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An Alternative to Alcohol in Recipes

December 20, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: So many of the holiday recipes call for some type of alcohol. What can those of us who keep none in the house substitute?

Answer: White or purple grape juice is a good alternative. Fruit juices that complement the other flavors in the recipe may also be used.

Q: I was given several pounds of white rice flour. I don't know how to use it. Could I substitute it in part for white wheat flour?

A: Up to 30% rice flour may be substituted for wheat flour in bread baking, according to information from the Rice Council of America. The limit is necessary because rice flour differs from wheat flour in baking properties--it does not contain gluten, the elastic structure-forming protein necessary to retain steam and gases during baking.

In other recipes 3/4 cup rice flour may be substituted for one cup wheat flour. Rice flour contributes to even browning but has a slightly grainy texture and a bland flavor. A combination of flours usually results in a more palatable product than using rice flour alone. The substitution may result in differences from recipes made with wheat flour in texture, moistness and heaviness.

Q: Can you kindly inform me which of the following nuts are highest in cholesterol and which of them a person with high cholesterol should avoid: pecans, walnuts, macadamias, almonds, peanuts.

A: None of the nuts on your list contain any cholesterol. Their fat content varies, but it is mostly polyunsaturated.

Q: In the Nov. 15 Los Angeles Times Magazine, the chaya brasserie lobster salad recipe calls for radicchio. What is it?

A: Times Staff Writer Rose Dosti included the following definition of radicchio in a 1983 article: ". . . also known as red Verona chicory, a member of the sunflower family, native to Europe. Most of the radicchio sold here is imported from Italy. Radicchio has broad purplish leaves with wide white midribs. (An elongated variety is called traviso in Italian.) The leaves are enjoyed chiefly as a salad food but trendy chefs are grilling, blanching, braising or sauteing them, too." Radicchio has a pleasantly bitter taste.

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