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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (12/14/12) ~

Culinary Q & A #2Is it just my imagination, or, does December speed by faster than the other eleven months?  It seems like yesterday we were discussing Thanksgiving lefovers and very soon it will be time to start making plans for New Years Eve!

As promised, I just spent the past week posting a couple of stress-free, relatively-easy, budget-friendly holiday casserole recipes, and, I thank you for all of your kind comments and feedback!

IMG_7212C.  Marcie Says:  Melanie, thank-you for posting your recipe for seafood gratinee.  I got married in April and my husband's family is coming to our house for Christmas. I plan to make two of these... one for each side of the dinner table!

(My recipe for ~ Festive Seafood Gratinee (Gratin de Fruit de Mer) ~ can be found in Categores 3, 11, 14, 19 or 20!)

IMG_7359C.  Marilyn says:  Mel, I am not only going to make your stuffed shells because I know they will be delish, BUT because I have the very same Lenox  dishes and specifically the 9" x 13" casserole dish.  I also bought the Atlas pasta machine you suggested.  I will send you a picture when I make my first batch of homemade pasta!

(~ Jumbo Shells Stuffed w/Four Cheeses ~, can be found in Categories 3, 9, 11, 12, 14 or 19!)

Earlier in the week I also received a great holiday baking question from a reader via e-mail:

PICT0003Q.  Lenore asks:  Mel, can you tell me what the difference is between flour and self-rising flour?  Can I use them interchangeably?  I did the shopping for my holiday baking and accidentally bought a bag of self-rising flour (instead of regular all-purpose flour).

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added to it.

6a0120a8551282970b0162feba6870970d-800wiIt can be substituted for all-purpose flour in yeast breads by omitting the salt in the recipe, and, in quick breads by omitting both the baking powder and salt.  When it comes to baking cookies, I do not recommend substituting it because: It can affect the texture (soft vs. crisp), height (flat vs. fluffy), and/or the way they brown.  If it were me, I would make a trip back to the store to get the correct flour!

PICT0035I do have some good news for you:  

I just happen to have a wonderful recipe for ~ St. Louis-Style Pizza:  "Square Beyond Compare" ~ posted right here on Kitchen Encounters. It will put your bag of self-rising flour to deliciously good use.  You can find the recipe in Categories 2, 5 or 19!

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or e-mail me directly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipes, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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