Foodie Q&A

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Q: Can baking soda be substituted for baking powder? Natalie, CT

A: These two baking staples are both leavening agents but they work differently so they are not interchangeable. Baking soda is required i recipes that have an acidic ingredient such as chocolate or sour cream, and it reacts to the acid, causing the the batter or dough to rise yielding fluffy cakes or muffins. Baking powder consists of baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch. It is used in recipes without an acidic ingredient because it already contains an acid (the cream of tartar) that will help the batter rise and produce that fluffy consistency.

Q: Do you know of a sweet recipe using filo dough for hamantashen? Dale
A: The LA Times printed a nice Filo Hamentaschen a few years ago. Click here for the recipe.

Q: How do I store tomatoes? They seem to so little flavor so fast.
A:  Good quality tomatoes are easy to find all year round. To
keep them tasting their best, don’t refrigerate them unless they’re about to spoil Refrigeration shuts down flavor-producing enzyme activity and causes a mealy texture. To store a sliced tomato, cover the cut side with plastic wrap, pulling it taut over the cut side and wrapping loosely around the uncut part. Place the tomato cut side down on a small plate. It will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Q: I was wondering what can i use pickled ginger for besides for with sushi (or even a deconstructed sushi type salad). any ideas or recipes?
A:   We love pickled ginger too! Try it in Cucumber, Jicama, Pickled Ginger Salad, Tuna Skewers with Wasabi Mayonaise, and Pickled Ginger Baked Salmon.

Q: I seem to overcook both chicken and meat on the barbeque, do you have any general rules about how long to cook each type of meat? Anita, MI
A: Barbeque cooking can be tricking if you do not know the internal temperature of the barbeque and of your food. I recommend using a meat thermometer, like the thermapen and then this guide for perfect grilling. It will make all your grilling items cooked perfectly

Q: I love making fruit pies but my pies tend to come out very runny making all the effort feel not worth it. Why is the center so runny when the pictures look like they are set? Alyson, IL
A: One way to ensure your filling is thick enough is to pre-cook some of the fruit (I do this with crumbles too).  Take 1/4 of the fruit-sugar-starch mixture and bring it to a boil.  Simmer the filling for at least one minute for cornstarch or tapioca recipes (I recommend these) and three minutes for flour thickened pies.  Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining raw fruit.  This give you a thicker filling that still contains chunks of uncooked fruit for texture. Also, make sure the pie has cooled completely before you slice it. The filling needs to set.  You can rewarm the pie for hot apple or warmed cobblers.

Q: What is the foam that comes to the top of the water when you  make chicken soup? Alana, Monsey, NY
A: That unattractive substance is made up of soluble proteins that escape from the meat during cooking.  It’s harmless but you’ll want to skim it off to get a clear stock.  Follow these steps:

1. Start the stock with cold water.  Heat the water slowly and then simmer it so it’s bubbling in slow motion, one bubble at a time. If you let it come to a rolling boil the foam will reincorporate into the soup.

2. Do not fully cover the pot. This way the foamy solids will dry out and gravitate toward the cooler side making them easier to scoop out.
3. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to periodically skim off the foam and discard.

Q: I love making latkes but the grease smells up my whole house and makes everything so dirty. How do I get the smell out of the house and the grease off of everything? Leora, Cedarhurst
A: GKC searched and tested lots of smell and grease reducing options.  First, make sure to use a splatter mat when making latkes, it saves your clothing and your cooktop from excess grease and cleanup time.  Second, to control odor of fried food in the house, keep a dish of undiluted white vinegar next to the skillet, either on the counter or on the stove next to it and that will take care of the smell of grease.  Use your exhaust fan too.  If the cabinets get greasy, use Avon Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil.  It actually pulls the grease right up, adds luster on the cupboards and makes the kitchen smell great.  Much thanks Chana, from Brooklyn for that suggestion.

8 thoughts on “Foodie Q&A

  1. Hi. Trying to make the Miso Soup but am having a hard time finding Miso Paste. Any suggestions on where it might be available?
    Thank you.

    • Miso is paste is available at Whole foods markets, Fairway market, and at Gourmet Glatt in Cedarhurst. Its a national brand so you should be able to find it in regular markets.

  2. Hi,
    I tried making your crusty rye bread but the brd flopped a bit when I slashed the top, Is it necessary to slash the top in your recipe of the crusty rye bread? Thanks

    • Be careful about putting pressure on rising bread, that can certainly deflate it. I don’t make those marks on any yeasted bread. I only mark them as the cook if steam needs to escape.

  3. Hi, I am looking to buy a manual food chopper (like for Israeli salad) but i’m overwhelmed by the choices. I am debating between the Alligator, the Vidalia Chop Wizard, and the Progressive Fruit &Vegetable chopper. I also saw the progressive Onion chopper which is much cheaper but thought that it is probably just good for chopping onions, right?

    Which one do you recommend in terms of ease of use and cleaning?

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