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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Cooking, & Recipes, #80

Updated on April 14, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

Fewer Photos, More Content

I won't promise that I have completely turned over a new leaf, but last week I admittedly took the easy way out. I used a photo array to make a shameless presentation of my front yard rather than doing what we are supposed to do here at Hub Pages, namely "write." (OK, that's 51 words, how many more can I squeeze out?).

I'm joking, of course, but the sun is shining and Mother Nature is calling to me. I must not keep her waiting, so let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Help with Cooking/Baking in a Gas Oven

"I don't know if you have an answer to this but I have a bog standard 6 burner gas stove. It uses bottled gas. The heating element (flames) are at the bottom. I have problems getting things golden. Sometimes the bottoms burn. Is there some gizmo that I could use to move the heat around in there? Or do you have any tips to improve my results?"

Mary, I did a Google search on "bog gas stove" and came up empty-handed. And, I'm not sure if you are using propane or kerosene, or ?? Therefore I might not be able to zero in on your specific problem, but here are a few basic suggestions that I hope will help.

  1. Invest in an oven thermometer. It could be that your oven thermostat is not accurate.
  2. Use glass or light-colored bakeware, not dark metal. Dark colors absorb more heat (and living in Brazil you've probably figured that out).
  3. Raise your oven rack. When I bought my new oven two years ago, I had to relearn where to position my oven racks. Like you, I found that the bottoms of my cakes, cookies, and even casseroles were burning.
  4. And this might be the best piece of advice of them all—place a pizza stone on the bottom rack (or floor) of the oven and cook/bake on the rack above it. Why? The pizza stone will absorb and redistribute heat evenly in the oven interior. Many gas ovens have hot and cool spots (they don't heat evenly) and using a pizza stone should solve that problem.

Sources:

Source

Each week we'll learn about a food item that you probably toss into the trash bin without a thought or a care—until today that is. Let's find out which discards can be re-used and re-purposed.

Garbanzo (or white) bean liquid

This one even has a name – aquafaba. Yes, the juice you send down the drain when you rinse a can of beans is a vegan miracle ingredient. It “almost” has the consistency of egg whites, and so can be whipped to make meringue, or create macarons, or do just about anything that a whipped egg white would do. I’ve scoured the internet for (what I believe are) the best recipes but will insert a word of caution. I have not personally tried any of these.

  • Butter – aquafaba, oil (the healthy stuff), apple cider vinegar, salt and just 5 minutes
  • Chocolate mousse – made with just 3 ingredients
  • Crab cakes – Aquafaba and the chickpeas are mixed with heart of palm and Old Bay seasoning to make crab cakes that mimic the real thing in appearance and texture.
  • Macarons – We’ve talked about these fussy little poofs. They are temperamental, but this post is not only a step-by-step tutorial but troubleshoots what might go wrong and how to make it right.
  • Mayonnaise – 1 jar, 5 minutes, 6 ingredients. Easy-peasy
  • Meringue – Alton Brown comes to the rescue. This can be used for making candies or topping a pie.
  • Scrambled eggs – Yes, we’ve made faux scrambles with soft tofu but they resemble eggs more in appearance than taste. Rebecca vows that these taste like eggs.

Which is More Energy Efficient, an Oven or a Food Dehydrator?

"Thank you, Linda, for as usual answering my question so beautifully. Let me see if I can successfully dehydrate. I'm worried about energy consumption, though. My electricity bill shoots up drastically even with 1 hour of oven usage, so if I use it for 12 hours.....

Do you think there might be sufficient difference in the energy consumption of an oven and a dehydrator?"

Rinita, although you already own an oven, and there is a cost associated with purchasing another appliance, I think you can safely assume that a food dehydrator is far more efficient and thus a better choice for drying foods.

Oven
Dehydrator
Pro - You already have one
Con - One more appliance to purchase and find room for in your kitchen
Con - Needs continuous monitoring of temperature
Pro - Follow the manufacturer's instructions, set the temperature, and walk away
Con - Has only 1, 2, or 3 racks
Pro - Multiple racks, usually 10 to 12
Con - Takes more time
Pro - Is faster and more efficient
Con - Uses more energy
Pro - Uses much less energy
Source: Whistler Hidden Spa

Click on these links below for more in-depth information on food dehydrators.

Sources:

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.

Stay Tuned!

You've asked, and I'm (almost) ready to deliver. I am putting the finishing touches on a catalog of all of my recipes. Yes, every recipe that I have written and presented on Hub Pages will be grouped by category and listed alphabetically with a hotlink to the original Hub. I will update this each week, so you can bookmark it and be assured that you will always have up-to-date information at your fingertips.

Keeps Those Cards and Letters Coming In

I hope that we can continue to share in this food journey together. 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: lindalum52@gmail.com.

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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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ok Linda. There are two things my auntie taught me in her late eighties. Never move furniture around an old persons. And the best thing about getting old is you get to meet new friends every day. Even though you have known them for 60 years. I love every breath God gives me.

    • Mr jatt dj com profile image

      Mr jatt dj com 

      2 months ago from zira

      its very nice

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Nnam Ari.

    • profile image

      Nnam Ari 

      2 months ago from Lagos

      This is a sumptuous itinerary, can't wait to try some of them out!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Kari, you're always welcome in my kitchen. Thanks for stopping by. See you next week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna, I'm laughing wondering how many people will see your comment about "ears and butts".

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Mary - Any unglazed tile (from the hardware store) can be used as a pizza stone. Unglazed is important. 11x11 inches would be perfect.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Linda, I'm just stopping by to say hi and learn something new. Kari

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I was surprised to see uses for the liquid that's drained from garbanzo beans. Ironically, I made your Ears and Butts recipe for dinner last night. Betcha can't guess what I did with the chick pea liquid! Yep, I tossed it. That's okay, tho. I'm not a vegan so probably wouldn't have replaced egg whites with the liquid anyway!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      When I said "bog standard", I just meant it wasn't anything fancy. It's an Esmaltec. I only have one rack, perhaps I should see if I can buy a second one.

      I like the idea of using a pizza stone, is that something I have to buy or can I make it myself?

      I would never in all my life have thought that the bean liquid had a use, or even a name. Stunned is the word I'm looking for.

      I've got a quick question. In the mornings I heat milk to have in my coffee. I there something I can do to prevent the scum. It looks horrible on my coffee. I hate the thought of using a sieve, as even before the breakfast dishes hit the sink I have two saucepans (one for the milk and one for the coffee), a coffee filter basket and a funnel. (I decant our coffee to a thermos).

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      RInita, I don't know how much they would cost for you, but in the United States we can buy them for about $100.00.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      And good day to you Mr. Bill. You and I live in and appreciate the beauty of the same corner of the world. It's hard to not like those photos. Have a great week and yes we will be there soon. Good luck with the market.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning, Eric. There might be a joke hiding somewhere in this exchange between you and me. Was it new, or have you and I gotten to the age where we are forgetful, and everything old is new again?

      Have a great week my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, my oldest niece has an Instant Pot, and now you. I'm beginning to wonder if I should add one to my repertoire.

      You are very kind to stop by, and your comments always brighten my day.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, my younger daughter is the one who told me about aquafaba. I wonder who first conceived of the idea of whipping bean broth?

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      2 months ago

      Thank you again for the additional research. Sounds like there are more pros than cons while using a dehydrator (once you get over the initial investment).

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Always good information and advice, Linda, and I liked your shameless photo display. :) Have a great week, my friend,and hopefully I'll see you at the market one of these Wednesdays.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow all this was new to me I think.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Linda, I think you do a great service with this column for all of us. I am not cooking much anymore or I would have more questions. I did get an instant pot a couple of months ago, and I love it because I don't have to stand for long to make a decent meal.

      I have a dehydrator, but haven't used it much lately. We have dehydrated pineapple several times as it is such a delicious sweet snack, but still healthy. Ver good article today. Have a great week linda.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      The garbanzo bean liquid ideas are crazy creative! You make me want to use a can of them just do I can try one of the experiments you suggest. Wow!

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