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Ask Kirstin: Cookie Dough Resting; Clove vs. Bulb; Tamari vs. Soy

chocchipcookies

Do I really have to let the chocolate chip cookie dough “rest”? — R. D.

If you need the cookie now, you need it now and to heck with the rest. However (you knew this was coming didn’t you?) fancy cookie science has found that for a superior cookie, a little r&r is important. The gluten relaxes (less toughness), and the ingredients get to know each other in a way that creates a neater, more flavorful cookie. How long is this nap you ask… long, like 24 hours long, 36 is even better. So make a big batch, a few for now… and a lot of rested ones tomorrow.

 

My question might be embarrassingly simple, but is a clove of garlic the whole bulb, or just one of the segments? — J. B.

Hey, had I never asked that question, I would not know either. So thank you for asking, and I am sure there are others out there that are glad you did!
A clove of garlic is just one segment of the whole head (it’s like an orange segment), usually there are a whole bunch of cloves inside the of a head of garlic.The cloves will be of different sizes, so when a recipe calls for a clove of garlic, use the medium sized one. Each clove is incased in its own papery skin that can easily be removed with the help of a small knife, or, less gently, by crushing the clove, then removing the now loose skin.

* When shopping for garlic choose heavy, hard heads of garlic, and store them in a cool (not cold) dark place.
* For a strong garlic flavor crush or puree them raw.
* For a milder garlic flavor do not crush, but slice them, and blanch quickly in boiling water, gently saute them or roast them whole.
* When sautéing garlic and onions together add the garlic towards the end so it does not burn.

 

I have a recipe that calls for tamari. I used soy sauce instead and it seemed to be fine, what is the difference? — P. S.

Yes, you can substitute one for the other, there are differences though. Both are made from fermented soybeans, soy flavored sauce originated in China, tamari comes from Japan and is generally richer flavored and less salty than soy sauce, making it a gentler choice, especially for when you are using it in dressings and dips. Both soy sauce and tamari can contain wheat, but wheat-free versions of tamari are available in most Asian groceries, making it better for anyone with gluten-allergies. Shôyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce.

 

Want to “Ask Kirstin” for help in the kitchen? Send your questions to kirstin@thefamilydinnerbook.com. And check out the “Ask Kirstin” Archive.

 

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