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This Week's Question

I love to serve your Roasted Shrimp Cocktail for a dinner party. Can this be made ahead or should it be served warm?

From Marilyn - Venice, FL

I normally serve Roasted Shrimp Cocktail at room temperature; they don't have to be warm. Of course you can make them in advance, but I find refrigerating the shrimp changes their flavor and texture. I would prep everything in advance, and roast the shrimp up to an hour before you plan to serve them. 

Ina, I know you consider yourself a person who prefers to measure ingredients. Is there a reason you don't weigh ingredients, especially sensitive ones like flour?

From Nancy - Akron, Ohio

Weighing ingredients is the most precise way to measure, but because I know many people do not have kitchen scales, I always use measuring cups to make sure the recipe works without a kitchen scale.  

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Your Cauliflower Toasts recipe calls for “country-style“ bread ...What exactly is that?

From Carol Haggas - Davidson, North Carolina

Any freshly baked crusty round bread, sometimes called a 'boule', will work. 

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Ina, I made your Crispy Mustard Chicken & Frisee recipe. Flavor hit all the marks however the skin on the chicken looked and tasted rubbery and uncooked. The meat was the perfect doneness, just not the skin. What did I do wrong?

From Barbara Walter - Greenbrae, CA

While I can't be one hundred percent sure why this is happening, I have a feeling it may have to do with the chicken breasts you're using.  They seem to be getting bigger and bigger and more watery. I like Bell & Evans brand, but whatever brand you use, look for breasts that aren't too huge. 

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My question is about your Linzer Cookies recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I followed your recipe, but the dough never held together. Any ideas?

From Heath Lynn Silberfeld - Gainesville, Florida

If shortbread dough doesn't come together, adding a few drops of water usually does the trick. I hope that helps! 

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You mention how to make vanilla extract and have shared your recipe with us, so why do you use commercially made vanilla extract on your show?

From Diane Briggs - Houston, TX

While I do make my own vanilla extract, I don't assume that people at home have homemade vanilla on hand, so I use store-bought vanilla in my recipes. I always try to use ingredients that people can find at the grocery store.

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Ina