Free Range on Food

Apr 06, 2011

Free Range on Food is a forum for discussion of all things culinary. This week's topics: Mexican cuisine, cooking for one, food science and modernist cooking, and Beer Madness.

Past Free Range on Food chats

Boy, are your non-Free Ranging pals going to be jealous. We have autographed copies of "How to Cook Indian" (source of today's Dinner in Minutes) AND "Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese" AND "Beat This! Cookbook" to give away today (from our Book Report), in addition to guests Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, who wrote today's goat story -- plus our cast of regulars.  Did Tim Carman's smart questions posed to Grant Achatz get you thinking about what's Next? Or did Martha Thomas's story on Spro in Baltimore get you ready for a groundbreaking cuppa joe? Speaking of Joe, our dear editor's deep in "Serve Yourself" promotion this week, so he's skipping today's chat.

We'll announce winners at the end of the session.

Let's do it!

It's nice to know where to get goat, but it strikes me that many more people would like to know where to get a good old smoked ham (a la Harrington's) -- not a spiral-sliced, not a country, not a water-added, just an old smoked ham -- in this area. We've searched high and low recently without success including top gourmet markets. Needed one to go with our homemade horseradish. Asked you previously and still would like help. Thanks.

Well, our last book was all about ham and it's also a great meat. I thikn you're asking about a ham like honebaked but not sliced? I see those in the supermarket all the time. In the refrigerator section. I say, go for the country ham, though much better quality and much more delicious.


Goat has been trumpeted as the next big thing for years. What kind of marketing does it need to make people try it .....since it is SO popular everywhere but the US.

You bet it has--but mostly from foodies. To be honest, we're still talking about a cottage industry here, even though it's a global meat. It takes a lot of $ from small producers to get any decent PR hit. But we hope goat does catch on all around--for taste, for health, for sustainability, for so many reasons.

Always been big in Greece. When I first visited my mother's village there was goat everything, milk, cheese, yogurt and roast goat for Sunday dinner. I have a lingering memory of an old lady who lived alone. After dinner we walked around the village and dropped in on her. She was roasting goat in the fireplace for us, which signified that our visit was a big deal. I still feel guilty that I was too stuffed from the goat dinner my relatives made and couldn't eat hers. They basically cook it like they do lamb, with lots of garlic, olive oil and oregano.

Sounds absolutely divine: roasted goat like that, so very homey--although how do you ever get the smell out of your house? Still, simpler is fantastic for these things. I'm even picturing a goat leg on a spit, wound round with rosemary springs and bay leave branches. Yum!

Roasted a chicken last week and put the carcass in the fridge in a covered pot. Still good to make stock?

at a week, i tend to throw out leftovers.

sometimes it smells bad and you know to dump it, other times it might smell fine but you can still get sick.


Er, does it pass the smell test? (Is that something I answer with every week?) I think I'd pitch it.

I recently started a baking blog and I want to do a chocolate chip cookie bake-off from a bunch of recipes I have around, such as America's Test Kitchen and Jacques Torres. Do you have any great recipes you'd like to add to the list?

oh yeah, in my book THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE COOKIE BOOK there is a recipe called VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES which is made with tahini and maple syrup and oats... very crunchy and delish.

Alton Brown's chewy one; certainly something by Alice Medrich.

Joe, I ordered your cookbook after last week's chat and it's waiting at home for me right now. I can't wait to start using it!

woooo....I am the Spirit of Joe, who's not chatting today....he's so happy you will soon be "Serving Yourself" and recommends that youuuu should be making all the taacooos.

My wife and I had a wonderful honeymoon on Crete several years ago. One of the epicurean highlights for me was a pork loin cooked with lemon. I have tried many times to duplicate it but so far have not been able to get the moist tender lemony dish that I remember so fondly. Do any of you have suggestions on how to prepare this? Thanks!

try brining the pork before roasting - that will keep it moist. and roast it with a rub on lemon zest garlic and rosemary

Does Bruce Weinstein address the practice of leaving the skin on goat meat similar to leaving skin on pork?

In my experience with goat, I have rarely found it availble with skin intact. It's sold more like lamb rather than ham, with a rind.

Joe, all. Thanks for continuing to host the chat... and continuing to field questions about the new design, and the availability of the chat links... What progress can you report on having a regular time/day at which the links on the site will "flip" from an archive of the last week's chat to a pre-chat link for the new week? It would seem this should occur at a predictable time every week so that we have some hope of finding the link and posting questions in advance if we wish to do so. I think we'd all find this sort of predictability (read: schedule) helpful. Akin to knowing when the paper will be on my front porch, sans the roar of the delivery kid's un-mufflered car as it drives off. Thank you for your efforts.

The world of New and Improved always has some kinks, doesn't it? We'll try to make sure the question link is live at least by Tuesday evening late.

Also, Halalco and Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church.

Don't know these. Have you--or anyone else--been? A good source is a splendid thing to find.

Are there not that many questions or is something wrong with the site? 20 minutes in, I only see 9 answered.

We just had a little freeze episode...coming back strong now.

Good morning. I have Diana Kennedy's book on Mexican cooking and have made her recipe for flan a couple of times. While it is delicious it isn't what I am used to. Are the Americanized recipes for flan sweeter than the original Mexican flan? It seems as though my carmelized topping is not as sweet even as the flan I had in tourist restaurants in Mexico last November. Any hints?

That's a tough question to answer without more research and without access to Diana's new Oaxacan book, which I can't find right now! But I do have her "Old Fashioned Flan" recipe in front of me, from her 'Essential Cuisines of Mexico" cookbook. It calls for 1/2 cup of sugar with about two inches of vanilla bean. By contrast (which is an apples and oranges comparison), this flan recipe in our archives calls for more sugar (plus orange juice). You may be onto something about the American palate and flan. We like our sugar.

I recently went on a sailing vacation with my husband and in-laws. Since I am the only one who actually likes spending time in the kitchen, I was the de facto cook. (Turns out cooking on a propane stove during a tack is quite a challenge!) One night, the boys grilled up some pork chops. Based on experience with their cooking, I knew the chops would be dry, so I wanted to make a sauce with things we had on the boat. I sauteed a chopped apple and chopped onion in butter, then added some rum and a little more butter to finish. The result was tasty, with the sweetness of the cooked apple, onion and rum going very well with the park, but it was more a topping than a sauce as the apple never broke down. Given those circumstances -- no flour, no stock, and limited ingredients -- what else could I have added or done? The only thing that occurs to me is maybe grating the apple instead of chopping it. We also had mustard, ketchup and salsa, plus OJ and other fruit, but I didn't think of using them until later. Any ideas? Thanks!

Sounds like a gorgeous dish to us. Of course, you could have tried brining the chops--putting them in a mixture of 2 quarts water and perhaps 1/4 cup salt, preferably kosher salt, for up to 4 hours in the fridge. That certainly would've kept those chops moist. But your sauce sounds lovely.

I wasn't familiar with Grant Achatz but now I want to read his autobiography, stat: The sign of a great interviewer!

Thank you. Grant was patient and open to all my questions, save perhaps when I was trying to press him on why he really didn't like working for Charlie Trotter all those years ago. I was trying to understand if there was a part of Grant that just preferred a more nurturing hand in the kitchen. He wanted to move along. This story in the Times sheds more light on Achatz and Trotter's relationship.

By the way, I'll be putting more of our interview on the All We Can Eat blog in the coming days.

I've wanted to submit a question in advance (while I was thinking about it) all week, but there was no listing or link to today's chat until Wednesday morning. Why can't you have it up earlier in the week like other chats do?

We'll shoot for Tuesday evenings, okay?

I was really excited to see today's articles about goat. I'm sure that my mother will be happy to learn about places to buy fresh goat meat. My sister and I had been on a mission to find the best (cleanest) places to buy frozen meat. This cow's milk sensitive, goat's milk yogurt making, person is really excited to learn about a cookbook dedicated goats! Does it cover using fresh and canned goat's milk?

We don't address canned goat milk in the book directly but we have 1/3 of the book dedicated to milk recipes and you can subsitute canned milk for fresh in almost every one.

so I got a new cookbook recently b/c I loved one of the writer's other cookbooks (original and awesome: Veganomicon. New and horrifying: Appetite for Reduction). I've now made 2 recipes (edamame pesto--sounds good, right? No! and cauliflower lasagne, which, granted, maybe isn't the best go-to for a vegan recipe--but Veganomicon has awesome vegan lasagne recipes.) So I'm not a vegan, but I do love the first one and now I have the second one and I hate giving up on a cookbook. How many disappointing recipes is too many?

As far as I'm concerned, two's a big number in a book that size. Did you try to contact Isa through her blog?

No brining will not work. And you need to read the label to make sure it was injected with a salt solution. Problem is our mass produced pork. Go to a good butcher for some heritage for a nice pork loin w/ some fat. Try this and only cook to 140 degrees. Do not cook to 160 degrees plus.

I agree with the temeprature issue. 160 can dry out commercial pork. But don't go to 140 unless you are sure the pork is from a reputable farm with high quality meat. And of course, never brine meat that has salt solution added.

Recently moved to the area, love your food section, but I have one kvetch. Sometimes it seems you perceive your audience as a restaurant focused bunch who know all about places to eat nationwide. Today for instance, I was baffled by two references to French Laundry on your front page. I had no idea what it was or how to interpret its importance to the article. Maybe a local restaurant? I had to look it up to find out it's in California, and so I don't understand why you write about it as if everyone has heard of it. And your reference to El Bulli was almost as baffling. At least you told us where it was, but I am sure the average reader will have no idea why going there would have been such a revelation to this Chicago chef (who I also had never heard of). Can you please keep us non-foodies in mind when you write? Thanks!!

That's a fair point. We do keep non-foodies in mind. I think it's a delicate balancing act between over-explaining to those in the know (writing with condescension in other words) and explaining the details to those who don't. We'll keep working on it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Need restaurant recommendations for Winchester Va. Go there next month. No chains entrees $15 to 30 with decent drinks and beer.

Travel/Food aide extraordinaire Becky Krystal used to live there. She says:  Brewbaker's on the downtown mall should fit the bill. If it's a nice day, grab a seat outside for some people-watching. You might also like Cork Street Tavern, which has a pretty outdoor space as well. And if you want beer to go, browse the selection at Murphy Beverage.

Jason, I just returned from the Caribbean and was able to buy oude jenever gin in the duty free shop on St Maarten. It is great sipping it neat, and I'm wondering if you have any suggestions for cocktails that would highlight the jenever's qualities. Thanks for your suggestions.

Very cool -- what brand did you find?

Jenever (or genever) from the Netherlands is the original gin (it dates from the 16th century) but it's very different than the London dry style we're most familiar with. The "oude" style is made with at least 15 percent malt wine -- so the taste really falls somewhere between a dry gin and a whiskey. For that reason, a lot of the traditional drinks calling for dry gin don't always work with genever.  I think the best use of genever is in the Improved Gin Cocktail, which dates to the 19th century. It calls for 2 ounces of genever, 1 tsp of simple syrup, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and dashes of absinthe and maraschino. Stir it all together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, then garnish with lemon peel twist.

Another great way to enjoy genever in warm weather is the a John Collins (John being Tom's Collins' Dutch cousin). That's an easy one -- 3 ounces genever, 1.5 ounces fresh lemon juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup in (what else?) a Collins glass with ice, topped with soda water.

Good afternoon. My family looooves farro, but its getting really pricey. Can I use the somewhat less pricey Kamut or spelt in those farro salad recipes? Or freekeh? I've tried barley, but the taste just isn't the same much as I like it.

Well, Mark and I are also writing a whole grain book to be published next year.. and I can tell you that faro has a different texture, softer than kamut or splet.  But if you soak the kamut or spelt before cooking it will help.

What AREN'T you guys writing a book about? Wow.

...I really do, but the bone / meat ratio is discouraging. I recommend the ground goat I get at the Silver Spring farmer's market, and the recipes they give you. Gets the goat taste without the ratty old bones.

I guess I just love those bones. One of our real pleasures when testing this goat book was to have a tableful of black-bedecked New York types up to our rural New England home and watch them slurp the goat meat off the bones. Loved those shiny lips and chins. Made me laugh. (And the meat on the bone just tasted so fine!)

Thanks for the tip. You know, I just did not experience "goat taste" nor did our testers on this run. Guess it depends on getting that fresh goat.

Just saw that Bernard Clayton - author of the Complete Book of Breads and other serious pre-artisanal-piety baking books - has died at 94. His books are full of reliable relatively simple recipes, and he expanded the world of bread for American cooks in the 60s. When I don't have time for preferments and fussiness I turn to his recipes and always succeed. Thank you Mr. Clayton, Jr.!

I second that emotion. I bet lots of cooks my age (read: one-process color, every six weeks) have at least one of his books on our shelves.  Nice NYT obit today.

I'd like to make Carolina barbeque on my Weber kettle grill. However, it can take me 9-10 hrs to smoke a 7-9# butt. Can I cut the butt into a smaller piece without fear of losing moisture? thanks

mark and i are writing a smoking book at the moment. and if you are brining the butt then yes you can cut it. if you are  not brining it, you can safley cut it in half but smaller than that and you run the risk of drying it out.

My husband has asked for a cheese fondue for his birthday. I have some delicious crusty bread to cube, of course. What are some more unique things I can serve to our guests to dip into the fondue? Are there any techniques or tricks to make the fondue "dippers" work better?

It seems to me that the possibilities are endless. Think of all the things that melted cheese is paired with: tortilla chips, hot dogs (miniature ones might work), cheesesteaks (thin strips of pre-cooked ribeye could work), tater tots, etc. Here's a discussion on Chowhound that could be helpful, although these hardcore foodies venture into Shabu-Shabu land, which is a whole 'nother discussion.

There are three or four Halal shops less than a mile from my house in the Landmark area of Alexandria (Edsall, Duke, and Pickett Streets all have them, and I think there is another a bit farther on Duke after you cross 395 and it becomes LIttle River Trnpk). I assume all would carry goat? I am dying to try it in my slow cooker.

The slow cooker is great for goat - use any stew recipe in our GOAT book and then dump it in the slow cooker at the point where it says to simmer for 1 or 2 or 3 hours. Try your slow cooker instead for 6 to 8 hours!

While they might all carry it, it's worth a call first to find out when they get deliveries during the week.

I'll be flying to visit a friend in Europe soon, and she's asked me to bring her some genuine pure maple syrup. Only problem is that I plan only to bring one carry-on bag, and TSA won't allow containers holding more than 3 ounces of liquid apiece. So it occurred to me that I could probably still bring maple sugar in my luggage without running afoul of the inspectors. My question is: How much water (or any other liquid) should my friend add to reconstitute maple sugar into maple syrup of the perfect consistency (not too runny, not too thick)?

I'm not an expert on this, but I don't think maple sugar is simply dehydrated maple syrup. I don't think that adding water to the sugar will give you syrup. Sorry. You might consider packing the bottle of syrup in a box and checking that box.

Is this a fabulous coincidence, or did you already see our Chat Leftovers question on All We Can Eat today?

I didn't know about her blog, I'll check that out, thanks! I sooooo love Veganomicon that I was just especially sad about the new cookbook. I love cookbooks and I wanted to love it...but no luck so far. The cauliflower lasagna was particularly inedible and it was particularly embarrassing b/c I brought it over to a friend's house who's going through a crisis...luckily it did provide a lot of laughs as we all agreed we couldn't eat it! Thanks for the validation...

...when I found a used copy of his Breads of France at a used bookstore in Omaha you could have heard my yelps of joy all the way back here. He visited with every bakery in France and rendered the recipes accurately and had photos of the bakers. It's been reissued, and Bonnie you would love it.

If the government shuts down next week, I will have more time to cook really awesome dinners! (Trying to look on the bright side). I'd love to make some braised pork ribs, as I don't have a grill. Any suggestions for recipes?

yes, try some goat recipes from our new book GOAT - the sali boti is my favorite.... a goat curry braised with apricots and almonds

The Times just published this story today, which explains how to prepare spare ribs without a grill or smoker. Seems perfect for you.

I have struggled for years to make good curry at home, but last week I made a potato/chick pea/zucchini curry that came out pretty well. I sauteed the spices and potatoes first and then added some water and yogurt and the other vegetables. The potatoes were really soft but had sort of a roasted flavor. Any other hints for Indian at home?

It was fascinating to watch chef Kapoor turn vegetables into a luscious curry, simply by adding an occasional spoonful of hot water. Honestly, it was that simple. It takes a touch, not unlike when you add liquid to a working risotto. I might think about adding yogurt or the coconut cream at the end. Looks like my next Washington Cooks might feature an Indian cook, so maybe we'll coax more secrets out of her.

hello! so excited that two of your columns can merge into one of my questions today! one of my favorite dishes is Goat Biriyani from's a rice dish and the goat is always falling off the bones tender. any idea on where to score a great recipe?

We do have a decent biryani in our book COOKING KNOW-HOW but not in the current goat book. We're also currently writing a whole-grains book and Bruce just made a biryani last week with wild rice, not long-grain white. Wow. Not traditional by any means, but so very flavorful.

What is the trick to making a bolognese sauce that is not greasy?

The leaner the meat, the less greasy your sauce!

I ate goat many times in Kenya some years ago. It was always very tasty and I liked it a lot but it also was VERY chewy, whether in stew or roasted. I was on a budget at the time, so I'm wondering if you think I had old goat or bad cuts? Otherwise, if goat is more chewy (fibrous, tough) than other meats, is there a way to make it more tender -- preferably without adding lots of salt?

Hard to say what was going on there, but goat can definitely be a little chewier than what we're used to these days. That said, meat is such a strange thing in some ways: we were testing recipes for an article once and roasted three identical briskets. One took 3 hours, one took 3 1/2 hours, and one took 5 hours to get tender! So many factors: stress, feed, slaughter practices, etc. And then there's this: some restaurants "cheap out" and use the meat from dairy goats in their stews. No amount of braising will ever get that meat tender.

The piece on Spanish brandies took me back to my trip to Spain, where we spent a day in Jerez, and did the tour at the bodega producing Tio Pepe sherry. Where I tasted the Lepanto brandy. I brought back two bottles, and have never found it in the United States. I talked with someone at a sherry tasting (where they were offering Tio Pepe), and he said his company was going to start being the importer in a year or two (and this was several years ago). But I've never seen it on the shelves. Do you know where in D.C. I can find it?

Cardenal Mendoza, Gran Duque D'Alba, and Fundador are by far the easiest to find. But I see Lepanto at Central Liquor and Ace Beverage. As with all spirits, a good liquor store can always special order it for you. Or you can always order online at sites like drinkupny.

wow! so excited for your whole grain cooking book! meanwhile, where do I find Kamut or amaranth flours? I've looked at Giant, Whole Foods, and Wegmans with no luck so far. I'd love to get it locally (ie not have to pay shipping to get it online)...I have Great Good Grains which I love but I want to make the recipes that call for these flours!

Pretty excited about it right now, since we're testing the recipes. Yesterday: millet burgers with sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Ridiculous. Anyway, we've got kamut flour from our local health food store. I'm assuming there'd be amaranth flour there as well, but can't say for sure.

No, not honey-baked. And the smoked ham (a la Harrington) is totally different from a country ham. Trust me, these are not in the supermarket all the time. You try to find a plain old smoked ham (not water added) and e-mail me back!

I am sorry, I guess I'm not familiar with Harrington's.

here in the midwest, you can get farro at Costco. 10 lbs is about $13.....pretty reasonable when you look at how much it costs in the regular stores!

10 pounds of farro for $13 is worth driving from CT for. I'll be there tomorrow!

We always bring syrup to my brother in Europe (is this a poem waiting to happen?) and when we open the suitcase upon arrival there's usually a note from Customs saying that they have examined the bag. The liquid must show up on a scanner somewhere and they have to investigate, but they've never confiscated any. It's a checked bag, not carry-on.

Yes, you can pack it in the checked bags. But you can't take it on board in carry-on luggage.

Is to learn NEW info. Please keep printing things I DON'T know!

It's also the reason I eat! To learn new things, to push the boundaries, to see the horizon again.

I don't think Americans will truly ever embrace eating goat - mainly because they just can't bear to eat Bambi.

Bambi was a deer. That would be venison, a pretty popular meat.

I believe many  people would disagree with your deer assessment.

What type of market can you purchase goat meat (I don't live in DC)? Is goat meat inexpensive? I would love to try it, like I would lamb, but lamb's price is prohibitive if your on a budget. Goat meat sounds delicious. Thanks, Midwestern reader.

In farmers markets and at halal shops and good butcher shops. Did you see our list today?

Don't have the recipe, it's on the Oprah website I think (and I probably shouldn't link?). They are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. They include oats and grape nuts, and are to die for.

In this era of school budget cutbacks, what are the prospects for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's school lunch reforms? I think he's really on to something, but fear that the yahoos will undo his good work.

Well, I think the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was signed last year, has several mechanisms to help generate more money for school districts and lunch programs. Some of the money will only come to school districts, however, if they meet the nutritional standards, which may be difficult.

But chefs and school lunch reformers are also turning to private industry and non-profits for help and financial assistance. So the government is not the only solution here.

Still, I think all parties involved believe this is a long-term process to reform the school lunch. Our school cafeterias didn't get this way overnight. They won't change overnight.

Jason, wouldn't that be a Jan Collins?

Yeah, true. I have no idea why it's called a John Collins. We can officially rename it if you'd like. But I'd suggest something with like a silent j or double a's -- like maybe a Thijs Collins or Maarten Collins.

Thanks for the interview with Sanjeev; it's nice to find another drummer that enjoys cooking as much as I do. In addition to the ingredient tips he provided, did he mention anything about substituting techniques/methods of cooking? I have a small kitchen in my apartment with a limited numebr of pots and pans, which makes it tough to do some of the more complex Indian dishes that I'd like to cook.

He mentioned some that you can find in my Q&A with him today on All We Can Eat, but as I recall, the book does not go into a lot of detail about substitutions. Wish it did.

Husband just came home from our local state liquor store after work yesterday, and informed me that when he tried to buy Kirschwasser -- which we use 2 Tablespoons at a time in Swiss fondue -- they told him the state liquor stores no longer carry it. Short of driving out-of-state, how do you suggest we purchase a bottle? Can one mail-order it?

Many online liquor stores will deliver out of state, but your state may have restrictions on what is allowed in and from where. If you go to a online liquor store they should have a list of states they can and can't deliver to.

You mention goat butter in the beginning of today's article but never say anything else about it. I don't think I've ever seen it or tasted it. Please share some thoughts and maybe some recipes and brand names. I'm especially curious if it's much tarter than other butter, the way goat milk cheese is much tarter than cow or sheep milk cheese. So maybe not a good idea for cookies but great for a savory sauce. Thank you!

Goat butter is amazing--but it's creamy white, not yellow at all, since goats have a more efficient digestive tract than cows and so digest all the beta-carotenes which can turn the butter yellow or even golden. Goat butter is slightly more sour, but honestly has bigger umami notes. We've found it makes terrific blondies, brownies, and even sheet cakes, a bigger pop of flavor at the base of the batter. Look for it at large, health-conscious stores.

It makes amazing biscuits, as Nathalie Dupree showed us a while back.

I like to include fruit and vegetables with my cheese fondue, including lightly steamed broccoli florets, asparagus tips, and apple cubes all work well.

Agreed! Get some healthier foods to go with all these cheese. Plus, the fruit works well, if you want to do a separate chocolate fondue pot for dessert.

just curious, what is the difference between goat and mutton?

Mutton is a sheep - which is a lamb that is all grown up. It's strong and gamey. Good for stews but not for the faint of heart. Goat is an entirely different animal. Most goat meat is from young animals simialr in size a lamb and the meat should be mild, sweet, and tender when cooked properly.

I bought a bag of bhel puri mix from the Indian store but I haven't the foggiest what to do with it. What can I add to make it like it's supposed to be? The "How to Cook Indian" book sounds awesome. Not sure about goat, because I was told that it takes ages to cook. Do Indians eat broccoli??? I have some sitting on the counter that looks like it wants to be cooked sooner than later.

While I'm not an East Indian expert and can't really speak to bhel puri, I can tell you that not all the cuts of goat take ages to cook. Tenderloin, rib chops, T-bone chops--these are all quick cookers, in need of just a little marinade for flavor. And the leg meat can be sliced, pounded, and chicken-fried. Wow! How about some creamy gravy, too?

Hi all. First off, check out Fast Gourmet, the Cubano and Chivita sammies are to die for. As a lover of all things to eat and as a middle aged man needing to refine his diet, I love the seeming endless vegetarian options Indian cuisine presents. What concerns me is the fat content from the ghee and cheeses used in many dishes. Are there suitable substitutes available that won't raise my cholesterol count to dangerous levels? Otherwise I'd be eating Indian based meals every day, well, that and recipes done by Jacques Pepin.

I think you can sub olive oil in many kinds of curries and vegetarian dishes, really.

I love Indian food and have starting experimenting with cooking it at home. So far I've only done some easy curries (mostly using Indian grocery store bought curry paste). But I had Lamb Saag at a restaurant this weekend and was thinking maybe I could do something similar at home. How hard would that be? Where should I look for an easy to follow recipe? Thanks!

our new goat book has a lot of indian curries that are simial to your lamb sag. we give receips for furry blends so you can dump the store bought pastes... try it with goat and if you're too afraid - DON'T BE - but you can use lamb instead.

Is the Lagunitas Maximus being sold is DC stores? I've purchased the regular IPA at Magruder's but don't remember seeing Maximus.

Greg Kitsock emailed to say this:

"Lagunitas, to the best of my knowledge, sells all of its bottled beers in this area. If Magruder's is out, I would check Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits (which is on the same block with Magruder's on upper Connecticut Ave.), as well as the other usual suspects: Whole Foods, Rodman's, Rick's Wine and Gourmet in Alexandria, Westover Market in Falls Church, Norm's in Vienna, Total Wine."

Hey Free Rangers- Several years ago I spent a couple years living in Nepal as a Peace Corps volunteer and the most common meat I ate was goat. It was gamey and delicious and every time I try it out at restaurants in the US, it makes me miss the taste of my host sister's cooking. Thanks for the tips on where to find local sources. If only I could find a book that would allow me to try out some recipes at home! ;) Although I believe my first attempt will be the goat ragu - so yum! Thanks!

Please take a look at our new book GOAT- MEAT MILK CHEESE - you may find some recieps in there that take you right back to your PC days.

Do you know if Pati Jinich's tv show is available online, or someplace besides WETA? I don't get WETA and only found a 2-minute clip on the WETA website. I'd love to see her show. Many thanks.

Pati says the episodes are not online, but says she has received many similar questions. She is going to see if she can't get online access for Pati's Mexican Table or some other solution. More as we know it!

Bruce Trichnosis is killed at 135 degrees. last case of trchnosis in the US was in 1965 in WVA from road kill. Pork massproduced or heritage is free from trchnosis in the US. Other things that make the greek Pork different is what the piggy ate. free range heritage pork might work best. Also try different lemons

I wasn't referring only to trichonosis. There are many pathogens that can be found in commerically raised/ facrtory farmed/factory slaughterhouse meat and I was suggesting that one should be careful about undercooking meat unless they are confident in their supplier.

Earlier farro poster here - if you want a family full of people who really like whole grains and can distinguish some of the subtleties, we'll be glad to help test.

Where can I buy some fresh morels ? I have some great spring recipes that use them. Thanks

Got that tax refund already? :) Your best bet is the farmers market -- FreshFarm Market at Dupont Circle usually has them sooner than other markets.

Now new born lambs are just the cutest things. I ahve 600+ lambs here on my farm. Would like to invite you all up to the farm to help neuter the ram lambs. We do it the old fashioned way with a single edge razor and then you bite through the tendon and spit the testicles into pale. We later cook them up for mountain oysters. We make real country folks out of you urban dwellers. Can you say lamb chops and crown lamb roast I can. Loved jerked goat.

Man, wish we'd been able to answer more of your questions. Winners: The chatter who thinks chef Kapoor is "awesome" wins his signed cookbook today; the "Excited" chatter who asked about goat's milk wins "Goat," and the "Shutdown cuisine" chatter wins "Beat This!" 

Send your mailing addresses to and we'll get  those books out today.

Thanks to Mark and Bruce and Jason for joining us. Next week, don't miss the debut of David Hagedorn's new Sourced column. And we'll have lots of Passover recipes to share. Get out there and cook something good!

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