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Substitute phyllo sheets for more fat ladden pie pastries.

Wrap apples and pears for baking or make a pseudo strudel with phyllo sheets for less calories and fat.
Products high in polyunsaturated fats have actually been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Sources include safflower, corn and sunflower oils, some nuts and seeds.
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Culinary Terms

Packed - Pressed or mashed together tightly, filling the measuring utensil with as much of the ingredient as possible.

Paella - A Spanish dish consisting of rice, saffron, a variety of meat and shellfish, garlic, onions, peas, tomatoes, and other vegetables. It's named for the wide, shallow pan it's cooked in.

Palm Hearts - Hearts of young palm trees.

Palm Sugar - Known as gula jawa (Indonesian), gula Malacca (Malaysian), nahm tahn beep (Thai). Ivory to light caramel colored sugar cakes. Its flavor is extracted from coconut flower or palm. It is similar to brown sugar. In fact, if you can't find it, you can substitute maple sugar or brown sugar blended with a little maple syrup (to moisten) for palm sugar.

Pan Fry - To brown and cook foods in fat in a shallow pan, where the fat does not completely cover the food.

Panbroil - To cook a food in a skillet without added fat, removing any fat as it accumulates.

Pancetta - An Italian cured meat made from the belly (pancia) of the big (the same cut used for bacon). It is salted but lightly spiced, but not smoked.

Panforte - A dense, flat Italian cake filled with hazelnuts, almonds, honey, candied citron and citrus peel, cocoa and spices.

Pansotti
- A stuffed, triangular pasta popular in the Italian region of Liguria.

Papaya - Native to North America, the papaya is a large fruit which is golden yellow when ripe. Ripe papaya has an exotic sweet-tart flavor. The fruit is sometimes called pawpaw.

Papillote, En - A food (ex. fish with a vegetable garnish) enclosed in parchment paper or greased paper wrapper and baked; the paper envelope is usually slit open tableside so that the diner can enjoy the escaping aroma.

Pappardelle
- Plain pasta, usually homemade, shaped in broad ribbons with fluted edges, cut into short pieces (¾-inch wide by 12 inches long).

Paprika - A blend of dried red-skinned chiles; the flavor can range from slightly sweet and mild to pungent and moderately hot and the color can range from bright red-orange to deep blood red; used in Central European and Spanish cuisines as a spice and garnish; also known as Hungarian pepper.

Paraffin
- A waxy substance used for coating items such as cheese and the tops of jars of jams and jellies to keep air out, thus preventing spoilage.

Parboil - To boil a food briefly, until partially done. A food might be parboiled before adding it to faster-cooking ingredients to insure all ingredients are evenly cooked.

Parchment Paper - A heavy moisture and grease-resistant paper used to line baking pans and wrap foods to be baked.

Parcook
- To partially cook an item before storing or finishing by any number of other cooking methods.

Pare - To remove skins and peels from fruits or vegetables with a small knife or peeler.

Pareve - A Jewish term which describes food made without dairy or animal
ingredients. According to Jewish dietary laws, animal food can't be eaten at the same meal with dairy food, but pareve food may be eaten with either.

Parfait - A dessert consisting of ice cream, layered with a dessert sauce, fruit, or liquer.

Parmesan Cheese - A cow's milk cheese whose taste ranges from sweet to sharp. It is a hard cheese, most suitable for grating. Most often served with Italian food.

Parsley - An herb (Petroselium crispum) with long, slender stalks, small, curly dark green leaves and a slightly peppery, tangy fresh flavor (the flavor is stronger in the stalks, which are used in a bouquet garni); generally used fresh as a flavoring or garnish; also known as curly parsley.

Parsnip
- A long, white root vegetable with feathery green leaves. Its look and taste is similar to a carrot and it can be cooked in much the same way.

Partially Set - Term for the state of a gelatin mixture that has thickened to the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Pasilla Chili Peppers
- Medium-hot chili peppers that are generally 6 inches to 8 inches long and 1 inch to 2 inches in diameter. These rich-flavored peppers are blackish-brown in color and sometimes referred to as chile negro.

Passion Fruit - This purple fruit has a smooth skin that wrinkles as it ages and highly fragrant orange pulp filled with many tiny edible seeds. The flavor is tangy but sweet. It can be chilled and eaten as is, added to fruit salads or used as a flavoring for baked goods, preserves and beverages.

Pasta - Pasta may refer to any of a wide variety of noodles from a variety of countries. Italian pasta is usually made with a dough of durum or semolina wheat flour, liquid, and sometimes egg. Pasta made with semolina flour is generally superior, since it doesn't absorb too much water and stays somewhat firm when cooked al dente.

Pasteurize - To kill bacteria by heating liquids to moderately high temperatures only briefly. French scientist Louis Pasteur discovered the solution while he was researching the cause of beer and wine spoilage.

Pastina - A small pasta, of any shape but frequently round; used in soups.

Pastry Bag - A cone-shaped bag with openings at both ends. Food is placed into the large opening then squeezed out the small opening which may be fitted with a decorator tip. It has a variety of uses, including decorating cakes and cookies, forming pastries, or piping decorative edgings. Bags may be made of cloth, plastic, or other materials.

Pastry Blender - A kitchen utensil with several u-shaped wires attached to a handle. It's used to cut solid fat (like shortening or butter) into flour and other dry ingredients in order to evenly distribute the fat particles.

Pastry Brush - A brush used to apply glaze or egg wash to breads and other baked goods either before or after baking.

Pastry Wheel - A utensil with a cutting wheel attached to a handle. It's used to mark and cut rolled-out dough, and may have a plain or decorative edge.

Pat - To take the underside of the hand and gently press a food. The purpose might be to pat dry ingredients onto the surface so they will adhere during cooking, or to pat with a towel to remove excess moisture.

Pâté
- An appetizer, paté usually consists of seasoned, finely ground or strained meat, poultry, or fish. Paté is usually cooked in a crust or mold (may be called terrine) and is often served with crackers or toast.

Pate a Choux - Cream puff paste. It is a mixture of boiled water, fat, and flour, beat in whole eggs.

Patty - A thin, round piece of food, such as a hamburger patty or a peppermint patty.
Paupiettes - Thinly sliced meats wrapped around fillings.

Paysanne - French name avariety of vegetables cut in a small square, usually about 1/4". Used in soups or granish for meats and seafood.

Peach - A medium-sized stone fruit (Prunus persica) native to China; has a fuzzy, yellow-red skin, pale orange, yellow or white juicy flesh surrounding a hard stone and a sweet flavor; available as a clingstone and freestone.

Peach Melba - A dessert created in the late 1800s by the famous French chef Escoffier for Dame Nellie Melba, a popular Australian opera singer. It's made with two peach halves that have been poached in syrup and cooled. Each peach half is placed hollow side down on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then topped with Melba sauce (a raspberry sauce) and sometimes with whipped cream and sliced almonds.

Peaks - The mounds made in a mixture. For example egg white that has been whipped to stiffness. Peaks are "stiff" if they stay upright or "soft" if they curl over.

Peanut - A legume and not a nut (Arachis hypogea), it is the plant's nut-like seed that grows underground; the hard nut has a papery brown skin and is encased in a thin, netted tan pod and is used for snacking and for making peanut butter and oil; also known as a groundnut; earthnut, goober (from the African work nguba) and goober pea.

Peanut Oil
- Clear oil pressed from peanuts; very useful in cooking and as a salad oil. Peanut oil has a delicate flavor and high smoke point, making it perfect for deep-frying.

Pear - A spherical to bell-shaped pome fruit (Pyrus communis), generally with a juicy, tender, crisp off-white flesh, moderately thin skin that can range in color from celadon green to golden yellow to tawny red and a flavor that can be sweet to spicy; pears can be eaten out of hand or cooked and are grown in temperate regions worldwide.

Pearl Onions - Mild-flavored onions about the size of a small marble; often cooked as a side dish or pickled as a condiment or garnish.

Peas - The edible seeds contained within the pods of various vines; the seeds are generally shelled and the pod discarded; although available fresh, peas are usually marketed canned or frozen.

Pecan - The nut of a tree of the hickory family (Carya oliviformis), native to North America; has a smooth, thin, hard, tan shell enclosing a bilobed, golden brown kernel with beige flesh and a high fat content.

Pecorino Romano - The Pecorino cheeses are made from sheep's milk in Italy. Romano is the best known. Parmesan is a good Romano substitute.

Pectin - Pectin is a natural substance used to thicken jams, jellies, and preserves. Pectin is naturally present in fruits, but most don't have enough to jell. The alternative is to cook the mixture until it's reduced to the desired consistency. Pectin will only work when combined with a specific balance of sugar and acid.

Peel - To remove the outside covering, such as the rind or skin, of a fruit or vegetable with a knife or vegetable peeler.

Penne - Italian for pen or quill and used to describe short to medium-length straight tubes (ridged or smooth) of pasta with diagonally cut ends.

Pepper - The fruit of various members of the Capsicum genus; native to the Western hemisphere, a pepper has a hollow body with placental ribs (internal white veins) to which tiny seeds are attached (seeds are also attached to the stem end of the interior); a pepper can be white, yellow, green, brown, purple or red with a flavor ranging from delicately sweet to fiery hot; the genus includes sweet peppers and hot peppers.

Peppercorn - Peppercorns are small berries from a vine plant. The black peppercorn is picked when it is almost ripe, then dried. Whole ground or cracked, black peppercorns produce our everyday black pepper. The milder white pepper is made from the dried inner kernel of the ripe berry.


Peppermint - An herb and member of the mint family (Mentha piperita); has thin stiff, pointed bright green, purple-tinged leaves and a pungent, menthol flavor; used as a flavoring and garnish.

Perciatelli
- Pasta whose shape is similar to that of spaghetti, but with a hollow center; also called bucatini.


Persillade - A mixture of paste garlic, finely chopped parsley, a little olive oil, and sometimes bread crumbs.

Persimmon - A round fruit with a glossy skin that can range in color from yellow to deep orange with sweet, creamy orange flesh. All persimmons have a characteristic astringent flavor that causes the mouth to pucker when they are not ripe.

Pesto - Pesto is an Italian basil sauce. Many variations of this sauce exist including different nut based pestos, different herb based pestos, sun dried tomato pesto, and black olive pesto.

Petit Four - Small bite-size cakes, petits fours are usually square or diamond-shaped. They're typically coated with icing and decorated.

Pheasant - A game bird with dark flesh and an average weight of 1.5 to 2 lbs.

Phyllo - A Greek pastry, phyllo is made up of tissue-thin layers of dough. The dough is used for dishes such as baklava and spanikopita. It can usually be found frozen in supermarkets. Phyllo is sometimes spelled filo.

Picadillo - A Spanish dish made up of ground pork and beef, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other foods, depending on the region. In Mexico, picadillo is used as a stuffing.

Picante - Spanish for flavored with hot peppers (chiles).

Picholine Olive - French green olive, salt-brine cured, with a subtle, slightly salty flavor; sometimes preserved with citric acid in the United States.

Pickapeppa Sauce - A sweet and sour, mild hot pepper sauce from Jamaica.

Pickle - To preserve food in a vinegar mixture or seasoned brine. Cucumbers, cauliflower, onions, baby corn, and and watermelon rind are some of the most popular foods to pickle.

Pickling Spice - A combination of spices usually including mustard seed, bay leaves, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom. Pickling spices are used primarily for pickling foods, but may also be used to season certain dishes.

Pico de Gallo - Literally rooster's beak, a coarse uncooked tomato salsa.

Pierogi - Polish dumplings filled with a minced mixture, such as pork, onions, cottage cheese and seasonings.

Pilaf - A side dish of rice or other grains cooked in a broth with seasonings and sometimes tossed with vegetables or meat. Also known as pilau.

Pimiento or Pimento - A large red, sweet pepper. Pimientos are usually found diced in cans and jars and are added to dishes to enhance the color and flavor.

Pinch - As much of an ingredient that can be held between the thumb and forefinger. A very small, approximate amount.

Pine Nuts - The blanched seeds from pine cones. Other names are: Indian nut, piñon, pignoli, and pignolia.

Pineapple - A tropical fruit (Ananas comosus) with a spiny, diamond-patterned, greenish-brown skin and swordlike leaves; the juicy yellow flesh surrounds a hard core and has a sweet-tart flavor.

Pinon - Pine nuts, seeds of large pine cones. Used in deserts and breads or roasted and enjoyed as nut meats.

Pint - A unit of volume measurement equal to 16 fl. oz. in the U.S. system.

Pinto Bean - A medium-sized pale pink bean with reddish-brown streaks; available dried; also known as a crabeye bean and a red Mexican bean.

Pipe - To squeeze icing or other soft food through a pastry bag to make a design or decorative edible edging.

Piquant - A term which generally means a tangy flavor.

Piquante Sauce - A sauce made with shallots, white wine vinegar, gherkins, parsley, and a variety of herbs and seasonings.

Pit - To remove the seed from a piece of fruit by cutting around the sides of the fruit and pulling the seed away from the flesh.

Pita - A round, Middle Eastern flat bread made from white or whole wheat flour. When a pita is split, the pocket may be filled to make a sandwich.

Pizzelles - Thin decoratively patterned Italian wafer cookies that are made in an iron similar to a waffle iron. They may be flat or rolled into ice cream cones.

Plantains - Also known as machos. The plantain is a green skinned, pink fleshed banana which is usually flatter and longer than a regular banana. It also contains more starch and less sugar. It is usually eaten fried, mashed, or in stews in South American, African, and West Indian cuisine.

Plastic Wrap - A thin sheet of clear polymers such as polyvinyl chloride; clings to surfaces and is used to wrap foods for storage.

Plum - A small to medium-sized ovoid or spherical stone fruit (Prunus domestica) that grows in clusters; has a smooth skin that can be yellow, green, red, purple or indigo blue, a juicy flesh, large pit and sweet flavor.

Plum Sauce - Also known as duck sauce, plum sauce is a Chinese condiment made from plums, apricots, vinegar and sugar. It has a thick, jam-like consistency and tart-sweet flavor. Plum sauce is used predominately as a dipping sauce for roasted meats and fried appetizers.

Poach - To cook food in liquid, at or just below the boiling point. For eggs, meat, or fish, the liquid is usually water or a seasoned stock; fruit is generally poached in a sugar syrup.

Poblano Chili Pepper - A dark, sometimes almost black green chili pepper with a mild flavor. Best known for its use in "Chili Rellanos".

Poêle - A method of cooking (usually in a covered pot) where foods are cooked in their own juices. Also referred to as butter roasting.

Poi - A Hawaiian dish made from cooked taro root that has been pounded to a smooth paste and mixed with water.

Polenta - A mush made from cornmeal, polenta may be eaten hot or cooled and fried. Polenta is a staple of northern Italy.

Pollo -
Spanish term for chicken.

Polyunsaturated Fat
- A fatty acid with two or more double bonds between carbon atoms; the good kind of fat.

Pomegranate
- A red to purple fruit with thin leathery skin and hundreds of crunchy seeds encased in translucent, sweet-tart flesh. The seeds are separated from the flesh by a bitter membrane that should be discarded.

Pone - A round, flat food, such as corn pone.

Poppy Seed or Poppyseed - Tiny bluish-gray seeds of the poppy plant. Poppy seeds are often sprinkled on food, used as a filling, or added to a variety of foods, such as cakes, breads, and salad dressings.

Porcini - A large wild mushroom with a smooth cap and thick stem. Porcini mushrooms have an earthy flavor.

Pork - The flesh of hogs, usually slaughtered under the age of 1 year.

Portabella - A very large crimini; the mushroom has a dense texture and a rich, meaty flavor.

Porterhouse Steak - A cut of meat from the rear end of the short loin. The name originates from the days when it was served in public alehouses that also served a dark beer called porter. It consists of a hefty chunk of tenderloin with an even heftier chunk of sirloin tip. Some folks like to remove the tenderloin to serve separately as filet mignon.

Posole, Pozole - Hominy stew made with dried lime-treated corn and combined with pork and seasonings.

Pot Liquor, or Pot Likker - The liquid left after cooking greens, vegetables, or other food. It's traditionally served with cornbread in the South.

Pot Sticker Wrappers
- Very thin sheets of dough made from flour, eggs and salt; used for small meat and vegetable filled dumplings known as pot stickers, as well as for won ton and egg rolls.

Pot Roast - A large piece of meat browned in fat quickly and then cooked in a covered pan.

Potage - French term for a thick soup intended to serve as a complete meal. It defines a soup with a thickness that is between consomme and soupe.

Potassium - A mineral used primarily to assist the transmissions of nerve impulses and to develop protein. Good potassium sources include green vegetables, kiwi, bananas and other fruits.

Potato - The starchy tuber of a succulent, nonwoody annual plant (Solanum turberosum) native to the Andes Mountains; cooked like a vegetable, made into flour, processed for chips and used for distillation mash.

Poultry - Any domesticated bird used for food; the USDA recognizes six kinds of poultry: chicken, duck, goose, guinea, pigeon and turkey.

Poultry Seasoning - A blend of herbs and spices, poultry seasoning usually contains sage, celery seed, thyme, savory, marjoram, onion, and pepper.

Pound - A basic measure of weight in the U.S. system; 16 ounces = 1 pound, 1 pound = 453.6 grams or 0.4536 kilogram .

Praline - A confection made with pecans and brown sugar.

Prawn
- Term commonly used for any large shrimp, although a true prawn has a thinner body and longer legs than a shrimp, and an average market length of 3 inches or 4 inches.

Preheat - To allow the oven or pan to get to a specified temperature before adding the food to be cooked.

Preserve - To prepare foods for long storage. Some ways to preserve food are drying, refrigeration, freezing, canning, curing, pickling, and smoking.

Preserves - A thick cooked mixture of whole or cut up fruit, sugar, and usually pectin.

Pressure Cooker - A cooking pot made to cook food under pressure. The pressure cooker has a locking lid and a valve system to regulate the internal pressure. Cooking time may be reduced by as much as 50% without destroying the nutritional value of the food.

Prick - To make small holes in the surface of a food, usually using the tines of a fork. Pie crust is usually pricked.

Primavera - Italian for "spring style," this term refers to the use of fresh vegetables as a seasoning or garnish in a dish.

Prime Rib - Meats found in supermarkets labeled "prime rib" are most often actually rib roasts.

Proof - 1) To "prove" yeast is alive by dissolving it in warm water and setting it aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes. If it swells and becomes bubbly, it is alive. 2) Proof is an indication of the amount of alcoholic content in a liquor. In the U.S., proof is twice the percentage of alcohol. If a liquor is labeled 80 proof, it contains 40% alcohol

Proof Box - A sealed cabinet that allows control over both temperature and humidity.

Prosciutto - The Italian word for ham.

Protein - Protein can be found in both animal and vegetable sources, and provides the body with energy while performing a large number of other functions.

Provolone Cheese - Pale yellow, sharp Italian cheese originating in the southern province of Catania, made from cow's or buffalo milk. Most provolone is aged for two to three months, though some is aged six months to a year or more.

Prune - A dried red or purple plum.

Puff Pastry - A rich, multilayered French pastry made with butter, flour, eggs, and water. Puff pastry is made by placing chilled butter pats between layers of dough, then rolling the dough, folding it in thirds and letting it rest. The process is repeated several times, producing a dough with hundreds of layers of dough and butter. When baked, the moisture in the butter creates steam, which causes the dough to separate into flaky layers.

Pulse - An action used with processors and blenders. If a recipe tells you to pulse, turn the start button on and off rapidly serveral times or until the ingredients are appropriately processed.

Pulverize - To reduce to powder or dust by pounding, crushing or grinding.

Pumate - Italian for sun-dried tomatoes.

Pumpkin - A spherical winter squash with a flattened top and base, size ranging from small to very large, fluted orange shell (yellow and green varieties are also available), yellow to orange flesh with a mild sweet flavor and numerous flat, edible seeds.

Punch Down - To deflate a risen dough. With your hand, press on the dough until the gas escapes.

Purée - Food that has been mashed or sieved.

Purslane
- A small plant with reddish stems and rounded leaves. Purslane can be eaten cooked or raw and has a mild flavor.

Puttanesca - A piquant pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chile flakes.

 

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