Dear Heloise: I saw pink salt in the store the other day. What is it, and how is it used? -- Lydia N., via e-mail
The pink salt you are seeing in stores is Himalayan salt, which is found deep within the Himalayas. The beautiful pink color comes from the mineral content.
You can buy the salt in plates, slabs, cubes and fine or coarse grain. Use the fine- or coarse-grained salt like regular table salt for foods. The slabs and plates are available to serve sushi or other appetizers on. -- Heloise
P.S.: If you just like the color (pink salt can be very pricey), you can make pink salt by adding a few drops of red food coloring to regular table salt. Put the salt in a bowl and keep stirring until it’s the color you want.
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Dear Heloise: Most people are used to a baked potato served with sour cream and butter. However, I really enjoy baked potatoes and all the different ingredients you can stuff in them to make a meal, especially if you have leftovers. Try adding the following to a baked potato the next time you want a quick but filling meal:
* Leftover chicken or beef in a barbecue sauce, topped with some cheese and scallions.
* Leftover taco meat, sour cream, salsa, olives, lettuce and cheese.
* Leftover chili, sour cream and cheese.
-- M.M., New York
Dear Readers: To keep as many vitamins in vegetables when cooking, try steaming or microwaving them rather than boiling them in water. Vegetables cooked on the stove at high temperatures can lose up to 30 percent of their vitamins! Whenever possible, eat your vegetables raw or lightly steamed. -- Heloise
COUPLE OF HINTS
Dear Heloise: I have a couple of food-preparation hints to share:
I save the juice or syrup from canned fruit and use it in place of sugar or simple syrup in cocktails. My favorite is to add mandarin orange juice to margaritas in place of sugar. It sweetens the drink, adds a little flavor and blends in instantly. Cherry juice adds sweetness, flavor and a pretty color to lemonade.
I keep a mixture of cinnamon and sugar in a clear glass saltshaker. The clear glass lets me determine what the content is, and the shaker is handy for sprinkling on toast or in hot drinks like cocoa and coffees. -- Lisa Z. in Oregon
Dear Readers: If you enjoy eating a lot of hard-cooked (hard boiled) eggs, sometimes it’s hard to tell which eggs are which. Try this hint: Add some food coloring and vinegar to the water when boiling the eggs. Now you’ll know the colored eggs in the refrigerator are hard-boiled, even when it’s not Easter! -- Heloise