Glossary  A

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Adzuki (ah-ZOO-kee) beans: Small brown bean with sweet flavor. Used in Japanese cooking, especially for bean-paste sweets.

Agar-agar: A clear, flavorless sea vegetable. It is freeze-dried, sold in sticks, flakes or powder, and used like gelatin.

Alfalfa sprouts: Seeds of alfalfa, a plant grown as animal fodder, sprouted for human consumption. Popular on salads and in sandwiches.

Allspice: Pea-sized berries of tropical evergreen tree, also known as Jamaica pepper. Flavor is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Available whole or ground.

Amaretti (am-ah-REHT-tee): Small, crisp Italian macaroon cookies that are often individually wrapped in tissue paper.

Anaheim chili: Long, narrow chili closely related to and interchangeable with the New Mexico chili. Both are light green and have a sweet taste with just a hint of heat. Often stuffed and used in salsas. Available fresh or canned.

Ancho chili (AHN-cho): Dried chili 3 to 4 inches long and deep reddish-brown in color. The flavor is sweet and fruity and can range in heat from mild to pungent. A fresh ancho in its green state is called a poblano.

Anasazi bean (ah-nuh-SAH-zee): Heirloom dried legume colored with blotches of red and white. Noted for their sweet flavor.

Arborio rice (ar-BOH-ree-oh): A short-grain rice from Italy used to make the classic Italian dish of risotto. Arborio's high starch content gives the dish its characteristic creamy texture.

Arrowroot: Starchy flour from a tropical tuber used for thickening. Usually less processed than cornstarch. Can be substituted measure for measure for cornstarch.

Arugula (uh-rue-gue-lah): A bitter, peppery salad green resembling radish leaves, also called rocket.

Asiago cheese (ah-see-ah-go): An Italian cheese with a mild, delicate tang and a thin, supple yellow rind. Originally ewe's milk, now usually made of cow's. Parmesan or Romano are suitable substitutes.