Food Fare: Reader's Mail




Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Mr. Hazeleyez, re: cleaning & cooking chicken, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Can you give me some helpful advice for cleaning, and frying chicken? Problems I have is not getting enough blood out after soaking the chicken. After frying the chicken, there is too much blood around the bones. I'm sure I cook it properly so I think my problem is cleaning the chicken before frying it. I sometimes have a problem with the flour not coating the chicken right. I know some people to pour milk over the chicken before dipping it into the flour.


[Reply]: I found chicken-cleaning tips at the Hormel Recipes web site:

Remove the fresh or thawed chicken from its package. A whole chicken will need to have the giblet package removed from its cavity, unless it was previously removed during thawing. If the giblets are to be used, rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Check the chicken to see if the kidneys have been removed. The kidneys are the dark reddish colored objects in the cavity near the tail. If they have not been removed, use your thumbs or fingers to force them out. The chicken should then be rinsed thoroughly inside and out with cold water. Remove excess fat and patted dry using a paper towel. It is now ready to be stuffed, seasoned or prepared in some manner for cooking. Be sure all utensils and work areas are cleaned and sanitized properly.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your poultry!


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Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Joanne, re: Oil Substitutions, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Your website is really elegant. I love the attention to the back ground and other details. I wish you had a list of substitutions. I need to make a cake but I am out of vegetable oil, can I use applesauce in place of it? Or can I use olive oil?


[Reply]: Applesauce would be a good substitute for oil in cake. If you don't have oil for your recipe you can use yogurt (typically non-fat); flavored or not. Substitute the same amount of yogurt for oil.


I also found the following suggestions:

Chef Mom

In most baked goods, you can substitute applesauce (or fruit puree) in place of up to half of the oil in order to reduce the fat content. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce.


World Pantry: Baking with Olive Oil

Using olive oil in baking sweets or breads can dramatically reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your recipes. You will actually use less olive oil than you would other fats. Try olive oil instead of butter in breads, pizzas, brownies, biscotti and cakes.

Good luck!


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Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Patsy, re: Everybody Loves Calzones, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

My husband and I faithfully watch reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond," and he always comments on the Italian deserts on the show and asks, "can you make that?" Example: calzones and anymore you can help me with. Thanks so much for your time, and I love your site.


[Reply]: Glad to help! I'm a big fan of "Everybody Loves Raymond" as well (I watch the re-runs). Calzones are wonderful bits of food. Try these links:

Good luck!


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Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Alexis, re: freezing Crème Brule, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Can one freeze Crème Brule?


[Reply]: After a bit of research (and the help of some online chefs), I received two responses to your inquiry about freezing Crème Brule.

Barbara from Gourmet Sleuth offered this bit of advice:

The only way to make custard and freeze it is to use a product called Clear-Jel which is a cornstarch derivative and keeps the custard from separating when it thaws. Clear-Jel comes in a couple of different versions so your reader should make sure to purchase the correct one for her task. Click here for more about More about Clear-Jel.


I also heard from Chef Older:

There is nothing in Crème Brule that can't be frozen. Though I've never heard of anyone actually having any left over to freeze. It would have to be frozen prior to being torched and the only possibility would be to worry about the custard getting ice crystals. Try it once and see how it comes out. There should be nothing to prevent it from being frozen for a few weeks.

I hope this helps!


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Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Alexis, re: Thickening French Onion Soup, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Another question: I have gone to a French restaurant that offered French Onion Soup. It was quite thick and great...not the usual thin onion soup! Do you have a recipe up your sleeve that would fit this description? Thanks in advance for your help.


[Reply]: I always make French Onion Soup using an old family recipe, but I snooped around for others and found Onion Soup Gratinee at Gramma Cookie's Kitchen:

Onion Soup Gratinee

1/2 cup butter

4 onions

2 tablespoons flour

1 quart chicken stock


8 slices French bread

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and cook slowly until tender and golden. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add hot chicken stock while stirring. Season to taste. Toast the bread, butter, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Heat under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble. Add soup to bowls and top with the toasted bread. This French onion soup recipe serves 8.

Another idea is to mix a tablespoon of cornstarch diluted with a bit of water (mixed smooth), and stirring it into the soup at a high heat until it thickens. I've found this sometimes works with watery stews, and it doesn't seem to add any extra flavors (except for a lightening of color in some cases).


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Food Fare: Kitchen & Cooking TipsFrom Alexis, re: Crème Brule without the cream, Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Again, thanks so much for your outstanding suggestion for the onion soup recipe. One more question, do you have a recipe for Crème Brule without the cream? Oprah Winfrey's show discussed such a recipe, but I didn't have a chance to see the show. This should be the last question.


[Reply]: I posted a message at Chef Older's message board about Crème Brule without the cream, and he came up with two options. I make no guarantees on taste, but here they are:

Cruelty Free Crème Brule

1 LB silken tofu

4 TBS vanilla soy milk

3/4 cup sugar plus 2 TBS sugar (reserved)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 TBS cornstarch

Dash Kosher salt or sea salt


Preheat oven to 375F. Press tofu until a little, not a lot, of water leaches out. Put tofu and all other ingredients (except reserved sugar) into a blender and blend until a smooth, creamy texture has been created. The texture should be that of a thin pudding. Pour into custard cups or a pie tin and bake in a water bath until the tofu mixture browns a little and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove mixture from water bath spread reserved sugar on top and place under a hot broiler until the sugar melts and browns. Allow sugar topping to harden. Serve immediately or cool in the fridge. Fresh berries are a nice addition. Serves 6.

Chef Older also offered this recipe:

Vegan "Crème" Brule

10.5 oz. light firm tofu

1/2 cup lemon curd

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tsp. powdered sugar

10 strawberries, sliced

Raw sugar for garnish


Place tofu in a food processor, blend until smooth. Add lemon curd, vanilla, and powdered sugar, and blend until smooth and even. Pour into a mixing bowl, stir in the sliced strawberries. Spoon the mixture into four oven-proof ramekins. Cover the tops with raw sugar and place under the broiler until the sugar has caramelized. Remove from the over and serve. It's that easy. Serves 4.

Thanks to Chef Older for his help.



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