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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (11/02/12) ~

Culinary Q & A #2November is here and in three short weeks we'll be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.  It's no secret that Thanksgiving is my favorite foodie holiday, and, I'm looking forward to sharing quite a few more of my Turkey Day recipes with you!

In the meantime, I would be most thankful if:  in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, everyone on the East coast gets electricity restored to their homes and hot meals on their dinner tables ASAP!

Over the past few weeks Kitchen Encounters has been receiving a lot of great comments on many of my posts, and, as you know, I answer each and every one of you.  This past week, I received two that I've decided to answer today (on my weekly Friday Culinary Q&A)!

IMG_4337Q.  Jill asks:  Mel, your recipe for the Yankee Pot roast looks to-die-for.  I noticed that you instructed to coat the meat with Wondra flour before you seared it.  Is there a reason you coated the meat with flour prior to searing, and, is there a reason you used Wondra, rather than ordinary all-purpose flour?  I've used Wondra to thicken soups and sauces, but never to dredge meat.

IMG_4484A.  Kitchen Encounters:  I love Wondra flour.  I've been using it for at least twenty-five years, and, it's recently starting to garner some well-deserved foodie attention!  

The General Mills Company (Gold Metal Flour) introduced Wondra Instantized (instant) Flour in 1963. The flour is put through a process called agglomeration (without adding chemicals to it) which turns the particles into uniform granules. It pours freely, easily, and dust-free (which I really like).  It disperses and dissolves almost instantly, without clumping, when stirred into IMG_4492hot or cold liquids, which makes it perfect for lump-free thickening of soups, sauces and gravies.

When I am braising poultry or meat, I always coat it in some flour before searing it.  Because of the flour, the food doesn't just brown, it gets a brown crunchy coating, and, Wondra flour makes that coating even crunchier.  Want gravy with that?  Coating the food with flour before you brown it gives your gravy a great head start!

(Note:  To get my recipe for ~ Yankee Pot Roast:  Simple, Sensible, Scrumptious (w/Mushroom Gravy & Roasted Carrots & Potatoes) ~ just click into Categories 3, 19 or 20!) 


IMG_4447Q.  Rose says and asks:  Melanie, I made your Peanut Butter Cup pie yesterday and it came out great.  I admit to buying a prepared cookie crust (pie shell), but, oh my, the kids just loved that pie!  

In the recipe you made mention of using an offset pastry spatula to spread the filling in the pie shell. What does offset mean?



A.  Kitchen Encounters:  The pastry spatula and the offset pastry spatula are two of a baker's secret weapons.  Both of these thin, flexible, stainless steel spatulas come in many blade lengths (from 4"-14").  An offset spatula has an angled blade, which makes it easy to spread soft ingredients to a smooth surface without touching the food with your fingers.  An offset spatula is also great for serving food, because it easily slides underneath slices of cake or pie, and... wider offset spatulas make flipping things like pancakes and burgers a breeze too!

(Note:  You can find my recipe for ~ Treat Yourself to a Slice of Peanut Butter Cup Pie + (How to:  Make a chocolate cookie crust & ganache!) ~ in Categories 6, 11, 15 or 22!)

IMG_4986Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or e-mail me directly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipes, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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Can't wait to see it!

Marilyn! I'm going to use your question for this coming Fridays Culinary Q&A, because I think a lot of people would be interested in what kind of pasta maker to buy. Believe it or not, I use the Atlas, hand-crank, machine. I own two of them too! I have never found an electric model that I can control as well as this good old-fashioned one!!!

Melanie - another gadget question. I need advice on purchasing a pasta machine.
Mine died today (after 22 years)! It was fully loaded and ready to extrude, when it made a weird sound and quit! I had thawed the frozen marinara sauce from my summer garden tomatoes, and wanted fresh pasta. Of course, your recipe!
I know you make your own "noodles," but thought you might have a pasta machine too! I would appreciate your advice! Marilyn (again)!

Marilyn! Your comments always make my day. We've come a long way Baby -- Wondra flour!!!

Melanie, I made your recipe for the pot roast last Sunday. I was glad to see your post about the Wondra flour. As I try to follow all of your recipes to a T, I purchased the Wondra flour and I just loved how the sauce turned out. Not gelatinous or heavy like a gravy, and thicker than an " au jus." The sauce was silky and smooth!
Also, I liked your idea about roasting the potatoes and carrots separately. The potatoes had a nice crust and the carrots were sweet, almost candy like!
The entire meal was much better than my dear mom's. I remember eating pot roast after church as well, on 90 degree days with no AC. God rest her soul!
Thanks again for sharing this comfort meal!

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