I moved back to the US a couple of months ago and I’m in the lookout for a blender or food processor. I remember that the last one that I owned had 600 watts. It was not useful for what I wanted, mostly to make seed and nut butters without much added oil, pulverize cookies for cheesecake crust, and the occasional Piña Colada. I’m considering now a 1200 watts equipment and recently saw refurbished Vitamix with a 2HP motor at $300….Since I’m planning to spend a considerable amount I want to know what else I should I be looking besides the wattage? I guess that some machines could have same wattage but different performance and thus the price difference (i.e vitamix vs ninja)? Any help will be appreciated.
My wife and I planted a bunch of tomatillo plants and there beginning to bare fruit. We can't eat them all so what's the best way to preserve them? Can they be froze, canned....? Thanks!
Tomatillos freeze really well. Package one pint at a time, quartered, in zip lock bags. They won't emerge from the bag salsa-worthy, having lost crispness in the freezer, but are great for cooked green enchilada sauce. Tomatillos may also be canned just as tomatoes are canned, in pints and quarts either crushed, whole or pureed. See the guidelines at the National Center for Home Food Preservation site.
So glad you brought this feature back! I always enjoy reading about these recipes, and today's sounds like one I should definitely try.
This recipe is very close to my grandmother's, I usually make it with toasted slivered almonds stirred in. I mailed some to my mom after the first attempt and got two thumbs up (my Dad said he would need another batch to make sure his taste test was thorough enough - haha). I'd love to try some other additions (chocolate chips and dried cherries maybe), but the old fashioned way is just so good!
Thank you so much for the jam recipe! I can't wait to try it. Your directions are wonderfully simple and I know I can follow along. My farmers market is on Monday, and I saw some beautiful strawberries. Do you think if these are purchased on Monday that they would keep until Thursday when I would have time to mash them (and then can on Friday)? Thank you again!
To hold the berries for a couple of days, line baking sheet(s) with paper towels and spread the berries out in a single layer. Refrigerate the berries until you can mash them.
For the first poster, I recently bought a refurbished Vitamix and I would definitely recommend getting the variable speed. I would not want that thing to turn on full blast right away, it's very powerful. Great machine. And the refurbishing process is very thorough and includes a completely new container. There is a video on the vitamix website that describes it.
Thanks for your thoughts!
I know this is well in advance of peach season, but I want to be prepared. I was given some SC peach butter and I love it. It is one of the best peach condiments i have ever had. I would like to make it but i have never seen a recipe for it. Do you have any good suggestions for how to make peach butter so that I can everything on hand come peach season in a few months.
Peach butter is a puree of fruit, sugar and lemon juice (and added spices, herbs, liqueurs) that is reduced to a thick spreadable consistency. As with jam, a combination of ripe and underripe peaches will help with the set.
I've been home roasting my coffee beans in a hot-air, hand-cranked popcorn popper for years, but I've become less able to dark-roast my beans without burning them. I let them go to second crack, but once that crack really gets going, it seems to be too late. I'm terrible with judging first and second crack, so maybe that's my problem. Or maybe the beans still cook after I've removed them from heat. What's the trick to getting a dark roast without the burned quality? I cook 8 oz. batches. Also, although I prefer the flavor of medium roasts, I don't dislike dark roasts and often prefer them when home roasting because the darker roast cuts way down on chaff once I remove the beans to cool them. I don't have a chaff-catching device and don't plan to get one. I'm hoping you'll tell me some trick for cutting down on chaff with a hot-air, hand-crank popper, short of going for a dark roast, where the oils escape the beans.
Joel Finkelstein, the roaster master (or roast monkey, as he calls himself) at Qualia Coffee in Petworth, has the following words of advice, confusion and criticism via e-mail:
I'm kind of confused by their description, hand-cranked and hot-air are two different styles of roasting. I really don't see how the method they are using can be both. A stove-top hand-cranked popper uses only conduction while a hot air popper uses only convection.
If using a stove-top hand-cranked popcorn popper. Their best option is to drill a small hole in the lid of their popcorn popper and insert a digital thermometer that can read up to at least 500F. It will require some experimentation, but by lowering the temperature at which they stop the roast, they should be able to get more reliable results.
If they are using a hot-air popper, they should plug it using a long extension cord. This will create a small voltage drop and result in a slower roasting process and therefor offer better control over when to end the roast.
p.s. Of course, I would suggest that by dark roasting their coffee they are losing one of the main benefits of home roasting, which is experiencing the full flavor of a freshly roasted coffee.
Thank you so much for the garlic sauce recipe in Sunday's magazine. My husband loves the stuff and always asks for extra at Lebanese Taverna so I can't wait to make it for him. Question - once the garlic is peeled, do i need to cut the tough ends off or can I leave them on.
I would like to leave some meals in my freezer for my house sitter while I'm on vacation. Any suggestions for dishes (other than beef stew) that freeze well and can be reheated easily? Thanks!
In the article on Nutella, it mentions a bicerin chocolate-espresso drink from Turin into which you can stir some Nutella. I've been searching for a recipe that includes Nutella but can't find one. Is there one you'd suggest?
Jim Webster, who wrote the hilarious piece on imported vs. domestic Nutella, e-mails to say:
I relayed that pretty much as Mark told me, which was:
“the drink is called bicerin. It's a drink made with espresso, chocolate, and whipped cream. When nutella is added it's even better.”
Here is a Dave Lebovitz recipe, which doesn’t include Nutella (though that jibes with Mark’s account, in which the Nutella is a personal add-on).
Good morning. I live near Pentagon Row, and I'm wondering if there are good sources for fish nearby? The counter at Harris Teeter doesn't look stellar, and Costco portions are too huge–am I out of luck until the Whole Foods gets built?
Joe, I love the recipes you have for paella for one cooked in cast iron. My dilemma (which is a wonderful one to have) is that I'm no longer cooking for one. How would you go about expanding the recipe? Maybe a 12 inch pan? Would cooking times change? Your input would be appreciated.
Editor Joe's out today; I'm sure he'll be able to answer this when he returns.
Aaaaahh, love this stuff! Have never made it myself and looked at your recipe. In other baking recipes calling for oil -- things like quick breads -- I often sub apple sauce, but I'm guessing this won't work for something crunchy, i.e., mandelbread (which I've known as mandelbrot...) -- correct?
Becky is out today, unfortunately. But we'll get her perspective on this when she returns.
OK, I know "preserves" is in the name...but can I use this recipie for fridge/freezer jam? Make and store and use asap, rather than storing for a few months? Or does it need to sit, unrefrigerated and gel for a while?
Yes, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about a month or in the freezer for a year. If you plan to pack the jars for the freezer, allow about a 1 inch headspace - room for expansion.
My grandmother z"l, wants you to know that if you don't put almonds in your mandelbrot, you really need to find another name for your cookies... (strangely, I just made a batch last night. Looks like a fairly similar recipe to the one published today, but with a bit more sugar).
Hi rangers!! I'm trying to reorganize my refrigerator so that my 5-year old can reach his foods. Is it safe to put the yogurt on the door since it will be opened throughout the day? Thx!
The yogurt's not going to go bad, but I wouldn't put anything on the door that would be made unhappy by constant temperature changes. (OK items: pickles, ketchup and mustard, olives, etc. ) I appreciate the need for a reachable spot, though. Lower shelf?
While I too put the locally grown strawberries on paper towel in a flat baking dish--one layer only, I don't immediately refrigerate the berries in order to let the condensation that is sometimes present evaporate. Putting berries with moisture on them I think makes them mold more easily. Since I have them for breakfast at room temperature, I take out what I plan to eat that morning and rinse and dry them off just before I serve them. Local berries last most of the week that way.
Great point! Thanks so much.
Does Toum freeze well? I was thinking of freezing it in ice cube trays, then storing the frozen cubes in air-tight freezer containers, for individual use. How long do you think it could be stored?
I think the texture would suffer. This stuff really lasts a month in the refrigerator (I've kept it a bit beyond that). You'll be surprised at how often you dip in, once you've made a batch.
Tough to do with a smallish full refrigerator. Just sayin'. Do you have a separate fridge for projects?
I feel your pain about crammed refrigerators. Between Carrie's bottles of amari and vermouths, and all my take-out boxes from various $20 Diner visits, we have zero room. I mean zero. It's a puzzle now. We have to remove items to add more.
So I have a separate fridge downstairs for my charcuterie projects, which I just expanded this spring to include pancetta.
Every year my family rents a little cabin and attempts to learn to grill all over again on a very basic round charcoal grill. This year we'd like to branch out and try to make some ribs. Given our general level of incompetence and the impatient nature of our crowd, we thought we'd go the pre-baking/finishing on the grill route. Can you give a) some general guidance and b) some suggestions for dry rubs and bbq sauces for novices?
Hey, you don't need anything more than a very basic round charcoal grill. Well, for ribs - good ribs - you will need what you say your crowd lacks: patience.
If you want to pre-bake, have at it. But I'm all about the grill. So, I'd recommend the 3-2-1 method. Three hours of indirect cooking (hot coals on one side, ribs on the opposite side), 2 hours in foil (also indirect), 1 hour more with the foil off (still indirect). Seems long, I know. But it's really easy and it's worth the wait.
As for dry rubs and sauces, take a saunter through the WaPo recipes. For commercial products, you might try Dizzy Pig or Todd's Dirt for dry rubs and Pork Barrel BBQ for sauce - all three are locally-owned companies and, even more importantly, all three make very good products.
Re Bonnie's Dinner in Minutes, how do you measure 2 TBS of a solid? Do I cut it up?
Are you referring to the miso in this Seared Beef With Celeriac Salad recipe? The miso and tofu are spoon-able.
It is only me and my hubby and I would love to cook a small beef tenderloin. My problem is I do not want it rare or medium . Can I cook it medium well and still get a great flavor. Blood running just gives me the jitters
Bring them on - I can only get them when I visit family in Omaha.
What's this? Dark-roast coffee isn't full-flavor? "by dark roasting their coffee they are losing one of the main benefits of home roasting, which is experiencing the full flavor of a freshly roasted coffee." Should I quit espresso and French roast?
The red liquid in meat is not blood. It is the contents of the muscle cells which contain the pigment myoglobin. The slaughter process removes around 99% or so of the blood from meat. the way to test if it is blood or not is to look for coagulation. If it is red and coagulated, it is blood. If it is not coagulated it is not blood. For some reason fear of blood is a major reason why people don't eat rarer beef. Taste testing labs for meat only have red light sources so that people can't see the color. In taste tests like this, people who claim they prefer medium or medium well meat almost always prefer medium rare if they can't see the color.
This is true. It's not blood. But I suspect even the juices are enough to turn some people's stomachs, just because they run red.
What foods would be so sensitive to temperature changes that they couldn't be stored in a refrigerator door (can't think of any). I mean, the fridge door is only open for less than a minute at a time, right?
Depends on how often, and for how long, that door is opened. The front of the box is generally not as cold (already) as the back of the refrigerator, right? It just deteriorates freshness over time. Why waste food?
I generally use commercial pectin (prefer the low-sugar variety in the pink box) - since that's what my grandma uses. It seems that most recipes these days have natural/food based pectin sources instead. Is there something wrong with using commercial pectin? I have to say that I seem to get a better/more consistent set than most of the "artisan jam makers" I run into at markets and the like. It's time for some jam this weekend! We're down to the last half jar of apple butter and the berry jams are long gone. P.S. I'm glad to report that after helping my grandma make jam for years, I use the "sheeting" method to test set -- and don't have to think twice about it.
Commercial pectin is a great product that offers a firm set. For some jam makers, the pectin packets makes a too-large batch. That's the only complaint I've ever heard. I don't use pectin only because I want to macerate the fruit and sugar together. Most pectins require the sugar and pectin are mixed together, so the fruit cannot be macerated, which, in my mind, creates the jam flavor and texture that appeals to me. A softer, more spoonable set is the au courant jam. I say, "Make the jam that makes you happy!"
When spreading the berries on a baking sheet with paper towels, should I cover them? Thank you!
No need to cover them. Do let them dry out entirely, as the other poster recommended.
Leftover from a few weeks ago, someone asked about buying Domino superfine sugar. It still exists, but not in that nice recognizable box. It is in a round plastic container, smaller amount for the same price. There's an online product finder that says it is at lots of Giants and so on in the area; I saw it with my own eyes at Sniders.
Interesting. I just bought the recognizable box at a Giant in Bethesda. Thanks for sharing the tip, sugar!
Dad is a big soccer fan. Where can we take him for Father's Day that we can view the games and have a decent meal? Any cuisine is fine. DC or Montgomery County preferred. Thank you
Cathy - I tend to make preserves in large batches, as I use them for Christmas presents. Can your recipe be upsized?
This is definitely a small batch jam recipe. It doesn't upsize well, so plan on consecutive batches.
Sorry for the confusion in my earlier question. I have a hand-cranked stovetop popper. I think the temperature isn't so much my concern as knowing how to distinguish first crack from second. The cracking pretty much rolls from one to the other with eight ounces of beans, and before I know it, it's too late. If I want to remove the beans earlier for a medium roast, often the batch is only about halfway medium roasted. Maybe I need to roast smaller batches, which would, I think, give more distinct first and second cracks.
Joel from Qualia responds:
This is home roasting, so the tolerance for variation has to be higher. Commercial roasters are designed to roast evenly, but they cost 10s of thousands. Even a good quality home roaster cost hundreds to thousands.
But might be able to get better results by cranking faster and lower heat near the end if the roast.
I can't get the video to play (most likely a problem with my computer, not your video). Might you also tell us the 5 ways? I know smashing a clove with the side of a cleaver works. The picture looks like maybe dropping cloves in a hot pan is a second way? Thanks. The pre-peeled garlic just doesn't seem as strong.
Here's the link for others who might not have seen it. I agree about the prepeeled garlic!
1. Put lots of unpeeled cloves in a metal mixing bowl; create a chamber by inverting another bowl on top. Shake vigorously and peels will loosen (and lots of noise will be made).
2. Silicone roller (one-use tool)
3. Microwave for 20 seconds; easy peeling.
4. Roast in a cast-iron pan (again, easy peeling but you must wait for them to cool).
5. The aforementioned knife smash.
I just crush with the heel of my hand and peel. Takes just seconds.
That fridge looks like a dream come true. However, it also looks almost as big as my house. (g)
I am, in fact, leaving it behind very soon. :(
I borrowed space from the back of the garage, which created extra counterspace in my galley kitchen.
So do I. And if you position big cloves strategically, you get in some shiatsu that will do your hand good. ;-)
Ha, never thought of that!
"Mandelbrodt" literally means "almond bread."
Does almond extract count?
Joel has VERY strong biases towards light/medium roasts and brewed coffee only. He makes very good light roasted brewed coffee. I find that he can be needlessly harsh to those of us who like our coffee other ways, even going to far as to say that espresso drinks are "not coffee."
Everyone has their favorite ways to take coffee (or espresso). Can't we all get along?
And by the way, I would say Joel has toned down his positions on Starbucks and other dark-roasted coffees. He understands why people like them.
My grandmother sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the top of hers. And made one "loaf" with peanut butter chips and chocolate chips for me and the other with chocolate chips and walnuts for everyone else. She didn't leave us a recipe (nothing she made had recipes--we would call her when we wanted to make something and she would talk us through it), so I'm definitely going to try Becky's recipe.
Options made with love. Good for you!
I'm an avid baker, but currently am living in a hotel and don't have access to an oven, although I do have a two-burner stove. Is there a way of making cookies on a stove top, or do I need to admit defeat and buy them?
I'm hosting dinner for 9 people and would love a few new ideas for the grill and for side dishes. I don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen that afternoon but would love something easy and creative for dinner. Suggestions?
Wow, that's a huge question. Not knowing your skill level, equipment, or desired time commitment, I guess I'd say you have one of two choices - go long or go short. By long, I mean a several-hour smoke, such as a pork butt or brisket that you pretty much leave alone. By short, I mean fish or steaks.
The easiest is to go short because it takes so little time at the grill. Let's say you grill some tuna steaks. For something different, you could top those with a mango salsa prepared the day before (chopped mango, diced red onion, diced jalapeño, some fresh lime juice, salt). For, say, rib eyes, you could make a chimichurri the day before (in the recipe finder). If you want to go simple and inexpensive - with burgers, say - you can get creative with the condiments: sliced avocado, Siracha sauce, feta or blue cheese instead of cheddar or American. Make your salsas, etc., the day before. For a burger condiments bar, prepare everything earlier in the day and cover with plastic wrap in the fridge until you're ready to use.
For side dishes, there are countless things you can make, from watermelon and feta salad to something more traditional, like a Piedmont, North Carolina-style cole slaw. Shameless plug: my next column is on traditional American bbq sides; the Piedmont slaw is one of them.
Also for side dishes, you can grill vegetables, from corn (which I've taken to smoking for 10 minutes, then grilling on each side for only about a minute) to bok choy.
I hope that helps get the creative juices flowing.
My wife recently borrowed a cookbook based on a popular show from the library and asked me (the cook in the family) to make a few meals based on these recipes. It was supposed to be a fun way to be fans of the show. None of the recipes turned out and i followed them exactly. For example, the scones turned into flat, wide cookies. So other than avoiding cookbooks that were likely rushed to be published before a popular show ends, do you have any other advice to identify and avoid bad cookbooks?
Alas, only cooking from them will reveal their flaw, though you can conduct research before purchasing. Sometimes others have made the mistake before you.
Can you name the culprit, please?
"Old school" TV cooks do test/have their recipes tested, so you're safe with companion show cookbooks of that ilk (Lidia B, Sara Moulton, Steven Raichlen, Ming Tsai, Ina Garten, Ellie Krieger, to name a few). In general, guess I'd avoid TV-wrought tomes -- with the exception of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country.
Our experience has been that jams made without commercial pectin hold up better.
I don't know Tim, he was pretty harsh in a recent discussion on Rockwell.
I'll look into it!
We use something like this: It is INSANELY easy and I love it! Right, that's one of the video options.
Hi Rangers, We have family coming to town in a few days and I thought that making a Vietnamese-inspired pasta salad (lemongrass chicken, pulled and added to cooked soba noodles with some sort of vinaigrette) might do the trick. I managed to grab some daikon; do you think I should quick-pickle it before adding it to the dish, or should I try something like the Hao Long Dragon Slaw recipe, but simply use daikon instead of zucchini/apples? Thanks so much for your help!
I think the substitution would be great in this recipe. Clever boots.
Don't forget all the Julia Child books from her tv shows! Also Jacques Pepin. Very good TV books. IMO, far better than Mr. Fussypants from ATK does.
Absolutely they are both in the pantheon of TV cooks with cookbooks that work. I cook out of that orange paperback Julia Child one all the time (with a very young Sara Moulton on staff).
I drooled over the recipe for toum. Could it be used for seasoning vegetables while they are roasting, or would it burn? It wasn't clear to me whether it is suitable for cooking, or is just a sauce.
I can relate. Toum will melt under high heat; I'd either marinate the vegetables in it prior to roasting (say, 30 minutes to 1 hour) or slather it on when the vegetables are just out of the oven.
Have you heard of making yogurt with cream? There's a newish yogurt brand (called Noosa), or maybe it's just newish to DC, that I prefer it to ice cream - and that could be because it includes cream, listed third on the ingredient label, after milk and fruit puree. And 25% of the recommended daily max for saturated fat in 8 oz. I haven't tried all the yogurts available but figured you might know if others also use cream, and just as importantly, how I can adjust my home-made yogurt to include it. Should it work with starter as well as skim or whole milk, or be added later? Thanks so much!
I have added cream to my homemade yogurt - using about 1/2 cup cream to 1-1/2 pints whole milk. It's very creamy and makes an amazing ice cream base. It's a little too rich for me at breakfast time.
Hi Rangers, Going to a cook-out Saturday and need to bring a side-dish. I liked a couple of your salads, but I'm thinking more vegetable/starch type sides. I need something that can withstand the 1.5 hour drive and not need much prep at the end as we'll be trying to corral kids come dinner time. Thanks!
Cook corn on the cob, then knife off the kernels. Add to cooked black beans and chopped scallions. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the mix once you've arrived.
So what's the optimum roast to get the full flavor of coffee? Not all freshly roasted beans, though, as I buy a week's worth at a time, already roasted. I've always thought of light roasts as what's used in yucky, percolated "cafe Americano."
It all varies on the bean, coffee roasters tell me. It's not a one size fits all for coffee beans.
The cookbook was based on Downton Abby.
Bonnie, you made me get up and look at the book! I use that book, and the first one, all the time too, but haven't looked at the beginning of it in decades. I didn't realize Sara was on staff.
Back in the '70s and '80s I learned a lot of Italian dishes from the Romagnolis' companion cookbook.
I'm getting massive amounts of pickling cucumbers, onions and sweet peppers with my CSA box on Saturday, but won't be able to process more than a batch or two into Cathy's phenomenal sweet relish until Wednesday. Do you have suggestions for keeping the cukes in top shape until Weds.? I know what to do with the peppers and onions, but not sure about the cukes. Thanks.
Hi! Lucky you with a boatload of cucumbers! I don't know how to keep them, specifically, but I like to cover the cucumbers with ice water for about 20 minutes before starting a pickling recipe. It dislodges any residual dirt and plumps up the cuke before starting. That relish is so delicious! I've been stirring it into tuna salad lately. (http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/?s=sweet+pickle+relish)
I always soak cucumbers in ice water for 20-30 minutes before pickling. This will plump up the cukes as well as dislodge any pesky dirt that remains in the nooks and crannies. Until then, keep the cucumbers in the veg drawer and keep them cold.
equivalent to rosé wines -- not quite the real thing -- or cookie dough or unripe bananas -- not yet what it's meant to be.
That's not my understanding of light roasts. I would talk to local roasters like Joel at Qualia and see what they say about varying roasts.
I think any veg or pasta salad or regular salad travels. You just pack teh dressing separately. Or, roast or grill some summer veggies, let them come to room temp while traveling, and top with some olive oil when you get tehre?