A return to food basics
DEAR HELOISE >> As a culinary teacher, I can tell you that sometimes my students forget certain BASICS OF FOOD PREPARATION. It’s always good to remind them to do some of the following to make certain there is no cross-contamination when cooking:
• Before doing anything, wash your hands and make sure all utensils are clean, especially your cutting board.
• Can openers need to be kept clean and rust-free.
• Always cook seafood thoroughly.
• Keep ALL foods containing eggs or dairy products refrigerated until you use them.
• Refrigerate all leftovers in covered containers. • If in doubt, throw it out. — M.J.W. in Philadelphia
DEAR HELOISE >> Want a new dessert to surprise your family? Break a cake into pieces and layer it with softened ice cream in a loaf pan, freeze and slice. You can drizzle a flavored liqueur over the slice. Try coffee-flavored liqueur over chocolate ice cream and angel food cake, or perhaps orange liqueur over vanilla ice cream and lemon cake.
— Elaina in Connecticut
DEAR HELOISE >> I had several leftover french fries, and I decided to reuse them the following morning at breakfast. I cut them up into small pieces, warmed them in a skillet, added some chopped-up onions, then some eggs and scrambled the whole bunch into a delicious breakfast.
— Lorraine B., Roanoke, Va.
DEAR HELOISE >> Did you know you can freeze buttermilk? I freeze buttermilk in muffin tins (each mold holds about ¼ cup). After they freeze solid, I remove them from the muffin tin and store in a plastic bag. When I need buttermilk for one of my recipes, I just take out the needed amount.
— Mary Ann Y. in Hawaii
DEAR HELOISE >> I bought fine china about the time I got married, and for years it was rarely used for anything except holidays. I finally decided that it was time I used it every day. So I do. My children don’t want it; the pattern is not modern enough for them. I figured my husband and I can downsize our home, give away our everyday dishes and start using our best for us!
— Gloria in Arizona
DEAR GLORIA >> Gloria, that’s a great idea, although some china needs to be hand-washed, which might lead to extra work. But go ahead and use all your pretty things. All too often we forget that we need to treat ourselves with as much care as we show our guests.
DEAR HELOISE >> I had a boyfriend who wouldn’t eat squash of any type. I invited him over for dinner one night and prepared a chicken dish that included a variety of vegetables. While eating, he remarked that he really enjoyed the dish. He said the cooked cucumbers were especially tasty. I replied: “That’s zucchini. It’s an Italian squash.”
— N.I.R. in New Mexico
Write to Heloise at P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; Fax 210-HELOISE; or email [email protected]