In a Nutshell:
My go-to non-vinegar salad dressing is a pesto-mayo dressing. Mix 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise with 3 frozen cubes garlic, 3 frozen cubes basil, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add a squirt of yellow mustard. It can be thinned with a drop of water.
Is it true or a myth that it’s unsafe to refreeze raw defrosted chicken and meat?
It’s not unsafe unless you defrosted it anywhere but the fridge (in which case it also might be fine, but there’s a good chance it won’t be). However, when freezing an already frozen and defrosted product, quality suffers. There are some exceptions — for example, if an item was vacuum-packed — but in general, it’s better to cook it and then refreeze.
How do I substitute honey for sugar in recipes?
Is it a 1:1 ratio? What about other alternative sweeteners?
Substituting honey for sugar in recipes is a science: First you have to know if the purpose of the sugar in the recipe is just to serve as a sweetener (not necessarily for texture, as in a frosting or chiffon cake), in which case you can probably replace it with honey.
But in other cases, you will have to make some changes. Honey is thicker and heavier than sugar. Furthermore, because it contains some water, you might have to reduce other liquid ingredients. It’s also 1.3 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore, sub 1⁄2 cup honey for 1 cup sugar. (For maple syrup, sub 3⁄4 cup for 1 cup sugar.)
Additionally, since honey is acidic, it may neutralize the baking soda in your cake and prevent it from rising properly. So you’ll have to add a bit more baking soda.
Last, keep in mind that cakes, etc., baked with honey turn out darker, as honey burns faster than regular sugar. Therefore, it’s best to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F (about 10°C).
What’s in your freezer to pull out in case of emergency extra guests?
Ice cream, sorbet, or something easy to serve for dessert, because that can’t be made on Yom Tov.
they can always be served next to last-minute baked chocolate chip cookies or fruit salad.
Which soups freeze well and which don’t? Do you defrost and then reheat, or place in the pot while still frozen?
Most soups do quite well frozen and then reheated, although some won’t be as good as when you have them fresh. Interestingly enough, I find certain soups are even better once you freeze them — like chicken soup out of the freezer is so good because it’s been marinating.
Have in mind that chicken soup on its own defrosts very well, but if you freeze it with vegetables, they will get a bit mushy when reheating. Also, anything with a lot of heavy cream is going to be more problematic, and would do better fresh. If you’re freezing a soup with a grain in it, like farro, flash-freeze it.
My best tip for keeping silver from tarnishing too often is to wash off the silver polish with the hottest water you can tolerate, so you really wash away the residue (anything remaining tarnishes to many colors). Second tip is to dry your silver very well since the buffing also keeps the tarnish at bay.
If I want to make a fresh sourdough on Yom Tov (with the dough prepared in advance), would this be possible if my oven is set to 350°F (175°C) all Yom Tov long?
You can bake it at 350°F, but it won’t get that extra-crispy crust. Your best solution would be to bake it in a loaf pan (like a challah pan). Or you can make rolls.
—Chaya Suri Leitner
Is it better to grease a pan or line it with parchment paper?
Parchment paper all the way! It’s your best friend in the kitchen. Stops food from sticking and makes for easy cleanup. Why have your food touch metal when you can have it touch something clean like paper? I don’t like when my food cooks on metal. And always use a real metal baking pan, never disposable.
Remember, don’t use parchment when you’re broiling! It can catch fire.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 859)
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