Friday, April 4, 2008

Saved by Norene - Again

My daughter called me with a cooking question this morning. Not exactly a cooking question per se...more an "Ask Ruth" kind of question....

How do you get rock solid brown sugar soft again?

I personally have a proactive cure...a heel or slice of bread or, as in the picture, a porous clay disc to do some magic. That keeps it soft, but when I want to actually fix the problem and don't have days to wait, I go the microwave route. Problem is, I never remember how long to "cure" it.

That said, I happen to know who has that info for me...Norene Gilletz. Years ago, when I bought my first microwave I bought her cookbook Micro Waysand truth, be told I really use my microwave primarily to steam vegetables, soften or melt butter and warm up tortillas. Sometimes I even put my cheesy wraps in for 30 seconds or so to do some melty magic of my own. But I can't remember the last time I actually cooked a meal in it (other than to warm up left overs)....but I digress....back to softening brown sugar...

Here's Norene's tip, I know she won't mind if I share:

"Place a slice of bread or half an apple, cut-side up on top of the sugar in a microsafe dish. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 30-60 seconds (note: I always start with 30 - you can add time but you can't take it away), until softened. Let stand for 1 minute & stir."

There are lots of other great tips in the book and super recipes, so if you are an avid Microwaver, you might want to check it out. Each section has excellent tips and my personal favorite when I was doing a lot of barbecuing, was the prelim cooking (her chicken in hoisin sauce, in particular, is delicious) - just 15 minutes in the microwave prevents charred skin and tough meat when finished on the BBQ rather than trying to find the perfect indirect spot on the grill for the entire process.

Do you have any great tips to share with the rest of us? I'd love to post a roundup of all time great tips on Ask Ruth . You can email me at ruth@4everykitchen.com and I'll keep a running roundup.

4 comments:

Peter M said...

Ruth, I place my brown sugar in an empty(cleaned) spice large spice container and insert a piece of stale bread in with it. The brown sugar stays moist.

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks Peter. That's definitely my route!

Sara said...

Ruth, thanks for this tip. I pulled out my brown sugar to cook with last night and it was beyond rock solid. I scrapped the recipe, but I'll try this tip tonight.

Norene said...

Hi Ruth, Thanks for the thanks! Happy to be of help to you and your readers!