Questions and Answers

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:22 pm

Double-Acting Baking Powder

I bought baking powder at the grocery store, but when I got home, I noticed that the can says it is "double-acting." Does this mean I need to use only half as much as a recipe calls for? —J.U., Twin Brooks, South Dakota

Nearly all baking powder available today is double-acting baking powder. This means it contains two different types of acids that react at different times. The first acid will react by creating gases when mixed with the liquid in the recipe.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:23 pm

Canning Yellow Tomatoes

I grow an abundance of yellow tomatoes during the summer, but I have never seen a recipe for canning them. Are they canned the same way as red tomatoes? —D.P., Mt. Washington, Kentucky

Yellow tomatoes can be canned. However, many people don’t realize that yellow tomatoes are lower in acidity than red tomatoes. Therefore, bottled lemon juice must be added to increase the acidity (for food safety). For every quart of yellow tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled (not fresh) lemon juice. For every pint of yellow tomatoes, add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice. The tomatoes can then be processed according to the standard directions for red tomatoes. For more specifics on canning, contact your local Extension agent.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:24 pm

Homemade Salad Dressings

I love to make the salad dressings How long do homemade dressings keep in the refrigerator? —J.D., Lino Lakes, Minnesota

The "shelf life" of salad dressings varies somewhat. Generally, vinaigrettes can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Dairy-based dressings, like buttermilk, and dressings made with fresh ingredients, like chopped onion, fresh herbs, tomato sauce and chopped hard-cooked egg, will keep up to 1 week.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:25 pm

Baked Spareribs

I have a recipe that calls for baking spareribs for 6 hours in a 200° oven and finishing on a grill. Does this sound safe at such a low temperature? —E.O., Parma, Ohio

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a temperature of no lower than 325° should be used when roasting any meat. The USDA suggests roasting ribs at 350°, uncovered, in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 2-4 pounds of ribs for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Finish on the grill, basting with barbecue sauce.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:35 am

Cookie Floss

How can I slice refrigerator cookies and keep their nice round shape.—G.W., Fairport, New York

Use dental floss! Slide a piece (about 1 foot long) under the roll of dough, crisscross the ends above the dough and pull until you've cut through the dough. This also works well with yeast cinnamon rolls that are rolled and sliced. I've used floss to cut jelly rolls and cakes into layers, too.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:42 pm

Italian Seasoning

Some recipes call for Italian seasoning. I have not been able to find it. Can you help me? —E.G., Agawam, Massachusetts

Italian seasoning can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores in the states. A basic blend might contain marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil. If your grocery store does not carry Italian seasoning, mix up your own. If you don't have all the ingredients on your spice shelf, you can blend just a few of them with good results. Try substituting 1/4 teaspoon each of basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano for each teaspoon of Italian seasoning called for in a recipe.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:44 pm

Simple Sifting

I have a recipe for angel food cake that is out of this world. However, it calls for sifting the cake flour and sugar 8 to 10 times—a time-consuming and messy process. Is it possible to do this in a blender or food processor? —P.S. Monrovia, Indiana

I do not recommend using a food processor or blender to sift ingredients. Sifting is important for angel food cakes because it separates and aerates the flour, allowing it to mix more evenly with the liquid ingredients. If you don't own a sifter, use a fine sieve instead. Gently tap the edge of the sieve to sift the flour into a bowl.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:46 pm

Golden Roast

When I roast a chicken or turkey, the skin always ends up looking pale. How can I get a nice golden-brown color? —H.H., San Jose, California

First, choose a shallow roasting pan, about 2-1/2 inches deep. Pans that are too deep can interfere with browning. Placing the bird on a roasting rack in the pan will help keep the skin crisp and prevent it from sticking. Before roasting, brush the turkey or chicken with oil or butter. This will keep the skin from drying out and enhance that pretty golden color. Roast according to recipe directions.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:48 pm

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

I have a wonderful recipe for stuffed cabbage leaves. How do I peel the leaves from the head without ripping them into pieces? My husband loves this dish, but it always seems to fall apart when I serve it. —R.D., Atlanta, Georgia

To easily remove leaves from cabbage for stuffing, core the cabbage, then immerse the whole head in boiling water until the outer leaves begin to loosen. Remove cabbage from the water and carefully peel away as many outer leaves as will come off easily. If you need more leaves, place the cabbage back in simmering water for a minute or two. Some cabbage leaves have a thick rib, which keeps them from lying flat and being easily rolled up. In that case, trim the end of the leaf (and the thick end of the rib) so you can more easily roll up the leaf with the stuffing.

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:49 pm

Tempered Chocolate

A few days after I make chocolate candy, little white spots appear on the top. I'm embarrassed to set it out for company. Why does this happen? —C.D., Little Chute, Wisconsin

While those little white spots are not attractive, the good news is that the candy is still safe to eat. In the future, when making chocolate candies, refrigerate them for about 10 minutes to set the chocolate—this will help keep the high gloss and firm texture you want. Then store the sweets in a cool dry place. Chocolate that comes in contact with moisture or becomes too cold during storage can develop the tiny white or gray sugar crystals you noticed. And, when candy is stored at temperatures in the upper 70s and higher, white streaks or dots may develop on the surface of the chocolate. To prevent this, chocolate that contains cocoa butter must be tempered. Tempering is the process of carefully melting and re-cooling chocolate, which allows the chocolate to stay glossy and firm. Without tempering, the chocolate can develop a grainy dull blotchy-gray surface.


Last edited by justmecookin on Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Questions and Answers

Post  justmecookin on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:58 pm

Healthy Choice

I know olive oil is a healthier choice than corn, soybean and other vegetable oils, but can I use it in cake mixes and other baked goods that call for vegetable oil? —C.I., Grants Pass, Oregon

While olive oil is a healthy choice to use for cooking, not all olive oils are the best choice for baking. Extra virgin and virgin olive oils are prized for their intense olive flavor and are, therefore, not the best choice to use in baking. Olive oils labeled "pure" and "light" go through a fine filtration process that makes them lighter in both color and flavor. They are more suitable for baking. However, for baked goods with a delicate flavor, I recommend that you stick with a neutral-flavored oil such as canola or soybean oil.

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