Cooking Glossary - F
Faggot - [French] a stalk of celery tied with parsley, bay leaf and
thyme. Used in cooking soups, then discarded; Small savory cake made of pork
offal, onion and bread, then baked.
Faisбn - [Spanish] pheasant; name given to many game birds.
Fajitas - [Spanish] little belts; marinated and grilled skirt steak;
called arracheras in Mexico; refers to the cut of meat, not the way it is
served; a lower-fat substitute is flank steak.
Falafel - A Middle Eastern specialty made up of small, deep-fried
croquettes or balls made of highly spiced, ground chickpeas (garbanzos). They
are generally served inside pita bread, sandwich style, but can also be served
as appetizers. A yogurt or tahini-based sauce is often served with falafel.
Farce - [French] forcemeat.
Farci - [French] stuffed.
Farfalle - Bow tie shaped pasta.
Farina - [Italian] a fine meal or flour made from wheat, nuts and
potatoes. In the United States it is known as cream of wheat.
Farmer's cheese - Uncreamed cottage cheese; also called baker's or pot
cheese; dry-cured cottage cheese may be substituted.
Fava Beans - Broad beans. A Mediterranean bean similar to lima beans.
It comes in a large pod which, unless very young, is inedible. Fava beans can be
purchased dried, cooked in cans and, infrequently, fresh. If you find fresh fava
beans, choose those with pods that are not bulging with beans, which indicates
age. Fava beans have a very tough skin, which should be removed by blanching
before cooking. They are very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
dishes. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and are often used in soups.
Also called faba bean, broad bean and horse bean.
Feed bag - Ranch eating place; also mess house or nose bag.
Fegato - [Italian] liver
Feijoa - Fruit native to Mexico; has a thick green skin, which should
always be peeled, and pale yellow flesh; has a subtle flavor, which is as
flavorful as pineapple, with a hint of mint; the flesh yields to gentle pressure
when ripe and can be used in fruit sauces; pineapple with a touch of lime juice
can be substituted. Also a fruit grown in New Zealand with a thin green skin and
a flavor reminiscent of strawberry, banana and pineapple.
Feijoada - A Brazilian dish very similar to cassoulet, made with black
beans. Sausage, bacon, ham, and various cuts of pork cooked in with the beans.
The traditional accompaniments are plain white rice, cooked greens, fresh orange
slices, and a very hot sauce, similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca.
Toasted cassava flour is used as a condiment, to be added by each diner.
Fen Berry - Another name for a small variety of cranberry - also known
as cram-berry, crawberry, moss-millions, sow-berry, sour-berry, marsh wort,
bog-berry and swamp red-berry. It is found in many English recipes.
Fennel - Fennel is a crisp, aromatic vegetable with a licorice flavor
and celery-like texture. the bulb is delicious raw in salads (and great cooked
as well), and the feathery fronds can be used as seasoning. The rounder bulbs
seem to be more tender than those that are really flat. (Some markets label it
anise, which it is not.)
Fennel seeds - These oval, greenish seeds come from a bulbless variety
of fennel. Available whole or ground, they have a slight licorice flavor and
Fenugreek - A very hard seed grown in the Middle East, which is used
as a spice. Its dominant flavor and aroma is recognizable in commercial curry
Fermented black beans - This pungent Chinese specialty consists of
small black soybeans preserved in salt and sold in covered jars or plastic bags.
Available in Asian markets, sometimes under the name "salty black
beans." They will keep indefinitely.
Feta cheese - A classic white Greek cheese, usually made with sheep's
milk. It's crumbly, and has a tangy flavor.
Fettuccini - Flat narrow pasta egg noodles less than wide and a bit
thicker than tagliatelle.
Fiambre - [Spanish] cooked meat and vegetable salad that is usually
Ficelle - [French] string. This term is used in cooking to describe
foods that have been tied to a string and cooked in a broth. This was a practice
in villages when a communal pot was used to cook food. The string was used in
order to allow the owners to identify and recover their piece of meat. This is
generally applied to tough cuts of meat that require long periods of cooking.
Yet, some restaurants are using the term to describe a more tender cut of meat
that is poached in a rich broth. Beef filet and duck breasts are two good
choices for this type of preparation.
Fiddlehead ferns - A barely emerged, tightly coiled (hence the name)
shoot of the ostrich fern. Their flavor is reminiscent of asparagus and
artichoke-- some say with a touch of green beans. Available only in spring, and
locally - they will not ship.
Fideo - [Spanish] vermicelli; nest of thin pasta.
Figs - Fresh figs have soft flesh with many tiny, edible seeds, and
range from purple to green. Also readily available dried.
Filberts - Hazelnuts.
Filй powder - A powder made of dried sassafras leaves which has a
glutinous quality and gives to certain dishes (as gumbos) a delicate flavor and
Filet, (or fillet) - A piece of meat, fish or poultry which is
boneless or has had all the bones removed.
Filet mignon - A thick, boneless and extremely tender cut of beef from
the tail side of the tenderloin. (Not however the most flavorful of steaks.)
Filete - [Spanish] filet.
Filete migon - [Spanish] filet mignon.
Financier - A small cake or cookie that is made with ground nuts and
whipped egg whites. These are soft like sponge cake, and have a rich flavor of
Fines Herbes - A combination of very finely chopped fresh herbs used
for seasoning. Traditionally includes chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon,
. Dried herbs may also be used, but their delicacy is lost.
Fingido - [Spanish] false; ersatz.
Finnan Haddie - [Scottish] smoked haddock.
Firkin - The sourdough container on a chuck wagon; also dough keg.
Fish Cakes, Japanese - Fish paste molded into cakelike shapes and
grilled or deep fried. Available frozen in Japanese markets.
Fish Sauce - A condiment made from fermented anchovies, salt and
water. Common in Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai cooking. The Cambodian version nam
pla, is considered the finest, and has the richest flavor. The Vietnamese
variety, nuoc mam, most widely available, is milder. The different
varieties are interchangeable. Available in Oriental, Asian and some
Five spice powder - A dry spice mix used in Chinese cooking consisting
of cinnamon, star anise, Szechuan pepper, clove, and fennel.
Flageolet - These immature kidney beans harvested before maturity are
medium in size (about one-half inch long), kidney shaped, and a pale green.
Quick-cooking and very fresh-tasting, the classic treatment features cream and
Flake - Separate cooked fish into individual flaky slivers; grate
chocolate or cheese into small slivers.
Flambй - [French] served flaming, accomplished by pouring spirits over food
and igniting them.
Flameado - [Spanish] flamed; flambй; served flaming.
Flameproof - Cookware that can be used directly on a burner or under a
broiler without damage.
Flan - This is a term that may be used to describe two different
preparations. The first use of this word is describes an open top tart that is
filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit. Flan is used in Spanish and
Mexican cooking to describe an egg custard that is baked in a large shallow
dish, and flavored with caramel. The dish is inverted when served and the excess
caramel is used as a sauce for the flan. The flan may be flavored with orange,
anise, cinnamon, or liqueur. [Spanish] traditional Mexican and Southwestern
baked caramel custard dessert; similar to the French "crиme caramel"
or "crиme brыlйe."
Flan ring - A metal pan for baking tarts, with low sides and a
detachable side ring.
Flank steak - The triangular-shaped muscle from the underside of a
flank of beef; when broiled, served rare and sliced thin, as horizontally as
possible, this is tender and juicy, and is called London Broil. Flank steak is
also served with a stuffing, rolled and baked.
Flat-Iron Steak - Beef shoulder top blade cut.
Flatfish - Includes flounders, flukes, sole, dabs, and plaices.
Distinguished by their eyes (on top of their head), and swimming style (on their
side). Have thin, fine-grained flesh; all can be used interchangeably.
Flautas - [Spanish] flutes; filled, tightly rolled, and deep-fried
Fleisch - [German] meat.
Fleur de sel - [French] "flower of the salt." A rare sea salt
harvested by hand in Brittany, France and available only in limited quantities.
Composed of the natural crystal formations found on the surface of a salt marsh.
The crystals are sun-dried only, thereby maintaining many of the nutrients not
found in typical prepared salts. Fleur de Sel's unrefined nature lends itself to
be served as a condiment, rather than a seasoning, adding both texture and
flavor to a meal.
Fleuron - A small crescent shaped pastry made of puff dough that is
used to garnish fish dishes and soups.
Flor - [Spanish] flower.
Florentine - [French] This is used to describe foods that are cooked in the
style of Florence. The word is most commonly associated with dishes containing
spinach and sometimes a cream sauce. Steak cooked ala Florentine is a large
T-bone steak, rubbed with olive oil and garlic, grilled and served with fresh
lemon on the side.
Flores - [Spanish] blossoms.
Flour - This is the finely ground grain of wheat, corn, rice, oat,
rye, or barley. Unless specified, this term refers to wheat flour. Flour is
milled from a variety of wheats containing different amounts of protein. The
different levels of protein give each flour unique qualities.
All-purpose flour sometimes called general-purpose or family flour is the
most commonly used, especially by the domestic market. This flour is milled from
both hard and soft wheats, giving it the strength needed in bread baking, but
leaving it tender enough for cakes and pastries.
Bread flour has a higher protein content so that it may withstand the
constant expansion of the cell walls during proofing and baking.
Cake flour is milled from soft wheat, thus containing a very low protein
content and preventing the development of gluten. Pastry flour is of relatively
low protein content, containing just enough to help stabilize the products
Whole-wheat flours also called graham flour or entire wheat flour are milled
from the whole kernel, thus giving it a higher fiber content and a substantial
protein content. Semolina is milled from hard durum wheat, being used mainly for
commercial baking and pasta production.
Cake Flour: A high starch flour made from soft
wheat. Ideal for baking.
Bread Flour: A high gluten flour made from hard
wheat. Perfect for yeast breads.
All-Purpose Flour: Half cake flour, half bread
flour. Suitable for all applications.
Whole Wheat Flour: A high fiber flour that contains
the wheat germ. Usually blended with other flours.
Self-Rising: A mixture of all-purpose flour, baking
powder and salt.
Stone Ground: Wheat that is ground between two
slowly moving stones. This process creates less heat than the usual high speed
steel grinding. Some cooks believe the stone grinding method produces a better
Semolina: Coarsely ground, hard flour (usually duram). Used for making
Other flours which are not as common are buckwheat, corn, potato, rice, rye
and soy. These are used for special recipes or for special diets and can be
found in health food, specialty stores and some supermarkets.
Fluff-duff - Ranch term for fancy foods such as cakes or puddings.
Flute - To make decorative indentations, as on the rim of a pie crust.
Focaccia - An Italian flatbread made with pizza or bread dough, that
can be baked plain or topped with onions, zucchini, eggplant, cheese, or
whatever you choose.
Foie Gras - [French] literally translated, "fat liver"; but the term
is used to describe the fattened liver of both duck and geese. The birds are
force fed a rich mixture to help expedite this process. The largest production
of commercial foie gras is done in France and Israel. The US will only allow
this product to be imported in a cooked stage, either canned, vacuum-sealed, or
frozen. These are inferior products and will never highlight the true delicacy
of foie gras.
Fold - To add one ingredient or mixture to another using a large metal
spoon or spatula. Gentle process that often keeps mixed air fluffed throughout a
mixture, such as in angel food cakes.
Fondant - An icing made of sugar syrup and glucose, which is
cooked to a specific temperature and then kneaded to a smooth, soft paste. This
paste can then be colored or flavored and used as an icing for cakes and petit
Fondue - There are several different types of fondue, the most notable
of which is cheese fondue. This is a Swiss specialty in which cheese is melted
with wine, eggs, and seasonings and served with bread and fresh vegetables.
Fondue Bourguignonne is a pot of hot oil into which the diners will cook
strips of meat and dip them into an array of sauces on the table.
Similar to this is fondue Chinois where the hot oil is replaced by a rich
chicken or meat broth. The meat, and fish too, are then cooked in this stock and
dipped in sauces.
The Japanese have a dish called shabu shabu, which is similar to this type of
fondue. Named for the swishing sound that the meat makes in the broth, this dish
is also served with vegetables and noodles in to be eaten along with the meat.
A chocolate fondue is a chocolate bath, flavored with liqueur and eaten with
bread, cakes and fruit, like fresh berries.
Fonduta - An Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served
over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.
Fool - Cold dessert consisting of fruit puree and whipped cream.
Forcemeat - A rich, highly seasoned paste containing meat or fish,
herbs and vegetables finely minced and pounded, used as a stuffing or garnish.
Formaggio - An Italian cheese.
Fortified - Supplied with more vitamins and minerals than were present
in the natural state.
Fougasse - A flatbread from France that was once served sweetened with
sugar and orange water. It is now more commonly seen as a bread eaten with
savory dishes. In this case, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled
with herbs or salt before baking.
Foyot - This is a variation of a bearnaise sauce with the addition of
a well reduced meat glaze.
Fraises - [French] strawberries.
Framboise - [French] a raspberry-flavored liqueur with a high alcohol
Frangipane - A candy-like pastry cream made of butter, eggs, flour,
and finely ground almonds or macaroons. Modern versions will use a combination
of cornstarch and flour.
Frappй - Sweetened fruit juices frozen until semi-hard, then chilled.
Free-range chicken or turkey - In theory, these birds are much better
than the standard. They're fed differently, given fewer drugs, and have more
room to roam. However, the quality is inconsistent and the price often
Freezing - Process whereby food is solidified or preserved through
chilling and storing it at 0C or 32F degrees.
French chop - A rib lamb chop.
French fry - To cook in hot fat which entirely covers the food, often
in a special wire basket.
Fresas - [Spanish] strawberries.
Fresco - [Spanish] fresh.
Fresno chile - A fresh chile; similar in size and appearance to a ripe
jalapeсo; bright red and thick-fleshed; great in salsas and ceviches; usually
available only in the fall; substitute ripe jalapeсos if unavailable.
Fricadillee - [French] meat balls, made with minced pork and veal,
spices, white bread crumbs, cream and egg, then poached in stock or
shallow-fried in a pan.
Fricassйe - [French] stew made of chicken or veal cut into pieces and cooked
in a gravy. Though chicken is the most common form of this type of stew, fish,
vegetables, and other meats are prepared in this manner.
Frijol blanco - [Spanish] navy bean.
Frijoles - [Spanish] beans; usually refers to stewed pinto beans;
varieties are Anasazi, black turtle, bollito, pinto or red (Mexican strawberry).
Frijoles refritos - [Spanish] refried beans; a paste of stewed pinto
beans fried in fat with onions and garlic and frequently includes chiles.
Fritada - [Spanish] stew usually made with goat meat, which always
contains some animal blood.
Frito - [Spanish] fried.
Frittata - An Italian open-faced omelet.
Fritter - Food that has been dipped in batter and deep fried or sautйed.
These may consist of vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, or fruit. The food may
be dipped in the batter or mixed with the batter and dropped into the hot fat to
form little balls. Japanese tempura fried foods are a type of fritter, though
this term is not applied to it.
Fritto - [Italian] fried
Fritto Misto - An Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the Japanese
tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and fish are dipped in a light
batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the food.
Frituras - [Spanish] fritters.
Fromage - A French cheese.
Frost - to coat a cake or petit fours with an icing; to dip the rim of
a glass in egg white and caster sugar and then chill in a refrigerator until
set; to dip the rim of a glass in lemon juice and coat with salt, then chill in
Fruit paste - A firm, but gelatinous, sweet paste of a fruit such as
mango, papaya or guava, eaten for dessert.
Fruit pectin - A substance found naturally in fruits such as apples,
quince, and all citrus fruits. Pectin's ability to gel liquids makes it a key
ingredient in jelly and jam making. Pectin from citrus fruit is refined is
refined and bottled or powered. You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid
form, or use high pectin fruits in the recipe. Do not substitute one for the
Fruit Sweetener - If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup fruit
sweetener, substitute 1/4 cup concentrated apple juice plus 1/4 cup
granulated fructose. Granulated fructose can be found among the dietary
foods or sugars in the supermarket.
Fry - To cook in fat in a skillet. Food must be turned to brown and
fry on all sides.
Fry bread - Indian fried bread; flat discs of dough that are
deep-fried and topped with honey or refried beans; usually found in Arizona and
Fugu - [Japanese] swellfish; globefish; blowfish; ballonfish; puffer.
Fugu is caught in winter only, and it is eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or
fugu-sashi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed
to prepare this fish in Japan, since it contains a deadly poison.
Ful - An Egyptian dried bean. Available in specialty food shops. The
best are the small variety.
Fumet - [French] an aromatic broth made for use in soups and sauces. The flavor
of a fumet is usually concentrated on one item, though multiple ingredients may
be used. The stock is then reduced to concentrate this flavor. Fish and
vegetable broths are more commonly called fumets, but meat may also be used.
Fundido - [Spanish] fondue.
Fungi - Mushrooms.
Fusilli - [Italian] spiral shaped pasta. Some versions are shaped like a spring.
Other versions are shaped like a twisted spiral.