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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

What makes a pan wrap?

A metal will not shatter like glass, partially because it has a higher heat-flow efficiency, but chiefly because it has a sturdier intermolecular structure. Metal does, nonetheless, warp for the same reason that glass cracks: structural stress caused by a sudden and significant change in the relative temperature of two closely situated areas of the cookware.

The metal of inexpensive metal pots and pans (except for the cast-iron variety) is typically thin-gauged, and that of higher-quality utensils is thick-gauged. The thicker a sheet of metal, the greater its structural strength, and therefore the less likely it is to warp. Since warped cookware conducts heat unevenly, cheap pots are seldom a bargain.

01:08:25 on 02/28/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why glass shatters when there is a quick temperature change?

The natural brittleness and poor conductivity of glass make it susceptible to cracking when it experiences a rapid change in temperature from cold to hot or vice versa. Contemplate what happens, for instance, when boiling water is poured into a cold glass jar. Because glass has a low heat-flow efficiency, the heat that is transferred from the water to the jar's bottom travels relatively slowly (by conduction) to the top of the jar. Since glass (or any other material) expands when heated, the jar's bottom will quickly swell, and what is most critical without a corresponding expansion in the upper part of the jar. This disparity creates a structural stress that cracks the doomed glass.

Treated glass, such as Pyrex, is much less vulnerable to shattering than is regular glass, though it, too, has its limits. Even less susceptible is Corningware. Standard porcelain, earthenware, and other pottery, however, do indeed have glass's "Achilles' heel," so it is a good idea to preheat a vessel made with one of these materials (with, for instance, hot tap water) before placing it in a preheated oven.

06:53:08 on 02/27/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why aluminum pot can give a red tomato sauce a brownish tinge?

If an unlined aluminum vessel is used to cook a high-alkali food such as potatoes, or if the cooking medium is hard water, or if the pot is washed with high-alkali cleanser, the metal's surface becomes stained. When the pot is subsequently used to cook tomato sauce or any other high-acid ingredient, such as onions, wine, lemon juice, or cabbage, the acid chemically removes some of the stain from the pot and transfers the discoloration to the food. Although the brownish tinge diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the food, it should pose no threat to your health.

Another drawback of aluminum pots is their propensity to warp when subjected to abrupt changes in temperature extremes (more so than, say, stainless steel of identical gauge). And aluminum implements dent easily, especially if they are thin-gauged.

On the plus side, the heat-flow efficiency of a thick-gauge aluminum pot nearly rivals that of a copper pot of similar gauge, which is noticeably heavier and many times more expensive. Unlike cast iron or carbon steel, aluminum doesn't rust (though it does oxidize slowly). If treated with care, aluminum pots will last for decades.

01:49:26 on 02/27/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can a seasoned carbon steel wok be washed with soap?

Many cookbooks say "never," but that advice can run counter to sound hygiene and pleasing taste. Unless you use these metal utensils daily, they should be washed briefly with a little soapy water (then rinsed and thoroughly dried) in order to rid them of excess surface oil. Otherwise, the surplus oil will become rancid within two days or so, giving cooked foods an off-flavor. Washing your wok or omelet pan gently with a cleansing agent need not ruin your prized possession.

Some cookbooks recommend an alternative method: Scour the pan with dry salt. Since that technique can also chemically precipitate rusting, it is not advisable to follow that technique.

11:48:27 on 02/26/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why pans can sometimes become deseasoned?

One common reason is that the pan has been scratched with a sharp metal tool, such as a spatula. Sometimes the cause is indirect. If one lets a pan rust, it probably needs to be washed and very likely scoured with soap or detergent. When cleaned in this way, some of the oil that coats the pores and minuscule jagged peaks of the metal bind themselves chemically to some of the cleansing agent's molecules and flow clown the drain with the dishwater.

Naturally, the more fiercely one scrubs, the stronger the cleansing solution, and the longer the pan is soaked, the more the pan becomes deseasoned. If damage done by the cleaning is not too great, the pan will automatically reseason itself the next time you fry in it so no harm done. If the damage is severe, you will have to start the seasoning process over again from the very beginning. If rust has developed deep inside the pores of the interior surface, dump the pan into a trash bin as it is not serviceable again.

20:28:41 on 02/25/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Before using for the first time, why must cast-iron or carbon steel pot be seasoned?

The surfaces of both of these nonstainless, iron-based metals are rather porous and have microscopic jagged peaks. You season a pan or pot by rubbing it with oil, heating it for 30 to 60 minutes in a 300 degrees F oven, and then cooling it to room temperature. The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. Two culinary benefits result. First, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Second, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor.

12:44:21 on 02/25/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is so great with pans that are constructed with multi-ply bottoms?

Their bottoms have three layers: a middle ply (generally aluminum) sandwiched between two stainless steel ones. The purpose of this design is to give the cook the best of both worlds by eliminating each metal's disadvantages.

The aluminum layer cannot become discolored, nor can it color or flavor foods, because it is completely enclosed within the stainless steel. The upper stainless steel layer does not have the hot spots that are common in 100 percent stainless steel pots, because by the time it reaches that stainless steel tier, the heat from the burner has been more or less evenly diffused by the aluminum (which is, unlike stainless steel, an excellent conductor of heat). And because the pan's entire metal surface is stainless steel, it has an attractive shiny finish and is easier to clean. Still another bonus is that multi-tiered construction has much the same effect on the pan's bottom that it has on plywood: The possibility of warping is decreased.

07:24:55 on 02/24/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Differences between anodized aluminim pan and a nonstick aluminum pan.

An anodized pan will likely be thicker gauged and better built but, like a nonstick pan, can be easily scratched and impaired by a careless cook or dishwasher. Both pans help prevent food from sticking, though the nonstick pan performs that mission demonstrably better. Unlike the nonstick variety, an anodized pan usually needs to be seasoned occasionally.

The anodization process is based on the principle that an oxide layer forms naturally on aluminum and that this oxide helps prevent food from sticking to the metal. The thicker the layer, the more effective the defense. Manufacturers discovered that they could artificially create a reasonably thick layer by means of electrolysis.

03:31:48 on 02/24/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What are the disadvantages of nonstick coating pan?

The nonstick surface is a blessing to people who must drastically restrict their fat intake. However, for others, the main selling point of the nonstick lining can turn out to be a drawback. When one cooks without oil or fat, the taste buds and olfactory receptors are deprived of rich flavors that are essential to superb dining.

An indisputable positive feature of a nonstick pan is that its smooth surface can be washed free of food quickly and with minimum effort. However, should metal utensils and scouring pads be used, they can easily scratch, making it more likely that food will stick to the pan. A nonstick lining also discolors with misuse, or in time, even with proper use. Too many of the nonstick coated pans are too thin and thus because of the resulting uneven heat distribution are not ideal for most stove-top cooking methods.

Finally, the nonstick coating is not truly nonstick ("low-stick" would be a better appellation), and its surface will eventually wear away, despite what some kitchenware ads and salespeople profess. Generally, there is a correlation between how much you pay for a pan and how long the nonstick surface will last.

05:49:16 on 02/23/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How do non stick surfaces works in the non-stick pan?

Most of the nonstick kitchenware is made with the chemically inert fluorocarbon plastic that is baked onto the cooking pan's surface. These substances cover the pores and microscopic jagged peaks of the metal (usually aluminum) and therefore deny food the opportunity to latch on to something.

Nonstick coatings in effect season the pan. The commercial "seasoning" method produces a much slicker surface than the home method - so slick that you can, if you want, fry foods with little or no oil at all.

04:18:07 on 02/23/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is is practical to use enamel cookware?

Enamel cookware resists corrosion, and its shiny, often colorful veneer can make it quite attractive, both on the range and on the dining table. Unfortunately, its beauty is only "skin deep". Enamelware (a misnomer) is a metal, not an enamel, pan. The enamel is no more than a thin coating produced by fusing a powdered glass onto the metal, often cast-iron, pan in a kiln. This sheer layer can chip easily if the cook accidentally bangs the pan against the hrad sink. Thermal shock is another hazard; a stove-hot enamelware pot can shatter if the cook sets it in cold water.

03:17:44 on 02/22/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are copper pots worth the money?

It all depends. It is not recommended to purchase mass-produced pseudo-copper pots and pans the lightweight, stamped stainless steel type with copper-coated bottoms. The buyer gets the headache of the genuine copper equipment (keeping the metal polished) without enjoying the heat distribution advantage. The copper coating that is used to produce this lower-priced equipment is typically less than 1/50 of an inch thick and that is too thin to distribute the heat uniformly. Even the stainless steel is deplorably thin.

Authentic copper pots and pans, which are quite expensive, are excellent because the thick copper metal distributes the heat evenly throughout the base and the lower sides of the cooking utensil. However, if the copper base becomes mottled with black carbon deposits, the even heat distribution is greatly impaired and hot spots develop, turning a positive into a negative. This is why copper cooking equipment is not recommended to anyone who doesn't have the time and inclination to keep it clean and polished and it is a chore, to be sure.

Another drawback of authentic copper pots is that they must be periodically relined with tin, an expensive process. The pan must be relined once the tin starts to wear away appreciably because if too much copper leaches into your foods, your liver won't be able to remove the excess from your blood. The results can be noxious. However, the amount of copper leaching from a few scratches in the tin lining shouldn't prove to be dangerously toxic that is, if you minimize or avoid cooking foods that are high in acid or highly pigmented, which chemically hastens the release of the copper and its oxides. Finally, fat-based cooking (frying) will release less copper than water-based cooking (boiling, braising, and stewing).

01:57:42 on 02/22/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

For pan materials, which are the fastest heat conductors and which the slowest?

The fastest guns in town are silver, tin, and copper. Aluminum is quick on the draw, too. Middling-speed substances include cast iron and carbon (rolled) steel, the type of sheet metal that is used to fashion traditional woks and crepe pans. Stainless steel ranks even lower in heat-flow efficiency.

Even poorer conductors are glass, porcelain, earthenware, and pottery in general. The sluggish attributes of these materials, however, can be a plus in serving dishes. Providing that such a vessel is covered and its walls are thick enough, it absorbs and gives up heat so languidly that it should keep your food warm for a long time.

Factors other than the type of metal also determine how evenly a pot heats food. The thicker its gauge, the more uniformly a pot will distribute heat throughout its interior surface. However, though a thicker gauge will help compensate for the mediocre heat-conducting properties of iron, the weight of the extra metal usually makes the pot unwieldy. A metal's finish also affects cooking efficiency.

06:33:34 on 02/21/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why is good heat distribution a virtue for a stove-top pan?

Unless heat can quickly spread through the entire bottom of a pan, "hot" and "cold" spots will develop. The hot spots will be directly over the places where the heat source comes in contact with the pan. Thus, if the gas burner is starfish-shaped, or if the configuration of the electric coil is a spiral, the hot spots will follow those patterns.

The problem of frying or braising in a pan that has hot and cold spots is that you cannot cook the food properly unless you do nothing else but constantly and thoroughly stir the contents (and when braising, you could not do that even if you so desired). The food over the hot spots will overcook. Or, if you lower the heat to prevent scorching, the food will take longer to cook or there will probably be insufficient heat to cook the other portions of the food.

If you discover that your pots have hot spots and you do not wish to replace the equipment, you can minimize the defect by using a heat diffuser or by using a low heat setting.

When cooking food in a generous quantity of boiling or simmering water, you need not worry so much about the negative effects of hot and cold spots on the bottom of your pan. By the time the heat reaches the food, the cooking medium (water) will have more or less equalized the two temperature extremes. The same principle holds true for steaming.

The speed at which heat can travel through a pan's bottom is a function of how well it conducts heat. Conductivity varies mainly according to the type of metal as well as the thickness and finish of the metal.

00:25:34 on 02/21/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are hardwood spoons worth their higher price?

Hardwood spoons cost more than softwood spoons because they are made of more expensive material and are more difficult to carve. They absorb less bacteria and cooking flavors because their wood is less porous. They are less likely to scorch, stain, crack, or warp. They dry faster, are more attractive, and last more than twice as long as softwood spoons. So they are definately worth their prices.

11:32:22 on 02/20/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Should we buy a wood or polyethylene cutting board?

The harder a cutting surface, the more quickly a knife dulls. Hard surfaces include metal, marble, china, crockery, enamel, glass, and most kitchen countertops. The softest, and therefore the most desirable of the popular cutting surfaces, is wood. Though softwood does less harm to the knife's edge, hardwood is used most often because it absorbs less moisture and lasts longer.

Polyethylene boards are not as hard as, say, metal and glass, but they are harder than wood. Consequently, a knife becomes duller faster on polyethylene boards than on wood ones. Even though polyethylene is easier to clean, most good cooks insist on wood cutting boards because keeping a knife sharp is crucial.

Hard cutting surfaces are not the only anathema to a sharp knife blade. A blade that nicks too many bones or scrapes hard kitchenware in a dishwasher or on a drying rack also may not cut the mustard.

05:13:58 on 02/20/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can we slice food with a chef's knife?

Not if you want thin, attractive slices. A chef's knife is designed to chop, not slice. There is a notable difference for reasons of function between the cross-sectional blade of the slicing knife and the chef's knife. Because the slicing knife blade is relatively thin, friction and food crushing is minimized as the knife slides through the food. Just as important, the thinner design allows the carver to cut narrower and more uniform slices because the blade stays reasonably parallel to the face of the cut.

What about doing the opposite, chopping firm food with a slicing knife? The chef's knife does a much better job because its wedge shape is broader on the top of its cross-section than the slicing knife. That extra weight gives the blade extra momentum and therefore more power to help the cook chop through firm foods like garlic and carrots.

03:47:10 on 02/19/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Where should sharp knives be stored?

Certainly not intermingled in a drawer with other knives and utensils. Every time you open and close the drawer, knives jostle about, damaging their cutting edges. One of the best storage solutions is a wood knife block (which also makes knives very accessible). Buy one with horizontal slots. With vertical slots, you drag a knife's cutting edge along the wood each time you insert and remove the utensil.

01:09:46 on 02/19/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best tool for sharpening kitchen knives?

Honing a knife on one of those extremely coarse grinding wheels or belts that are commonly used by peregrinating peddlers or key makers is one of the most unsatisfactory methods. Repeated sharpenings on these instruments wear away your blade within a few years.

Almost as bad are those small pairs of steel rotating disk-cylinders that are supposed to be attached to a kitchen door or cabinet. Not only do these gadgets devour the metal of the blade faster than need be, they tend to scratch the blade too much and throw it out of alignment. Electric knife sharpeners perform better, though they are not recommended for high-quality carbon or high-carbon steel knives. These countertop appliances can permanently alter the angular shape of the knife's cutting edge given by the knife's manufacturer.

The best day-to-day sharpening implement is the butcher's steel, a rough-surfaced, hard metal rod equipped with a handle. However, unless you use the steel frequently to sharpen the knife, the edge of your knife may dull beyond the restorative powers of the honing rod. In that case, you will need to sharpen the knife periodically with a whetstone, a small, abrasive, bluish-black block made of the exceptionally hard silicon carbide Carborundum (available in most hardware stores). Sometimes the abrasive material is a thin coating of minuscule diamonds.

15:31:23 on 02/18/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to select the right knife to buy?

Selecting the right blade alloy is not enough. You should buy only a knife produced by a quality manufacturer because fine knife making requires skilled workmanship involving a myriad of precision tasks, such as tempering the steel. In fact, unless you can buy superb carbon steel knives, it is recommended that you purchase the top-of-the-line, high-carbon stainless steel knives of a quality manufacturer, such as Washof (Trident trademark) or Henckels.

The tang (the part of the metal enclosed by the handle) should run the full length of the handle and should be well secured with at least three rivets. Otherwise, the handle and the metal part of the knife may separate within a matter of years. The full tang also contributes weight and balance, two essential qualities that inexpensive knives usually lack.

A knife's handle should be easy to grasp and feel comfortable in your hand. Its material should be durable and nonslippery. Nearly all hardwood and many modern plastic-and-wood composite grips fit the bill; plastic hilts do not.

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05:51:51 on 02/18/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What are the pros and cons of each knife-blade alloy?

A carbon steel blade is unequaled in its ability to take an extremely sharp edge, and therefore it is preferred by most serious chefs. The major drawback of carbon steel is that unless the blade is promptly wiped dry after each use, it will rust. The alloy is also vulnerable to attack by the acid in foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and onions. If the knife is not washed soon after contact with these ingredients, the acid will react chemically with the metal, blemishing the blade's surface with blackish stains. Moreover, that discoloration and its attendant off-odor can be transferred to the foods you are cutting.

Super stainless steel is the least efficient of the four basic knife alloys. It is all but impossible for a cook to restore the sharpness once the knife loses its original well-honed edge (if the manufacturer gave it one in the first place). Kitchenware demonstrators speak hokum when they claim that super stainless steel knives never need to be sharpened. What they should tell you is that their product can't be sharpened.

Stainless steel, like its super cousin, resists rust, stains, and corrosion caused by water and acid. Though it takes a sharper edge than a super stainless one, a stainless steel blade will still be annoyingly dull in the hands of a busy cook.

A high-carbon stainless steel knife - by far the most expensive of the four types - will neither rust nor stain. Consequently, it is the answer for a cook who lives by the sea or in a humid climate, because salt can corrode and moisture can oxidize (rust) non-stainless steel. High-carbon stainless steel is also recommended for cooks who do not want to be bothered with having to wash the knife and wipe it dry promptly after each use - or who do not want the knife blade to become tarnished because the chore was neglected.

Although a blade made from high-carbon stainless steel can be honed to a fairly sharp edge, do not believe the food writers and salespeople who tell you that its sharpness will match that of a knife made with carbon steel as this is physically impossible.

10:29:44 on 02/17/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How do the four basic knife-blade alloys differ?

Virtually all kitchen knives have blades of steel, an alloy consisting mainly of iron mixed with carbon and a smaller portion of other elements. The critical difference between carbon and stainless steel alloys is that the first has a higher carbon content, whereas the other amalgamation contains more chromium, and often nickel.

The high-carbon stainless knife is betwixt and between the two - its carbon, chromium, and nickel proportions lie somewhere in between those of the standard carbon and stainless steel varieties. Yet another variation of the theme is the superstainless knife, the one with the scintillating silvery look. Its alloy - at least its plating alloy - is impregnated with relatively large quantities of chromium and nickel.

An alloy's precise makeup determines to a considerable extent a knife's advantages and disadvantages for a cook.

05:06:37 on 02/17/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are dull knives more dangerous than sharp one?

The answer is definately. The sharper the knife, the less likely the cook is to cut himself. This may sound like dull-witted reasoning, but the point is valid for two pragmatic reasons. First, people tend to be more careful when using sharper knives because the potential harm is more vivid in their minds. Second, a duller knife is more apt to slip when cutting because it requires more downward pressure to do the job.

There are more benefits from a sharp knive than just safety. It makes cutting quicker, more efficient, and minimizes ripping and tearing of the food.

08:10:00 on 02/16/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are quality knives a good bargain?

Definately, because quality knives should last you a lifetime. Inexpensive ones normally need to be replaced every five years or so. That's why it is more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a few quality knives than to purchase a broader assortment of less expensive and inferior implements. As a bonus, your cutting, chopping, and slicing tasks will be quicker and easier. It is recommended to have a five-knife starter set which can performs a wide variety of tasks. It comprises a 3- to 4-inch (blade length) paring knife, a 6-inch utility knife, an 8-inch serrated slicing knife, an 8-inch chef's (chopping) knife, and a 10-inch nonserrated slicing (carving) knife. You will also need a 10-inch butcher steel for honing.

06:06:49 on 02/16/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it safe to freeze leftover meat and poultry and, if so, what is the best way to do this?

Leftover meat can be frozen but do not keep it at room temperature for any longer than necessary. If the meat is still warm, put the plate in the refrigerator to cool quickly and then freeze it immediately so the bacteria that might cause food poisoning have no time to grow.

To freeze a leftover joint, carve the meat and pack the portions separately in foil or airtight plastic freezer bags, or cover the slices in gravy and store in freezer boxes. Freeze casseroles or curries in plastic boxes or bags. They will keep for up to two months. It is not advisable to refreeze meat that was frozen before being cooked as the texture suffers considerably.

02:49:30 on 02/15/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What's the difference between a chop, a cutlet and a noisette?

Chops, cutlets and noisettes are all suitable for grilling and frying but are different cuts of meat. There are two types of chops: chump chops (taken from just above the hind leg), which have a round central bone, and the smaller loin chops (from the middle carcass) with a good eye of meat plus a tail of meat and fat curling round it.

Cutlets come from the best end of neck joint. They have an eye of meat with a short bone on one side and a long one on the other. They are smaller than chops, so you usually need two to three per portion.

Noisettes are cut from the eye of the loin and are usually about 2 to 2.5 cm thick. Grill or fry the noisettes until browned on the outside but still pink in the center and it makes a delicious dish.

12:06:14 on 02/14/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is young lamb better than larger, older lamb or mutton?

It depends on the dish you are cooking. Young lamb (under 3-4 months) has a more delicate flavor and is leaner than older lamb (4 months to 1 year). It is excellent for roasts or cooked quickly as grilled and fried chops, cutlets and noisettes. The stronger flavored older lamb is more suitable for casseroles where the mild taste of young lamb would be lost.

When a lamb reaches one year of age, its meat is sold as mutton. This is less popular and so less widely available than young lamb, however, you should be able to obtain it easily from a good independent or specialist butcher.

11:12:19 on 02/13/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best way to use a steel to sharpen knives?

There are two methods for using a steel. Try both of them to see which is most successful for you.

The first method is arguably the easiest as you have more control of the steel and the angle of the knife. Hold the steel verticaly with the tip on a nonslip surface. Put the knife edge where it joins the handle at the top of the steel, with the blade pointing downwards, at an angle of 45 degrees. Bring the knife down the steel, keeping the angle constant and drawing the blade across the steel so that when you reach the bottom of the steel you are shrpening the tip of the blade.

Repeat the procedure, dragging the other side of the blade down underneath the steel, keeping the angle at 45 degrees. Repeat both sequences until the blade is sharp.

Alternatively, hold the steel in one hand, the knife in the other and place the handle ends of each together at an angle of 45 degrees. Keeping your elbows against your sides, raise the steel and the knife, parting your hands so that the blade travels up the steel. Finish with the knife tip near the tip of the steel. Repeat, holding the other side of the knife blade against the other side of the steel. Continue this sequence until the knife is sharp.

21:10:27 on 02/11/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Should we treat our knives with any special care?

All knives must be looked after carefully. Always wash them and dry immediately after use. Do not put them in a dishwasher. When carbon-steel knives get very stained, clean them with half a lemon sprinkled with salt. If that does not work, use a scouring pad, but only occasionally. To remove rust from a carbon-steel knife, rub the blade with a burnt cork.

Sharpen your knives regularly and do not store them in a drawer, where their blades will get damaged and you may inadvertently cut your hands when reaching for them. Use a wooden knife block or knife magnet to store them instead.

00:25:00 on 02/08/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are stainless-steel kitchen knives better than carbon-steel ones?

Stainless-steel knives are strong, do not rust and can be used on onions and acidic foods. Unfortunately, they are difficult to sharpen and blunt readily. Carbon-steel knives are easier to sharpen and will stay sharp for a long time. However, they rust easily so they must be wiped clean and dried immediately after use. They also discolor, particularly after contact with onions and highly acidic foods.

Knives made from high-carbon stainless-steel have the advantages of both carbon-steel and stainless-steel knives and yet non of the disadvantages, but they cost more.

00:30:00 on 02/07/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What should we look out for when buying new kitchen knives?

Always buy the best quality knives that you can afford. A good set of knives will not only last a lifetime, but will pay for themselves many times over in saved labor. Choose knives that feel comfortable in the hand, are heavy and well balanced. Carefully place the junction of the blade and handle on the side of your open hand. The handle should fall back gently into your palm.

Knives that have a tang (the part of the blade that extends into the handle of the knife) running along the whole length of the handle give the best overall balance and the longest life - blades that are not riveted in place this way invariably come loose. The heads of the rivets should be flush with the surface of the handle for easy cleaning.

The best handles tend to be those that are made of wood impregnated with plastic to seal it. Plain wooden handles are nonslip, tough and attractive; the less expensive plastic handles are easier to keep clean but do not provide the same grip.

You can never have too many knives in the kitchen, and there is one for every job you undertake. Build up your selection gradually and, when you can afford it, add specialist knives such as boning and fish filleting knives to your collection. The following are the essential knives that should be bought first:

* A large cook's knife with a blade at least 20 cm long.
* A fruit knife with a serrated edge and stainless-steel blade.
* A paring knife with a 8-10 cm stainless-steel blade.
* A bread knife with a rigid 20-25 cm serrated blade.
* A carving knife with a rigid blade at least 20 cm long.
* A palette knife with a flat, round-ended blade.

00:30:00 on 02/06/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it true that kiwifruit have more vitamin C than oranges?

Kiwifruit contain 59 mg of vitamin C per 100 g while oranges have 54 mg. So, eating a single kiwifruit or just one medium orange will supply you with more than the recommended adult daily intake of 40 mg of vitamin C. Raw blackcurrants are even better, averaging 200 mg of vitamin C per 100 g.

Once known as Chinese gooseberry, the kiwifruit is an acidic fruit with dark-green flesh and edible black seeds. It has a distinctive flavor and makes a conventional fruit salad more exciting.

Kiwifruit are ready to eat if they yeild slightly when lightly pressed. Cut the kiwifruit in half, scoop the flesh out with a teaspoon and eat it straight from the skin. Kiwifruit can also be peeled with a small sharp knife and cut into slices to add to fruit salads or use as a decoration for cakes and desserts.

07:22:57 on 02/05/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

The Many Uses of Juicers

Juicers capable of pulping hard vegetables such as carrots and celery will produce highly nutritious, easily digested fruit and vegetable juices very economically and the variety of combinations is endless, depending on your own imagination.

Some carrot, celery and tomato seasoned with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces makes a particularly good version of tomato juice, perfect for Bloddy Marys. Cucumber and melon juiced together with a little fresh mint is a refreshing summer drink served with ice. Juicers also make good bases for milkshakes: try mango and banana, strawberry and peach or pawpaw and kiwifruit, mixed with equal quantities of vanilla ice cream.

Use the pulp left over from juicing fresh carrots as the basis of a delicious carrot cake. You can also use vegetable juices to add flavor to casseroles, risottos and soups instead of adding stock or water.

01:36:28 on 02/04/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What can we do with Jerusalem artichokes besides making soup?

Jerusalem artichokes are popular for soup as they have a tendency to collapse when cooked. Their sweet chestnutty flavor also makes them good partners for salty foods such as ham or smoked fish. You could also lightly poach some slices of Jerusalem artichoke and use them in salads, or try mashing them with potato to serve as an accompanying vegetable with any meal where the mash is a starring partner, or as a topping for meat or fish pies.

13:57:23 on 02/03/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -