Archive for the 'Q & A' Category

Recipe: Batter staying on veggies –

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Here is a copy of a PM I received – and instead of answering in another PM – I decied to post i here for all to see –

"Mama –

Can you please tell me how to keep the batter on my veggies when I fry them? It always seems to fall off!"

A common problem!

First, make sure your veggies are dry – meaning – wipe any excess water from washing/rinsing or any moisture that may be on them.

Second, make sure your batter is thick enough – thin batters do not stick. Make sure that after dipping your veggies in batter you allow the excess to drip off.

If you want to help a batter to stick you can toss your veggies in a bit of flour or rice flour (lightly) to help the batter stick.

Some have found that placing veggies on a tray and placing in the freezer to freeze before frying helps. By allowing them to "sit" for a while will help breadings and batters to stick on many foods – veggies, fruits, meats, fish, etc. 15 – 30 minutes should do it.

Some batter recipes will stick better than others. For instance – you can make a batter that will stick by using chick pea flour and water. The chick pea flour will absorb the water to the point that you will have to add more!

Always make sure what you are coating is dry, if dipping in flour first, be sure to shake off excess.

If using a deep fryer basket – place the pieces in individually so that they do not clump together – that will help. Even if using a pan or pot ont he stove top – place pieces in individually.

Some feel that tempura batters work much better.

Here are two if you would like to try them – both are good for veggies, fish, meats, etc.

Tempura Batter
3/8 cup Flour
1/8 cup Cornstarch
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg White
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Water
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Dip fish fillets in flour and coat each side, then dip in fish in batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Place fried fish on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve hot.

Tempura Batter
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Water
1 Egg

Mix cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in bowl. Stir in water and egg and mix until smooth. Dip fish pieces, shrimp, or even raw vegetables in batter and deep fry until crispy brown. When dipping shrimp, hold by tail and dip only the body. This makes for good presentation leaving the shrimp's red tail exposed.

Another thing that I do – if "holding" breaded or battered cooked foods in an oven at 200* F. to keep warm while finishing the rest of the cooking – I make sure that I place these foods on racks set on a baking tray. This way the coating does not stick to the baking pan and stays on the food!

I hope this helps!

Recipe: Now we’re talkin’………………

|June 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –

don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"

A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"

A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"

A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"

A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"

A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.

I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!

Slumps are similar to grunts except they are baked (or cooked on the stove top) uncovered instead of steamed. Called a slump because when it is served it has a tendency to slump in the dish.
 

Grunts are fruits (usually berries) cooked beneath a biscuit or dumpling dough. Grunts are steam cooked. They got their name from the sounds of the berries cooking.
 

Brown Betty is a baked pudding dessert made from fruit.
 

Pandowdy is made with pastry or bread dough covering fruits with the dough baked either separately from the fruit and added during the baking time or part way through baking it is removed from the oven and the dough is scored and pressed into the fruit and returned to the oven to finish baking. The dough is crisp and crumbly.
 

A buckle is made from cake batter topped with berries and a streusel type topping. The fruit and topping sink into the cake as it bakes. Sometimes the berries are folded in the batter.
 

A crumble is a dessert with crumb topping made from flour, sugar, and butter that is sprinkled over sliced fruit and when baked gives a crispy, crumbly topping.
 

A crisp is made using fruit as the bottom layer and a topping consisting of oatmeal, nuts, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter making a more granular topping than a crumble.
 

A cobbler is a deep dish fruit dessert with a thick biscuit or pie dough crust – similar to pie but the crust is thicker. Few recipes call for the crust to be on the bottom.
 
 
Hope this helps to clarify it for you!

Recipe: Q & A

|February 21, 2011|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –


don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

 


Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"


A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

 


Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"


A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

 


Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"


A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

 


Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"


A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

 


Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"


A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.


I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!