By Judyrae Kruse, Herald Columnist
With just two for dinner nowadays, Everett reader Juan Padron has been wondering about the possibility of cutting some recipes in half, so he asked Forum cooks for their opinion.
Carolyn Farnsworth over there on Whidbey Island writes, “Please let Juan Padron know that he most certainly can cut the July 4 chili recipe in half — as long as the amount fills at least half of his slow-cooker. That’s recommended by all slow-cooker manufacturers, that the food fill, at minimum, half of the pot.
“But more importantly, if he likes the recipe, he can make as much as he wants and freeze leftovers in smaller servings. Chili freezes and thaws really well — I do it all the time. Hope this helps; love the Forum!”
Edmonds cook Mim Edelstein says, “In response to Juan Padron about cutting amounts in half to make a smaller amount, that sometimes works, but why do it? Make the full recipe and freeze the leftovers in meal-size containers — then you can have a vacation from cooking some day when you are really busy or really tired or get unexpected company.”
Frequent Forum helper Michael Koznek of Snohomish tells us, “Yes, Juan Padron’s foods will taste the same, whether you are cooking on top of the stove or in the oven or crockpot. If baking casseroles, cakes or pies, be sure the baking pans measure as close as possible to half the area of the pans called for in the original recipe, in order to keep the food at the same depth as in the original recipe.
“Use the original temperature called for in the oven, but the food may be done a few minutes earlier than the original recipe called for.
“To divide an egg, beat it lightly and measure out by tablespoons. One large egg equals 1/4 cup, so half a large egg would equal 2 tablespoons.”
Michael adds, “I hope this helps Mr. Padron and your other readers, but in an aside, I would prefer to freeze half the chili, stew or casserole and save it for another day. This way I save time, making a future supper, and I only have to wash the pots and pans, measuring and cutting tools once, and I save money because reheating frozen foods in the microwave uses less electricity than making food from scratch, and not washing the dishes twice saves water, electricity or gas for heating the water, plus saves on dish soap.”
And one last bit of advice Michael shares: “Cake freezes well, too, but not clam chowder or other cream-type soups or sauces with dairy — the milk will separate out in curds, and it tastes OK, but is unsightly.”
The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.
Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Forum will appear in Monday’s Good Life section.