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VOL. 38 | NO. 24 | Friday, June 13, 2014

Would you rather have haricot verts or green beans?

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One night last week, hubby and I had a wonderful meal at one of the fancier restaurants in town. One of my sides was golden beets with feta cheese, and one of his was haricot verts. He wasn’t sure what that was, so I had to tell him and let him know that he would like them.

So do you know what they are? If not, you can find the answer below, along with some other cooking terms – some you might be familiar with and maybe a few new ones.

Gluten: An elastic protein present in flour, especially wheat flour, which provides most of the structure of baked products.

Parsnip: A white root vegetable that resembles a carrot. Parsnips have a mild, sweet flavor and can be cooked like potatoes.

Sorbet: French for “sherbet.” Sorbets are made from water, sugar and fruit juice or puree, then churned when freezing. Does not contain milk.

Tahini: A flavoring agent, often used in Middle Eastern cooking, that’s made from ground sesame seeds. Look for tahini in specialty food shops or Asian markets.

Giblets: The edible internal organs of poultry, including the liver, heart and gizzard. Giblets are sometimes used to make gravy.

Mull: To slowly heat a beverage, such as cider, with spices and sugar.

Tamari: A dark, thin sauce made from soybeans. Tamari is a slightly thicker, mellower cousin of soy sauce and is used to flavor Asian dishes.

French: To cut meat away from the end of a rib or chop to expose the bone, as with a lamb rib roast.

Roux (roo): A French term that refers to a mixture of flour and a fat cooked to a golden- or rich-brown color and used for a thickening in sauces, soups and gumbos.

Wasabi: A Japanese horseradish condiment with a distinctive, pale lime color and a head-clearing heat (at least if used in significant amounts). Wasabi is available as a paste in a tube or as a fine powder in a small tin or bottle.

Prosciutto: Ham that has been seasoned, salt-cured and air-dried (not smoked). Pressing the meat gives it a firm, dense texture. Parma ham from Italy is considered to be the best.

Spring Chicken Skillet

1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1-1/2 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 zucchini, sliced
3 yellow squash, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups shredded Kraft Italian Three Cheese Blend
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt. Sprinkle chicken with pepper. Heat one tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook five to seven minutes on each side or until done. Remove to plate; cover to keep warm. Add remaining oil to same skillet. Add squash; stir-fry three minutes.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Toss pasta with reserved water in same pan; place on large serving platter. Top with chicken, squash and remaining ingredients.

Glacé (gla-SAY): The French term for “glazed” or “frozen.” In the United States, it describes a candied food.

Capers: The buds of a spiny shrub that grows from Spain to China. Found next to the olives in the supermarket, capers have an assertive flavor that can best be described as the marriage of citrus and olive, plus an added tang that comes from the salt and vinegar of their packaging brine. While the smaller buds bring more flavor than the larger buds, both can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Lemongrass: A highly aromatic, lemon-flavored herb often used in Asian cooking.

Chorizo (chuh-REE-zoh): A spicy pork sausage used in Mexican and Spanish cuisine. Spanish chorizo is made with smoked pork, and Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork.

Rice noodles: Thin noodles, popular in Asian cooking, that are made from finely ground rice and water. When fried, they puff into light, crisp strands. They can also be soaked to use in stir-fries and soups. Thicker varieties are called rice sticks.

Haricot vert: French for “green string bean,” these beans are particularly thin and tender.

Crystallized ginger: A confection made from pieces of ginger (gingerroot) cooked in sugar syrup, then coated with sugar. Also known as candied ginger. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

Phyllo dough (FEE-loh): Prominent in Greek, Turkish and Near Eastern dishes, phyllo consists of tissue-thin sheets of dough that, when layered and baked, results in a delicate, flaky pastry. The word phyllo (sometimes spelled filo) is Greek for “leaf.”

Crème fraîche: A dairy product made from whipping cream and a bacterial culture, which causes the whipping cream to thicken and develop a sharp, tangy flavor.

Vanilla sugar: Infused with flavor from a dried vanilla bean, vanilla sugar tastes great stirred into coffee drinks and sprinkled over baked goods. To make vanilla sugar, fill a one-quart jar with 4 cups sugar. Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and insert both halves into sugar. Secure lid and store in a cool, dry place for several weeks before using. It will keep indefinitely.

Raw sugar: In the United States, true raw sugar is not sold to consumers. Products labeled and sold as raw sugar, such as Demerara sugar and Turbinado sugar, have been refined in some way.

Fillet: A piece of meat or fish that has no bones. As a verb, fillet refers to the process of cutting meat or fish into fillets.

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