Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes & Cooking, #9
I hope all of my friends in the U.S. had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. The Carb Diva family had to delay the celebration by a few days because our older daughter works in retail and was scheduled for the entire weekend (including Thursday).
We planned our dinner for Monday, but as you know, I always prepare the turkey the day before. Admittedly that means that I cannot present the Norman Rockwell type of turkey (golden crispy skin sitting upon a silver platter), but I find that the benefits of pre-roasting far outweigh the downside of not displaying a picture-perfect bird.
- You don't have to fret about the turkey not being "ready in time".
- The turkey has plenty of time to rest without fear of the remainder of the dinner overcooking
- There is time to "defat" the gravy
- The oven is free for heating and baking other items
By the way, if you still want to have the picture-perfect turkey, I suggest that you follow the advice of Anthony Bourdain. He suggests having two turkeys. Prepare one to carve and serve, and have another smaller cousin roasted and standing by for the Norman Rockwell presentation. The bird you carve up is the stunt double.
Now, let's get to the questions for this week.
Are "From Scratch" Pancakes Tastier?
I use Krusteaz for my pancakes. We like the taste and eat 'em right up. But I have this hunch that making them from scratch would be fun and yield even better results. What do you think? And where did pancakes come from anyway?
Eric, Krusteaz (a dry packaged pancake mix; just add water) is certainly easy, but I find the sodium levels a bit concerning. Two 4-inch pancakes (and do you really eat only two?) contain 530 milligrams of sodium; that's 22 percent of your recommended dietary intake for the day. Krusteaz also contains the food additive sodium stearoyl lactylate which can cause allergic reactions and/or digestive problems for those who are sensitive.
I prefer to make my own pancakes. I can control the amount of sodium going in and I know that there are no oddly-named additives. Yes, my recipe includes eggs, but keep in mind that cholesterol from egg yolks is no longer viewed as the culprit in high cholesterol readings. Here's my recipe, which makes 12 three-inch pancakes. (Assuming that 12 pancakes are 3 servings, the sodium level in my recipe is 605 mg; 3 of the Krusteaz pancakes will net 795 mg of sodium.)
- 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.
- Separate the eggs; place the whites in a medium mixing bowl and the yolks in a large liquid measuring cup. Add the cooking oil, milk, and vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
- Pour the milk/yolk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Beat the egg whites at high speed with electric mixer (or with a wire whisk if you want some exercise) until they form stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the whites into the pancake batter. It's OK if a few streaks of white remain.
- Cook on a lightly greased skillet.
By the way, you have inspired me. I have started to research the life of pancakes. Stay tuned.
How to Clean a Burnt Pan
I'm into home remedies, so this question has to do with crusted pans....any home concoctions I can make which makes de-crusting those pans easier?
Bill, in my 60-plus years on this big blue marble I know I've produced a few pans that seemed well beyond redemption. However, I don't recall if I found a solution for bringing them back to life, or if they ended up in the landfill. It's been a long time.
So, I don't have a crusted up, burnt on pan on which to test these remedies. However, I do feel pretty confident in my ability to do research. The unknowns (for me) are:
- What type of pan are we trying to resurrect? Is it Teflon, stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminum? And,
- What is stuck to the pan? Is there a build-up of grease, burned sugar, milk/dairy product, or "something else you can't remember" gone horribly wrong?
Let's examine a few of the possibilities.
Bill, if you were to ask 10 people for the perfect way to clean a burned up, crusted-on pan, I can almost guarantee that you would get 10 different answers. Here are the “natural” solutions I found on the internet. Perhaps one of these will work for you.
(1) Baking Soda
Sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of the pan (or if it’s a large pan, you might need a bit more. You want to cover the surface). Add water, about 1/2-inch deep. Simmer over low heat for 15 to 30 minutes. Those who advocate this method say the blackened bits will be loosened.
So, begin as you did with the baking soda, but this time pour about 1/2-inch worth of vinegar in the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Scrub-a-dub.
(3) Hydrogen Peroxide
Same song, third verse. Simmer about 10 minutes on low heat, but for this one you should keep your vent fan running because it WILL get stinky.
(4) Cream of Tartar
Pour one cup of water into the bottom of pan. Add 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to sit until cool and then scrub.
Cover the offending crud with ketchup. Let sit overnight. In theory the acid of the ketchup will cut through the burned-on food.
(6) Fabric Softener
This is a somewhat different approach. Put some water in the pan, bring to a boil, and drop in a fabric softener sheet. Turn off the heat, cover, and let soak all day or overnight.
(7) Dishwasher Tablets or Powder
Pour enough water into pan to cover surface. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Toss in a dishwater tablet or sprinkle in enough powder to cover. When cooled scrub. May need to repeat.
Chop up two lemons. Place in the pan, cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Let sit until cool. You may have to use a scrub brush to remove the grease and gunk, but it will be loosened.
This one is scary…if you drink cola beverages. I’ve read that this stuff can be poured into your toilet to get rid of hard-water stains. But, cleaning grease from a burnt pan?! The author of this hint says to pour coca cola into the pan and let it sit for several hours. Use a scraper to remove as much of the gunk as possible, and then wash.
(10) SOS Pads
These are the steel wool pads saturated with soap. And, according to the test kitchen at Epicurious, this is the most reliable method of cleaning a damaged pot. Steel wool and elbow grease.
So, there you have it. Grandma’s method is still the best.
Copycat Recipe for Girl Scout Mint Cookies
I always loved the mint cookies from the Girl Scouts. Do you have a copycat recipe for those, for your Monday cooking Q & A?
Mary, for the answer to your quest I went to my friend Sue who has the blog TheViewFromGreatIsland. She didn't make a copycat. She has absolutely CLONED the Girl Scout Thin Mints cookie recipe. This, my friends, is perfect.
Ti vedrò la prossima settimana. (I will see you next week).
© 2017 Linda Lum