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We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors
and furniture polish is made from real lemons.
I have recently downloaded a few recipes that mention a step called "emulsify." What the heck
does that mean? I've never been a cook, and doing low carb is making a cook out of me whether I like
it or not. Help!
To emulsify means to combine two liquids that normally do not combine easily,
such as oil and vinegar or oil and water. This is done by slowly adding one ingredient
to another (sometimes drop-by-drop) while whisking rapidly. This will disperse and suspend
one liquid throughout the other. Emulsified mixtures are usually thick and satiny in
texture. Two great examples are mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.
Mayonnaise is a mixture of oil and vinegar or lemon juice that is emulsified
by the addition of egg yolk, which contains the emulsifier lecithin.
The two liquids will soon separate unless a third ingredient is added — this is
called a liaison or emulsifier, which stabilizes the mixture.
Foods that contain emulsifiers include both egg white and yolk, gelatin, and mustard.
Here are some helpful tips:
Now, go forth and emulsify.
- Room temperature ingredients emulsify better.
- Fresh eggs are better for a stable emulsion; old eggs lose their ability to emulsify
- 1 large egg can emulsify 175 mL (3/4 cup) of oil
Can you tell me what 5-spice powder is and if it contains sugar? A restaurant I love tells
me one of my favorite dishes is spiced with that only, and I don't know if that means I'm getting
sugar and carbs from it.
Five Spice Powder is a seasoning which has traditionally been used in
oriental dishes, but is now becoming a little more "mainstream" and is working its
way into many American and Indian dishes. It is usually a mixture of fennel (or ginger), cinnamon, cloves,
star anise, and szechwan peppercorns (also called anise pepper.)
While a lot of groceries carry it (and please check the
label for the ingredients in your brand), it can almost always be found in specialty and
I saw some ingredient called "ghee" in several recipes (including some of yours.) It usually says
"or butter" so I am assuming it's a fat of some sort? Can you tell me what it is, and if I can
make it myself?
Ghee is used in Eastern cooking, especially Indian cooking, on a daily basis. The Western counterpart is
clarified butter — but true ghee is cooked more slowly and has a stronger flavor.
Ghee gives food a wonderful buttery taste and, better than butter, it doesn't burn as easily and doesn't
turn rancid as quickly as whole butter.
The smoking point of ghee tends to be higher than most vegetable oils. A little ghee can often
take the place of a larger amount of oil for frying food and it works well in wok cooking where
a high heat is necessary for stir-frying. A teaspoon of ghee in a small pan easily cooks a couple
of cloves of minced garlic without turning acrid.
To make your own ghee (the authentic way):
Use 2 lbs of real butter. Place the butter blocks whole into a medium non-stick pan. Melt at a very
low heat. When completely melted, raise heat very slightly. Ensure it does not smoke or burn, but
don't stir. Leave to cook about one hour. (When I try this on my stove I need to turn it to the
absolute minimum setting, or it will turn brown. Watch it carefully.) The impurities will sink to
the bottom and float on the top. Carefully skim any off the top with a slotted spoon, but don't
touch the bottom.
Turn off the heat and allow the ghee to cool a little. Then strain it through paper towels or
muslin into an airtight jar. When it cools, it solidifies, although it is quite soft. It should be
a bright pale lemon color and smell a bit like toffee. If it has burned, it will be darker and
smell different ? if it isn't too burned, it can still be used, but the key is: don't let it burn!
For a quick (but not as perfect or delicious) way to make ghee, do it in the microwave:
Take an amount of butter according to your needs (usually no more than 1/4 pound or 1 stick) and put
it into a microwaveable cup. Microwave on high until liquified and a white foamy froth has formed on
top. Microwaves vary greatly in strength ? this could take two to five minutes, but check frequently.
Then, as carefully as possible, skim the white froth (milk solids) off the top with a spoon.
The resulting hopefully clear yellow liquid is ghee. You can also strain this through a paper towel
and coffee filter, but that can get messy.
Copyright © March 2005 Low Carb Luxury