Chef Sara Moulton Answers Your Cooking Questions

I am not an expert at sugar-free baking but I think I might still be able to help you here. It sounds like the vanilla made the frosting curdle because the vanilla extract added too much liquid to the mix. Why don't you try substituting the extract with a fresh vanilla bean (many supermarkets sell them in a thin glass or plastic tube). Cut the bean in half lengthwise, from top to bottom and scrape the seeds using the tip of a paring knife into the frosting and gently beat until they are incorporated. The only downside is that you will see tiny black flecks in the frosting but the upside is that the seeds will contribute terrific flavor and the frosting won't curdle.

Pat Traficante : What is your favorite way to prepare lamb. I love chops, but I don't like leg of lamb. My problem is when preparing food. I don't like butter, mayo or raw onions.

Sara's Answer:

Pat,

Rather than give you a specific recipe I am going to recommend some ingredients to pair with lamb chops (that aren't butter, mayo or raw onion): olive oil, garlic (cooked), olives, tomatoes, mint, lemon, red wine, rosemary, basil, mint.

Laura Glanger: Is it my imagination, or do crockpots tend to give a certain off flavor to meat dishes? Thank you.

Sara's Answer:

Laura,

I have not experienced that problem. I think you end up with more intense flavor when you cook in a crockpot because all of those ingredients are hanging out together for such a long time. Perhaps that intensity is getting to you?

Carla Schneidewind : I am deathly allergic to lemon and so many recipes calls for lemon. Orange and lime work sometimes but, it changes and at times ruins the original flavor of the dish. Is there anything else that I can use in place of the lemon? Thanks!

Sara's Answer:

Carla,

What a bummer!! Citrus is in everything. Sometimes lemon is added solely for its lemon flavor and that you cannot replicate – unless you are okay with lemon herbs like lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon thyme and lemon verbena. If you are okay with those herbs, then you can chop them up very fine and add them for their lemony flavor.

If the lemon is added to a recipe for its acidity you can substitute any acidic ingredient – wine, vinegar, tomatoes, etc, although not in exactly the same amounts. You could start by adding a little of one of those ingredients and tasting. Add more if you think the dish needs more acid.

For more great recipes from Sara check out her website or follow her on Twitter: @saramoulton

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