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February 23, 2011

12:01
P.M.

Free Range on Food: The meat draft, best-selling soup recipes, "Modernist Cuisine" and more.

Total Responses: 79

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Free Rangers

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About the topic

Free Range on Food is a forum for discussion of all things culinary. You can share your thoughts on the latest Washington Post Food section, get suggestions from fellow cooks and food lovers, or swap old-fashioned recipes the new-fashioned way.
Q.

Joe Yonan :

Greetings, all, and welcome to Free Range, the chat that brings you deliciousness in response to your questions.

What's on your mind, in your fridge, on your front (or back) burner? We've got Modernist Cuisine on the brain, thanks to Andreas "Gastronomer" Viestad's exploration of it in today's section (and Rebekah Denn's fun account of a dinner at author Nathan M's Seattle kitchen lab). Bonnie can help field q's about soup after her stint cooking w/Lorraine Wallace, and we'll do our best to field any and all meat q's in light of Kristen Hinman's piece about White House Meats, which divvies up local, grass-fed cuts by draft.

We'll have giveaway books for our favorite chatters: Lorraine's "Mister Sunday's Soups," "Recipes Every Man Should Know," and (drum roll, please) the ENTIRE SET OF "MODERNIST CUISINE."

OK, kidding about that last one. It's $600, people! And we didn't even get a review copy -- had to borrow it and send it back. Sigh.

On to the chat!

Q.

Modernist Cuisine

I described Modernist Cuisine to a friend of mine as a cookbook I want so badly but won't buy. I love "molecular gastronomy" but 600 dollars seems like it's way too much to spend on a book that's a great reference but with little practical application for the home cook. Do you think I could get by with my copy of McGee's "On Food and Cooking" or is there something in Modernist Cuisine that just blows McGee out of the water?
A.
Andreas Viestad :

Yes, I admit that 600 dollars is quite a stretch. But when I talked to Mr Myhrvold the other day he reminded me that the price per pound was less that for good parmesan cheese.

And yes, I do think it is worth it. I have never seen anything like it, and despite of its bulk it is somehow easier to use than McGee (although I would never throw that book out). The photos are amazing and the presentation allows you to read it in many different ways.

Maybe I should have written this: If you are only going to buy one cookbook this decade you'd better start saving now.

– February 23, 2011 12:01 PM
Q.

soup book

I'm sorry, but those recipes are just not worth buying a book for.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Thanks for sharing. What I tried to get across was that maybe "Mr. Sunday's Soups" also about family and eating together and stories of the Wallaces -- that, plus recipes, I guess is why the book's doing so well. (BTW, don't knock that Italian Spinach Soup till you've tried it.)

Speaking of that article, here's one of the reasons why The Post's investigative editors haven't rushed down to my desk, looking for a new reporter:  I wrote there was 'nary a stainless-steel kitchen appliance,' yet there, right behind Winston the yellow Lab, was a shiny metal dishwasher. D'oh! As a told the 2 readers who have contacted me so far, I only had eyes for the cooking-related machinery.

– February 23, 2011 12:01 PM
Q.

Mr Sunday's Soups

Does the cookbook include nutrition information? Thank you!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

It does not.

– February 23, 2011 12:03 PM
Q.

Gin for breakfast? Really?

No wonder this noon chat is so much fun -- if y'all are having booze at breakfast! (See fourth line down in Maiden's Prayer recipe, "Course: Breakfast")

A.
Jason Wilson :

What's wrong with a little gin for breakfast?

– February 23, 2011 12:03 PM
A.
Joe Yonan :

You've discovered our secret...

Seriously, thanks for pointing out that mistake. Being fixed.

– February 23, 2011 12:03 PM
Q.

Foodies in the Atlantic

Did you see the article in the Atlantic on the cult of foodie-ism? I thought it was interesting, but strange that it seemed to lump 'eat responsibly' types such as Michael Pollan in with the 'eat whatever you want and as much of it as you can' types such as Andrew Zimmern.
A.
Jason Wilson :

I think instead of proving how amoral food writing is, BR Myers simply proved how vapid the state the literary criticism has become. It did have one redeeming quality: For English professors, it provides a perfect teaching example of the Straw Man Fallacy.

– February 23, 2011 12:04 PM
A.
Joe Yonan :

Could not agree more. Dumb piece.

– February 23, 2011 12:04 PM
Q.

CSAs

Every time I see your list for CSAs, I think about joining one. But I'm a single guy, I come home at 7:30, and I'm usually too hungry to cook more than a grilled cheese sandwich. I'm afraid that if I spend money on a CSA it'll all go to waste. Any thoughts?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

CSAs have single shares and family shares; do you have a cooking buddy or neighbors who'll go in on a share with you? I think you'd have to get into a rhythm of cooking/prepping vegetables on the weekends to save for later....say! That sounds like a strategy Editor Joe just wrote about last week.

– February 23, 2011 12:04 PM
Q.

Liquor in Tea

A chatter last week asked about what liquors to mix into iced tea for a bbq/wedding reception. I'm a big fan of spiced rum & sweet tea as well as Tuaca & sweet tea. Just my two cents (or two drinks) worth.
A.
Jason Wilson :

Those both sound like excellent suggestions. I'm not a huge fan of sweet tea, so I've never tried either. But I think I will this week!

– February 23, 2011 12:05 PM
Q.

Balsamic Vinegar

I received bottles of nice balsamic vinegar as a gift (one plain, one citrus-flavored). Do you have any ideas of how to use them besides making salad dressing? Thanks!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

When you cook down/reduce balsamic vinegar it gets syrupy, and nice for drizzling over roasted fruit and ice cream and olive oil cake.  (See the Balsamic Berry Parfait below!) Sometimes, a glug of bv in a long-simmered soup or stew provides a nice acidic counterpoint. I use a mixture of balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, olive oil and tarragon to make a sauce for shredded chicken. Chatters, what do  you like to do with your balsamic?

– February 23, 2011 12:07 PM
Q.

Steel wheels

Trying to speed things up. Speed eating! Any ideas on railroad car dining? Eating slow while going fast etc....
A.
Joe Yonan :

I have zero idea what you are talking about! Could you try to hum a few more bars?

– February 23, 2011 12:10 PM
Q.

re the Straw Man Fallacy

Isn't that a dish in Modernist Cuisine?
A.
Joe Yonan :

lol

– February 23, 2011 12:11 PM
Q.

Modernist Cuisine

Wow, I would love to own this and give it as a gift, and I don't doubt it's worth every penny, but like the encyclopaedias of my youth, it's kinda pricey -- Even at 25 percent off at Amazon, it's $467. Is there any chance it'll come out in paperback? Or become available by the volume?
A.
Andreas Viestad :

They are not talking about that now. But it is not unrealistic, if you look at similar books. The Big Fat Duck Cookbook was about 180 dollars. The Fat Duck Cookbook, with the same content, but not as big and fat, is 35 dollars.

– February 23, 2011 12:13 PM
Q.

Modernist Cuisine and Chemicals Compounds?

Does Modernist Cuisine get into the details of how to use different chemicals in cooking (like agar agar, sodium alginate, etc)?
A.
Andreas Viestad :

Yes, in detail.

– February 23, 2011 12:13 PM
Q.

BR Myers

specializes in this type of straw man takedown. See his piece, a few years ago, on modern literary novels. Pure straw man, pure huffing and puffling.
Q.

steak cuts

This may be a dumb question but I see recipes many times that call for flank steak and then I go to the store and nothing is labled as flank steak. So - what is flank steak? Are there any other cuts of meat that are different from recipe to label like this?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Flank is a primal cut. If you were looking at the diagram of a steer, flank would be underneath, kinda halfway back in the stomach area. A flank steak weighs about 2 lbs. Sometimes it's called London broil, so look for that. I think skirt steak might be the closest thing to flank, although it's a different cut entirely -- long and thin.

– February 23, 2011 12:17 PM
Q.

CSA, Arlington

Hi, I recently moved to Arlington from Ohio, loved my CSA there, but have no idea how to pick one here! Do you or the chatters have a recommendation for a great CSA that has pickups in Arlington? Thanks!
A.
Joe Yonan :

Chatters, any ideas?

– February 23, 2011 12:17 PM
Q.

Whitehouse Meats

Sounds interesting but will never get my business since I live in VA and do not want to travel into DC to pick up and order. Folks need to realzie they can do this themselves. Takes a little more work but you save a lot more. For a corn finished Black angus to have half a steer cut and wrapped comes out to about $2lb. Grass fed, prime, organic is about $5 or so. Folks also need to realize most if not all local farms raise their livestock humanely. Stressing a steer or lamb means less weight when slaughtered which means a smaller paycheck. HSUS and PETA have both spread a great deal of misinformation about how livestock is raised and salughtered.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Yep, we wrote about the DIY whole-steer thing a couple years back. Can be done -- but I would say it sounds like more than just a LITTLE more work, eh?

– February 23, 2011 12:19 PM
Q.

Pasta water

I heard Harold McGee on the Splendid Table in January noting that he did lots of tests and found cooking pasta in very little water, and even letting it sit in water after turning it off leads to pasta just as good or better than the normal, tons-of-water method. Well, I am sold. I have been cooking pasta with barely enough water to cover it and a bit of oil and it has been perfect. You need to stir to be sure it doesn't stick, but otherwise, it is easy and saves tons of water. What is left at the end you can add to the sauce, so nothing wasted. I am never going back to 5-6 quarts of wasted water per pot (not to mention the time savings and thus energy savings. It cooks a lot faster. ) Anyway, here is the show in question.  His segment is at 22:30. (and for what its worth, I was skeptical, but it truly works)

A.
Joe Yonan :

Yep, he wrote about this in his NYT column. Glad to hear that it works for you!

– February 23, 2011 12:20 PM
Q.

My husband's cooking

Please consider me for the "Recipes Every Man Should Know" item. (Please!) My husband can repair anything. He invents things. He's an engineer. Want him to solve your problem? He's on it. But he can cook two things: angel hair pasta with jarred sauce and Kraft Mac and Cheese. Please, for the love of all things healthy, and delicious . . . please consider us for this item.
A.
Joe Yonan :

You don't get it just by begging! (Usually.) Do a little dance, tell us a little story!

– February 23, 2011 12:21 PM
Q.

Herb farmer

I saw the blog piece on Mr. Tom DeBaggio. I used to live near him in north Arlington and marvelled at the herbs he grew in a small space in his backyard. He was a warm and wonderful man. In those days there were no fresh herbs at the grocery store except maybe for parsley (and then it was just the curly kind, Italian was unheard of). He opened up the world of herbs/cooking to so many of us at that time. I remember him very fondly.
Q.

HSUS/PETA

In fairness to these organizations, they focus primarily on industrial livestock production (not small farms), and while fairly in-your-face in messaging they are generally accurate in their description of this practice. Thanks.
Q.

St. Louis Union Station

Still the same...the squeal of the brakes and the woooossshhh of air, signal "we have arrived'! May we suggest all passengers take this opportunity to alight from the rail cars and explore the "Windy City"...Blowing into town like a hurricane with hurricane glasses filled....
A.
Joe Yonan :

You're on the wrong chat, buddy. (And possibly the wrong planet?)

– February 23, 2011 12:25 PM
Q.

CSAs in NoVA

For the person looking for a CSA: Washington's Green Grocer isn't exactly a CSA - more of a "vegetable box scheme" (I think that's the term mentioned on Wikipedia). We're pleased with them. If you do some googling, you'll find a number of CSAs with delivery locations in NoVA but I can't vouch for them.
Q.

flank steak help

I spent weeks searching for flank steak the first time I bought it. I'd call, confirm they have it, then not see it. I finally solved the problem - I was looking for a long, flat cut. They tend to package it rolled up, so it looks from the outside like a roast. You may be looking right over it.
Q.

Cooking for Engineers

May I suggest the amazing and wonderous cookingforengineers.com to people who want their analytically-minded spouses to cook? Set up in terms that appeal to engineers and other persons (not all are guys) who think that way.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Ah, yes: possibly "Cooking for Geeks," too, right?

– February 23, 2011 12:26 PM
Q.

Modernist Cuisin

Don't suppose you have a pic of the actual book(s), do you? Would love to see what a 50-pound book looks like!
A.
Joe Yonan :

– February 23, 2011 12:26 PM
Q.

tomato soup

I love making soups! I have a few in my rotation that have a tomato base but my husband has been requesting a delicious tomato soup. I like tomato soup too but I often find that its a fine line between a good soup and something that tastes more like tomato sauce. Do you have a good go-to tomato soup recipe that won't make me think about pouring it over pasta?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Can't pick just one favorite:

Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup

Tomato Cheddar Soup

Nana's Fideo and Chicken Soup  (kind of a hybrid, but definitely worth a go)

– February 23, 2011 12:26 PM
Q.

Re: My Husband's Cooking

As a fellow engineer, can I suggest something for this writer? It sounds like your husband is very precise and technical with how he does things. Has he tried the world of baking? I like how there are very specific chemical reactions and ratios so I know just how tweaking something will affect the end product. Reading a book like "Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman might be a good start too. (or get "Modernist Cuisine" which sounds like the kind of thing he'd like)
A.
Joe Yonan :

Good idea!

– February 23, 2011 12:27 PM
Q.

Balsamic

one cherry tomato, one small piece basi. one small mozzerella ball insert on toothpick. Repeat until you run out of ingredients Drizzle with balamic. Sigh with happiness.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Sure!

– February 23, 2011 12:27 PM
Q.

Soup Night

Hi there, any suggestions for a great soup I can make for my son's school "Soup Night"? Extra points if it can be 1) vegetarian, and 2) made in the crock pot (as it would have to be heated up in the crock pot, at some point). Thanks for any suggestions!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

How much do you have to make? See the earlier link to Lorraine Wallace's Italian Spinach Salad Soup; it's very good and bright-tasting. It's not a slow-cooker soup but you could certainly keep it warm and garnish portions with the salad as you go. Or try this Chipotle Black Bean Vegetable for the full slow-cooker experience.

– February 23, 2011 12:28 PM
Q.

Myrvold's book - new models maybe

I can't afford it and can't see my interest in it lasting for more than a couple of months. Maybe he'll set something up where people can buy a month of electronic access to it (a la Marcy Goldman's baking website - talk about opposite ends of the culinary spectrum!).
A.
Andreas Viestad :

I think the book is a classic that will last. But I do hope and think they will find ways to make it more accessible.

– February 23, 2011 12:29 PM
Q.

Cooking an Egg

Speaking of cooking pasta in very little water, I've started doing this with eggs. Using a small pan and about 1 or 2 tbsp of H20 (tilted to one edge of the pan) gives great results without having to attempt a true poach.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Yep, and there's even a term for it: blindfolded eggs!

– February 23, 2011 12:29 PM
Q.

B'More Cat and Food Chat Lover

Do I need a broiler pan? I bought a new stove about two years ago. It did not come with a broiler pan. Is there are reason I should buy one? Why wouldn't an oven/high temp safe pan work? For the single guy wondering about the CSA, I buy a half share from One Straw Farm up here in B'More. It does not overwhelm me. I pick up my items on Saturdays, which gives me a chance to cook on the weekend. And, if something starts to get old (like really old), I throw it into a gallon ziploc bag in the freezer to go into homemade, fat-free vegetable stock that I make in the crockpot. Saves me time, money and fat. Thanks.
A.
Joe Yonan :

If your broiler is in the top of the oven, then I'd say, no reason, just as you say a high-temp safe pan. The only reason to get one would be if it fits into some assembly in your oven, like mine does in the bottom-drawer broiler. I can slide the pan into different grooves so that it's farther or closer from the heat source, which is helpful. But in the oven itself, if your broiler is on top, you can of course adjust the entire rack.

– February 23, 2011 12:32 PM
Q.

Soup book

There are some nice ideas in it, and with the Internet bursting with recipes a cookbook has to justify itself by something beyond a recipe collection (yes, I know that's a fallacy and some books of recipes are well worth it per se, but most are not). Personally, I stick with the 36 Quick Soups piece that you published a few years back. Still valid, still useful, still a springboard for improvisation.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Well, aren't you nice for that plug! Here's what the chatter's referring to: 36 Quick Soups.

– February 23, 2011 12:33 PM
Q.

What we eat on (dangerous dishes?)

I was about to buy some pretty vintage cups yesterday when a saleslady pointed out the dark swirls at the bottom of each and warned me that this meant the glaze was damaged, which in turn meant that I might be consuming the glaze and whatever else the cups were made of, if I used them for beverages or soups (rather than as planters). Lots of my cups, plates and bowls have similar lines or swirls and now I'm wondering if I should stop using them, or only use them for cold drinks-soups-foods, and if using them in the microwave is really bad. If you can help me and the other foodies with this, it'd be great. Thanks.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Local Living/ longtime Home writer Jura Koncius says:

"It's hard to comment when you dont know more about the dishes or manufacturer or age. I do know that many ceramic/painted dishes are labeled NOT FOR FOOD USE. Also, some old pieces had lead glaze which is of concern especially if it is scratched or overused."  See this  link.

– February 23, 2011 12:33 PM
Q.

No hot peppers?

I've seen a lot of recipes that call for different types of hot peppers (poblanos, jalapenos, etc) but I don't like that kind of heat and am a little nervous to even handle them for fear of rubbing my eye by accident. Is there anything that can work as a substitute for flavor without overwhelming me with heat?
A.
Joe Yonan :

Nothing replicates the flavor of a chili pepper, IMHO, except another pepper. Have you tried removing the seeds and ribs/membrane? With a poblano, especially, once you do that, it's very mild. Also, you can wear gloves to protect your skin, etc., if you want, but I find that poblanos don't cause me any problems.

– February 23, 2011 12:34 PM
Q.

CSA with Arlington pick-up

Last year I joined the Bull Run Farm CSA and was very happy with it. There are also fruit and egg shares available, in addition to the vegetable shares.
Q.

RE: CSAs

OK, that could take care of the winter veggies. But what about summer veggies or all the fruit? I can only make so many blueberry muffins!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Gonna have to try harder to come up with an excuse! Many berries freeze, especially those blue ones you mention.

– February 23, 2011 12:35 PM
Q.

sunny side up eggs

I love love love sunny side up eggs and prefer them for dinner rather than breakfast. I always feel like I need to eat a vegetable at dinner but can never think of a vegetable side that goes. Any ideas?
A.
Joe Yonan :

I make a version of this Peperonata and eat it with eggs all the time. Other veggies I love with eggs: sweet potatoes and beans.

– February 23, 2011 12:37 PM
Q.

What is a CSA?

Thanks.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Community-supported agriculture program. Basically, a farm subscription. Read more here.

– February 23, 2011 12:38 PM
Q.

Egg and veggie dinners

Wilted greens with a sunny side up egg. Poached asparagus with a sunny side up egg. Roasted cauliflower with a sunny side up egg. Raw greens with a sunny side up egg (and bacon!). Top any and all with some harissa, curry yogurt, arrabbiata sauce, etc and you've got a great meal.
Q.

RE: CSAs

I think you're giving me more credit by way of freezer space than I actually have. :-) OK, fine, so I'm running out of excuses. If I'm doing it for myself (no cooking buddies around for this) what's the best way to get started? Should I try to get myself into a habit of buying and prepping veggies from a store or Farmer's Market before signing up for a CSA or jump right into a CSA?
A.
Joe Yonan :

OMG, just try it already! Seriously, you're not really going to know if it works for you until you try it. There's only so much pre-thinking that can help answer this question...

– February 23, 2011 12:41 PM
Q.

vegetable broth

I understand that chicken stock gives rich flavor and depth to so many dishes, but I can't seem to get the same effects from vegetable broth for uses in beans and grains. I usually make my veg broth with onions, garlic, celery and carrots. What can I add to give my vegetable broth a kick?
A.
Joe Yonan :

Mushrooms. Leeks. Ginger.

– February 23, 2011 12:41 PM
Q.

Creme de Caco

I was running errands near the ABC store last night and my husband requested to be surprised. I somewhat randomly picked creme de caco, not realizing how sweet it was. Is there something else I can pick up today to mix with it to cut the sweetness?
A.
Jason Wilson :

Funny you should ask, I just wrote about creme de cacao in my Valentine column. You can also try it in the 20th Century cocktail. However...I hope you got the white and not the dark!

– February 23, 2011 12:42 PM
Q.

smoked pork bits?

I would love to create the smoked pork bits that are in some fried rice and even in some asian soups. How do I do this?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

I think you're talking about smoked pork belly. Here's a promising recipe (haven't tried it), although maybe you could get some pork belly, find  your favorite bbq condiments and experiment. You'd want to render the belly fat to achieve those crisped bits....

– February 23, 2011 12:42 PM
Q.

Gin

"gin for breakfast" Ramos gin fizz - God's gift to breakfast.
A.
Jason Wilson :

Cheers to that. Though that take a lot of shaking, and I'm not sure I'm always up for that in the morning...

– February 23, 2011 12:42 PM
Q.

Re: CSAs

OK, OK! I'm convinced and have been shamed into just doing it already. Thanks for all the help.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Phew.

– February 23, 2011 12:42 PM
Q.

Yay CSA!

Just wanted to plug a local CSA, Food Matters (you all have do it listed). The best thing about this CSA is it tells you what you are getting a week in advance so you can plan menus! Also, it is 37 weeks long!!!! I had CSA produce last year from early March until Thanksgiving. And it is good stuff--I got some local honey, cheeses, bread, and jellies last year along with the abundance of produce. If you skip a week, you can either double up the next or they will donate your bag to charity for you. And note, I am not affiliated with them, just a fan of their restaurant and its philosophy (and amazing food) and the CSA. Christy and Tom are just nice people, as well. I want the restaurant and CSA to succeed, so I try to get the work out.
Q.

Tofu

OK, submitting this question again for the third week - really need the help! I'm looking for a thorough resource on tofu - something that goes beyond vegetarian food and Asian recipes. I'm looking for a wide variety of recipes plus something that will give tips on best to use tofu - how it can act as a binder in baked goods and casseroles, etc. Website or book would be great. Barring that, I've got one specific question that I'm having a hard time finding an answer to. What kind of tofu should I use to help replace eggs in casseroles??? I've seen recipes that call for firm, but I tried that and the texture just seems weird (I did process it with the eggs - not sure if that affected it). Would soft tofu be better? Oh, and if there's not a good resource that's not just vegetarian, is there a list of somewhere for of substitutes for other vegetarian foods? I have no problem eating cheese, so all these calls for natural yeast just seem silly to me. Thanks!
A.
Joe Yonan :

Check out the fabulous Deborah Madison's "This Can't Be Tofu!"  Also many tofu recipes in Veganomicon.

– February 23, 2011 12:44 PM
Q.

I'm a lush

So I'm really into English trifle and tiramisu and realized that I love the mixture of the alcohol with the cream. It just does it for me. Are there other desserts out there that I can add a little rum or brandy to?
A.
Jason Wilson :

You can add a little glass or rum or brandy to almost any dessert...isn't that was lushes do?

– February 23, 2011 12:45 PM
Q.

My Husband's Cooking, more information

Yes, we've marveled at the Cooking for Engineers website, and we own Cooking for Geeks. Curiously, like one chatter mentioned, he's an AMAZING baker. He once made these Snickerdoodle cookies that had people at work begging for the recipe. I swear he used the same recipe out of my mother's Betty Crocker cookbook from 1961 that I've made dozens of times. I don't know what he did, but he could have sold those cookies and paid off our student loans. The issue is that he doesn't know how to cook meals. Or isn't confident in his ability to put a meal together. Or something...I'm not sure exactly what it is is. Joe, maybe if you believed in him enough to give him this cookbook...just maybe....
A.
Joe Yonan :

Done.

– February 23, 2011 12:46 PM
Q.

veggies with ssu eggs at breakfast

Make eggs purgatory: drop eggs into casserole of sauted tomatoes, onion, peppers and bake in oven til egss are done to your liking (soft, not so soft)
Q.

making food for the week

What are some of your favorite recipes that can be made over the weekend, and eaten for lunch throughout the week? I'm looking to move beyond my usual chili or pasta routine. Thanks.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

You mean besides soup? I think lentil dishes are gifts that keep on giving. A cooked batch can be combined with diced roasted sweet potatoes and dressed with a vinaigrette. I have been known to eat Pasta and Lentils Sicilian Style  cold, for breakfast. I also like to do a basic pilaf and add fresh veg and leftover chicken or steak.

– February 23, 2011 12:46 PM
Q.

600 book

The idea is to spread knowledge. 60 max and sell 100x more. Share the wealth!
Q.

$600 book

"But when I talked to Mr Myhrvold the other day he reminded me that the price per pound was less that for good parmesan cheese." I don't doubt it--but I'll take that as reasonable when I can buy the book a little at a time! :-)
Q.

Myrvold, yes, a classic

Yes, I think it's a classic. But I can't see finding new stuff in it after the first few months. I don't see consulting it regularly. So i want to own it for a month. Maybe there should be MSAs - a neighborhood buys a single copy and shares it.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Great idea!

– February 23, 2011 12:47 PM
Q.

Re: Husband's Cooking

It's just like Jeph Jacques (of webcomic "Questionable Content") once wrote: Baking is science for hungry people"
Q.

Chile peppers

Serrano, Thai, jalpeno do not cause me any problems when I ahdnel them bare handed. I am a little more careful with scotch Bonnets but still ahdnel them bare handed. I do wash my hands when finished. I find supper market chile peppers extremely mild compared to ones I grow or get from friends even the Scotch Bonnets. Especially over the last few years.
A.
Joe Yonan :

I, too, am able to ahdnel (or, as some people say, handle) most peppers without problem, but I do believe the chatter who wrote in has indeed had problems.

– February 23, 2011 12:49 PM
Q.

Baker Guy

Start him on artisanal bread, including all the varieties of preferments and starters and levains and all that. Science plus it takes hard practice to get it really right. See thefreshloaf.com and Tartine Bread and the later Peter Reinhart books to get started.
Q.

For the person who's afraid to try the CSA

I also had some trepidation because I am single and was afraid I'd waste my money and the veggies. However, I signed up with the Washington's Green Grocer because you can start and stop them at any time. They also publish their expected box contents about a week ahead of time, which may make a difference in whether you get that particular box. (As was noted earlier, they aren't a true CSA, but close enough.)
Q.

Love the Soups!

I love the soup recipes--surprisingly, I hadn't heard of the book but will look out for it. Soup is something I always vow to cook more of and often feel I don't have the time to do. But on to my real question: a friend gave me a bottle of pomegranate molassas, which looks intriguing, but I have no idea what to use it in--any suggestions? Thanks Food Gurus!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

The recipes in "MrSS" have time constraints in  mind -- many can be done in less than an hour. 

Love pom molasses.  Use it in marinades, as a glaze for seared duck breast, over strawberries, in a favorite brisket or short rib recipe and in this Walnut and Red Pepper Spread, which is killer, killer good.

– February 23, 2011 12:51 PM
Q.

A chatter last week asked about what liquors to mix into iced tea for a bbq

I'd assume that some people go to picnic at that location precisely BECAUSE it doesn't allow alcohol consumption, so they have a reasonable expectation of not having to share the venue with a bunch of folks drinking disguised spiked iced tea. Besides, IT'S AGAINST THE FRIGGIN' LAW to consume alcohol there!!! So take your bbq elsewhere.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Such hostility! Maybe you need ... dare I say? A little spiked iced tea?

– February 23, 2011 12:52 PM
Q.

Vietnamese soups

How can I get the simple but flavorful taste of Vietnamese soups? The broth seems so clear and simple but at the same time I can't define the ingredients.

A.
Joe Yonan :

You need beef bones, and some good spices. Check out this recipe from Ba Bay.

– February 23, 2011 12:53 PM
Q.

Engineers and cooking

Try Alton Brown's shows and books - heavy with the science of cooking but good!
Q.

Handling Chili Peppers

Get some latex gloves from the drug store and wear them while handling your peppers. Carefully discard when done. No more wiping the eyes accidentally problems. Or you can do what my contact-wearing spouse does, and get someone else around the house to do it (because casapsin on the contacts is not good).
Q.

Pomegranite molasses

Look for middle eastern / persian recipes that use date molasses, and sub the PM. Different taste, similar results.
Q.

washington green grocer

I'll second this. found it more convenient, and customizable than a CSA. You can also choose to add milk, eggs, a variety of herbs, etc.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Sure -- but do keep in mind that the WGG produce comes from all over, not locally, so for those looking for that part of the CSA experience (supporting community agriculture, right?), it's missing here.

– February 23, 2011 12:55 PM
Q.

shaping bread dough

We enjoyed this recipe http://www.cuisinart.com/recipes/breads/26.html for a Rosemary Olive Oil Bread -- but I have a question. What is the purpose of forming a 32-inch rope then forming a ring to make the loaf? I am an amateur baker who continues to learn and do fairly well on breads, but was stumped as to the point of this instruction. Is it aesthetic, or does it have to do with the structure of the bread. (FWIW, I blended the ingredients in the food processor, but did the kneading by hand because that's what I prefer. It was a very flavorful loaf and we enjoyed it.) Thanks.
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

I'm only guessing here (with years of making round challahs' behind me)  but maybe it's because winding the rope of dough helps give you a nicely structured, round loaf.

– February 23, 2011 12:55 PM
Q.

CSAs

any one looking to join a CSA is possibly too late. These things tend to fill up even before the post runs its articles on them (mine filled up by feb 11). Just saying folks . . . get the list and then mark your calendars to contact them MUCH earlier next year. Oh - any many of them give preference to current customers before they open membership to anyone new.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Actually, all the ones in our list told us they had openings still, or did as of press time. So not too late.

– February 23, 2011 12:56 PM
Q.

Frustrated!

I just wanted to say that I'm frustrated that I can't submit a question prior to the chat because sometimes I'm not available at noon because I'm dealing with the kids' lunches and sometimes I have a question that may need some research that takes more than the alotted hour. It would be nice to submit early.
A.
Joe Yonan :

Who says you can't submit early? You sure can -- lots of people do.

– February 23, 2011 12:56 PM
Q.

Replacement for chicken broth

What's a good substitute for chicken broth when cooking? Will vegetable broth work equally as well?
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Whatcha cooking? I'll just go out on a limb and say mostly, yes, the veg broth will work.

– February 23, 2011 12:57 PM
Q.

Thicker chowder

I have a corn chowder recipe that has great flavor, but is too thin. I'm not a fan of corn starch as a thickener; is a roux my only option? Thanks.
A.
Andreas Viestad :

A roux is starchy. There are fish soups, like the great Bergen Fish soup from my native Norway that are thickened with eggs or egg yolks. And as I have discussed in an article in The Post, bouillabaisse is an emulsion.

– February 23, 2011 12:58 PM
Q.

whole foods soups

Whole Foods sells a butternut squash parasole soup, which I'm just wondering what it means.
A.
Joe Yonan :

It means you have to hold an umbrella over your head while you eat it?

I believe you meant posole. I've had this one from WF. I think they use that to mean  there's a little hominy in it, although it's really not a traditional posole.

– February 23, 2011 12:59 PM
Q.

Submitting Early

JY...it took a bit to find the "Submit Your Question" button to submit the question early. Until around 10:30A CST..the old chat was the only thing I could link to and it didn't have the feature activated. I think the writer was asking about submitting earlier than that.
A.
Joe Yonan :

That was probably a technical problem this morning, but it's usually accessible much earlier.

– February 23, 2011 12:59 PM
Q.

Souper!

To the chatter who dissed the soups, I suggest making that tortellini and meatball soup. It is out of this world and I have made it several times since buying the book. Am not too crazy about the fat content (21 grams, I now find out from your paper) but actuallyu I get more than 10 servings from it, and I guess if I were really concerned, I could use chicken or turkey sausage. Anyway, don't knock them!!
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

You said a mouthful.

– February 23, 2011 12:59 PM
Q.

washington green grocer...

...sources veggies locally from June-November.
A.
Joe Yonan :

All of them?

– February 23, 2011 1:01 PM
Q.

submitting before the chat

No, Joe, you can't b/c the WaPo doesn't put up the link. I looked at 3:45 ET yesterday afternoon. Longstanding frustration wit this chat and Home
A.
Joe Yonan :

We'll get that checked out, thanks.

 

– February 23, 2011 1:01 PM
Q.

re: substituting tofu for eggs

I love the stuff, but you can't expect it to be exactly like eggs. Tofu has a high water content (soft even more than firm) - pat it dry or better yet, freeze, then thaw and squeeze out the water. Depending on the recipe, work in a little dry mustard or turmeric, or smoked paprika or smoked salt (yum!) -all add a depth that you might like. I like Moskowitz, but sometimes she's a bit much (many ingredients). Moosewood is a great place to go, especially if dairy isn't an issue. Have fun!
Q.

From WGG

Not sure what % is local... http://www.washingtonsgreengrocer.com/particulars/why-choose-wgg.htm "During our local growing season, roughly June through November, we buy our produce locally. As a general rule, if an item is on our weekly list, and is available locally, we're buying it locally. To keep food miles down, we work with over 40 different growers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey to bring you fresh, locally grown produce. We NEVER air-freight anything."
Q.

stone soup

My 2 year old wants to make soup. He helps me make salads by my chopping in advance and him distributing the veggies to each person's bowl. Any ideas on an easy soup that he could actually help with? I assume I will do the prep and he will put the ingredients in the pot, but that seems not very interactive. Thanks
A.
Bonnie Benwick :

Your toddler sounds impressively precocious. Miso soups and infused Asian soups need more stirring than chopping. I think the level of interactivity you describe is appropriate.

– February 23, 2011 1:04 PM
Q.

Joe Yonan :

Well, you have covered us and let us stand for about 2 jmiutes or until we are wilted but still bright green, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's today -- hope you took something useful away!

Now for the giveaway books: The chatter whose husband needs help (and who begged, begged, begged) will get "Recipes Every Man Should Know." The one who asked about  making soup for son's school soup night will get "Mister Sunday's Soups." Send your mailing info to us at food@washpost.com, and we'll send you your books.

Until next time, happy cooking, eating and reading!

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