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This Week's Question

I'm going to meet my boyfriend's parents for the first time at a dinner party for his dad's birthday. What do you think is appropriate to bring?

From Jazmyn - Tampa, FL

I would bring them a beautiful glassine bag of Salted Caramel Nuts, or if you don't have time to cook, a box of Fran's salted caramels is also a lovely gift.

I often see you use figs. I’m curious to know, how do you pick a good fig and when are they in season?

From Carolle - Avonmore, PA

Figs are usually in season in the fall. You want a fig that's very sweet and soft inside. They're generally underripe when you find them at the store, so I buy them and let them ripen on the counter. 

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I want to make your Outrageous Brownies for a family gathering, but there are nut allergies among the guests. If I leave out the walnuts should I still use the 1/4 cup of flour that was to be used to dredge them with?

From Greg - Charlottesville, VA

Yes! Toss the chocolate chips with the 1/4 cup flour as the recipe directs, simply omitting the walnuts. 

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Where can I find that great pepper mill with storage so you are able to "measure" the pepper just grated?

From Ellie Hoehn - Marshfield, MA

I have used my PepperMate pepper grinder for years and highly recommend it. They are available at Cassandra's Kitchen.

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What is the name of the canned Italian tomatoes you recommend?

From Allene - Jackson, MS

I use and recommend San Marzano tomatoes. They're the best! 

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We are always tempted by deep fried recipes! But, we are often put off by how to handle the oil after the cooking: how to preserve it, how to store it, how to know when it has been re-used too much, and how to dispose of it when it is time. Any help will be much appreciated!

From Scott Werner - Oregon

I don't reuse cooking oil, because I find it smells and tastes like what you just cooked in it. I let the oil cool, pour it back into the bottle it came in, and dispose of it. I hope that helps! 

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