glossary

This is short haphazard collection of food terms that merit some comment.

amarula
Amarula is a South African cream liqueur we discovered by chance as a PA LCB special buy, and used to flavor our standard gelato recipe. This is a terrific product made from the Marula fruit growing on the "Elephant tree" on the plains of South Africa with the flavor of caramel and hints of chocolate and vanilla and its own website that reports its socially conscious year-round help for the people who harvest the fruit once a year.
Anjar
Anjar is a small Armenian village on the south eastern edge of the Becca Valley in Lebanon on the road to Damascus where the famous Musa Dagh resistance Armenians transferred from their homeland in Turkey in 1937. Left by the Sarkahians in 1976 because of the crazy Lebanese civil war, landing Ani in bob's vicinity somewhat later in 1985, and bringing Armenian-Middle-Eastern cooking into bob's food life.
arak
arak (= arack = arrack = arraki) is an anise-flavored liqueur which is the national drink of Lebanon, similar to pastis (the most different of this group) in the south of France, sambuca in Italy, ouzo in Greece, anisado in Spain, raki in Turkey. This is the favorite pre-dinner shot at the in-laws. It remains clear until you add some water (traditional way of serving, with optional ice) which turns it milky colored.
bulgur
essentially cracked wheat (bulgur = tzavar in armenian, also spelled as bulgar, bulghur, burghul) but purists distinguish them, bulgur is a pretty nutritious cooked wheat which is dried and ground into four sizes (1: fine, 2: medium, 3: big, 4 or half-cut: bigger, but sometimes just fine, medium and coarse are available) and which has been used for thousands of years (?, well, at least a pretty long time) as a staple in the Eastern Mediterranean. The fine cut is familiar as the grain in the well-known Lebanese salad tabouleh (although sometimes medium is recommended), also used in the Armenian raw meat dish chi-kufta and in kibbeh. The big(gest) bulgur is used like rice in pilaf dishes, like bob's favorites lentil bulgur pilaf and bulgur pilaf with chick peas. Usually available in Middle Eastern or Armenian specialty food stores.
chocolate chips
[see Carlo's choice of chocolate chip cheesecake]
cream
in America we have many variations according to the amount of butterFAT:  half and half (10.5%), light (18%),  whipping (30%), heavy or heavy whipping (36%), double (48%), all of which must be refrigerated. In Italy they have "panna da cucinare" (cooking cream) in little one portion packages that do not have to be refrigerated and are just right for what you need to add to a pasta sauce for a thickened cream. Unfortunately these only last a few months, so when we import them in our luggage, they often sit in the kitchen cabinet waiting for the right occasion and missing it.
dulce de leche
a South American caramelized  sweetened condensed milk product of Argentinean origin rivaling Nutella for worldwide consumption. Makes a nice cheesecake flavor. Spreadable on other stuff, but also directly ingestible by spoon if desperate. Lately a dark chocolate version has appeared from La Salamandra, yummy, competitive with chocolate hazelnut spreads [1, 2].
Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
this waltzed into dr bob's life with the pumpkin cheesecake recipe in the early days when an 18 buck bottle seemed expensive on a young assistant professor's salary, but became an integral part of the cooking team alcohol stash with stunning arrival of the hazelnut cheesecake. Made in Italy where the hazelnut (nocciole) is the number one nut, supposedly created by some seventeenth-century Italian monk-hermit named Fra Angelico, sold in a bottle in the shape of a monk's robe produced by Barbero 1891 S.P.A in Canale, Italy since only 1978.
farro
an ancient Mediterranean grain similar to barley and nearly identical to spelt which is super nutritious. Can replace rice in rice salad (insalata di riso), as in farro salad, or is risotto, like mushroom farrotto, or the wheat in whole grain pasta.
garlic press
we love garlic, so we have tried many different garlic presses. The final two best presses in our possession stack up differently. The more expensive Kuhn Rikon Epicurean press is very pretty, stainless steel, with a flip out grill for easy cleaning, but still you have to brush the grill persistently, while the Pampered Chef press at about half the price (still not cheap) has a separate plastic reverse grill that you press into the holed grill to push out the garlic remains, and that works rather well, but you have to find somebody in their network to buy it from. We always dump in the garlic remains to whatever recipe we are doing. No need to waste the stuff just because it is in a different form than what makes it through. Garlic peelers are a different story. There is the teeth press version (doesn't work very well) and the plastic tube version (tedious to remove the garlic skins). We just press them with our hands/knife and cut and peel with a knife.
graham cracker crumbs
an unnecessary term for americans, but in Italy these do not exist, even in whole cracker form. The few occasions bob has to produce cheesecake in Italy, he looks for Mulino Bianco Grancereale or Barilla I Mugnai  or Pavesi Digestivi (which are all made by the Barilla group) or Saiwa Cruscoro cookies and crumbs them up easily  to make "briciole di biscotti fatti con farina integrale e malto",  and since whole or recipe-ready hazelnuts are not usually available on short notice to add a hazelnut (nocciole) crumb component as we like to do in the USA, some Saiwa Lingue di Gatto oppure Parmalat Nussli can be mixed in as in our limoncello cheesecake, Italian version. [see also cheesecake di bob, versione italiana]
Created in the early 19th century by an eccentric American Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, an early vegetarian propagandizer, the most well known brand these days is Nabisco Honey Maid (since 1925) which neglects to credit Sylvester. More recently sold in crumb form for the very popular cheesecake market.
guavaberry liqueur
the secret (?) ingredient for our best cheesecake [see guavaberry-lingonberry cheesecake notes] discovered on our pre-honeymoon trip to Saint Martin in 1990.
Isgouhi
dr bob's mother-in-law, whose name saved ms_ani from getting named after her grandmother Isgouhi on her dad's side. from Aleppo, Syria, an ancient food mecca. terrific Armenian-Middle-Eastern cook.
labne
well-drained yogurt, a healthy alternative to cream cheese in some recipes which goes by many names [yogurt cheese = chaka = labneh = lebna = labne = labanah], but which is typical of Middle Eastern and Armenian cuisine.
limoncello
lemon liqueur made in Southern Italy, most famously on the Amalfi coast and Capri, from lemon rinds, sugar and alcohol. dr bob was a pioneer in using it for flavoring of cheesecake and gelato.
lingonberry
the not so secret ingredient for our best cheesecake [see guavaberry-lingonberry cheesecake notes] sold in syrup, drink and preserves formats at IKEA USA which all began just a few miles away from the dr bob enterprises home office in the northwestern philly 'burbs in the late 1980s. Accompanying their (cheap!) Swedish meatball platters on the side like applesauce with ham or cranberry sauce with turkey in American cuisine. In fact googling "lingonberry" immediately yields the fact that it is a "dry ground cranberry" or "mountain cranberry". Interesting.
mahlab and mazdaq
These are the secret ingredients for chorak (both available in middle eastern food stores). Mahlab is a powder apparently extracted from the inner pit of sour black cherries according to Linda Chirinian of Secrets of Cooking Persian/Armenian/Lebanese. Mazdaq  is a special flavor gum marketed in the middle east by a subsidiary [Adams] of the multinational [Warner-Lambert] which employs one of bob's brothers. Small world. Maybe this is mastic gum (ristacia lentiscus), the mother of all gums? Needs more research... [For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum (or mastiche pronounced "mas-tee-ka"). This is the resin obtained from the bark of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found mainly in Greece and Turkey. Grecian women especially favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath. Available on-line with mahlab (mahlepi?) from Mediterranean Foods or Sultans Delight or ....]
Middle Eastern red pepper
a sweet red pepper powder with a touch of hot red pepper added,
alias Turkish pepper, sometimes called Aintab pepper after the formerly Armenian city Aintab, now Gaziantep, Turkey, as an article by famous cookbook writer Paula Wolfert describes at her website (adapted from a Saveur magazine article) turned up by a search on the keywords "Aintab pepper". Two Armenian cookbook acquisitions from Alice Antreassian indicate that this can be reasonably substituted by 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne red pepper. [see lentil bulgur pilaf]
parchment paper
after decades of making cheesecake, bob finally figures out that putting parchment paper on the inverted bottom makes it a lot easier to remove the crust and cut slices, or even leave the cheesecake elsewhere without having to later retrieve the pan. parchment paper is apparently a close relative of waxed paper, which sealed in bob's peanut butter and jelly and ham and individually wrapped American cheese slice on white bread sandwiches in his youth (school lunches, working with dad). there were no individually sized sandwich zip-lock bags in those days, and even plastic wrap seemed to be special. how things change.
parmigiano
parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from the Parma region of Italy,
also known in English speaking countries as Parmesan (where many unsuspecting consumers believe that it always comes pre-grated with Romano cheese in green tubelike containers),
[we always increase the amount when listed and often add when not].
Plantaforce veggie broth concentrate
"A vegetable concentrate which may be used to prepare stock or a delicious vegetable broth. It may be used as a seasoning for soups, stews, gravies and sauces and is especially delicious when mixed with rice or noodles. Plantaforce contains vegetable protein, peanut oil, sea salt, cultured yeast extract, tomato pulp, green pepper pulp, water cress, parsley, basil, thyme, celery, leeks, onions, chives, marjoram, rosemary and kelp. It is also available in a low sodium version, without sea salt." (from the UK site). Produced by a Swiss company founded by A. Vogel (the USA site doesn't mention Plantaforce). This is our preferred no-MSG veggie broth source, but now we have to special order it from our local Healthfood store.
recipe ready hazelnuts
a convenient product from Diamond Walnut of California, although Oregon is the big hazelnut state. [see hazelnut cheesecake notes]
sark salad dressing
we never buy salad dressing. for two we start with some extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl with some lemon juice (either freshly squeezed or from a bottle in the fridge), press in half a clove of garlic, grate in some black pepper, add in some Middle Eastern red pepper, a touch of salt, and use our wooden pestle to infuse the oil mixture with the garlic, then scrape it over our mix of chopped tomato, half an avocado chopped, some Persian cucumber chopped, and a few leaves of romaine lettuce.
salsa tartufata
truffle and olive sauce, tasty yet much cheaper than pure truffle sauce.
[see fettuccine al tartufo and salsa tartufata on the road]
a close relative is crema tartufata, made with white truffles with similar use.
[see lightening up (the tartufo sauce)]
sour cream
another ingredient not found in Italy, but for cheesecake toppings we substitute a mixture of Fiorello (latticino cremoso) and sometimes a mild flavored (but delicious) yogurt or at other times mascarpone.
[see  cheesecake di bob, versione italiana and limoncello cheesecake]
in cheesecake batters can be substituted by lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt.
third person self-referencing
this is what you call it when a person speaks of him or herself in the third person instead of the first, as bob does in this evolving food diary. First made popular by another Bob in the presidential election that gave us Bill Clinton, although bob had already had a long history of doing this by then. The other Bob later ended up as a spokesperson for Viagra. History can be cruel to losers.
vital wheat gluten
Gluten is the natural protein found in wheat. This is a miracle ingredient for upgrading the nutritional content of baked goods by flour substitution. When using whole wheat flour in place of white flour in baking, things don't rise as well, apparently because it has less gluten, so adding some back in can help. King Arthur gave us this hint and sold us the "vital wheat gluten" on-line and we've been adding a heaping tablespoon to our baked goods when we use whole wheat flour (per cup or so). It seems to work. We've been several times to the King Arthur store in Norwich, VT where a dr bob brother lives. Don't miss it if you are nearby. [Arrowhead Mills][Bob's Red Mill]
V-slicer
This is a cheap plastic hand-held version of the expensive stainless steel leg supported  vegetable slicer mandoline. America's Test Kitchen did a comparison test and found the cheap V-slicers were very good and the order of magnitude difference in price for the fancy models did not seem warranted. dr bob bought his cheap V-slicer from a street vendor in Munich decades ago, and it is still just as useful now as then.
glossary.htm: 24-apr-2011 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]