The Washington Post

Free Range on Food: Making glazed doughnuts at home, recipes for Ramadan, oats as a superfood and more.

May 24, 2017

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

Greetings, all, and welcome to the chat. We've got lots to talk about today: doughnuts (DOUGHNUTS!!!), oats and oatmeal, fast recipes for Ramadan, a great ingredient for tiki cocktails, and, did I mention DOUGHNUTS.

We'll have some special guests to help us today: Kristen Hartke, who wrote the doughnut piece, and Naomi Gallego, one of our expert bakers (or should I say fryers?!) who helped us reach perfection with these babies.

We'll have a giveaway book for our favorite chatter today: "The 'I Love My Instant Pot' Recipe Book" by Michelle Fagone, source of the Carrot Coconut Cake recipe in Bonnie's Ramadan roundup.

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR7670 . Remember, you'll record and enter it into 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. 

OK, let's do this!

Doughnuts or Donuts?

Depends on how you spell "dough," I reckon. AP Stylebook sez "doughnuts."

 

To me, "donut" = "lite." HuffPost seems to blame the Dunkin' franchise for the rise of an alternate with fewer vowels. Are we just too darn busy to type the extra letters? Are we to be ruled by the whims of social media on this, too? #discuss

Or you could go Homer Simpson-style: D'oh!nuts.

Hey guys - happy Wednesday! I'm growing some herbs on my deck this year and my dill is going wild. I'm going to a Memorial Day cookout this week and I offered to bring a healthy appetizer or side dish... got any ideas for how I can use the dill in that? Preferably something light; no meat since we're doing burgers and dogs for the entree.

Potato salad!

I like this one:Dilled Potato Salad With Smoked Trout

RECIPE: Dilled Potato Salad With Smoked Trout 

Or add dill to one of these: 

Farmers Market Herb Potato Salad

RECIPE: Farmers Market Herb Potato Salad

Warm New Potato and Asparagus Salad

RECIPE: Warm New Potato and Asparagus Salad


I eat steel-cut oats every day for breakfast. I make a big batch on Sunday night, divide them up, and store them in the fridge for easy access throughout the week. Top with nuts/fruit/brown sugar as desired. Love them. If you buy them in bulk, steel cut oats are super-cheap - there are a few stores near me where I can get them for $0.99 - $1.49 a pound (even at Whole Foods, they're $1.99 a pound -- and a pound lasts a while).

I can see I was preaching to the choir here.

Enjoy your oatmeal!

UNEARTHED: Why your humble bowl of oatmeal could help feed a growing planet

about the ginger beer sauce. Reminds me of a girl in 5th grade who brought ginger beer to lunch one day. We were all fascinated. Did she really have beer with her in school? It didn't look like a can of beer. She claimed it was OK, but who knew what ginger beer actually was? Also, her name was Regina which was much more interesting than all the Susans, Pams, Karens, and Robertas that we were all stuck with. I think the teachers were clued in enough to know that it was not alcohol, so she didn't get in trouble. But the whole grade was waiting with baited breath to see if something dire would happen. Or maybe that was the asbestos insulation the school was filled with. Small town drama. Can't beat it.

Food triggers memories, doesn't it? Some kinds of ginger beer were truly fermented and thus did contain a small amount of alcohol, but most likely what you get at the store's no longer like that.

 

RECIPE Cod With Ginger Beer and Bok Choy

I am making gyro burgers for my family this weekend and I'm confident they'll turn out great. However, I'm stuck as to what to serve as a side. Any light salad ideas or grilled veggies that'll go nicely with the gyro flavor profile? Thanks!

Love the ginger beer sauce recipe! I spent part of my childhood in the South, where carbonated beverages including root beer and cola and, especially, beer were often used to flavor food. There was even a restaurant chain, Lums, famous for its hot dogs "steamed in beer" -- they were tasty and also a thrill to order when we were too young to order beer to drink. If you've run other recipes using beer or soda, please post some links. Happy picnics!

I remember Lums! #Jacksonvillegirl

Loved the Rhubarb recipes from last week, but the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles recipe links to the Vintage Rhubarb pie. Is it possible to correct the link? Thanks for all you do!

Ah, thanks! Here's the correct link: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles

RECIPE: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles


Is that a crazy idea or just genius? I've made steel cooked oats in the slow cooker with great success.

I think it's a great idea. A little planning ahead makes steel-cut soooooo much easier. If you like banana, try cutting one up and cooking it right in with the oats. It'll break down and give the whole pot a banana flavor.

Editor Joe, I've been looking for this all my life and never known it! Thank you! One question, because there's always got to be a question: my DH is vehemently opposed to tree nuts, can I just increase the seeds and/or replace the pecans with pignoli?

Glad to provide! Yes, the ingredients here are very flexible, mix-and-match-y: You can swap in whatever seeds and nuts you'd like, so yes, up the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and/or go for pine nuts!

WEEKNIGHT VEGETARIAN: Make a jar of this, and every meal is a sprinkle away from crunchy

RECIPE: Savory Granola

For my husband's birthday tomorrow, I am making him his favorite cake. The recipe calls for pouring the frosting over the cake while the cake is still hot. However -- the frosting is still supposed to set on top of the cake. Last year, it all soaked in! Made for a very moist cake, but I was disappointed as the frosting's actually the only part I like. Is there actually a benefit to pouring frosting on a hot cake? If so, any thoughts on how to avoid a repeat this year?

And which cake recipe is that? Do the directions say hot cake, or warm cake? 15-25 minutes of cooling time can make a big difference but net the desired frosting result. 

I don't have a stand mixer. I have very small galley kitchen with little counter space. I do have a sturdy hand mixer and a food processor. How do I compensate for not having a stand mixer when recipes such as today's doughnut recipe assume there is a stand mixer handy? (When I looked at the bagel recipe in the recipe finder, it said to only use a stand mixer, which was disappointing.) Also, once you're done frying, what's the best way to dispose of the oil?

A stand mixer is definitely the easiest way to go, but by no means the only way — if you've made bread by hand before, then making the doughnut dough is essentially the same process -- meaning that you'll use a large bowl, some muscle, and a little extra time.  As to the oil, we've got tips for how to reuse and/or discard it here.

Thanks for chatting today! Unfortunately the dough does require a stand mixer to develop the gluten necessary needed for this dough. A hand mixer simply does not have a motor strong enough. Perhaps you have a friendly neighbor who can loan you one for an hour in exchange for a donut or two? Also, the oil will still be usable after the frying. I strain it and pour it back into the bottle once cooled and use it as I normally would for cooking. If the oil is too dark and discolored, you could still cool it, pour it back into the bottle and discard. Thanks!Naomi

regular vinegar? Do I really need to have it in my vinegar stockpile? Actually, assuming I'm not making all my own salad dressing, do I need more than the "regular," balsamic, and red wine types?

It's the least-acidic vinegar in my pantry, mild and even a little bit sweet. If you ever make Japanese or Chinese food, or potato salad (I douse the just-boiled spuds with it and they soak in the flavor), then I think yes, you need it! Buy the unseasoned kind, if you can.

I do love rice vinegar and, frankly, find it more versatile than balsamic -- especially the cheaper balsamic. Don't get me wrong, I have both in my pantry -- and many, many others, including glorious aged balsamic that's fabulous for drizzling. But rice vinegar is fantastic for dressings, marinades, so much.

Hello, Do you have any secrets for peeling soft boiled eggs? I made some last night and I lost half the egg white in the peeling process. Thank you!

My experience with soft-boiled eggs is that  you break open the shell at the top and scoop them out -- no need to peel. Do you mean hard-boiled/cooked?

 

If you are really peeling soft-boiled eggs, it might help to crack it and place it in cold water for 5 mins before you begin to remove the shell. Definitely don't try it with very fresh eggs.

 

If the latter, we are in the steaming camp here at WaPo Food. I've done several dozen in the past couple of weeks (for an upcoming deviledeggstravaganza, sorry) and nary a one of them was difficult to peel. 

 

VIDEO How to steam eggs to hard-cooked perfection

 

This doughnut recipe looks absolutely decadent and delicious, but it seems like it really wouldn't be something I could fry in the morning to bring into the office (unless I wanted to wake up at 4am) or have sitting around all day. Is there any way to adapt this recipe or is there another, equally tasty, recipe that would allow for that? I'd love to bring homemade doughnuts to my coworkers or have doughnut holes (probably filled) as a party snack that would be sitting around for a few hours.

First, let me say how lucky your co-workers are that you are even thinking about this! Then, let me suggest this option: you could certainly make the doughnuts the night before, so, for instance, you could make the dough on Sunday morning, let it proof in the fridge for 8 hours, then let cut, proof, fry, and glaze in the evening. Let them stay on a rack uncovered overnight and then take those bad boys into work in the morning (what a great way to start a Monday at the office!). They'll still be totally delicious!

Sounds yum-azing!! But by runny honey do you mean warmed so it pours easily ? And the buckwheat groats don't need to be cooked? Aren't they very hard?

Thanks! And yes, that's what I mean by runny honey. 

It's true that the groats don't need to be cooked, either. I was surprised at that, but then I tasted one and it was just like a nut -- crunchy but not too hard.

There are dozens of variations on cucumber/dill/yogurt (or buttermilk) soup. Glorious late spring and summer dish.

Yeah, they're great even though the wait for them to cool down is long. But there's often one in a dozen that still sticks to the shell. Allow for a little bit of shrinkage in the output....like stores plan for shoplifters.

Interesting article! I had a party earlier this year and ended up making my own falernum, and I admit that getting the rind off 9 limes, without pith, was tedious. How does allspice dram compare to falernum? Spicier?

It really depends on which one you're using, but one of the differences is that traditionally there's no lime or other flavors like clove and ginger in allspice dram -- it's allspice all the way. Now, obviously, there are some outliers with boozemakers getting creative. Hamilton's, for example, is much more about rich rumminess, St. Elizabeth is powerfully allspicey ... and our local Cotton & Reed is its own thing entirely. They're all worth trying out and seeing which one(s) work for you.

Becky, I envy you this assignment. But that's not a question -- this is --- Is there a buffet at any of these new brunch places -- or at any others in DC? I like to see a large selection and graze a bit of this and a bit of that. We don't drink alcohol so its inclusion is not an interest. Thanks.

ARTICLE: 9 new brunches to try around Washington

The Del Campo brunch is a buffet, but it does have alcohol included, so not sure if that's a deal-breaker.

I love the Sunday brunch buffet at Bombay Club, if you like Indian food. Elegant, excellent and live piano music. Haven't tried it, but other folks are fans of the unique vegan buffet at Equinox.

Other thoughts? I tend to prefer a la carte over buffet, so I don't have much experience in the unlimited category.

Oh, please don't. "Catalogue" became "catalog" without fuss, because language changes. I spell it "doughnut" but "donut" has been around for at least half a century. Let's talk about the food itself. Your brioche article is a boon -- I love the stuff, and even though I think cro-nuts are insane, I can't wait to try your brioche recipes.

I am partial to donut, but tomato tom(ah)to!

What fresh herbs are the best substitute in dishes calling for dill (which I hate)?

Nothing tastes quite like dill, so it depends on how it's being used, but I'd say fresh tarragon might come the closest. For something much milder, go for good old parsley.

Hello! Those donuts look absolutely delish! Regarding cooking oil a couple questions - 1. how long can the oil last in the fridge? 2. If I fried up empanadas and then strained the oil before it was put in the fridge, would that be okay for donuts, or could it still have some of the meat taste? 3. I typically use canola for frying (what I have on hand) is that okay for donuts, or would a different oil be better? Thank you!

They are totally delish! The oil will last fairly indefinitely in the refrigerator, as long as it's at a constant temperature. You should really be able to use it for multiple items, as long as there isn't too strong of a flavor in the oil (for instance, if you fried fish with the oil, it might leave a really strong flavor that you might not get from that empanada). Canola oil works great!

Do you think the doughnuts could rise overnight in the fridge so that they just have to be fried in the morning?

Yes! I recommend that they ferment in the fridge overnight.

There is do or donut. Obi-Wan Deep-fryolator

You're my only hope.

The recipe for the glaze calls for a 'generous 1/2 cup vanilla extract' - is that really correct? I am incredulous - that's more than a typical entire bottle of vanilla extract and I've never seen a recipe call for that much. Thank you.

Yes, that is correct. You're making a LOT of glaze here; more than you need for a dozen or two doughnuts. Keep in mind that it can be strained and refrigerated for months; that a fair amount of it slides off onto the tray beneath as the doughnuts' glaze sets, and that these are called Vanilla-Glazed for a reason! 

 

RECIPE Vanilla-Glazed Brioche Doughnuts

In the March 10, 2017 $20 diner column, there was an excellent article on Dim Sum - "How to avoid potsticker paralysis." (Although you did omit one of the best restaurants in the entire D.C. area, the Fortune, in Seven Corners. That particular issue of the Post was delivered without a doubled protective plastic wrapper, and as a result became a very messy pile of paper mache. I've sort of salvaged it, but a reprint of the article would be useful. But: for whatever reason, it doesn't show up in the on-line archives anyplace I can find. Is there a source for this article? Thanks, Ernest Fine

Thank you! (And sorry about the messy paper.)

 

You know, I actually went to Fortune as part of my research for that column. On the day I visited, I felt like the dim sum team was off its game. The wrappers were thick and flabby, not what you want in good dumplings. I'll circle back soon, though, and see if that was just an aberration.

 

 

In the meantime, you can order actual reprints here, if you don't just want to print out the online column, which is below.

 

$20 Diner: These restaurants have the best dim-sum dumplings in Washington

My grandmother, from Eastern Europe, used to make a rhubarb - compote? - fool? that had a rather odd mouth texture, but was a favorite of the kids. Near as I can remember, it really only had sugar and rhubarb and maybe corn starch. Do you have a recipe for anything of the sort?

This one is gingery, but that's a good thing, IMO. You can leave out the ginger and use water in place of the ginger wine or beer, and you'll probably get something close to what you remember. 

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

RECIPE: Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

One of the guests at a Hanukah party we had was the son of a doughnut maker. I made doughnuts using a recipe from The Cupcake Cafe cookbook. It had only a tablespoon of butter for each cup of flour, yet they fried up perfectly and didn't absorb much oil at all. Our guest declared them excellent because they didn't absorb much oil and was about to tell us more when he was interrupted. Is there more to success than a high-fat dough?

It is a purely a personal preference. High fat from butter and yolks typify the brioche definition but also provide moisture and longer lasting softness in the finished product. Please give them a try!

An article elsewhere in today's paper mentions trifle and that plus the recipe it links to led me to look in the Post recipe finder, where some recipes include booze and some don't. The British friend who introduced me to trifle used sherry-soaked lady fingers so I assumed that was "real" trifle. Do you have a recipe for the "classic" version mentioned in the 2006 Substitution Trifle Bowl recipe?

I don't think there is one definitive recipe for trifle. But here are two recipes from our deeper archives:

Holiday Trifle 

(6 servings) 

English trifles come in many versions, but they all include a combination of cake, cream and fruit. In this version, a variation of the Bland family's favorite, the hard part is monitoring the custard sauce; the rest of the trifle can be easily assembled. Adapted from Nigel Slater's "Appetite" (Clarkson Potter, 2000). 

 

About 7 ounces sponge, pound cake or ladyfingers 

1/4 to 1/2 cup sweet wine, such as sherry, marsala or vin santo 

About 11/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream 

About 1 cup Custard Sauce (recipe follows) 

About 2 cup raspberries (a couple of good handfuls, plus strawberries, blueberries, etc. to scatter) 

 

Crumble the cake into large pieces and place them in a large serving dish. Drizzle with just enough wine to soak the cake thoroughly.

Pour the cream into a cold mixing bowl and whisk or beat it slowly. You want it to be thick enough to stand in soft folds but thin enough to almost slide off a spoon unaided. Stir about half of the whipped cream into the custard sauce; set aside.

In a blender or in a bowl using a fork, process or mash the berries. They should be almost at pouring consistency; if not, add a splash of mineral water. Drizzle most of the berry puree over the wine-soaked cake. Spoon the custard mixture over cake and fruit mixture. Spoon the remaining plain whipped cream over the top of the trifle. If desired, scatter some whole berries over the top. Spoon the remaining berry puree over the top. Serve immediately.

Per serving (including custard): 421 calories, 6 gm protein, 40 gm carbohydrates, 23 gm fat, 192 mg cholesterol, 13 gm saturated fat, 112 mg sodium, 5 gm dietary fiber 

Custard Sauce 

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups) 

The most difficult part of this trifle is the custard sauce, which can curdle easily if you turn your back on it.

 

2 cups whole milk 

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 

5 egg yolks 

5 tablespoons sugar 

 

In a saucepan, preferably nonstick, bring the milk and split vanilla bean almost to a boil. When the milk looks as if it is on the point of boiling -- it will be shuddering, bubbles will be visible and maybe a little steam -- remove it from the heat and set aside for about 20 minutes to infuse. If a skin forms on the surface of the milk, use a spoon to remove it.

Remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture and, using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds back into the milk. Discard the bean.

Have ready a clean bowl and a large bowl of ice water.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Add the cooled milk mixture and stir to combine. Rinse the milk pan and dry it. Pour the custard mixture into the pan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens somewhat, about 12 to 15 minutes. (On no account let the mixture get too hot -- if it boils it will curdle.) The consistency should be that of heavy cream. Remove the custard pan from the heat and immediately pour the custard into a clean bowl. Place the bowl in the ice water and continue to stir for about 2 minutes, until the custard cools.

Use the custard immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days. If refrigerating, gently press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard so it doesn't form a skin.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 166 calories, 6 gm protein, 17 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 226 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 55 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

 

TRIFLE

(6 servings) 

Commercial pound cake is fine for trifle. The dessert should be made at least a couple of days ahead so flavors mingle and mellow.

 

16-ounce pound cake 

1/2 cup raspberry jam 

1/2 cup medium dry sherry 

2 pounds canned, sliced pears or peaches, drained 

12 to 16 whole browned almonds 

FOR THE VANILLA CUSTARD SAUCE: 

1 quart milk 

1/4 cup cornstarch 

10 egg yolks 

2/3 cup sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

FOR THE CHANTILLY CREAM: 

1 1/2 cups whipping cream 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

 

Cut cake in 1/2-inch slices. Sandwich slices with raspberry jam and cut in 1-inch cubes. Put cake in bottom of a 3-quart serving bowl, sprinkle with sherry, and press down lightly. Top with drained fruit, spreading it flat.

For the custard sauce: scald milk in a saucepan. Stir together cornstarch, egg yolks, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk in boiling milk. Return custard to the pan and bring it just to a boil, stirring constantly so it thickens smoothly. Add vanilla extract and let it cool slightly. While still warm, pour custard over fruit and leave in refrigerator to set. Cover and refrigerate trifle at least a day and up to 3 days so flavor matures.

Not more than 3 hours before serving, make the chantilly cream. Whip cream until it holds a soft peak. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff. Using a pastry bag and a medium star tube, pipe a lattice of cream on top of the trifle so the custard shows through. Decorate the edge with rosettes of cream and top each with a browned almond. Chill the trifle until serving.

I know you posted some thoughts and links to your favorite non-stick skillets a couple of months back, but I can't seem to find them in the archives, so I hope you don't mind if I ask again for your recommendations. I've got two old 10 inch non-stick skillets that I use as my workhorses (a Calphalon and a T-fal) that need to be replaced - what are your favorite non-sticks?

I have a Cuisinart that's holding up pretty well after 3 years. Very few scratches and cleans up easily. 

Swiss Diamond.

Good afternoon! Do you have any suggestions for entrees that feature avocados? My book club is coming over next week and the book we read took place in Chile. Thank you!

...avocado toast? 

Avocado Toast With Egg, Cucumber and Radish

RECIPE: Avocado Toast With Egg, Cucumber and Radish

Or these egg sandwiches -- cut into triangles for serving.

RECIPE: Chopped Egg and Avocado Sandwiches

Also:

Black Lentil Salad With Tzatziki, Avocado and Pea Shoots

RECIPE: Black Lentil Salad With Tzatziki, Avocado and Pea Shoots

Grain Bowls and Soft-Boiled Eggs With Avocado + Kimchi

RECIPE: Grain Bowls and Soft-Boiled Eggs With Avocado + Kimchi


Several recipes I want to try use small amounts of ground pork -- from 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup. I have a pound of Italian pork sausage in the freezer that isn't even in casing. The listed ingredients are just pork, water and spices (it's spicy Italian sausage). I see no reason not to use it instead of buying ground pork -- unless you point one out. The recipes are all amenable to the spicy element: fried rice, pot stickers and lettuce rolls. Maybe it'll be a new fusion: Asian-Italian?

I say go for it.

I only purchase meat from purveyors who source their meat from farms who raise their animals in a humane way. This is fairly easy to do when shopping for food, but I am concerned about the meat I get at restaurants. Is there any way that you know of to locate restaurants in the DC area who also purchase meat from ethical sources?

That's a tough one. You could, of course, call the restaurant you plan to visit and ask a manager. But then you have to trust the answer, without any verification.

 

There is, as the kids say, an app for that. It's called the Humane Eating Project, and it apparently helps you find restaurants that are humane-friendly. 

 

You can also check out the farmers and ranchers who have been Certified Humane by the third-party organization. With this list in hand, you'll be able to verify immediately whether a restaurant supplier is humane or not. Could a producer raise his/her animals humanely and NOT be on the list? Of course. These verification processes can be expensive and some farmers choose to not pursue the certification.

 

Good luck! It's a worthy cause, IMHO.

Have any of you tried Trader Joe's cultured butter from Brittany? Maybe I'm just late to the show but man, that stuff is good. I really tried to maintain a heart-healthy plant based diet but I failed when confronted with this butter. Epic failure.

I've had the salted butter from Brittany that's sold at Rodman's, and I can attest to its goodness. 

I love cultured butter from Brittany. Haven't had the TJ's version, but can't imagine it's anything but fabulous. All cultured butter I've had has been delicious. What isn't improved with a little tang? BTW, you did read our recent butter feature, didn't you?

 

It's my go to vinegar for a variety of recipes. It's terrific in making fresh mayonnaise, for example. Mild flavor and enough acidity that the mayo sets up just fine.

- Dill/sour cream/mayo cucumber salad. I don't know the exact recipe, but it's a picnic bbq staple in my family - includes onions (you could use red for color).

My mother used to grow her own cucumbers and dill and made a delicious salad: sliced cucumbers, dill, sugar, and white vinegar. Even the grandchildren loved it. I found a similar recipe here, but my mother did not add onions, and did not boil the vinegar and water.

Silver Palate Cookbook has a gazpacho with dill that's very delicious. Found the recipe for you.

While glazed are okay -- I love love love sugar raised. Can I just do sugar sprinklings once the doughnuts have cooled slightly.

You absolutely can! They would be delicious!

Is the coconut milk sold in milk-like containers and sold along side almond and soy milk the same as the coconut milk sold in cans that I use in my curries, etc.?

No. The one sold in milk-like containers is thinner and meant to be drunk as a beverage straight, unlike the canned.

Thank you for the recipe, Kara, I'll definitely try this! But a question - the photograph shows a bright red compote, but the stuff my grandmother made was always pale green. Different rhubarb, perhaps? (She grew her own)

Yep, different types of rhubarb come in differing shades. Report back once you try it!

You guys are the best - thank you!

You left off orzo salad - lots of good things in there.

I have an almost-full container of bread crumbs. What are some recipes that use a lot of bread crumbs, BUT is NOT breaded chicken or breaded fish or breaded.. anything really.

They're nice toasted in some butter or oil, seasoned with salt and whatever spices you like, and then spooned over pasta, veggies or soups. These recipes might not use all those crumbs up, but they should give you some a good jumping off point.

You'll see instructions to make your own bread crumbs in a few of these recipes, but use what you've got, by all means!

Asparagus ‘Pasta’ With Garlicky Bread Crumbs

RECIPE: Asparagus ‘Pasta’ With Garlicky Bread Crumbs

Peas With Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs

RECIPE: Peas With Baked Ricotta and Bread Crumbs

‘Dirty’ Cauliflower

RECIPE: ‘Dirty’ Cauliflower

Baked Pasta With Roasted Cauliflower and White Beans

RECIPE: Baked Pasta With Roasted Cauliflower and White Beans

And a few sweet uses for them:
Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie
Dorie Greenspan's Light and Creamy Cheesecake

How about some zucchini - grilled or slathered in a lemon or yoghurt sauce?

I love oatmeal. Other than the overnight oatmeal recipes, are there any other make ahead or grab-and-go recipes you recommend?

I also hate dill. I have non-bulbing fennel growing (like crazy) in the yard, and often use that in place of dill. Same texture and appearance, but nicer flavor!

I'm planning the biggest party I've ever hosted - and also the fanciest party I've ever hosted - and am feeling a little nervous. I'm particularly worried about having enough food and drink and how to keep things flowing so that everyone feels relaxed and has a good time (including me!) Do you have a general rule about the amount of appetizer-type food to plan on per person? Any other tips or tricks for a cocktail party and making people feel welcome?

I've certainly hosted quite a few fancy fundraisers over the years which required stepping up my game, but my first rule of thumb is always to have things on hand that people can graze on their own — think platters of really nice cheese and charcuterie and a great punch, in addition, of course, to wine, seltzer, etc. For passed hors d'oeuvres, consider easy handheld items that can be consumed in two bites or less and don't require utensils. Gazpacho shots can be festive, as well as endive filled with whipped goat cheese, shrimp, or almost anything else you can dream up. 

Champagne Shrimp on Endive

Beet Gazpacho

Pan con Tomate

Candied Lavender Pecans

Smoked Planked Camembert

Smoked Salmon and Quail Eggs


Conquistador Punch

My frugal mom used the glaze that had slid off the first batch of doughnuts to glaze the next batch.

Yes! Your mother and I are soul mates. I put a piece of parchment paper under the rack and then just slide the extra glaze back into a jar for storage.

Hi Tamar - I still think back to you raising pigs for food and how interesting I found that series. Are you still raising pigs? Any other animals? I'm just curious.

Funny you should ask. We're going to be doing pigs again this year.  Should you like to follow along, I write about the DIY food things Kevin and I do at my blog: starvingofftheland.com.  I don't update all that frequently, but check in every couple of months or so.  Also, very glad you enjoyed that series -- thanks for the kind words.

The Pig to Table Project

I follow Maida Heatter's advice and use them instead of flour on the bottom of a greased cake pan. I grind briefly grind panko in my electric nut grinder.

Yep, that's what the cheesecake recipe I linked to uses them for. And the bread crumb use in the pie recipe is genius -- they help to soak up fruity juices and keep the crust from getting soggy.

Why does your recipe for vanilla glazed brioche doughnuts specify vegetable oil for frying? Couldn't you also use lard or tallow?

We suggest vegetable oil simply because it is found most commonly in home kitchens. You can certainly use lard, but I do not recommend using beef tallow as it has a strong flavor that will permeate the donut. Happy Frying!

I am so looking forward to make the brioche-doughnuts recipe! I saw lots of comments talking about how time consuming the recipe was but Im pretty sure it will be well worth it. When I first read the article and saw the video suddenly I had a flash back of my now decease aunt making homemade doughnuts. After she fried the doughnuts she put them in a brown bag with sugar and my job was to shake the bag so that the doughnut got covered with it...I can almost taste the heavenly flavor of those doughnuts. Thanks for bringing back those memories!

I'm so happy that this brought back a wonderful memory for you! And during one of the rounds of testing, I did actually do a cinnamon sugar topping for these doughnuts, shaking them in a bag just as you remembered, and they were absolutely fabulous!

Help! I accidentally bought coconut flour, and I actually already had some at home too. I've never used it, I have no idea what to use it for, and now I have an abundance of it. Healthy recipes preferred.... I've read that it's not that great of a flour substitute because it absorbs a lot of liquid, so I don't really want to experiment.

I use coconut flour in recipes by simply subbing out some of the AP flour -- so, for instance, it adds a subtle flavor and some fluffiness to scones, cakes, and cookies. I generally err on the side of less coconut flour, though, because it can be a bit soft, so about 1/2 cup will do.

I am trying to figure out how to pan fry boneless, skinless chicken thighs without finishing them in the oven. I like to make them quickly on a Sunday night to have during the week. Any thoughts?

My thoughts: Cast-iron skillet, lightly greased and screaming hot. Sear the chicken skin sides down until nicely crisped, then turn them over and reduce the heat to medium-low; finish cooking that way. 

Ok, not really as that would be illegal and messy and draw rats. But I was sitting on the train this morning, reading the story, even though I will never make them. Businessman across the aisle waves at me, points at the picture on the front page of the Food Section and says "Where can I get those?" I burst out laughing, flipped it around to show the how-to pictures and said "At home. But you have to let the dough rest for hours and the glaze rest for at least one hour." He smiles and says simply "Krispy Kreme." Made for a pleasant commute with my dead tree paper!

That made me laugh! You can't help but crave a doughnut when you see that cover photo today!! But — seriously — make the doughnuts. Not dissing Krispy Kreme, but, seriously. 

I'll go ahead and diss. When we did our Dozen Weeks of Doughnuts crazy taste off several years back, I went in as a Krispy Kreme devotee, but when we tasted them side by side with others, I saw ALL the weaknesses. #disappointed

These Qs reminded me of my favorite warm potato salad (disclosure: that I adapted from an Oh She Glows recipe). Roast a couple lbs of new potatoes and a bundle of asparagus. While roasting, mix 1 avocado, the juice of 1 lemon, a handful of scallions, and a big handful of fresh dill in a food processor and wizz it until it's creamy. Combine, and serve warm. It's lovely. Until I found this, it had never occurred to me to use avocado as a salad dressing base -- until then, I'd just used it on sandwiches and toast -- and it was a game changer!

The recipes for Ramadan looked fantastic. For the vegetarian chickpea stew- I noticed the nutritional information was based on using only 1 TBS of salt, rather than the 2 TBS of salt the recipe called for. Since you all test the recipes shouldn't this have been changed? Also do you think red lentils would works in the chicken/lentil stew( I know it would result in a different texture)

The 2 tablespoons of salt are for soaking the chickpeas overnight; you then drain and rinse them before cooking. We used 1 tablespoon of salt in the analysis to estimate how much salt was absorbed and to account for adding extra salt at the end, to taste.

And yes, you can use red lentils in the stew.

Chickpea and Artichoke Tagine

ARTICLE: Cooking good food fast is key for Ramadan


How mysterious-sounding, Becky! Are these long-ago recipes that will eventually be searchable, or unpublished ones not meant for our eyes? Any relationship to (eerie music plays) "the dark web"?

Haha, nothing too mysterious. They were previously published, but our online Recipe Finder only consistently includes recipes from 2005 or 2006, I think, with occasionally older ones that we have chosen to input after the fact. Those trifles date from 1987 and 2003.

Make a lot of things that can be made even two days in adance. When I hosted my husband's 40th birthday party it was a cajun theme - the mains being shrimp and andouille etouffee, blackened chicken, red beans, stuffed merlon and rice (of course). I made the red beans two days in advance, the stuffed merlon the day before ... etc. Having my mother's cleaner there for the evening also make are real difference. Can you have someone there the day of to clear the kitchen decks and help out in general?

I'm proud to say I live in a NYC neighborhood where a Krispy Kreme went out of business despite being just around the corner from a major subway and bus stop.

The doughnut recipe looks amazing, but can they be baked instead? Also, could you freeze some of the dough for later?

You can absolutely freeze the dough.

ARTICLE: The 6 ‘-ings’ to remember when making doughnuts

As to baking this particular dough, we didn't do that in testing, but I make a similar dough at home that I use for a baked doughnut that's absolutely gorgeous (I cut mine in a solid circle and then fill with jam). But here are some other fabulous baked doughnut recipes that you might want to try: 

Baked Buttermilk Nutella Ganache Doughnuts

RECIPE: Baked Buttermilk Nutella Ganache Doughnuts

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

RECIPE: Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

Well, we DID bake this dough...but turned it into monkey bread! (See the variations at the end of the recipe.)

 

Yes you can. For a week's batch try 2 cups steel cut oats, 5 cups (yes) water and cook on Porridge setting reduced to 9 minutes vs. 20, then let continue on LO setting for 35-40 minutes. Perfection. Also, for regular or thick-cut oats, try bringing oats and water at 1:2 ration to a covered stovetop boil, turn off heat and let sit for 30 minutes.

Thank you so much for Michael Ruhlman's article. He has been my cooking guru since I read one of his first books so many years ago. Did not know he wrote a book about supermarkets, will be ordering it as soon as your chat is over. Hope you invite him to participate in your chat soon.

He's been on book tour and hasn't been able to make it on the chat yet, but hopefully soon!

Breakfast was the most important meal of the day -- until America ruined it

Many thanks for the butter article! I accidentally purchased heavy cream instead of half-and-half for the coffee club and so made cultured butter with the unexpected bounty. My only shift was to use yogurt with live cultures instead of creme fraiche. Now for the related question. I have a pint of actual, real, buttermilk, but it's a lot thinner than what one normally buys in the store. Can I still use it as specified for recipes or, if not, what should I do with it (or to it to thicken it up?)

Shake the buttermilk well, which might help it thicken, but it should work fine regardless!

Well, you've fried us until golden brown and puffed, so you know what that means -- we're DOUGH-ne. (Sorry.)

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Kristen and Naomi for help with the a's -- and the doughnut package! 

Now, for the giveaway book: The chatter who asked about oats in the Instant Pot, of course, will get "The 'I Love My Instant Pot' Recipe Book." Send your mailing info to Kara.Elder@washpost.com, and she'll get you your book!

Until next time, happy cooking (frying, of course), eating, and reading!

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Bonnie Benwick
Bonnie S. Benwick is Deputy Food Editor and recipe editor at The Post. Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes.
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 the weekly $20 Diner column.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Kristen Hartke
Kristen Hartke is a Washington-based food writer and editor.
Tamar Haspel
Tamar Haspel, who farms oysters on Cape Cod and writes about food and science, is author of the monthly Unearthed column, winner of a James Beard Award.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
Naomi Gallego
Naomi Gallego is the executive pastry chef for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.
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