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All words: 42

Lactic acid - 
[LAK-tihk] A bitter-tasting acid that forms when certain bacteria combine with lactose (milk sugar). Lactic acid is used to impart a tart flavor, as well as in the preservation of some foods. It occurs naturally in the souring of milk and can be found in foods such as cheese and yogurt. It`s also used in the production of acid-fermented foods such as pickles and sauerkraut.

Lactose - 
[LAK-tohs] This sugar occurs naturally in milk and is also called milk sugar. It`s the least sweet of all the natural sugars and is used commercially in foods such as baby formulas and candies.

Lady apple - 
A tiny apple that can range in color from brilliant red to yellow with generous red blushing. Its flesh is sweet-tart and it can be eaten raw or cooked. Fresh lady apples are available during the winter months. They`re also available canned, and are widely used for garnishing purposes.

Ladyfinger - 
A light, delicate sponge cake roughly shaped like a rather large, fat finger. It`s used as an accompaniment to ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Ladyfingers are also employed as an integral part of some desserts, such as charlottes. Ladyfingers can be made at home or purchased in bakeries or supermarkets.

Lager - 
[LAH-guhr] Beer that is stored in its cask or vat until free of sediment and crystal clear. It`s a light, bubbly, golden brew that ranks as America`s most popular.

Lagniappe; lagnappe - 
[lan-YAP, LAN-yap] Used primarily in southern Louisiana and southeast Texas, the word lagniappe refers to an "unexpected something extra". It could be an additional doughnut (as in "baker's dozen"), a free "one for the road" drink, an unanticipated tip for someone who provides a special service or possibly a complimentary dessert for a regular customer.

Lahvosh; lavosh - 
[LAH-vohsh] A round, thin, crisp bread that`s also known as Armenian cracker bread. It comes in a soft version, as well as in various sizes, ranging from about 6 to 14 inches in diameter. Lahvosh is available in Middle Eastern markets and most supermarkets. It`s the bread used to make the popular aram sandwich.

Lait - 
[LAY] French for "milk", such as in cafe au lait, which is "coffee with milk".

Lamb - 
A sheep less than 1 year old, known for its tender meat. Baby lamb and spring lamb are both milk fed. Baby lamb is customarily slaughtered at between 6 and 8 weeks old. Spring lamb is usually 3 to 5 months old; regular lamb is slaughtered under a year of age. Lamb between 12 and 24 months is called yearling; when over 2 years, it`s referred to as mutton and has a much stronger flavor and less tender flesh.

Lambert cherry - 
A sweet cherry variety that`s large, round and a deep ruby red. The flesh is sweet, firm and meaty. A superior cherry for out-of-hand eating as well as cooking.

Lambrusco - 
[lam-BROOS-koh] An Italian wine that comes in three versions - red, white and rose. The style best known by Americans is the pale red, semisweet, slightly effervescent Lambrusco. All three variations are made in both semisweet and dry styles, the latter being preferred in Italy. Lambrusco wines are not known for their aging capabilities and should be drunk young.

Lancashire cheese - 
LANG-kuh-sheer, LANG-kuh-shuhr] Made in Lancashire, England, this white cheese can range from soft to semifirm depending on how long it`s aged. When young, the flavor is mild yet tangy. It becomes stronger and richer in flavor as it matures. Lancashire melts beautifully and is a favorite cheese for Welsh rabbit.

Lane cake - 
Particularly popular throughout the South, this white or yellow cake is layered with a mixture of coconut, nuts and dried fruits and covered with a fluffy white frosting. Lane cake is said to have originated in Clayton, Alabama, when its creator, Emma Rylander Lane, won a prize for it in the state fair.

Langostino - 
[lahn-goh-STEEN-oh] The Spanish word for "prawn".

Langouste - 
[lahn-GOOST] The French word for "spiny lobster".

Lapin - 
[la-PAHN ] The French word for "rabbit".

Lapsang Souchong - 
[LAP-sang SOO-shawng] This famous black tea hails from China`s Fukian province and is noted for its distinctive smoky essence.

Lasagna; lasagne - 
[luh-ZAHN-yuh] 1. A wide (about 2 inches), flat noodle, sometimes with ruffled edges. The plural form is lasagne. 2. A dish made by layering boiled lasagna noodles with various cheeses (usually including mozzarella) with the cook`s choice of sauce, the most common being tomato, meat or bechamel. This dish is then baked until bubbly and golden brown.

Late harvest - 
An American wine term referring to wines made from grapes picked toward the end of the harvest (usually late fall), preferably those with Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that shrivels the grape thereby concentrating its sugar. Late-harvest wines are very sweet and usually have a high alcohol content. The most popular grapes used for these dessert wines are Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon blanc.

Latke - 
[LAHT-kuh] Traditionally served at Hanukkah, the latke is a pancake usually made from grated potatoes mixed with eggs, onions, matzo meal and seasonings. It`s fried and served hot as a side dish.

Lavender - 
A relative of mint, this aromatic plant has violet flowers and green or pale gray leaves, both of which lend their bitter pungency to salads. The leaves may also be used to make herb tea or, more accurately, tisane.

Lavender gem - 
This citrus fruit is a white grapefruit-tangelo cross. The skin and flesh are a pale pink, the flavor sweet. This fruit is usually available only in specialty produce stores. It can be used in any manner appropriate for grapefruit. Lavender gems are also called wekiwas.

Laver - 
[LAY-vuhr] This highly nutritious dried seaweed comes in tissue-thin sheets about 7 1/2 inches square. It has a fresh, tangy-sweet flavor and a dark purple color, which is why it`s also called purple laver. The Chinese name for this seaweed is jee choy, which means "purple vegetable". Before using, laver must be soaked in cold water. After an hour of soaking, it doubles in size. Laver is often used in soups. Strips of it can also be deep-fried and served as an appetizer.

Leaven - 
To add a leavening agent to a mixture such as a batter or dough in order to make it rise.

Leavener; leavening agent - 
[LEHV-uhn-er] Agents that are used to lighten the texture and increase the volume of baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies. Baking powder, baking soda and yeast are the most common leaveners used today. When mixed with a liquid they form carbon dioxide gas bubbles, which cause a batter or dough to rise during (and sometimes before) the baking process.

Lebkuchen - 
[LAYB-koo-kuhn] This thick, cakelike cookie is a specialty of Nuremberg and one of the most popular in Germany. It`s honey-sweetened, full of spices, citron and almonds and often topped with a hard confectioners` sugar glaze. Lebkuchen has been made for centuries and is often baked in decorative molds to shape the cookie into intricate designs.

Leche - 
[LEH-cheh, LAY-chay] The Spanish word for "milk."

Lecithin - 
[LEHS-uh-thihn] A fatty substance obtained from egg yolks and legumes, used to preserve, emulsify and moisturize food. Lecithin-vegetable oil sprays (available in every supermarket) can be used instead of high-calorie oils for greasing pans and sauteing foods.

Leckerle; leckerli - 
[LEH-kehr-lee] This popular Swiss cookie comes in two versions - one made with honey, one with ground almonds. Both are chewy and delicious. The dough is traditionally pressed into special wooden molds, which imprint designs on the surface of the cookies.

Lekvar - 
[LEHK-vahr] A thick, soft spread made of fruit (usually prunes or apricots) cooked with sugar. This Hungarian specialty is used to fill a variety of pastries and cookies. Lekvar can be purchased in cans or jars in most supermarkets.

Lemon - 
This bright yellow citrus fruit is oval in shape, with a pronounced bulge on the blossom end. The flesh is juicy and acidic. The lemon can range in size from that of a large egg to that of a small grapefruit. Some have thin skins while others have very thick rinds, which are used to make candied lemon peel. Lemons are available year-round with a peak during the summer months.

Lemon balm - 
Widely available in Europe, this herb has lemon-scented, mintlike leaves that are often used to brew an aromatic tea (tisane). Its slightly tart flavor is used to flavor salads as well as meats and poultry. Also called simply balm.

Leyden cheese - 
[LI-dn] Flavored with caraway or cumin seeds, this Dutch cheese is made from a combination of partially skimmed cow`s milk and buttermilk. It`s spicy and semisoft and delicious as a snack, especially when served with dark bread and dark beer.

Liaison - 
[lee-ay-ZON, lee-AY-zon] In cooking, a liaison is a thickening agent for soups, sauces and other mixtures. Beurre manie, roux, egg yolks or starches such as flour, cornstarch and arrowroot are among those agents used for thickening. A liaison is sometimes also referred to as a binder.

Liebfraumilch - 
[LEEB-frow-mihlk, LEEP-frow-mihlkh] This lightly sweet German white wine is made from a blend that often includes Riesling, Silvaner or Muller-Thurgau grapes. Its quality varies greatly depending on the shipper. Liebfraumilch is German for "the milk of our Lady," and was so named because it originally came from the vineyards of a church of the same name, Liebfrauenkirche - "Church of our Lady."

Lime - 
This small, lemon-shaped citrus fruit has a thin green skin and a juicy, pale green pulp. The two main varieties are the Persian lime (the most widely available in the United States) and the Key lime from Florida. The latter is smaller, rounder and has a color more yellow than green. Though Persian limes are available year-round, their peak season is from May through August. Look for brightly colored, smooth-skinned limes that are heavy for their size.

Limpa bread - 
[LIHM-puh] Also called Swedish limpa, this moist rye bread is flavored with fennel or anise, cumin and orange peel. The result is an immensely flavorful, fragrant loaf of bread.

Limu - 
[LEE-moo] Hawaiian word for seaweed, of which there are over two dozen varieties included in the native Hawaiian diet. Among the more popular types are the deep green limu ele`ele, the reddish-brown limu kohu, the pale brown limu lipoa and limu manauea, which ranges in color from yellow ocher to magenta.

Lingcod - 
Found on the North American Pacific coast, lingcod is not really a cod but a greenling. This fish won`t win any beauty contests, but its mildly sweet flavor and firm, lowfat texture makes up for its appearance. Lingcod ranges from 3 to 20 pounds and is available whole or as steaks or fillets. It can be prepared in almost any manner including baking, broiling, frying or grilling.

Linguica - 
[lihng-GWEE-suh] Heavily flavored with garlic, this slim (about 1/2 inch in diameter) Portuguese sausage can be found in Latin American markets and many supermarkets. It`s used in many Latin dishes such as Brazil`s feijoada and Portugal`s caldo verde.

Linguine - 
[lihn-GWEE-nee] Italian for "little tongues," linguine are long, narrow, flat noodles sometimes referred to as "flat spaghetti."

Linzertorte - 
[LIHN-zuhr-tort] Though it`s now famous around the world, the motherland of this elegant, rich tart is Linz, Austria. Ground almonds, grated lemon rind and spices add their magic to the buttery crust, which is spread with jam (usually raspberry) before being topped with a lattice of crust. After baking, the tart is served at room temperature.

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