Dear Heloise: My daughter told me that olive oil should not be used for frying — for example, chicken. If that is true, how should I be using it?
Frances W., Hope Mills, N.C.
Frances W.: Well, I hate to get into the middle of a mother-daughter “discussion,” but, according to my research, she is not completely correct. Years ago, much misinformation about frying food with olive oil (related to the smoking point at high temperatures) was circulating. However, current information shows that it can safely take the high temperatures used for frying food. Just don’t heat it until it smokes — that’s the point of no return. If the oil starts smoking, called the smoke point, it’s too hot and not wise to fry food in.
Go ahead and fry the chicken without worry.
Dear Heloise: Like most, I cook carrots and potatoes in a pot roast. We prefer the vegetables not too soft. On the first serving, they are perfect, but as leftovers they become overcooked. To work around this, I have two methods.
I cook as many carrots and potatoes as will be eaten in the first serving, and leave the broth as is (no gravy). For the subsequent meal, I cook appropriate amounts of carrots and potatoes in the broth from the roast.
Another second-meal approach (our favorite) is to cook more potatoes than needed for the first meal. For the second serving, mash the cooked potatoes. They are not fluffy like potatoes cooked for mashing, but they are savory and flavorful. Sometimes I even mash a bit of carrots with them for a bit of extra flavor. They are really quite good.
Rhonda D., via email
Rhonda D.: Yum and double yum! Mashed — or smashed, as I call them (not whipped) — potatoes with carrots is delicious! A sneaky way to add some veggies to a meal, also. Thanks!
Dear Heloise: I was recently baking a birthday cake in a fluted cake pan. The recipe called for it to cool for 15 minutes and then remove. Because it was late, I let it sit overnight before trying to remove the cake.
The next morning, I couldn’t get it out. My husband ran some hot water in a large bowl and sat the cake pan in it for about a minute. The cake came right out, saving the day.
Lucky Wife, via email
Dear Heloise: I read your column on using disposable gloves for food preparation. I use nitrile gloves when making a variety of foods. Before I touch the food, I put on the gloves, then wash them with an antibacterial soap and rinse. Just a little added food safety.
Jesse M., Mertztown, Pa.
Dear Heloise: Because the can of cooking oil gets greasy and slippery, I put a wristband around the can near the top. The wristband is the stretchy cloth type tennis players and basketball players wear.
Bette P., Boerne, Tex.