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America

CSCA - Southwest

TermDefinition
ANASAZI Means “ancient ones” and refers to the native American inhabitants from the Southwest who lived over 2000 years ago.
HORNOS Dome-shaped ovens made of stone and adobe became popular after the Spanish introduced them, as well as wheat, to the Southwest.
RISTRA A string of dried chilies.
CHICOS Dried kernels used for stewing. Also called parched corn.
HOMINY Fresh corn processed with lye or slacked lime which removes the tough hull making it more digestible.
NIXTAMAL Kernels partially processed with slaked lime giving it a nutritional boost and making it more digestible.
TORTILLA Flat bread made with masa or wheat flour then stuffed with fillings for enchiladas, burritos, etc.
MASA Corn meal paste made from ground corn, used in making tamales.
MASA HARINA Ground corn flour from which masa is made.
POSOLE Dried white, yellow, red, and blue corn kernels (hominy); also a name which refers to a stew of pork and hominy.
PEPITAS Pumpkin seeds; used ground for sauces or whole for snacking.
PIÑON Spanish word for pine nut.
MESQUITE Fragrant wood from the mesquite tree used for barbecuing meat
PINTO BEANS Brown speckled grayish legume is firm and has a nutty taste; cooked and mashed, pinto beans become “refritos”. Considered the main bean of Southwest cooking.
LONGHORN A mild, semi-hard American cheddar or Colby cheese made into a long orange cylinder.
MONTEREY JACK An American semi-hard cow’s milk cheddar cheese. Originating in the Mexican Franciscan monasteries of Monterey, California in the 19th century and commercialized by California businessman David Jack. Similar to Longhorn, but is uncolored and softer.
QUESO BLANCO A creamy, soft, white cow’s milk Mexican cheese, mild in taste, from Chihuahua.
QUESO FRESCO A white goat’s milk Mexican cheese, mild in taste, with texture like feta. Does not melt well.
QUESO OAXACA A white semi-hard cow’s milk cheese originating in Oaxaca Mexico. Has a mozzarella-like string cheese texture. Melts well.
COTIJA A hard cow’s milk cheese originating in the town of Cotija, Mexico. Usually found in its grainy form which is dry, firm and salty.
CREMA Mexican fresh cream, similar to crème fraiche.
PLANTAIN A tropical fruit of the banana family, it is firmer and less sweet than an ordinary banana. It must be cooked to be edible. As it ripens, it becomes sweeter, like a banana, but remains firm.
TOMATILLO A small member of the nightshade family known to the Aztec Indians. It is covered by a paper like husk similar to a gooseberry. It has a tart flavor reminiscent of rhubarb or lemon and makes a delicious salsa.
NOPALES Cactus pads similar in taste to green beans. The thorns and eyes must be scraped off before blanching. Add tomatillo husks to the cactus pads before blanching to remove the slime that cactus pads secrete, similar to okra.
CHAYOTE Member of the squash family who’s taste is reminiscent of cucumbers. It is pear shaped with a light green flesh. Called Mirliton in Louisiana.
EPAZOTE Also known as “lambs quarters” it is a green, cooked fresh like spinach. The older leaves can be cooked with beans to help reduce the bloating caused by beans.
JICAMA A crisp, sweet tuber eaten raw in salads. It tastes like a fresh water chestnut.
DULCE DE LECHE A sweet milk jam prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to caramelize the sugars. In Mexico it is commonly made from goat’s milk, and called cajeta.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE Dark chocolate flavored with cinnamon and is grainier than American or European chocolate.
PILONCILLO Unrefined Mexican sugar similar to dark brown sugar and is often used in sauces and syrups.
NATILLA A small cream custard-based dessert.
BUÑUELOS Round crispy fritters drizzled with fruit or honey syrup. In Mexico they are a traditional Christmas dessert.
SOPAIPILLA Means “little pillow”. They are a New Mexican pastry related to Indian fry bread called “Navaho Bread”. They are usually fried, cut open with honey drizzled inside.
BIZCOCHITOS A Spanish version of biscotti, usually anise-flavored.
CHICKEN FRIED STEAK The ultimate Texas comfort food shared with the South. There is no chicken involved but refers to the style of cooking – like fried chicken.
RED GRAPEFRUIT The red grapefruit is the star fruit of Texas. In 1929 a red grapefruit was found growing on a pink grapefruit tree and the new breed was born. Up until then only white and pink grapefruit existed.
CAPSAICIN The heat compound of the chili.
CHILI POWDER True chili powder is simply pure ground chilies, not the mix of chilies and other spices found in inferior brands.
NEW MEXICO GREEN Also called Big Jim, chili verde, and a variety of regional names (eg Hatch, Chimayo). Bright green chili similar in shape to Anaheim although with a more pointed tip. Medium hot to hot & available August to November. Usually fire roasted and peeled.
ANAHEIM A mild (Scoville rating 500-2,500) variety of long, bright green chili pepper grown in California, used for the chilies rellenos. Ranging to 8-inches long and 1½-inches wide, usually with a rounded tip. Originated from New Mexico chilies, but milder.
POBLANO Large and dark green chili ranging from mild to medium hot (Scoville rating 1,000-1,500). The chili most used for chilies rellenos. Substitute Anaheim.
JALAPEÑO Small fat dark green chili about 2½-inches long by 1-inch wide. Ranging from mild to hot (Scoville rating 2,500 – 5000).
SERRANO Smaller and lighter green than a jalapeño, but much hotter (Scoville rating 7,000 – 25,000). Substitute jalapeño.
HABANERO A small, round with ridges, orange gold color. Extremely hot and should be handled/eaten with caution
GUAJILLO The most commonly used, in red chili salsa or on enchiladas. Dark red to almost black, shiny, 6 to 8-inches long. A full, rounded chili flavor and cooks and grinds to a dark red.
NEW MEXICO RED The dried form of New Mexico green chilies. Typically ground to a powder to make sauces, or added whole for flavoring.
ANCHO The dried form of poblano chili, most commonly used as one of the chilies in mole.
CHIPOTLE A smoked jalapeño pepper from Oaxaca, Mexico (often found in adobo sauce).
CHILI DE ARBOL A small, potent Mexican chili pepper, found fresh, dried, or powdered. Bright red at maturity. Very hot (Scoville rating 15,000 – 30,000). Substitute cayenne.
PICO DE GALLO A fresh, uncooked condiment usually prepared with chopped tomatoes, white onion, and chilies.
SALSA ROJA "Red sauce", is used as a condiment in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, and usually made with cooked tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro.
SALSA VERDE "Green sauce", in Mexican versions, is made with tomatillos, usually cooked. The Italian version is made with herbs.
GUACAMOLE Thicker than a sauce and generally used as a dip, it refers to any sauce where the main ingredient is avocado.
MOLE Mexican in origin; a savory sauce of ground nuts and chocolate.
Created by: CSCAStudy