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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, and Cooking, #31

Updated on February 19, 2019
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

It seems that the mailman took a much-needed rest this week. He delivered just a handful of letters so, I'm going to do something different today. I'm going to share a recipe with you (and you didn't even have to ask for it).

The beautiful bush pictured below (yes, it's in my garden) is rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary flourishes in the Mediterranean and in my backyard. It is one of the few plants that are willing to put up with snow in the winter, lack of water in the summer, AND the marauding families of deer who ravage our landscape on a daily basis. This shortbread is not like anything you have tasted before; it’s sweet, buttery, and the rosemary provides a subtle savory/piney note.


Rosemary Shortbread Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Garnish--small rosemary sprigs


1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2) In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary. In a separate bowl mix together butter, honey, and confectioners” sugar with an electric mixer at low speed, then add flour mixture; mix until dough resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

3) Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times. Halve dough and form each half into a 5-inch disk. Roll out 1 disk (keep remaining dough at room temperature) between 2 sheets of parchment into a 9-inch round (trim as necessary).

4) Remove top sheet of parchment and transfer dough on the bottom sheet of parchment to a baking sheet. Score dough into 8 wedges by pricking dotted lines with a fork, then mark edges decoratively. Arrange rosemary sprigs (if using) decoratively on top of the dough, pressing lightly to help adhere, and sprinkle dough with 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

5) Repeat with the 2nd round of dough.

6) Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

7) Slide shortbread on parchment to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board and cut along score marks with a large heavy knife.

Lexicon of Cooking Terms


We are rapidly approaching the end of our list.

Trivet - A stand used to support hot foods thereby protecting the table it sits upon.

Troncon - A French term meaning a cut of flatfish taken across the bone, sometimes also applied to a similar cut taken from an oxtail.

Trotter - The hoof or foot of an animal that is used in cooking.

Trousse - A French word meaning ‘to truss’.

Truss - To thread twine through the body of poultry for the purpose of holding the legs and sometimes the wings in place during cooking.

Turbiner - A French culinary term meaning to freeze ice creams and sorbets until solid.

How To Make Really Tasty Fried Chicken

Last night my fried chicken was (in my husband's terms) bland. Do you have a suggestion of a KFC copycat coating? I usually make a milk gravy to go with the mashed potatoes so it hasn't to work with that.


Mary, I had fun researching this topic. It seems there are as many ideas for how to make the perfect KFC copycat chicken as there are cooks. As you know, the original catch-phrase for Kentucky Fried Chicken was that it contained "11 secret herbs and spices."

I found this story by Jay Jones at the Chicago Tribune. Jay claims (and I have no reason to doubt his word) that he visited the home of the original Colonel Sanders, looked at a family album, and on the back cover was this hand-written recipe:


Could this be the Holy Grail of fried chicken? Whether or not this is the "real deal", it does sound like a very creative and flavor-packed assortment of herbs and spices. But, how do we use these to create that perfect fried leg, wing, thigh, or (dare I say) breast?

Jen, of the blog CarlsbadCravings, developed a great recipe for KFC-like chicken tenders that are oven-baked. You can follow her recipe exactly as written, or substitute the above list of seasonings for the mix that she devised.

Whichever herb/spice mix you choose, there are two keys to flavorful fried chicken.

  • Soak the pieces in buttermilk. (If you don't have buttermilk you can fake it with one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice added to one cup of milk). The buttermilk (or sour milk) serves as a brine to add moisture, flavor, and tenderness.
  • Don't be afraid of the salt and spices. The above list might seem overwhelming, but I can guarantee that if you stick to the recipe above or the one by Jen of CarlsbadCravings, you will no longer hear complaints about bland chicken.

And here's one more recipe, just for fun.


Mary, this recipe sounds about as strange as strange can be, but the comments and votes give it an overwhelming 'thumbs up'. Peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) is added to the marinade of buttermilk. The list of herbs and spices is (greatly) reduced to salt, pepper, and cayenne. It's just crazy enough that it might work.

Why Is My Salmon "Funky"?

My husband bought some frozen wild pink salmon fillets. I cooked them, looking forward to a nice meal, and they were so FISHY I couldn't take more than one bite. How can I fix this?


Some species of salmon are better than others; Pacific sockeye is one of the best. Unfortunately, pink salmon is closer to the bottom of the list.

I'm wondering how old that frozen fish really is—6 months is the end of the story. And, what does it look like? Frozen fish should be frozen solid. The package should not contain ice crystals or water stains (possible indications that the package was mishandled). The fish should not have any yellow or white discoloration (evidence of drying out or freezer burn). Store the fish in the coolest part of your refrigerator for not more than 1 or 2 days. Frozen fish should be thawed in its original package in the refrigerator. Don't refreeze it.

So, if your frozen salmon passes the above tests, here are some things you can do:

  • Soak the fillets in milk
  • Salmon is a heart-healthy food. All of those Omega-3’s (we talked about them last week) will do you a world of good, but one problem is that the source of the Omega-3’s is the fat, and it is the fat that imparts that “fishy” smell and taste. The grey-colored flesh under the skin is where much of the fat resides. Avoid the grey and you will avoid some of the “fishiness.”
  • Is there a visible bloodline in the fillet? That too can be a source of “fishiness”. Remove it and you will be eliminating some of that funk.

SnackGirl shares this recipe and video for cooking salmon fillets from frozen (no need to thaw before cooking). I hope that helps.

Is There a Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

Last week's apple butter recipe called for apple cider, is that alcoholic? I know in the UK it is. Could I use apple juice?

vintage apple cider press
vintage apple cider press

Hi Mary, a short answer to your question about apple juice vs. apple cider. In the States, there is apple juice, apple cider, and hard cider (the hard cider is the alcoholic beverage). Apple juice is filtered and pasteurized (so that it doesn't ferment). Apple cider is unfiltered, raw juice. It has a more "apple-y" flavor. Look at the labels for something that is "unfiltered". Barring that, opt for a juice that is more opaque.

Have a wonderful week, and don't forget that next Sunday (in the United States, at least) is Mothers' Day.

You can leave your questions in the comments section below, or contact me via email at

© 2018 Linda Lum


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