Ask Sara: TV Chef Answers Your Questions

Sara's Answer:

Diane,

Most table salt has additives -- a free-flowing agent and, often, iodine. If you want to use a salt with no additives, reach for a salt, whether it is kosher or sea salt, that does not list any additives on the label. Most chefs prefer the clean taste of pure salt without additives. Many sea salts will also contain trace minerals that reflect where they were harvested. Aside from the additive issue, there is also the grain size to take into consideration. Table salt is very fine and dissolves more readily than a coarser salt such as kosher or most sea salts. For baking, I like to use a fine salt and will reach either for table salt or for a fine sea salt.

Ron: I love to cook, but my problem is when it comes to using spices. Is there a "do's and don'ts" when it comes to spices? I guess I am asking for the ABC's of spices. Can you help?

Sara's Answer:

Ron,

Here are a few basic guidelines: 1. Store spices in a cool, dry place away from light. If you do they will keep their potency for up to six months.

2. Whenever possible, buy spices whole and grind them yourself (a good gadget for this is a coffee grinder).

3. When you cook with them, don't just throw them into a dish. Either toast them in a dry pan over low heat until they smell aromatic or saute them first in a little oil, which helps to bring out their flavor.

Bobbie Kimball: When cooking a turkey, do you cover it with foil? How long do you leave the foil on? Do you take it off halfway? Thanks a million.

Sara's Answer:

Bobbie,

You should cover the turkey with foil for the first half of the cooking time. I just roasted one the other day, and that worked very well. It helps to keep the breast moist, and the skin still browns with half the cooking time. I also add some broth to the roasting pan -- that creates more of a steamier environment, which also helps to keep the breast moist.

For more tips from Sara Moulton check out her website.

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