Dateline: February 1, 2005

The waiting room is jam-packed. Let's get started so we can finish up in time for supper.

Kelly writes: Recently while in Hondo, Texas, I ran across an appetizer called pariso. Many places sell it there. It is a hamburger, cheese and jalapeño mixture that they eat on crackers. My argument was that it looked raw. Can you find a recipe for this?

Hi Kelly: You're in luck. I have a friend who hangs around Hondo so is familiar with Parisa. It's a recipe that came in with the Germans. It's been Mexcanized a mite with the addition of the peppers. And, yes, the beef is raw.

Combine the beef, cheese, onion, Accent, garlic powder, salt, pepper and peppers, mixing well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Merriw writes: I have problems BBQ'ing chicken. It dries out! I try dry rubs, indirect heating, marinades, smoking, and nothing works. I can BBQ anything else, but chicken is my downfall. HELP please. I go to the BBQ places, and their chicken is always juicy and full of flavor.

Hi Merriw: Oh gosh. I don't know where to start. Sounds like you are overcooking the birds. Try cutting back on the temperature and get a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh. Take the bird off the fire when the internal temperature is about five or ten degrees below what you want, it will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take it off the fire.

Sure fire way to get one moist is to use a whole chicken Season him as usual. Open a can of Sprite and pour out about one-third of it. Slide the open can up into the chicken's bottom end not spilling anything. Get the bird propped up on the grill so he doesn't fall over. Cook him until he is done. He will cook all around and be moisturized from the inside all at once. Someone is making an aluminum deal to use instead of the can but I have no idea where to find one. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Brenda writes: My husband recently was watching you on RFD-TV and saw you preparing a blonde-type brownie using pumpkin. I cannot find it anywhere on your site. Would you be so kind to tell me where I can find this, so I may print if off?

Hi Brenda: That wasn't me your husband saw on RFD-TV, but I can fix you up with a good recipe. Only TV program I have been on was called "The Secret life of Chili" on the Food Channel. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Pumpkin Blondies with Maple Icing

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease 15x10-inch jellyroll pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan; spread with Maple Icing. Cut into bars.

Maple Icing
Beat together 6 ounces (3/4 cup) softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine and 2 cups sifted powdered sugar in a small mixer bowl until smooth. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons maple flavoring.

Rick writes: Is it possible to use the same peanut oil for different meats? We deep-fried a turkey for Thanksgiving and are wondering if it is possible to use the same oil for a beef roast. If so, does it need to be cleaned and how? The main concern is the flavor of the roast being fried in the turkey oil. Thanks.

Hello Rick: Yes you can use the oil for different applications. When you finish cooking a turkey, cook about a pound of French fries in the oil. This will absorb the turkey flavor. Then before the oil gets completely cool, strain it through a double thickness of cheesecloth to remove any crumbs and flakes that are there. Seal the oil and keep it in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use it again. The oil will tell you when it's ready to be replaced. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Gene wants to know: Is Arizona Ash a wood that is suitable for cooking? I have heard that any hardwood that produces a berry is suitable for cooking. Your comment, please.

Hey Gene: The ash will be fine as long as you like it. I try not to recommend anything in that line as each person has a different taste and what suits me may be a spitter for you. Only the oily woods like cedar and pine are on the list of things to avoid. Even with that, you find an occasional person who likes them.

In Texas the favorite woods are mesquite, oak, hickory and pecan. I'm an oak man myself. Have fun and thanks for writing.
Dr. John