Ask Chef Rachael - November 2012

Q. What is mâche?
A. It's common name is corn salad, or field lettuce, referring to the fact that it often grows like a weed in corn fields. Amusing, because in the past few years it's been popping up on upscale restaurant menus. Even more recently it can be found in some gourmet salad blends in the Produce Department. It's tender and has a tangy, nutty flavor.

Q. Is there a season for pineapple?
A. Hawaiian pineapples peak in April or May, but generally they’re considered in season and are available year round. You can enjoy the taste of the tropics when you need a pick-me-up on a blustery day with our recipe for a Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie.

Q. Do you have a good savory pumpkin recipe?
A. One of my favorite ideas for pumpkin is a simple Penne in Pumpkin Cream Sauce that I recently demonstrated on Twin Cities Live. It is incredibly simple, and you can serve it on whatever kind of pasta you like. I love it on spinach and cheese ravioli with some smoked sausage sliced in. You can get the recipe on our website, where you can also watch the video of my TCL appearance. Besides sharing the recipe, I talk with hosts John and Elizabeth about roasting a whole pie pumpkin to use in it (but don’t worry, you can also use pumpkin from a can!).

Q. What is Chantilly cream?
A. Crème Chantilly
is the French term for sweetened whipped cream. Fussy foodies may consider whipped cream to be just that, whipped cream (sans sweetener), though it is commonly acceptable to call sweetened whipped cream simply whipped cream.

Q. I notice a lot of recipes that call for crème fraîche will say that sour cream is an acceptable substitute. Is it really?
Generally speaking, yes. There are differences in the two; for instance, sour cream is a little less rich and a little lighter in texture. For the best substitute, use full-fat sour cream. You can also use full-fat Greek yogurt.

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