Questions? – Forum

Jun 6, 2013

Sticky Meringues

Patrizia asks… Made your meringues, them came out fantastic. I make abatch every Saturday. I have one question. My meringues once they are out of the container for about 5 minutes they get sticky on the top, bad for my grandson he gets all his hands sticky. I live in the northern part of Italy and the weather has been super humid, can that make them sticky?

My Response:

Patrizia, your humidity is definitely the problem. It can be a challenge to make meringues in humid weather. In fact, when it’s raining here, I just avoid making them altogether. But there are a couple of things you could try. One is to increase the cream of tartar to 1/2 teaspoon. Another is to beat them even longer for extremely stiff peaks and make sure you’re not beating them next to a pot of boiling water or moisture from a dishwasher as they will absorb moisture from the air. And finally, you could try leaving them in the closed oven after it’s turned off for a longer time. My recipe says one hour but you could try leaving them in there overnight. Also, when serving, you could dry them out in a 200 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes. I hope that helps.

Jun 4, 2013

How to Bake Soft Cookies

Parvin asks… Hello Jenny, how can i bake soft cookies? Thank you

My Response… There are a few things than help to make soft cookies:
1. Bake them for the least amount of time, even if they seem soft in the middle.
2. Don’t use dark baking pans, only shiny metal ones.
3. Try reducing the flour just a little.
4. Try adding an extra egg yolk.
5. Use more brown sugar and less white sugar.
6. Use butter and not oil.
7. Replace part of the butter with shortening.
8. Remove cookies immediately from pan when done.
9. Cool the cookies on a flat surface and not a wire rack.
10. Store them in an air-tight container. If needed, put in a piece of white bread.

May 28, 2013

My Colorful Bowls

Shirley asks…What are those lightweight bowls you use?  They look so handy and pretty colors.

My Response…

The colorful bowls you see in my videos are an inexpensive plastic set (6 bowls) that I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $20. I have also seen them at Target.

May 17, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

Viesta asks… Jenny I hate to bother you, but what do you have in the way of a good recipe for stuffed mushrooms?

My Response…

I haven’t tried them yet but I have two great, healthy recipes on my “Healthy Snacks & Appetizers” Board on Pinterest. One is Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms and the other one is stuffed with spinach, feta, sundried tomatoes, parm, onion, garlic, etc. Both sound delicious! – Jenny Jones

May 13, 2013

Whole wheat flour vs. Whole wheat PASTRY flour

Sue asks… Is there a difference between whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour? I want to make your chocolate brownies but my whole wheat flour doesn’t say “pastry flour” And when we went to the store, I saw nothing that said pastry flour??

My Response:

Whole wheat PASTRY flour is more finely ground than whole wheat flour and produces lighter, softer baked items like cookies and brownies. It also has less gluten than whole wheat flour (gluten is needed when baking with yeast). I only use whole wheat flour when baking bread. For all other uses, like cookies, cakes, pancakes, muffins, etc. I use whole wheat PASTRY flour. My grocery store carries it but if yours doesn’t, you will likely find it at a health food store or online.

May 9, 2013

Salad Dressing

Chris asks… I noticed in your what’s cooking today section that you eat salads almost every day but you never mention the dressing. Do you have any good salad dressing recipes you can share? I’m trying to get my family to eat more salads. thank you.

My Response…

You’re right, I do eat salads every day and the dressings are always olive based and only vary by the type of vinegar I use (or sometimes lemon). I never make creamy dressings because it’s more important to eat healthy fats and olive oil is the most heart-healthy of them all, and it also does wonders for the skin. So I see salads as the best opportunity to get a daily dose of extra virgin olive oil. My combinations are always olive oil plus: (pick one) balsamic vinegar, pomegranate vinegar, white balsamic, pomegranate molasses, cherry vinegar, fresh lemon or lime juice. I’m always looking for new flavors of vinegar and I always add a little salt and freshly ground pepper. – Jenny Jones

May 4, 2013

John is wondering how I never get sick

Hey Jenny, I’m fascinated over the fact you haven’t been sick in decades. Besides eating the right foods..I was wondering if you think using items like hand sanitizers/Clorox wipes are necessary? Also do you take any special precautions if someone around you is ill to avoid catching it? Thanks!

My Response:
I can’t remember the last time I had a cold – maybe 25 or 30 years ago, and I’ve never missed a day of work in my life. So yes, I really never get sick. I don’t use any sanitizers or take any special routine precautions. I don’t run from sick people as I know some people do and I sometimes wonder if exposing myself to a variety of germs is what keeps my immune system so strong. However, if I’m around someone who is sick, I probably wouldn’t shake their hand or share a glass but that’s about it. I also believe that a positive attitude helps a lot. If I ever feel like something is coming on, I simply deny it. I decide that I don’t have the time or desire to be sick and I don’t get sick. Some people feel a cold coming on and simply accept they’ll be sick and they are. I hope I’m making sense. But there’s more…

Many years ago my back went out and I was lying on the couch in severe pain on an ice pack. I could barely walk and couldn’t even stand up straight. The phone rang and it was Hollywood Squares asking if I could fill in for someone at the last minute. I jumped off the couch, put my clothing together and headed for studio. We taped five shows that day which involved climbing up and down into the squares and the whole time, my back pain was gone. I couldn’t have taped these shows with a bad back so it had to go away… and it did. Ever since then, I’ve been convinced that it’s possible to deny some illnesses and pain.

Besides eating fairly well (I still have pizza or a gelato once in a while) it may be what I do NOT eat: No fast food at all, no soft drinks at all, no diet drinks at all, and no store-bought cookies or sweets – I make all my own. And I drink a lot of green tea. I hope I didn’t preach here too much but I appreciate your asking and hope this gives you something to think about. Take care.

Apr 26, 2013

Alicia is asking what to serve with gyros

I am interested in the Greek potatoes recipe. Is that recipe still availabe?
Also, what would you recommend serving with chicken gyros for a light lunch?
Thank you!

My response:

I just posted the Greek Lemon Potatoes recipe and as for the chicken gyros lunch, I would say that’s already a pretty hearty lunch. So if anything, I would only add some crudite or a salad. One suggestion I can make is to serve a middle eastern cucumber salad which would tie in beautifully with the gyro which is traditionally Turkish or Greek, depending who you ask. I love these fresh cucumber salads which are almost like a salsa, typically made with Persian cucumbers, onion, tomato, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Apr 25, 2013

Easy-Clean Work Surface

Nate asks… Jenny, I notice in your YouTube videos you prepare your ingredients over what looks like a mat of sorts (the blue surface beneath all your bowls, etc.). What is it exactly and what would you recommend to help one cook mess-free, or at least with minimal mess? I’ve used nothing but paper towels.

My Response…

I think you’re referring to my latest video on chocolate brownies where the table cover is blue. That cover, as well as all the colorful table covers in my videos, are just fabric. They are either table cloths that I have or simply pieces of cotton I buy at the fabric store. And let me tell you this is not a practical way to cook mess-free because they all have to be washed after cooking and if any grease gets on them, it’s usually permanent. But I do the videos on a plywood table and it has to be covered with something. This isn’t much help to you but I do have one suggestion. At the fabric store, I’ve seen plastic yardage that I think is used for outdoor picnic tables. That might work for you by laying down a big sheet of  this plastic type cloth and when you’re done, just wipe the whole thing down. Hey, this just gave me an idea. I could use it in my videos!   – Jenny Jones

Apr 24, 2013

Paula has granola ideas

Hi Jenny,
Have a question on the “Easy Granola” recipe – instead of adding 4 cups of rolled oats, have  you ever tried adding different cereals, for example: rye flakes, spelt flakes, oatbran flakes, buckwheat, barley, millet – maybe just mixing two different cereals at a time.  Would they be suitable for toasted Granola?  What about seeds – can these also be added, like in your Granola Bars – which really are great.
Thanks in advance.
Best regards,
P.S. you have a great website with lots of interesting info and ideas and I love your videos.

My response:

My answers are yes, yes, and yes. One of the best things about making granola is you never have to make the same recipe twice. My sister makes it all the time and she told me she changed it so many times, she actually forgot her original recipe. So try some new additions (make sure it’s “rolled” spelt or barley) and seeds are always a great addition. I sometimes add wheat germ to mine, too. Let us know how your creation turns out.