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

Updated on September 22, 2019
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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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