Dear Barbara: My daughter-in-law read that you can make hardboiled eggs (in water) in the microwave. She put three eggs in water in a microwave safe container and all three exploded; why? — Donna from Lodi
Dear Donna: They exploded because steam builds up and when it has no place to go, it makes one! You need a hole so the steam can escape. Your daughter-in-law should try that again. This time have her poke a hole with a clean thumb tack or needle at one end of the egg. I think she will be happy with the results.
Dear Barbara: Is wild rice the same as brown rice? Why does it take so long to cook? — Bobby from Lodi
Dear Bobby: No, wild rice is not the same as brown rice. If it was, Uncle Ben would have it on the market.
Actually, wild rice is neither a grain nor a rice. Wild rice is actually a seed. It’s grown about the same way as rice, but much more elegant. You have an abundance of white rice, but less than half as much wild rice. It takes about 40 minutes for wild rice to become soft enough to eat. You will also find it more expensive because it is so fragile.
Dear Barbara: For some reason, my cakes are sticking to the bottom of the pan. I have tried to run a plastic knife around the outside of the cake pan, but it is usually the bottom that sticks. How can I fix that? — Carla from Lodi
Dear Carla: There are several ways to keep a cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. Using an empty cake pan as a template, draw around the pan and cut out the circle. The circle should be just the right size to fit the pan. When the cake is done, just flip the cake upside down and peel the paper off the bottom. If the cake has cooled and is stubborn, turn on one of the burners on the stove and gently move the pan around. This should loosen the pan and the cake will come right out.
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.