Classic Cooking Answers`& Advice

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

Classic Cooking Answers and Advice

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Questions & Answers

When a recipe calls for an ingredient in ounces, does one assume that is a weight measurement or a volume measurement? Sometimes the weight/vol in ounces is about the same, but sometimes not close at all. I've always wondered. ???

a good rule of thumb would be that oz. in liquids means vol, and oz. in non-liquids is wt. But I can't believe that many domestic cooks keep kitchen scales handy.

Darius, your dry cups are exact measurements to the top--so you can level off with a blade and not have to diddle around lining the top up with a line on a liquid measuring cup (like the Pyrex ones). If you used them for liquids, your liquids would have to be filled to the very top and would be spill-able. I keep a set of both, for that reason.

I have a recipe that calls for 6 oz. choc chips. Out of curiosity, I put a 6-oz. pkg of chips in a measuring cup, and there was a lot more than 6 oz. by vol, so in this case I assume the recipe meant 6 oz. by wt., especially since they usually come in 6 oz., pkg. and I know that ounces on packaging means weight. I'll need to remember that since I usually keep choc chips and such in a canister and not in the original pkg.

On the other hand, dairy products, such as sour cream, measure exactly by vol. what the pkg. shows--an 8 oz. container is 8 oz. by vol.--dunno about the weight, maybe they are the same in this instance. But for some ingredients I just have to guess what they mean.
Weighing flour helps to account for the affect of humidity

Conversion Tables (VGMKY)

Measurement Equivalents
1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
1/16 cup (c) = 1 tablespoon
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons
1/6 cup = 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup = 6 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons
1 cup = 48 teaspoons
1 cup= 16 tablespoons
8 fluid ounces (fl oz) = 1 cup
1 pint (pt) = 2 cups
1 quart (qt) = 2 pints
4 cups = 1 quart
1 gallon (gal) = 4 quarts
16 ounces (oz) = 1 pound (lb)
1 milliliter (ml) = 1 cubic centimeter (cc)
1 inch (in) = 2.54 centimeters (cm)


From MaVie:
Here is a website that also addresses substitutions:

For: 1 Tbsp fresh herb
Use: 1/3 to 1/2 tsp dried herb (of the same kind)

For: 1 clove garlic
Use: 1/8 tsp garlic powder

For: 1 egg in baking
Use: 1 tsp cornstarch plus 1/4 cup water

For: 1 whole egg
Use: 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp water

For: 1 cup whole fresh milk
Use: 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water, or 1/3 cup dry milk plus 1 cup water

For: 1 cup buttermilk
Use: 1 cup plain yogurt, or 1 cup sour milk (4 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make 1 cup -- let sit for five minutes before using)

For: 1 cup sour cream (in baking)
Use: 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 3 Tbsp butter

For: 1 cup sour cream (in salad dressings, casseroles)
Use: 1 cup plain yogurt or 3/4 cup sour milk plus 1/3 cup butter

For: 1 cup cream
Use: 1/3 cup butter plus 3/4 cup milk

For: 1 cup corn syrup
Use: 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup water

For: 1 cup brown sugar
Use: 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp molasses

For: 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Use: 1 cup granulated sugar, packed

For: 1 cup margarine or butter (in baking or cooking)
Use: 1 cup hard shortening or 7/8 cup vegetable oil

For: 1 square unsweetened chocolate
Use: 3 Tbsp cocoa plus 1 Tbsp oil

For: 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
Use: 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 4 tsp sugar

For: 3/4 cup cracker crumbs
Use: 1 cup bread crumbs

For: 1 cup cake flour, sifted
Use: 7/8 cup all purpose flour, sifted (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp)

For: 1 tsp baking powder
Use: 1/3 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tarter, or 1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/3 cup sour milk

For: 1 Tbsp cornstarch for thickening
Use: 2 Tbsp flour

For: 1 Tbsp flour for thickening
Use: 1 1/2 tsp corn flour, arrowroot, potato flour, or rice flour; or 2 tsp tapioca

For: 2 Tbsp tapioca for thickening
Use: 3 Tbsp flour

Baking Powder

Baking Powder Test

Place I t. baking powder in a cup.
Add 1/3 c. hot tap water.
Fine to use if active bubbling occurs.
A dear-departed friend gave me the recipe for making your own baking powder if you need it in a pinch: 3 parts cream of tartar and 1 part baking soda. I've used it a few times when I noticed my baking powder was outdated, works fine.
A dear-departed friend gave me the recipe for making your own baking powder if you need it in a pinch: 3 parts cream of tartar and 1 part baking soda. I've used it a few times when I noticed my baking powder was outdated, works fine.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda Test

Place 1/4 t. baking soda in a cup.
Add 2 t. vinegar.
Fine to use if active bubbling occurs.

Barbeque - Kansas City

I have done mass quantities of ribs by putting them in a very slow oven, 200 degrees, for as long as it take to bake off the fat and make the meat fork tender. You can up the heat to 350 for the last half hour to brown them, drain, add your bbq sauce and heat them up. Here's my very favorite bbq sauce, lifted from the Observer in 1976.

Two cloves of fresh garlic crushed
one onion minced fine (I use the food processor)
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 TBSP Horseradish
1 1/2 C. water
1/4 C. vinegar
1/4 C. sugar (I've used 1/2 cup jam in a pinch)
2 tsp. salt
1 TBSP Lemon juice
1/4 C. butter
1 C. catsup
3 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
Red Chili Pepper to taste 1/2 tsp is plenty, unless you like it HOT

Simmer uncovered 45 to 60 minutes, stir as needed

Good on ribs, chicken, keeps well, can be frozen.
Don't put it on the ribs too early, the sugar will cause it to burn.

This was referenced as being as close to Bryant's, in Kansas City , as you can get.

Barbeque with Splenda

This tasty Memphis-style barbecue sauce is one of the lowest carb in the book, and packs a serious mustard note. Enjoy!

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Splenda

Just measure everything into a non-reactive saucepan, whisk it together, bring it to a simmer, and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. That's it!
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Beans - effects . . . .

"put a whole potato in baked beans to take the "gas" out of them."
The Mexican herb Epazote takes the gas from beans. I have personally tried it. and it works; use sparingly though.

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The thought of flatulence has caused many to hesitate from eating beans and many who have eaten them suffer discomfort. Help is on the way!

There are three recommended natural ways to reduce the problem: 1) rinse after overnight soaking, then parboil for 5 minutes and rinse again; 2) cook the beans with a few caraway seeds; and 3) eating beans more often allows the system to become better able to handle them.

You may find that as you add more grains and beans to your diet, you have more intestinal gas. The good news is, your body will eventually adjust (as Dr. Ornish says "It will pass...") Until then, try this: Try putting a couple of slices of fresh ginger or a couple of teaspoons of powdered ginger in with the beans when they are cooking. It adds no taste, and removes the gas problem.

Researchers have evidently developed a gasless bean. There are also two products on the market, one a liquid whose maker claims a few drops does away with flatulence, the other a small charcoal pill taken with the meal. Those who have used them guarantee they alleviate the problem completely. The pills are available at drug stores.

When next encountering the mighty bean try one or all of these recommendations.


Tender Beef
When you boil beef, make sure to add about a tablespoon or more of wine, white, or cider vinegar to the water to soften fibers and make it tender.


Are my little cylinder rolls of biscotti supposed to be cracked-looking? They held together fine, but are they supposed to have a cracked appearance?
I don't let biscotti get too done (barely starting to brown) before I bring it out and cool, then slice and bake until lightly browned.
I usually cook the first loaves (before slicing) about 20 minutes or so.
I found the combination of orange with espresso chocolate chips makes outstanding biscotti. We use orange zest and a tad of orange extract in the dough. Dark chocolate chips would be a good combination with the orange if you prefer it to the espresso choc chips.

brioche n.

A soft, light-textured bread made from eggs, butter, flour, and yeast and formed into a roll or a bun.

Bread Baking

My bread is almost ready to throw in the Oven (Foccacia), the onion/garlic that I caramelized in my iron skillet tastes divine (and smells heavenly too) , do I add the onion/garlic on top with unsalted butter OR do I add the onion/garlic on top with EV olive oil?
a restaurant in Washington DC, called Vidalias, serves a focaccia like this as its house bread. They have butter on the focaccia top and those delicious caramelized vidalia onions all over it. Mmmm. That was the best part of that night's dinner!

Broccoli Casserole

preheat oven to 425 degrees
position rack in the upper third of the oven.
1/2 cup Ritz crackers crushed and toasted
1/2 cup Ritz crackers crushed
2 pounds broccoli florets and stalks cut into pieces, boiled
Velveeta cheese shredded

butter a two quart baking dish
sprinkle the dish with the 1/2 cup crushed toasted Ritz crackers
drain the broccoli and add it to the dish. gently fold in the shredded Velveeta cheese
spread evenly in the baking dish and cover the top with 2 tbs butter, softened and cut into small pieces.
top with the remaining 1/2 cup of the crushed Ritz crackers

bake until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes


About broth. I ate a lot of chicken and learned years ago from Weight Watchers to save the broth. Whether it is broiled, fried, or roasted, I save all the bones and broth in the bottom of the roasting pan (I always add water to the bottom of the pan to prevent smoking and keep the flesh moist) and boil them up together and save the broth. After it cools and I refrigerate it, later I skim off the fat and voilà! it's good for sauces, cooking veggies, and replacing more fatty liquids.

I also save broth from beef, even if I just fry hamburgers, and degrease it too. Here's the problem: now that chickens are fed even more hormones and antibiotics so that they are large enough for the market in little more than 1/2 the time it takes to grow them to maturity, I am beginning to question this old tactic.
I remember when a big frying chicken was 3 pounds, now they run to nearly 5 pounds. And they have big blobs of fat in all kinds of places where they never had them before.

Flavor Booster
You can really perk up a can of soup, gravy or sauce with just a teaspoon of wine vinegar. It adds flavor and tastes fresher.

Butter . . . .
This butter keeper: [[email protected]]
There has been some discussion about leaving butter out, but I don't see where anyone has made the distinction between salted and unsalted butter. Do not leave UNSALTED butter out if you're not gonna use it within a week. It deteriorates rapidly. SALTED butter will keep much, much longer, and there's really no need to refrigerate it. It's the salt that preserves it.
I do buy only UNsalted butter. Because it spoils easier it has to arrive at the market fresher than the salted butter. There is no way to gage how long that salted butter has been around. I have read that many producers of unsalted butter wrap the cubes in foil covered paper rather than the parchment type stuff to keep it fresher. However, I rarely find butter packaged that way here. But when I buy the butter, I could wrap them myself.

When I was in Ca I went to Trader Joe's and purchased some Plugra European butter which I have had before and like very much. I also purchased some Devon cream butter for the first time. It will be interesting to see how it tastes. It is supposed to be creamier. Also higher fat content because there is less water in it.

The best butter I have ever had was made here in Iowa at a little place called the Lytton Creamery. I suspect it was raw butter as years later I was able to get raw butter through Alta Dena in CA and it tasted the same. Unfortunately, Alta Dena is no longer allowed to sell raw milk or raw butter.
I used to get fresh milk form a farmer near me. It had a LOT of cream at the top. So I skimmed some off, but still left enough to qualify as "whole milk" by government standards. I froze what I skimmed off until I had enough to churn. It was an experiment to see if I could freeze and later use it for churning.
I poured it into the churn and let it ripen for about 3 days. When it was time to churn, I didn't have a dairy thermometer but found if it felt slightly cool to my fingers, it was ready. If it's too warm, the butter will be impossible to get out with a strainer and if it's too cold, it won't separate into butter and buttermilk.


Carrots, Baked And Candied Recipe
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Title: Candied Carrots
Yield: 4 servings

4 Carrots (sliced)
T's Butter or margarine
1 ts Salt
1/2 c Lo-cal cream soda
2 TB Brown sugar

Place sliced carrots in saucepan and cover with water; add salt. Cook until crisp-tender; drain. Place in baking dish. Sprinkle carrots with brown sugar replacement; dot with butter; add cream soda (or any white soda). Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Turn carrots gently 2 or 3 times during baking. 1 serving = 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat calories = 47
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Here is the link to several recipes, perhaps you will find what you are looking for there, Good luck. :)

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Keeping Cheese Fresh
To keep cheese fresh and moist, wrap it in a cloth dampened in white vinegar and put it into an air-tight wrapping or container.


Free Range . . . . .
Our definition of free-range is that they are not in a confinement situation, at all. They are free to range the farm.


Turning broths green . . . .

Fresh cilantro has a very distinctive (and fabulous) taste and I don't really find coriander very similar to it. I wouldn't substitute it, personally.

When do you add the cilantro? I'd try adding it as a garnish or at the very end of cooking. I think it tastes best more "raw" as opposed to thoroughly cooked and adding it at the end may keep it's color from "bleeding"
You may even try soaking your cilantro for a bit before using.
If you find the cilantro to taste a bit soapy, add a little fresh mint also.


After you've finished using the blender, clean it by filling the container 3/4 full with hot water, add a dollop of dish washing liquid, run it on medium speed about 15 seconds, rinse well and air dry.
(Yuska) 3-11-05

Cocktail Sausages in BBQ sauce
1 cup Ketchup
1 cup Grape Jelly
(if it's too sweet, add a little lemon juice)


as above...just pick a jar of your favorite BBQ sauce.

I also use this with the Armour's frozen meatballs(not the ones with cheese)....Yummy.
try the grape jelly with a can of chili sauce. it comes out sweet and sour. have used it many times when i make sweet and sour meatballs

Cookie Baking

Mine always wrinkled too until I bought a Silpat (silicone) pad, got a heavy-bottomed cookie sheet, and a pizza stone for the oven on which I place the cookie sheet. The rectangular pizza stone stays in the oven and helps other baked goods as well, even Lean Cuisine.
I like to use parchment paper when I bake cookies. Chocolate chip cookies will wrinkle. You may be trying to take them off your cookie sheet too soon. Let them set for a few minutes before removing. You shouldn't have to spray Pam or grease your pan and definitely won't with parchment paper, I think you can buy it at the grocery store now.
They now have parchment paper that is coated with silicone (like the material a silpat is made of) and that works as well as regular parchment paper. Misty is right; when removed from the oven the cookies need to sit a bit on the pan to finish setting up; then they will not wrinkle.

I never put anything directly on my cookie sheets; either line them with foil (as in roasting bell peppers) or parchment paper for cookies, scones etc.

Makes clean up easier and protects the cookie sheets.

Cookie Sheets

Warping . . . . .
Get one of the stainless steel ones that have heavy duty sides. I know that Sam's Club sells them and I also bought some from
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Since I started using my oven stone, everything bakes more evenly

Cookware Favorites . . . .

Darius ~ Cast iron, 10-12", old but not necessarily antique. stainless steel sauté pan, about the same size, copper bottom, layers steel in sides as well as bottom.

MistyMeadows ~ I have a set of pans that I bought 18 years ago. They cost a fortune and are made by West Bend. They have what's called the Multi-Core bottoms and are for waterless cooking, although I've just used them as any other pan. They have the vent in the lid that opens and closes. They are stainless steel and I love them. They are heavy, but are very good pans and you'd never believe how old they are to look at them.

Eggs . . . .

If your eggs float to the top, they are getting old. The reason is that there is an air pocket in your egg and as it gets older, the air pocket gets larger, thus causing it to float. In KY, we can sell eggs for 45 after their processed date. The shelf life is 90 days after process date. So even if you buy them on the last day, you can still keep them a month and a half. I think people throw eggs away they've had in their refrigerator for a month, because they think they are old. They are still good. Just check the date.

And you can check the process date at the end of each there is a code number printed and the first 3 numbers are the day of the year it was processed. For instance, if processed on January 30, the number would read 030; if they were processed on April 18, the number would be 108 for it being the 108 day of the year (not in a leap year) :) You can figure 90 days from that date that your eggs are good until. (those eggs would be good from April 18 to July 16) *****refrigerated of course*****
To make a recipe safe that specifies using eggs that aren't cooked, heat the eggs in a liquid from the recipe over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 °F. Then combine it with the other ingredients and complete the recipe.


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I'm not sure the hard-boiled gadget they advertise on TV would work for really fresh eggs.
I put salt in the water when I cook my eggs, for hard-boiled, I cook for 8 minutes once the water starts boiling with eggs in there. Then I run cold water over the eggs and keep them in the water while I'm peeling. Also, I tap the 'pointed' end of the egg to get started and then crack (gently) all around the shells. I hope this works for you. :)
if you put your carton of eggs in the refrig on its side so the eggs are also laying on their side, when you boil them the yolk will always be centered. Then, when you make deviled eggs you don't have all the whites at one end and the yolks at the other. It really works!!
When boiling eggs, I always put apple cider vinegar in the water (my favorite vinegar) along with some whole cloves. It makes the house smell good when they're boiling, and it also tints the egg shell so you can tell which ones have been boiled. I put them back into the carton until I get ready to use them,
Re fresh eggs... on the first batch I added salt but regardless of what I tried I could not peel those things... the shell was just TOO thick. On the next batch I added vinegar and went through the same cold water bath, etc. They peeled very easily.... these are brown eggs and it appeared the vinegar cause part of the shell to dissolve making them easier to peel.
DH just cut the eggs in half with a knife and scooped it out with a teaspoon.
Unless I was making deviled eggs where they need to be "pretty" I think Judy's husband has the right idea!
just tried the eggs and they taste like deviled eggs without the work.

Pickled Eggs
Is it OK to pickle eggs in the pickle juice left over from pickled green beens and asparagus?
I have a quart jar half full of each and want to do some eggs seems to me the easy way is just fill the jars back up with eggs and top off with a bit of fresh vinegar and maybe a couple garlics and maybe a bit of hot pepper.
. . . .even though I increased the liquid with some new vinegar it was not strong enough.

Pickled Eggs

1 dozen eggs, hard cooked and peeled
2 cups vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole bay leaves for garnish in the jar
pinch of peppercorns, for garnish in the jar
2 to 3 whole red chili peppers for garnish in the jar.

Put eggs and whole spices, chilies and bay leaves in a scalded quart jar with a tight fitting lid. Bring vinegar, salt, sugar and spices to a simmer in a nonreactive saucepan and pour over the eggs. Seal and refrigerate. They will be ready to eat in 3 days and will keep for two months in the refrigerator.
. . . . . .pickling recipes that call for distilled vinegar some wine vinegar or apple vinegar ~ what's the difference?
taste :) Be sure to check the labels on any vinegar if you are canning. They must be at least 5%. some distilled are 4% and these are not recommended. :)
Level of acidity

Poaching Eggs

Add a teaspoon of white or cider vinegar to the water in which you are poaching eggs. The whites stay better formed.

Raw Eggs

In Hollandaise Sauce and Health food milkshakes there is an acid component.

. . . .acid mitigates most of the effect of raw eggs.
According to Alton Brown on The Food Network and his new book "I'm just here for more food":
An unrefrigerated egg ages a week in a day; keep eggs refrigerated.
The rate at which an egg goes downhill has more to do with handling than time.
The warmer it is, the faster the membranes that separate the different parts of the egg deteriorate. Properly stashed in their carton in the back of the fridge, eggs will keep an amazingly long time.

Grade AA grade eggs will drop to Grade A eggs in about a week but won't descend to Grade B for about six weeks. After that they're still perfectly edible but I would not do much more than scramble them.

Substitutes for Eggs (VGMKY)

Ener-G Egg Replacer - follow directions on box.
2 Tbsp corn starch = 1 egg
2 Tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
2 Tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
1 heaping Tbsp soy powder + 2 Tbsp water = 1 egg
1 Tbsp soy milk powder + 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbs water = 1 egg.
1 Tbsp flax seeds + 1 cup water = 1 egg. Blend seeds and water for 1 to 2 minutes
until desired consistency.
1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.

Substitutes - Homemade egg (VGMKY)

Homemade egg substitutes are less expensive and just as satisfactory. They also have few calories. Here's a low cholesterol egg substitute recipe:

1 tablespoon of nonfat dry milk powder
2 egg whites from large eggs
4 drops of yellow food color

Sprinkle powdered milk over egg whites, then beat them with fork until smooth. Add food color, and beat until blended. This makes one-fourth cup, which is equal to 1 large egg. If you use this homemade substitute for scrambled eggs, cook it in vegetable oil or margarine so the eggs won't be too dry.

"fishy" Salmon can be saved by soaking for 24 hours in milk before cooking sometimes but not if decomp has set in.
I used to deliver trout to restaurants. I always instructed the chefs to put them in a plastic tub with holes in the bottom and then set that in another plastic holes with no holes. This allowed the ice on top to drain through the fish, and the water, slime and a little blood would drain through to the bottom. One chef, even though the trout were still fresh after 3 days with no problem, would take them out and wash them all in cooking wine and them put them back in. It kept them, if treated these ways, fresh, until I got there the next week.
Bacteria moves in fish even though very slowly. At 15 degrees, most home deep freezers are poor devices to keep fish in for long periods of time. When you freeze fish in one, try not do a bunch at the same time and keep it out in the open till it is frozen for best results.

Commercially fish is frozen at -40 to get it done in a hurry. This also produces a better product because the cells don't distort and tear turning the fish less solid because it freezes so fast the cells don't get a chance to expand and distort . This adds months of shelf life to the fish. Commercial fishers some times keep fish on their boats over a week and they are still a fine product they do this by cleaning them well and belly packing them with ice and taking them out of that ice and rinsing them and rinsing them.Most fish held in cold storages for long periods of time is glazed in water . That is taking frozen fish and dipping it into really cold water with a bit of sugar for a sticker and letting an ice skin build up on the fish. You can do this at home but it is a real pain . Vacuum packing is a better way to go
Yes, fish will stay fresh for a week. The nice thing about trout, usually sold with the head on, is you can tell by the eyes. If the eyes are clear, the fish is fresh. If it is a little cloudy, it's iffy. If it's very cloudy and sunk in, don't even think about eating it.
The commercial freezing is way outta my area of expertise. But I keep my home freezer on 0 and keep a thermometer in it. I have had no problems with my frozen fish.

Whiter Fish
Try soaking fish in vinegar and water before cooking. You’ll get a whiter, less “fishy” tasting fish. Use 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water. Let fish fillets soak in it for 20 minutes before cooking.
We do this with catfish all the time; pulls the oil out and makes it taste less like cod liver oil. Will not order catfish in a restaurant because I can taste the difference.


. . . . Milk products don't freeze as well



1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. water
1 (16 oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
1/2 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Dash salt
1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a small saucepan heat together butter and water just to boiling, stirring to melt butter. Sift together powdered sugar, dry milk powder, cocoa powder and salt in large mixing bowl. (If powdered sugar seems lumpy, sift again.) Add melted butter mixture. Stir until well blended. Stir in chopped nuts. Turn into buttered 8x8x2-inch pan. Chill several hours. Cut into squares. Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

Nut And Cocoa Fudge Recipe

2 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons powdered cocoa
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped nuts

Boil sugar, butter and milk for a few minutes. Pour over cocoa and mix thoroughly. Put back on fire and boil to 248 degrees F. Add vanilla, pour into a bowl and beat until creamy. Turn into a buttered or oiled shallow tin, sprinkle with the nuts, and mark in squares. Cut when a little cooler.
if you don't have baking squares you can substitute like this:

3 tablespoons cocoa and 1 tablespoon of fat (butter, shortening) per square.
I have made fudge and brownies using this substitute and it works out well. ;)
Here's a fudge recipe from the Kraft site that might work:

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DON'T USE OIL. Use butter, margarine, or shortening (butter preferably). Your recipe won't come out right.

Also remember that there are 16 tablespoons to a cup, so for 36 tablespoons, you need 2 1/4 cups of cocoa and 3/4 cup of shortening or butter) Yes, it seems like a lot, but it will work out fine, make sure you mix/melt the shortening/cocoa when it tells you to melt your squares.

Garlic ~ Fresh garlic tips . . . . .

When using fresh garlic, cut off the root end to facilitate easy peeling of garlic.

To chop garlic fine, spread barely a teaspoon of salt on chopping board. Place garlic in center of salt and whack the garlic with knife. Hold the tip of the knife with your left hand and chop the garlic over the salt until garlic is finely chopped. the salt absorbs all the garlic oil, not the chopping board.

....make your own chopped garlic

Zap a bunch of garlic cloves...remove outer shell...chop them fine in a food processor, put them in a small jar (I love the baby food type jars), add enough Olive Oil to in refrigerator. Use as needed when recipe calls for chopped garlic

When you have to peel garlic....put the cloves in the microwave and zap them for 10 to 15 seconds...depending on the number of cloves...this way they will pop out of their shell with a light squeeze.
(Roadrunner) 3-11-05

Take a clove, smash it with the side of a heavy knife, pull the skin away (easy) and then chop it. You have only used one knife and a bread board, which always makes everything taste wonderful with garlic!!!

Firmer Gelatins
Add a teaspoon of white vinegar to any gelatin recipe in hot summer months to keep molded salads and desserts firm.

Grater ~Microplane . . .

[[email protected]] It sure is a dandy tool for grating garlic, ginger, rinds of citruses. It finely grates hard cheeses too, without too much effort.
I LOVE my microplane grater! Couldn't cook without and wonder how i lived without it all those many years.


Tastier Boiled Ham
Add a little white, cider or wine vinegar to the water in which you boil ham. It will draw out some of the salty taste and improve the flavor.

Country Ham

are you referring to a "country" ham? If so, Clifty Farms (TN) sells by mailorder: [[email protected]] as does Smithfield (VA): [[email protected]]

And many others - a Google search for "country ham" will turn up many other sources.
Harper Hams always win each year at the KY State Fair, and they may have mail order as well.

A country ham is one that hangs and is well salted and smoked, etc. You just slice off what you need.
tough and salty, not for me. Give me a Virginia sugar-cured ham any day.
I'm not terribly fond of a country ham either, but I do love country ham and biscuit sandwiches :) Yes, tough and salty. It seems to me Ernie, that it takes like 3 weeks to sugar cure a ham, and months to salt cure. I've never done it, but it seems like its been that long at the butchers.
My Grandmother always soaked the country ham in buttermilk before frying. Don't know how much or how long. For me the best part of country ham for breakfast was the red eye gravy and cats head biscuits! She always raised her gravy with coffee.
Well, here is a bit of a story and a recipe and how to make good biscuits, if anyone is interested. Yes, it is for cathead biscuits :) I've never tried it, just looked it up for y'all. Happy Day, Kathy

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Ever made biscuits with bacon drippings? Really tasty. Leave out any salt. And believe me, it's no worse for you than shortening or margarine.
Use bacon drippings for making popcorn - instead of oil - YUMMY!

Jams/Jellies with Reduced Sugar

I use a pectin called Pomona's Universal Pectin.
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You can adjust the sugar any way you choose, even no sugar. It works by the addition of calcium water, made up from a packet in each box. Each box, by the way, will make 3-4 runs of jam/jelly and costs just 50¢ or so more than a single pkt, of sure-jell that makes just one run.
"Lemon juice provides .an acid component to help make things jell"


cut your lettuce with a plastic will keep much longer for you.

Don't wash, cut, chop, etc. until you are ready to use it. I only "cut" lettuce with a knife if I am going to use it right away, otherwise if it is for a dinner (a few hours away), I rip it. You might try putting your lettuce on some paper towels in the Tupperware container to absorb some of the moisture from washing it

If you make a weak lemon to water solution, you can wash the lettuce in it and it will not turn brown so quickly. cutting does cause it to brown, so I only do that if I'm going to eat it right away. Fruit Fresh will stop it from turning brown, but check out the ingredients. I think it has MSG in it and many people are allergic to MSG.

We put nothing on the lettuce and it keeps well in the frige for several days. We take the head apart from the outside in leaf by leaf and wash each leaf as we go and bag in a ziploc bag then take out what we want and tear or cut at that time usually trimming the end where it was attached to the stem. Works for us and no bugs I don't use spray or powders.

Keep the fridge at 38 degrees. it seems to be the ideal temperature for keeping everything fresh.

The health department here insists on 38 deg. or less in commercial kitchens

When I have a whole lot of lettuce (as on holiday time - or in the Summer) I use my FoodSaver plastic container. Sometimes I use a partial vacuum, and sometimes I just put it into the container without, depending on how quickly the lettuce will be used up. After washing the lettuce I spin it to get all of the water off, as best as I can. Then put crumpled white paper toweling into the container with the lettuce. Even when I don't vacuum...the FoodSaver container lids have a really good gasket around the edge of the lid. My lettuce remains crisp and fresh for a long, long time in the fridge! Don't even need to trim it.

Arugula has a hot flavor, but when young has a more nutty flavor

Marinades . . . .

Marinades are an easy way to prepare tasty, delicious foods, from meats to fruits and vegetables. They tenderize tough cuts of meat, act as a preservative, add flavor, and cut calories and fat if used as a substitute for rich sauces. For this column, I will concentrate on liquid marinades that can be quickly made using commercial products.

Liquid marinades contain an acid, such as vinegar or fruit juice, and an oil, with herbs, spices and other ingredients for additional flavor. The combination of acid and oil serves two purposes when used with meats, poultry, or fish. The acid breaks down connective tissues which tenderizes, while the oil keeps food moist and spreads flavor throughout the dish.

There are two rules that always apply when marinating.

First, because the high acid content can cause reactions with certain materials, use glass, stainless steel, plastic, or enamel bowls or containers--NEVER use aluminum!

Second, use a container that will hold the food in a single layer (a self-sealing plastic bag is perfect). Allow ½ cup of marinade per pound of meat or other food, as the liquid only needs to come halfway up--drowning the food is not necessary. If marinating meats or fish for long periods of time, season them in the refrigerator, then bring the food to room temperature before cooking.

Select a marinade that will enhance but not overpower the food. For a stronger flavor, use cooked marinades and/or longer marinate times. Always cool a cooked marinade before using it, and remember to prepare any marinade long enough ahead of time to allow the flavors to blend. For a mild flavor you need marinate only 30 minutes, while for a stronger one, marinate up to
24 hours in the refrigerator. Small cubes or thin pieces of meat require only 4 hours, and fish either needs 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature, or no more than 2 hours in the refrigerator. Never marinate for longer than 24 hours, or the food texture can turn to mush.

Before cooking, remove the food from the marinade, drain, and reserve the liquid if you want to baste with it. Since marinades usually don't contain sugar or tomato sauce that burn easily, they can be used as a basting sauce all during cooking. If you are going to serve it as a side dish, be sure to cook the sauce before serving.

A Tenderizing Marinade
Vinegar is a fine tenderizer for tough meats or game. Make a marinade in the proportion of one-half cup of wine, white, or cider vinegar to a cup of liquid bouillon.


Fluffier Meringue
For a really fluffy meringue, add 1/4-teaspoon of white vinegar to 3 egg whites.

Milk . . . . .

Long-Life Milk

Is long-life milk safe for children? Is it as nutritious as regular milk?
by Linda Somers

Yes, to both questions. Long-life milk (also known as ultrahigh-temperature- processing, or UHT, milk) does not need to be refrigerated before it is opened and has a shelf life of about three months. After it is opened, it lasts about as long as regular milk. It is safe for children, and its nutrient content is not measurably different from that of other milk.

Linda Somers is a pediatric clinical nutritionist at the Children's Memorial Medical Center in Chicago.

"Darius is correct. In Germany, they sell their milk on the shelf in UHT containers" (MistyMeadows)

Freezing Milk . . . . .
Milk is OK to freeze but will separate some and loses some quality in flavor. I would think it would be just fine as an ingredient in recipes but maybe not for drinking.

I freeze milk when I have to go away for a period of time...or if it is on sale 2 for one!......but don't freeze it in the Gal container...takes too long to thaw...It is fine for drinking too....takes a while to thaw so you can mix it back together...


Olive Oil

Olive oil will become rancid, just like any other oil. Reducing exposure to light, heat and air will extend the shelf life. I keep a small amount of olive oil in a metal can that has a cap on the pour spout. The rest stays in a bigger metal can in the pantry, down low where it's cooler.

Put your nose to the opened bottle. You will be able to smell it if it is rancid. Extra Virgin Olive oils have a longer shelf life esp. under optimum conditions.

Infused Olive oil (herbs, garlic, tomatoes, etc.) should be stored in the refrigerator unless you have a root cellar. It warms to room temperature usually in under an hour so plan ahead for using it.

Onion Juice . . .
can upset the stomach in fresh salads.
The solution: take a piece of cheese cloth, about 12" long. grate onion over the cheese cloth. Once all onions are grated, take all four corners of the cheese cloth, squeeze out all the onion juice over the sink, like you would squeeze water out of a wet cloth.
Loosen the grated onions and use in salad. . . .
Onions without the juice make the salad palatable and will last longer, plus they have the crunchy sensation when eaten.

Note: Place grated or sliced onions in ice water to soak; drain and pat dry between paper towels before adding to salads. When you encounter a recipe that calls for this step . . . you know its purpose is to tone down the strong onion.

Pepper/Salt Grinders . . . .
Cook's Illustrated recommends the Magnum,
Pepper Mate, which has a small compartment at the base to catch the ground pepper.
Thompson's acrylic pepper- Each time I need to refill, I wash the pepper mill with lukewarm water, soap and ammonia. I rinse and dry thoroughly. So far I've never had any problems.
Mr. Dudley pepper mills. They are guaranteed for life, no kidding, anything goes wrong, send it in and they will replace it. Keep the receipt and the box in a safe place and just mail it back. Most of their mills are under $10 and they work fine. You can adjust the size of the grind, too.

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A good buy rating was for the Oxo. It's $19.99 but on sale for $9.99. [[email protected]]

ceramic vs. stainless steel for grinding. . . . .

My salt grinder has ceramic because I'm sure the stainless steel wouldn't hold up long to the corrosive aspects of salt.
Stainless steel if type 316 which most salt or chemical intolerant things are made of is just about indestructible in a high saline environment. Not so true in a closed system with non circulated common sea water though seems the lack of circulation and in turn fresh oxygen causes it to fail. Stainless steel is a funny material while it is strong in a lot of ways it is tough as nails but really quite soft.

Rolling Pin Substitutes

Try an empty wine bottle, or similar sized bottle. Flour it well.
If you're rolling smaller things and not a big pie, even plastic 'glasses' will work. Wash the counter top well and when it is still damp, dust it with flour and then your dough won't stick.
The wine bottle doesn't have to be empty. They make a Glass rolling pin that you fill with cold water...makes rolling out pie crust easier.
I have dowels in my towel holders that would work for a longer rolling pin, in a pinch! :)

Salad Dressing

Too much vinegar? . . . .
Try adding more sugar to your recipe for the salad dressing. I'm assuming it's an ingredient in the recipe? The usual basic ingredients for vinaigrettes include oil/vinegar/sugar. To adjust one that is overbearing, adjust the others. Just be careful to not overdo it :) If it's honey instead of sugar, just add additional honey instead. Keep tasting it to get it "right" :)


Easy Marinade

Grate or finely chop garlic into soy sauce (we always use the light soy sauce). Marinade the salmon for as long as you wish. Grill. Tasty!

Salt ~ correcting over salting of a soup or sauce . . . . .

Add potatoes to draw out the salt. (You can fish out the chunks later if you don't want them in the sauce.)
"you can leave the potato whole"

Simmer . . .

small bubbles slowly rise to the surface; lowest setting on your range (MistyMeaows)

Tomato Sauce . .

to thicken, add tomato Paste
"make a Roux" (equal parts of flour & olive oil)
"The sauce naturally thickens on its own"
"The longer you cook your tomatoes, the thicker it will be. It also depends on the type of tomatoes you use. Some tomatoes will not thicken, no matter what you do. Roma or paste type tomatoes are the best."
(Misty Meadows)
I cook my spaghetti sauce over very low heat (barely simmering) for 6 hours. No lid will help liquid evaporate
Put a lid on, but teeter it and don't put it on all the way or the tomatoes will burn. Otherwise, I have one heck of a mess on my stove. I would think simmering means at the lowest heat until desired thickness
Try using a crock pot to finish simmering tomato sauce after you have it well-started on the stove.
Some tomatoes will never thicken in cooking, and you end up with watery sauce. The better they are for sandwiches, the worse they are for sauce. They will always separate and leave a watery layer on top. Tomato paste will help a lot as it is made with Roma's, which are the thickest cooking kind. But long cooking is the answer for almost all tomato sauces, and you can mix the varieties as long as you use mostly paste type tomato with it, or throw in a can of paste.

Turkey Brining

Brining a turkey is when you cover the turkey in a liquid. usually people use water and kosher salt but i like to throw in sliced up oranges and lemons and brown sugar. I'll tell you one thing, once i tried the brining method and thats the only way i would ever cook a turkey again. the bird comes out completely moist and the flavor is just great.
I brined my turkey for Thanksgiving, did it with the salt, lemons, oranges, garlic, etc. Personally, I thought it was a waste of time and money for all that fruit. It did not make any difference with my turkey. I'll stick with the way I've always done it.
The brining method I saw on America's Test Kitchen was just salt water. If you have to thaw your turkey overnight in cold water, the salt will also help preserve it from spoiling. I would be as nervous to let it thaw for 5 days in the fridge as to thaw it overnight in cold water. Never had a problem. The salt water is what makes it stay moist; the salt causes the turkey to absorb some of the water.

Mavie's Famous Brined Turkey Recipe

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Turkey Defrosting

Defrosting times:
This is where people can make the biggest errors, either by not allowing enough time for proper defrosting, and or defrosting in an unsafe manner. Although it takes a long time, defrosting in the refrigerator for the whole defrosting time is the safest, but make sure to give yourself ample time, approximately 24 hrs per 5 pounds of turkey. The second way is to keep the turkey under a continuous flow of cold running water until defrosted. In my opinion the second option should be used only in an emergency situation, or to finish the last stage of the defrosting, there is more room for food born illnesses to develop.

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That means 5+ days to defrost in the refrigerator.
After reading the 'cooking on Fri.', and thinking, today is Wed., there is no way you can get that bird defrosted in the frig. For Thanksgiving, I was kinda late and did the cold water defrosting in the bathtub. I had not read the 'running' cold water, but changing it every 1-2 hours, so that's what I did, except not so often overnight. It was just under 20 lbs. and was defrosted, and very cold, in 2 days.
have defrosted them overnight in brine. The America's Test Kitchen Show on PBS recommends brining them and then roasting them upside down to keep the breasts moist. It works.
I think if you cook it overnight, it will dry out.
Change your water often, it is recommended every 1/2 hr, but I'd do it every hour or so until thawed out. You can probably start cooking it, except you may giblets and the neck inside that you want to get out and that wouldn't be fun!
Do you have any cooking bags? (Seems like someone told me they will only hold up to a 24 lb bird though). I tell people they should plan on 20 minutes for each pound of turkey at 325 degrees. So for a 26 pounder, it should take you 8 hrs and 40 minutes. The Reynolds Co. does not recommend cooking overnight anymore (although I've made turkeys in the past that have cooked all night at 200 and they've been wonderful). Now, I just prefer to cook at 325 like I said, as they don't dry out that way. Remember to baste that baby :) Your time may be cut back a little bit if you don't plan to stuff it

Turkey Stuffing

I put whatever is on hand in stuffing, like mushrooms and/or water chestnuts, but add a stick of melted butter too. I live several kinds of stale breads in mine and lots of onions. Celery seed will work in place of celery, and sage will add to the flavor.
Our turkey or chicken stuffing is from our Scottish heritage. Made exactly like bread dressing, but instead of bread, you use oatmeal. My family loves this, and bread dressing never gets made anymore. I was brought up with bread dressing,a nd I must say, it is still my favorite, but the oatmeal dressing is the preferred family stuffing. I guess the only thigh I do different with it is LOTS and LOTS of butter!!!


I just started a batch of my own (even though I have 2-3 bottles on the shelf). This is a pint of Bacardi Gold Rum, with 3 vanilla beans. After a week it already smells heavenly. Smoother and a bit different taste than vanilla beans in vodka.

. . . pure vanilla at Sam's Club, I believe it is 16 ounces and, of course, the price has gone up tremendously, but I believe it is about $21.00 now. Also, I believe that Watkins sells pure vanilla and I'm not sure of the cost.

Penzey's Spices which is a "local" business which started in Madison. WI.
They have a wonderful variety of spices and flavorings, and will ship anywhere.
America's Test Kitchen did one of their famous "tests" and found no difference in the flavor of artificial vanilla vs, real vanilla..........but I'm sticking with the real stuff!!
Here's what ATK said about Vanilla Extract

"Does pure vanilla extract make a difference? In a word, no.

Although vanilla beans are convenient to use in custards, extracts make the most sense when baking. When shopping for extracts, you have two basic choices: pure and imitation. Pure vanilla extract is made by steeping chopped vanilla beans in an alcohol and water solution. Imitation vanilla extract is made from vanillin, a product extracted from conifer wood pulp that has been chemically rinsed.

We tried nine extracts (seven pure, two imitation) in a basic sugar cookie made with just flour, butter, and sugar. Most people, including pastry chefs, couldn't’t tell the difference between a cookie made with vanilla extract and a cookie made with the imitation stuff, let alone the differences between brands of real vanilla.

Thinking that the baking and the other ingredients in the cookie, though few, were making it hard to discern the taste of vanilla, we decided to try our pure and imitation extracts in an egg-less custard. The results of this tasting were so shocking that we repeated it, only to come up with similarly surprising findings. Tasters couldn't’ tell the difference between real and imitation vanilla. We also followed a standard tasting protocol in the vanilla business and mixed each extract with milk at a ratio of 1 part extract to 8 parts milk. In this tasting the imitation extracts took the top two spots, followed by real extracts from Nielsen-Massey and Penzeys. Although we are loathe to recommend an imitation product, it seems that most people don’t mind imitation extract. In fact,many tasters preferred the imitation."

Yeast . . . .

It's best to let the yeast do the work over time; your bread will be better textured for it. Too much yeast will also cause the tops of your bread to mushroom over the top of the pan.

Yeast can deteriorate with age even in unopened packages. I had a problem with dough rising until I found a warmer place for it and became more patient. Didn't take more yeast.

Favorite Bread books . . . .
The Tassajara Bread Book [[email protected]]

Electric Bread

This message was edited Mar 21, 2006 4:29 PM

This message was edited Nov 1, 2010 9:41 PM

Metamora, IL

And about old eggs, remember that the Chinese kept some of their old eggs for a thousand years!

(Not.) "Thousand-year-old eggs" are definitely NOT all that old. I forget just how old they are, but they are mere "infants" compared to a thousand years.

Backus, MN

Canning nature's bounty.
Can anyone find a conversion chart from processing by boiling water bath in minutes to what pressure and time can be used in a pressure canner? Everything seems to be in minutes for boiling water bath, and I want to get it done in my pressure canner as it is recommended as the safest. I have been canning or helping with the canning for 50 years, but my mom can't find her old reliable recipe book with the time charts for pressure canning.

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Try this one >

And here's a few more >

Hope that at least one of the links, will lend some help to ya.

- Magpye

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Hmmmm, I thought only the thread starter could post to a stickey....

This message was edited Jan 5, 2007 3:42 PM

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Darius .. FYI: 'sticky' means .. that the thread just stays up top!

Hmmmm, I thought only the thread started could post to a stickey....

- Magpye

This message was edited Sep 13, 2006 3:22 PM

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

Try your county extension service

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

edited to say sorry---top post says please do not post to thread so i've removed my question.

This message was edited May 26, 2009 4:03 PM

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

You can post here; sorry, I am usually only on the recipe forum and ADMIN moved this thread over here. Then I just forgot about it.

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