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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #158

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.


Did you know that in some circles today is National Pumpkin Pie Day? In honor of that day and because I love you guys, before doing anything else, I'm going to share my favorite recipe with you:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

This is the pie I made for my younger daughter when she opted for a vegan diet (no eggs or dairy). Even though she is no longer vegan, I've kept the recipe because it's easy, and it tastes great!


  • 1 can (16 ounces) pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 package (10–12 ounces) soft tofu, processed in a blender until smooth (Don't use "low fat" tofu.)
  • 1 9-inch pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Cream the pumpkin and sugar together. Add salt, spices, and blended tofu; mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350˚F and bake for another 40 minutes.
  4. Chill and serve.
Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie

Are You Ready?

Let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Cooking Terms

Two weeks ago our friend Eric Dierker asked for help with understanding cooking terminology. Last week, I took us from aerate to dredge. Let's decipher a few more cooking/baking terms.

Dust - To sprinkle food with dry ingredients. Use a strainer, or try the good, old-fashioned way of shaking things together in a paper bag.

Flambe' - To flame foods by dousing in some form of potable alcohol and setting alight. If you have any notion of performing this (and honestly, it achieves amazing flavors and results, and is a dramatic presentation if you have an admiring audience), PLEASE go to YouTube to learn how to safely do this. Please use caution. I’ve seen people sacrifice their eyebrows doing this. In fact, I have never attempted it and probably will never do so because I'm ridiculously short which puts my face and hair waaaay too close to those flames.

Fold - To incorporate a delicate substance, such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites, into another substance without releasing the air bubbles. Place your rubber scraper in the center of the bowl. Next, cut down through across the bottom of bowl, and move the scraper up and toward you to the edge of the bowl. Rotate the bowl a bit, and do it again. And again, what you are trying to achieve is to bring the contents at the bottom of the bowl up to the surface where the whipped cream or beaten eggs are hovering.

Juliene - To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips.

Knead - To work and press dough with the palms of your hands to develop the gluten in the flour.

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Leaven – To cause dough or batter to rise, lightening its texture and increasing its volume by adding egg whites, baking powder, baking soda, and/or yeast.

OK, let's take a break. I'll provide another set of cooking actions next week.

Help Me Adapt This Meaty Recipe for Vegans

By the way, I stumbled on a thing showing a baked potato rosette where they rolled slices of potato in bacon, put it into a cupcake pan, and baked them. They came out looking so good I wanted to try it...without the bacon of course. So I thought maybe rolling the potato slices in thin strips of zucchini but wouldn't the zucchini become mush before the potatoes were cooked? Then I thought maybe I should use strips of rice paper but I just haven't had the gumption or the time to try it yet. Tell me what you think. Should I just forgo the bacon-type binding at the bottom altogether and bake them with just a bit of oil in the cupcake pan? I'd love your opinion.

Wow Denise that does sound really good! For those who want the recipe, here's the link.

But if, like Denise, you don't want to eat bacon I have several options:

  • Potato rose without bacon: Turns out you really don't need that bacon at all. Use Yukon gold potatoes sliced very thin with a mandoline. Coat with olive oil and seasoning, roll up and bake in greased muffin cups. Don't worry, there's a video to show you exactly how to do it.
  • Carrot rose: Denise, perhaps the artist in you wants even more. You can use the same concept and create carrot roses. Use rainbow carrots for even more color. This recipe as written uses Parmesan to "glue" the carrot slices together. That's not a problem either. Here's a recipe for vegan Parmesan too.
  • Zucchini bread roses: Thin slices of zucchini are rolled up in strips of yeast dough and then baked in muffin cups. These would be so pretty for a brunch or shower.

Storing Leftover Cooked Beans

"Can you believe it, just yesterday I threw the white bean liquid down the drain. I considered putting it in my soup but it tasted like there was vinegar in it. I didn't read the label though so I'm not sure.

Because I am cooking for one, cooking beans seems to leave me with way too many if I cook a whole pot. Can I freeze cooked beans?"

Mary, I have good news. Yes, you absolutely can freeze cooked beans. And why wouldn't everyone? They're much less expensive than canned beans, cooking a large pot of beans doesn't take any more time than cooking just a small batch. And, since you can freeze them, think of how much time you'll be saving. You can feel absolutely virtuous!

Here's a link with step-by-step instructions for soaking, cooking, and bagging those cooked beans for storage in the freezer. In case you were wondering, beans will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

They're Back! This Time Playing Shogi

Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 18, 2020:

Bug-egged, that's a really good question. Monday's edition of the Q&A is already written, but I'll have a answer for you in a week, OK?

Bug-egged on October 18, 2020:

I steamed a gorgeous head of broccoli that I grew in my own garden and was thoroughly disgusted to find that when it was done cooking I had a ton of cooked worms that had come out of the broccoli head. I had washed and looked it over. I'm grossed out and almost afraid to eat broccoli ever again. How do I keep this from happening? HELP!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 17, 2020:

Eric, you've given me plenty to tackle here, and I will not on Monday, but the following week. Have a good weekend my dear friend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 17, 2020:

Linda, I need advice from a master. No hurry and no worry. But how do you tell a beloved cook that his stuff tastes bad like he felt he had to make it and not like he was into it. No flare and no pizzazz. Can a dish be depressing?

And I have seen some stuff on differing Tofu is this covered well someplace. I get different uses but different kinds elude me and I like mine like meat.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 16, 2020:

I do have a mandeline but I didn't peel the potatoes. I like the skins normally but with this recipe, I think the skins made it harder to cut in the end.



Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 16, 2020:

Denise, do you own a mandeline? The next time I'm feeling brave and ambitious I'll whip out mine, thinly slice some potatoes, and give this recipe a test drive.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 16, 2020:

I tried the potato rosettes and they looked wonderful but were very hard to cut. They were crunchy on top and soft in the middle. They were pretty, though. Thanks so much for your research.



Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 13, 2020:

Good morning MizB. I prefer the tofu pumpkin pie over the "regular" version, and to me it doesn't taste "tofu-y" at all. Your potato sounds very much like the way my sister would prepare potatoes (I had a sister 26 years older than me who stayed home and took care of the house and me while mom went to work. Yes, that's another story for another day). Which reminds me that I need to dust of that recipe and do that for my family.

OK, I really don't have a personal editor, but there is one editor on HP who moves my articles to the niche site Delishably. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the ability to comment in niche sites will be restored and they aren't just blowing smoke.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 12, 2020:

The pumpkin pie recipe was surprising, Linda, because I thought it would call for coconut milk. I substituted tofu in a cheesecake years ago because I reacted to the regular cheese in the recipe. The tofu contributed a taste that I didn’t like, but I suppose the pumpkin could override it. Your baked potato roses are very pretty. Here’s my suggestion (well, you asked, LOL): Back when I was a single mom and often couldn’t afford aluminum foil for baking potatoes in the oven, I would slice each potato in half lengthwise and slather each piece in margarine. Next I laid the halves cut side down in my largest flat corning ware “skillet” also pre-greased with margarine, replaced the lid and baked the potatoes. We really liked them fixed that way. Thanks for the great suggestions.

What! You have your own editor? Lucky you. I'm an editor, and I don't even have an editor. I don't like the niche sites either. :)

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Audrey, you are so welcome. And, never fear. My Q&A series will never (and I mean NEVER) migrate to a niche site. My editor absolutely detests them. They will always be here for you (and everyone else). (BTW speaking of Mr. Bill, his birthday is tomorrow).

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Mary, truth be told my favorite part of the pie is the crust, so I'd be a happy gal to have some of your pie.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 12, 2020:

How great it is to find your recipe for vegan pumpkin pie! I'm over-the-moon happy. (In spite of Bill's objection :) Ah, well, you gotta love this man and God knows I wouldn't be as far as I am on my book without him. He's so awesome

I'm also tickled to learn that I can freeze my cooked beans. Thanks for the link. And glad I caught this article before it moved to the Delishably site. I miss not being able to comment!

Mary Wickison from USA on October 12, 2020:

We have pumpkins available year round here, which is good. Last week I made the filling and cooked it on the stove top. For some reason I made way too little filling and my pie crust looked absurd half full. The taste was still good.

Those potato rosettes look amazing!

Great news about the beans. I'll get some soaking tonight.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Denise, it's my pleasure. The happy part of this "gig" is being able to help others. Have a blessed day.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 12, 2020:

Thank you so much for the potato rosette recipe. I'm so glad to find I can do that without the bacon and can even do it with zucchini and carrots. This will be fun. You are the best. Oh, and thanks for the vegan pumpkin pie recipe. I'm saving that one for sure!



Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 12, 2020:

No, Linda, I haven't. I have no reason to omit or substitute eggs and/or dairy from my diet.

Ann Carr from SW England on October 12, 2020:

Good question! I think it's because they have a captive audience, or am I just a cynic?


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Good morning Shauna. Yes, the bean liquid (fabulous aquafaba) can be frozen also. Have you toyed with turning it into cool stuff like meringue?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Bill, thanks for hanging in there, despite the questionable intro.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Eric, I'm no master, but I'll share what I know.

Honestly, I can't imagine eating totally plant-based foods either. I love my chicken.

Mr. Carb and I also have scaled back our shopping trips to once per week. As there are just three of us (and our daughter is an itty-bitty little thing, not a growing 10-year old boy) we can pretty much make it from one Sunday to the next with our produce shopping.

I can help you with those 7 curry spices and how to make them meld and blend together. Same place same time next week, OK?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Pamela, I have no problem with your choice of potatoes with bacon. In my Heaven, there will always be bacon.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Dear John, please put away the flame thrower. If you don't cook with gas, just use a long match as you would for lighting a lantern LOL.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Ann, pumpkins show up around Halloween here as well. But many of the hard squashes (the ones with a thick skin, not zucchini) are interchangeable and those are available year-round (at least here in the States).

There will be another batch of cooking terms (not all terms, but the "action verbs") next week.

Yes, gluten-free and dairy-free are more pricey. Why does it cost more to remove something?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on October 12, 2020:

Flourish, I hadn't even thought of purple potatoes. Where I live they are ridiculously expensive, so I've never tried them. I don't know if they are a starchy potato (like russets) or waxy (like red potatoes). And I don' t know which of those two works best for these recipes (or if it even matters). So many questions. If you get a chance to try them out in one of these recipes, please let me know. I'd love to learn the outcome. I'm always looking for new (stunningly beautiful) foods to create for my vegetarian daughter when she visits.

Thanks, and have a great day. I'll have another article tomorrow.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 12, 2020:

Linda, all of those potato roses look yummy. And they're so pretty!

I love pumpkin pie and bake one or two every year for Thanksgiving. I love the way the house smells while they're baking.

I've never thought about cooking and freezing beans; I always have dry beans in my pantry. It's a great idea, though. The sodium level can be controlled that way. I would imagine the bean liquid can be frozen as well for those who use it in vegan recipes.

And as always, love the kitties!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2020:

You almost lost me with the vegan pumpkin pie. lol But we're friends, so I soldiered through. :)

Stay dry and have a fantastic week, Linda! I'm a bit waterlogged from yesterday.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 12, 2020:

And here I though Julienne was a fancy dish. I assumed fold was like in omelets. The language of cooking is so fascinating when told by a master.

I cannot even imagine being a Vegan but your recipes in that regard have me rethinking it. We just don't get all the fresh veggies these days like I used to shopping every other day. Not that we are whining as no one has a reason to be skinny in this house.

Now I get the idea of 7 Indian spices and I love curry. What can a simpleton like me do to it right. Mine just tastes like 7 spices.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2020:

You probably would not like my opinion as I would not make the poatoes without the bacon. I am not a big fan of zucchini, so LOL.

The definitions have been interesting and I never thought about freezing beans, so that is good to know. I hope you have a very good week, Linda.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 12, 2020:

I love the look of those baked potato roses etc. I have never tried to do flambé yet, though I have got a small butane flame thrower especially for it. Maybe one day. Thanks for sharing, Linda.

Ann Carr from SW England on October 12, 2020:

Pumpkin isn't at all common in England, except around Hallowe'en, then just for hollowing out and making faces, with candles inside. We don't tend to eat it much. However, I've noticed them becoming more common these days. I do like the flavour.

Good idea to include cooking terms. I'm pleased to say I knew most of these! Those potato roses look yummy too!

Good to have gluten and dairy free recipes as both my daughters and my oldest granddaughter have allergies. It's easier to find ingredients these days but they remain more expensive.

As always, feeling hungry after reading your hub, Linda!


FlourishAnyway from USA on October 11, 2020:

Those potato rosettes are beautiful. Since there are purple potatoes I bet you could get really creative with this!

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