Q+A with Sara Moulton

Earthhorn: Sara, I love to make desserts and often they have beaten egg whites in them. Is it true that you can't make a good meringue when it is damp outside or the humidity is up? I would like to make lemon meringue pie in the winter because I have a good tree and my family loves it but I have been concerned that it wouldn't hold up.

Melinda W. California

Sara_Moulton: Melinda, I am not a baker but it is my understanding that humidy is the biggest issue when you are trying to make crisp meringues such as a vacherin. (meringue shell) Check out Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise" which is a good book on kitchen science. Or Harold Magee's book on kitchen science and they might be able to help you. -Sara

Jacmom123: Please reply with the recipe for snack mix you had on today's show. I have watched your shows for years and really appreciate all the ideas you have given me for feeding my family. Thanks

Sara_Moulton: I am writing this from memory but I think it is correct:
5 cups air popped popcorn
3/4 cup each cashews, peanuts, almonds (you can decide it you want the roasted variety or if you want the blanched almonds)
1 cup whole wheat cereal such as wheat chex
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
I like to add some cayenned too but I left it out since this was a recipe for kids
Toss all the ingredients together, spread out on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp. -Sara

Judy49080: Sara, can sugar subitutes such as Splenda, be used in all recipes? Judy-Plainwell Mi

Sara_Moulton: Judy, I don't know the answer and I feel reasonable sure that each substitute will behave differently. I would recommend going to their websites. I am sure they address the issue. Best, Sara

Jebcom: Sara,

I have heard many people talk about changing out your spices often. How often should do this and which spices have the shorted shelf life.

Thank you, Barbara T. California

Sara_Moulton: Barbara, The general rule is 6 months. The trouble is that you will not know how long it sat on the grocery shelf. It is not that the spices go bad after 6 months, it is just that they lose their potency so you will need to use more. The best way to tell how fresh they are is to look at their color. Dried green herbs go from green to grey when they age. Paprika, cayenne, etc goes from red to drab brown. Take a whiff too. I think they are basically all in the 6 month shelf life range. -sara

rose_mary88: I am brand new to this, so I don't know if I'm in the right place for this question. I want to ask Sara a question about using whole wheat flour instead of white flour, both in baking pies and cakes and in coating for frying. Can it be substituted without making any type of recipe adjustments? Thank you.

Sara_Moulton: Rosemary, Whole wheat flour does not have the same gluten content as white flour which means that whole wheat flour will not hold up in many recipes, will not provide the necessary structure. Usually a baking recipe will recommend adding some white flour to whole wheat flour for that reason. I think you should check out some baking books to see if there is an exact ratio. -sara

Parentof1: Hi Sara,

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