Cooking – Sour cream alternatives

Sour cream is one of the most amazing ingredients that can be used in many recipes. On certain occasions, a person will not prefer this ingredient like in the case of milk allergy or lactose intolerance. There are other reasons like the unavailability of sour cream. If you do not want to use sour cream, there are many best sour cream substitute alternatives.

Yogurt

Yogurt can be used as a substitute for sour cream in many recipes. There are only two issues which include taste and texture difference. Yogurt is not sour enough and not as thick as sour cream. Using the Greek yogurt and adding vinegar in the yogurt can resolve this issue.

Cream cheese

This is a really good alternative to the sour cream because it has a familiar taste. You just have to take the cream cheese and blend it in a way that it gets the consistency of sour cream. You have to be careful as you should keep the consistency constant.

Coconut milk

It has a good consistency and vegan people can also use it. The only exception is the taste. You have to add vinegar or lemon juice to get a similar taste. If you are allergic to milk, this can provide good plant-based fatty acids also.

Soy cream

People who are allergic to milk and want something with more protein content, they can use soy cream. There are certain Soy-based creams available in the market. You can use the same amount of soy cream in place of sour cream.

Buttermilk

There is no special advantage of using buttermilk instead of sour cream. It is only good because it is commonly available in Asia and it is natural. You can use this ingredient when sour cream is not available. You have to avoid the buttermilk also if you have a milk allergy.

Cooking – Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

There are many adults, even among cooks, who don’t know the difference between sour cream and yogurt. As such, we are here to clarify this common misconception.

There are quite a few dairy products that are white and sour, as such, it is not so strange that there is oftentimes quite a lot of confusion. And if we are completely honest, sour cream and yogurt can be hard to differentiate from the distance. However, taking a closer look, they do differ in texture, smell, taste, and, most importantly, in their behavior when used in cooking.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a fermented dairy cream. By introducing a specific type of bacterial culture to the dairy cream, the fermentation process is initiated. During the process, bacteria produce acid, flavor, and add thickness. The process is stopped by re-pasteurizing the cream and essentially killing the bacteria.

Bacteria used to turn cream into sour cream: Streptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc dextranicum, Streptococcus lactis, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and Streptococcus diacetilactis.

What is Yogurt?

The yogurt-making process is very similar to the one described above; however, the initial ingredient is not dairy cream but milk and different type of bacteria are used. In addition, the types of bacteria used to make yogurt don’t require re-pasteurization.

Bacteria used to turn milk into yogurt: Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus bugaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus helveticus.

The Main Difference Between Sour Cream and Yogurt

Yogurt is very high in nutritional value compared to sour cream. It also contains way less fat and is as such a healthier choice. On average, there is about 10% of fat in yogurt and twice as much in sour cream.

Cold Dishes

As yogurt and sour cream are rather similar, they are interchangeable when applied in cold dishes or used as a garnish. Though, you should keep in mind that yogurt is normally tangier than sour cream.

Cooking

When the thermal process takes place, things are not that simple and yogurt and sour cream can’t be interchanged as freely as with cold dishes. Greek yogurt is still a good substitution, as long as you pay extra attention when simmering it.

Other Sour Cream Substitutions

Aside from Greek Yogurt, you can use buttermilk or soymilk and thicken them with softened butter to replace sour cream. Cottage cheese and cream cheese are other alternatives. Another interesting option is unsweetened evaporated milk with vinegar or lemon juice. There are also vegan sour cream alternatives available or can be made at home from scratch.

Turkey Cooking Times

So, what is the cooking time for a turkey? This is a common holiday cooking question.

General Rule For Cooking A Turkey

As a guide, cook your thawed turkey 20 minutes per pound, but the actual cooking time will differ depending on whether your turkey is stuffed and the actual oven cooking temperature. 

Note:

  • For food safety reasons: It is strongly recommended that stuffing on the side and cook the turkey unstuffed.
  • Plus, you can actually cook more stuffing if you have a large enough dish and sufficient ingredients, than the inside of a turkey would have the capacity to hold.

How long to cook a turkey

  • The times on the chart below are based on the turkey being placed a preheated ( 350o F / 175o C) oven with the roasting pan on the center rack.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is maintaining the proper temperature, once preheated.
  • When roasting a turkey, always cook your turkey to a safe temperature (165o F / 74o C), use a meat thermometer, and check the thermometer often.

Turkey cooking times reference chart

Turkey WeightUnstuffed Roasting TimeStuffed Roasting Time
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Turkey Roasting Tips

  • Start with a completely thawed turkey; for food safety reasons, plan ahead and use the refrigerator to thaw the turkey.
  • Always Preheat your oven
  • Basting is optional if you want a browner and more even browning of the skin.
  • Cook the turkey uncovered until the skin is lightly golden and then cover loosely with a foil tent.
  • remove the foil tent for the last 45 minutes of baking to finish browning the skin.
  • The only safe test for turkey doneness is the temperature of the meat, and the turkey is cooked when the thigh meat has reached an internal temperature of (165o F / 74o C).  To get an accurate internal reading, be sure that your meat thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If you stuffed the turkey, the stuffing must reach the temperature of (165o F / 74o C), which can result in a drier and slightly overcooked turkey
  • When the turkey is cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting the turkey allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey and makes for easier carving.

Poetry – The Pavement Artist

Writing and The Written Word

Poetry - The Pavement Artist
The Pavement Artist

I THINK that I should like to be
A pavement artist best,
For he has every kind of chalk
Spread in a cosy nest.

I have ten pieces in a box,
Black, yellow, white and blue,
Pink, red, brown, orange, grey and green,
But these are far too few.

— Compton Mackenzie

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The Benefits of Eating Frozen Fruit and Vegetables

People usually eat fruits and vegetables for their nutritional values, but they cannot enjoy them when their season is over. When fruits and vegetables are out of season, cooks either have to adapt to eating the produce of the new season or depend on frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are used for various reasons like ease of using them and their nutritional benefits. Some of the benefits of eating frozen fruit and vegetables are:

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Full Of Nutrients

The nutritional value of fruits and vegetables starts lessening the minute they are picked. So, their nutritional value gets affected from the moment they are plucked and the time you take to eat them after harvesting them. But the nutritional value can be much more than fresh fruits and vegetables as they are frozen as soon as possible after harvesting them. Moreover, they are full of their nutritional elements, including minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, when they are plucked after their full maturity. Freezing fruits and vegetables at this stage help in locking most of their nutrients in them. On the other hand, the fresh fruits and vegetables you get in the market have to travel a long way to reach you, and during that period, they get enough time to reap and get maturity. So they must be harvested when they could not get the maximum amount of natural nutritional elements. They get ripened artificially during their transit period. So, frozen fruits and vegetables have more nutritional value than their fresh counterparts.

The fact that frozen fruits and vegetables are more or equally nutritious to fresh fruits and vegetables can be proved on the basis of two studies performed independently. These studies were carried out by the scientists of Chester University and Leatherhead Food Research center. They have performed over 40 tests on frozen fruits and vegetables as well as on the products kept in a fridge for 3-4 days to measure and compare their nutritional values. They found that the level of nutrients found in the samples of frozen foods is more than in the comparatively fresher items. Actually, the level of antioxidants, like anthocyanins, lutein, beta-carotene, and polyphenols, found in some of the frozen vegetables and fruits, were higher than in fresh fruits and vegetables. The results of these researches have confirmed that the nutrients are not destroyed when the foods are frozen. It has been found that frozen broccoli lost 10% of its nutrients when preserved for one year, whereas fresh broccoli lost over 50% in just one week.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Free From Additive

When fruits and vegetables are frozen, no unwanted additives are used while packing them in bags. On the other hand, canned fruits and vegetables have a number of additives in them, even if no sugar or salt is used while preserving them. You can find these additives from fresh fruits and vegetables if you check them minutely, but you cannot find any added material on the fruits and vegetables preserved in freezers.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Very Easy To Use

If you like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables then you can visit a local market of farmers to get the produce of that season, but in the long run, you will find that it would have been better if you have bought frozen foods. Along with preserving the nutritional values, the frozen foods are easy to use as you need not wash, chop, or peel them. And for that reason, you can pour them directly on your plate to eat them instantly after taking them out of the freezer. The ease of using frozen vegetables and fruits has also been proved through a study on working women. According to this study, on average, almost one hour is spent every day by working woman for preparing, serving and eating the food and cleaning up afterward when she uses frozen fruits and vegetables. But when they use fresh fruits and vegetables then they have to spend at least one hour for preparing, serving and eating each meal. Actually, they save a lot of time to reach and prepare meals with frozen ingredients than fresh ingredients.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Can Be Used Flexibly

You can use frozen fruits and vegetables stocked in your freezer in different ways as necessary. You can spread them on the whole-grain toast with butter or use them as a topping on your oatmeal recipe. You can also sauté them with some garlic, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil and add some brown rice pasta or a bit of quinoa or add them in your stir fry dishes as the main ingredient to make delicious recipes of your choice very quickly. Moreover, you can use frozen ingredients throughout the year even when their season is off. Fresh fruits and vegetables, you cannot use them in their offseason, unless they are imported from elsewhere.  

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Take More Care Of Your Health

Though buying fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to get nutrition, but it is not necessary. Nutritionists usually suggest eating 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day to remain healthy.  According to a recent study, it has been proven that fruits and more vegetables and fruit are consumed by the people who buy frozen produce than those who buy fresh ones. It makes people eating frozen produce healthier than those using fresh produce as their intake of vitamins and minerals is higher.

There are a number of benefits of eating frozen vegetables and fruits, but that does not mean that you should avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Recipe – Homemade Parsnip Soup

Are you looking for a quick, no-fuss cream of parsnip soup recipe? Look no further. This simple recipe will take between 45 minutes and 1-hour to complete. You probably have most of the ingredients at home in your fridge or pantry. And, it’s a great homemade flavor everyone in the will love, even the pickiest of eaters.

Whether you’re looking for a tasty recipe after a long day at work or something to help get you over that cold that’s been lingering for a few days, we’ve got the perfect homemade cream of parsnip soup recipe for you to try out.

Ingredients for Cream of Parsnip Soup

Okay, as we mentioned above, you probably have most, if not all, of these ingredients lying around in the kitchen and your herb garden. You’ll need

  • 2-tsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4-cup heavy cream
  • 3/4-tsp salt (+/- as needed)
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1-cup diced shallots
  • 1/4-cup diced onions
  • 3/4-cup white wine
  • 5 cups (1.18 l) of chicken stock
  • 3.5 cups (0.83 l) of peeled parsnips
  • 3/4-tsp white vinegar

You’ll combine these ingredients to prepare your cream of parsnip soup.

Directions: Preparing your Cream of Parsnip Soup

To prepare your cream of parsnip soup recipe, you’ll melt your butter over a low to medium heat. To the pan, you’ll add the shallots, onions, and vinegar stir until it’s translucent in the pan, or up to about 5 minutes. Add your wine and bring this to a simmer. You’ll then add the

  • Parsnips
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper and bring this to a boil.

It will take about 45 minutes for the parsnips to soften. Remove the ingredients and place them in an immersion blender to purée. You’ll then take the purée, and place it back in your pan on a low to the medium setting, slowly adding and whisking in the heavy cream. You’ll set the ingredients over low heat and reheat it when you’re ready to serve.

The total preparation time is about one-hour, after adding and whisking in your heavy cream.

Servings

  • This recipe makes approximately 6 servings