Choos­ing glass or metal could be a bak­ing game changer

The Prince George Citizen - - Food -

Anna Gass, au­thor of Heir­loom Kitchen: Her­itage Recipes and Fam­ily Sto­ries From The Ta­bles of Im­mi­grant Women, re­cently joined The Wash­ing­ton Post Food sec­tion staff in an­swer­ing ques­tions about all things ed­i­ble.

Here are edited ex­cerpts from that chat.

Q: Is there a bak­ing time rule for us­ing glass bak­ing dishes vs. metal ones? I find that things seem to get done more quickly with glass. Should I lower the tem­per­a­ture or shorten the bake time?

A: You are right about glass. It can bake things faster and hot­ter, so def­i­nitely try knock­ing back the tem­per­a­ture 25 de­grees or so. - Becky Krys­tal

Q: I’ve re­cently ac­quired a mi­croplane zester and rasp for cit­rus and nut­meg, re­spec­tively. What other uses migh they have?

A: I use mine to grate frozen gin­ger, and you can also use it to grate gar­lic so it’s nice and pulpy. It will also give you re­ally lovely fluffy piles of choco­late or Parm for gar­nishes.

- B.K.

A: Hard cheeses, like Parm and Pecorino. You also get nice fluffy piles, and they melt on con­tact with any­thing warm. So per­fect for pasta. - Joe Yo­nan

Q: I want to make in­fused olive oils for grilling vegeta­bles. How to pro­ceed? Should I use EVOO or is plain good enough? And which fresh herbs do you sug­gest?

A: In­fused olive oils couldn’t be sim­pler. Take about two cups of olive oil (high qual­ity) and a few springs of your favourite herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, skies the limit). Then, heat un­til the olive oil just starts to bubble, maybe two to three min­utes. Strain the herbs and place it into a olive oil glass con­tainer. Done. Also, I love to do this with gar­lic and red chili flakes. Just sim­mer the two cups of oil with the gar­lic and flakes for 30 min­utes then strain. It’s a hot oil I put on pizza and chicken.

- Anna Gass

Q: I bought strawberri­es that turned out not to be sweet. I guess they were picked too soon. If I take them out in the sun for a while, will they get sweeter? Or what do you sug­gest? I’d rather not re­ally cook them. Sprin­kling with Ste­via is also an op­tion.

A: Hate to break it to you, but strawberri­es don’t keep ripen­ing af­ter they’re picked, so that flavour isn’t go­ing to change. This is one rea­son why I never buy strawberri­es at the farm­ers mar­ket with­out sampling. If they don’t let me taste (a very rare thing), I move on. Now, they will taste a lit­tle sweeter if they’re at room temp than if they’re cold. Other­wise, you’ll want to add some­thing to them if you want them sweeter, yes.

- J.Y.

Q: I’ve found that the key to some of the best im­mi­grant recipes is find­ing non-tra­di­tional in­gre­di­ents that the au­thor grew up with and took for granted versus sub­bing out an Amer­i­can al­ter­na­tive (although if that’s all you have, then go for it). I’m lucky to live in Wash­ing­ton and have ac­cess to good eth­nic gro­cery stores, and many in­gre­di­ents have mi­grated to main­stream stores, but even then, they still don’t have ev­ery­thing. Do you have any tips on find­ing “harder to find” eth­nic in­gre­di­ents? Sorry to make the ques­tion vague, but given the vast num­ber of im­mi­grants cul­tures to choose from, the ques­tion ap­plies to all sorts of dif­fer­ent things.

A: I came across this so much dur­ing my time in th­ese amaz­ing im­mi­grant kitchens. When many of th­ese women im­mi­grated, they were un­able to find the key in­gre­di­ent needed. For ex­am­ple, Nikki from Haiti needed sour or­anges for her Cashew Chicken. At the time, there weren’t as many Caribbean mar­kets to go to as there are now so she played with or­ange and limes to strike the right bal­ance. Now, with Whole Foods, Ama­zon and so many eth­nic in­gre­di­ents in the lo­cal gro­cery store, there isn’t such a need to sub­sti­tute. I was able to get al­most ev­ery in­gre­di­ent needed at my lo­cal gro­cer. How­ever, I found www. snuk­ to carry loads of in­ter­na­tional in­gre­di­ents to cook with and I love try­ing new items from them. I also love look­ing for the lo­cal eth­nic delis when I travel to new places. They al­ways have im­ported items. Happy cook­ing! - A.G.

Q: I re­cently learned that I must watch my sodium in­take. I visited the web­sites of restau­rants and ca­sual places and am shocked at the amount of sodium in dishes. Why can’t the res­tau­rant in­dus­try make a con­certed ef­fort to cut down on sodium? Why must there be so much sodium in bread?

A: Yes, it’s a prob­lem – and with so many pro­cessed foods, too. Hon­estly, if you’re try­ing to watch your sodium in­take, the best thing you can do is cook as much of your own food from scratch as pos­si­ble. - J.Y.

Q: I was given some farm­ers mar­ket duck eggs by a friend who wouldn’t take “no thank you” for an an­swer (she snuck them in my fridge be­fore leav­ing). Can they be frozen (ei­ther in shell or out) for the next time I have an overnight guest who might want them for break­fast, or is giv­ing them away while they are still fresh the way to go?

A: You can freeze them. Crack them out of the shells, whisk to blend, and freeze – tightly sealed and la­beled with the date and the num­ber of eggs.


Dur­ing a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion with culi­nary ex­perts, the is­sue of bak­ing with glass or metal is ad­dressed.

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