Chef Sara Moulton Answers Your Cooking Questions

In a pinch, you can make this substitution: 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons flour equals 1 cup cake flour.

Tricia Seeman: My church dinner club host is serving Coq au Vin this Saturday. I've been racking my brain as to what to bring for our appetizer and bread. Help! I need suggestions.

Sara's Answer:


So sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Coq au Vin can be kind of rich given that it has bacon and a rich sauce in the mix. So I would recommend serving something light, like a salad as the first course, maybe with some beets and oranges in it as well as a mix of greens.

Regarding the bread - you want a good sturdy bread that can soak up the sauce from the dish, like a good quality French baguette or Italian loaf or just some good rustic bread.

Kathleen Peters: Years ago, I used to make quiche all the time without baking the pie shell before. Now that I am a more mature chef (he he), I thought I would try to do it properly. When I baked the Pillsbury pastries in my ceramic pie dishes, according to directions, they both shrunk down to the bottom, leaving nothing on the sides to hold the egg mixture. What did I do wrong? (By the way, I layered some sliced ham up the sides and filled the shells anyway, and the quiche turned out pretty good!)

Sara's Answer:


There are several reasons that might have happened. 1.The dough might have gotten too warm so that the fat in the butter melted out before the pastry had time to puff up. 2. You might have overworked (overrolled) the dough, which toughens the gluten in the flour and makes the dough shrink back. 3. You might have stretched the dough when you put it in the pie plate instead of easing it in. Dough is elastic and will shrink back.

The next time roll out the dough quickly and ease it into the pie plate without stretching it. Then put it pack in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to let the gluten relax before you fill it and bake it.

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