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Alfredo Sauce is made with parmesan cheese and butter. As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich coating on the pasta. It was named by an Italian restaurateur.

Aioli is a sauce made of garlic, salt, and egg.

Arugula is a leaf vegetable which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. It has a rich, peppery taste and an exceptionally strong flavor.

Asiago Cheese is an Italian cheese that according to different aging processes can assume different textures. The aged cheese is often grated in salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago cheese is slice to prepare panini or sandwiches.

Au Gratin is a widely used culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or broiled to form a golden crust on top as in potatoes au gratin.

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Baby Back Ribs are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. The designation “baby” indicates the cuts are from market weight hogs rather than sows. They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones and are shorter, curved, and sometimes meatier than spare ribs.

Balsamic Vinegar There are three types of this Italian vinegar. Authentic traditional vinegar made from a reduction of syrup from sweet wine grapes, Commercial Grade Balsamic produced on an industrial scale, and condimento grade products which are often a mix of the other two.

Braising (from the French “braiser”) is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat. Typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. Braising of meat is often referred to as pot roasting.

Brisket This is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest that all animals have but most often used to describe beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. Popular cooking methods include rubbing with a spice rub or marinating the meat then cooking it slowly over indirect heat using pecan, hickory, or mesquite wood. This is a form of smoking the meat. Most of the tenderness comes from the fat cap that is often left attached to the brisket.

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Capers The caper is a perennial spiny bush native to the Mediterranean region and grows wild. It bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud of this plant.

Calamari is Italian for squid and is popular in the cuisine of many Mediterranean countries. Fresh calamari is a local delicacy and is caught in the Monterey Bay.

Calzone, Italian for “stocking”, is a turnover made from pizza dough and stuffed with cheese (usually mozzarella cheese and Ricotta), ham or salami, vegetables, or a variety of other stuffings. It often contains an egg, the yolk of which should be runny. It is typically served with marinara sauce.

Cannelloni (Italian for “large reeds”) usually refers to rectangular pasta sheets that are rolled with a filling. Sometimes confused with manicotti which are preshaped tubes.

Capellini (literally “thin hair” in Italian) is a very thin variety of Italian pasta. Like spaghetti it is rod-shaped in the form of long strands and is thinner than vermicelli. Capelli d’angelo (literally “angel hair” is an even thinner variant of capellini.

Chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeno chili used primarily in Mexican inspired cuisine. There are many varieties of jalapenos which vary in size and heat. Toward the end of the growing season jalapenos begin to turn bright orange. They are kept on the vine as long as possible. When the jalapenos are deep red and have lost much of their moisture they are selected to be made into chipotles where they are smoked on metal grills for several days.

Coulis (pronounced “koo-LEE”) is derived from French meaning “to strain”. It is a form of thick sauce made from pureed and strained vegetables or fruits. It can be used on meat and vegetable dishes and as a base for soups or other sauces. Fruit coulis are most often used on desserts.

Concasse, a French word meaning to crush or grind, is a cooking term meaning to rough chop any ingredient, usually vegetables specifically tomatoes. Tomato concasse is a tomato that has been peeled, seeded, and chopped to specified dimension.

Crème Brule is French of “burnt cream” consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel created by caramelizing the sugar under an intense heat source such as a broiler or butane torch. The custard base is normally flavored with vanilla. It is sometimes served flaming by igniting a thin layer of liqueur on the top.

Crostini (Italian for “little toasts”) are made by thinly slicing bread, typically white bread, and toasting or grilling it so that it becomes crispy. Crostini or toasted crackers are also often used for the bases of appetizers.

Crouton (French for “crust”) is a small piece of sautéed or rebaked bread, often cubed and seasoned that is used to add texture and flavor to salads notably the Caesar salad.

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Dijonaise Sauce is made with butter, flour, salt, white pepper, milk, and Dijon mustard. Originating in Dijon, France most Dijon mustards are manufactured elsewhere. The Dijon brand generally contains both white wine and burgundy wine.

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Fettuccine Alfredo is a pasta dish made from fettuccine pasta tossed with parmesan cheese and butter.

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Margarita Pizza First baked in Naples, Italy and named after Queen Margarita, whose name means “daisy”, it was designed to follow the colors of the Italian flag. Tomatoes for red, basil for green, Mozzarella for white and is traditionally cooked in a wood burning oven.

Masa is Spanish for dough but in Mexico it sometimes refers to cornmeal dough (masa de maiz).

Mole is Mexican Spanish for “sauce or concoction” and is the generic name for several sauces some quite dissimilar to each other such as guacamole (avocado concoction). Oaxaca, Mexico is nicknamed the “Land of the Seven Moles”.

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Panini (also panino) is Italian for a sandwich made from a small roll or loaf of bread. The loaf is cut horizontally and filled with meat and cheese.

Pasta Carbonara (usually spaghetti) is an Italian pasta dish base on eggs, pecorino romano (a hard, salty Italian cheese), guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon), black pepper, and cured fatty pork are the basics.

Pesto (to pound or to crush in Italian) is a sauce historically prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. There are many variations stemming from the basic mixture of basil leaves, coarse salt, fresh garlic, pine nuts, grated cheese and olive oil.

Portabello Mushroom is an edible mushroom native to grasslands in Europe and North America and commonly found in fields and grassy areas after rain from late spring through to autumn.

Primal Cut is a piece of meat initially separated from the carcass during butchering. American primal cuts are:

primal cut

Chuck - one of the most common sources for hamburgers.

Rib – short ribs, rib eye steak. Short Loin – from which porterhouse steaks are cut.

Sirloin – less tender than short loin but more flavorful.

Tenderloin – the most tender, from which the filet mignon is severed.

Top Sirloin - differs from sirloin steaks in that the bone and the tenderloin have been removed.

Round - lean cut, moderately tough. Lack of fat and marbling does not allow round steak to tenderize quickly.

Brisket - often associated with barbecue beef brisket.

Shank - used primarily for stews and soups, but is not usually served another way, due to it being the toughest of the cuts.

Plate - produces types of steak such as the skirt steak and hanger steak. It is typically a cheap, tough, and fatty meat.

Flank - long and flat, the flank steak's best known application is London Broil. One of the most affordable steaks on the market, it is substantially tougher than the loin and rib steaks, therefore many flank recipes use marinades or moist cooking methods such as braising.

Hoof - the lower leg, not much meat but great for soups and stocks.

Pulled Pork is a form of barbecue. It is a method of preparation in which pork, usually the shoulder cut is cooked using a low-heat, long-cook method. With extended time at low temperatures the meat becomes tender enough that its weakened connective tissue allows the meat ot be “pulled’, or easily broken into individual pieces. 

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Queso Fresco is a creamy, soft, and mild unaged white cheese that originated in Spain and spread to Mexico. It is usually made by heating whole fresh milk to near-boiling, adding an acidifying agent such as vinegar, stirring until curds form, then draining the curds in cheesecloth for three to five hours.

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Scallions are also known as spring or green onions and lack a fully developed bulb. They tend to be milder than other onions. Chopped scallions are often used in soups, salads, and seafood dishes.

Shallots Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. Their skin color can vary from golden brown to rose red and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent flavor.

Short Ribs are a popular cut of beef. Beef short ribs are larger and usually more tender and meatier than their pork counterpart the pork spare rib. Short ribs can be slow cooked and smoked a very popular barbeque method.

Skirt Steak is a cut of beef steak from the plate (belly). It is a long, flat cut that is flavorful and a popular item on the menu.

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Tapenade is a Provencal dish consisting of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. It’s name comes from the provencale word for capers. Tapenade is often flavored differently in varying regions with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, anchovies, lemon juice, or brandy.

Traeger Smoked Meats This refers to the manufacture of a closed barbeque style cooking system that is designed to cook meat and vegetables slowly over a long period of time. Small pellets (about the size of rabbit food) of various varieties of fruit and hardwoods are used in the process. These pellets are delivered to a small fire pot by a slowly turning auger. Depending on the cut of meat the length of cooking time can be up to 12 hours. This process produces an extraordinarily delicious meat. We were so impressed by this system that we became the exclusive dealer on the Monterey Peninsula. We have home sized models up to large trailer mounted system that can hold up to 500 lbs of meat.

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Wood Fired Ovens (Forno in Italian) are ovens that use wood fuel for cooking. There are two types of wood-fired ovens "black ovens" and "white ovens". Black ovens are heated by burning wood in a chamber and the food is cooked in that same chamber alongside the fire while it is still going. White ovens are heated by heat transfer from a separate combustion chamber and thus the oven remains "white".


The Monterey Cookhouse features California cuisine, a delicious fusion of cooking styles and ingredients from around the world. We are well-known for our wood-fired cuisine. Our house specialties include delicious flame broiled steaks,
lightly smoked and barbecued ribs and briskets, and fresh seafood.
Traeger Smoker - Oak-fired Grill - Wood-fired Pizza Oven - Family friendly
Barbecued ribs, brisket, & pulled pork. Oak-grilled steaks. Smoked prime rib. Fresh seafood. Wood-fired pizza.