Question: Something, probably an aluminum cooking pot, has rubbed against my white Corning Ware dishes in the dishwasher and left unsightly marks on them. They are grayish marks, almost as though a lead pencil had been used on the dishes. So far I have not been able to find anything to remove them. Can you offer a suggestion?
Answer: Corning makes a cleaner and conditioner for use on their products. It's available in two sizes: eight ounces for $3 and 16 ounces for $5.25, plus tax, shipping and handling. Order through Corning Glass Works, Consumer Service Department, P.O. Box B, Waynesboro, Va. 22980.
Q: How do you cook sprouts? I would like to use them cold, as fillings in sandwiches.
A: You don't specify the type of sprouts you're interested in cooking, but the majority are used raw rather than cooked, as a crunchy addition to sandwiches and salads or as a topping for baked potatoes. Bean sprouts are one notable exception, since they are commonly used as an ingredient in Asian stir-fry recipes. Another is the sprouted garbanzo, excellent for making humus, or roasted to taste like nuts. Black-eyed pea sprouts also cook well, and pea sprouts make excellent soup. Asian or vegetarian cookbooks will give more detailed instructions and recipes.
Q: How many calories are there in a kiwi?
A: An average fruit has about 55 calories, is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source of potassium and is low in sodium, according to Elizabeth Schneider, author of "Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables--A Common Sense Guide" (Harper & Row: 1986, $25).
Q: I have been searching for a source to buy sorbitol. It's called for in some recipes in a diabetic cookbook I purchased recently, and I cannot find it anywhere.
A: Strange as it might sound, we've learned the product may often be found in German delicatessens. With assistance from the Sugar-Free Center in Van Nuys, we reached Daisy Kuhn, a professor of microbiology at California State University Northridge. She explained the product is sold under the label "bio diet sweetener" and contains a small amount of saccharin. Although the instructions may be written in German, you should be able to simply use the amount called for in the recipes.
Q: Is it true that returning the avocado pit to freshly made guacamole will keep it from turning brown?
A: No. According to information from the California Avocado Commission, that's just a myth. It's necessary to add lemon or lime juice or a tomato--something with acid--to prevent the mashed avocado pulp from turning dark. The same is true for all peeled and cut avocado. Half-shells must be brushed with lemon or lime juice, and slices or chunks that are not combined with other ingredients that contain acid must be sprinkled or dipped in one of the citrus juices to prevent discoloration.
Q: Is there any way to revive celery that has lost its crispness?
A: In "How to Repair Food" (Ten Speed Press, 1987) authors Marina and John Bear suggest soaking the limp celery in ice water for two to three hours. "Option: Add one tablespoon of vinegar or the juice of one lemon to the water. Some say it helps retain the flavor."
As an alternative, they suggest washing the celery and standing it vertically for two hours in a pitcher of cold water plus one teaspoon of salt, in the refrigerator.