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

Updated on July 28, 2019
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Linda explores 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


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)


  • 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


  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.


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:

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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