Dear Heloise: Would you please address the difference between CONDENSED AND EVAPORATED MILK? -- Christine F., Lignum, Va.
Happy to, as it can be a little confusing. Sweetened condensed milk is WHOLE MILK that is heated until about 60 percent of the water is removed and sugar is added. It is used when making candies and desserts.
Evaporated milk is whole milk that is heated until 50 percent of the water is removed, but NO sugar is added. It is used in custards, sauces and puddings to make them thick and smooth. You CANNOT substitute condensed milk for evaporated milk or vice versa. However, I do have a Heloise’s Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes pamphlet that shares a lot of food ideas you CAN substitute for one another. To receive one, send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/SSS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Need some milk but don’t have any on hand? Try some coffee creamer with a little water added. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Looking for a new spice to add to your cooking? Try mace. No, not the stuff used to spray bad guys. With a sweet flavor, it is more pungent than nutmeg, with a golden-brown color. Mace is part of the nutmeg seed. You can buy it ground or whole-blade. Since the two are closely related, you can substitute nutmeg and mace in recipes.
Mace can be added to desserts, barbecue sauce and Swedish meatballs. It even can be sprinkled on potatoes or added to vegetable soups. Pick up a small bottle and spice up your life a little! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Don’t toss those vegetable peelings, woody stems, not-so-perfect-for-salad tomatoes, etc. Save them in a zipper-top bag in the freezer with stems from parsley or other herbs. When I have a bagful, I plunk it all into a pot, add water and one 12-ounce can of vegetable juice, and make some vegetable broth.
I let this simmer until the “vegetables” are done. Strain the broth and toss the veggies. You get a real nice broth for soup or whatever you make that calls for broth. You also can refreeze the broth for another day. Adding a clove or two of garlic and a bay leaf makes a great soup starter or simply a warm broth on a cool day. -- Susan, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: My kitchen trash can uses bags that are very snug-fitting and balloon out. This makes the trash want to stay at the top and not go to the bottom of the bag. My hint is to put the bag in the can, then take something sharp (I use closed scissors) and punch a few small holes at the top of the bag, causing it to deflate. Love your column in the Decatur (Ala.) Daily! -- Ellen G., Decatur, Ala.