite number of courses, selected by the restaurant for a preset price.

Taco - [Mexican] wad or mouthful; fried, toasted or baked tortilla with filling rolled or folded inside. It has either a soft or crisp fried shell.

Tagine - A Moroccan dish named after the cooking utensil in which it has been cooked. These stews may contain poultry, fish, meat, or vegetables and are highly spiced with sweet overtones common in North African cuisine.

Tagliarini - A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than tagliatelle, measuring approximately 3mm across.

Tagliatelle - [Italian] a flat ribbon pasta, narrower than fettuccine, measuring approximately 6mm across.

Tahini - A light creamy paste made of toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil - almost like peanut butter. Used in many Middle Eastern dishes, it can be found in Middle Eastern delicatessens or larger supermarkets.

Tailgate - (United States) outdoor snack, meal or beverages originally served from the back of a pick-up truck at any sporting event. Hot food prepared on the grill at a sporting event.

Taleggio - A square creamy cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy, with a fat content of almost 50%. Has a mild, salty-sweet flavor, which can become pungent if left to age for too long.

Tallarines - [Spanish] noodles.

Tallow biscuits -  Hot biscuits spread with fresh tallow.

Tamal (tamale) - [Spanish] any filling enclosed in masa, wrapped in a corn husk or parchment paper, and steamed; the plural is tamales. The cornmeal is spread on a corn husk, then filled with chile-seasoned mixture of meats and red pepper, rolled, tied and steamed.

Tamalero - [Spanish] tamale-making party.

THE ORIGINAL YA-HOO! BAKING CO. More great Cakes than you can shake a stick at!Tamarind - This is the very pungent, tart fruit pod of trees originally from Africa, now common in Asia, India, and the West Indies. The taste is bittersweet with citrus overtones. The pulp is very sticky and difficult to work with. Tamarind paste and concentrate, fresh products, are available in the produce sections of many ethnic markets. They keep for 2-3 weeks, refrigerated. Both products made from the pulp of the tamarind pod, need to be reconstituted.

Tamarindo - [Spanish] sometimes labeled as Indian dates; a The pod is bout four inches long; they have a brown papery outer skin that covers the sticky pulp, fibers and seeds; it makes a wonderful hot weather drink; also great for sauces and chiles when combined with dried chiles; a primary ingredient in both Worcestershire and Pick-a-Peppa sauces; also sold in dried bricks with its seeds, as frozen pulp and purée, and as canned paste; fresh pods can be purchased from later summer through early spring.

Tangerine - A small orange citrus fruit. What the United States calls tangerines are called mandarins elsewhere in the world. They are loose-skinned oranges. The best is the clementine - the small, flattened, seedless fruit that is easier to peel, has less pith, and is sweeter than all other tangerines.

Tapenade - A paste made from cured black olives seasoned with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, capers, lemon, and marc or cognac. This is common in Province, where it is served with croutons and raw vegetables to dip. This also makes a good sauce for grilled meats and strong flavored fish.

Tapioca - This is a starchy ingredient derived from the cassava root. Tapioca puddings and custards are made with pearl tapioca, which serves as a thickening agent. Tapioca comes in several forms, including granules and flour, as well as the pellets that are called pearl tapioca. Tapioca starch is often used to make dumpling dough, or as a thickening agent. If necessary, it can be used as a substitute for cornstarch. Store tapioca in a cool dark place.

Taquito - [Spanish] little taco; rolled, deep-fried taco.

Taramasalata - A Greek dip made of olive oil and fish roe with the consistency similar to that of mayonnaise. American versions commonly use salmon, whitefish or carp roe. This is served with raw vegetables and bread or croutons.

Taro - The most flavorful of the "new" tubers sold in many supermarkets and many Latin American and Asian markets. Treat as a potato, but do not overcook or it will become dry.

Tart - A sweet- or savory-filled baked pastry with no top crust.

Tartare - This is a term which has several meanings. It is often used to describe the preparation of raw beef called steak tartare. Raw beef is chopped finely and served with minced onion, parsley, capers and seasoned with anything from Worcestershire sauce to Tabasco sauce. Tartare sauce describes a mayonnaise based sauce with capers, onion, hard cooked eggs, cornichons and herbs.

Tarte Flambé - An Alsatian pizza with a thin crust topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon. This is also called an Alsatian firepie.

Tarte Tatin - Upside-down apple tart with sugar-and-butter caramelized topping. Best when served immediately after cooking.

Tartufi - [Italian] truffles.

Taza - [Spanish] cup.

T-bone steak - A cut from the center section of the tenderloin, directly in front of the porterhouse steak.

- [Spanish] tea; usually an herbal tea.

Tea towel - Dish towel.

Teff - a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread.

Teigemüsse - [German] macaroni dishes.

Tejano - [Spanish] Texan; often refers to the early Mexican settlers in Texas.

Tejolote - [Spanish] pestle used to grind items in a molcajete. 

Telera - [Spanish] French roll.

Tembleque - [Spanish] a coconut dessert; a good commercial product is the Goya brand.

Tempura - Japanese dish of batter-dipped, fried seafood or vegetables.

Tenderloin - That portion of the beef between the sirloin and the ribs; also known as short loin. Steaks from the tenderloin include the Porterhouse and the T-bone.

Tenedor - [Spanish] fork.

Tepari - [Spanish] tepary beans.

Tepin - [Spanish] a dried chile; chile tepin; wild form of the pequín, it grows along the Mexican and U.S. border; round, measuring about 1/2 inch across; have a searing, dry heat; used in sauces, salsas and stews; Substitute pequíns if these are not available.

Tequila - [Spanish] a pale, sharp-tasting liquor distilled from the agave plant (maguey cactus); the stem of the agave, known also as the century plant, is used in making tequila; it is produced near Tequila in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Terrine - [French] finely ground meats or fish, etc. See "Pâté" for description; an earthenware pot used in cooking and serving pasta.

Texas butter - A butter substitute of hot lard, flour and water.

Thermophilic - Cheesemaking term which describes the temperature at which the culture thrives. From the Greek words thermo - meaning heat - and philic - which means loving. Thermophilic cultures require a higher temperature than mesophilic cultures.

Tierno - [Spanish] tender.

Timbale - [French] a molded dish. Also a high-sided pie crust filled with cooked meat, fish or fruit.

Tinga - [Spanish] stew.

Tipsy cake, tipsy pudding - Sponge cake soaked with sherry and brandy, covered with custard and almonds.

Tiramisu - An Italian dessert which is very popular in the US. Tiramiso consists of sponge cake, soaked with an espresso syrup and layered with a sweetened mascarpone cheese and chocolate sauce.

Toad in the Hole - An English dish consisting of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.

Toast points - Toast slices, cut in half diagonally.

Toasting (nuts) - Using heat to bring the oils closer to the surface of the nut which brings out more flavor. Method is useful in low fat cooking in order to use less nuts. Toasting also makes removing the skins off of nuts easier. Toasting also gives the nuts a much better flavor.

Tocino - [Spanish]   bacon. Cured ham with added color.

Tofu - Also called bean curd, a bland, cheese- or custard-like food made from processed soy beans. It comes in various degrees of firmness and is a very high source of protein.

Tomally - The liver of the lobster.

Tomate - [Spanish] tomato.

Tomate verde - Mexican green tomato.

Tomatillos (tomates verdes) - [Spanish] frescadillas; plum-sized, bright green fruit, covered with a light green papery husk; they have a citrus-like, acidic flavor; taste best when they are brilliant green in color; often called green tomatoes, they are more closely related to the kiwi fruit than to tomatoes, and are members of the gooseberry family. Also a member of the nightshade family; originally eaten by the Aztecs; the best substitute is small green tomatoes. If using fresh, remove the papery husks. Canned are a good substitute, but rinse well before using.

Tomillo - [Spanish] thyme.

Tonno - [Italian] tuna.

Toronja - [Spanish] grapefruit.

Torrejas - [Spanish] egg fritters.

Torrone - Nougat candy.

Torta Rustica - A large pie similar to coulibiac, filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Other versions use meat or sausage in the filling. The crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt before using.

Torta - [Italian] tart.

Torta - [Spanish] hero sandwich; often made with a bolillo; also made with tortillas fried semi-crisp.

Torte - Dessert of the cake or meringue type, usually rich in eggs or nuts.

Tortellini - A small, stuffed pasta pocket made from little rounds of dough, then twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything and are served sauced or in a simple broth.

Tortelloni - This is a larger version of the tortellini.

Tortilla - [Latin American] a very thin Mexican bread made of corn or wheat flour. They are served both soft and fried. A round, flat unleavened bread made from a dough of wheat flour or corn flour; the staple of all Latin American cookery.

Tortilladora - [Spanish] small handcranked machine for making tortillas.

Tortillería - [Spanish] establishment where tortillas are made and sold.

Tostada - [Spanish] corn tortilla fried crisp and garnished.

Tostados - [Spanish] fried corn tortillas with toppings; bowls made by frying corn and flour tortillas in a tostado fryer.

Tostones - [Spanish] fried plantain slices.

Totopos, tostaditas - [Spanish] southern Mexican term for tortilla chips.

Tournedo - A fillet of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, approximately an inch thick. This term is rarely used in America today, being replaced by filet of beef or filet mignon.

Tourte - Similar to pâté en croute, these are pies made in a round shape and served cold. They are generally highly seasoned and preparations are indicative to the region they are from.

Treacle - [Great Britain] Molasses.

Trennette - Flat noodles, wider than fettuccine, that have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.

Trigo - [Spanish] wheat.

Tripe - linings of the first and second stomach of a cow or ox; it is the main ingredient of traditional menudo.

Truchas - [Spanish] freshwater trout.

Truffle - This is a tuber of unusual flavor and aroma. It is savored in Italian and French cookery, and due to its scarcity, draws a very high price. The truffle has yet to be successfully cultivated, though a fine substitute is now being grown in California. The black truffle of Perigord and the white truffle of Piedmont are highly prized for their exceptional flavors. The black truffle requires cooking to allow the flavors to be fully achieved. Conversely, the white truffle is best when shaved directly on the dish before eating. The aroma of truffles is strong enough to permeate egg shells when the two are stored together. Due to their short growing season and large demand, truffles can reach a price of up to $800 per pound. Frozen and canned forms are more accessible, but their taste never reaches that of fresh truffles. Also, a very rich chocolate candy.

Truite - French -  trout

Truss - To tie up, as a bird, so that all parts will remain in place while cooking.

Try out - To heat fat slowly until it liquefies and can be drawn off.

Tube pan - Ring-shaped tin for baking cakes. Most often used to prepare sponge cakes and angel food cakes.

Tuiles - Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance. They are often flavored with almond slices, lemon, and vanilla.

Tumeric - A bright yellow spice used primarily in commercial curry powder. It is also used in sweet pickles and for various dishes requiring a yellow color. This is used as a coloring substitute for saffron.

Tuna - An excellent steak fish (and the most popular canned fish), with tender, flaky, and highly flavorful flesh; Look for bluefin but settle for yellowfin if need be.

Tunas - [Spanish] prickly pear cactus fruits which turn from green to ruby red; their juice is magenta-colored; their exotic flavor is like a blend of pomegranates, cherries and strawberries; the fruit is used in making jelly, candies and syrup.

Tunken - [German] sauces.

Turducken - A Louisiana specialty - a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey.

Turmeric - [Indian] a rhizome that is dried and ground, then utilized to spice and color dishes bright yellow. Primarily used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking.

Turnip - A root vegetable with a sharp flavor that mellows and sweetens when cooked.

Turnovers - Pastries filled with a savory or sweet mixture, doubled over to the shape of a semicircle, then baked or deep-fried.

Turqué - [Spanish] turkey.

Tutti Frutti - [Italian] Dried mixed fruits as added to ice cream.

Tzatziki Sauce - Dipping sauce derived from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice. Served with calamari.

Tzimmes - Traditionally served on Rosh Hashana, this sweet Jewish dish consists of various combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables. All are flavored with honey and often with cinnamon as well. The flavors of this casserole-style dish develop by cooking it at a very low temperature for a very long time.