Hi, How are you guys? I have a few quick questions to ask.

1) When making soups if I dont have chicken or vegetable stock at hand is it okay to use water instead?

2) When Baking dessert is honey a healthier substitute for sugar and would you know what the sugar to honey ratio would be?

3) When making pie crusts is it okay to use healthy oils like canola/olive oil, intead of butter? If yes, how much oil should you use when making pie crusts?

You guys are awesome. Keep up the great work. Thank you.

  • Posted by: mpatik
  • November 23, 2010


pierino November 23, 2010
To the crust question: render leaf lard as opposed to butter or oil. Makes a huge difference. But don't use manteca lard as it will smell like a pig died in your house.
Savorykitchen November 23, 2010
Re - the oil is pastry crust question - Amanda has a recipe for a peach tart (just google "Hesser peach tart" and you'll find it) with an oil-based crust that is excellent. Not the same as a rolled crust, but very very good and very very easy.

Re honey - you asked if it was "healthier". The question I would ask back is what do you mean by healthy? Sugar and honey both contain a lot of calories - so if you're cutting back on calories, you'd want to use each sparingly (although, by weight, honey is sweeter, so you tend to use less). If healthy=natural, well sure a local honey is a better choice than refined white sugar. But evaporated cane juice may be more "natural" than honey produced in a huge monocultural hive system where the producers kill their bees every year and put corn syrup into their honey to dilute it (this does happen). All that said - I love honey in custard, ice creams and candies and frequently sub it in for corn syrup when it's called for in a recipe I'm using.
Verdigris November 23, 2010
To substitute honey for 1 cup of sugar:

1. Use 3/4 cup of honey as honey will sweeten more than sugar
2. Reduce liquid ingredients by 1/4 cup as honey is a liquid
3. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the recipe as honey is acidic

susan G. November 23, 2010
For soup stock, if you don't have a powdered or cubed alternative, I would try judicious amounts of celery salt -- and not oversalt. I often just use water though, in line with the comments above, when you have punchy flavors already.
lastnightsdinner November 23, 2010
I can't add anything else to the baking tips, but with respect to the soups, you can certainly substitute water from broth or stock in certain types. One of my favorite tricks to add a little more flavor is to toss in a rind from a wedge of parmesan cheese. I save them in a freezer bag for just this purpose, and I've found they add a nice bit of depth and "meatiness" to soups. The liquid from soaking dried mushrooms is great, too - if you don't use it in the recipe for which you've soaked the mushrooms, strain it through a coffee filter to remove any grit, pour it into a zip top bag or container, and freeze until you need to use.
drbabs November 23, 2010
Just to add to mrslarkin: 1. As she said, you can use water in bean or vegetable soups, but you might want to up the aromatics or even add in wine for more flavor.
2. Baking is science and making substitutions of honey for sugar can alter both taste and texture. And it's still sugar. I'd follow the recipe. 3. Ditto for pie crusts. Oil will alter the taste and texture. It's still fat. Butter is your friend when making pie crusts--it adds great flavor and texture. Exchanging oil for butter won't make it "healthier." Go for the butter. You won't be sorry.
mrslarkin November 23, 2010
#1 it depends on what kind of soup you are making. if it's minestrone, bean or vegetable soup, then yes, water will work! but don't think you'll have good results with say, chicken noodle, or french onion soup.

#2 Honey is pretty much made of fructose and glucose, basically sugar in liquid form. That said, you'd have to play around with your liquid and dry ingredients to get the right combo and a successful end product.

#3 oil is too liquidy for a pie crust, in my opinion. Won't give you the tender/flaky crust most pies dream of. But if you google, you'll probably come up with an oil crust.
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