Chop chop
In her editor's note (August 2007), Nancy Coulter-Parker admits that she didn't know how to cut garlic, so she just cut it in half. How do you cut garlic?

—Paul Nevin, via e-mail

First, separate cloves and crush one with the flat of a knife to help break away the papery skin. Don't cut off the root end. Holding the root end with your fingertips, make several lengthwise cuts in the clove from root to bulb end, all the way through, leaving the root intact. Then make a single horizontal cut halfway up the clove, cutting toward the root but not through it. Finally, cut straight down (vertically) across the clove until you reach the root end, which you can now discard. Ta-da: minced garlic! And, of course, a garlic press is best for mashing whole cloves.

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Positively wired
Very interesting website. Keep up the outstanding work, and thank you.

—Nicole, via e-mail

Oil for oil
I want to make your Plum Skillet Cake e-news recipe, but I'm extremely allergic to walnuts. It's simple to exchange pecans for walnuts, but I'm not sure what to substitute for the walnut oil.

—Pamela, via e-mail

Almost any oil should work, though a neutral-tasting one is best. We recommend mild almond or canola oil. Enjoy!

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What's the skinny?
In your lovely recipe for Steamed Salmon with Fennel Purée ("A Fat Lot of Good," September 2007) the ingredients list calls for salmon fillets with skin removed. However, the instructions call for placing the salmon skin-side down. Please clarify.

—Angela Lavoy, via e-mail

Buy salmon with the skin on, and cook it in the pan skin side down. When serving, the skin can be removed by sliding it off the fish using a spatula. Removing skin is not absolutely necessary, however.

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Soup's on
With colder weather around the corner, isn't it time for wholesome comfort food? Rev your family's appetite with these yummy, warming soups, available on our website: