...Crushed tomatoes are usually a cooked and canned item, though may come in a jar. They are small chunks of red tomato, packed in their own juice. Crushed tomatoes have a high liquid content, with small solid pieces of soft tomato. The flavor is sweet and tart with an umami quality. Crushed tomatoes are often used in sauces, soups and stews.
...Cooked ground pork is meat from pigs that is has been ground up and cooked, usually with added herbs and spices that are intensified by the fatty texture of the meat. It is used in pasta sauces and stir fries.
...Prosciutto is a dry-cured ham. It is popular in Italian cuisine, but has become an increasingly common ingredient in many western cuisines. The meat comes from the hind leg and is sliced paper thin. The texture is smooth, dry and creamy. It is pink with a thin strip of white fat on the outside of the slice. The flavor is unique: sweet and salty, with a bold tang that is reminiscent of fermentation, yet delicate.
Prosciutto is a sophisticated ham and pairs well with fruit, cheese, meats, seafood and makes a delicious sandwich topping.
...The onion is a bulb vegetable, meaning its bulb and not its leaves are eaten. Onions come in many varieties, including white, yellow and red. Shallots are small and mild onions. Vidalias are sweet, while red onions are strong and sharp. The onion is usually round and has a thin dry skin around its juicy layers. This skin depends in the color of the onion, as does the flesh. The flesh, or body of the onion is made of multiple round layers, that get smaller towards the center. The flavor of onions are sharp and sweet when raw, with an astringent taste. When cooked, these flavors mellow and the sweetness emerges. Onion are a very common flavoring and ingredient for many savory dishes.
...Wine is a fermented alcoholic drink with a long history. Today specific varieties of grape are cultivated specifically for wine. There are many kinds of red wine, including Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wine has a dark red color and a thin water-like viscosity. Some types are darker or lighter in color. Each type of wine tastes different. In general, the flavor is a bit sour and may include hints of oak, fruit, citrus and minerals, among other notes. Some red wine is heavy and full of tannins, while others are light and have a milder taste. Red wine is commonly served as a drink and can be used in cooking to add a full depth of flavor.
...Celery is a light green vegetable with tall, thin fibrous stalks and green leaves at their tips. They are extremely juicy and comprised of 90% water. They grow in clusters, sharing a base with about eight or nine ribbed stalks. The texture is crunchy, juicy and has a refreshing flavor that is light, sweet and vegetal. Celery can be eaten raw or cooked into soups and other dishes.
...Carrots are a root vegetable with feathery green tops and long tapered orange colored roots. Some carrot varieties are purple or yellow, but orange is the most common. The carrot can be up to a foot in length. It has a dense, woody texture that is nonetheless very chewable and non-fibrous. Its flavor is sweet and a bit earthy. Carrots are eaten raw, cooked and used in cuisines across the world.
...Olive oil is extracted from the fresh olive, which grows on a tree. Many olives are needed in the extraction of the oil. This is done by a mechanical process and sometimes by a chemical process, though the mechanical method is highly preferred. Olive oil is a golden color and changes slightly due to whether it is extra virgin, or first cold pressed. The flavor of olive oil depends on how it was processed. Lower quality oils will taste mild, while high quality olive oils will have a robust flavor that is green, or may have a spicy quality. Extra virgin and first cold pressed or preferred. Olive oil lends a depth of flavor to any savory dish.
...Garlic is used in cuisines around the world and is extremely popular for its depth of flavor. The garlic bulb forms underneath the soil and is harvested once it reaches maturity. The bulb typically has thin, dry, white and flaky skin, surrounding the individual cloves. Often there are 10-12 cloves to a bulb/head of garlic. The cloves are cream colored with a strong smell and flavor that is spicy and sharp. Garlic takes on a nutty flavor in addition, when cooked. It is used in countless dishes, sauces, breads and more.
...Parsley is an aromatic herb with slender green stalks and sturdy, small green leaves. There are two common types of parsley, curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. Italian parsley has a more robust flavor than curly parsley. Though each type tastes green, spicy and vegetal, with a hint of bitterness. Parsley is used as and herb to flavor dishes and as a garnish.
...Basil is a leafy and aromatic herb that grows in warm climates. There are over one hundred varieties, though the most common Genovese variety of basil produces thin green leaves, in a tapered oval shape. The leaves taste bright, peppery and almost minty; the smell is the same. Basil lends a spicy sweet and herbal flavor to any dish.
...Salt is a mineral composed mostly of sodium chloride. It is the main flavoring used in food and is naturally occurring in certain foods, such as cheese, beets, meat and celery, plus many others. Salt is white and has finer granules than sugar. Many commercial salts include iodide, while others exclude it. Most salts are white, while some are naturally pale pink with minerals. Salt brings out the flavor of something and can create a tangy mouthfeel, if used in excess.
...The peppercorn plant grows in tropical climate and produces tiny black fruit. The fruit is dried and become hard. At this point it is ground into a textured powder comprised of black and grey dots. It has a flavor that is spicy, pungent and sharp. Pepper is an extremely popular spice, especially in Western cuisines and lends a gentle heat to dishes. There are different varieties of black pepper and the flavor changes subtly because of this.
...Red chili flakes are usually made from cayenne peppers that have been dried and ground into small red flakes. The seeds are included and add much heat. The flavor is spicy and can be used as a topping for savory dishes such as pizza, meats and veggies.