Dear Barbara: A friend of mine told me that she found a yellow cauliflower at her Farmers Market. Then when she went back the next week, there was a purple one. She said it tasted just like the regular white ones. Is this true or do they dye them different colors? Have I been “punked?” — Lily from Lodi
Dear Lily: No, you haven’t been punked! I find it interesting that the ones we’ve been eating are white. It is the only one that isn’t natural. The edible parts are covered with leaves so the sun can not bring out any color. Cauliflower actually comes in four colors: white, orange, purple and green. They have great antioxidants in them, and they are high in vitamin A and C. They also have beta carotene in them.
Dear Barbara: What exactly is fondant? Can you eat if you have put cutouts on the cupcakes for a decoration? — Caren from Northern California
Dear Caren: Fondant is a stiff marshmallow and powdered sugar frosting that you can roll out and make decorations for cakes and cookies. It smooths the sharp edges — and yes — the fondant is very edible.
Dear Barbara: Are chick peas and garbanzo beans the same thing? — Jeri from Galt
Dear Jeri: Different parts of the country, or the world for that matter, use chick peas for various dishes. They call them by different names, but they are all the same.
Dear Barbara: It is getting to be that time when pies are on your mind! When you make a two-crust pie and you want to freeze it, do you freeze it before or after you bake the pie? — Victoria from Stockton
Dear Victoria: When you freeze your pies, before you want to bake the pie, thaw for about 10 minutes and then bake according to your instructions. This is done so the crust won’t get “soggy” when it is baked. Freeze the pie unwrapped over night, then wrap it securely and freeze it until you are ready to bake and use it.
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.