Ok, so about a month ago, I published Part 1 of this series, where we discuss various culinary terms that chefs like to use and try to explain what the heck that means. Here at Vi, we try not to use too many fancy culinary terms, but then again sometimes we like to use them. Here are some more definitions...
Cheddar Cheese: a relatively hard cheese made from cow's milk ranging from mild to sharp. Cheddar is a town in southwestern England where this cheese was first made, but of course now is made all over the world.
The characteristic yellow color originally came from the milk of the pasture fed cows in the area in summer, but of course is now artificially colored with Annatto seed or food coloring.
My personal favorite is Hook's 5 year old Cheddar, but Carr Valley has a Master Reserve that comes in a close second.
Chipotle: a smoked dried jalapeño, can range in spiciness, but with a very full flavor that can stand out even among strong flavors.
Colcannon: an Irish dish of milk, butter, mashed potatoes and finely chopped cooked cabbage and onions.
Coq Au Vin: classic dish made from chicken, onions, mushrooms, and ham or bacon cooked in red wine.
Coulis: a purée of vegetables or fruit, strained to remove seeds and fibers.
Crawfish: small freshwater crustaceans similar in shape to lobsters. Also known as Crayfish or Crawdads, the flavor is heavenly when cooked with spices, corn, potatoes, and served with cold beer. Last year, live crawfish were unavailable, but we are hoping to boil some up at Mardi Gras on March 1st in the Dad Clark Bar.
Crepe: very thin pancakes made with no baking powder or yeast.can be used in sweet or savory dishes.
Curd: the solids separated from whey when milk is clabbered. This is the first step in making cheese.
Curry: refers to a sauce or dish made with many different spices of Eastern origin. Varies from region. Curry Powder is an English version of an Indian spice mixture and may or may not be used in a curry sauce.
Dashi: refers to a flavorful stock made with dried tuna flakes. Used in Japanese cuisine.
Delicata Squash: winter squash known for it's thin skin and sweet dry flesh, tastes similar to sweet potato.
Demi-Glace: a very rich sauce made from red wine or Madeira, and beef or veal stock that is cooked until it is reduced by half, can be served on s own or used as a base for other sauces.
Diavolo: tomato based sauce liberally spiced with chilies. Best known in Fra Diavolo (the Devil's Brother).
Dirty Rice: a Cajun specialty of rice cooked with any combination of ground meat, liver, gizzards and spices giving it a "dirty" look but a delicious flavor
Dolma: from the Arabic word meaning "stuffed". This is usually a grape leaf stuffed with seasoned grains, but in some cultures it could be meats, fruit or vegetables.
Dragon Fruit: member of the cactus family native to Central and South America. Bright red or yellow on the outside and white to pink on the inside with many small black seeds. much more interesting to look at than to eat.
Duchess Potatoes: dish of potatoes that are mashed with butter and egg yolks, and piped into shapes or dollops and baked until golden brown.
Duxelles: mushrooms, finely chopped and cooked with fresh herbs until moisture is evaporated making a flavorful paste.
Edamame: Japanese word for a variety of soybeans meant to be lightly steamed and eaten whole. Delicious with sea salt.
Eggs Benedict: a dish composed of two poached eggs served on an English muffin with a slice of ham and a dollop of Hollandaise. Legend has it that this dish originated at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in Manhattan when Mrs. Legrand Benedict complained that there was nothing new on the menu.
Escargot: French word for snails. Best cooked in lots of garlic and butter. Surprisingly good in Gumbo.
Etouffée: a popular Cajun dish of crawfish and vegetables served over white rice. it's rich flavor and color come from a dark brown roux which is essential to this dish.
Executive Chef: the most handsome and charming chef in a kitchen. The term refers back to the Brigade system developed by Auguste Escoffier in organizing a kitchen into ranks and specializations similar to the military. The Brigade system has changed over the years, but some aspect of it exists in almost all professional kitchens. The Executive Chef is the highest level of the Brigade, handling all aspects of the kitchen and is responsible for the leadership and direction of cuisine, culture and accountability. The Executive Sous Chef, has duties very similar to the Executive Chef, and is sometimes interchangeable with the term; Chef de Cuisine which makes them responsible for all of the food.
Fajitas: Seasoned meat-usually skirt steak that has been marinated, grilled and sliced thinly to be served with warm tortillas with a variety of accompaniments
Farro: this ancient form of wheat dates back at least 20,000 years in archaeological records. This chewy, dense grain has been largely replaced by higher yielding and easier varieties of wheat. many legends surround this grain, including being carried by the Roman Legions, used by the Egyptian Pharaohs, and even smuggled into America by grave-robbing US GI's. The fact that most of these legends are probably not true should not discourage one from telling the story.
Fava Bean: Large, pale, green bean similar in appearance to lima beans but not at all yucky like lima beans. Used in many Mediterranean dishes.
Feijoada: Brazil's most famous dish, composed of a variety of sliced meats, black beans, rice, sliced greens and toasted tapioca flour.
Fennel: there are two kinds of fennel used in cooking: Florence fennel is grown for its bulbs and leaves, and is similar in texture to celery. Common fennel is grown for it's small oval shaped seeds. Both are intensely flavored, most similar to licorice.
Feta: possibly one of the world's oldest known cheeses, feta is made from sheep, goat or cow's milk and is stored in brine. Very crumbly and salty, it is best known in Greek and Middle Eastern dishes.
Filet Mignon: a boneless cutlet from the center or smaller end of the Beef Tenderloin. Very tender and expensive but very mild in flavor. The tenderloin [also known as the backstrap of the animal] gets very little use, and so the meat is very low in collagen, and has little connective tissue. How juicy the cut is depends on the degree of marbling, but even an inexpensive grade of tenderloin will be tender. Here at Vi we serve at least 50-60 filet mignon per week.
Flank Steak: long rectangular cut of meat from the animal's hindquarters. benefits from marinating, quick cooking at medium rare or less, and proper slicing. sometimes used in London Broil.
Gazpacho: a chilled soup usually made from tomatoes and vegetables, . Can be thickened with bread crumbs but in modern cuisine is usually not.
Ginger: plant from tropical regions known for its knobby root. Very pungent and slightly peppery, can be served fresh, dried or cooked. Used in many cuisines worldwide.
Gravy: a sauce made with meat juices, usually thickened with four or other liaisons.
Gumbo: A rich stew made with meats and vegetables served over rice. This specialty of Louisiana is distinctive in its flavor from dark roux, which serves to thicken it, and it can be further thickened with okra and filé-ground sassafras leaves.
Gumbo usually has some kind of sausage, combined with some kind of seafood, but there are versions without either. Not good versions, but they exist. In the City of New Orleans, Gumbo contains tomatoes, but in the less populated regions, it usually won't.
A restaurant's gumbo is usually a good indicator of how the rest of the meal will go, if they have terrible Gumbo you can (and should) just politely leave the premises.
That's quite a few for this week, we will pick up with the rest of the alphabet in a couple of weeks. If you have any specific items you would like explained feel free to comment, or shoot me an email.
Many thanks [once again] to Mr. Chamberlain for helping with this.
I have heard questions about where to get the menus as they come out. Please remember that menus are available in cubbies, e-mailed, on Touchtown, this blog, as well as at the front desk and the hostess stand. For a deeper discussion of the menus, please attend the Culinary Corner meeting on Mondays at 10 am in the Dad Clark Bar, or simple call me with direct questions at 720 348 7810