Question: Would you please set me straight? I have heard so much negative information on cooking turkeys in brown paper bags. Is there anything wrong with doing this? I've done so for many years.
Answer: Although once a very popular method, we no longer recommend cooking turkeys in brown paper bags. Many brown paper bags today are made from recycled paper and may contain chemicals that could be toxic. Also, this method of cooking was determined to be a fire hazard.
Q: Can you please tell me how to can pimientos?
A: "Ball Blue Book--The Guide to Home Canning & Freezing" (Ball Corp.: 1986) says "freezing results in better product than canning" and gives the following directions:
Select well-ripened pods of deep red color. Wash, cut out stems and remove the seeds. Peel by roasting in a 400-degree oven or cover with water and boil until the peppers are tender. Cool, drain and pack in freezer jars or plastic freezer boxes.
Q: What happens to the sugar content of potatoes that are stored in the refrigerator?
A: In "The Cookbook Decoder or Culinary Alchemy Explained" (Beaufort Books: 1988, $9.95) author Arthur E. Grosser explains that cold storage "leads to a buildup of sugar and produces a sweet flavor in potatoes, which many people dislike." He claims that "Two or three weeks of warm storage, 70 degrees plus, should render them palatable again.
"For best results, potatoes should be stored at temperatures higher than 50 degrees and in the dark. If left in the light, they may develop green spots on the surface," said Grosser.
Q: I have 5 pounds of nonfat powdered milk and 1 pound of good Dutch cocoa. Could you give me a recipe for chocolate pudding?
A: Here's one that uses both ingredients and is even low in calories. Reconstitute enough of your powdered milk to make one quart liquid.
LOW-CALORIE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
1 quart nonfat milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
Sugar substitute to equal 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Set aside 1/2 cup milk. Scald remaining milk in non-stick pan, heating only until bubbles appear around edge. Combine reserved milk with cornstarch, salt and cocoa. Stir into hot milk. Add sugar. Cook, stirring, over very low heat until mixture thickens.
Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Gradually beat some of hot milk mixture into eggs. Return egg mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring, over very low heat until pudding is smooth and thick. Do not allow to boil.
When thick, remove from heat and stir in sugar substitute and vanilla. Pour into bowl or 8 dessert dishes. Chill thoroughly. Makes 8 servings, 105 calories each.
Note: Both sugar and artificial sweetener are used because together they make the pudding much sweeter than if either were used alone. For people who prefer a bittersweet pudding, reduce sugar substitute.
Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About ..., Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.