Culinaire Dictionnaire – Nipitella

Calamintha nepeta

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Lesser Calamint
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Calamintha
Species: C. nepeta
Binomial name
Calamintha nepeta
(L.) Savi

Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) is a member of the Mint family, and is used in Italian cuisine where it is called mentuccia, nipitella or nepitella.


Lesser Calamint grows as a beautiful perennial shrub for the herbal border forming a compact mound of shiny, green oregano-like leaves which become covered with lavender pink flowers to a height of 18 inches.[1] The Lesser Calamint plant smells like a cross between mint, and oregano, and attracts honeybees and butterflies.[2] Lesser Calamint usually grows in the Summer, and well into the Fall. This plant needs not to be replanted year after year, as it can become dormant in the winter months, then reblossom in the spring. Furthermore, in the Fall, the plant’s flowers, which contain seeds, fall to the ground, and will “plant themselves,” therefore making a new plant blossom in the Spring. These flowers will start to appear in late August.[2] Lesser Calamint grows wildly, but can be planted in pots, for convenience. The life expectancy for an average Lesser Calamint plant is about 3–4 years. The only problem with this plant is that a powdery mildew might occur on the plant.[2]

Culinaire Dictionnaire – Plateau de fruits de mer

A plateau de fruits de mer (French ‘seafood platter’) is a seafood dish of raw and cooked shellfish served cold on a platter, usually on a bed of ice.


Culinaire Dictionnaire – 23 June 2012

[pah-TAY, pa-TAY]
French for “pie,” this word — with accent over the “e” — is generally used to refer to various elegant, well-seasoned ground-meat preparations. A pâté can be satiny-smooth and spreadable or, like country pâté, coarsely textured. It can be made from a finely ground or chunky mixture of meats (such as pork, veal, liver or ham), fish, poultry, game, vegetables, etc. Seasonings and fat are usually also included in the mixture, which can be combined before or after cooking. Pâtés may be cooked in a crust, in which case they’re referred to as pâté en croûte. They may also be cooked in a pork fat-lined container called a terrine (or any other similarly sized mold), in which case they’re called pâté en terrine. Traditional parlance says that when such a mixture is cooked and served in a terrine, the dish is also called a terrine, and when unmolded it becomes a pâté. Today, however, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Pâtés may be hot or cold and are usually served as a first course or appetizer.

© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Culinaire Dictionnaire – 16 June 2012

An elegant sweet wine from the Sauternes region of western France. It’s made from SAUVIGNON BLANC or SEMILLON grapes that have been infected by a beneficial mold called BOTRYTIS CINEREA, which causes the grapes to shrivel, leaving a sugary fruit with concentrated flavors. The best Sauternes come from vines that have been hand-picked (as many as 12 separate times) to ensure that the grapes are not removed from the vines before reaching the perfect degree of ripeness required for these wines. Sauternes are most notable as DESSERT WINES but, because of their high acidity, they also make excellent partners for rich dishes like PÂTÉ, CAVIAR and FOIE GRAS. “Sauterne” without the ending “s” usually refers to an inexpensive semisweet California wine.

© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Culinaire Dictionnaire – 9 June 2012

A frothy type of SHERBET made with a light SUGAR SYRUP mixed with a liquid such as fruit juice, CHAMPAGNE or SAUTERNES. Halfway through the freezing process, the mixture is combined with uncooked MERINGUE, which gives spoom its airy texture. The Italians call this frozen specialty spuma,  which means “foam” or “froth.”

© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Culinaire Dictionnaire – 2 June 2012

Brigade de cuisine: a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, commonly referred to as “kitchen staff” in English speaking countries.


Culinaire Dictionnaire – 26 May 2012

Mise en place: (pronounced [miz on plas], literally “putting in place”) is a French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as “everything in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.


Culinaire Dictionnaire – 19 May 2012

Service à la russe – a manner of dining that involves courses being brought to the table sequentially.

A typical 14-course menu for a formal French dinner in service à la russe style is as follows:

  1. Oysters or clams on a half shell. Alternatively, fruit or caviar may be served
  2. Soup (each guest may choose between clear or thick)
  3. Radishes, celery, olives and almonds
  4. Fish, with potatoes and cucumbers with oil & vinegar
  5. Sweetbreads (or mushrooms)
  6. A roast with a green vegetable
  7. Frozen Roman punch (an alcoholic fruit punch thickened with egg whites)
  8. Game with salad
  9. Artichokes, asparagus or spinach inside a shell of pastry
  10. Creamed sweet (e.g. a heavy pudding)
  11. Frozen sweet (e.g. a sorbet or ice cream)
  12. Cheeses with biscuits and butter
  13. Crystallized and stuffed dried fruits served with bonbons
  14. Coffee, liqueurs, cognac, and sparkling water (at this time cigars may be smoked)


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