I will now hand feed you the answers to last week's Culinary I.Q. Quiz. Take your time to digest them well.
1. Baking soda and baking powder can be used interchangeably.
False. Not all leavening agents are created equal. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, a base that needs to be balanced with an acid like buttermilk to counter its acerbic taste. Baking powder, on the other hand, is both a base and an acid (sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and starch), and should be blended with another neutral substance like milk. Baking soda is the go-to leavening agent for cookies, while baking powder is used in cakes and biscuits.
2. All fruits and vegetables continue to ripen after picking.
False. Most stone fruits including peaches, plums, and apricots, along with mangoes, pears, bananas, avocados, and tomatoes will further ripen after picking. Others, especially berries, citrus and watermelon will not ripen further once harvested, so pick wisely.
3. Nectarines are a hybrid cross between a peach and a plum.
False. Nectarines are a hairless recessive allele developed from a peach mutation with firmer flesh and a more refined aromatic scent.
4. The "eyes" that sprout on potatoes can be toxic.
True. Potatoes need to be stored in a cool, dry spot to prevent sprouting tendrils called "eyes," a sign that they germinating. Gouge and discard any "eyes" before cooking since these contain a mild toxin the plant creates to protect its offspring.
5. Tomatoes have more cancer fighting lycopenes when cooked.
True. Since these lovely fruits are also fat soluble, blend with a healthy vegetable oil or cheese to boost the bio-availability of this mighty antioxidant.
6. Avocados are loaded with artery clogging, transfatty monsters.
False. Avocados are a cholesterol-free food with heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. They also contain glutathione, an antioxidant that actually blocks absorption of fats by the intestine.
7. Braising and sautéing are similar cooking methods for tenderizing meats.
False. Braising first sears the meat at high temperatures, then slowly cooks it at lower temperatures in a liquid, such as a stock or wine in a covered vessel like a Dutch oven. Sautéing uses high heat and fat in a shallow pan.
8. Sweet potatoes are also called yams.
False. These tuber doppelgangers aren't even related — the sweet potato belongs to the morning glory family, while the yam, which is larger, sweeter and less nutritional than its look-a-like is a lily.
9. Peanuts are botanically a legume, not a nut.
True. Other popular legumes include lentils, peas, and carob.
10. To "shock" green vegetables means to place them in an icy bath to halt the cooking process so they maintain their bright green hue and al dente texture.
••• Multiple Choice
1. Cage free eggs come from c) chickens allowed to romp around the barn, not to be confused with free-range chickens that roam freely outdoors.
2. The most widely consumed fish throughout the world is c) herring. This cold water, oily fish loaded with heart-healthy omega 3's is commonly smoked or pickled in sour cream or wine, the latter preferable for the cholesterol-conscious.
3. Authentic mozzarella from southern Italy is made with milk from d) water buffalo, more easily digestible than mozzarella from cow's milk.
4. The "Dirty Dozen" refers to b) 12 foods with high-pesticide residues that should be substituted for their organic equivalents (strawberries, spinach, apples, grapes, peaches, tomatoes, celery, cherries, cucumber, potatoes, bell peppers and nectarines).
5. A good digestive aid is e) all of the above, including mustard seeds, fennel, cumin and fresh ginger.
6. "Aioli" translates to b) garlic oil; creamy like mayonnaise, but more sophisticated with flavors reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast. Aioli is traditionally prepared with a mortar and pestle, pulverizing garlic cloves then whisking with extra virgin olive oil, egg yolks, lemon juice and seasonings to create a versatile condiment.
7. A splash of this liquid prevents cut apples from turning brown, while keeping guacamole green
a) lemon juice.
••• Match numbers and letters
1. Protein found in common grains and their hybrids d) gluten.
2. An herb and sibling to carrots, cumin, and cilantro f) celery.
3. Gourd containing 95 percent water e) cucumber.
4. High smoke point oil ideal for sautéing and frying i) safflower oil.
5. This butter free of common dairy allergens, lactose, hydrogenated oils, and trans fats g) Ghee butter.
6. A rich store of minerals in this seasoning boost libido, immune and skeletal systems and regulate heartbeat and sleep patterns a) Pink Himalayan salt.
7. Having more Vitamin C than oranges, and as much calcium as milk, this anti-cancer warrior is most potent raw c) broccoli.
8. The authentic Greek salad does not contain b) Romaine lettuce.
— Catharine Kaufman can be reached ny e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org