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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Cooking, & Recipes #71

Updated on February 12, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

How Low Can We Go?

As I write the sun is shining and the sky is a brilliant clear blue, but our temperatures are hovering near the freezing level and more snow is expected this weekend. I should not complain; I have many friends in the midwest (specifically Wisconsin and Minnesota) who with the wind-chill factor are struggling with temperatures at minus 60 degrees.

However, the daffodils are now 6-inches in height and I have a rhododendron in full bloom. I am hopefully optimistic that Spring will arrive in the Pacific Northwest. And, when I figure out the logistics, I will pack some up and ship it to my friends in the more frigid climes.

Let's get cozy by the kitchen stove and read the mailbox together.

Post Script: I am hitting the "publish" button earlier than usual because at this moment it's snowing like the dickens, and we could lose power.

Do You Have a Caesar Dressing Recipe?

My first question this week is from Flourish.

My dad would love your favorite caesar salad dressing recipe.


Flourish, it has been years since I made Caesar dressing because the key ingredient that gives it that great pop of umami flavor is anchovy. My daughters don't "do" anchovy anymore. So, I'm going to give you two recipes. One will be the traditional fishy-fishy, and the other will be a vegetarian substitute.


A Google search for Caesar salad dressing will provide many short-cut methods, but the only true Caesar is built of raw egg yolks (to make an emulsion, not unlike mayonnaise), and anchovy fillets (rich, salty, briny). This recipe from Bon Appetit magazine is the real deal and the one I used once upon a time.

Mock Caesar (concocted after a bit of trial and error)


  • 3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated/minced fresh garlic
  • black pepper, to taste


Place all ingredients in the jar of a blender and whirl until smooth and well-blended.

"Mock" Worcestershire Sauce Recipe

Do you have a 'mock Worcestershire sauce' buried in one of your cook books? I bought some "English sauce" here and my husband nearly spat it out. He wants it to put on Cornish pasties.

Mary, what a coincidence. Worcestershire sauce and Caesar dressing have one thing in common—both contain anchovies. I made a vegetarian version a few months ago because baking party mix (aka Chex mix) is a yearly Christmas tradition in the Carb Diva household. My recipe came from the internet. Karissa's Vegan Kitchen has been a valuable resource for me in sourcing ideas for keeping my vegetarian daughters healthy and happy. Her recipe for vegan Worchestershire is here. Soy sauce is an obvious choice for much of the umami taste of standard Worchestershire, but the surprise ingredient (and the one that I think makes this recipe really POP) is the inclusion of allspice powder.


The inspiration for this recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens. Their website has a "Triple Tomato Soup" with just two comments—one reviewer loved it, but didn’t stick to the recipe. The other followed the recipe and complained that it was "bland." I didn’t make their recipe but donned my Sherlock Holmes cap to find a solution to ramping up the flavor without increasing calories.

My first rule is "always use the best ingredients". If you use canned tomatoes, use the best ones you can find—not the generic bottom-shelf variety. Second, use fresh herbs whenever possible. And my last rule is think about your cooking technique. Is there some way of encouraging more flavors out of these ingredients? My Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction led me to investigate the tomatoes. They contain lots of natural sugars so why not caramelize them in the oven? Here is the Carb Diva approach to “Tomato Soup to the 3rd Power.”

Triple Tomato Soup


  • 2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, (not oil-packed)
  • 1/2 of a 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 14-oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Stilton cheese (or blue cheese of your choice)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Strain canned tomatoes, reserving the juices. Spread the canned tomatoes on large baking sheet; season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in oven about until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onion, celery, and garlic in a large saucepan, with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the roasted canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, sun-dried tomatoes, broth, sage, and bay leaf. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaf. Puree soup in the pot with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in chopped parsley and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with crumbled cheese.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

If you like this series, you'll love this! Consider it my gift to you.

Walking to the Mailbox in the Snow

Yes, that's my kitty and she loved to go for walks on a leash. The pink scarf started around her head and neck but with each step, she managed to shake it off more and more until it was positioned around her mid-section.

Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow, Mary, you've hit me with a brand new set of things on which to ponder. I wrote an article on pineapples about a year ago but never got into those topics (or knew that one needed to). I will research this for me, probably hop over to my favorite produce stand to pick up a prospect or two and get back to you. It won't be next week, but it will be soon.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Linda can you tackle the question of pineapples. They seem to get sweet and ripe at the bottom and are sour at the top. What is your pineapple hack? How can I evenly ripen a pineapple.

      Also, I tend to eat the center but most don't. For canned pineapple what do they do with all those cores, there is still a lot of juice in them.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence it's amazing what you discover when you start reading labels (there's a fine line between enlightening and horrifying). Blessings to you.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      I'm pretty sure we've had the 'imitation' Ceasar dressing or something very close and its very tasty.

      I didn't know Worcester sauce was made with anchovies!



    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Shauna. Unfortunately, little miss Kyla is no longer with us. She was the only kitty I have ever had who loved to go for walks on the leash, in fact she would become VERY upset if we were outside and left her in the house (see my comment to Flourish, below).

      The snow was too brutal to even consider going out to make a snowman, but from the inside looking out it was beautiful. I'll post a pic or two next Monday.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      I love the intro on this one, Linda. Inviting us to cozy up by the kitchen stove, is warming and friendly.

      I also love that we get a glimpse of your kitties. Great mailbag this week!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Mary. As I write it is snowing AGAIN! I woke up in the middle of the night thinking "Oh no! What will become of my rosemary bush?!" Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant and isn't accustomed to sub-freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow. I'd hate to lose it. We've been garden companions for many years and she's 3 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. Irreplaceable.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Thanks for that Worcestershire recipe I will pass it on to my husband. The Caesar salad is more to my liking. I love tomato soup so that's a big thumbs up!

      I saw your image of the fricos on FB, it looked tasty and I dare say would be perfect with the soup or a salad.

      Stay warm.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I've been wondering about your birds. I hope they (and you) are OK and weather this storm. I've heard there are two more rounds of snow coming our way before the thaw.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      John, soup weather for sure.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm afraid I have to run...snow problems with the birds....stay safe and warm.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I thought your tomato soup recipe sound very good. My mother particulaly like tomato basil soup, which is purchased. I just happened to look down at your comment below, and the fricos sound good also. That would add a lovely addition to many different soups.

      Have a good week Linda, while walking that adorable cat in the snow.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the triple tomato soup recipe and also the link to the mock Worcestershire sauce recipe as well. Stay warm Linda.....great weather for soups and stews at least.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, last week my daughter and I made fricos. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Form mounds of about 2 tablespoons of parmesan--your goal is circles about 3 inches in diameter. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until starting to brown. They will bubble like crazy. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cheese crisps, perfect for floating on top of tomato soup, or just for snacking.

      Regarding the kitty. Our little girl kitty (Kyla) was certainly unique. She LOVED going out on a leash (the only way we would let her out to explore because we have raccoons, coyotes, etc.). In fact, she would throw a temper tantrum (hissy fit?) if she wanted to go outside and we were too busy. She would throw herself down on the floor and kick the door with her back legs. She died 6 years ago, and I don't think there will ever be another cat like her again.She was special.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      Loved this one! Thank you for answering my question. I still can’t get over anchovies in Worcester sauce but appreciate your extra work with 2 alternatives. And that tomato soup demands some croutons or crackers. Yum. I adore your lovely kitty in her scarf get up. Mine won’t do leashes. Some go out on the porch for a spell while others stare at the world from the window. I’m glad she was able to safely experience the snow between her little toes. Stay warm and well fed this week!


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