Dear Barbara: I don’t mind the taste of anchovies, but I do mind that they are so extremely salty. I’ve tried rinsing them in a strainer, but that didn’t seem to help much. Is there something I can do to make them taste less salty? — Nan from Lodi
Dear Nan: Try soaking the anchovies for 10 minutes in water or milk. Then you can rinse them in a strainer. Be sure that you pat the anchovies dry before you use them.
Dear Barbara: I’m thrilled that it is asparagus season again. My whole family loves fresh asparagus. My problem is that I almost always over cook it. I get busy with the rest of the dinner and, voila — my asparagus is mushy and the family won’t eat it. I hate to throw it out, but they are not going to eat it tomorrow either! Can you give me any ideas as to what I can do with the leftover asparagus. — Rachel from Lodi
Dear Rachel: You’re right: If your family will not eat the asparagus today, they are not going to eat it tomorrow. That is, unless you disguise it and make it into something entirely different, like cream of asparagus soup. All of the great flavor of the asparagus is still there; your family is basing their opinion solely on mouth feel, or texture. If you can’t find a recipe for asparagus soup in your cookbook, go to www.epicurious.com and type in asparagus soup. There are eighteen recipes, and most all of them say to puree the asparagus. Just remember to leave out the cooking instructions for the asparagus because yours has already been cooked. Your family will never know that they are eating the asparagus that they refused to eat the night before. In fact, they will think you have become a gourmet cook! Remember that you can freeze your asparagus until you are ready to make the soup.
Dear Barbara: When I am making burgers for the grill, they start sticking to my hands and I then have a lot of beef fat sticking to my hands. It makes a huge mess. Is there a way to fix that? — Sarah from Lodi
Dear Sarah: If you dip your hands in cold water after each burger, it will help to keep the fat in the ground beef to a minimum.
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.