ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes & Cooking, #5

Updated on February 4, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

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

"You've Got Mail!"

A friend (who will remain anonymous) has thrown down the gauntlet. He's named me the "Queen of Cuisine," but in the next breath he called me "Smarty Pants." (I'll take that as a compliment).

Here are the questions from Mr. NoName.

Is T-Fal (Non-Stick) Cookware Safe?

I have a frying pan made by TE-FAL it is a thermo spot. You really do not need to add oil or butter. Are they safe or are they yuk like Teflon?

This question took a bit of research. What I have learned from the manufacturer is this:

  1. All non-stick coatings contain PTFE, (polytetrafluoroethylene), a plastic polymer. It is a slippery ingredient, made up of molecules of tetra fluoro ethylene that only contain carbon and fluorine.
  2. Despite what you may have read on the internet, this non-stick coating is not attacked by acid or alkaline bases and remains stable on cooking. (Yes, you heard it here first. Not everything on the internet is true. Shocking, isn't it?)
  3. European and American health authorities have approved the use of PTFE non-stick coatings for kitchenware. In fact, it is a substance that does not produce any chemical reaction when it comes into contact with food, water or cleaning products.
  4. In the event of absorption, it is completely harmless for the body. It passes through the body without being absorbed, like any other fiber.
  5. The non-stick coating is so safe (from a health point of view) that it is often used by the medical profession to coat pacemakers and tiny tubes replacing arteries.

In May of this year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement reaffirming its position that products with nonstick coatings are safe for the American public to use when used as intended.

However, there are certain precautions you can take when using nonstick cookware and bakeware:

  • Do not overheat the cookware and bakeware. Teflon and other coatings can begin to break down when the temperature reaches 500˚F, and the Environmental Working Group has reported that potentially carcinogenic fumes are released when pans are overheated.
  • To avoid overheating, do not preheat an empty pan, and use low or medium heat for cooking.
  • Don't leave dry or empty cookware on a hot burner or in a hot oven.
  • Use wooden, silicone and plastic utensils on the pan to avoid scratching or chipping the finish.
  • Discard immediately pans that are damaged.
  • Don't store nonstick cookware stacked, or if you do stack it, layer paper towels or a soft cloth between each pot or pan.

By the way, I have noticed that the staff of America's Test Kitchen use T-Fal hot spot cookware and I know that they conduct very intense, thorough product-testing.

Cooking Perfectly Crisp Hash Browns

I love to make hash browns. Grate the potatoes and then do some rinsing and then set overnight. Then rinse some more and griddle. I must be forgetting something as they are not coming out crispy. Maybe tons of butter?

Source

I LOVE potatoes. I could (but shouldn't, won't, and don't) eat them every day. And boy do I love crispy hash browns; they are my primary reason for loving being away from home. Breakfast out means I can have golden fried potatoes. (Don't ask how much of a funk I was in the day we had our free continental breakfast and there were no potatoes!).

I know that the best potatoes for frying are russets (also called Idaho potatoes). And, as you said, rinsing off the starch is also important. I could go on for 5 or 6 more paragraphs and write about making hash browns, or I could find the expert video for you...and that's just what I did.

(By the way, your comment about "more butter" immediately brought to mind Julia Child, the doyenne of the cuisine who has famously been quoted to exclaim "more butter" many times while filming her PBS cooking show "The French Chef.")

A Good Recipe for Gazpacho

I have been needing a "fix" of Gazpacho. Do you have a good recipe? Mom made it so well, but none of siblings grabbed the recipe.

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.

I had thought of writing an entire article about gazpacho during the summer, but the season went by much too quickly. So I'll share a favorite recipe with you now, and promise to keep working on that hub.

Do any of you remember "Take Home Chef," the popular Food Network cooking show which introduced us to that handsome Australian chef Curtis Stone? This is his recipe; note that it takes a bit of pre-planning as the ingredients should chill at least 12 hours. It's worth it!

Using All-Purpose Flour in the Bread Machine

When I came to Brazil I brought my breadmaker with me. It is still going strong even after 10 years. In my region, I can't get bread flour without a lot of hassle so I just use a name brand white flour and the bread comes out great. My instruction manual said, under no circumstance should you use 'plain flour' that's the UK equivalent of all purpose. However, I know that country to country flour is different.

Source

Mary, if you are happy with the bread that your bread machine produces, by all means, don't change a thing. As you said, the quality of flour can vary from region to region, and I'm guessing that the all-purpose (plain) flour that you are able to purchase in Brazil has a higher percentage of gluten. That's good if you're baking bread.

Here's a table that displays the average percentage of gluten in the three basic types of flour. And, in case you missed it, last week I discussed flour quite a bit. The link to that article is here.

Type of Flour
Amount of Gluten
Bread Flour
13-14 percent
All-Purpose Flour
12 percent
Cake Flour
7.5 to 9 percent

Making Saucy Pork Chops

Do you have any suggestions what type of sauce I could serve with pork chops? If I have potatoes or rice, my husband prefers to have a sauce or gravy over it.

Mary, it's unfortunate that canned soups (cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, etc.) are not available where you live. They can help make a "smothered pork chop" recipe that is quick and easy. Also, I know that you are an experienced cook, but because this is an instructional article for all skill levels, I’m going to describe in detail the steps to follow to make a great pan sauce. Here are the four keys—

  • sauté
  • deglaze
  • reduce
  • enhance


It All Starts with the (Sauté) Pan

As you know, non-stick pans certainly make cleanup a breeze, but they aren’t always your best friend when you are cooking. I love my cast iron pan, but I don’t use it when I know I’ll be making a pan sauce—the iron is “reactive” with high-acid foods (such as tomatoes or wine). My pan of choice is my heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Caphalon produces a line of non-stick non-reactive pans. All Clad and Viking are also good. If you don’t have or can’t afford any of those a stainless steel pan is always a good choice.

Make sure you don’t crowd the pan. Your pieces of meat should be at least one-half inch apart. Any closer and they will steam rather than brown.


I’m Fond of Fond

After you’ve cooked your meat, you should find some little bits of caramelized protein in the bottom of the pan. This is what professional cooks call “fond”, which is French for “base” or “foundation” and it IS the foundation for a good sauce.

So, what to do with those little “stuck” bits? Your next step will be to add a small amount of liquid (wine, juice, broth, or even just water), turn the heat to medium-high, and start scraping with a wooden spoon. Add just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan. Those little, stuck bits will dissolve into the added liquid. This is deglazing.


Then Reduce

I’m not referring to going on a diet. You will want to allow the deglazing liquid to simmer until there is about one tablespoon left in the pan. Yes, this will take a few minutes.

At this point, you might opt to add a few extra ingredients (fresh herbs, shallots, garlic, or mushrooms are just a few of the possibilities).

Next, add the stock (about a cup) and allow that to reduce a bit over medium heat—until the consistency is slightly syrupy. The best way to test this is to use a metal spoon. Yes, I know we’ve been using a wooden spoon (because wooden spoons won’t scratch the surface of your pan). But now grab a metal spoon, scoop up some of the sauce, and turn the spoon over so that you are looking at the back side (rather than the bowl) of the spoon. Using your impeccably clean index finger, swipe the back of the spoon from top—near the handle—to tip. If the sauce has reduced enough a path will remain for a few seconds. If it immediately fills back in, you need to let the liquids reduce a bit more.


And Finally, Enhance

Here is where you can be creative, tailoring your additions to the flavor profile you’re trying to achieve (don’t worry; I’ll help you with this part). It could be as simple as swirling in a pat (or two) of butter; or adding a bit of cream, a dab of gourmet mustard, or perhaps a spoonful of chutney.

Now that you know the basic steps, let’s look at a few (specific) recipes. Each of these will be enough for 4 servings.

Garlic Mustard Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 very large shallot (or 2 regular), diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or spicy brown mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced tarragon

Instructions

  1. Add beef broth and shallots to pan. Deglaze pan.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cream and mustard. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened some. Remove from heat and stir in the tarragon.

Pork Chops with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

Source

Serious Eats has a slightly different approach to making a pan sauce, and it's more than slightly delicious.

Thyme-Red Wine, Mushroom-Cream, and Lemon-Caper Pan Sauces

And the blog Food52 has three more ideas for creating pan sauces. Although they suggest using these with chicken, I'm sure that they would work equally well with pork chops.

Another Week

Well, that's it for another week. Keep those cards and letters coming in. And, in a shamelessly self-promotional way, I'll ask that you look at my profile page where I have information on how to obtain a copy of my book on food history (with over 40 original recipes).

© 2017 Linda Lum

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      19 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Wish I could. Would love to revisit England.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      19 months ago from SW England

      You can come and cook these for me any time! LOL

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      19 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Ann, thank you for your kind words. I love to cook and would like to think that when I write it's like standing by your side as you work in your kitchen.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      19 months ago from SW England

      All sorts of great things here that are making me feel so hungry this afternoon, Linda!

      You make cooking much more fun and I wish I had time to try everything you come up with. However, some of it I will try.

      That's interesting info about the Teflon too.

      I'm slowly catching up on this series, so bear with me!

      Ann

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh, Eric, you are so very kind. I think if we really care about our "craft" we are always questioning about our abilities, and striving to improve.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      I know this great writer that took on a question and answer hub deal about the wonderful world of food. She is at least a double artist and creative corner suggests more areas.

      So in cooking does she still get nervous of failure? For some reason I get nervous.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - the first time I had a red velvet cake was at my sister's house. She is 16 years my senior, so had established a home and family while I was still a "little kid."

      My sis married and move from our "big city" to a 20-acre homestead out in (according to our mother) "the middle of nowhere."

      She was a newbie when it came to cooking and housekeeping, and relied on several older neighbors who loved this sweet little girl from the city. They took her under their wings and taught her how to cook, make jam, preserve, pickle, and quilt.

      I'm not sure if I have her recipe. I'll dive deep into the card file. If I can't resurrect it, I will ask her for her "original" recipe.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Well, Mary, you are certainly keeping me on my toes. Thanks for another great question for the inbox. I'm on it. Stay tuned!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      20 months ago from USA

      Wait. Not everything on the internet is true? I loved that video of how to make crispy hash browed taters with that lovely man's warnings not to give yerself an accidental manicure. His wonderful homespun accent reminded me of some of the good folks I've known over the years in different places I've lived. They would've called it "clay-ri-fied" butter though.

      Question: My mother used to have an amazing Red Velvet Cake recipe but it was lost. My family has tried just about every Red Velvet Cake recipe out there and none of them are "it." The one that came close was a kind we regularly purchased from a home-based professional baker 20 years ago. Sadly, she refused to give us her recipe when we moved out of the area. Can you offer any help?

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      20 months ago from Brazil

      Thanks for answering my questions. I am sure I'll try some of those sauces for the pork chops.

      Before we leave the subject though, the meat here, although flavorful seems to be cut at random angles. The last time we had pork chops, mine was tender and my husband's tough.

      I don't like using meat tenderizer too often but wonder if you've got a suggestion to tenderize tough meat.

      Here, the beef, pork and even chicken can be quite tough.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      I really like Grey Poupon myself. I'll have to find some Inglehoffer. It sounds delicious. (I like mustard.)

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Kari - I really like Dijon mustard, but they are not all the same. I find that I prefer Grey Poupon. And, when I'm craving a grainy mustard, I love Inglehoffer Stone Ground. It's not too spicy and has a bit of a vinegary tang.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      I'm going to have to try that garlic-mustard sauce. It looks like it could become my favorite. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      20 months ago from london

      Well, I think that you are awesome! What a hobby! Hope you make some money from it. Peace.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, you are so funny! I'm not sure I do anything well enough to be paid. I see myself as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      20 months ago from london

      Harsh browns, umm? I like them. Lots of info here. If I had money I'd hire you, my Dear. My zeal for doing this myself is not great. Thanks for some really wonderful ideas and great video.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, it was a pleasure. I'm learning right along with you.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I KNEW if I wrote long enough you and I would find something (food) in common that we both like. Just give me some hash browns or mashed potatoes and gravy and I'm a happy gal. Hope you have a great day; stay warm my friend.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I've never baked away from home. I cooked at my sister's house in Italy, but never made bread or pasta (there were shops just one block from her that were too good).

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

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

      Excellent I thank you for your great information and instruction.

      More questions later.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information on the hash browns. I love me a good potato, so thank you! Good to see the mailbag is filled...keep those tips coming and Happy Monday!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      20 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for some clarity on issues we read on the Internet. I bake bread a lot using the bread machine and I just use whatever flour is available. I have to say though that bread in countries where they lack access to good flour are often not as good as those who can. I try to ask some help from 5-start hotels when in these countries as these hotels often bring in better flour.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)