Dear Barbara: In regard to Michael Warren’s twist on stuffing (Lodi Living cover, Nov. 20), can the cooked end product be frozen without being all stuck together or too dry? Any tips?
Dear Mike: Yes, the stuffing can be frozen before or after cooking, but with the raw eggs used before it is baked, I would recommend it be frozen after baking. Sometimes frozen egg yolks can get rather chunky or lumpy when they are frozen. Freezing shouldn’t do anything to the texture. Just be sure it is completely thawed before reheating it in the oven.
I receive a lot of gourmet catalogs this time of year and many of them sell upscale stuffing. All are shipped frozen. It’s quite expensive, so if it were to be mushy when it is thawed, or dry, I feel certain they would not offer it.
Do wrap the stuffing in several layers of foil, or put it in air tight containers so moisture will not collect. I wouldn’t freeze it much more than a month. Eventually it would lose its quality.
Dear Barbara: Eons ago a lady published her favorite clam chowder recipe in the News-Sentinel. I put it away so well that I can not locate it. Do you have one? I know there are several in the magazines, but thought I would ask you. You always have such good ones. Also, I did the same with a corn bread stuffing.
— Anonymous from Lodi
Dear Anonymous: I make a very standard clam chowder. We used to go to a restaurant in Santa Cruz that had outstanding clam chowder. I asked the server what herb I tasted that made it so good and she went into the kitchen to check. As it turns out, it was tarragon. It added such a nice little twist to the chowder that I now put dried tarragon in clam chowder as a general rule. If you like tarragon, you might want to try it. There is no set amount, just to taste.
Dear Barbara: First off, I enjoy your column every week and look forward to it.
I am a fan of brown rice with all its nutrients. However, it takes so long to cook. Does the quick-cooking brown rice have the same nutrients? Thanks.
— Betty from Lodi
Dear Betty: We are also fans of brown rice, but I don’t like taking 40 minutes to cook it. I use Uncle Ben’s rice. He has different options like long cooking, 10-minute rice and Ready Rice, which is a 90 second microwavable brown rice. I compared standard cooked brown rice and Ready Rice; each having 1- cup servings. Ready Rice has 70 calories more than standard, more fat (3 grams), fiber, potassium and protein, but has no calcium.
Standard rice has 4 percent of the daily calcium, 21 percent more folate, 9 percent more iron and 19 percent more thiamin. It has no fat and no fiber.
You would have to decide which value is more important to you.
I think Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice whole grain brown rice is the best thing to come along in a long time. Ninety seconds in the microwave and it is on the plate!
Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and city.