Q: I’m puzzled about eggplant. Some recipes say to salt it, some say don’t bother. If salting is to get rid of moisture, why do some recipes say to rinse it after the salting process is done? Won’t that get it full of moisture again?
A: If an eggplant is smooth and the skin is tight, you don’t really need to salt it. If it seems at all aged or soft, go ahead and salt to release the bitter juices. Quickly washing off the salt won’t sog the eggplant; the water will rinse right off and not get absorbed.
Q: My mini-prep seems to be toast. (The blade assembly is cracking.) I pretty much use it only for things that must be pureed, or for grinding nuts or hard candy. Is there a good small processor that won’t give up the ghost so soon?
A: We use a KitchenAid regular-size food processor that comes with a smaller bowl and small blade that can be set up within the larger. It’s very sturdy. Cuisinart also has a sturdy medium-capacity model.
Q: I recently bought a pretty large plastic tub of fresh turmeric, but after a week I’m kind of at a loss as to how to use it up.
A: Fresh turmeric, as you’ve probably observed, is a very close (small, yellow) cousin to ginger root, and they can be treated similarly. They freeze well and can be refrigerated in plain cover or in a small jar of white wine, which spikes both the wine (delicious in the case of ginger; not sure re: turmeric) and the root. More important, the wine serves as a preservative.
Q: I saw bagged, roasted chestnuts at Trader Joe’s. The package contained a recipe for stuffing but no other ideas. What could I make with them?
A: Chop and mix with red rice, toasted walnuts, cooked carrots and onions.