Dear Barbara: I am making homemade pasta sauce. The phone rang and by the time I got back to my sauce, the sauce smelled a little scorched. I took it off the burner. Is there any way I can save the sauce? — Carly from Lodi
Dear Carly: Most importantly, don’t stir it! Ladle the upper two-thirds into another pan without disturbing the final third. Taste it with a clean spoon to see if it tastes burnt. If not, you have saved most of it. If it has a burnt taste to the sauce, I’m afraid you will have to start over, using a clean spoon and a clean pan. It might be good to have a cellphone nearby so you can talk and still keep an eye on your sauce!
Dear Barbara: I have a problem with eggs sticking in a non-stick skillet and becoming rubbery. My children now make jokes about playing ping pong with their scrambled eggs. What should I do? — Sandy from Lockeford
Dear Sandy: Well, I can’t tell you how to make your children stop kidding you, but I can give you hints to try when you scramble eggs.
You may have your heat too high, which will cause the eggs to cook too fast and become rubbery. You need a slower, even heat. If you cook them too long, you will have the same problem as you have now.
Nonstick pans are a blessing, but nothing is perfect. You will have more success if you add a tablespoon of water while you are beating the eggs and use either unsalted butter or vegetable oil in the skillet. Salted butter or margarine will cause the eggs to stick to the pan.
When you think the eggs are almost — but not quite done — remove the skillet from the heat. The residual cooking will finish the eggs for you.
As far as your children go, you might try telling them that the first one to make a joke about the eggs has to do the dishes!
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 email@example.com. Please include your first name and city.