Lemon grass flavor sans pain


April 27, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: I tried a Thai recipe that called for smashing the lemon grass and then chopping before adding to a soup. The flavor was delicious, but the pieces of lemon grass were quite unpleasant to pick out. Any suggestions?

A: The best way to get the essence without the woody slivers is to remove any tough outer stalks, flatten the grass by hitting sharply with the side of a cleaver or chef's knife, tying the lemon grass into a knot, simmering and then removing in one piece when the dish is finished.

Q: The bottom crust of my favorite butter cream pie always seems soggy. The main filling ingredients are eggs, sugar and half and half. My friends have the same problem. What are we doing wrong?

A: Probably the best solution for improving your favorite pie is to pre-bake the crust before baking with the filling.

Jim Dodge, author of "The Village Baker," has a great technique for this. Prick the crust and then chill it for at least 15 minutes to prevent shrinking. Set another pie pan of the same size on top of the shell. Invert the two pans and bake for 10 minutes. Then press down on the top pan firmly, but gently; otherwise the shell may not fit snugly when you turn it right-side up. Continue baking about 10 more minutes.

Turn the shell right-side up. Remove the top plate. Brush the pastry with a lightly beaten egg white and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until golden. The egg white glaze seals the crust.

Reader tip: Since we have determined that the results from freezing sour cream are not satisfactory, a reader advises that he prolongs the shelf life of sour cream as well as cottage cheese by about four weeks by simply storing them upside-down in the refrigerator.

(I plan to try this with ricotta, which seems to spoil especially quickly.)

We'd like to hear from you. Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or leave your questions by phone by calling Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6180 after you hear the greeting.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.