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Ask Martha: Cheeses, Roasting, and Deglazing

Martha Stewart Living Television

What is the difference between blue, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola cheeses?
-- John Patton, New York City

Blue cheese is a type of cheese that's been treated with molds. These molds, which give the cheese its characteristic flavor, form blue or green veins. Roquefort and Gorgonzola are two types of blue cheese. Roquefort is French and made from sheep's milk. It has a creamy texture with a pungent, salty taste. Gorgonzola is Italian and has a similar flavor that grows even more pronounced if the cheese is aged.

What's the proper way to roast vegetables?
-- Beth Wallig, New York City

Roasting vegetables is simply a dry-heat cooking method that brings out the vegetables' natural sweetness while preserving their nutritional values. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, and potatoes all work well for roasting. One simple recipe calls for 1 1/4 pounds thin carrots, peeled and trimmed, 3/4 pound parsley root, and 3/4 pound baby turnips. Chop the vegetables, and toss to coat them in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place them in a roasting pan, and bake, turning every ten minutes, until tender and well browned, about 30 to 45 minutes.

How do I deglaze a pan?
-- Brian Douglas, New York City

Deglazing a pan is a technique using a liquid such as wine or stock to loosen the browned, caramelized bits of food or fat that are left over in the pan after cooking. Once a pan has been deglazed, the remaining liquid can be used as a sauce to accompany the food you've cooked. To deglaze a pan such as the one used to roast vegetables, add 1/2 cup Madeira wine and 1/4 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of any fat. Stir with the back of a wooden spoon until the liquid reduces and slightly thickens. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and garnish with fresh sage.