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This Week's Question

What are a couple of essential items to give as a gift to a friend who enjoys the kitchen?

From Gavin Pierce - Fayetteville, NC

When I want to buy a gift for someone who's a cook, I very often choose a great knife because it's a luxury that lasts for a lifetime. Another great gift would be a collection of wooden spoons, plastic spatulas, and stainless steel mixing spoons. 

On one of your food network shows, you mentioned that you buy your truffle butter online. Would you share where you purchase it?

From Mary M Broadfoot - Florida

I use Urbani or D'Artagnan white truffle butter. 

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When measuring ingredients like honey, yogurt, or even ice, should I use dry measures or wet measures if the recipe calls for more than 1/4 cup?

From Roger Wojcik - Buffalo, NY

For anything that's pourable and will be level on top once it settles (like honey, use a liquid measuring cup. For ingredients like ice or yogurt that do not "level out," you would want to use a dry measuring cup so you can level them off with the back of a knife.

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I saw you make truffled mashed potatoes the other day and wondered what the difference in taste is between white and black...which is more "truffley?"

From Helen Feenie - Los Angeles / London

Black truffles tend to come from the South of France, while white truffles tend to come from Italy. Black truffles have a much more subtle flavor, but I prefer the strong pungent flavor of white truffles. I actually only use truffle butter, which has actual truffles in it- because truffle oil can vary enormously in terms of truffle content. 

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I am an incoming college student, and would love some tips. What are some staple ingredients that I should have on hand, and what are some recipes that would work well in a college setting?

From Jack Crossley - Amherst, Massachusetts

Assuming that you have an oven, there a million things you can make on a sheet pan with (12x18 with a 1-inch lip.) You can roast chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, really any vegetable! You can even make brownies for dessert. And, it never hurts to have a box of pasta and a jar of Rao's marinara sauce on hand for dinner in ten minutes! 

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I recently roasted chicken breasts with the skin on and my chicken was dry when finished. What did I do wrong?

From L. Gay Moss - Utah

I have several suggestions. The first one is check your oven temperature with a thermometer to make sure it's the correct temperature. Second, the length of time you cook the breasts depends on how big they are, so you may have to adjust the time. Third, it's very important to wrap beef, chicken or pork with aluminin foil and let it rest for 15 minutes after cooking, to let the juice get back into the meat. I hope that helps! 

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