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Glossary - W

Waffle - Batter cooked on a hot greased waffle iron.

Walnut - Native to Asia and grows on walnut trees inside green pods which turn brown and wood-like when dried.

Walnut or hazelnut oil - These highly flavorful oils should (almost) never be used for cooking, but are wonderful in salad dressing and drizzled over cooked foods. Always refrigerate, as nut oils go rancid more quickly than other oils.

Wasabi - Japanese green horseradish powder. Turn it into Wasabi Paste by stirring in water, drop by drop and used for dipping sauce with soy sauce when eating sushi and sashimi. Available in Asian markets in both powder and paste form.

Water bath - The French call this cooking technique "bain marie." It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.

Water chestnut - The tuber of a water plant known as the Chinese sedge, which has a crisp, nutty texture. Found sometimes fresh in Asian markets, canned water chestnuts are readily available in most supermarkets.

Watercress - A member of the mustard family, this crisp, leafy green has a piquant, peppery flavor.

Waterglass - Sodium silicate; used as a preservative for eggs

Waterzooi - A rich Flemish stew with chicken or fish and assorted vegetables. The sauce is enriched with a liaison of cream and egg yolks.

Waxy red or white potatoes - Sometimes sold as "new" potatoes when they are small, these are low-starch potatoes with thin red or white skins.

Weakfish - Has a mouth that is easily torn by fishing hooks - hence its name. This unusual fish with delicate flesh flakes easily, making it quite difficult to handle. Has a soft white to rosy flesh.

Welsh rarebit - Melted cheese, usually mixed with milk, ale, or beer, seasoned with dry mustard, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and served over toast or crackers.

Whelk - A small marine snail. Whelks are poached and served hot or cold.

Whey - Liquid which separates from the curd when milk curdles. Used in cheese-making.

Whip - To beat rapidly to incorporate air and produce expansion, as in heavy cream or egg whites.

White chocolate - White chocolate does not contain any chocolate. It is derived from cocoa butter, which produces a faint chocolate flavor. The cocoa butter is blended with milk and sugar to form the creamy confection, which is used for both eating and cooking.

White sauce - A sauce whose base is butter, flour and a liquid such as stock, milk or water.

White Truffles - Truffles are quite expensive. Available in most places only in the late fall, they come primarily from France, where they are sniffed out in forests by hunting pigs. But a little goes a long way, so don't be shocked when you hear the price per pound. If you've never tried them, you must. There is no ordinary mushroom that can remotely approximate their flavor and aroma. White truffles are more delicate and are meant to be used right at the table. You can use either a grater or a truffle shaver to introduce their flavor immediately before serving. White truffles are most complementary to foods in butter and cream sauces such as risotto and other pastas. The shavings also work well on warm salads and certain delicate fishes.

Whitebait - The young of the herring, very tiny, usually sauteed.

Whole wheat flour - White flour has had the germ and bran removed; whole wheat flour contains both. It is nutritionally superior and has a stronger flavor. The ground germ contains oil which can grow rancid and bitter. Store carefully (in the freezer if you have room).

Wiener schnitzel - [German] thin breaded veal or pork cutlet fried in butter. Traditional garnishes are lemon butter, anchovies, and capers.

Wiggle - "Wiggle" is applied to a variety of shrimp recipes that feature shrimp in a sauce, served on toast or crackers.

Wild rice - A North American grass, cooked like rice and often served with game.

Wine vinegar - Wine vinegar can be made from either red or white wine.

Winter squash - These long-keeping squashes have much in common with pumpkin and sweet potato - yellow to orange flesh, usually quite sweet and creamy when cooked. Look for firm squash with no soft spots or obvious damage, and store in a cool, dry place.

Won ton - A ravioli-like Chinese dish of noodles folded around a filling of meat, fish or vegetables. They may be boiled, steamed, or deep-fried, and served with dipping sauce.

Worcestershire Sauce - A condiment developed and first bottled in Worcestershire, England from flavors discovered in India. It is used as a sauce, a seasoning and a condiment. It is made of a very odd assortment of ingredients including anchovies, tamarind, soy sauce, onions, vinegar, molasses, lime and cloves. It is commonly used to season meat, gravy, soup and the Bloody Mary.

Wreck pans - Cowboy term for pans filled with water to accept dirty dishes.

Wurst - [German] sausage.

Wheat kernels - wheat berries.

Wool on a handle - A cowboy term for a lamb chop; generally greatly disliked by cattlemen.

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