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Food 911

How to plan, purchase, prepare, and present Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner is America’s favorite feast and as cooks ranging from experienced to first-timers head for kitchens across the country many questions arrive in my e-mail. With that thought in mind, I included a whole episode in Season Two of my show about Thanksgiving; here is the link to Thanksgiving…

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Eggs: Is there an easy way to peel a hard-cooked egg?

I recently got an e-mail from Sandy asking if there is an easy way to peel an egg. She said, “I lose most of the egg when I do it.” Well, actually it has more to do with selecting the egg than peeling it. Very fresh eggs never peel well…

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Meringue: How to make a hard meringue pie crust.

Jane e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink for help making a hard meringue crust for her chocolate pie. She said, “As much as I whip it up, it shrinks while baking. What can I do to keep it from shrinking? If it is a dry day and you have headed all the…

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Yeast Breads: Why do my cinnamon rolls shrink after baking?

I recently got an e-mail from Carol saying, “I’ve made cinnamon rolls for more years then I can remember,but lately they seem to  shrink after I take them out of the oven. By  shrinking I mean they get wide spaces between the layers. I’m wondering if maybe I’m letting them…

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Cheese: What causes cheese sauce to have a gritty texture?

Pam recently e-mailed the Kitchenshrink to ask, “When I make a cheese sauce starting with a roux of flour and butter then adding milk and cheese it sometimes gets a gritty texture. What causes this?” I thought perhaps it was caused by overheating but wasn’t sure so I asked my friend Jean…

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Beef Roast: Why aren't my roasts tender?

I recently got an e-mail from Virginia saying, “All my roasts come out tough; any help would be appreciated.” This is a great question and there isn’t a simple solution. I am not sure whether she is referring to pot roasts or more tender cuts such as rib roasts that…

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Beef Roast: Why aren’t my roasts tender?

I recently got an e-mail from Virginia saying, “All my roasts come out tough; any help would be appreciated.” This is a great question and there isn’t a simple solution. I am not sure whether she is referring to pot roasts or more tender cuts such as rib roasts that…

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Pie crust: When I am baking a single pie crust for filling, how can I keep it from shrinking?

Helen asked the Kitchen Shrink how she can keep a single pie crust from shrinking when it is baked without a filling. The first step in preventing pastry shrinkage is to make your pastry with very cold fat, very little water, and a gentle touch. You will find a lot…

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Cakes: If your lemon bread sinks in the middle, what went wrong?

I am pleased to address an email I received from Joanne Cambell: “I have a lemon bread recipe which was given to me from a family friend. Every time I make the recipe it sinks in the middle. Do you have any suggestions as to what I might be doing…

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Gravy: How can I make lump-free gravy?

Each year around the holidays I get lots of questions about making gravy. There are many ways to make smooth gravy, but the easy one that I learned from my grandmother is to reach for the instantized flour (Wondra.) It can be whisked into either hot or cold broth and…

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