of Ingredients Of Mexican Cooking (6/7)|
Glossary of Ingredients Of Mexican Cooking (6/7)
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.
TO GRIND NUTS: To grind nuts, place 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time
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
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
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
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
QUAIL: These little birds weigh in at about 1/4 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".