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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #108

Updated on October 27, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

Where Do We Begin Today?

I have a dear friend here on Hub Pages. His name is Bill Holland (many of you know him as billybuc). If you follow him, you know why I adore him so. If by chance, you do not know who he is, I sincerely hope that after you read this article you will seek him out. Each Monday he posts "The Writer's Mailbag." I think he's up to #280, so he has a lot of miles on me (and I'll never catch up).

Bill is a well-respected multi-published author but nevertheless takes the time to share his instruction and guidance with us each week. He always introduces his Monday Mailbag with a bit of wisdom, insight, philosophy. Oh, how I wish that I could be Bill when I grow up! I want to share something profound with all of you to begin the week, but alas you're stuck with just little me.

So, Here We Are

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.

The first question is from Denise McGill (you know her as Paintdrips).

Do You Have Ideas on How to Use Chickpeas?

I have quite a few cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. What can I do with them without just tossing them onto my salads or in soup? Is there a vegan recipe or two I use these up with? Just wondering what you may have in the archives.

Source

Denise, I hope you won't mind, but I think this is such an important question that it's worth more than a brief answer here. I'm in the midst of writing an article on chickpeas. It will be published tomorrow.

Perfect Toast

Now Mrs. Diva, I am it a bit of a jam here and If I do not hurry I will be toast. Oh yes that is why I write here as time has put me in a pickle. So about this toast deal. I love my toast with all kinds of ecrutriments, What is the science/art around making perfect toast? That deal with a fried egg is marbaladish.

Source

Eric, perfect toast? Well, there's a topic I haven't addressed. You have reminded me of Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days." Didn't Phinneas Fogg require that his toast be at a precise temperature?

There's nothing wrong with cold (or at least room temperature toast). In Italy it's called crostini—a small slice of bread toasted, adorned with sweet and/or savory toppings and served either warm or at room temperature.

I say, the more the better and you really can't do it wrong. The only limit is your imagination. I adore whole grain toast with hummus. My favorite breakfast toast topper is fat free cottage cheese with a swirl of basil pesto.

Remember a few weeks ago when you asked for the perfect sandwich? I think just about any of those ideas could be placed on top of a piece of toast. Want a few more suggestions?

1st Layer
Middle Layer
Garnish
fresh diced tomatoes with onion, herbs
 
drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt
mashed avocado
shrimp
minced chives
marscapone cheese
smoked salmon
capers
marinara sauce
meatballs
Parmesan
goat cheese
apricot jam
salted pistachios
feta cheese
kalamata olives
arugula
pesto
sauteed mushrooms
 
Nutella
sliced strawberries
sea salt
brie
apple slices
honey
sauteed spinach
poached egg
paprika
frijoles
cheddar cheese
green onions
tuna salad
capers
diced tomato
chicken salad
dried cranberries
chopped walnuts
cranberry sauce
roast turkey
 

So you see, there's (almost) no wrong way of doing toast. Have fun with it. Just don't fall down the "Alice and the Rabbit Hole" I found myself in 35+ years ago when I had a crying infant and found myself smearing leftover baby food on a cold slice of white toast.

Dreadful.

How to Use Gluten-Free Flour

I recently was given a bag of gluten-free flour. I assumed it could be used the same as flour but the texture wasn't the same in the cookies or bread. So is there a percentage I need to mix with other flour to keep an even texture? I'm not sensitive to gluten so I didn't NEED gluten-free flour in the first place. Now I don't know how to use it. Do you have a clue? Thanks.

Source

Denise, thanks for another great question. First, let me do a little Cooking 101 for the readers. Gluten is a protein; it's the "glue" that provides structure for our baking. Gluten puts the crust in crusty pizza, the crisp in crackers, and the flaky in pastry. Without it, the things that you bake simply won't hold together.

So, how do you use a sack of non-gluten flour? Here are a few suggestions for recipes that don't have to be adjusted:

  • Use gluten-free flour as the coating for fried foods
  • Thicken gravies and sauces
  • Make tempura batter

Non-gluten flours can be used in baking, but how to do that depends on the type of flour you have.

  • If your gift is labeled as "all-purpose gluten-free flour" then it can be used in place of regular all-purpose flour, at a ratio of 1:1.
  • Rice flour needs the addition of starch and "sticky stuff" to mimic the gluten that is missing. Mix this up and store in a canister for future use: For every 3 cups of rice flour add 2 cups of potato starch, 1 cup of tapioca flour, and 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum.
  • When baking cookies, sometimes all that needs to be done is doubling the amount of baking powder (not baking soda) used.

Here's a link that will provide more information. I hope these tips help you.

Kid-Friendly Marmalade Recipe

Do you have a tried and tested, authentic, out of the world marmalade recipe that kids will love? I know that's a lot of adjectives but I figured if anyone can provide this recipe, it's you. Thanks in advance.

Source

Rinita, making marmalade is easy. But, as you know, making marmalade that kids will love is another thing. The biggest turnoff is bitterness. I found a recipe that takes the time to remove that bitter pith (the white part between the flesh of the orange and the rind). This orange marmalade recipe by Mon Petit Four is beautiful, full of vibrant orange flavor, and easy to make. It's slightly less firm than store-bought preserves because it doesn't rely on the addition of pectin and an overload of sugar.

I hope this helps.

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

Comments

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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      21 months ago from Beautiful South

      Thank you, Linda. I discovered I was allergic to wheat and its family glutens about 5 or 6 years ago when gluten free products were hard to find. I learned to make do using a bunch of innovation. Today thanks to its faddish popularity, it is much easier to buy good quality flours and ready mades, but they are still expensive so we want the foods to be as tasty and qood quality as possible. If you or anyone wants to email me for the brands I've personally found to be the best, I'll happily answer. I buy locally and haven't tried to find them on Amazon, but I'll say my favorite bread is a readily available store brand sold at WalMart.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      As soon as I put sweets back into my diet I'm going to make a batch.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      21 months ago from USA

      I read the chickpea article before I read this but it was good to know where the idea came from. I find some of the best ideas come from readers. The marmalade recipe sounds good,

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm sorry Eric. Use the search feature on this page (the thingy that looks like a magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner) and type in "Exploring Hummus." Scroll down below the ads and it will be the first entry.

      As for your turkey troubles--I think I can help you out in #110.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Linda please do not take this wrong but you are interfering with my life. You referred me over to "Hummus" in your response to me and I never found it. Instead I spent time looking at stuff from your "We are organized" and "Index". I am so fat yet so hungry.

      This is a really good thing in my book. (really not fat by norms)

      Yes the Turkey deal with us is only 3 of us. A whole turkey just is too much. I really want just 3 breasts this year. Things like "frozen" or "fresh" and ways to keep it moist.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow MizB, I think you are my new gluten-free friend and guru. I have absolutely NO experience in this, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input and advice.

      Worth more than 2 cents!!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      21 months ago from Beautiful South

      Ahh, toast. I'm soon going to become an expert on toast. Since I have to be gluten free, I toast every slice of bread that I use, from peanut butter sandwiches to roast beef sandwiches. Toasting helps keep the bread from falling apart in your hand as you try to eat the gluten-free sandwich, and in some brands, it actually improves the flavor of the bread.

      Denise is fortunate to receive that ungodly expensive bag of gluten-free flour as a gift. Your suggestions are excellent, but may I give her two more. When making a batter or dough, let the finished batter or dough sit for at least 15 minutes before baking it. GF flour is slow to absorb the milk or other liquid, and letting it sit idle helps. If you are making a cake, make it in a tube or bundt pan. Again there is an absorption problem. The pan with the hole in the middle allows the center to thoroughly cook. I hate a beautifully executed cake with a wet mushy center. Linda, thanks for letting me put in my two cents concerning your already excellent article.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Genna, it is my extreme pleasure to tell others about Bill. We lived about 30 minutes from each other, so we've crossed paths a few times and believe me, he's as wonderful in person as he is in print.

      If you happen to do the chicken salad sandwich, do add a touch of minced fresh (not dried) rosemary if you can.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      21 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a lovely intro in tribute to Bill. I am absolutely a fan of his -- not only as a respected and talented writer but as a wonderful human being.

      I love chickpeas and use them for hummus, in salads and as a spread on Ezekiel bread. Your chicken salad idea for the perfect sandwich is an idea I plan on trying soon. Yummy.

      Thank you, Linda.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Ms. Dora, I've just hit the "publish" button. Your wait is over.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips. I'm especially on the lookout for garbanzo beans article.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I hope you'll get back to me with your turkey concern because you are probably not alone with your problem. Dry turkey? You want to cook a small amount (not a 20 pounder?) to use more as an accent rather than the centerpiece? Am I on the right track?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Wonderful again. I must cook those kickypees (as Gabe says) Fun.

      Sorry I have no time to write my question on our using just using a bit of turkey for Thanksgiving. I have trouble keeping it moist.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Yup, we're twins from different mothers you and I. Dang, I'm just 6 pounds from my goal. Perhaps time for a reward?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      21 months ago from Central Florida

      Yum! Potato pancakes are really the only pancakes I'll eat. Regular pancakes are just to filling for me. Plus, as you know, I'm a savory eater. Mom used to make potato 'cakes from left over mashed potatoes. Now you've sparked a hankering!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks Shauna, I had fun with that topic, but I don't practice what I preach. I can't remember the last time I even had a piece of toast. But dang it, Bill's got me thinking about potato pancakes now. I'm still on a diet and this is killing me.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      21 months ago from Central Florida

      Another informative Q & A, Linda. I love the variations you provide for toast toppings. You could try a different one every day and never get bored of eating crunchy bread!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill and I'm so happy to share the love and good feelings with you. Waffle or pancakes? Honestly neither one unless you're talking about potato pancakes (latkes) and then I could eat them until I pop.

      I'll take that question and run with it, toss in a bit of history (I actually wrote an article on waffles a few years ago) and we'll have fun with it. Thank you friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, I'm quite certain that I have found all of you (or perhaps the other way around) through Bill. I owe him a lot.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary it seems that you and Eric are in two entirely different camps. He's all about the wealth of toppings and you just want perfectly buttery crisp toast that isn't cold. Oh dear! I'll see what I can do.

      As for the papaya and lemon grass--those are both great questions and I'll tackle them for you next Monday. Thanks.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Rinita, that makes me happy. I hope you and your little ones enjoy it. I wish I could be there to help.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lori, I did an entire article on hummus. Tomorrow (or later today) there will be one on chickpeas but no hummus recipes. I wonder if I can change your mind about them?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What did I do to receive such a lovely gift this morning? My goodness, Linda, you made my day right out of the chute. Thank you and the feeling is mutual.

      Question: waffle or pancake? Which do you prefer and why? And you can toss in some history if you feel like it. Who dreamed up that funny looking waffle? :)

      Thank you dear friend! Wishing, for you, a warm, sunny day filled with love.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      21 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday Linda, I think most of us do know and appreciate Bill, I love the bits of wisdom he uses to begin his Monay articles also.

      I enjoyed this article and will look forward to chickpeas.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      21 months ago from Brazil

      Good morning Linda,

      I will definitely be checking your links. I too have chickpeas waiting to be used.

      Re toast, oh my goodness. I hate soggy toast. Is there a way to have warm morning toast that is crisp? I find if I use a toast rack to let the steam out, it doesn't stay warm.

      I adore marmalade and should really get around to making some.

      I have a couple of questions for you.

      Papaya is plentiful and reasonably priced here. Other than just eating it as it is, do you have any recipes I can use it in. One papaya will last me 4 servings so it's getting a bit manky by the 4th day.

      Also, Ian has planted lemon grass. I make tea from it and he uses it in a stir-fry. It's such a lovely aroma, is there a way to get that into cookies or a pudding?

      Have a wonderful week.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      21 months ago

      Thanks so much for the recipe, Linda. Bookmarked. Will try and let you know how it turns out. Hope you have a great week!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      21 months ago from United States

      One thing you can do with chickpeas is to make hummus. I love to make my own. It's so simple. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know. Other than that, I don't care for them.

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