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Tag: Food Preparation

What is Pinsa?

Pinsa is an oblong flatbread pizza that was created in Rome by Corrado Di Marco in 2001. The crust is a made from a blend of wheat flour, rice flour, and soy flour. The wheat flour provides the gluten structure. The rice flour gives a lighter texture. The soy flour adds flavor, protein, and some chewiness.

The Pinsa can be baked in the oven or on a grill. The word Pinsa has a Latin origin meaning “to stretch or to beat or press.” This refers to stretching the dough to fill you up with only a few ingredients.

A Pinsa crust is crispy, light and airy. Toppings can be any favorite combination you prefer. A simple combination includes pesto, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Or make a dessert with fresh peaches, honey and walnuts.

Learn more at and

Honey as a Sugar Substitute

Honey is a sweet treasure from Mother Nature. To use it in cooking and baking in place of sugar can take some practice. Here are some tips to achieve success.

  • For baking, start with recipes written specifically for honey instead of sugar.
  • For each cup of honey used to replace sugar, decrease the other recipe liquids by ¼ of a cup.
  • To make measuring and the pouring of honey easier, coat the inside of a measuring cup with a thin layer of cooking oil or water.
  • Honey is acidic (pH 3.70-4.20) and sugar is neutral (pH 7.0). To counteract the acidity of honey, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used in the recipe.
  • When substituting sugar with honey in baked foods, decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Honey tends to make the product brown (burn) at higher temperatures.

Sources: and


What is the Cloud Point of Cooking Oil?

Cooking fats vary if they are solid or liquid at room temperature. When making mayonnaise or salad dressing, oil must be completely liquid at refrigerator temperature.

Salad dressing manufacturers test the cloud point. This is the time it takes for cloudiness to appear when immersed in an ice bath. A time of 5.5 hours is considered minimum. A time of 20 hours is very good. In manufacturing, a rapid test is done by chilling the oil sample to –76°F for 15 minutes, then at 50°F. If no solid matter remains after 30 minutes, the oil passes the test.

The smoke point is the temperature at which heating oil starts to give off smoke.


Source: Fats & Oils: Practical Guides for the Food Industry, Eagan Press Handbook Series


Mixing Matters

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, October, 2018

How ingredients are mixed together can make or break a successful outcome when baking. Directions are given to combine certain ingredients and should be followed. For example, in making a layer cake, there are two methods, the creaming and reverse-creaming techniques.

The creaming method starts by beating the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. The sugar crystals beat little air pockets into the fat. Then the wet and dry ingredients are added in a dry-wet-dry-wet-dry pattern to reduce gluten development and make a tender cake. During baking the air pockets made during creaming, leaven or lift the cake to give a light airy structure. The top typically has a slight dome.

The reverse-creaming method starts by mixing butter with all of the dry ingredients. The butter fat coats the flour particles making the flour waterproof. The liquid is added but only some flour proteins will get hydrated. This limits gluten development and increases tenderness. Without incorporating air, the cake will be a bit shorter, have a flatter top and will be quite tender. This is better for fancy, multiple layer cakes.


Seasonal and Simple

Looking for a simple way to find seasonal foods? Look no further than Seasonal and Simple!

This app, developed by the University of Missouri, also includes Kansas State University Extension, University of Nebraska Extension and Iowa State University Extension.

The free app includes farmers market located near you, recipes, seasonal produce, and much more.

Learn more at and download from your app store.


Safe Recipe Style Guide

90% of people wash hands using recipes WITH safety instructions.

For most cooks, the menu planning starts with a recipe. These instructions help guide the cook to a successful outcome. Including safe food handling instructions can also help! The Partnership for Food Safety Education has launched a Safe Recipe Style Guide to add text for temperature, handwashing, cross contamination and produce handling.

Guidelines for adding food safety text follows the AP Stylebook and from the guidance of food safety experts and leading food journalists.

The Style Guide is for any recipe writer. The text is simple and is added when appropriate for the recipe. It can be added with the ingredients list or in the directions. All recipe instructions should start with washing hands with soap and water.

For more information, guidance, graphics and more, see


HBA Educator Award

Do you teach baking in a classroom or community program?  You may be eligible to WIN $1,000!

Each year the Home Baking Association awards outstanding educators in classrooms and communities who engage individuals, families and communities with the many educational benefits baking provides for personal, family or professional development.

Professionals or adult and youth leaders and volunteers who teach baking skills in classrooms, libraries, public or private organizations, community youth programs, families, and youth teaching peers or younger ages are all eligible.

Registration deadline is March 31, 2019!

Learn more and apply at


TV Chefs Short on Food Safety

Food chefs on TV provide entertainment and fun food ideas. But, when it comes to safe food preparation, they fall short.

Viewers follow what they see. When chefs handle raw meat, 88% did not wash their hands afterwards. For meat doneness, 75% did not use a thermometer to check the temperature. Chefs are often caught licking their fingers, touching their hair, and using the same cutting board for raw and ready-to-eat foods.

Chefs must keep shows engaging, navigate time schedules, TV sets and crews, and still be relatable to the audience. Consumers can speak up, make chefs accountable, and focus on recipes with food safety messages.

It’s about “striking a balance between the steak and the sizzle.” -Greg Moyer, former President of Scripps International

Source: Ellie Kreiger, M.S., RDN, 2019 Partnership for Food Safety Education conference


Electronics and Food Safety

Think about where you use your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Do you use it in the kitchen? If so, the bacteria on those electronic devices could contribute to foodborne illness. While no incidences have been linked to electronic devices, it is good to be aware of the possibility.

In the 2016 Food Safety Survey, conducted by the FDA in collaboration with the USDA, consumers reported taking electronic devices everywhere—work, the bathroom, the gym, shopping, just everywhere.  Then they use them in the kitchen, usually to view a recipe to cook. These devices are so integrated into our lifestyles, that the thought of food safety does not relate to the consumer.

What can you do? Wash your hands before and after handling the electronic device to keep hands clean.




Using Natural Pectin in Fruit Pie

Some fruit pie recipes need help to get the filling just right. One solution is to add a peeled,  grated, and squeezed dry Granny Smith apple which is full of natural pectin.

Apples contain high amounts of high-methoxyl pectin and makes a great gel. In combination with two tablespoons of instant tapioca, the gel should have a pudding consistency.  Crush some of the other fruit and combine with the grated apple. This helps release the natural pectin within the fruit cell walls to achieve a good gel.

Tip for Tapioca:

Grind or crush the tapioca to minimize the “pearl” look in the filling.

Source: The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated