Glossary of ingredients of mexican cooking (6/7)

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
\N TO GRIND NUTS: To grind nuts, place 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time

NUTS: In southwest cooking, nuts are sometimes ground and stirred into sauces as a thickening agent. In addition to giving the sauce more body, raw nuts add, of course, their own particular flavor.

Toasted nuts are more often used as a garnish or in baking.

TOASTING NUTS: Toasting enhances the flavor of the nut. To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer in an ungreased pan; bake at 350 degrees F, stirring and checking for doneness frequently. Nuts are toasted when they are lightly browned. Let almonds, pecans and walnuts bake for 7 to 12 minutes. Pine nuts toast more rapidly, in 5 to 7 minutes.

in the workbowl of a food processor or blender. Process them in short pulses just until ground (longer and you will have nut butter).

PAPAYA: A nearly oval fruit with creamy golden yellow skin, orange yellow flesh and scores of shiny black seeds conveniently packed in its center. When slightly underripe, the flesh is firm (perfect for making into relishes); When ripe, it is so juicy as to be almost melting.

PECAN: This oil-rich nut is an American native. See Nuts for toasting and grinding.

PEPITA: See Pumpkin Seed

PEPPER: There is PIPER NIGRUM, Peppercorn, and the CAPSICUM FRUTECENS and CASPSICUM ANNUUM, the family of vegetables know variously as peppers and chilies. Peppercorns came to the Western world originally from Madagascar. The success of medieval spice traders made black pepper more widely available and only a little less precious than it had previously been.

Representing the FRUTESCENS contingent, bell peppers are related to chilies but lack the capsaicin (the compound that makes them hot), Bell peppers are therefore known as "sweet". Until recently, bell peppers of any color than green were an oddity at many markets; today, there is a profusion of yellow, red and purple ones. Red and yellow are acknowledged to be the sweetest. Roast bell peppers as for chilies.

PHEASANT: This game bird fares equally well when cooked with a bravely seasoned sauce or a mild creamy one. Serve it with a grain side dish; see Game.

PILONCILLO: This unrefined sugar is purchased in hard cones. Like other "raw" sugars, piloncillo is beige to brown; the deeper the color, the more pronounced the molasses flavor.

PINE NUTS (PINIONS, PIGNOLIS): Pine nuts are the seeds of the Pinion pine. They are delicious raw or toasted. Store them tightly covered and either refrigerated or frozen, depending on how quickly they are to be used. See NUTS for toasting and grinding.

PLANTAIN: This relative of the banana boasts a thick skin and large size. The fruit itself tends to be a deeper yellow than that of the banana. Cooked unripe plantain is eaten as one would a potato.

Plantains are sweetest when ripe, which isn't until their skins are an alarming through black. Like bananas, plantains will ripen after they have been harvested.

POSOLE: Sometimes hominy is called "posole," but the word authentically refers to a dish made with hominy as an ingredient. See Hominy

PRICKLY PEAR: This is the diminutive (egg size) fruit of the cactus of the same name. It is nearly impossible to avoid the prickles when peeling to reveal the garnet-colored flesh. Prickly pears are sometimes sold with the prickles removed.

PUMPKIN SEED: With the shells or husks removed, pumpkin seeds are known as PEPITAS. Store them in a cool, dry place. To toast pumpkin seeds, spread them in a single layer in an ungreased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 13 to 15 minutes, stirring and checking for doneness frequently.

QUAIL: These little birds weigh in at about ¼ pound. They have richly flavored meat, what there is of it. Quail are most commonly available frozen. See GAME.

QUESO: Spanish for "cheese."

QUESO ANEJO: The name means "aged cheese," in Spanish. See CHEESE.

QUESO FRESCO: The name means "fresh cheese,) in Spanish. See CHEESE.

From Betty Crocker's "Southwest Cooking".


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