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

Updated on March 20, 2020
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Linda explores 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.



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.

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.


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:

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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