Archive for the 'Food Yields and Measurements' Category

Many of us will be planting our gardens soon – of course – unless you live in a warmer area of the country than we do – and tomatoes are always popular.  And many of us will be canning our tomato products as well.


I put this together hoping you would find this useful.


How about a little lesson on all these?

*Tomato paste: Is a deep red, richly flavored concentrate that’s made of tomatoes that have been cooked for several hours, strained and reduced. It’s available in cans or tubes. When I make it homemade I use a good quality Roma tomato, remove skins by blanching (place in a pot of boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds), core, remove seeds (which can be used for soups or salad dressings, etc.), dice and place in heavy saucepan, boil down into a thick, rich paste. You can add a bit of salt. Stir to prevent from sticking. After an hour, place tomatoes in large metal colander to strain. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, press the tomato flesh through. Scrape occasionally. Return flesh to pan and at this point you can add additional spices and herbs, if desired. You can add Italian seasoning, basil, marjoram, garlic, rosemary, onion powder, etc., whatever you want to use. Continue the cooking process for as long as it takes (in hours) and has turned into a thick paste that sticks to the spoon. The bigger the pan, the longer it takes. Homemade tomato paste will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Either use it or lose it. After refrigerating for 24 hours (to be sure that it is the proper temperature, you can portion and freeze in freezer containers or freezer bags, label and date.

NOTE: When it comes to straining, some have used a food processor or blender to do this job and save time – I’ll still use the metal colander. I do not season my paste – this way I can use it in any recipe without having to worry about how much of what is in it.

NOTE: It’s the meaty tomatoes that give you the best final results.

* Tomato puree: A thick, rich mixture made of tomatoes that have been cooked briefly and strained. It’s available in cans. When I make this homemade I begin with the same procedures as above (for tomato paste) BUT once I remove the skins, I cut in half to remove the seeds and place cut side down on paper towels to remove excess juice. Transfer tomato halves to large bowl. Process tomatoes in food processor to a smooth, pourable puree, transfer to large pot and add salt. If too thick, add a small amount of water. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. It’s done when you have an even, thick consistency and no longer separates. I find that a wide pan does a good job (better than a tall pan) because the liquid evaporates quicker. If you are going to process in jars to preserve, or you are going to freeze for future use, bring puree to a boil before removing from heat. If canning, follow direction in your Ball blue Book; if you are freezing, place in the refrigerator for 24 hours to be sure it reaches the proper temperature. Portion into freezer containers or freezer bags, label and date.

NOTE: You can saute finely minced onions in a bit of olive oil before adding tomatoes and salt. That is not tomato puree to me – sorry. Left alone, I can use my puree for anything I want.

* Tomato sauce: This is a slightly thinner tomato puree. Some styles are seasoned so that the sauce is ready to add to soups, sauces and other preparations. My preference is plain – then I can do what I want with it. It’s going to take 35 to 45 pounds of tomatoes to give you approximately 7 quarts of tomato sauce. The thinner you want your sauce, the less tomatoes it will take. Score the bottoms of your tomatoes and place in boiling water for less than a minute; plunge into ice water and remove the skins. You don’t want the skins left on because they will become tough and chewy. Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds and excess juice. Just squeeze and use a spoon to dig out the insides. Place in your metal colander to drain. Place in large pot, bring to simmer until you receive desired consistency. Bring to boil, reducing by one-third will give you a thin sauce; reducing by one-half will give you a thicker sauce. At this point you can follow the Ball Blue Book directions for canning. If you are going to freeze, place in refrigerator for 24 hours to reach the proper temperature then portion into freezer containers or freezer bags, label and date.

* Tomato paste: 4 1/2-ounce tube = 5 tablespoons
* Tomato puree: 1 cup = 1/2 cup tomato paste plus water to equal 1 cup
* Tomato sauce: 1 cup = 3/8 cup tomato paste plus water to equal 1 cup

* When a recipe calls for tomato paste and all you have is tomato sauce, for each tablespoon of tomato paste, add 1/2 cup tomato sauce and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

* The next time you need a small amount of tomato paste, buy it in a tube instead of a can. Because so little of the tubed paste is exposed to the air, it can be tightly sealed and refrigerated for up to 1 year. I also find that if I only need one to two tablespoons for a recipe, I can measure tablespoonfuls of paste onto waxed paper placed on a baking tin and place in the freezer to freeze. When frozen, transfer to Ziploc freezer bag and I have portions for the next recipe that calls for a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. You can even use an ice cube tray to portion your paste; once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. The tablespoons of frozen paste can be dropped right into hot mixtures like soups and sauces.

* Use a dab of tomato paste to enliven flat-flavored soups or sauces.

When it comes to choosing tomatoes to work with, Roma (plum) tomatoes are known as “paste” tomatoes because they thicker, meatier walls and much less water content than other tomatoes. The least amount of water/liquid will give you less cooking time. Beefsteak is another good tomato to use. And you can mix tomatoes if need be.

Sun-dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes can be quite pricey in the supermarkets and it is very easy to make them yourself! If you don’t live in a hot, sunny climate – you can use your oven and still have great results!

In Italy, ripe plum tomatoes are dried in the hot sun. When dried, they look like shriveled red chili peppers and are wonderfully flavored since the drying process intensifies their natural sweetness and flavor.

Sun dried tomatoes should be used to give an extra flavor punch to a recipe instead of as a main ingredient. For example, a tablespoon or two will flavor a pasta dish for four. They can be used without additional cooking in garlicky pasta sauces, pizza, pasta salads, and with strongly flavored vegetables like broccoli or chicory. They work well in stir fries with chicken, beef, and shrimp or in rice, pasta, and grain salads.

Sun dried tomatoes are sold either loose in packages or packed in oil and are quite expensive. You can make them yourself by drying the tomatoes and varying the flavorings to suit your taste, using any combination of herbs that pleases you.

To Dry Plum Tomatoes in the Oven

Select perfect, ripe fresh Italian plum tomatoes.

Cut each in half and open like a book. Cut out the seeds, trim the stems, and cut out any blemishes.

Preheat the oven to 220°F. Place the tomatoes on racks on baking sheets. Sprinkle tomatoes lightly with salt. Bake for 7 hours. Rotate baking sheets in the oven during cooking time and remove smaller tomatoes as they dry.

Cool tomatoes and fold them closed.

To Dry Cherry Tomatoes

These smaller tomatoes are for pastas, pizzas, sauces, or garnishes.

Preheat oven to 450°F for 20 minutes.

Cut fresh red or yellow cherry tomatoes in half. Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the tomatoes on the sheet, cut-sides up. If desired, sprinkle with herbs.

Place tomatoes in oven. Turn oven down to 350°F leave for 2 hours or until dried to your taste.

Storing Dried Tomatoes

After tomatoes have been dried, you can store them in an herb-flavored oil. To do this, pack dried tomatoes tightly in 1/2 pint jars with a layer of fresh herbs in between two layers of tomatoes. Cover with olive oil. Run a knife around the tomatoes to help air escape. Seal jars and store at room temperature for several months for best flavor.

After you've finished the tomatoes, you can reuse the remaining tomato flavored oil in pasta salads and for sauteing fresh vegetables.

Buying and Storing Tomatoes

As long as they are kept at room temperature, tomatoes picked at the mature green stage will finish ripening in supermarkets and after you purchase them. Within a few days, they will soften slightly, turn red and-most important of all-develop their full flavor and aroma.

To avoid interrupting this process, place the tomatoes on a counter or in a shallow bowl at room temperature until they are ready to eat.
When tomatoes are chilled below 55° F, the ripening comes to a halt and the flavor never develops.

To speed up the process, keep tomatoes in a brown paper bag or closed container to trap the ethylene gas that helps them ripen. Adding an ethylene-emitting apple or pear to the container can also hasten ripening. Store the tomatoes in a single layer and with the stem ends up, to avoid bruising the delicate "shoulders."

Once they are fully ripened, tomatoes can be held at room temperature or refrigerated for several days. When you?re ready to use them, bring the tomatoes back to room temperature for fullest flavor.

Tomato Techniques

To peel: Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover tomatoes; bring to a boil. Immerse tomatoes about 30 seconds; drain and cool. Remove stem ends and slip off skins.

To seed: Cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Gently squeeze each half, using your fingers to remove seeds. To reserve the juice for use in dressings, sauces or soups, seed the tomato into a strainer held over a bowl.

Tomato Shells: Cut a 1/2 inch slice off the stem end of each tomato. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp.

Roast: Preheat oven to 450° F. Halve tomatoes crosswise. Place halves, cut side down, on a shallow baking pan; brush with oil. Roast until lightly browned, about 20 minutes; cool. Remove skins and stem ends.

Slow-Cook: Preheat oven to 300° F. Remove stem ends; slice tomatoes. Place slices on a shallow baking pan; brush with oil. Cook until tomatoes soften and shrink, about 45 minutes.

Tomato Equivalents:

1 small tomato = 3 to 4 ounces
1 medium tomato = 5 to 6 ounces
1 large tomato = 7 or more ounces
1 pound of tomatoes = 2 1/2 cups chopped or 1 1/2 cups pulp

How to Choose a Tomato

Tomato season is June through August. The best tomatoes available for purchase are vine-ripened tomatoes. Unfortunately, these are the most perishable, which is a reason why most supermarkets purchase green tomatoes and allow them to ripen at the store. These, unfortunately, will NEVER have the flavor or texture of a vine-ripened tomato. Look for firm tomatoes, with no blemishes, a distinct tomato aroma, that gives slightly to pressure, and should be heavier than it appears.

Always store tomatoes at room temperature. They should NEVER be placed in a refrigerator or placed in direct sunlight.

You can ripen an unripe tomato by placing in a paper bag (pierced in several areas with a fork) with an apple. Keep at room temperature for a couple days (check occasionally).

Recipe: Cooking Tips and Cooking Timetables

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Cook Times


Test for doneness after minimum time given here. Cubed and sliced
vegetables will cook faster than whole. Parboiled (blanched) vegetables,
which will complete their cooking in sauce or butter, should be slightly
undercooked. All are best when they are still slightly crunchy.

Boiling and Steaming

Boil vegetables in lightly salted water to cover. Steam vegetables
in steaming rack or basket over 1-inch lightly salted boiling water.
All boiling (B) and steaming (S) times are in minutes. If there is
no time listed for a given method, then it is not recommended.

Vegetable B S
ARTICHOKE 20-30 25-35
spears 10-12 12-15
pieces 5-10 10-15
(add tips
for last 5 min)
green 8-15 10-15
lima (fresh) 20-25
BEETS 25-45
BROCCOLI 5-10 12-15
shredded 2-4 4-8
wedges 10-12 10-15
(simmer – DON'T BOIL)
sliced 15 18
whole 20-30 25-30
florets 9-12 12-15
whole 20-30 25-35
CORN-on-the-COB 3-5
EGGPLANT cubed 5-8
LEEKS (if large
halve lengthwise) 5-10 10-15
OKRA 5-10
or halved) 25-30
PEAS – green 4-10
quartered 20-30
sliced 15
SNOW PEAS 2-3 3-5
(steam without
basket or rack
in water
remaining on
washed leaves)
summer 8-15
winter 10-20 10-20
(simmer –
peeled 15
unpeeled 25
sliced 10-15 12-18
whole 20-30 25-35

Meat should be only slightly chilled before roasting. Since everyone
has a different definition of "rare" and "well done", test for
doneness possible and note satisfactory times. Let meat sit for 15
to 20 minutes after removing from oven to allow juices to settle
and meat to firm up. Internal temperature will rise by 10 F during
this time, so meat can be roasted to temperature lower than given.

Meat Oven Temp Meat Thermometer Approx Time
(F) Reading (in Per Pound (Min)
thickest part,
not touching

standing rib 325 F 140 F (rare) 18-20
160 F (medium) 22-25
170 F (well done) 27-30

Rolled Rib, 325 F 140 F (rare) 32-35
eye round, 160 F (medium) 35-38
chick, rump 170 F (well done) 40-45
Boned rolled 325 145 F (rare) 30-35
leg, shoulder 170 F (medium) 40-45
180 F (well done) 45-50
Crown Roast 425 F 140 F to 145 F (med) 10-12
for first 170 F (well) 20-25
15 min, then 325 F
Leg with bone 325 F 145 F (rare) 30-35
170 F (medium) 40
180 F (well done) 45-50

boned rolled 325 F 175 F 40-45
rump, shoulder
Rump with bone, 325 F 175 F 30-35
PORK (Fresh)
Boned rolled 325 F 175 F 40-45
Crown roast 325 F 170 F 35-40
Loin (centre) 325 F 175 F 35-40
PORK (Smoked)
HAM (uncooked)
Whole 325 F 160 F 18-20
Half 325 F 160 F 22-25
HAM (fully cooked)
Whole 325 F 130 F 10-15
Half 325 F 130 F 18-24
Picnic Shoulder 325 F 170 F 30-35


Meat broils best when it goes into the broiler at room temperature.

Meat Thickness (In) Approx Total Cooking Time
Rare Medium Well Done
Delmonico, Rib 1-1/2 10-15 15-20 20-25
2 15-20 20-25 25-30
Hamburger 1 6-10 15 20
Porterhouse 1 6-8 10-12 15-18
T-Bone 1 10-12 15-18 20-25
Sirloin 2 12-15 18-20 25-30
Tenderloin, 4-8 oz 8-10 15 15-20
Filet Mignon
Lamb or Beef 1" cubes 6-8 8-10 12-15
LAMB CHOPS 1 6-8 12 15
1-1/2 9-12 15 16-18
2 13-15 16-18 20-22
VEAL CHOPS 1/2 15-16
1 18-20
PORK CHOPS 1/2 15-20
1 20-25
halved or
quartered) 20-25


Poultry should be only slightly chilled before roasting. All should
be cooked to a thermometer reading of 180 F – 185 F. Chicken and
Duck can be seared for 15 minutes at 425 F, and total roasting time
reduced 5 to 10 minutes. Check for doneness by lifting the end of
the leg bone; drumstick should move easily in its socket. Poultry
is done when juices flow clear yellow, not pink; check by pricking
inner surface of drumstick near joint with fork. Let poultry rest
10 to 12 minutes before serving, except for turkey, which should
rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Fowl Weight Oven Temp Approx Cooking Time (Hr)
(Lb) (F) Stuffed Unstuffed
CAPON 5-8 325 F 2 to 2-1/2 1-3/4 to 2-1/4
1-1/2 to 2 350 F 1 to 1-1/4 3/4 to 1
2-1/2 to 3 350 F 1-1/4 to 1-1/4 1-3/4
3 to 4 350 F 1-1/2 to 2 1-1/2
CORNISH HEN 1 350 F 1-1/4 1
DUCK 4-5 350 F 2 to 2-1/4 1-1/2 to 1-3/4
TURKEY 6-8 325 F 2-1/4 to 2-3/4 2 to 2-1/4
8-12 325 F 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 2-1/4 to 3
12-16 325 F 3-1/2 to 5 3 to 4
16-20 325 F 5 to 6 4 to 5
20-24 325 F 6 to 8 5 to 6


Macaroni – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 2 cups

Noodles – uncooked 3 cups – cooked 4-1/2 cups

Quick oats – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 1 3/4 cups

Rice, long grain – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 3 cups

Pre-cooked rice – uncooked 1 cup, cooked 2 cups

Spaghetti – uncooked 7 ounce, cooked 4 cups

Recipe: Cooking Basics

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Item – This much – Equals this much

APPLES 1 medium 1 cup, sliced
(5-6 oz) 2/3 cup, grated
3 medium 1 heaping cup applesauce
(1 lb)

BANANAS 1 medium (4-7 oz) 1/3 to 1/2 cup, mashed

dried 1 lb, raw 7 cups, cooked
(2-1/2 cups)
green 1 lb 2 cups, cut

dry 1 slice bread 1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbs
soft 1 slice bread 1/2 to 3/4 cup, lightly
packed crumbs

MARGARINE 1 stick (1/4 lb) 1/2 cup
CABBAGE 1/2 lb 3 cups, shredded, packed

CARROTS 1 medium 1/3 to 1/2 cup, sliced
(about 3 oz) or diced
1/4 cup, grated, packed

CELERY 1 medium rib About 1/2 cup, sliced

grated 1 lb 5 cups, lightly packed
2 oz About 1/2 cup, lightly packed

COFFEE 1 lb 40 cups, brewed medium strength

CHOCOLATE 1 oz 1 square OR 2 heaping Tbsp
chocolate pieces

EGGS 5 large, 1 cup yolks and whites
6 medium
or 7 small

all purpose 1 lb 4 cups, lightly stirred
or sifted
cake 1 lb 4-1/2 cups, lightly
stirred or sifted

whole wheat 1 lb 3-3/4 cups, spooned into
measuring cups

HONEY 1 lb 1-1/3 cups

LEMON 1 medium 2 to 3 Tbsp juice
2 to 3 tsp grated peel

LIME 1 medium 1-1/2 to 2 Tbsp juice

MUSHROOMS 1 lb 5 cups, sliced

almonds 1 lb, in shells 2/3 cup, shelled
1 lb, shelled 3 cups
pecans 1 lb, in shells 1-1/4 cup, shelled
1 lb, shelled 4-1/4 cups
walnuts 1 lb, in shells 1-3/4 cup, shelled
1 lb, shelled 4-1/2 cups

ONIONS 1 medium 1/3 cup, sliced or diced
(about 3 oz)
1 lb 3 to 3-1/2 cups, sliced
or diced

ORANGE 1 medium 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice
1-1/2 to 2 Tbsp grated peel

macaroni 8 oz (2 cups, 4 cups, cooked
and uncooked)
noodles 8 oz (3 cups, 6 cups, cooked

PEAS, green 1 lb, in pod 1 cup, shelled

POTATOES 1 medium (about 1/2 cup, grated
4 oz)
1 lb 3-1/2 to 4 cups, sliced
or diced)

1 lb About 2 cups mashed

seedless 1 lb 3 cups

RICE 1 lb (any kind) 2 cups, raw
brown 1/4 cup, raw 1 cup, cooked
instant 1/2 cup, dry 1 cup, cooked
regular 1/3 cup, raw 1 cup, cooked
processed 1/4 cup, raw 1 cup, cooked

brown 1 lb 2-1/4 cups, packed
confectioners 1 lb 3-1/2 to 4 cups, unsifted
granulated 1 lb 2-1/4 cups
superfine 1 lb 2-1/3 cups

TOMATOES 1 lb 3 medium
1 lb About 1-1/2 cups,
chopped pulp

ZUCCHINI 1 medium 3/4 cup sliced
(5-6 oz) 1 cup, grated,
loosely packed

The following equivalents apply to all foods except
"pinch"–dry sub- stances only-and
"peck (pk)" and "bushel (bu)"-fruits and vegetables.
1 pinch 1/8 tsp or less
1-1/2 tsp 1/2 Tbsp
3 tsp 1 Tbsp
1/6 cup 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp
1/4 cup 4 Tbsp
1/3 cup 5 Tbsp + 1 tsp
3/8 cup 6 Tbsp
1/2 cup 8 Tbsp
2/3 cup 10 Tbsp + 2 tsp
3/4 cup 12 Tbsp
1 cup 16 Tbsp
4 cups 1 quart (qt)
8 quarts 1 peck (pk)
4 pk 1 bushel (bu)

1 dash 6 drops
24 drops 1/4 tsp
3 tsp 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp 1/2 fluid ounce (oz)
2 Tbsp 1 fluid oz
2 cups 16 fluid oz (1 pint)
3 Tbsp 1-1/2 fluid oz (1 jigger)
1/2 cup 4 fluid oz
16 Tbsp 1 cup
1 cup 8 fluid oz (1/2 pint)
2 pints 1 quart
4 quarts 1 gallon


Rectangular Cake Pans
8 x 8 x 2-inches deep 6 cups
9 x 9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 8 cups
9 x 9 x 2-inches deep 10 cups
13 x 9 x 2-inches deep 14 cups

Round Cake Pans
8 x 1-1/2-inches deep 4 cups
9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 6 cups

Pie Plates
8 x 1-1/4-inches deep 3 cups, level with top;
4 to 4-1/2 cups, mounded

9 x 1-1/2-inches deep 4 cups level with top;
5 to 6 cups, mounded

Loaf Pans
8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inches deep 6 cups
9 x 5 x 3-inches deep 8 cups

Food Yields and Equivalents

Convert from recipe measures to weights, cans or other shopping levels.
1 small yellow onion = 1/4 cup chopped
1 medium-small yellow onion = 1/2 cup chopped
1 medium yellow onion = 3/4 cup chopped
1 medium-large yellow onion = 1 cup chopped
1 large yellow onion = 1 1/2 cups chopped

1 small clove garlic = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced
1 medium-size clove garlic = 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced
1 large clove garlic = 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons minced

4 jumbo eggs = 1 cup
6 jumbo whites = 1 cup
12 jumbo yolks = 1 cup
4 Ex Lg eggs = 1 cup
6 Ex Lg whites = 1 cup
12 Ex Lg yolks = 1 cup
5 Lg eggs = 1 cup
7 Lg whites = 1 cup
14 Lg yolks = 1 cup
5 Med eggs = 1 cup
8 Med whites = 1 cup
16 Med yolks = 1 cup
6 Sm eggs = 1 cup
9 Sm whites = 1 cup
18 Sm yolks = 1 cup
5-6 whole EGGS = 1 cup
3 EGG whites = 1 dl
6 EGG yolks = 1 dl
8-10 EGG whites = 1 cup
1 EGG white = 2 tablespoons
12-14 EGG yolks = 1 cup

1/4 pound BUTTER or MARGARINE = 1/2 cup
1 pound cottage CHEESE = 2 cups
1 pound regular grind COFFEE = 4 1/2 to 5 cups

1 medium LEMON = 3 to 4 tablespoons juice
1 juice ORANGE = 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice

1 pound brown SUGAR = 2 1/4 packed
1 pound confectioners SUGAR, sifted = 3 1/2 cups
1 pound SUGAR = 2 1/4 cups

1 pound all purpose FLOUR = 4 cups sifted
1 pound cake FLOUR = 4 3/4 cups sifted
1 pound raw MACARONI = 4 cups uncooked
1 cup uncooked MACARONI = 2 1/4 cups cooked
1 pound uncooked NOODLES = 6 cups uncooked
1 cup uncooked NOODLES = 1 cup cooked
1 pound uncooked SPAGHETTI = 4 3/4 cups uncooked
1 cup uncooked SPAGHETTI = 2 cups cooked
1 pound uncooked OATMEAL = 1 3/4 cups cooked
1 pound raw RICE = 2 1/4 cups
1 cup uncooked RICE = 4 cups cooked
1 cup Minute/precooked RICE = 2 cups cooked

8 MARSHMALLOWS = 1 cup chopped
1 MARSHMALLOW = 10 miniature marshmallows
1 pound seeded RAISINS = 3 1/4 cups
1 pound pitted DATES = 2 1/2 cups
1 pound unpitted DATES = 1 3/4 cups chopped
1 pound NUT meats = 3 1/2 – 4 cups chopped
1 pound NUTS in shell = 2 cups shelled

1 pound raw MEAT = 2 cups cooked, diced or ground

1 pound fresh PEAS or LIMAS in shell = 1 cup shelled
1 cup dry navy BEANS = 2 1/3 cups cooked

potatoes, tomatoes, beets, turnips, apples, pears, peaches, 1 pound = 3 – 4 medium 1 pound cabbage equals 4 cups shredded cabbage.

Recipe: Batters, breadings, and coatings

|February 24, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Let’s talk a bit about batters, breadings and coatings.

First of all there are batters. Batters can have a thin consistency similar to light cream (as for crepes, blintzes, etc.); or they can be of a medium consistency such as pancake batter, or it can have a thicker consistency like waffle batter, also known as drop batter. There are some batters that are quite stiff.

Batters are a liquid mixture that is made from one or more flours and mixed with water, milk, or beer. Eggs can be added and as well as a leavening agent. Some batters are naturally fermented. These batters can be savory or they can be sweet. Some batters have herbs and spices added, some have sweeteners.

Some may have fruits or vegetables added to them.

Once these batters are heated through (either by frying, baking or steaming), the batter becomes solid.

As I previously said, batters make crepes, pancakes, waffles, Yorkshire puddings, fritters, doughnuts, hushpuppies, tempera, breads, cakes, cookies, and can also be used to coat meats, poultry, fish and seafood, and vegetables.

Breading is a dry coating used on vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish and soy made of breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, flours, cornmeal, and seasonings, etc. to add crunchiness and flavor to foods.

Many times breaded foods are fried or deep-fried, but breaded foods can also be baked. “Dry” foods may need to be dipped in beaten egg, milk, or buttermilk before coating so that the breading will stick to the food.

A little about breadings:
I’ve seen so many cooks not sure of what to do when a recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs or what to do if they are out of something. So I’ve put this together and I hope it helps!

Breading adds a nice crisp coating to fried foods. Most commonly breadcrumbs are used (dry, fresh, seasoned, panko, panko seasoned), but crumbs are also made from crackers, melba toast, breakfast cereals, matzohs, pretzels, potato chips, snack chips, and corn chips!

To use your crumbs properly when breading meats or seafood be sure to dry the pieces completely, dust with a light coating of flour and dip in a mixture of eggs mixed with a little milk or water (or even oil). Then dredge your pieces in the breading (which can be flavored with herbs and spices to your liking) and place in a single layer on a large platter or plate. Refrigerate for at least an hour before frying them for best results.

Dry breadcrumbs are made from very dry bread, and make for a crispy, crunchy coating for fried foods.

Soft (or fresh) breadcrumbs are made from bread that is not as dry thus resulting in a softer coating, crust or stuffing.

Just about any bread can be made into bread crumbs, but the best is made from crusty French or Italian bread.

If you are going to make your own breadcrumbs, use day old (I don’t like to use the word "stale" because I don’t believe in using anything that is stale! And with some of the white breads on the market – they are dated weeks ahead (which is something I do not believe in at all. I am used to seeing bread made each day in my house; and then to make crumbs out of day-old bread you knew what you were eating!) By no means should you use any bread that is moldy or ready to turn moldy! There is no call for things left around the counters, refrigerators, etc. until they need to be carbon-dated to figure out what they are!

Place your bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a 200*F. oven until slightly dry if you are making fresh (soft) bread crumbs; or very dry if you are making dry breadcrumbs. Allow bread to cool; process in a food processor using a steel blade to make coarse crumbs, or a grating blade to make fine crumbs. If desired, season with salt, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder and or lemon zest.

For 1 cup of dry bread crumbs you should use approximately 4 slices of bread (depending on the type of bread used).

For 1 cup of soft (fresh) breadcrumbs you should use approximately 3 slices of bread (again depending on the type of bread used).

Not only are breadcrumbs used for breadings (meat, fish, etc.), toppings (casseroles etc.) and fillers (meatloaf, meatballs, etc.) but can also be used for stuffings/dressings, thickening stews, etc.

For seafood it is nice to use a panko breadcrumb since the crumbs are larger and stay crisp longer.

No bread to make breadcrumbs and in a pinch?

Try cracker crumbs (¾ cup is equivalent to 1 cup bread crumbs), OR croutons (crushed), OR stuffing (crushed), OR cornflake crumbs, OR matzoh meal, OR other unsweetened cereal flakes, OR potato flakes, OR rice cakes, OR high fiber cereal.

Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese version of dry bread crumbs. The recipe, which is very easy, is this: The white panko is made from white bread with the crust removed, and the tan panko uses both the bread and the crust, you can also use whole wheat bread.

Start by trimming the crust off 4 white bread slices (to make 1 cup of fresh panko). Using a food processor, push the chunks through the shredding disk to make coarse crumbs (yes, Panko breadcrumbs are larger (coarser) than regular breadcrumbs and stay crunchier. Many prefer these over regular breadcrumbs.

Spread crumbs on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 300* F.  oven for 6 to 8 minutes – taking the time to shake the sheet a couple times during the drying process.

NOTE: The crumbs should be DRY, NOT toasted, and they should NOT be brown.


1 cup plain, dry breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

Combine; store airtight in pantry.

Since we’re talking about "crumbs" here’s a few more notes I would like to share:

Cake crumbs are easily made by crumbling leftover cake (without the frosting of course!), pound cake or even a store bought pound cake.

In a pinch? In most recipes you can substitute breadcrumbs.

Chocolate wafer crumbs are easily made by crumbling store-bought chocolate wafers. I think the most popular ones are the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. In a pinch? Substitute crushed Oreo cookies (filling and all) by using your food processor with a metal blade OR you can use vanilla wafers OR you can use graham cracker crumbs.

Coating mixes are great to have around. Not only do they make your meal special, but they add that flavor and/or crunchiness as well. Coatings work well on fish, seafood, chicken, beef and pork and well as many veggies. Making your own and keeping them in your pantry save time.

In a pinch?

Substitute corn flake crumbs (flavor with salt, paprika, onion powder, pepper, etc.) OR bread crumbs OR cracker crumbs.
Cornbread crumbs are nothing more than crumbled cornbread and work well used for stuffings/dressings or to bread poultry or fish. If using a homemade cornbread that you made, be sure to cool completely before crumbling.

In a pinch?

Use breadcrumbs.

Cornflake crumbs are just crushed cornflakes which work well as a coating for meat and fish or as a topping for casseroles. These can be purchased already crushed or you can crush your own. Approximately 3 cups of cornflakes will make 1 cup crushed cornflakes. The easiest way is to place cornflakes in a plastic bag and crush them yourself by hand or by using a rolling pin or heavy skillet.

In a pinch?

Substitute breadcrumbs (dry and fine) OR panko crumbs OR cornmeal OR cracker meal OR crushed Melba toast (add a bit of oil to these) OR breakfast cereal flakes OR corn chips (crushed) OR coating mix OR crushed pretzels.

Cracker meal is nothing more than crushed crackers; usually used for breading meat and fish. Cracker crumbs give a nice crispy, crunchy coating. You can buy these already crushed or you can crush your own by placing crackers in a plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin.

In a pinch?

Substitute bread crumbs OR panko crumbs OR matzo meal OR cornflake crumbs.

Farfel is a term used by Jewish cooks referring to matzo or noodles that have been broken into small pieces.

In a pinch?

Substitute egg barley OR cracker meal OR crushed crunchy chow mein noodles.

Gingersnap crumbs are primarily used for pie crusts and to use as a sprinkling on top of desserts. These can be purchased or you can make your own by crushing gingersnaps.

In a pinch?

Substitute graham cracker crumbs OR chocolate wafer crumbs OR vanilla wafer crumbs.

Graham cracker crumbs make a terrific pie crust or crust for a cheesecake. These can also be purchased in the supermarket or you can crush your own. About 14 crackers will make 1 cup of crumbs.

In a pinch?

Substitute vanilla wafer crumbs (NOTE: these are sweeter so you may have to adjust your sugar in the recipe) OR chopped nuts (if using nuts 1 ½ cups chopped nuts and 1/8 cup sugar will equal 1 cup graham cracker crumbs and 1 cup sugar) OR chocolate wafer crumbs OR zwieback crumbs.

Matzo (matzoh) meal is used primarily by Jewish families during Passover for making pancakes, matzo balls, etc. Supermarkets carry matzo cake meal which is just a finer grind of matzo meal. You can easily make your own by grinding broken matzos in the food processor using a steel blade; grind into a coarse flour. About 3 matzos will make 1 cup matzo meal.

In a pinch?

Use bread crumbs OR cracker crumbs.
Panko bread crumbs – information is above.

Stuffing – dressing – stuffing croutons are usually used for stuffing (or dressing) in your bird. Stuffing goes in the bird and dressing is cooked in a casserole. Croutons are usually small bread cubes or shredded pieces of bread that have been dried. You can purchase bags of this in the supermarket but for a fresh-tasting stuffing or dressing, it is best to make your own. Just slice your bread into ¼-inch cubes and place on baking sheet; bake at 300* F. until crisp and dry.

In a pinch?

Substitute coarse bread crumbs OR croutons OR cornbread crumbs (softer consistency) OR rice OR potatoes.

Vanilla wafer crumbs are usually used to make pie crusts. Simply made by placing in a plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin. It should take about 22 cookies to make 1 cup of crumbs – but I have noticed lately that they are making the cookies smaller!

In a pinch?

Use graham cracker crumbs OR chocolate wafer crumbs OR Oreo cookies (crush filling and all using a metal blade in your food processor and remember to omit additional sugar if the recipe calls for it in your crust recipe) OR crushed gingersnaps.

When coating foods they need to be dredged (pulled through dry ingredients) in order to coat before cooking.

When coating foods, the coating acts as a barrier that not only keeps the foods from sticking to the pan as it cooks, but also gives the exterior of the food that nice crunch and golden goodness we all enjoy, while preventing the texture of the food from becoming tough.

When dredging foods, the foods should be lightly dried by patting with paper towels – removing any excess moisture. The foods should be dredged evenly, coating all sides so that the foods will have a even golden brown appearance. Do not let the foods sit too long after dredging or it will become soggy, which effects the appearance and taste as well as effecting the cooking process.

Foods can also be coated by placing the coating in a large plastic bag, adding a few pieces of food at a time. Some prefer to use paper bags to do the job. There is no rule as to which is better – just be sure that the bag you use is intended for contact with food. Many times bags contain dyes, glues, or other harmful chemicals that may be absorbed by the food.

And of course, I have a post (from my soapbox) about plastic bags and foods.

Recipe: Food measurements –

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen


The following equivalents apply to all foods except
"pinch"–dry substances only-and
"peck (pk)" and "bushel (bu)"-fruits and vegetables.

1 pinch = 1/8 tsp or less
1-1/2 = tsp 1/2 Tbsp
3 tsp = 1 Tbsp
1/6 cup = 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp
1/4 cup = 4 Tbsp
1/3 cup = 5 Tbsp + 1 tsp
3/8 cup = 6 Tbsp
1/2 cup = 8 Tbsp
2/3 cup = 10 Tbsp + 2 tsp
3/4 cup = 12 Tbsp
1 cup = 16 Tbsp
4 cups = 1 quart (qt)
8 quarts = 1 peck (pk)
4 pk = 1 bushel (bu)



1 dash = 6 drops
24 drops = 1/4 tsp
3 tsp = 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp = 1/2 fluid ounce (oz)
2 Tbsp = 1 fluid oz
2 cups = 16 fluid oz (1 pint)
3 Tbsp = 1-1/2 fluid oz (1 jigger)
1/2 cup = 4 fluid oz
16 Tbsp = 1 cup
1 cup = 8 fluid oz (1/2 pint)
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon

Recipe: Butter or margarine – which is better for baking?

|February 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Butter or margarine??? Which is better for baking?

I have a lot of people asking me questions about baking with butter and margarine and shortening and oils. Today I will tackle the butter versus margarine questions.

“Family recipes that had been made for generations are not turning out“…… which is what most are saying.
Of course they aren’t.

How about if we take a step back in time.
Most likely your grandmother or great-grandmother used lard in her baking.

During the war, oleo was popular. You got a little packet of a yellow colored powdered substance that you had to knead into the oleo to make it yellow.

Then margarine came around.
Butter is an edible emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt – made from the churning of cream; used as a spread as well as in baking and cooking. Basically made from dairy and salt.

Margarine was the inexpensive alternative to butter – made from oil or a combination of oils through a process called hydrogenation which helps the animal fats/vegetable oils emulsify (corn oils, sunflower oils, soybean oils, etc.) Years ago – it was primarily made from beef fat – known as oleo fat or “oleo“ especially during WWII when butter was scarce as well as expensive and oleo was the best substitute. At first oleo was made from beef fat, and then it was supplemented by pork and other animal fats as well as vegetables oils – coconut oil, olive oil, and cottonseed oil.

Margarine is to be at least 80% fat, derived from animal fats or vegetable oils, or the blend of the two. Approximately 17% is liquid – either pasteurized skim milk, water or soybean protein fluid. The remaining percentage is salt which is added for flavor. During World War I coconut oil was favored; in the 1930’s, cottonseed oil was used; in the 1950’s, soy was used.

In the 1960’s tub margarine and vegetable oil spreads were starting to hit the markets – and it’s been down hill since. The animal fats have been eliminated in most cases and now margarine is no longer the margarine we know from years ago. The processes they have come up with for making margarine have changed dramatically – it’s more of a chemical process than a food process – number one reason we stick to butter.



I’ve got an interesting article for you to read:

Pass the butter ~ ~ ~ ~ This is interesting.

DO YOU KNOW…the difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of! butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!
Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.


! And now, for Margarine….

Very high in trans fatty acids.

Triple risk of coronary heart disease.

Increases! total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.

Lowers quality of breast milk.

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact…. HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..

This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

You can try this yourself:
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?


Years ago we were able to buy "real" margarine that you could easily substitute for butter in any recipe. Times have changed, everything is different, now the government has their nose in everything that has trans-fats or fats in it. Oils are used – making up well over 65% of the margarines made today.

That is the reason we are butter people in my house.

That plus the fact that margarine is one step away from becoming plastic.
You cannot bake with today's so-called margarines and have anything turn out the way you want.

Depending on the recipe – if baking – you can use applesauce in place of fats – or you can just use butter in place of margarine.

Whatever our opinion is on the above article – it’s your opinion. I really didn’t need that article to say that I prefer butter – and that I prefer it even more now because of the change in margarines.

I used to be able to find a decent margarine up till about 8 to 10 years ago. It held up well in cooking and baking – but as all things – it changed and is no longer as good as it was.

I don’t do spreads or soft margarines – I don’t need more over-processed foods in my system.

Yes, I realize that butter is more expensive, but it does give the results you want.

And, I still enjoy making my own butter – it’s so simple and it is so good. Sometimes I make it lightly salted; sometimes I make it unsalted. If making salted, I add the salt at the very end – I want that buttermilk for baking! I look for heavy cream on sale and then I make my butter.

A few years ago I lucked out – if you want to call it that. I went grocery shopping and of course, I needed heavy cream. To my disappointment, all the cream (and there was a lot of it!) was going to expire in 2 days. Here I am standing in front of the dairy cooler looking at dozens of pints of heavy cream – all with the same date. Sure, they say you can still use a dairy product 7 days after the expiration date but why should I chance it? I don’t believe it and I am not about to find out if it’s true.

Lucky for me – the manager was having a walk-through with the big heads from the main office. No better time to approach him in front of his bosses and ask if they have any heavy cream in stock that is not going to expire the next day. It did not go over too well – and the whole entourage waltzed into the cooler to check it out. There was absolutely NONE and I needed 4 pints to make my butter for a dinner I was having.
One of the heads asked what I needed it for – and I told him. He asked me if I make butter often (which I do) and he asked if I ever freeze it. Which I do. So he made me an offer I could not refuse! Each pint I bought (took off their hands) they would give to me for TEN CENTS EACH! They were kind enough to stack them neatly in a crate and carry them to the register for me and inform the cashier that I was to pay a dime for each because of the date.

The cashier had no idea what I was doing with it – but she did say – I hope you use it all before tomorrow is over with! I sure did. I made butter for my dinner and I froze the rest. I used the buttermilk for biscuits for my dinner and I also baked other goodies with it. All that for $3.50 – that’s right – 35 pints of heavy cream at ten cents each.

The store was glad to get rid of it – I was glad to have it. What can I say? I still check out the dates on the heavy cream when shopping – hoping for another break.


The Tollhouse Chocolate Chip recipe has been popular for decades! Many make the cookies and they just “schmooz” all over the tins. It’s the margarine. Use butter – you’ll get better results.



Some butter notes:

Butter Measurements:
1/4 stick = 1/16 lb = 1/8 cup=2 tbsp = 6 tsp = 28 grams
1/2 stick = 1/8 lb = 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp = 12 tsp =57 grams
1 stick = 1/4 lb = 1/2 cup = 8 tbsp = 24 tsp = 113 grams
2 sticks = 1/2 lb = 1 cup = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp = 227 grams
3 sticks = 3/4 lb = 1-1/2 cups = 24 tbsp = 72 tsp = 340 grams
4 sticks = 1 lb = 2 cups = 32 tbsp = 96 tsp = 454 grams



How to clarify butter:

It's the milk solids in butter that cause it to brown and burn. Remove them and you've got clear, golden oil.

To clarify butter, melt it in a small saucepan over very low heat. Let stand, off the heat, until the white milk solids sink to the bottom of the melted butter.
Carefully pour off the liquid butter and strain through damp cheesecloth.
Store in refrigerator in a covered jar.



Making ghee (used in Indian cooking):
Usli Ghee

In a large frying pan, melt 1 pound unsalted butter over very low heat; this should take about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium. White foam will begin to form on the surface and the butter will start to crackle.
This indicates that the moisture is beginning to leave the milk solids. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring.
When the moisture is completely gone, the crackling will stop and the foam will subside.
Using a wooden spatula, stir the liquid constantly until the butter solids begin to brown. Immediately turn off the heat and let the brown residue settle to the bottom.
When the melted butter is cool, pour the clear liquid into a jar through a double layer of cheesecloth.
One pound of unsalted butter will yield 1 1/2 cups of usli ghee. Ghee will keep in a well-sealed jar for about 2 months at room temperature and 5 months in the refrigerator.


And do I still use lard? Yes I do. But throughout the years – even that has changed!