Compiled by Chuck Martin
When I refrigerated some salad dressing I made with olive oil, it got cloudy and congealed. Is it still OK to use?
Yes, it's fine. Just allow it to come to room temperature and the dressing will look fresh-made again. Unlike other vegetable oils, olive oil solidifies when refrigerated. This does not affect the quality, however.
Some people store their expensive olive oils in the refrigerator in hopes of keeping them fresh longer. Refrigeration won't extend the oil's shelf life by much, according to the manufacturer of Pompeiian Olive Oil. It should remain fresh for two years if stored at room temperature in a cupboard away from the heat.
Cheesecake tip: That crack in the top of a cheesecake bothers some cooks more than others. If you're putting a topping on it, the sour cream or the fruit spread can usually disguise it. If you really don't want a crack, take the cake out a little sooner. If a small circle in the center (about the size of a silver dollar) is still a little wobbly, that's OK. The cake will continue to cook after it's been removed from the stove. (Don't refrigerate it right away.)
Cool tool: Make individual 4-inch cheesecakes in this non-stick aluminum springform pans from Sur La Table. The pans are also great for making small ice cream or icebox cakes. $4.95 each or $27.95 per six. Available at Sur La Table in Rookwood Commons or at www.surlatable.com.
Hot dates: If tonight's Academy Awards put you in the mood for film food, meet Francine Segan, author of Movie Menus (Villard; $16.95) at 6 p.m. Monday during a cooking class at J's Fresh Seafood in Hyde Park. Segan will prepare dishes from her book, which pairs easy recipes with classic movies from 10 film genres. Cost: $55. Reservations: 871-2888. The author will sign copies of her book beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion. Information: 396-8960.
Tube food: Chef-writer Tony Bourdain spends one night meeting and eating in Bangkok on A Cook's Tour, at 6 p.m. today on the Food Network.
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