Free Range on Food: Grilling, overnight oats, chocolate, this week's recipes and more!

May 22, 2019

Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your burning culinary questions.
Past Free Range on Food chats

These are the days, aren't they, Free Rangers? Welcome to the power hour. Chef and grilling expert Elizabeth Karmel is with us today, so fire up your bbqq's and she'll take them on. She wrote our grilling guide, which is packed with solid and basic info, the way Voraciously likes to deliver.


Hope you've had a chance to read what's on offer today, incl:

Becky Krystal's just-published #Essential pad thai recipe, courtesy of Nongkran Daks;

Maura Judkis's approach to Jose Andres's Compost Potatoes;

Polina Chesnakova's take on savory rhubarb;

Kara Elder's handy overnight oats guide;

Joe Yonan's #WeeknightVegetarian oyster mushroom sandwiches;

Our Taste Test of 15 national brands of all-beef hot dogs, just in time for Memorial Day;

Also be sure to sign up for our Plant Powered newsletter, written by @ACoupleCooks! Great recipes are in store.

And now for today's Post Points code: It's FR5924 (so, obviously, we need an overture today!). Remember, you'll record and enter it at the PostPoints site under Claim My Points to earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter the code by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday to get credit for participating.


We'll laugh, we'll cry, we'll give away a cookbook or two at the end of the hour. Let's go! 




I used to be able to buy green enchilada sauce that was made with green chiles, not tomatillos. I loved the rich, unctuous flavor. Now, only tomatillo sauce is available to me. I know how to make red sauce and it is surprisingly easy. Does anyone have a recipe for green sauce?

Yes, I understand. You don't want a salsa verde, made with both tomatillos and green chiles. You want a Tex Mex-style green enchilada sauce, like the kind Old El Paso sells in cans


Give this recipe a look and see if it appeals. I think it hits all the right flavor notes, and it doesn't contain the yucky ingredients used in canned sauces (like "corn syrup solids"!). 

How long will overnight oats keep in the refrigerator?

Bless you all so much! I see two or three of these recipes that look worth trying, and we're having a cookout this weekend, so I have to decide. I used to be able to get a cole slaw at the Safeway that was made with vinegar rather than mayo, but they don't carry it any more. I don't suppose you can point me to a recipe or some place where they sell some?

Can and will! I made this one for the mayo-free slaw roundup I did last year, and it's so good.

ARTICLE: 6 quick slaws to satisfy all the mayo haters out there

Vinegary Montreal Slaw

RECIPE: Vinegary Montreal Slaw

Help! I know these should be easy but I keep making a mess of these. In using these for salad or entree type dishes, I can't get the texture right-keep getting too mushy or too uncooked. The directions on the packages are for Pho(soak 30 minutes, then cook for 1-2 minutes) or Pad Thai( soak for 30 minutes then stir fry). The dish Im making is using the noodles as a base for grilled marinated steak, herb salad on top with dressing/peanuts, etc. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

The pad thai recipe I just published has you soak the rice noodles for an hour. Maybe try that?

Pad Thai With Shrimp

ARTICLE: This is the pad thai recipe you need for your better-than-takeout repertoire

I really liked the texture I ended up with, though they probably cooked in the sauce for a smidge longer than a minute or two. And you're using cold water, I take it? If you're cooking them after soaking, definitely don't let them go too long. Just enough until they're soft but still a bit springy, otherwise they will overcook.

I have a pint container of pearl onions that I'd love to make something with. But I dread the chore of peeling them. Is there a quick way, such as cutting an X at the bottom and blanching/steaming them? Or would that waste too much?

A pint's worth goes pretty fast, to be honest (better than fava beans). When I do several pounds for Thanksgiving, I do the bottom-X/blanching routine, with no waste.

Hello food folks - You all recommend using Diamond Kosher salt. I have not been able to find it. Not at Giant, not at Yes!, not at Whole Foods. Where should I look? Thanks!

It's in just about every restaurant kitchen I've ever been in! Consistently good. Walmart and Wegmans stores in the DC area carry it, and  you can purchase it online via several outlets, incl. the Bezos-owns-The Washington Post

Lately I’ve seen some great coffee cake recipes but my coworkers will be more likely to eat it if I make muffins instead. Is there any reason why I could not pour the batter into muffin tins and bake for less time? Should I adjust the temperature? Thanks!

Elizabeth: I love mini coffee cakes! You should be able to bake your coffee cake recipe in a muffin tin or mini bundt pan.  Don't adjust the temperature, but do adjust the time.  It will take much less time to bake.  And remember not to overfill the muffin tin-no more than two-thirds full is my rule. 

I've been eating them 3-4 mornings a week for about a year, and my go to is 1 part each oats+ flax milk+ plain yogurt, a few tbl chia seeds, a dash (1/8-1/4tsp?) cardamom sugar, plus whatever I feel like. Lately that's some cacao nibs + a few shakes of dried grated lemon peel. Usually make a few days worth at a go. In the morning I finish it with fresh fruit. Dried fruit + pomegranate seeds were my winter go-to. So good, so easy.

Thanks for sharing! (And for spelling cacao nibs correctly.)

Tried these during the winter and beyond not wanting to eat a cold breakfast when it was cold outside, the texture of the oatmeal wasn't the same as hot, cooked oatmeal, seemed to be chewier/firmer. Is that different texture just a feature of overnight oats generally and not the recipe I used, since the cold part will be more welcome during the hot summer months?

You can definitely adjust the texture of the oatmeal! Kara Elder goes into more detail in this overnight oatmeal recipe on Voraciously that'll help you get the texture you're looking for. 

Basic Overnight Oats

What was the noodle (with broccoli) dish featured in the plant newletter sign up?

Ginger Orange Broccoli and Noodles! As good as it looks. You'll get the recipe in Week 2 of the 12-week series, so sign up!  

I'm very pleased about this newsletter. I try to cook plant-based as often as possible but my imagination is limited and my husband gets tired of lentils and chickpeas. So, I welcome more ideas. Thank you!

Hi Free rangers! A friend just gifted me a bottle of cucumber and lemon white balsamic vinegar. Tasted it straight and wow is it good! Would love to make a simple salad dressing with it but whenever I make salad dressing they're usually hearty and heavy on spices - garlic, mustard, onion, etc. Any recommendations for making one that would be lighter so those wonderful flavors shine through? And would light olive oil be a better choice than extra virgin olive oil, or is there a better oil to use? Any advice to point me in the right direction would be much appreciated!

I think you'll probably still be fine with extra-virgin olive oil, although you could try something more neutral like grapeseed. As to what else to put in there, I think a little honey (like a squirt) would balance flavors and help emulsify the dressing, and you could think about adding lemon zest to complement the vinegar, and maybe a light and bright herb such as dill, basil or mint. And salt, obviously.

Our home recipe (passed down from grandma) involves boiling, then peeling and cutting up the hot russet potatoes, then tossing them in the sauce while still warm. The theory is that the warm potatoes absorb the dressing. Peeling the hot potatoes is such a pain that we have abandoned the process in favor of store bought. I tried to short circuit the process by peeling and slicing the potatoes then cooking them in a pressure cooker. The results were uneven. The smallest pieces were overcooked, the largest were under-cooked. Have you tried using a pressure cooker for potato salad with any success?

I've not tried cooking russets in a pressure cooker, but my mom's trick for getting the skins off is is to let them sit in ice water for a minute or two right after they're boiled and cooked. Skins slip right off!

Is there a reason you couldn't boil already peeled and chopped potatoes? Or, better yet, use potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, that don't have to be peeled at all? That was my approach.

Mustard and Dill Potato Salad

ARTICLE: You don’t need a single drop of mayo to make your best potato salad

After almost 20 years of being a vegetarian/pescetarian, I am slowly incorporating some meat back into my diet. However, although I like to cook, I never really learned HOW to cook meat. I can pan fry some white fish for fish tacos and bake salmon, and that’s it really. Any suggestions for easy recipes for the novice meat eater?? Chicken would probably be my preferred starting point. Thanks!


Grilling Chicken is both easy and full of flavor. Start with Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts.  Coat the chicken with olive oil and season lightly with kosher salt and pepper.  Preheat a grill and set the temperature to medium direct heat. Place chicken directly on the grill grates in the center of the cooking grate .  Cook for five minutes a side or until the juices run clear.  You only need to turn the chicken once halfway through the cooking time, and make sure the lid of the grill is closed.  Remove from grill and let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.

I was so excited to see that article today, as I'm a huge rhubarb fan and just yesterday was looking for recipes to expand my range. In years past a strawberry rhubarb pie or rhubarb compote has been my go to (along with snacking on the raw as I go- but last year I over-compote'd (there's still some in the back of my freezer I think) so want to try new ways.


A tart or bitters were on the list, but the pickled rhubarb has just shot to the top of the queue- will be making that tomorrow night. Questions about the relish recipe- I'm a raisin hater, so would you suggest replacing those with a different dried fruit or just omitting it altogether? And to serve with- I don't eat meat/seafood but I'm intrigued by the pasta mention, would you use it as the main sauce or as a side add-on? Thanks!

You are welcome in this space, fellow raisin-disliker! (Editor 
Joe was pinged for "hating" them recently; let's just say he and I and you and countless others are #notfans.) 


I think chopped dried apricots or dates would be a fine substitute; it's only 1/3 cup but that bulk is needed for the relish consistency, I think. 

Settle a debate between my husband and me - raw meat juices don't "burn off" to a point of decontamination, right? He used one fork to put a slab of steak on the grill, then (allegedly) accidentally) touched the same fork to some asparagus we had grilling on the other side. I freaked out, he claims it's fine, but what say the experts? I'm also a *bit* of a hypochondriac when it comes to food safety, raw meat, safe cooking temp thresholds, etc.


I have a trick that might help you:) It's a DIY project too. Buy 2 pairs of locking chef tongs. Put green duck tape on one pair and red duck tape on the other pair.  I call these my stop and go tongs and I travel with a pair myself.  RED means STOP, Raw food touched these.  GREEN means GO, cooked food touched these.  Hope this helps!


Let's talk about food safety and grilling.  If you use a fork or tongs on a piece of raw meat and then use that same fork or tongs on asparagus, you are potentially transferring the bacteria from the raw meat onto the vegetables.  That is called cross-contamination. This can give you food poisoning and should be avoided. I have a "tong tip" that I use to prevent cross-contamination while I am cooking. If you like to cook with forks instead of tongs, you can do the same thing to the forks that I do to the tongs. 

Right after I posted the question I found the Pad Thai recipe for today. And funny enough the directions on the Rice noodle bag say use WARM water. I will try the cold water method next. Thanks

Great! It worked well for me, hope you like it.

I use: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 c unsweetened oat "milk," 1 TB chia seeds, 1 serving of roasted/salted pumpkin seeds and 1 serving of extra-dark chocolate chips. Savory-sweet mixed, and a ton of fiber. Yum!

I'm gonna try this combination, yum!

I’ve tried, but I just can’t get on the rose bandwagon. Almost every one I’ve tried tastes bitter. If there is not a bitter aftertaste, then the wine is so light I might as well be drinking pink water. Today’s Wine column makes me think there is either something wrong with my tastebuds, or I’ve just not tasted the right rose. Advice for June 8?


Try Whispering Angel rose.  It is a classic French rose that is not sweet, not bitter, but very balanced and lovely to drink all summer long.

Are you ok drinking lighter reds? If so, you could try roses from Tavel (they're more saturated in color) or darker roses, which will taste more robust than their pale cousins.

I have tried soooo many corn bread recipes and still haven’t found the perfect one. The end products are typically too dry and dense to be enjoyable. The Red Rooster (NYC) cookbook has an interesting option but I found I needed to tweak it to be less “cake like” and to come even close to the delicious version they serve in the restaurant. Do you have a great cornbread recipe to share?

Naturally, I love the recipe I published last year. I'm not sure what your standards are for cakelike, but this is unquestionably light and moist. Lots of people were up in arms since it included sugar -- gasp -- but sugar keeps it moist and brings out that sweet corn flavor, too.

Buttermilk Corn Bread

ARTICLE: Corn bread is a divisive topic. This recipe just might bring us a little closer together.

For a sugar-free Southern take, here's one from Sean Brock.

Cracklin' Corn Bread

RECIPE: Cracklin' Corn Bread


I have a coworker who won't eat muffins. I can take my muffin recipe and bake it into a sliceable loaf and then she'll eat it. People are funny.

We all have our things...

any suggestions on what kind of mortar and pestle I should invest in (marble, wood, granite, etc)? I want to use it for a variety of flavors - making thai curry paste, grinding spices of Indian dishes, guacamole, etc. I love the look of a molcajete but I'm afraid it will absorb flavors and "cross-pollinate" my foods.


I agree with you.  I love the look of a Molcajete but it is porous and not suited to all uses.  I like a smooth marble or granite mortar and pestle that has a rough bowl.

Folks looking for a more savory oatmeal breakfast might like the WaPo's Mushroom Oat Risotto with Gruyere. Granted, it does require cooking, but I make it on the weekend and do a quick reheat during the week. I've made it with vegetable broth. I've left the cheese out or used a different kind. Either way, it's a great recipe and very flexible!

Thanks for the shoutout! We agree :) 

Whole Foods used to carry a delicious baked lemon ricotta. It was slightly sweet, and made an excellent dessert when topped with sliced strawberries. It is now strawberry season, and they do not have the baked lemon ricotta and don't know when or if they will get it back. I have checked at Bower's, and at Yes, and they don't have it either. Any thoughts on where I might find it, or how I might make it? Thank you!

Any chance this recipe seems like it would work? Could definitely add lemon zest for flavor.

RECIPE: Baked Ricotta Custards

I loved the hot dog taste test (and your other articles like it). One question: Why didn't you include Vienna? Don't get me wrong--15 dogs are PLENTY. You all really do yeoman's work. But Vienna is basically the only dog sold in Chicagoland, and absolutely delicious, though admittedly, some of that may be nostalgia and frustration that they don't sell them at Nats Park. Is it because it's not a regional or chain dog?

We have gotten this question from many people! I am very happy to address it.


So, here's the thing: We tried to stick to brands that are really widely available. We went to a bunch of national grocery stores in DC and bought one of basically every hot dog in the store. Target, Costco, Giant, Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's. Vienna wasn't in any of those stores locally. I just went to the Vienna website and did the "store finder" feature, and there does not appear to be a store within 100 miles of my DC zipcode that carries Vienna hot dogs (if you've seen them in one of your local stores, please let me know!). 


You could insert any regional brand name here. There are people from New York asking me why we didn't have Feltman's. There are people from Buffalo asking me why we didn't have Sahlen's. We really wanted to stick to brands that had a reasonably large distribution. There are so many great regional hot dogs out there, and we would love to have tried them all! It just isn't practical to include smaller regional brands in a taste test intended for a national audience. Also, half the fun of this is having people fight over what should have won. 


And finally: I don't know if you heard, but you probably shouldn't be eating Vienna right now! They're being recalled for having shards of metal in them! Vienna hot dog fans, please be careful! 

It was the first time I couldn't get through one of your articles. and I read everything and love Jose Andres. I just couldn't help but gag.

I really wish there were scratch and sniff newspapers so you guys could have smelled what we smelled. 

I loved the article on savory uses of rhubarb, but the lamb stew idea is making my mouth water!

I've seen it at my local Giant on the bottom shelf, beneath the herbs and spices and sometimes also one shelf over from them.

Good to know! Sometimes big things do show up on a lower shelf (as in this salt is packaged in a 3-lb box).

For several months now, I've found at least two visibly different sizes of eggs in each carton of a dozen. Like, a medium and a jumbo in a carton of large. Have you noticed a similar loss of uniformity? I always look in the carton before buying to look for cracked eggs but only become aware of the size disparity when I take out two eggs to make breakfast. I shop at a supermarket and assumed there was some mechanized device that puts the correct sizes in each carton. This isn't a complaint as it makes me think humans are involved, which is nice, and I don't know what size a large egg is supposed to be. But it didn't used to happen and surprises me every time.

Maybe it's a matter of individual egg weights, instead of size of the shell? Do you buy a particular brand from a particular store?

What are meat sweats? Are they similar to the sweats from eating very spicy foods?

Kind of! They're sweats from the sheer exertion of digesting huge quantities of meat. I just read this Thrillist story about meat sweats and learned that the term originated from Joey Tribbiani on "Friends" -- who knew? 

Thank you for writing about José Andrés’s recipe. Your description that the "coffee grounds look almost like dirt" brought to mind the old joke "Waiter, this coffee tastes like mud!" and the waiter responds "That's funny, it was just ground yesterday." I appreciate you letting my inner 12-year-old come out for a moment. I don't plan to make the recipe, by the way. I doesn't sound too inviting and I don't drink coffee.


Good joke! I hadn't heard that one before:)

Are you my dad? Because this is definitely a joke he would make. I mean that in the best way possible, my dad is awesome. 

Truly, this is not a home-repair chat.

Yeah, a band of duck tape on each set of tongs so you'll be able to tell at a glance which to use for raw v cooked foods. It's a smart idea, and nowhere near home-repairville. Have you had lunch yet?

Had the same issue with my cornbread, until I started doing two things: baking it in an iron skillet and not as individuals muffin or smaller baking pans, and adding whole kernels of corn (fresh or frozen). Plus, since we're talking about grilling, it's PERFECT with grilled chicken or ribs.

Thanks for the tips.

Are you near a Trader Joe's? I haven't tried theirs, but they do have it.

Good to know, thanks.

I really like this one - I think the yogurt gives it a fantastic texture and I love the flavor. 

I would worry about cross contamination with pork or chicken, but steak? I eat steak rare, and raw (Tartare and kitfo). Is cross contamination really a concern? (Exceptions, of course, for the immuno-compromised.)

elizabeth: The surface of all raw meat, poultry and fish have bacteria that could potentially cause a food borne illness.  The reason that you can eat steak rare--and I love it that way! is because the inside of the muscle is sterile.  When the outside surfaces are seared and cooked, the bacteria is killed.  That is why the recommendation is that burgers are cooked all the way through.  The meat is ground and that means all the surface bacteria is mixed in with the interior meat.  Does that help?  When I make carpaccio, I sear the outside of a filet mignon first, then cut it and roll it out.  The sides are seared and the inside is still raw.

The recipe suggested above looks good, but it was more like this. No, I don't want to order online if I don't have to.

I grew up with a recipe common to fried chicken restaurants in Barberton, Ohio. This one is similar to Belgrade Gardens' recipe.

So when I am in costco I dont always remember what I need from at home and well I have lots of cans of coconut milk. I already love your coconut lentil recipe because it is so easy and *so* good. But I cannot make it every night! Other suggestions for using the mny cans of coconut milk I have (I do double that lentil recipe too)?

Elizabeth Karmel: I love making a Caribbean-inspired stovetop rice pudding with coconut milk, lemon zest and a cinnamon stick.  Delish!

I often make a recipe for a cranberry orange pecan quick bread. It's a standard quick bread: the recipe has flour and oats and the liquids are orange juice, oil, and eggs. The bread is delicious but dry and I'd like to increase the liquid but wasn't sure which one to increase or by how much. Do you have any guidance on which liquid to increase and by what quantity? I also thought about, instead of increasing one of the current ingredients, adding a few tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce? What do you suggest?

Is the recipe posted anywhere? It's hard to suggest amounts and other alterations without having a better idea of proportions. Unsweetened applesauce might be a nice addition. More fat would make it moister, so a little more oil could help, although too much could turn things greasy. I take it there's sugar in there, too? Even a bit more sugar could help, as it's hygroscopic, meaning it holds on to moisture.

In what type of pan and for how long are you baking? It could just be a matter of adjusting the baking time, really.

"Compost? The slimy stuff you shovel in a heap in your backyard? " Obviously she's never been anywhere near actual compost, which is never slimy (if it is, there's something radically wrong), and is actually perfectly crumbly, exactly like used coffee grounds. I get that she's a humor columnist as well, but this was totally uncalled-for.

You're right that I have not been around compost in a long time! My family composted when I was little, but now I live in an apartment. I'm sorry for the exaggeration. I think I was referring to the pre-composted material (like Jose, I'm mixing up the terms!) because vegetable scraps can certainly get slimy. 

I've also seen it at Penzeys stores.

I actually like raisins, but I think it is hilarious that two accomplished, well-respected food editors openly admit to not liking them. If it were some weird -ish food (scrapple, head cheese) I'd get it, but raisins? Have to be some stories. I HATE honey - how weird is that. Everyone loves honey. And there is a story. Oh and I HATE kale even more. So there you go.

We thank you for the compliment that's in there somewhere :)

I know this is not the same as baking from scratch, but I love the Trader Joe’s cornbread mix. By far the best boxed mixed I’ve had.

I think my mom uses that one, too!

I made this the other day. I realized I didn't have cider and looked around for inspiration - my eyes fell on the bottle of stout I was drinking as I cooked. I don't know what it tastes like with cider - but it was dynamite with stout!! 


RECIPE Dijon Mustard-Marinated Tempeh


Dingdingding! Love when our readers take a recipe and modify it in winning ways. 

Can you recommend a cookbook specializing in the foods of summer?

That may be tricky, as many places have longer growing seasons than we do here, in the DMV, so summer, by  our standards? Maine? Florida/California? I would, instead, seek out produce-focused books and figure out what is in season in your area, and cook from those books. Six Seasons is a vegetable-forward book that's been lauded by readers and critics, as has newly published Ruffage or A Modern Cook's Year. I think the idea is find recipes you love, and then cook from the book that way.

Yvette van Boven has come out with a bunch of seasonal-themed cookbooks that are interesting and beautiful. "Home Made Summer" is one. 

I inadvertently lost most of my cookbooks in a downsizing cleanout. Which do you consider must-have cookbooks?

Everyone is different, and I hope everyone here weighs in on theirs. For me, the first one that comes to mind is the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, which I've used so much, I'm on my second copy. I'm also a huge fan of Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I love the Lee Bailey cookbooks not only for the recipes but his style and joie de vivre; Breakfast book by Marion Cunningham is a favorite in our house, especially for her raised waffles; Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop.... I am not thinking of a few (but i love me a cookbook!) I'll let others opine!

Would recommend getting literally any of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks!

Trader Joes? I can get there. WIll check it out. THANK YOU!

Friends helping friends.

I laughed when I heard about them. I had to try them. I was shocked - good shocked. Seriously, if you find a good recipe, they are pretty good. Well, they have to be slathered with condiments, but still, they taste surprisingly like hot dogs. But then everything tastes better slathered with something.

We endorse slathering!

RECIPE Charred Carrot Dogs


Did you guys taste all the hot dogs in one session? If so, wouldn't your senses be kind of dulled after a few dogs? I'd think the flavors would all run together.

We do taste them all in one session, and we taste them in batches to account for fatigue. We also had people taste them in a different order within batches, so that if people were starting to get tired, they wouldn't all get tired on the same hot dog -- it's a blind tasting, so they didn't know which brands they were trying. Some of the hot dogs towards the end scored pretty high! Also, having participated in many tastings here and elsewhere, I can tell you that tasting a lot of one thing at a time really helps you distinguish what is good and what is bad. If we were to do it in three separate sessions, for example, it would be harder to compare it to the ones you had the day before. 

Now, if I could just find my copy.

my set has a smooth bowl, not rough, and i'm considering getting one that is textured. i'm wondering how you get everything out of one with the rough textured bowl?


The bowl is rough meaning not polished, and that helps give you "traction" to crush spices etc. but the roughness shouldn't have any crevices that will hold the mixture.  [It's "rough" as opposed to the shiny polished part of the mortar.]


My Austrian grandmother made all salads the same: thinly sliced yellow onion, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar...with salt to taste. This works for: potatoes, cabbage, kidney beans, or lettuce. For cucumber and beet salads she'd omit the onion. I always get compliments when I bring any of these to potlucks or parties.

Here's a similar one that is downright spectacular.

German Potato Salad

RECIPE: German Potato Salad

Caraway seeds make a nice addition to a cabbage/sweet pepper/carrot/onion slaw.


There is something by this name sold in small cans. It's not a brand name but a particular sort of bite-sized mini-frank that I think was popular at 1950s cocktail parties where it was served with a toothpick. I had some a month or so ago at a retro cocktail party and didn't care for them.

I think you are referring to Vienna sausages! They're a different company. 

I notice that your no-mayo slaws provide info on salting cabbage and draining it before proceeding. Do you also rinse it? I find it hard to hit the sweet spot on "generously salted" to wilt it but not so salty that the end result is inedible. Thanks.

I did not rinse it. Salting helps draw the moisture out of the cabbage, so definitely don't want to put any back by adding more water. If I recall, I didn't find the slaw too salty (and I'm kind of sensitive to that), but I'm sure you could reduce it if you thought it was.

Poppy seeds are even better (but I'm prejudiced because I hate caraway...)

I think Carla Hall's Soul Food (which was featured in this chat) does a great job of featuring a LOT of summer produce

Don't have it in front of me, but thanks!

OP here. The last few cartons have been Giant store brand. But I think it's also happened with other brands. You seem to suggest eggs are sorted by weight not size. Fascinating! Now I wonder why one extra-large would only weigh as much as a large... I'm such a city person!

Just guessing. Signed, a fellow city person :)

Here's one I use for a backstage buffet, as I don't want anything with mayo. It's always a big hit. 

Just curious. Loved that you involved people from Sports Section.

A total of seven tasters. Sports, of course!

Yeah, I think this article and discussion therein involved a bit of misnomer as another chatter (kinda aggressively) pointed out. The rotting vegetable scraps aren't really compost *yet*. And now I'm afraid the whole thing its going to turn people off the concept of composing!

This is exactly the thing that Jose was afraid of, and also what I tried to emphasize in the story: Reusing food scraps = good! Cooking with compost = bad! That's why this recipe was so interesting to us. It's more about what the recipe represents -- creative reuse of food waste -- than what the recipe is. The problem is, if you put a recipe in a cookbook, you have to be both precise (the instructions to use "compost" will be super confusing for some people!) and also the recipe ultimately has to taste good. This one missed both of those marks. 

I made something similar with Almond Dream when I was still working. I'd mix the oatmeal and liquid together and put into 5 small containers on Sunday night. Then each morning I'd add fruit, nuts, whatever and eat. I wouldn't have done this with real milk, but with the almond milk it lasts. I'm in Canada, but I think you have the same brand there.

Ugh. Thanks for trying them so we don't have to... Though if yours had turned out well I still probably wouldn't have given it a go! Will see him (& Joe- hi!!!) tonight @ their talk and tbh I'm less excited about the cookbook that comes with the price of the ticket now. Any recipes you've tried from it so far that you've loved?

We'll be featuring some other recipes from the book soon! I know Joe has been tinkering around. They will not involve compost. 

German potato salad always has too much sugar for my taste.

Make whatever interests you! Our recipe has a mere 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar if you're using unseasoned rice vinegar. It's not sweet at all.

Add niblets to the batter! There's a recipe (for proportions) on the back of one of the 99-cent boxed mixes. It is delicious -- and even more so if you use creamed corn!

There's a cornbread recipe we make from my husband's grandmother that uses creamed corn. Different, but nice.

I got this recipe from a French War-bride. Boil large-cubed potatoes until done but still firmish. Let cool just enough to handle, then slice thin (1/8"). Cover a non-corrosive wide shallow serving bowl with a single layer of potato slices (I use a stoneware pasta platter with 3" walls). Sprinkle lightly with vinegar/oil 1:3 mixed with a little chopped garlic, sprinkle S&P to taste, then a generous handful of chopped fresh parsley (we prefer flat Italian, which we grow in our garden, so have lots of). Repeat for several layers. Refrigerate. Serve cold. N.B. Do NOT TOSS this salad, because the potatoes will start to disintegrate.

Thanks for sharing.

I don't believe I've ever eaten a tartare of steak in a restaurant that was seared on the outside (and I've eaten a lot). Are restaurants serving it wrong?


I am not sure how restaurants prepare their Tartares, but I do know that bacteria lives on the cut surfaces of meat.  I am sure that they take food safety precautions.

We keep oat groats around but not steel-cut oats. If we wanted to make this with groats, would the cooking time change?

The InterWeb wisdom suggests that steel-cut oats cook faster than groats. 

Maybe we're doing something wrong. We compost a ton of veg scraps (when we have enough veg broth), along with leaves. One tumbler, one layered thing. Try to tumble and stir up the other one, but it's still not dry. Maybe too much rain got in? Will say it stinks to high heavens. Disgusting, but seems to work on my veg garden.

This is a good question for our gardening writer, Adrian Higgins! Either way, the point is that good compost grows good vegetables, but maybe doesn't make good recipes. 

Is the difference due to the size of the eggs based on the weight of a carton of them?

Good q!

You correct! Worse than compost, imho.

Well, you have scrubbed us with a ball of foil and we're feeling clean, so you know what that means...we're done! Thanks to Elizabeth Karmel and to you, dear chatters, for joining us on a splendid weather day in DC.


For our cookbook winners: The Dijon Mustard-Marinated chatter gets a signed copy of Elizabeth Karmel's new "Steak and Cake" (so good!); the chatter who asked about tongs and food safety gets the new Martha  Stewart Grilling cookbook. Send your mailing address to and she will get those out to you. Till next week, hope you cook something good in the long holiday weekend! 

In This Chat
Carrie Allan
M. Carrie Allan is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes a weekly column on casual dining.
Olga Massov
Massov is a Washington-area food writer and editor.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is the lead writer for Voraciously.
Bonnie Benwick
Bonnie S. Benwick is Deputy Food Editor and recipe editor of the Post. Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes.
Kari Sonde
Kari Sonde is the Food Editorial Aide.
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