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Culinary Dictionary - Z
Cooking Glossary - Food Industry Terminology
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- Z -

Zaatar: An herb mixture composed of savory, thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. A prepared mixture of this herb mixture can be found at most Middle Eastern groceries. The quality of zaatar can differ greatly.

Zabaglione: An Italian dessert made from egg yolks, wine, and sugar. Zabaglione is beaten over simmering water, which cooks the egg yolks and makes a light and foamy custard.

Zabaglione: An Italian custard made with egg yolks and wine or juices, which are beaten vigorously over hot water to form a rich, creamy dessert. The custard can then be poured into glasses and chilled to be eaten later, or eaten warm with fresh fruit. Marsala is the most common wine used, though any sweet wine such as Madeira, Champagne, or Sauterne may be used.

Zakuski: Zakuski translates as "small bites," and the mix of one- or two-morsel choices on a single table or tray: hot and cold, homemade and store bought, aggressively seasoned and totally mellow. It is a Russian tradition dating from Tolstoy's time, is food made for drinkers, although teetotalers would have a hard time resisting temptation. The usual array laid out to pick and choose from includes savory, salty or highly seasoned snacks such as smoked salmon, stuffed eggs, meatballs, vegetable "caviars," small servings of salad or big wedges of hot cheese or mushroom pie. The flavors are always dramatic but complementary, and the contrasting textures only amplify the experience of playing with food. Russians eat Zakusi while drinking vodka.

Zampone: A specialty of the town of Modena in northern Italy, this consists of a hollowed and stuffed pig trotter which is poached and served as a part of a traditional Bollito Misto.

Zanahoria: [Spanish] carrot.

Zartar Blend: From Lebanon. Find in Middle Eastern markets. A blend of zaatar (a marjoramlike herb), sumac bark and chick peas or sesame seeds. Common in foods from the Middle East.

Zarzamora: [Spanish] wild blackberry.

Zero suppression (food industry term): The reduction of a product's UPC code from eleven to seven digits by taking out the zeros.

Zest: The fragrant, flavorful, thin, outer skin of citrus fruit which is removed with a citrus zester, vegetable peeler, or paring knife and used to contribute flavor to baked goods.

Zest: Grated rind of a citrus peel, used as a flavoring.

Zest: The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits. It contains volatile oils, used as a flavoring.

Zester: Small tool for scraping off zest.

Zingara: A sauce made with white wine, meat glaze, mushrooms, ham and tongue, finely chopped and peppered.

Zita: Wide tubular macaroni.

Ziti: Italian for bridegrooms; used to describe large, slightly curved tubes of pasta, similar to rigatoni.

Zone pricing (food industry term): A price scale used to calculate all transportation costs, using criteria such as distance, revenue of the load and weight.

Zucca: [Italian] squash

Zucchini: A moderately long cylindrical summer squash with smooth, dark green skin with a slightly bumpy surface, creamy white-green flesh and milk flavor; also known as a courgette (especially in Europe).

Zucchini: The fastest growing of the summer fruits, treated as a vegetable in our kitchens. Look for very firm specimens.

Zuccotto: This is an Italian form of Charlotte Royale. In this dessert, triangles of sponge cake are placed in a bowl to form a shell for the filling. The filling consists of stiffly whipped cream which is studded with toasted almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate chips and candied fruit. A final layer of cake is placed over this, and when well set, the dessert is inverted onto a platter to form a large dome, reminiscent of Florence Duomo.

Zunge: [German] tongue.

Zuppa: [Italian] soup.

Zuppa Inglese: A refrigerated dessert similar to the British favorite, trifle (Tipsy cake or Tipsy pudding). It is made with rum sprinkled slices of sponge cake layered with a rich custard or whipped cream (or both) and candied fruit or toasted almonds (or both).

Zwieback: Zwieback means "twice baked" in German, and refers to cut up bread which is then cooked in the oven until thoroughly crisped and dry.

Zwieback: A sweet, dry toast, also known as rusks.

Zwyieka: A Polish sausage.


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