I would like to
make a batch of
Gumbo, but there is one ingredient I have never
heard of -- filé powder. What is it, and where can I get
Filé powder is a seasoning made
from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It
is an integral part of
Creole cooking and is used to thicken and
flavor gumbos, and other Creole dishes. It must be
stirred into a dish after it's been removed from the
heat because extended cooking makes filé stringy and
slimy. Filé powder is available in the spice or gourmet
section of most large supermarkets.
What is "Old Bay
Seasoning?" What are the basic ingredients?
Old Bay Seasoning is the brand
name for a seasoning It is made from a mixture of celery
salt, mustard, red pepper, black pepper, bay leaves,
cloves, allspice, ginger, mace, cardamom, cinnamon and
paprika. For more about seasonings, including particular
spices and herbs, please see our collection of
Springtime articles that includes a handy
spice chart, tips on cooking with fresh herbs and more!
What is mahi mahi?
Also called dolphinfish and dorado, mahi mahi is found
in warm waters throughout the world. It's a moderately
fat fish with firm, flavorful flesh. It ranges in weight
from 3 to 45 pounds and can be purchased in steaks or
fillets. Mahi mahi is best prepared simply, as in
grilling or broiling.
For more cooking term definitions, see the Allrecipes
How do I clean
Before cooking, soak your mussels in fresh water. Soak
them for about 20 minutes. As the mussels breathe, they
filter water and expel sand. After about 20 minutes, the
mussels will have less salt and sand stored inside of
their shells. Most mussels have what is commonly called
a beard, which you'll want to remove: Use a dry towel to
grasp the beard and give a sharp yank out and toward the
hinge-end of the mussel. Transfer the mussels to a bowl
of fresh water, discarding the soaking water. Using a
firm brush, clean off any additional sand, barnacles, or
other oceanic attachments. Rinse the mussels under cool
tap water, and set aside. Drain on a towel before
We have a photo-filled, step-by-step tutorial,
Cleaning Mussels, demonstrating this method.
Take a peek at our
seafood articles for even more recipes, meal
ideas and cooking advice.
What is the
difference between bay scallops and sea scallops?
There are many scallop species, but in general they're
classified into two broad groups -- bay scallops and sea
scallops. Bay scallops, generally found only on the East
Coast, are very tiny (the muscle is about 1/2 inch in
diameter). They average about 100 per pound and their
meat is sweeter and more succulent than that of the sea
scallop. The muscle of the larger, more widely available
sea scallop averages 1 1/2 inches in diameter (about 30
to the pound) and is not as tender as the smaller
varieties. Though slightly chewier, the meat is still
sweet and moist.
Can I use swordfish
for batter frying -- as in 'fish and chips'?
Usually, inexpensive white fish is used to make fish and
chips. However, you can use almost any firm fleshed fish
for batter-fried fish, including swordfish. Cod,
haddock, halibut, dogfish, catfish, red snapper and
flounder are also good choices. For helpful instructions
for deep frying, see our photo-filled tutorial,
I often find myself
adjusting recipes in order to make enough for my family,
but it doesn't quite work for some recipes. Do you have
any advice for me?
Changing recipes in order to make more or less servings
is called "recipe scaling." Whenever you alter the
amounts of ingredients for a given recipe, you may also
need to adjust the cooking temperature, cooking time,
pan size and seasonings. But for food chemistry reasons,
recipe scaling simply does not work well for some
dishes: delicate foods such as soufflés, baked items
requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes for a single
large item that is meant to be later divided into
smaller portions such as cakes, pies, breads and whole
Recipe Scaling Page will give you a reliable
framework for successful recipe scaling: It offers
detailed guidelines for recipe scaling and easy
instructions for using the handy recipe scaling tool on
our site. You can always find this tool and a link to
our recipe scaling tips from any recipe at