Hints From Heloise: Prepared for a dry answer

July 9, 2013

Dear Heloise: What is the difference between DRY AND PREPARED MUSTARDS? -- M.K. in New Mexico

Good question! And as a person who loves all kinds of mustard, I had to think for a second.

Dry mustard is the dry, ground-up mustard seed that you buy in the spice aisle. Prepared mustard is the popular condiment that is a mixture of ground mustard seed (dry mustard), water and vinegar.

In most recipes, you can substitute dry and prepared mustard for one another. When the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of prepared, substitute 1 teaspoon of dry. When it calls for 1 teaspoon of dry, substitute 1 tablespoon of prepared. Want other substitution hints, along with some sauce and marinade recipes? Please send for my Heloise’s Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes pamphlet by mailing $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/SSS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Did you know that most mustard does NOT need to be refrigerated? Refrigeration may help keep the flavor, but if you prefer your mustard at room temperature, just keep it out! -- Heloise

PERFECT PATTIES

Dear Heloise: I have a great way to make hamburger patties without touching the hamburger. Open a 1-pound package of hamburger and place into a plastic zipper-top bag. Zip the bag shut and mash the hamburger to fill the bag evenly (let a little air out midway through to get it perfect).

Place the bag on a flat surface and use the dull side of a large breadknife to quarter the bag. Place in the freezer and, when ready, simply break off perfectly formed, square quarter-pound patties for grilling. -- F.B., via e-mail

MOVING MUSHROOMS

Dear Heloise: I love to make and eat stuffed mushrooms, and I get many requests to bring them to get-togethers. I discovered a hint to transport them: I use a foam egg carton. The mushrooms can sit in the individual cups without losing any stuffing or falling along the way. -- Debbie R. in Ohio

For safety, line the carton with plastic wrap before placing the mushrooms in it to keep bacteria away. -- Heloise

FROZEN BANANA

Dear Heloise: When I have overripe bananas, I freeze them, whole, in the peel. When ready to use, I take out the number I need and let them thaw. I snip off one end with a pair of scissors and squeeze out the banana. They are now ready to be mashed or used in any way you need. -- Karen, via e-mail

BAKING FOR BRACES

Dear Heloise: Many of my favorite recipes include things such as nuts, which are difficult for people with dental issues (such as braces or dentures) to eat. I decided to make a treat for a friend with braces. I finely chopped the nuts until they were crumblike in texture. This made it easy to add into the recipe for a great taste, and easier eating for a great friend! -- Marceline in Pennsylvania

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

, King Features Syndicate

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