Ladyfingers are known in Italy as savoiardi are sweet, little, fairly
dry, finger-shaped sponge cakes. It is used for making desserts like
Tiramisu and Charlottes. Ladyfingers can be made at home or purchased in
bakeries, supermarkets, or specialty markets.
To learn about the history of the Lamington/Lemmington, check out
History of Cakes.
lagniappe - (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, and an
unanticipated tip for someone who provides a special service or possibly a
complimentary dessert for a regular customer. Creole term for something
The word lamington means layers of
An Australian dessert of little cubes or squares of sponge cake, dipped in
chocolate, then rolled in coconut. In Victoria (State of Australia) they
often add a layer of raspberry or plum jam. They are served with tea in the
afternoon. Lamington’s are so popular in Australia that the cakes are a
favorite means of raising money for school groups, church’s, and scouts and
girl guides. These money making adventure are called Lamington Drives.
lamington or lemmington –
To learn about the history of the Lamington/Lemmington, check out
History of Cakes.
lard - Lard is the layer of fat
located along the back and underneath the skin of the hog. Hog-butchers
prepare it during the slaughtering process and preserve it in salt. In Italy
it is used mainly (either minced or in whole pieces) to prepare various
kinds of sauces and soups, to cook vegetables and legumes, or to lard beef
or poultry. In order to remove any excess of salt, lard should be blanched
by placing it in cold water, bringing it to a boil and then letting it cool
entirely under cold running water.
lasagna, lasagne (luh-ZAHN-yuh)
- (1) Pasta in flat, very wide strips that is almost always used in baked
dishes. (2) A dish made by baking such pasta with layers of sauce and
fillings such as cheese or meat.
History: Like many things, the origins of
pasta and how lasagna was first made are lost in the mists of prehistory. We
can only assume that pasta was "invented" by the peoples living in the
Mediterranean area some time after our ancestors had learned to cultivate
cereals and to grind them into flour. However, the origins of "macaroni" in
Italy go back as far as the time of the Ancient Romans who gave the credit
to the 'Gods'. Some historians say that "maccheroni" is derived from the
Sicilian word "maccarruni" meaning "made into a dough by force." Other
historians think the word "lasagne" came from the Greek "lasanon," a chamber
pot. The Romans adopted the word for any cooking pot; lasagne is the pasta
dish cooked in the lasanum.
To learn about Lavender, check out
Linda Stradley's web page on
latté, café au lait, cafe leche
- Is a coffee made with milk, usually equal portions of scalded milk and
leavener, leavening agent
(LEHV-uhn-er) - Leaveners are agents that are added to doughs and batters to
increase the volume and lighten the texture. The most common leaveners are
baking soda, baking powder, and yeast. In some recipes, egg whites may be
whipped to create a similar effect.
In earlier days, leavening agents were called "lifters."
lefse (lef-suh) - Lefse is
considered to any "good" Norwegian the same as the tortilla is to the
Mexican and the crepes are to the French. A Scandinavian tradition for
decades, lefse is a pastry made from potatoes, flour, butter, and cream. It
is widely prized as a delicious delicacy, whether served plain or with
butter and sugar.
legume (lehg-Yoom) - Legumes,
also known as pulses, are the mature seeds that grow inside pods. We
call them peas, beans, and lentils.
lemongrass - It is also known as
citronella. Lemongrass is native to Malaysia and grown throughout Southeast
Asia and California. It is a stiff tropical grass that resembles a large
fibrous green onion (the stalks are too tough to eat buy when simmered in
liquid, they impart a distinctive fragrance and taste). It is an essential
herb in southeast Asian cooking. It adds a lemony flavor to dishes.
Lemon Drop Martini – In large
west coast cities, especially San Francisco, the Lemon Drop Martini is the
popular drink, a lemon drink that is truly reminiscent of the childhood
candy. It is sometimes known as adult lemonade. This addictive drink is a
mixture of fresh lemon juice, vodka, sweet vermouth or Triple Sec, sugar,
and served ice cold in a sugar-rimmed martini glass.
History: This drink came into vogue
during the 1970s and was developed at a now defunct bar called Henry
Africa’s in San Francisco, a well known singles” bar. Since it was basically
a singles bar that catered to single men and women, they developed and
pushed “girl drinks.” They are drinks that are potent, but sweet enough to
cover the taste of alcohol. It is felt that it was named after the candy,
lemon drops, of the same name.
Check out my
favorite Lemon Drop Martini for a recipe.
lentil - These are tiny
bean-like seeds. They are one of the first plants used for foods. The
Egyptians and Greeks cooked these small legumes and so did the Romans.
Pliney, the Roman naturalist, recommended them as a food that produced
mildness and moderation of temper.
liaison (lee-ay-ZON) - Liaison
The process of thickening a sauce, soup, or stew. This is a mixture of cream
and egg yolks that is used to thicken soups and sauces. Egg yolks must be
tempered with hot liquid before adding to the liquid in order to prevent
curdling. This process is also referred to as a "binder."
licorice - Its botanical name is
Glycyrrhiza, from the Greek meaning "sweet root." The taste of the licorice
root is so distinctive that its sweetness is detectable in water even when
diluted to 1 part licorice to 20,000 parts water.
History: Licorice has a long and
honorable history in the service of mankind. The earliest usage of Licorice
was back in the first syllables of recorded time. Licorice freaks throughout
history have included Pharaohs and Prophets. Men discovered generous
supplies in KingTut’s tomb, while Egyptian hieroglyphics record the use of
Licorice in a popular beverage in the days when the Bible was still being
written! Alexander the Great, the Scythian armies, Roman Emperor Caesar, and
even India's great prophet, Brahma, are on record endorsing the beneficial
properties contained in Licorice. Warriors used it for its ability to quench
thirst while on the march, while others (including Brahma and venerable
Chinese Buddhist sages), recognized Licorice's valuable healing properties.
Natural licorice can be effective medicine.
For over 3000 years, licorice root has been used as a remedy for peptic
ulcers, sore throats and coughs in eastern and western medicine. Licorice
root has been used since the third century BC to help dissipate coughs.
(LEE-duhr-krahntz) - It is a semi-soft aromatic cow's milk cheese created by
New York cheese maker, Emil Frey, in 1882. This cheese is most commonly
enjoyed with beer, dark bread, and onions. Borden Foods purchased the
trademark and is its sole producer.
lima beans - Lima beans come in
two varieties; the Fordhook and the baby lima. The Fordhook is meatier and
fatter than the baby limas with has a bolder flavor. Fresh limas can be
found sometimes in June, July, and August. They should be shelled just
limburger cheese (LIM-bur-ger) -
Limburger is a semi soft, surface-ripened cheese with a characteristic
strong flavor and aroma. It was first made in the Province of Luttich,
Belgium and is named for the town of Limburger, where originally much of it
Limoncello (lee-mohn-CHEH-loh) –
Limoncello is the generic name for an Italian citrus-based lemon liqueur
that is served well chilled in the summer months. An absolute natural product
acquired by the infusion of lemon skins in pure alcohol. It
has become Italy's second most popular drink after Campari. It is
wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drinks. Keep your
bottles of Limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients
are simple and few, and making a batch doesn't require much work, but you'll
need some time. In most recipes, Limoncello must steep for (80) eighty days.
History: It has long been a staple in the
lemon-producing region along the Italian Amalfi Coast in Capri and Sorrento.
The Amalfi Coast is known for its citrus groves and narrow
winding roads. Authentic Limoncello is made
from Sorrento lemons, which come from the Amalfi Coast.
Families in Italy have passed down recipes for this for generations, as every
Italian family has their own Limoncello
lobster - A large seawater
crustacean. Lobster is considered the king of the crustacean family and has
a jointed body and limbs covered with a hard shell. The American or Northern
lobster is caught from Newfoundland to the Carolinas, but lobster is the
essence of the Main seacoast. Lobster and Maine are all but synonymous.
History: For centuries, lobsters were
so abundant that they were usually considered food for the poor. According
to regional legend, John D. Rockefeller Sr. rescued the lobster in 1910. The
legend is that a bowl of lobster stew, meant for the servants' table, was
accidentally sent upstairs (where it was rapturously received). From then
on, it was given a permanent place on his menu. Back in New York, what was
good enough for John D. was good enough for the rest of society.
Lobster Cardinal - French. The
word "cardinal" describes the color of this dish, which resembles the red
color of the robes worn by a cardinal of the Catholic Church. It is cubed
cooked lobster meat that is mixed with a sauce, spooned back into the
lobster shell, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and browned.
Lobster Newberg - A rich lobster
dish in an elegant sauce. It is usually served over buttered toast points.
To learn about the history of
Lobster Newberg, check out Linda Stradley's
History of Lobster Newberg.
Lobster Thermidor - Select
pieces of lobster sautéed with shallots and mushrooms, and then deglazed
with white and place back in the shell.
History: Lobster Thermidor was
introduced on January 24, 1894, at Chez Marie, a well-known Paris
restaurant. On that evening Victorien Sardou's play "Thermidor" had its
first performance at the theatre called Comedie-Francais. Marie decided to
launch his new dish by giving it the name of the play "Thermidor." The play
was called "Thermidor" after one of the months of the French republican
London broil - London broil is
actually a dish and a cut of meat. For the dish, large pieces of flank steak
(from the lower hindquarters) or top round (from the inner portion of the
hind leg) are cut into pieces, marinated, grilled, or broiled, and then
sliced across the grain. In the market, you'll find many thick cuts of meat
— including top round and sirloin tip — labeled "London broil."
lox - Lox is the term used for
salmon that has been cured in pure salt for about two months and then is
soaked to get rid of the excess salt. Lox is not smoked.
lutefisk (lewd-uh-fisk) - Also
called lyefish. It is dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for
several days to rehydrate it. It is then boiled or baked and served with
butter, salt, and pepper. The finished lutefisk usually is the consistency
of jello. In the United States, Norwegian-Americans traditionally serve it
for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many homes, lutefisk takes the place of
the Christmas turkey. Today the fish is celebrated in ethnic and religious
celebrations and is linked with hardship and courage.
History: To Learn about the history of Lutefisk, plus
a recipe, check out Linda Stradley's
lychee - This fruit is native to
China and is now grown in tropical climates of the United States. It is
available fresh in Asian markets during the summer months and canned
year-round. The fruit is covered with a thin, brittle, slightly bumpy shell
that is easily removed with your fingers. The fruit inside is white, soft,
and somewhat like a grape. It also has a wonderful aroma.