Culinary Terms M-N


Macadamia (mak-uh-DAY-mee-uh)

The nut of an Australian evergreen tree; shaped like a small marble, the nut has a very rich, buttery, slightly sweet flavor and a high fat content; because of the extremely hard shell, it is usually available shelled and raw or roasted; also known as Queensland nut.


1. Dried pasta made from a dough of wheat flour and water.
2. In the United States, short, elbow-shaped tubes of pasta.


1. A chewy cookie made with sugar, egg whites and almond paste or ground alomonds; a variation is made with coconut.
2. A French confection made from two small almond or meringue cookies sandwiched together with jam or chocolate.


The lacy, reddish-orange outer covering of the nutmeg seed; it is used ground as a spice; it has a flavor and an aroma simialr to those of nutmeg but is milder and more refined.

Macerate (MAS-uh-rayt)

To soak foods in a liquid, usually alcoholic, to soften them.

Madeira (muh-DEH-rah)

A Portuguese fortified white wine similar to a sherry made from Malmsey, Boal, Sercial or Verdelho grapes; produced through the solera system and matured in an estufa, the wine is baked in its cask, imparting a caramelized flavor.

Madeleine (mad-ah-lynn)

A French sponge cake baked in a small, shell-shaped mold and eaten as a cookie, especially with tea or coffee.

Maine Lobster

A variety of lobster found off New England; it has a brown to blue-black shell, large claws, and a firm white flesh with an exceptionally rich, sweet flavor.

Maltaise, Sauce (mahl-TEEZ)

A French compound sauce made from a hollandaise blended with Maltese orange juice and grated Maltese orange rind; used with vegetables, especially asparagus and green beans.

Mancha (mahn-t’shah)

The highest grade of Spanish saffron.

Manchego (mahn-CHAY-goh)

A firm Spanish cheese made from ewe’s milk; it has a golden color and a full, mellow flavor; two versions are generally available: Manchego Curado, which is aged for 3-4 months, and the longer-aged Manchego Viejo.

Mandarin (MAN-duh-rihn)

1. Any of several varieties of a small citrus fruit native to China, including the mandarin, dancy, tangerine, clementine and satsuma.
2. A citrus fruit; it generally has a somewhat flattened spherical shape, a loose yellow to reddish-orange rind, and orange flesh and a sweet flavor that is less acidic than that of an orange.

Mandoline (MAHN-duh-lihn)

A manually operated slicer with adjustable blades; it has a narrow, rectangular body holding a blade and pressed against the blade to obtain uniform slices, matchstick shapes or waffle cuts.


A medium- to large-sized tropical fruit native to India; it has a spherical to ovoid shape with a slight ridge on one side and a point at one end; the skin can be yellow or orange with a red blush, greenish-yellow, or golden yellow; the flesh, which is golden orange, encases a large, flat seed and has a sweet, resinous flavor.

Manicotti (man-uh-KOT-tee)

Italian for muffs and used to describe long, wide pasta tubes; they are usually boiled, stuffed with a meat or cheese mixture, covered with a sauce and baked.

Maple Syrup

A reddish-brown, viscous liquid with a sweet distinctive flavor, it is made by reducing the sap of the North American maple tree.

Maraschino Cherry (mar-uh-SHEE-noh)

1. A cherry marinated in Maraschino liqueur and used for garnishing cocktails, desserts and baked goods.
2. A pitted cherry macerated in a flavored sugar syrup and dyed red or green; it is used for the same purposes as a maraschino cherry marinated in Maraschino liqueur.

Marble Cake

A moist, buttery cake made by swirling vanilla and chocolate batters together to create a marblelike pattern.

Marble Slab

A large, smooth piece of marble used for rolling out doughs and working with chocolate and sugar; it is useful because marble stays cool and does not absorb moisture.


The whitish streaks of inter- and intramuscular fat found in muscles; it adds to the meat’s flavor and tenderness and is a principal factor in determining its quality grade.


A butter substitute made from animal or vegetable fats or a combination of such fats mixed with flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, preservatives and vitamins and firmed through hydrogenation; like butter, it is approximately 80% fat and 16% water; also known as oleo.


A cocktail made of tequila, lime juice and an orange-flavored liqueur; traditionally served in a glass that has had its rim dipped in lime juice and then coated with salt.


A seasoned liquid, usually containing an acid, herbs and/or spices, in which raw foods (typically meat, poultry, fish, shellfish or vegetables) are soaked or coated to absorb flavors and become tender before cooking or serving.

Marinara (mah-ree-NAIR-uh)

An Italian pasta sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, onions and oregano.

Marjoram (MAHR-juhr-uhm)

An herb and member of the mint family native to the Mediterranean region; it has short, oval, pale green leaves, a sweet flavor reminiscent of thyme and oregano and a strong aroma; also known as sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram.

Marlborough Pie

An applesauce custard pie flavored with nutmeg and sherry.

Marmalade (MAHR-mah-laid)

A citrus jelly that also contains unpeeled slices of citrus fruit.


1. The process or concept of combining (serving or cooking) foods with complementary or contrasting flavors, aromas, textures, shapes and/or colors to achieve a more balanced or interesting flavor, dish or presentation.
2. The process or concept of combining (serving) foods with a specific wine to achieve a complementary or contrasting flavor combination.
3. The process or concept of mixing together different grape varieties in a must to obtain a better balance of body, aroma, acidity and flavor in the resulting wine.
4. The practice of combining opened containers of the same foods or beverages into one container.

Marsala (mar-SAH-lah)

An Italian fortified white wine made from Catarratto, Grillo and Inzolia grapes; it has an amber to brown color and is available in three styles: fine (the sweetest), mosto cotto (with a caramelized flavor) and superiore (the driest, aged for at least 2 years in casks).


1. A perennial herb with a yellow, branched root, a leafy stem with toothed leaves and white or pinkish flowers; the leaves and flowers are used for medicinal, ornamental and culinary purposes; the root has a slightly sweet flavor and is cooked like a root vegetable; the mucilage from the roots was used to make the spongy sweets known as marshmallows.
2. A light, spongy confection made with egg whites, corn syrup and gum arabic or gelatin and formed into a small pillow-shaped candy.

Marzipan (MAHR-zih-pan)

A sweet, pliable paste made of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites; often colored and shaped into three-dimensional decorations or used as a candy filling or cake coating.

Masa (MAH-sah)

1. Spanish for dough.
2. A Mexican dough made of dried corn kernels that have been soaked and cooked in lime water.

Masa Harina (MAH-sah ah-REE-nah)

1. Spanish for dough flour.
2. Flour made by grinding dried masa dough; used in Mexican and U.S. cuisines for breads, tortillas, tamales and other foods.

Masala (ma-SAH-la)

Hindi for spice, spices, spice blend and blend of seasonings.

Mascarpone (mas-cahr-POHN-ay)

A soft, double or triple cream cheese made in Switzerland and Italy’s Lombardy and Tuscany regions from cow’s milk; it has an ivory color and a sweet, slightly acidic flavor and is often blended with either sweet or savory flavorings.

Mason Jar

A glass jar with a removable threaded lid and rubber gasket designed to keep the contents airtight and prevent spoilage; it is used for preserving foods.

Matzo; Matzoh (MAHT-suh)

A thin, brittle, unleavened bread made with only water and flour and traditionally eaten during the Jewish Passover holiday; it can be ground into meal and used for matzo balls, pancakes and other dishes.

Maui Onion

A large onion with a golden yellow outer layer, a moist white flesh and a mild, sweet flavor; grown in the delimited area of Maui, Hawaii.


A cold, thick, creamy sauce consisting of oil and vinegar emulsified with egg yolks; used as a spread or base for a salad dressing or dip.

McIntosh Apple

A medium-sized apple with red-striped green or yellow skin, a soft, juicy flesh and a sweet-tart flavor; and all-purpose apple, it tends to fall apart when cooked.


Having a texture similar to meal: dry, grainy, crumbly, powdery and/or soft.

Meat Grinder; Meat Mincer

A tool used to grind meat; the meat is placed in a hopper and forced through a rotating blade, then through a perforated disk (various sizes are available) and extruded; manual or electric, it can be fitted with attachments.


A loaf-shaped mixture of ground meat or poultry, seasonings and usually onions, bound with bread crumbs and/or eggs and baked; served hot or cold.

Meat Pounder

A metal tool used for flattening and tenderizing meat; it has a flat, broad face with a 5- x 4- in. striking surface and weighs 1.5-7 lb.

Meat Tenderizer

A preparation of enzymes applied to meat before cooking to help break down connective tissues; unlike a marinade which can contain a meat tenderizer, it is not intended to add flavor.


A small, round piece of meat or fish.

Melba Toast

Very thin slices of white bread baked in a low oven until golden brown and very crisp.

Melon Baller

A tool used to scoop smooth or fluted spheres or ovoids from melons, cucumbers or other foods; available with a single scoop on a handle or a handle with a scoop at either end, one larger than the other.


The process by which certain foods, especially those high in fat, gradually soften and then liquefy when heated.


A mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar; depending on the ratio of sugar to egg whites, a meringue may be soft (used as a fluffy topping for pies or cakes) or hard (baked into crisp cookies, disks or shells for use in pastries and desserts).

Meringue Powder

A fine, white powder made with dried egg whites, sugar and gum; used to replace fresh egg whites when making icings and meringues.

Merlot (mair-lo)

1. A red wine grape grown in France, Italy, California and other regions; it is often used as a blending grape with Cabernet to add softness, fruit and suppleness.
2. A red wine made from this grape; it is generally soft, with a dark, rich color and an earthy, fruity flavor.

Mesclun (MEHS-kluhn)

A mixture of several kinds of salad greens, especially baby lettuces; although there is no set standard, the mixture usually includes baby red romaine, endive, mache, oak leaf, radicchio and rocket, among others.

Mesquite (meh-SKEET)

A hardwood tree native to the American Southwest and Mexico; when burned for cooking or smoking foods, it imparts a distinctive aroma and a slightly sweet flavor.

Meter (m)

The basic measure of length in the metric system; 1 m equals 39.37 in.

Mexican Coffee

A cocktail made of tequila, Kahlua or sugar syrup and strong hot black coffee; served in a large mug and garnished with whipped cream.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Small, round, buttery cookies made with ground nuts and rolled in confectioners’ sugar after baking; also known as Russian tea cakes.

Mezzaluna (mehz-zuh-LOO-nuh)

A two-handled knife with one or more thick, crescent-shaped blades used to chop or mince vegetables; also known as a mincing knife.

Microwave Cooking

A heating method that uses radiation generated by a special oven to penetrate the food; it agitates water molecules, creating friction and heat; this energy then spreads throughout the food by conduction (any by convection in liquids).

Migas (MEE-gahth)

1. A Spanish dish consisting of small squares of bread soaked in milk and fried in oil.
2. Spanish for bread crumbs.

Milanaise, Sauce

A French compound sauce made from a demi-glaze flavored with tomatoes and garlic and garnished with mushrooms.

Milano (me-LAHN-noh)

A soft Bel Paese-style cheese made in Lombardy, Italy, from cow’s milk; also known as Bella Milano.

Milk, Sweetened Condensed

A thick, sweet, slightly caramel-flavored milk product made from sweetened whole milk from which 60% of the water has been evaporated; usually sold canned, it cannot generally be substituted for whole or evaporated milk because of the sugar; also known as condensed milk.

Milk Chocolate

Sweetened chocolate containing not less than 12% milk solids and not less than 10% chocolate liquor; used for candies, creams and confections.


1. To grind, pulverize or break down into smaller particles.
2. To agitate or stir until foamy.
3. A building equipped with machinery for grinding grain into flour or meal; the device that does so.
4. A device that reduces a solid or coarse substance into pulp or minute grains by crushing, grinding or pressing.
5. A device that releases the juice of fruits and vegetables by pressing or grinding.

Mimosa (mih-MOH-suh)

1. A cocktail made of equal parts orange juice and sparkling wine, served cold.
2. A garnish of finely chopped hard-cooked egg yolk; so named because of its resemblance to the yellow mimosa flower.


To cut or chop a food finely.


A rich, finely chopped mixture of dried fruit, nuts, beef suet, spices and rum or brandy; used as a filling for pies, tarts and cookies; traditionally, lean meat was included in the mixture.

Minestrone (mee-ness-TROH-nay)

Italian for big soup and used to describe a vegetable soup flavored with herbs and sometimes garnished with pasta; there are variations made with rice, bacon, tomatoes, sage and cheese, with navy beans and with beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, cumin seeds and garlic.


1. A large family of herbs known for their aromatic foliage, many of which have flavors and/or aromas reminiscent of fruits and other flavorings.
2. A candy flavored with mint, often used as a breath freshener; it can be a hard candy or a soft patty with a hard candy or chocolate coating.

Mirepoix (meer-pwa)

A mixture of coarsley chopped onions, carrots and celery used to flavor stocks, stews and other foods; generally, a mixture of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery, by weight, is used.

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Mise En Place (meez ahn plahs)

French for putting in place and used to describe the preparation and assembly of all necessary ingredients and equipment for cooking.

Miso (ME-so)

A thick paste made by salting and fermenting soybeans and rice or barley and then inoculating the mixture with yeast; it is used in Japanese cuisines as a flavoring and thickener; the lighter the color, the sweeter the flavor.

Mission Fig

A fig with a purple-black skin; it was brought to California by Franciscan missionaries from Spain; also known as a black Mission fig.


1. To combine ingredients in such a way that they are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
2. To create or form something by combining ingredients.
3. A mixture of ingredients that usually requires only the addition of water and/or yeast to produce a batter or dough. 2. A commercially packaged mixture of ingredients that usually requires only the addition of a liquid and/or a fresh product such as eggs, meat or fish and heating to produce a completed dish.

Mocha (moh-kah)

A flavor created by combining coffee and chocolate, widely used in pastries and confections.


A cocktail prepared without the customary alcoholic beverages; also known as a virgin drink.

Modeling Chocolate

A stiff dough made with melted chocolate and glucose or corn syrup; it is used for creating pastry decorations and garnishes.

Moist-Heat Cooking Methods

Cooking methods, principally simmering, poaching, boiling and steaming, that use water or steam to transfer heat through convection; moist-heat cooking methods are used to emphasize the natural flavors of foods.

Mojo Criollo

A citrus and herb marinade used in Latino cuisines; several bottled brands are available from Hispanic markets.


1. A thick, sweet, brownish-black liquid that is a by-product of sugar refining; used in breads, cookies and pastries for its distinctive, slightly bitter flavor and dark color.
2. A syrup made from boiling down sweet vegetable or fruit juices.

Molasses, Blackstrap

A molasses removed after the third boiling of the sugarcane in the sugar-refining process; darker, thicker and less sweet than light molasses, it is generally used as a flavoring.


1. To shape a food by using a vessel.
2. A vessel into which foods are placed to take on the container’s shape; molds are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, many of which are associated with a particular dish.
3. A food shaped by such a vessel.


A Mexican sauce usually served with poultry; it consists of onions, garlic, chiles, ground pumpkin or sesame seeds and Mexican chocolate.


One of the principal classes for shellfish; they are characterized by a soft, unsegmented body with no internal skeleton; includes univalves, bivalves and cephalopods.

Monkey Bread

A sweet yeast bread made by piling small balls of dough in a tube pan; raisins, nuts, sugar and cinnamon are usually added, and then the dough is allowed to rise; after baking, the mounds can be pulled apart for service.

Monterey Jack

A cooked and pressed cheese traditionally made in Monterey, California, from whole, skimmed or partly skimmed cow’s milk; it has an ivory color, a semisoft texture and a rather bland flavor (varieties flavored with peppercorns, spices, herbs or jalapenos are available); it is high in moisture and melts easily; also known as Jack or California Jack, especially if not produced near Monterey.

Monter Au Beurre (mohn-tay ah burr)

To finish a sauce by swirling or whisking in butter (raw or compound) until it is melted; used to give sauces shine, flavor and richness.

Montrachet (mohn-truh-SHAY)

A soft cheese made in France’s Burgundy region from goat’s milk; it has a creamy texture and a mild, tangy flavor; usually sold in white logs, sometimes covered with a gray, salted ash.

Moo Goo Goi Pan (moo goo gahi pan)

A Chinese dish of boneless chicken stir-fried with mushrooms and flavored with garlic and ginger.

Moon Pie

The proprietary name for a confection that consists of two large, round, flat cookies with a marshmallow filling and chocolate or other flavored coating.

Mopping Sauce

Liquids brushed on meat during barbecuing to add flavor and moisture; the sauce is usually applied with a small, moplike cotton utensil.

Mornay, Sauce (mor-nay)

A French sauce made by adding grated cheese to a basic white sauce; served with fish, shellfish, vegetables and chicken.

Mortar and Pestle

A tool, usually made of stone, wood or ceramic, used for grinding foods; the bat-shaped pestle presses and rotates the food against the sides of the bowl-shaped mortar.

Mousse (moos)

1. French for foam.
2. French for the head that forms on sparkling wine or beer.
3. A soft, creamy food, either sweet or savory, lightened by adding whipped cream, beaten egg whites or both.

Mousseline (moos-uh-leen)

1. A delicately flavored forcemeat based on white meat, fish or shellfish lightened with cream and egg whites.
2. A sauce or cream lightened by folding in whipped cream.
3. A tall cylinder of brioche bread, usually baked in a coffee can or similar mold.

Mozzarella (maht-suh-REHL-lah)

1. A southern Italian pasta filata cheese, originally made from water buffalo’s milk but now also from cow’s milk; it has a white color and a mild, delicate flavor; used mostly for cooking.
2. An American version usually made from cow’s milk; it is drier and stringier than the fresh water buffalo’s milk variety and becomes very elastic when melted; also known as pizza cheese.

Mud Pie

A dessert that consists of a chocolate cookie crust filled with chocolate, vanilla and coffee ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Muenster (MUHN-stuhr)

Munster cheese produced in the United States or other areas outside France’s Alsace region; it has a light yellow interior, an orange rind and a bland flavor.

Muesli (MYOOS-lee)

A breakfast cereal made from raw or toasted cereal grains, dried fruits, nuts and dried milk solids and usually eaten with milk or yogurt; sometimes known as granola.


1. To give someone a gift basket containing muffins and/or other baked goods.
2. A tender quick bread baked in small, cup-shaped pans; the batter is often flavored with nuts or fruit.
3. An English muffin.
4. In Great Britain, a small yeast-leavened product baked on a griddle.

Muffuletta (muhf-fuh-LEHT-tuh)

A New Orleans hero-style sandwich consisting of a round loaf of Italian bread that is split and filled with layers of provolone, salami and ham and topped with a mixture of chopped green olives, pimientos, celery, garlic, capers, oregano, olive oil and red wine vinegar.


To heat a beverage such as wine, cider or beer with herbs, spices, fruit and sugar and serve it hot.

Mulled Cider

A beverage made of hot apple cider, brown sugar, allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon and dried apple rings.

Mulligan Stew (MUHL-ee-gahn)

A stew of various meats, potatoes and vegetables.


A semisoft cheese made in France’s Alsace region from cow’s milk; it has a smooth, yellow interior with small holes, a red or orange rind and a flavor that ranges from mild when young to assertive when old.

Muscat (mus-cat)

1. A grape grown throughout the Mediterranean region, California and Australia and used for eating out of hand, raisins and wine making.
2. A wine made from this grape; it can range from pale, delicate, fruity and low in alcohol to dark amber, sweet and fortified.


Any of many species of cultivated or wild fleshy fungus, usually consisting of a stem, cap and mycelium; available fresh or dried and eaten raw, reconstituted or cooked.


A category of melons characterized by a dense, fragrant flesh, a central fibrous seed cavity, a hard rind that can be netted or smooth, rind colors that include ivory, yellow, lime green and salmon; also known as sweet melon.

Musli (MYOOS-lee)

A breakfast cereal made from raw or toasted cereals, dried fruits, nuts, bran, wheat germ, sugar and dried milk solids and usually eaten with milk or yogurt; sometimes imprecisely known as granola.


Any of several varieties of bivalve mollusks found in the shallow waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Mediterranean Sea; they generally have a dark blue shell with a violet interior, an average length of 2-3 in. and tough meat with a slightly sweet flavor; significant varieties include blue mussels and greenshell mussels.

Mustard, American

A smooth, somewhat runny prepared mustard made from white or yellow mustard seeds, sugar, vinegar and turmeric; it has a mild, slightly sharp flavor and a bright yellow color; also known as ballpark mustard.

Mustard, Ground

A blend of finely ground mustard seeds; it has a bright yellow color; also known as powdered mustard and dry mustard.

Mustard, Whole Grain

A coarse prepared mustard made from ground and slightly crushed whole mustard seeds; it has a hot, earthy, nutty flavor.

Mustard Greens

The large, dark green leaves of the mustard plant; they have a peppery, pungent flavor.

Mustard Seeds

The seeds of three different varieties of mustard plants; all are small, hard spheres with a bitter flavor and no aroma; white and yellow seeds have the mildest flavor, and black seeds have the strongest flavor; brown seeds are moderately hot and generally have their husks attached; fine to coarsely ground mustard seeds are used for the condiment prepared mustard or as a spice.


The meat of sheep slaughtered after they reach the age of one year.


A Mexican and American Southwest snack of a crisp tortilla or tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and chiles, sometimes with salsa, sour cream, refried beans or other garnishes.

Nage, A’la (Nahj, Ah lah)

A French preparation method, especially for shellfish; the principal items are cooked in a court bouillon flavored with herbs and are then served with the bouillon, either hot or cold.

Napa Cabbage

A member of the cabbage family with a stout, elongated head of relatively tightly packed, firm, crinkly, pale yellow-green leaves with a thick white center vein and a mild, delicate flavor; also known as chard cabbage. Chinese cabbage and snow cabbage.

Napa Valley

A grape-growing and wine-producing region located in Napa County, near San Francisco, that incorporates nearly the entire county; the principal grapes grown are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and, to a lesser extent, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Johannisberg Riesling, Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc.


A French pastry made with rectangular sheets of puff pastry layered with pastry cream, whipped cream and fruit or chocolate ganache, the top is then dusted with powdered sugar or coated with fondant glaze; also known as mille-feuille.

Nappe (Nap)

To coat food with sauce. The consistency of a liquid, usually a sauce, that will coat the back of a spoon.


An annual or perennial herb. The leaves have a peppery flavor and can be used like watercress; the yellow-to rust colored flowers also have a peppery flavor and can be used in salads, as a flavoring or garnish, and the immature flower buds can be pickled and used like capers.


A brown ragout generally made with turnips, other root vegetables, onions, peas and lamb.

Navel Orange

A variety of large orange with a thick, bright orange rind, an orange meaty flesh, a sweet, citrusy flavor and few if any seeds.

Navy Bean

A variety of kidney bean; small and ovoid with a white skin and flesh; a staple of the U.S. Navy since the 1880’s, it is also known as the beautiful bean, Boston bean and Yankee bean.


A sugary liquid secreted by many flowers and attractive to bees. In the United States, undiluted fruit juice or a mixture of fruit juices. In France, the diluted, sweetened juice of peaches, apricots, guavas, black currants or other fruits, the juice of which would be too thick or too tart to drink straight.


A medium-sized stone fruit with a smooth red and yellow skin, a firm yellowish-pink flesh and a peachy flavor with undertones of almond; available as freestone and clingstone.


A process used to tenderize meat; the meat is penetrated by closely spaced, thin blades with sharp points, the muscle fibers are thus cut into shorter lengths; also known as pinning.

Neufchatel (noo-shuh-TELL)

A soft, unripened cheese made in France’s Normandy region from cow’s , milk (the milkfat content varies); it has a white color and a slightly salty flavor that becomes more pungent as it ages; sold as small cylinders, rectangles or hearts. An American cheese made from pasteurized milk or a mixture of pasteurized milk and cream; similar to cream cheese and smoother than its French inspiration.

New American Cuisine

A late-20th-century movement that began in California but has spread across the United States; it stresses the use of fresh, locally grown, seasonal produce and high-quality ingredients simply prepared in a fashion that preserves and emphasizes natural flavors.

New Brunswick Stew

A Canadian casserole of roasted lamb or beef, smoked ham, string beans, wax beans, new potatoes, onions, green peas and carrots cooked in the oven.


A dish consisting of cooked shellfish (lobster, shrimp or crab) in a rich sauce of cream and egg yolks flavored with sherry; usually served over toast points.

New England Chowder

A fish, clam or corn chowder containing salt port, potatoes and onions.

New Mexico Red Chile, Dried

A dried New Mexico red chile; it has a dark red to brown color and a medium hot to hot flavor; available as crushed flakes or powder; also known as chile Colorado and dried California chile.

New Mexico Red Chile, Fresh

A ripened New Mexico green chile; it has a dark red color, a thick flesh and a medium to medium hot, sweet flavor.

New Potato

A small, immature red potato.


Cleaned, roasted cocoa kernels that are ready for processing. See chocolate-making process.


A tiny black olive native to the Mediterranean region.

Nicoise, Salad

A salad from Nice, France, consisting of tomatoes, green beans, black olives, tuna, hard-cooked eggs and herbs, dressed with olive oil and garlic.


Generic term for eggnog or any other drink made with beaten egg, milk and spirits. A traditional English term for strong ale.

Nondairy Creamer

A product used to lighten and dilute coffee and tea; made from a hydrogenated oil or saturated fat such as coconut or palm oil, sweeteners, preservatives and emulsifiers; it is available in powdered, liquid or frozen form; also known as coffee whitener.


A term used to describe cooking and serving utensils made of materials that do not react with acids and brine (a salt and water solution) to discolor foods or form toxic substances; nonreactive saucepans and pots include all of those with undamaged nonstick interiors, plus pots and pans made from flameproof glass, glass ceramic, stainless steel, enameled steel and enameled iron; uncoated iron and copper form toxic substances when used for cooking high-acid foods; uncoated aluminum darkens some fruits and may become pitted if salty mixtures are left standing in them.

Nonstick Plastic; Nonstick Coating; Nonstick Finish

A polymer such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that is applied to the surface of some cookware; it provides a slippery, nonreactive finish that prevents foods from sticking and allows the use of less fat; easily scratched.


Ribbons of various lengths, widths and thicknesses made from a dough of wheat flour, water and egg (or egg yolks) and generally boiled; also known as egg noodles.

Nori (NOH-ree)

Dark green, purple or black paper-thin sheets of dried seaweed with a sweet, salty ocean flavor; used in Japanese cuisine to wrap sushi or as a garnish or flavoring.


A wine-tasting term for a wine’s bouquet or aroma. A tasting term for a person with a highly developed and discerning sense of smell.

Nougat (noo-guht)

A French confection made with a cooked sugar or honey syrup mixed with roasted nuts and candied fruit; sometimes the confection is made with egg whites, which produce a white, chewy, taffylike candy.


The edible single-seed kernel (the meat) of a fruit surrounded by a hard shell (e.g.hazelnut); it has high protein and fat contents and is used for snacking or to provide flavor and texture to foods.


The proprietary name for a paste made from hazelnuts, cocoa and sugar; it is used as a spread for bread or toast and as a flavoring for pastries and confections.

Nut Flour

A flour made of finely ground nuts and used in certain cakes and other pastries.

Nut Meat; nutmeat

The edible kernel of a nut.


The hard seed of a yellow fruit from a tree (Myristica frangrans) native to the East Indies; it has an oval shape, a smooth texture and a strong, sweet aroma and flavor; used ground (grated) in sweet and savory dishes.

Nutmeg Grater

A grater used for reducing a whole nutmeg to a powder; the grating surface can be flat or convex.