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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #95

Updated on July 28, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.

— Julia Child

Unflappable

Julia Child was definitely fearless in the kitchen. The word unflappable comes to mind. Here's a great example of her "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" demeanor:

I am often mistaken for Julia Child. Well, except for the facts that she spoke French (I'm not too certain that I'm totally fluent in my native tongue English), she was over 6 feet tall (I'm Munchkin-sized), and (probably the biggest difference of all) she passed away at the age of 91 in 2004.

Aside from those little fussy details, we could be the same person. Have I made mistakes in the kitchen? Oh my, I could write a book (or at least one long article for Hub Pages, and perhaps I will). But I've never flubbed up something so badly that it was beyond salvation. (If I'm the only person who knew Plan A, no one will recognize that what they are eating is Plan B or C, or D.) Is the gravy lumpy? Blitz it in the blender or food processor for a few moments. The crust of the dessert crumbled (or stuck to the pan)? Dish it up in parfait glasses. And, so on.

If you have ever had the pleasure of watching an episode of any of Julia's cooking shows, you will quickly recognize that (1) she really knows her stuff, (2) she loves what she's doing, and (3) she never gives up.

The final words in her last book "My Life in France," were these:

"... thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!"

I'm Glad that You're Here

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.

How to Get Rid of Curry Stains

What is the best way to get rid of that yellow staining on plates after a curry though? I'm assuming it is the turmeric doing that.

turmeric powder
turmeric powder | Source

May, you're correct, turmeric is indeed the culprit. Remember, long before it was used as a seasoning or medication, it was used as a dye for clothing. A bleach solution of 2 parts water and 1 part bleach should work on mugs, plates, juicers, blender jars, etc. If you don’t like using bleach, white vinegar is an option. If you get turmeric on your countertop, the remedy depends on what the surface is made of. Equal parts water and baking soda should work—dab it on (liberally), let it sit for 15 minutes, and then scrub off. (Marble, granite, and soapstone counters are porous so some stain might remain).

I’ve been lucky enough (thusfar) to avoid getting any on my clothing so I don’t have first-hand knowledge on removing the stain from cloth. But I’ve heard that talcum powder works well if the stain is still wet. Pretreating with a paste made of detergent powder and water can help keep the stain from setting. Baking soda paste will work too.

Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe

Last week Denise McGill (you know her as Paintdrips) read my article on "Perfect Potato Salads" and that prompted this comment:

"Thanks for the recipes. The basic is just like my mother used to make. Since I've been vegetarian I leave off the eggs but I still like the mayonnaise. I tried making it with the Vegan Mayonnaise but it just lacked something tangy and smooth. I'll have to keep experimenting with just the right thing. The basil pesto looks like a really good alternative. I think I'll try that. Thanks for sharing."

I replied to Denise that 20+ years ago my younger daughter was vegan and that I was pretty sure I had a mayonnaise recipe buried in the archives (picture, if you can, the final scene in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark). Here's what I found.

Vegan Mayonnaise (made with tofu)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of white sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the tofu in a colander lined with cheesecloth. Cut through the tofu with a table knife to break it into chunks. Allow it to drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Place drained tofu in the jar of a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely blended and smooth.
  4. Makes 1 cup.

Aquafaba (Canned Bean Liquid) Mayonnaise

In recent years foodies have learned of the powers of aquafaba—the egg-white like liquid that surrounds canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans). It can be used to make a faux meringue, faux whipped cream, and even mayonnaise. Here's a recipe from the blog LovingItVegan.

How to Smoke Cheese

This past week my sister said she wanted to smoke cheese in her Weber bbq. Can you give her some tips? I think she has delayed this because it was too hot where she lives.

smoked gouda
smoked gouda | Source

Mary, smoking cheese can be a tad tricky. Unlike other foods that we toss on the barbie without a care in the world, cheese melts. So, the smoke needs to roll through, but the heat needs to be low (90 degrees F. or lower). But typical smokers generate heat in the neighborhood of 225 to 250 degrees F.

The fine people at Food and Wine magazine have devised a solution to the problem. In fact, they have two. One uses a charcoal grill and the other is made possible with a gas grill (and an electric hot plate). A link to the entire article is here.

For the next few weeks we’re going to explore a new topic—things you simply must NOT do in the kitchen, for your safety, for the health of you and your family, for the sake of your house.

This first one might surprise you.

Source

Washing chicken

I have a confession to make; I grew up in a chicken-washing household. Actually, mom washed just about everything we ate. (I’m certain that if she could have figured out how to wash ground beef she would have done that too). I can understand why. An opened package of chicken is not a pretty sight. Remove the cellophane wrapping and under the chicken, you’ll find a pink puddle of water sitting on what looks like a mini disposable diaper.

So, you plop the chicken (whole or parts) in the sink and rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove whatever slime or goodness-knows-what could be lurking there. What could go wrong? Well, for one thing, you might encounter Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria on that raw poultry. And if water splashes out of the sink (the sprayer is notorious for sending droplets everywhere) those pesky little bacteria will accompany those droplets onto your counter, the clean bowls in the dish drainer, to the salad greens sitting next to the sink, and . . . well, you get my drift.

The best (only) way to handle raw chicken is to blot it carefully with paper towels and then proceed with your recipe. The key to ridding your raw chicken of any bacteria is as close as your oven or cooktop. Cooking to 165 degrees F. will kill those little bugs and make your chicken perfectly safe.

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.

Till Next Week

I enjoy hearing from all of you; the challenge of sleuthing a solution to a problem or hunting down an old recipe makes me a happy gal.

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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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      5 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Genna, so good to hear from you. Turmeric is a super-spice; health benefits worthy of including in one's daily diet. I wrote an article on its merits a few weeks ago (Exploring Turmeric). Check it out.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Linda...

      Julia Child was -- and is -- a culinary icon, and so down to earth in her approach to cooking amazing dishes.

      Thank you for these tips -- I especially liked the answer to getting rid of curry/turmeric stains -- a misunderstood spice I like to use whenever I can. My father, who was a gourmet, taught me that very same trick about blotting the chicken with a paper towel.

      Bon appétit! :-)

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Denise, on second thought that should be 1500, 2000 for maintenance.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow Sha, no pressure, right? I'm working on the same goal by the way. Down 16 and 14 more to go.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I love Denise's questions and your response. I've heard of the Paleo diet but don't really know what it is. I need to lose about 30 pounds. Would you consider doing an article on Paleo, what it is, why it works, and include some awesome recipes?

      I'm counting on you, Sis!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Denise, what excellent questions. Many people are promoting a Paleo (caveman) diet--it's the "in thing" and reportedly is great for weight loss, but what if you are vegetarian or vegan? I'll do some research for you and see what I can come up with as a diet plan. Please let me know if you have a specific goal for daily caloric intake, otherwise, I will assume 2,000 per day. I'll also see what I can find on the topic of coconut oil.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      7 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      How wonderful that you found an Aquafaba mayonnaise recipe for me as well. I'm so blessed! I'll be trying that right away as I have some aquafaba in the fridge right now.

      I do have a question for you. I'm new with this vegan thing and I really love doing without the meat. The first year I discovered lots of things I never heard of before including Tahini and nutritional yeast. I lost 40 pounds that first year and was so happy. Then the weight leveled off and I haven't lost anything in the past 6 months. I was kind of hoping there was a way over this hump. Do you think I'm putting too many carbs in place of the meat or is it just a quantity thing? Should I back off of potatoes and pastas and breads? I just don't know. Also, I have a question about coconut oil. What is the difference between refined and non-refined. I noticed some of my recipes are specific about that but no one says why. Just wondering.

      Thanks,

      Denise

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm looking forward to it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Linda I have been on a road trip for the last four weeks, travelled across half the country. Hopefully some writing content will come of it soon. Good to hear I have been missed.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning John. I've missed seeing you here on Hub Pages and pray that all is well with you. Yes, Julia was quite special, a pioneer in the food entertainment world. Thanks for stopping by (and be careful with those chickens).

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      I have heard of Julia Child’s, Linda, thanks for sharing the video though. Wow, I never thought of the risk involved with rinsing chicken. So glad you brought that to my attention too.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Sha, that's a really good question. Julia Child's program began in 1962; it wasn't until the mid-1960s that color television was a "thing." I have not been able to find any information on when her shows switched to color, but the production was so low-budget she had to get volunteers to wash the pots and pans and auctioned off the food she had prepared to the audience. Color production was probably not in the budget.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 weeks ago from Central Florida

      And hear I thought I was doing the right thing by rinsing chicken before cooking. Now that you've pointed out the error of my ways, it makes perfect sense, Linda. I will now become a dabber.

      Great information. Love the video of Julia. However, it's kind of hard to see the result of her efforts without the benefit of color. Were all her shows filmed in black and white?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh, MizBejabbers you made me chuckle, something we all need, don't you think? Thanks so much for stopping in to say hi. BTW, if you like ranch dressing (and who doesn't?) I have a new article for you to check out.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      7 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Yikes, (washing chicken) I always washed fresh chicken, but I never let it touch the bare sink. I put it in a bowl or just held it under running water. My husband never washes chicken before he cooks it. I always chalked that up to laziness though. I just read Bill's comment. I must tell him that we have a white chicken that the other chickens bully. My husband gives her a bath about once a month. How's that for washing chicken?

      I love the cross-eyed kitty photo. Reminds me of a cat I used to have. An optometrist friend told me that Tom Pud was clumsy because his pupils slanted a little rather than pointing straight up.

      Another great article. Thanks for the fowl advice.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, don't tell billybuc that I said this--chickens are really dirty birds.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      Diva, you are absolutely right about not washing chicken. I keep thinking about how nearly 100% of raw chicken has fecal bacteria in it. Makes me want to bleach everything.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, the information I provided was from the USDA, so yes it relates to chicken you buy at the supermarket rather than home-grown, but I would still exercise some caution with water droplets spraying around.

      According to ModernFarmer.com "A forthcoming study of pastured poultry funded through the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, to be published in the journal Food Control this November, found high levels of salmonella and campylobacter among pastured poultry flocks sampled from Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia."

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      7 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for answering my questions. I'll pass this along to my sister for her to get that cheese smoked.

      Regarding the problem with chicken, is this mainly in factory chicken?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you are right-on with kale. It wants a bit of a massage (assuming that you aren't steaming it). Drizzle on some lemon juice, add a pinch of salt, and massage your chopped kale for a couple of minutes. Then let it sit for 5 minutes. By the way, I don't throw away the ribs. I dice them and cook as a vegetable--good in stir fry.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh good heavens Bill, I hadn't thought about you and your chickens when I wrote that intro. You are in rare form this morning. Thanks for the chuckle. I hope you have a great week my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      7 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks Pamela. That flip motion is pretty amazing to watch, isn't it? I'm a stickler for keeping things clean in the kitchen (and in almost 40 years together I've never given my husband or girls food poisoning so whatever I'm doing is working).

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Loved to watch Julia Childs with my mom. Great memories.

      I will get right to the chase; I understand smoking pot and cigarettes but you people are strange, "how to smoke cheese".?

      Homemade vegan mayo looks great and easy. We will give it a go.

      Truth be told I will give smoking cheese a go too ;-)

      Another great article Linda thank you.

      I am having trouble coming up with just the right way to prepare the Kale. Overnight with lemon, or with oil or with both? Or just an hour or so doing something else. Straight up out of the garden does not work for me.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I managed to avoid that mistake of washing chicken by never hearing about it. I wonder if my mom washed chickens? Do you use a shampoo? How do you get them to hold still while you lather them up? Inquiring minds want to know. :) Have a great week, my friend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      I use to watch Julia Child sometimes as she was so interesting. I don't really flip anything on the stove like she did in the video but I liked watching her.

      I tend to use paper towels frequently when handling chicken or any meat as necessary. This is another good article to start off the new week.

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