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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #162

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

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On Accepting Defeat with Dignity

“I will remember this, thought Ender, when I am defeated. To keep dignity, and give honor where it’s due, so that defeat is not disgrace.” –Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

“Somewhere in the world, there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.” –John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and Hib Noble Knights

“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” –Muhammad Ali.

Let's Begin

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.

How To Keep Bread from Molding

Here's a question from Eric.

"This may be an odd question that popped into my head. How do you keep bread from molding rather than just going stale?"

Eric, if you are having a problem with bread getting moldy, it might be because you live in a very warm climate (I can't relate).

  • Store your bread in the freezer. Yes, I know this might be a pain in the keister, but doing so will keep your bread fresh and tasty. (Of course, you'll want to slice it first if it isn't pre-sliced).
  • When I was growing up we had a bread box. Believe it or not, those things really work. They provide just enough air circulation but keep the humidity down. Don't wrap the bread (ditch the plastic bag). Put your loaf directly in the box.
  • Avoid plastic. Plastic bags keep in (too much) moisture. If you don't have a breadbox a paper bag or a clean kitchen towel will work.
  • Don't store your bread in the refrigerator. (Yes I know that many people do, but it's not good for the bread.)

What About a Vegetable Cobbler?

Last week I published an article on warm fruit desserts—crisps, slumps, and cobblers. That prompted the following question from Eric:

"I just cannot see one of these as something we cannot do. Now I get crisp and cobbler. I tend toward those instead of pies. How come there are not vegetable cobblers?"

Eric, that isn't a new concept. Savory cobblers are great. In a way, you do that whenever you make a pot of stew and bake biscuits on top. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Savory Bacon Tomato Cobbler: Place thick slices of fresh tomatoes in the bottom of your casserole dish. Cover with cooked crisp bacon, onion, garlic, and sharp Cheddar cheese. Drop biscuits on top and back for one hour.
  • Mushroom Cobbler: This is my recipe, savory, vegetarian, and topped with crumbled biscuits.
  • Cabernet-Braised Short Rib and Chanterelle Cobbler: Here's a savory cobbler for when you are in the mood to pull out all the stops and prepare a stunning dinner for family or friends.
  • Collard Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits: For my Southern (or Southern food-loving) friends, this savory cobbler holds collard greens and Andouille sausage.
  • Buffalo Chicken Cobbler: Chunks of tender chicken simmered in a creamy sauce tinged with Buffalo hot sauce, topped with blue cheese biscuits.

I hope these give you some inspiration.

One More Apple Brown Betty Recipe

Last week I published an article on warm fruit desserts. That prompted this comment from Doris (aka MizBejabbers):

"Mmm, mmm, did you ever hit the nail on the head this week, Linda. They all sound so delicious. I'm going to have to confess my ignorance here. I went to the most fortunate elementary school in the world. The two lunchroom cooks were big members of the county Home Demonstration Club, and could they cook! One of my favorite desserts was their Apple Brown Betty, or at least that's what they called it. They used graham cracker crumbs. After I grew up and wanted to make one of my own, I simply couldn't find their recipe. LOL I've never made one using bread or cake crumbs. I just don't think bread crumbs could hold a candle to their graham cracker crumbs. The blueberry brown Betty sounds like sheer heaven to me, too, but so do the other recipes you list."

Apple Brown Betty with Graham Cracker Crumbs

Apple Brown Betty with Graham Cracker Crumbs

MizB, unfortunately, my memories of school lunchroom fare are not as idyllic as yours. Your description of the apple dessert with graham cracker crumbs sounds blissful, and so just for you, I found a recipe that just might be the ticket. Here's the link.

And, since you need a gluten-free option, I did my research and found that gluten-free grahams are available at most grocery stores. If you can't find them in your area, here's a recipe from Bob's Red Mill so that you can make your own gluten-free graham crackers. Actually, they look so much better than the kind you buy in a box, you might just want to bake up a batch.

Cooking Terms

In the past few weeks, I've been providing an alphabetical listing of cooking terms—not all, just the action verbs, the things we do in the kitchen. Here's a new list for you today:

Saute: To cook and/or brown food in a small amount of hot fat.

Scald: To heat milk to just below the boiling point, until bubbles form at the edge.

Score: To make lengthwise gashes or slits partway through the outer layer of food to tenderize and/or form a decorative pattern. (Consider the diamond pattern typically cut in the fat side of a ham, and then stuffed with whole cloves).

Sear: To brown the surface of food, usually meat, quickly over high heat to seal in juices.

Sift: To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter.

Simmer: To cook slowly in liquid over low heat at a temperature of about 180°. The surface of the liquid should be barely moving, broken from time to time by slowly rising bubbles.

Skim: To remove impurities, whether scum or fat, from the surface of a liquid during cooking, thereby resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final produce.

Steep: To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in water just below the boiling point.

Stir-Fry: A high-heat cooking method often associated with Asian cooking where ingredients are cooked in a small amount of hot oil while continually being stirred. Stir-fries are often prepared in a cooking vessel called a wok but you can stir fry in a frying pan.

Sweat: To cook slowly over low heat in butter, usually covered, without browning.

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.

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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: lindalum52@gmail.com.

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

Comments

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 10, 2020:

Hi Abby. Yes, it certainly happens, and it's such a disappointment (especially if you paid an extreme price for it at the bakery). I'm working on finding a pattern for sewing one's own linen bread sack.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Lakshmi. I hope you have a great week.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 10, 2020:

Doris MizB you are so very sweet. I hope the recipe lives up to your expectations. I look forward to your comments each week as well.

Lakshmi from Chennai on November 09, 2020:

Great article with useful tips.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on November 09, 2020:

Linda, thank you for the recipe for the graham cracker crumb Apple Brown Betty. I must try it. I do buy the gluten free grahams at our local drugstore that has a big health food section (and I think I may have seen them at WalMart, too) However, they are very anemic flavored, just like the GF vanilla wafers. So I thank you a second time for the graham cracker recipe. I hope it is as tasty as the regular ones I used to buy (Nabisco, I think). I loved them as a snack with peanut butter. Speaking of vanilla wafers, I do have a recipe for homemade ones I found 20 years ago when a doctor put me on a no sugar, no dairy diet for a few months. It's fairly decent with artificial sweetener, but I haven't tried it with GF flour and real sugar. You do us a real service, Linda, and I look forward to your Carb Diva column every week.

Abby Slutsky from America on November 09, 2020:

Your tips for moldy bread were good; I think everyone has had it at one time.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Mary, your question is a new one for me and I'll have to do some "investigative reporting." I hope I can have an answer for you next Monday. Thanks for the great question.

I can't imagine having enough mangos to make a cobbler. They cost about $3.00 each where I live and an entire cobbler would be a small fortune (in my frugal little mind).

Mary Wickison from Brazil on November 09, 2020:

I didn't know that about the bread. Mine is in the fridge as I type. I will see if there is space in the freezer.

I will no doubt be making mango cobbler as we are now in our mango season. I like the idea of savory ones though.

I have a question for you. I was making a chicken dish with a sauce. Because I debone the chicken, it cooks fast and I don't want to be hanging around in the kitchen. My stove isn't great at simmering and I am forgetful.

What I want to know, can I make a mixture of herbs that don't need much cooking time. If I soak, let's say oregano, basil, rosemary, and a bay leaf in some water and just pour the water into the sauce will I get the herb flavoring?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Good morning Flourish. this feels like it's going to be a good week. Thank you for your kind words. Stop back tomorrow; I'll have another article just for fun.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Shauna, I'll provide the pattern for everyone else. For you, I might have another solution. Stay tuned.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 09, 2020:

Linda, I don't sew. I can always buy lunch bags, but they're not large enough to hold a loaf of bread.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 09, 2020:

Excellent Muhammad Ali quote, vegetable recipes, and an explanation regarding that bread box!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Wow Bill, and I thought this was going to be an easy week (LOL). Actually, that challenge is just what I needed. I've had in mind to "explore" potatoes but just haven't taken the time to do so. I'm on it.

Have a great week my friend and stay warm.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Thanks Shauna, I noticed in my feed that there was a pending comment but hadn't looked at it yet. That's next (after I grab a cup of coffee).

As for paper bread sacks--gosh, I guess I'm really old fashioned. I still have paper lunch sacks from when I was packing lunches for my girls. And now, you can't get paper bags at the grocery store. You can sew one out of fabric. I'll find a pattern and provide that next week, OK?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Eric, I love the idea of a veggie cobbler--I'm so glad you asked. It's colder than a witch's elbow this morning and a warm bubbly cobbler sounds wonderful.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on November 09, 2020:

Pamela, I keep my bread in the freezer for the same reason. When my husband and daughter were working full time we went through loaves a bread quickly, but not anymore. See you tomorrow.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 09, 2020:

How about a challenge for your next installment: give us all a recipe and a historical fact about the regal potato that you haven't given us before.

This should be a piece of cake for our Diva!

Have a fantastic week, my friend!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 09, 2020:

Linda, I love the idea of savory cobblers. I checked out your mushroom cobbler recipe and left a comment for you.

Living in a tropical climate, I have the same problem as Eric with bread becoming moldy. It really only happens if the loaf isn't eaten in time. Not keeping it in the plastic bag it comes in makes sense. Where would one find paper bread bags? I don't have a breadbox and don't want one either. It'll just clutter up my countertop.

Thanks.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 09, 2020:

Another wonderful piece. I actually am learning things I should do in the definitions.

Thanks much about the bread. I will get on it today.

Great quotes.

I just am amazed at the vegetable dishes.

Thanks

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 09, 2020:

I freeze my bread as I don't use it fast enough and it is hot here much of the time. I never kept it in the refreigerator, but I didn't know that it was bad for the bread. You article give us such a wealth of information, Linda. Now I know what score means also! Have a great week.