- A small tortilla chip topped with cheese and chile peppers or chile pepper
sauce. The word may be from the Spanish for "flat-nosed."
nap or nappe - French word that
means to completely coat food with a light, thin, even layer of sauce or a
Napoleon pastry (nuh-POH-lee-uhn)
- It is known as mille-feuilles in France. Outside of France it is known as
"Napoleon." It consists of layers of puff pastry interspersed with pastry
cream or whipped cream and iced with fondant and chocolate or with
History: (1) It is believed to have
been developed in France during the latter part of the 19th century. The
Danish people have been told for generations that a Danish royal pastry chef
invented the dessert way back in the 1800s on the occasion of a state visit
between the Emperor Napoleon and the King of Denmark, in Copenhagen. Some
sources believe that the chocolate lines on the pastry appear to form the
letter "N" for Napoleon. (2) A final story or tale is that the dessert was
really a French invention after all, and that it was Napoleon's favorite
pastry. It is said that he ate so many of them on the eve of Waterloo that
he lost the battle.
Navajo Fry Bread – The dough
used in making this flat bread is a variation of the dough for flour
tortillas, consisting of wheat flour, shortening, salt, and water, leavened
sometimes by baking powder and sometimes by yeast. Today, there are endless
regional variations of this Native American flat bread. Each tribe, and also
each family, has their own special recipe. The making of Fry Bread is
considered a source of pride. Navajo Fry Bread is considered a tradition in
Arizona and New Mexico, and dry bread with honey butter is a specialty of
Navajo Fry Bread actually evolved because of access to European wheat and
lard. In 18860, approximately 8,000 Navajos spent four years imprisoned at
Fort Summer, New Mexico, and were given little more than white flour and
lard to eat. After returning to their new reservation, the United States’
government provided them with wheat flour as part of their commodities
program. Because of this, lard and wheat flour became the main ingredients
in the making of Navajo Fry Bread. The Indian women had to make the best of
what was often considered poor-quality rations in reservation camps and the
varying availability of government-issued commodities.
neufchatel cheese (noof-sha-TEL)
- A soft unripened cheese originally from Neufchatel-en-Bray, France. It has
a fat content of 44 to 48%. It is sold as low-fat cream cheese in the U.S.
Newburg Sauce - An American
sauce that was created at the famous Delmonico Restaurant in New York City
by their French chef, M. Pascal. This elegant sauce is composed of butter,
cream, egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings. It is usually served over buttered
toast points. The sauce is also used with other foods, in which case the
dish is usually given the name "Newburg."
History: The sauce was originally
named after a Mr. Wenburg, a frequent guest at the Delmonico restaurant. Mr.
Wenburg and the boss of the Delmoico had an argument, thus causing Wenburg
to insist that the sauce be renamed. The first three letters were changed to
"New" instead of "Wen" to create the name "Newberg."
nicoise - A descriptive term for
dishes served with particular foods used by the chefs of the City of Nice,
France. This garnish usually includes garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black
olive, capers, and lemon juice. Salad Niçoise is the most famous of all
these dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette
nicoise olive (nee-SHAHZ) - A
small, oval olive that ranges in color from purple-brown to brown-black.
They are from the Provence region of France (but some are also grown in
Italy). They are cured in brine and packed in olive oil.
- Kernels of dried field corn that have their hull and germ removed and
partially processed with slaked lime and water. The first people of Mexico
and Native Americans used ashes dissolved in water. Today the standard
alkali for the nixtamalizing process is purified cal, or calcium hydroxide.
Nixtamal is usually found packaged in bags in the refrigerated sections of
Southwest markets. Posole is an excellent substitute.
Hominy can also be
substituted for nixtamal, but it generally has a much milder flavor.
Essentially nixtamal is the same as hominy In the Southern U.S.
states, nixtamal is called hominy (however, today, hominy has the
nutrient-rich germ removed, unlike nixtamal). The southerners serve it
whole, as a vegetable, or ground it into grits.
The main application of nixtamal is to grind
the kernels and mix them with seasonings to make a dough, similar to masa,
which is used to make tamales. Nixtamal is also used whole in soups and
stews. In countries where nixtamal is used, it's
made fresh daily. It spoils quickly without refrigeration, but even with
refrigeration, its flavor and texture are noticeably better on the day it
noisette (nwah-ZEHT) - (1) It is
the French word for hazelnut. (2) In French, noisette is a small version of
noix, which means a "walnut." The noix of a leg of lamb or ham means a
"small walnut-shaped" which is a juicy morsel. It is a small, round, or oval
slice of lamb or mutton, which is cut from the leg, rib, or fillet. It is
cut to provide an individual portion.
non-reactive pan - When a recipe
calls for a non-reactive cookware, use clay, copper, enamel, glass, plastic,
or stainless steel. Stainless steel is the most common non-reactive cookware
available as it does not conduct or retain heat well (it frequently has
aluminum or copper bonded to the bottom or a core of aluminum between layers
of stainless steel). Although expensive, this kind of cookware offers the
benefits of a durable, non-reactive surface and rapid, uniform heat
conductivity. Glass cookware is non-reactive and although it retains heat
well it conducts it poorly. Enamelware is non-reactive as long as the enamel
is not scratched or chipped.
noodle - Any of a variety of
thin strips of pasta made from flour, water, and sometimes egg. In Japan,
noodles are consumed winter or summer, hot in broth or cold in dipping
sauce. There are four main branches in the Japanese noodle family. Soba,
which translates as "nearness," is a thin noodle made from buckwheat flour,
good hot or cold. Chubby udon, made from wheat flour, is usually served hot,
with tempura. Hiyamugi is a medium-thickness wheat noodle; usually eat cold,
served on a bed of ice, with fishcakes and chopped boiled eggs. Somen, a
very thin wheat noodle is also served cold with a dipping sauce, often with
green shiso leaves, ginger and toasted sesame seeds. In Japan, it's
considered to be very good form to loudly slurp your noodles. It's a way of
telling your host you approve of the cooking.
nori (NOR-ee) - The Japanese
name for a flat blade-like red seaweed belonging to the genus Porphyra.
Nori, which is usually sold as a rectangular sheet measuring 19 x 21 cm, is
the most commonly eaten alga in Japan. Tasters are employed to evaluate the
taste, color, texture, and overall quality of cultivated nori, in much the
same way that wine tasters select high-quality products for the food
industry. High quality nori has a glossy, black color and good aroma. It is
so tender that it melts with saliva in the mouth. Poor quality nori has a
greenish color with less gloss and aroma, and it has a hard texture. In
Japan, the highest-grade nori is elegantly packaged and presented as a
special gift. The Chinese people call it "zicai" (purple vegetable).
History: The production and
consumption of nori in the form of dried or roasted sheets dates back 1,300
years. The use of this seaweed was introduced into Japan from China. Nori
utilization was first recorded in the "Taiho Ritsuryo," Japan's first book
of laws in 701 A.D., as a taxable agricultural product. Initially,
field-gathered plants were used but when the supply became inadequate,
cultivation was started in the 17th century.
nougat – It is
a French candy made by whipping egg whites until they are light and frothy.
Sugar or honey syrup is added to stabilize the foam and creating a frappe.
Roasted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts, are added.
A number of other flavoring ingredients are then added to create nougat with
different flavors. Nuts are also added. Nougat is called torrone in Italy
and turron in Spain.
The history of the origin of nougat varies with different historians. Most
historians believe that nougat comes from ancient Rome where a sweet made
from honey, almonds, and eggs was made and reserved for special functions or
as an offering to their gods. The first known documented mention in Italy of
torrone was in the year 1441 in Cremona, where at the wedding of Francesco
Sforza to Maria Bianca Visconti, a new sweet was created in the couple’s
(1) French historians think that the nougat traces
back to a Greek walnut confection known as nux gatum or mougo that was
originally made using walnuts. In the 17th century, Olivier of
Serres planted almond trees close to Montelimar. It is thought that the
almonds replaced the walnuts in the Greek recipe and evolved into nougat.
Today, Montelimar, a small city in the Drome section of southern France is
known for their nougat. The first commercial factory opened in the late 18th
century and now this city has 14 nougat manufacturers producing this
(2) Another story tells of a farmer’s wife, taking
advantage of plentiful almonds, honey, and eggs on her farm, created nougat
nouvelle cuisine (noo-vehl
kwee-ZEEN) - A French term meaning "new cooking." This refers to a culinary
style that began in the late 1950s by young French chefs led by Boçuse,
Guérard, and Chapel that moved away from the traditional rich, heavy style
of classic French cuisine toward fresher, ligher food served in smaller
portions. This style replaced traditional heavy sauces with reductions of
stocks and cooking liquids, the presentation of small portions, and visual
artistry on over-large plates. French cuisine today is basically a
combination of traditional and nouvelle.
nutella - A thick smooth paste
made from chocolate and hazelnuts. Today, Nutella is the number one spread
History: Pietro Ferrero, a pastry
maker and founder of the Ferrero Company, created it in the 1940’s. At the
time, cocoa was in short supply due to war rationing, and chocolate was a
delicacy limited to a lucky few. So Pietro Ferrero mixed cocoa with toasted
hazelnuts, cocoa butter and vegetable oils to create an economical spread of
chocolate, which he called pasta gianduja (pronounced: pasta jon-du-ja).
Pasta gianduja's success was unprecedented. In 1949, Ferrero made a
supercrema gianduja, which was spreadable as well as, inexpensive. This
product became so popular that Italian food stores started a service called
"The Smearing." Children could go to their local food store with a slice of
bread for a "smear" of supercrema gianduja. In 1964 supercrema gianduja was
renamed Nutella (its origin being the word "nut"), and began to be marketed
nutraceutical - A nutraceutical
is any food that is nutritionally enhanced with nutrients, vitamins, or
herbal supplements. The most common supplements are calcium, Vitamins E, A,
and C and the herbs gingko, ginseng, echinacea, and St. John's wort. As
consumers continue to look for ways to enhance health and well being,
manufacturers continue to respond with products enhanced with supplements,
including beverages, rice, frozen desserts, snacks, and many others.