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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #138

Updated on May 25, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

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

I Guess It Pays to Advertise

Last week I was lamenting that I had not received any questions. Poor pitiful little me. Well, hallelujah, the flood gates opened. (Are you familiar with the expression "be careful what you pray for"?)

Here's a sampling of what I got. I'm still working on a few that will be published next week.

All About Smoothies

My dear friend Bill Holland responded to last week's lack of questions:

"No questions? A sacrilege I say. How about a couple of smoothie recipes for us all as summer approaches and berries ripen? Happy Monday my friend...and where did the smoothie originate, if you have the time."

Bill, my dad used to say "I've got more time than money." For you, of course, I'll do this. First, on the slight chance that someone on the planet does not know what a smoothie is, I'll do my best to explain. Next, a bit of a history lesson, and then several recipes—at least one with berries, OK?

Yummy berry smoothies
Yummy berry smoothies | Source

Smoothies are drinkable meals—a combination of pureed fruits and/or vegetables, a liquid (often dairy or plant-based dairy substitute), and ice. Although ice cream and fruit combinations have been around for at least a century, I think we can be confident in saying that the actual smoothie is a 20th-century invention, although exactly which part of the century is still up for debate.

Some think that the smoothie began when Norman W. Walker invented the juicer in 1936. Walker was a pioneer in the concept of “juicing (pulverizing raw fruits and vegetables to make a drinkable juice) and was a proponent of the raw diet. The “guru” did not find many followers at that time, but in the 1970s there was a shift from the “meat and potatoes” culture of the previous generations to a more healthy diet. Steve Kuhnau opened a health-food store in 1973 and expanded that concept to a franchise, Smoothie King, in 1987. It didn’t take long for other competitors to introduce their own ideas of the perfect smoothie; Jamba Juice began in 1990 and by the end of the 20th-century countless juice bars, carts, and kiosks sprang up throughout the United States.

Bill, you wanted recipes? Here are a few that you might enjoy (I promise, no spinach was harmed in the making of these smoothies).

Mixed Berry Smoothie - One cup each of milk, mixed berries (your choice), and ice are combined with a 5.3-ounce container of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt.

Peach Raspberry Smoothie - 6 ounces of plain yogurt, 1 medium sliced peach, 1/2 cup raspberries, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Lemon Smoothie (sunshine in a bottle) - yogurt, ice, fresh lemon juice, honey, fresh ginger, and a pinch of turmeric.

Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie - Obviously peanut butter and banana plus water or milk, flax seeds, and vanilla.

Smoking Foods Without a Smoker

I know I can always rely on Eric Dierker to come up with a really good question.

"Dear Ms. Diva, I have a problem. My son and I really like smoked foods. Fish being our favorite. But, But and more but as Gabe would say. Store-bought is way too expensive and usually way too salty. We do not own a smoker. What should we do to make our own? Let's go with a grill, but then my oven too. Watch out for the fire alarm!"

Eric, some of my best memories of my inlaw's summer place at Charlotte Lake, B.C. is the trout we would catch and then finish off in the smoker. It wasn't the kind you buy at Home Depot—it was an honest-to-goodness smoker built into the hillside, stoked with local slivers of birch. The fish, brined in salt and brown sugar, was moist, succulent, sweet-salty. Absolute Heaven!

Some People Actually Smoke Foods In Their Kitchen

So, how can we replicate that at home? If you don't have a smoker (and you and I don't) what can you do? I found a recipe on YouTube that looks simple enough. Your fish will have a delicate smoke flavor, and notice that he didn't brine it or douse with salt. My only concern is that he must have disconnected the smoke detector in his kitchen.

This next two don't first set the wood chips ablaze, but I still see wisps of smoke escaping. I know the noise of the smoke detector in my house would be deafening.

This last video uses liquid smoke instead of relying on actual smoking chips. Look for it in the condiment aisle of your grocery store or near the barbecue sauces. It will be a small bottle, probably on the top shelf.

Have You Heard of Liquid Smoke?

Here's a link from one of the companies that manufacture liquid smoke with more recipes than I can list.

And, believe it or not, I have a clipping from the March 1987 issue of Sunset magazine. It's not available online, so I'll share the information here.

"Pour 3 tablespoons liquid smoke into a 5- to 6-quart pan. Set a perforated or wire rack in the pan. Arrange food (select from chart, following) in a single layer on rack and tightly cover the pan. Bake in a 350°F oven until food tests done (see chart). Serve hot, tepid, or chilled. If made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Makes 2 to 4 servings."

Foods to Try
Maximum amount or size
How do you know when they're done?
Whole chicken breasts (1 lb each), boned, skinned, and cut in half
4 half-breasts
White in center (cut to test), 20 to 25 minutes
Chicken legs (thigh with drumstick)
4 legs (1 1/2 to 2 lb total)
No longer pink at thigh bone (cut to test), 40 to 50 minutes
Whole broiler-fryer chicken
3 to 3 1/2 lb
No longer pink at thigh bone (cut to test), 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours
Pork tenderloin
1 to 2 lb total
Meat thermometer inserted in thickest part reads 160 and meat is no longer pink in center (cut to test), 35 to 45 minutes
Pork chops
4, each cut 1 inch thick
No longer pink in center (cut to test), 25 to 30 minutes
Trout, whole
10 to 11 in. long each (about 1 lb total)
Fish is opaque in center of thickest part (cut to test), about 20 minutes
Salmon, steak or fillet (skin removed)
1-inch thick steaks; 3/4 lb fillet
Fish is opaque in center of thickest part (cut to test), 15 to 25 minutes
Thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half lengthwise
3 or 4 large (1 1/2 to 2 lb total)
Tender when pierced, about 45 minutes.

But If You Really Want to Use Real Smoke

You can use your outdoor grill. The folks at Webber gas grill have a great internet article on how to get that low-and-slow smokey flavor without a smoker.

Can I "Make" Heavy Cream from Light Cream and Will It Whip?

"I have a question for you. I read that you can make heavy cream from light cream by adding melted butter. Would I be able to whip that and also, will it work with UHT cream that is 17% fat?"

Mary (Blond Logic) I really had to scramble to find the answer to this one. It is possible to "create" whipping (heavy) cream from light cream and it will work perfectly in cooking, but if you want to actually whip it, you might be disappointed. Yes, adding butter will work, but you need to freeze the mixture first and then beat it like crazy. You can also create a faux whipping cream by adding unflavored gelatin. Again, it won't keep its peaks forever. Here's the link to a cook who does a great job of explaining the differences between various kinds of "cream" and how to whip them.

And then, there's UHT cream. {{Sigh}}. I wish I had good news to offer but . . . UHT means ultra-high temperature” which alters the molecular structure. Look at the list of ingredients—you'll see that there are added thickeners and stabilizers to give it the same luxurious appearance and mouth feel of "real" whipping cream, but they don't make it "whippable."

However, if you can find a can of chickpeas, you can make faux whipped cream with aquafaba. Here's a link to explain how.

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.

And, So . . .

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.

Comments

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi again. I actually did a series on "Don't Throw That Away" a while back, and banana peels was one of the topics. I've done the comparison for Denise and will have that info next Monday.

      As for naked taters, I rarely peel mine either. We don't use russets (bakers, Idaho's) very often--usually Yukon golds. But, when I make potato latkes (for me, and me alone) I must have russets, and, like you, I leave those skins on. The fiber counteracts all the fat, right?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      14 months ago from Central Florida

      I saw an episode of The Kitchen where the guest baked a cake using banana skins. The hosts were floored at how good it tasted. I don't remember what she said about the skins, but I would imagine they'd be like potato skins in that the viable nutrition is in what most people throw away.

      On a related note: I never peel potatoes. I leave them on even when mashing. Then again, I don't use grainy taters; I opt for red potatoes or Yukon gold.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Denise, first, I am a banana hater. There is no justifiable, logical reason why, but it's the truth, so (if you noticed) two of the recipes I shared did not include banana.

      Next, you have brought back a really old memory. At one time I did a weekly series something like "Don't Throw That Away," and I'm pretty sure that I covered banana peels and turned them into fake bacon.

      I don't offhand know the nutritional value, but I would think it would certainly top rice paper (which is basically a bit of rice flour and water, right?). I would be over-the-moon happy to research this for you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      14 months ago from Fresno CA

      Wonderful mailbox today. I love smoothies. I often find the recipes utilize too much banana for my taste. I guess banana is handy because it is such a great binding agent but it does exactly that with my colon so I sort of steer clear. I have a recipe for banana skin bacon. Yes. Banana skins. You scrape off the extra white stuff from over-ripe banana skins, dip them in liquid smoke, soy sauce, nutritional yeast and some other seasonings and then bake them for about 4 minutes at 400 degrees. They are amazingly crunchy and flavorful. The question is: is there any nutritional value in banana skins? Is it like eating rice paper? Nothing really there? I have a recipe for rice paper bacon too and I like it but thought maybe the banana skins had more nutritional value, only I can't find any info on it. Do you think you could? Just wondering.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you've got it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Hey now, count me in on Audrey's request.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna, you've probably buzzed right past it at your grocery store. It's in the shelf-stable waxed cartons on the shelf (perhaps in the baking aisle). It doesn't need refrigeration until it's opened, so it is a boon to people with limited storage space, or camping, etc.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      14 months ago from Ohio

      Linda, It's funny how I can be so used to one thing, and then slap my forehead when I find a new use. I'm glad I could help. Just guard against using too much.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      14 months ago from Central Florida

      Wow, feast or famine, huh Linda? Today's installment has quite the variety of questions and answers. I love a good smoothie, but don't really care for smoked foods. However, you gave Eric several viable options that should keep him busy experimenting for quite a while!

      I'm glad you explained what UHT cream is. I've never heard of it.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      14 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Awesome! Thanks a million!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Audrey, believe it or not, years ago I devoted an entire article to those beloved little cabbages. I can dust it off and, I'm pretty sure, find a way to help you love them.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      14 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      OKay, lovely Linda, here's something for your bag of questions: You will never hear me say "Pass the Brussel Sprouts." But I'm thinking if I had a recipe that tickled my tongue and pleased my pallet I could endure these now and then. No meat, please.

      Love what you do and how you do it.

      Audrey

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks MizB. I understand your husband's aversion to the smell of smoke. My heart belongs to a black kitty too. Enjoy the rest of your day.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      14 months ago from Beautiful South

      Linda, I love the idea of smoothies, especially the peanut butter banana one. My favorite malt or milkshake when I was a teen was the peanut butter flavored one. Since I'm dairy challenged, maybe that one will bring back old times, especially if I use nondairy milk. My husband is Vietnam vet. Smoked foods aren't allowed around our house so I won't worry about that, but I do like the idea of liquid smoke in split pea soup. He doesn't eat that anyway.

      Love the black kitten. He looks like my Tas Too when we first adopted him. Have a great rest of the week!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Kari, my daughter doesn't eat pork, so I've always used a touch of smoked paprika in my split pea soup. Golly, I've got a bottle of liquid smoke in my pantry—why hadn't I ever considered using that in my soup? Thanks for the suggestion.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      14 months ago from Ohio

      Liquid smoke has always been one of staples in my pantry. It's my dirty little secret. I love adding it to various foods. Split pea soup is not the same without the flavor of smoke from the ham bone, adding a few drops of smoke always solved the problem.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      14 months ago from Brazil

      If someone other than you, suggested using bean juice to make whipped cream, I wouldn't have believed them. Thanks

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, have you tried aquafaba? It's a miracle. I've added a link to the above discussion to explain what it is and how to use it to make faux whipped cream.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      14 months ago from Brazil

      Well darn I say. All of the cream here is UHT that I have seen. It works great when I am cooking though.

      Love the ideas of smoothies. The lemon one sounds good and will probably add it to a my breakfast repertoire.

      Funnily enough we have a smoker. The locals laughed at it and said we could just use our BBQ to smoke some eels we caught. Our smoker now has been repurposed as a planter.

      Have a great week.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      14 months ago from london

      Good point. He was the original and his pioneering work with various juicers was legendary. Interestingly, another called, The Juice Man, appeared on US T.V some time later and created a national and international wave.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I hope Gabe let you have it!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, that you for your kind words and encouragement. I already have a few questions for next week and later today or tomorrow I will have a new article on a summertime treat.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, that works for me. Have a great week. Wednesday is my Mr. Bill's birthday so the kitchen will be rocking.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, you are right he was the juice man, but without his juicer and the healthy lifestyle he advocated would the smoothie have been born?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, I was remiss in not explaining that liquid smoke is not a bunch of chemicals, it's a natural byproduct of burning wood. The exhaust of a wood fire is basically smoke and steam; fire produces water in the form of vapor, and this vapor, condensed through a cooled tubing, captures the smoke. This liquid is distilled into a concentrate and filtered of its impurities (soot and ash). What is left is a yellowish-brown substance that is liquid smoke.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      14 months ago from Sunny Florida

      You ended up with some good questions after all. I like the idea of cooking with liquid smoke. It sounds simple, yet delicious. This is a good article for sure, Linda.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm blank this morning, but thanks for answering my smoothie question. If I think of anything while I'm writing articles for customers, I'll send you an email. Have a fantastic Monday!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Love the smoothie stuff. Around here mom does healthy ones and Gabe wrote down his recipe; strawberry, blueberry, mango, banana, apple and milk.

      I think I will try all the ways to smoke. Gabe scolded me -- "Dad you don't smoke"

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      14 months ago from london

      I note you have a plea at the end here. Life is hard, eh? Lol.

      Smoothies? I love them! Actually I followed Norman Walker for some time, read his books and did a lot of his juicing. There's some conspiracy theories about his death. Some say he lived to 114 years and others that he died at 99, while crossing the road. (He was hit by a car) He was a juice-man though, not smoothies. Peace.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      14 months ago from USA

      Interesting that people would want smoke flavor so much that they would chemically create it. I love charcoal grilling and miss the flavor with gas grill. Your smoothie recipes were something I will come back to!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      John, it's not a bunch of chemicals; safe to use and tastes and smells like smoke. I don't know, however if you have it in Australia. Good questions already for next week. Stay tuned.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Linda, from a lack of questions you ended up with some really interesting ones. Liquid smoke..who knew? Not me that's for sure.

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