Dear Barbara: When I make fried chicken, I dip it in an egg mixture, then coat it with flour and seasonings before frying it in oil. I always have trouble keeping the coating on the chicken. It always comes off when I’m frying it. And to me, that’s the best part (where all the seasonings are). Do you know of any secret to keeping the coating on the chicken when I fry it? — Susie from Lodi
Dear Susie: Who doesn’t love fried chicken?!
There are multitudes of techniques to frying chicken. Yours is one of the most common, and is delicious.
You have a great technique, but you are missing just one little step. After the chicken is washed and patted dry, dredge it in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess, then dip it in the egg, then back in the flour. The flour makes the egg stick, and the egg makes the second coat of flour stick.
Another tip to make your coating stay on is to let it set for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack before you put it in the hot oil. It gives everything a chance to “stick” to the chicken. Try to turn it only once, and resist the urge to move it around in the frying pan. Yummy! I think we will be having fried chicken in this house tomorrow night! Thanks for the question!
Dear Barbara: I read the question about alcohol replacements in one of your columns. I have always heard that the alcohol evaporates when cooked. It does, doesn’t it? So even if you don’t want the alcohol, isn’t just the flavor left behind? — Brenda from Lodi
Dear Brenda: I wish I could say all the alcohol evaporates, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. If you were to “flambé” something, meaning pouring liquor over a dish and igniting it, only about 4 percent of the alcohol burns off. Slow cooking dishes have a much better percentage. If you were making a slow cooking roast, or Oso Bucco, where it may cook for two hours or so in a red wine sauce, about 80 percent of the alcohol will evaporate. There is nothing in life that is 100 percent guaranteed! Especially in cooking!
Dear Barbara: What is the difference between condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk? Sounds like one has sugar and the other one doesn’t. Is that it? — Diane from Woodbridge
Dear Diane: The definition of sweetened condensed milk from “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst is: “A mixture of whole milk and sugar, 40 to 45 percent of which is sugar. This mixture is heated until about 60 percent of the water evaporates. The resulting condensed mixture is extremely sticky and sweet.”
Unsweetened condensed milk is referred to as evaporated milk.
Store unopened condensed milk at room temperature for up to six months. Once opened, transfer the unused milk to an airtight container, refrigerate and use within five days.
Sweetened condensed milk is used in baked goods and desserts such as candies, puddings, pies, etc.
Please remember that most of the food bacteria that can make you sick comes from your can opener. It is best to wash it after each use.
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.