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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, & Cooking, #48

Updated on February 19, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

It's Going Too Fast!

I'm gazing at my mini-vacation in the rearview mirror, flooring it toward Autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Where did Summer go? Where did this year go?

I could prattle on for a while (to bring the word count up to 1,250?) but I've heard that HP has lowered the bar so instead of wasting any more time, let's open the mailbox and see what's inside.

Yogurt and Bread Starters (Cultures) - Part 1

When I was a young boy, during undergraduate my wife to be and I swapped yogurt and bread "cultures"?? Can you tell me straight about them, and could one really be forty years old?

Source

Eric, this is such a great question and requires such a lengthy answer that, if you don't mind, I'm going to make this a two-parter. I'll discuss yogurt today and bread (sourdough) next week.

Believe it or not, you have taken me down a new path with this question. I have never made my own yogurt, nor had I even considered doing so, but since our entire household eats it on an almost daily basis, perhaps this is something to consider.

I looked at the website CulturesForHealth and learned that there are numerous types of powdered yogurt starters; the one you choose depends on your personal preference and lifestyle. You can purchase starters on that page, however, I am not specifically promoting them, nor am I saying that you should not use their product. I am providing these data to help you be better informed of the options available. Here are the types of starters you could buy, and the specifics of each one:

Type of Culture Starter
Flavor and Consistency
Requires Yogurt Maker
Traditional
tart, thickest
X
Mild
mild, thickest
X
Kosher, traditional
tart, thickest
X
Kosher, mild
mild, thickest
X
Vegan
takes on flavor of the milk cultured, thin
X
Greek
slightly tangy, thicker
X
Bulgarian
mild, thicker
X
Vili
mild, thick and jelly-like
 
Filmjölk
mild, thick and custard-like
 
Matsoni
tart, thick and smooth
 
Piimä
fairly mild, thin and smooth
 

Now, if you really want to go all Mother Earth and not purchase powdered starter you can still make your own yogurt. Purchase a container of plain (not flavored) yogurt that you like (to each his own on flavor and texture)—just make sure that it contains active cultures. This link from the magazine Epicurious will explain all you need to know.

Can you maintain a homemade yogurt culture forever? The jury is still out on this one. BrodAndTaylor state that it is possible to keep a starter going and going and going, but other websites recommend beginning anew after 5 or 6 uses.

Source

Last week I promised that I would have a surprise for you, and I delivered on the 29th of August. There is now a Table of Contents for this Carb Diva Q&A series. It's broken down into these handy topics:

  • Beverages
  • Breads and Baking
  • Casseroles and One Dish Meals
  • Desserts: Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Frozen Treats
  • Diet, Nutrition, Food Safety
  • Dried Beans, Pasta, Grains, and Rice
  • Eggs, Cheese, Dairy, and Non-Dairy
  • Fish, Seafood, and Poultry
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Herbs, Seasonings, and Spices
  • Meats: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Variety Meats
  • Potpourri (It Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else)
  • Salads, Soups, Sauces, and Side Dishes
  • Special Helps: Kitchen Tools, How To's, Canning/Freezing, and Meal Planning

Each question is a hot-link to the original article where the answer is given. Here's a link to the Table of Contents. Bookmark it. I will update this on a weekly basis.

Why Zinc is Important and How to Add Zinc to Your Diet

Manatita mentioned that maybe you can help in putting together a zinc rich diet. I will look forward to your hub on this.

Foods rich in zinc
Foods rich in zinc | Source

Mary, zinc is an important antioxidant mineral for our health. It plays a large roll in skin health and wound-healing. Some believe that zinc can help lessen the cold symptoms. According to the National Institute of Health, the average adult male should strive to consume 11 milligrams per day; for females, the goal is 8 milligrams. (Note that this is a daily cumulative total, not the amount to be eaten in one meal).

The list of zinc-rich foods is quite lengthy and top-most are meats and seafoods. Obviously, those who are vegetarian or vegan have more of a challenge but achieving the minimum daily requirement can be done.

Food
Serving Size
Amount of Zinc (in mg)
Beef
4 oz.
4.09
Lamb
4 oz.
3.87
Turkey
4 oz.
1.95
Shrimp
4 oz.
1.85
Scallops
4 oz.
1.76
Top Sources of Zinc
Food
Serving Size
Amount of Zinc (in mg)
Spinach
1 cup
1.37
Asparagus
1 cup
1.08
Shitake mushrooms, raw
1/2 cup
0.96
Crimini mushrooms, raw
1 cup
0.79
Sesame seeds
1/4 cup
2.79
Pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup
2.52
Garbanzo beans, cooked
1 cup
2.51
Lentils, cooked
1 cup
2.51
Cashews
1/4 cup
2.31
Quinoa, cooked
3/4 cup
2.02
Tofu
4 oz.
1.78
Green peas
1 cup
1.64
Oats, uncooked
1/4 cup
1.55
Yogurt
1 cup
1.45
Egg
1 large
0.65
kale, raw
1 cup
0.3
spinach, raw
1 cup
0.2
Top Vegetarian Sources of Zinc

Sample Menu

  • Breakfast - 2 egg omelet with 1 cup spinach, steamed and 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sauteed = 3.46 mg
  • Lunch - salad of 3/4 cup quinoa, 2 oz cooked shrimp, 1 cup steamed asparagus, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of salad dressing (see recipe below) = 5.45 mg
  • Dinner - Salisbury steak (see recipe below) served over mashed potatoes or noodles, 1/2 cup green peas, 1 cup raw spinach + drizzle of salad dressing = 5.13 mg

.

Asian Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • pinch salt
  • 1 clove garlic minced (optional)

Salisbury Steak (adapted from KevinsCooking)

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard (separated)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (separated)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (not cooked)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (separated)
  • 1 large onion sliced thin
  • 8 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • parsley to garnish
  1. In a bowl combine the ground beef, onion, egg, ketchup, one tablespoon of mustard, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, rolled, salt and pepper. Knead by hand until combined. Form into 4 oval patties to give them a "steak" appearance.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan or large skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then patties. Sear patties to a crispy brown on each side. Several minutes until no longer pink inside. Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the onion until golden brown over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, remaining tablespoon of mustard and Worcestershire sauce and cook for several minutes. Mushrooms will release water so cook mixture down for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle flour over all and stir, cooking for another minute. Slowly add the beef stock and stir to mix and lower heat to low. Simmer for several minutes; sauce will thicken. Season to taste.
  5. Add the “steaks” back to the pan and nestle in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through.

Makes 4 servings

My Favorite Things

Source

This is where I share with you the one kitchen tool I simply cannot do without. I promise it won't be a one-use-only gadget for a costly space-waster on your countertop. Today I'll share with you the . . .

Bench Scraper

What an odd name for such a versatile tool. You might be wondering “I sit on a bench. Why would I have that in my kitchen?” and “Why would I need/want to scrape it?” OK, here’s what we’re talking about. In this case, the bench is your countertop, your work surface and the scraper is a rectangular piece of metal with a handle attached. My favorite (and the one I’m showing here) has a ruler etched into the surface of the blade so that is not only scrapes, it measures. Here’s a photo of the tool:

Source

The bench scraper was originally made to clean off the work surface (your countertop or a restaurant flat top). But it can do so much more. Here’s the short list:

  • Use it to transfer chopped/diced ingredients from your cutting board to a sauté pan
  • Cut fat (butter, margarine, shortening) into flour
  • Have you enjoyed “smashed/fried potatoes”? The bench scraper will smoosh them perfectly.
  • Smash garlic cloves (to remove the skin and prep them for cooking)
  • Cut dough into segments
  • Pry up dough that is sticking to your work surface
  • Make chocolate curls
  • Smooth the frosting on the top or side of a cake
  • Cut brownies or other bar cookies
  • Measure this thickness of your dough, or the width of your slices (when portioning out sliced cookie dough or cinnamon rolls)

You want one, right? Less than $10.00 on "that online store that sells everything."

OK, that's it for this week. Remember you can leave your questions in the comments below, or write to me at lindalum52@gmail.com.

See you next Monday!

© 2018 Linda Lum

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, I believe you were in New York at the acme of the heatwave. Yes, it is exhausting, especially with the high humidity. You are most welcome for the information on increasing zinc in our diet. It really isn't difficult to accomplish, as you can see.

      Thank you, always, for your sweet words and kindness.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      9 months ago from london

      Linda you seem to have a tool for everything! Will take me another 40 years to get there.

      Yes, the seasons are being felt here in the same or similar way that you and Bill feel it. Actually, I really suffered in New York last August. It sapped my strength. Must be getting young. Lol.

      Thanks a million for this invaluable piece on the zinc diet. May our sweet Lord bless your Heart.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Shauna, what time is lunch? I'll be there. Everyone seems to love my bench scraper. Yes, it is an OXO. I have so many of their gadgets the people at HP are going to think that I work for the company. Another "less than $10" tool.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      It's nice to know many of the foods I already eat are good sources of zinc. In fact, today for lunch I'm having leftover lemon garlic shrimp and asparagus over noodles. I made it for dinner Sunday night. Yummy!

      Looks like I need to add a bench scraper to my kitchen. I like the one you have, Linda. Is it an OXO?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I'm so happy. Perhaps you have a professional chef in the making. That's great. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Rinita, I'm sincerely glad that I do not live in your climate. I don't do very well in hot humid. My goodness, if you can make yogurt on the countertop, I think I would perish. Yes, I think the amount of fat in the yogurt does make a difference.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      News up date. So my boy and I had so much fun kneading our hamburger last night. We have go to figure out our "frying" techniques. Sat, was too pudding like pancakes. Sun. Perfect spaghetti like stuff.

      Linda, what can I say? The boy at eight loves to cook more than video games and soccer.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      9 months ago

      We don't use a yoghurt maker, just keep adding fresh milk to leftover yoghurt. I think it helps that I live in a tropical region, because warmer temperatures are needed for yoghurt formation. Previously when I lived in the US, I would simply leave the mixture in a warmed up, switched off oven. I have also seen that the type of milk used also makes a difference, more fat, better formation of yoghurt.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, I'm amazed at how many people are amazed by the bench scraper. Honestly, I thought everyone already had one, and maybe just needed a few ideas on how it could be used more.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      A lot of work went into that Table of Contents! Very useful! The bench scraper is something my mom could use.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I hadn't thought of using a crockpot, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks for that tip.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      9 months ago from Brazil

      Informative as always. I never thought about which foods contain zinc so that was an eye opener.

      I have made yogurt before in my crock pot. It seemed ideal for keeping a constant temperature, as long as I kept my thermometer close by.

      A bench scraper looks like a handy tool to have around the kitchen.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Rinita, thanks for sharing your experience with homemade yogurt. Do you have a yogurt maker? I hate the thought of a one-use-only piece of equipment in my kitchen.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      9 months ago

      Bench scraper - exactly what I need. Thank you for that. Great mailbag as always. About yoghurt, we do make it at home and keep repeating the same culture, unless we move.. haha.. has not hurt us yet.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you're doing fine and now you know what to ask Santa for at Christmastime hahaha. Have a great day and don't forget those leftover barbecue recipes.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, tart and tangy are basically the same thing. It gets boring if one uses the same word over and over again. Would not have used the word "knead" when referring to making a meatloaf (or Salisbury steak in this case), but the recipe is Kevin's not mine.

      I love your quotation.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I'm sure you are doing fine. Isn't it nice to know that you don't have to change what you're doing. I love quinoa--a real super food.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, most of us have a limited amount of storage space (I know I certainly do) so I like tools that are multi-purpose. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've never even heard of a bench scraper! How odd that I missed this valuable kitchen tool. Sigh! So much to learn, so little time. :) Happy Labor Day my friend!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Knead and tangy and tart. It is called knead even with meat I thought that was just for flour stuff. I could be foolish and look up the difference between tangy and tart. But I trust you only in my kitchen.

      This one is so good Linda.

      We will start our yogurt today. Or is that "your" yogurt. That is going to be so fun. I hear it already "dad that is so gross to grow 'bacteria'" Oh look at me going on and on.

      "if food is only sustenance for our body, we are not a cook"

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you CarbDiva for responding to my request. It looks like it i snot difficult to meet the zinc requirements as long as you choose what you put on the table. We have quinoa often as well as eggs and beef. We also have walnuts in our porridge and spinach in the smoothie so we're not far off. We just have to be mindful that the list you gave makes its appearance everyday.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      All this information is very informative, and I never thought of some of those uses for the bench scraper. Also, I have never specifically made an effort to get added zinc in my diet. It was good to see that list. Thanks for such useful information.

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