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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #57

Updated on February 2, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

The weather has been absolutely frightful this past week. Wind and rain are interrupted by brief periods of sunshine, and then the Heavens open again. 'Tis not good gardening weather so I have kept out of mischief by finishing up a quilting project that has spent far too much time on my work table.

There were only two questions this week, so this will be a quick read for you. Here's what appeared in the mailbox.

What is the Best Way to Clean Copper?

Do have any tips on how to wash copper utensils so that they sparkle like new, preferably a method that's simple? My mother taught me one - rub lemon juice on the utensil, and then rub some wet soil (I take it from my potted plants), and then wash thoroughly with water, no soap. The challenge with this one is you have to rub vigorously for the utensil to gain that new look, so calls for a lot of muscle power. Anything else you might know would be helpful. Thanks!

Source

Rinita, acid and an abrasive are the keys to cleaning copper. Your mother's method of using lemon juice is effective, but there are a few other combinations that you might try that require less work:

  • Pour some salt onto the cut side of a lemon. The lemon is your "scrub brush" and the salt is the abrasive, maybe even grittier than soil.
  • Brush on ketchup and let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe clean.
  • Sprinkle salt over the object you want to clean, then thoroughly scrub it with a vinegar-soaked cloth.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 cup of white vinegar. Make a paste by adding flour gradually. Mix together well. Apply the paste to the copper and smear over tarnished areas. Leave for 15 minutes to one hour. Rinse with warm water

Can I Substitute Coconut Oil for Solid Shortening?

Last week I posted a Depression-Era applesauce cake recipe on my blog. In response, Shauna asked this question:

"I love Victorian architecture! I can almost smell the applesauce cake, Linda. What could be substituted for the shortening? Coconut oil?"

Source

Coconut oil has a much lower melting point so it can't be used on a 1 to 1 basis to replace shortening. I poked around the internet and found this recommendation:

Use a combination 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil. (Actually, the amount of coconut oil can be reduced by about 25%, so in a recipe calling for 1 cup of shortening I would use 1/2 cup butter and 3/8 cup of coconut oil. If you want to use all coconut oil 3/4 cup of coconut oil should work as a substitute for 1 cup of shortening.)

Source: CoconutOil-Online

By the way, here's the recipe that Audrey was referring to:

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened hot applesauce
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine hot applesauce (it was hot because it was freshly made) in a large mixing bowl with sugar and shortening. Stir to combine.
  3. Sift together flour, soda, cream of tartar, salt, and spices. Gently fold into applesauce mixture.
  4. Stir in raisins
  5. Divide batter between two greased and floured 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans.
  6. Bake 1 hour.

Source

Gazpacho (for those who aren't familiar with the name) is a Spanish tomato-based chilled soup. You might even go so far as to call it a "liquid salad." It's a wonderfully flavorful, spicy, and refreshing appetizer or main course full of tomatoes, peppers, and fresh cucumber.

Abbey is a funny, punny food blogger who began her blog, TheButterHalf, "as a way to keep myself accountable in the kitchen, learning to cook delicious and approachable recipes for my family—I’ve coined my cooking style 'where gourmet meets every day.'”

Her recipe for Spanish gazpacho is authentic, easy, and oh, so good.

That's All for This Week

The mail was very light this week so Miss Kitty checked out early and went to the beach for a short vacation. She sends her regards.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week. If you will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, remember that it's a tad early this year (the 22nd of November). It's not too soon to start thinking about menus and selecting recipes. (I have lots of suggestions).

You can leave your questions in the comments section below, or email me at lindalum52@gmail.com (and my blog and Facebook contact information is on my profile page if you prefer to contact me that way).

See you next Monday!

© 2018 Linda Lum

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      6 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence, your method would certainly get into all of those little nooks and crannies. But since I thought the question was about cooking utensils I wasn't sure that this would be a feasible option.

      Is there a difference (I'm wondering out loud here) in vinegars? Are any of them more "acidy" than others. What about citrus?

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      I've got another method for cleaning copper for you. An acid bath!

      Before people 'freak out' this system is actually used by rare coin collectors when they get an old coin that needs cleaning up!

      Don't worry, the acid is vinegar and it works on small items.

      Fill a glass bowl with vinegar, place the item in and leave overnight. Make sure the item is totally covered by the vinegar. The next morning the item will be shining like new. All you do to wash off is use running water.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna, that's a really good question, but Q&A #58 has already been finished up so I will answer this in installment #59. Stay tuned.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I have a question regarding cook-tops. I know you have one, as does my mom. I have an electric stove/oven with raised burners and have no trouble keeping my cookware in place while stirring, mixing, etc.

      I recently spent a few days with my folks and made them my Best Damn Philly Cheesesteak (recipe posted on Delishibly). It requires a cast iron skillet. At least that's what I use when I make them. The skillet was sliding all over the cook-top while I was breaking apart the meat. My mom had to hold it in place for me while I worked my magic. She mentioned that she has special cookware made specifically for cook-tops. Although I don't have one, I've cooked at other people's houses who do. How do you keep your cookware from sliding all over the place? Because of this nuance (annoyance) I'm not a fan of the sleek, aesthetically pleasing cook-tops.

      Any advice?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 months ago from Central Florida

      I, too, would leave out the raisins and add more walnuts. However, I'm of the group that does not like the taste of black walnuts. When I was little, one of my aunts had a black walnut tree on her property. It was a rude awakening for my young taste buds when I cracked one open and bit into it!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      7 months ago from Brazil

      That would be great, thank you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, truth be told I am not a raisin disciple. Nor was my dad. If you happen to find my article about Thanksgiving and stuffing you will see my sweet story about my Dad and Mom's stuffing recipe.

      But, back to your comments. Thanks for your thoughts about my quilt. It is a wall hanging in our entryway (that means that the cat will not be able to pee on it!).

      I don't think that I have actually tasted black walnuts, but would like to. The fact that there are those who don't like them pique my curiosity.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I could probably write an entire article about can openers. With my arthritis, this is a big issue in my house and an ongoing challenge. If you don't mind, I'll turn your comments into a question and talk about this next Monday, OK?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      That quilt is stunning and the applesauce cake sounds so good. I’d leave out those raisins and add a gob of black walnuts (an acquired taste that many find too musty and strong but I adore!)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      7 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      I don't eat a lot of canned foods, mainly because a lot of food doesn't come in cans here, but I'd like your advice on a can opener. This past week I was opening a can and still had a connection in two places. I resorted to using a knife to wedge it open enough to extract the contents.

      I have two can openers that I just hate. I never can figure out if it is the old type that cuts inside the rim or cuts below the rim on the outside. Also some of the can's rims seem too short to get the can opener to bite into.

      Is this the first sign of senility or have can manufactures been scrimping to save money?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna, oh fiddlesticks! I'm sorry. Fixed it (give credit where credit is due). Have a great week.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 months ago from Central Florida

      Thanks, Linda. Audrey didn't ask you about substituting coconut oil for shortening, I did! :-) But thanks for the answer.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill my joints have taken a beating, so not sure how much I can accomplish outside today, but will at least step outside and breath the fresh air. I hope you have a great week.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela that recipe is a favorite, and as you said, it has been around forever. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning RInita. I am so glad to hear that the vinegar trick worked for you. I will share your message with Mary (in case she does not notice it here).

      We are headed into winter and so there is not much chance that the weather will improve any time in the near future, although it cannot continue to rain like this (I hope).

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The quilt is beautiful, the advice solid, and you are wonderful! The weather is improving, so get outside and enjoy this gift from the gods.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 months ago from Sunny Florida

      That applesauce cake recipe is much like the one of have literally used for decades, I haven't thought about substituting coconut oil, but that is a good idea. Thanks for info on cleaning copper as well.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      7 months ago

      Thanks Linda, I will try some of these tricks for my copper utensils to see what works best. By the way, few weeks back I had asked a question about fruit flies, to which Mary had recommended using a mix of vinegar, liquid soap, and ripe fruit as a bait. I tried that and it worked quite well. So, just wanted to say thanks to both of you. Hope the weather in your region gets better soon. Beautiful quilt!

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