Giada, your daughter, Jade, has such a mature palate. As the mother of an 8-month-old, I wonder if you have any advice to ensure my child will like different cuisines and not just kid stuff.
Ann Kording from Woodbridge, Va.
You can’t feed her kid stuff. As soon as she starts eating solids, you need to make her real food. Eight months is a little young because there are a lot of things she can’t eat yet, but as soon as possible she needs to eat what you eat. I grew up eating adult food with my parents, and Jade eats what we eat, too.
—Giada De Laurentiis
Jeff, you say you can turn any meal into a sandwich. How about chicken Alfredo with garlic bread?
Jessica Sianni from Wilmington, Del.
Make the “bread” by boiling lasagna sheets, then coat them in panko breadcrumbs and lightly pan-fry them. Mix pulled chicken with bechamel (a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk), some cracked black pepper, shaved Parmesan and a little arugula. Assemble the chicken on the lasagna noodles, then cut and serve it thin like bite-size sandwiches. Warning: It could get messy.
Alex, no matter how I clean clams, they always seem to have sand in them. What am I doing wrong?
Diane Sabbagh from Oakland, N.J.
First of all, use littleneck clams because they’re not as sandy as some other kinds. Start by scrubbing the shells under cold running water until they feel smooth. Next, submerge them in cold water for a few hours. Be careful, though: Fresh water kills the clams, so don’t let them stay in the water too long. Cook and taste; if they’re still sandy, rinse the shelled clams again before serving.
Anne, what is the purpose of adding bay leaves to a roast when they’re always removed after cooking?
Troy Buerger from Grand Island, N.Y.
Fresh bay leaves are one of my favorite ways to add subtle flavor to a dish. The dry ones don’t bring much to the party, so try to use fresh ones. If you have to use dry bay leaves and they’re brittle and stiff, you should never break the leaves into pieces or crumble them — always use the whole leaf in one piece.
Michael, I’d like to incorporate more Greek yogurt into my diet. Can I use it as a substitute for sour cream or cream cheese?
Aimee Nesline from Akron
Absolutely. You can also use it instead of butter to finish a sauce. Or rub it on chicken before you roast it.