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Thawing Milk Without Curdling

August 20, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: I hope you can help me. I'm trying to freeze small quantities of whole milk to have on hand for friends who want it in coffee, etc. I've been putting it in small plastic bags and sealing them. When I run them under warm or hot water to defrost, the milk separates and looks like it curdles. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Thawing it under running water seems to be the problem. "Ball Blue Book, the Guide to Home Canning and Freezing," advises placing the frozen milk in the refrigerator to thaw.

Q: I am interested in making fajitas , but I lack the proper skillet. I would appreciate any input as to where I may purchase this skillet.

A: Actually, fajitas may be prepared in any ordinary skillet. Perhaps, however, you are referring to those used for serving the dish in restaurants. You may be able to find them at restaurant supply stores.

Q: With all the fresh herbs available in the produce section, I thought it would be fun to make some flavored vinegars. None of my cookbooks have directions. Could you help?

A: In "Fancy Pantry" (Workman Publishing: 1986, $11.95), author Helen Witty gives the following basic information on making herb-flavored vinegars:

"Red wine vinegar is the best base for flavored vinegars to be used in marinades, and it's also the best match with garlic or shallots. For steeping with delicate herbs, a white vinegar made from wine or rice or distilled white vinegar is preferable. Cider vinegar is well suited for flavoring with mint, basil (green or purple) or dill."

To Flavor Vinegar With Fresh Herbs

"Place about a lightly packed cupful of rinsed and dried fresh herbs in a sterilized dry heat-proof jar. Heat 2 cups of the chosen vinegar to simmering and pour it over the herbs, which should be completely immersed (if not, heat more vinegar and add it). Cap the jar and let the herbs steep for at least 10 days, shaking the jar occasionally. Decant the vinegar, filter or strain it if desired, and bottle it in a sterilized, completely dry bottle. Store it, capped, in a cool, dark spot."

Herbs to Use Singly Mint

Basil

Tarragon

Dill (either foliage alone, plus any young seed heads; or dried seed, at the rate of 3 tablespoons to a pint of vinegar

Chives

Some Herbal Combinations

Tarragon and rosemary

Basil and chervil

Thyme and sweet marjoram

Savory and thyme (more savory than thyme)

Thyme and chives or shallots, and tarragon and a little rosemary

Sliced or flattened garlic or shallot cloves may be added to any of the combinations above, 1 clove to a pint

To Make Straight Garlic or Shallot Vinegar "Steep a palmful of peeled and slightly flattened cloves of garlic or shallots in a bottle containing 3 cups of white or red wine vinegar. When the flavor is strong enough, pour off and bottle the vinegar."

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