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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #103

Updated on September 22, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

Deepest, Bluest, Purest

Last week my vacation destination was purported to be all of those things and more. Did it deliver? Let me tell you about Crater Lake National Park.

The Cascade Range is an 800-mile long chain of four dozen snow-capped mountains in the North American continent; it extends from southern British Columbia to northern California. Mount Mazama, in south-central Oregon, was once a prominent peak in the range, reaching to an estimated 12,000 feet above sea level. But about 7,700 years ago, a massive volcanic eruption forever altered her profile. A single vent on the northeast side of the volcano released a towering column of pumice and ash 30 miles or more into the atmosphere. So much molten rock was expelled that the entire summit of the mountain collapsed, forming a massive volcanic depression, or caldera.

That caldera has no outlets other than gradual underground seepage. Likewise, there are no streams or rivers draining into it. Over the centuries the depression has filled with precipitation and snowmelt totaling 5 trillion gallons. These pristine waters have resulted in a sapphire blue lake that ranks as number 5 in clarity in the entire world.

Here’s a photo of Crater Lake (yes, it’s really that blue!)

Crater Lake
Crater Lake

One can drive around the entire rim of the caldera (33 miles) and stop at any or all of the 30 scenic pullouts.

Here are a few more statistics:

  • Average annual snowfall: 43 feet
  • Depth of the lake: 1,943 feet, making it the deepest in the United States and 7th deepest in the world
  • Average temperature of the water: 38 degrees F.
  • Amount of hourly seepage: 2 million gallons
  • Clarity of the water (how far below the surface can one see?): 134 feet which ranks it at number 4 in the world behind Blue Lake of new Zealand, Lake McKenzie of Australia, and Torch Lake in Michigan state
  • Annual number of visitors: over 500,000

Our fellow Hub friend and writer Bill Holland (billybuc) also recently traveled to Oregon. As one might expect, he returned full of inspiration and created a moving, thought-provoking story which he shared just a few days ago.

I wish that I could provide similar bits of insight and reflection. But I’m just a food writer. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed the time spent with husband and daughter. After a week of being with each other, 24/7, we returned home, not only still speaking to each other, but also doing a big “group hug” upon the end of our journey because we had such an enjoyable time together.

That’s good enough for me. But it also speaks of why I started this weekly column almost two years ago. There were friends here on Hub Pages who appreciated my helpful comments, my feedback, and my research. They asked if I would consider doing a weekly series, and, in love, I responded with the words you are now reading. It's all about love.

Let's Get Started

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.

Egg Nutrition

This first question came in response to my article on eggs:

"How much protein is in an egg?"

It's hard to beat an egg . . . when it comes to nutrition, that is. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, which is about 12 percent of your daily requirement. But don't eat them just for the protein. They are relatively low in calories (1 hard-cooked egg is only 70 calories) and they contain Vitamins D, zinc, calcium, and all the B Vitamins. Here's what just 1 egg can do for you:

  • Fat: 5 grams (8 percent daily value)
  • Cholesterol: 195 mg
  • Sodium: 65 mg (3 percent)
  • Carbohydrate: 1 g (1 percent)
  • Vitamin A: 10 percent
  • Calcium: 2 percent
  • Iron: 6 percent
  • Vitamin D: 15 percent
  • Vitamin E: 15 percent
  • Riboflavin: 15 percent
  • Niacin: 8 percent
  • Folate: 15 percent
  • Vitamin B12: 50 percent

Brine vs. Marinade

"What's the difference between a brine and a marinade?"

Chicken Breasts Marinating
Chicken Breasts Marinating | Source

Whether you are roasting a chicken, grilling a steak, or simmering a bone-in pork chop, the ultimate goal is meat that is moist, tender, and flavorful. No one wants dry, flavorless shoe leather. So should you brine, or should you marinate, and what’s the difference between the two (or are they the same thing)?

Let’s talk about what happens when you apply heat to meat. As the internal temperature of the meat rises, the muscle fibers tighten, squeezing the moisture out of the meat.

Brining is best for large cuts of meat (whole birds, roasts, etc.)

Brine (a mixture of water, salt and sometimes sugar) makes those muscle fibers relax. In fact, they get so carefree that extra moisture pushes into the meat. The meat’s weight increases by 10 percent. There is a downside, however. Brining adds salt to your final product.

Marinate smaller cuts such as chicken breasts, steaks, chops

A marinade, though it too is liquid and salt, also contains other flavorings—herbs, spices, and an acid (vinegar, wine, citrus, buttermilk, or yogurt). Unlike brining, the liquid doesn’t force itself into the meat (it only penetrates the first ¼-inch), but it provides a big flavor boost. Don’t wing it when marinating—follow a recipe and don’t exceed the prescribed time. More isn’t better. If your meat marinates for too long it will dry out and get tough.

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.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

Source

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: 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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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lori, Cannon Beach is a wonderful spot for a retreat. I love the roar of the ocean; it is (for me) a very calming, restorative thing. It reminds me of how great and powerful is our God. If He can control the seas He can certainly manage our feeble little steps on this earth. I hope you have a wonderful time.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      4 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Oh my goodness, Crater lake is gorgeous. I envy you. I am going to a women's retreat to Cannon Beach, Oregon in a week. I can't wait.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Miz. She's a cutie (and a very good assistant too I might add).

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 months ago from Beautiful South

      I forgot to tell you how much I loved that intent little kitty on the computer. A Scottish fold, I think.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Flourish. That's what I'm here for. I'm the guru of grub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      That lake is over the top beautiful and must have made a terrific vacation. I never understood the difference between brine and marinade so thanks for addressing the issue.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks Linda. We have the same name, live in the same geographic area, like food, and love kitties. Kindred spirits I'd say.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Crater Lake National Park sounds very interesting. I'd love to explore it as you did. The photo of the lake is beautiful. I like the photo of the kitty, too!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Go to your resident chef. He sounds like a great resource.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 months ago from Beautiful South

      Your review of Crater Lake is both enlightening and enjoyable. I wasn't familiar with it, so thank you. My husband, who fancies himself a chef (he went to French cooking school in Paris when he was stationed there and is our cook) tells me that I need to add a little brine to my marinade when I finally do get to cook. From the way you describe them, that sounds like adding brine would be superfluous. I've marinaded chicken breasts (in store bought marinade) for a short time with no brine, and they tasted very good after cooking. Now I know why. Maybe he means home-made marinade. I'll ask him.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      John, my husband is a scientist (after decades he has FINALLY given up his hydrogeologist license) and so visiting a spot like Crater Lake is a dream come true for a geologist. We've been together for 40 years, so more than a little of his enthusiasm has rubbed off on me, I guess.

      I hadn't thought about "pre-marinaded" meats. Yes, we have them here as well. I wonder if they really serve a purpose at all or are mere window dressing. In olden days, as you hinted at, I'm sure the spices and such were used to cover up funky past-their-prime smells and tastes.

      Thanks for your kind words. Coming from you, they mean a great deal to me.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Linda you said I would be interested in Crater Lake, and I am. It looks and sounds simply stunning. You would also make a great travel writer, as well as a food writer (anything you put your mind to in fact.)

      Eggs are one of my favourite food, boiled, poached, scrambled etc. (but never fried.)

      Thanks for sharing the difference between brine and marinade too. I didn’t know marinating for too long dried out the meat. So you shouldn’t buy meat that is already marinated from the supermarket or butcher? I guess that could also be used to cover up meat that is older or on the way off as well.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Sha, my husband is the photographer. I'll see what I can coax out of his camera.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, thank you for sharing a bit of your travels. Crater Lake is just beautiful! The history behind it is amazing. It looks like a very relaxing place to spend a vacation. I hope you show us more of Nature's wonder!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I get your point. But Gabe is not so sweet and I need not mention me. Yeah so maybe we could do one that is only 1/2 sweet. Never thought of that. That would be a perfect replacement for store bought.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Eric. Is that you asking for a recipe for sweet relish? I think I can do that (although I will have to be perfectly honest with you and let you know that I detest the stuff. I'm naturally sweet and don't need to embellish).

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Eggsactly. Beautiful bounty of that lake. Food for the soul. Cool difference, I will brine today. In these sweaty heat times a little extra salt is not a bad thing.

      Thanks for another great one.

      I want to make pickle relish, plain and sweet.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. I've stopped eating eggs (for just a while) because I can't seem to have an egg without the other goodies that go along with it (bacon and hashbrowns). But you've reminded me that perhaps I should move my article on quail eggs back up to the front of my featured articles.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope you have a wonderful week my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Pamela. I was concerned that I hadn't provided enough today. Bigger isn't always better I guess.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, your comment implies that Ian helps in the kitchen. Lucky you. I hope you have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the shout out, but a correction needs to be made: you are much more than just a food writer.

      Love the pic of the kitten at the computer....and for those who have never been there, Crater Lake is stunning.

      Hooray for eggs...and a shout out to quail eggs! lol

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday Linda! I had the pleasue of driving on the back roads of Oregon several years ago, We did stop at Crater Lake and I remember that gorgous blue. We also bought fresh apples and pears that were delicious. You can't beat the taste when buying straight from the orchard or farm. I think I may have written about that trip.

      Thanks for the information about marinating as I never thought you could marinate for too long. I am glad you enjoyed your vacation. This is an interesting article today.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 months ago from Brazil

      I will tell Ian about the differences of brine and marinade,interesting.

      I've never been to Crater Lake, it sounds beautiful. So pleased everyone enjoyed themselves.

      Have a wonderful week.

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