DEAR HELOISE: I have a hint about scooping ice cream: I put the half-gallon container in the microwave upside down for 20 seconds. It causes the ice cream to thaw just enough to scoop it.
-- Bobbie M. in Texas
DEAR HELOISE: When making a recipe that requires the use of a fluted cake pan, what is the secret to getting the cake out of the pan? I've tried following the recipe that says to grease and flour the pan. I've even tried spraying cooking oil, but the result seems the same.
-- Janet A., via email
DEAR READER: Use a pastry brush to coat the pan with solid vegetable shortening. The key is to make sure you get the shortening into every crack and crevice. Then sprinkle with flour, being sure to get into the indents, and sort of shake out the loose flour.
You really need to let the cake cool completely, so place the pan somewhere that has good air circulation, especially the bottom. When it's cool, hit the bottom of the pan on your counter a few times to loosen the cake. Let it cool further.
DEAR READERS: Have you tried using panko breadcrumbs? They are made from crustless bread and baked a special way. They are larger and lighter than regular breadcrumbs, so fried foods are crispier. Use them in place of regular breadcrumbs. You even can top casseroles with them.
DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy iced tea almost all year-round. I don't like the watered-down taste that it gets when regular ice cubes melt. Now, when I brew the first couple of batches of tea, I freeze the leftover tea into ice cubes. I use these ice cubes, especially during the hot and humid summer, to cool down my tea.
-- Maggie T. in Georgia
DEAR READER: This is a good way to keep your drink from being diluted or watered down. You also can freeze lemon juice into ice cubes. Freeze strawberries to use instead of ice cubes in summer drinks.
DEAR HELOISE: Whenever I use a can of chili beans or other canned vegetables that come with liquid that you drain off, I use the liquid instead of straight water when I cook white rice. It adds a nice flavor.
-- Karen R. in Oregon
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email
Food on 08/06/2014
Print Headline: Helpful Hints