Free Range on Food: Lazarus Lynch's soul food, using tons of fresh herbs, this week's recipes and more!

Jul 10, 2019

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

Greetings, and welcome to today's chat! We hope you've been loving what we've been serving, including:

We have a VIP guest today: Lazarus Lynch himself. Should be a blast, and he can answer questions about all manner of cooking, but particularly the soul food of his book. We'll have a SIGNED copy of his new cookbook as a prize for our favorite chatter today, so make your comments and questions good!

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR2316 . 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.

OK, let's do this thing.

So excited about those rose recipes! I am usually a meaty red-wine or bourbon on the rocks girl, but its nice to change it up! At the end of the article you had some thoughts on buying an appropriate rose for the punch, but I'm hoping for a little more help... is a more "neutral", dry basic $8-10 rose a good fit for those recipes, if you don't know the specific characteristics of a rose? like Le Petit Balthazar Cinsault that runs about $8? Maybe Dave can suggest some pairings in his future columns too!

I've found a couple that I thought worked really nicely and we're too expensive -- Gruet's and Domaine Bousquet's brut rosés were both good. That said, I think the main thing is to look for the dry style -- many of the more subtle nuances of rosé (and other more delicate ingredients too) begin to get lost when you start mixing with them. Which is not to say they don't contribute to the flavor of the drink, simply that their own flavor becomes part of a bigger one! The one you mention may work flavor-wise, but I'd note that part of the appeal of that particular punch (for me) is it's bubble, and I think the wine you reference is a still one, not a sparkler?

ARTICLE: Beyond frosé: How to make rosé shine in inventive, breezy summer cocktails

*I want to try some of your ice cream recipes right away but dont have corn syrup, any substitutions? *Any tried-and-true ice cream recipe using cheese (ricotta, mascarpone etc.)?

ice cream

ARTICLE: How to create the ice cream of your dreams

The thing about corn syrup is that it's got a neutral flavor and is less sweet than sugar. Honey is actually sweeter than sugar, so that would not be ideal, although I supposed you could try and drop back the granulated sugar a bit. I'd say glucose, but I doubt that's something you have either. The corn syrup really does some important stuff, so while I appreciate your desire to make it right away, you miiight want to wait until you can get your hands on it.

The Jeni's goat cheese ice cream (I've made it and had it in the shop) is to die for. Here's the recipe.

What are some of your favorite quick, easy desserts? This question came up from a friend who needs to bring something to a party. She has a chronic disease that means she doesn't have a lot of energy to spend in the kitchen, and she doesn't have an electric mixer. My go to quick dessert is to layer a cheese cake like mix (cream cheese, lemon juice, sweetened condense milk) with crushed crispy cookies (Pepperidge Farms Bordeux or such), and a mix of chopped apples and strawberries. I'd love some other suggestions.

This cobbler is great.

any-fruit cobbler

RECIPE: Any-Fruit Cobbler

I love that easy cheesecake idea. I also love to melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave, stir it up and dip fruit (patted dry with a paper-towel) like strawberries and orange slices for a fun, light, sweet treat. 

I've loved the fresh herb-inspired drinks previously you all have recommended rosemary and lemonade, and I love tarragon simple syrup in gin drinks! So... am I crazy to wonder if any fresh herbs would work with a rose cocktail?! Maybe cilantro or basil?

Absolutely -- lots of fresh herbs will work in rosé drinks. I can imagine basil or tarragon would play well. Cilantro makes me scratch my head a bit, but certainly worth playing with! 

How come I am finding it very difficult to find rye flour in stores? I am a amateur baker and I would prefer not to purchase it online.

Which stores are in your wheelhouse? Organic markets and co-ops typically carry it, and when it's offered in bulk you want to purchase it from a place that does good turnover-volume business.

Also, check out the locator/store finder options on sites for Hodgson Mill, Bob's Red Mill brands. I see that Arrowhead Mills Rye Flour is carried at several Giant supermarkets in the DC area, too. 

I loved your ice cream article (thank you!), but it doesn't help me with the problem I've been having making strawberry ice cream. I want at least a few "pieces" of strawberry, not completely pureed and strained fruit like your peach ice cream recipe. But while my ice cream taste great straight out of the ice cream maker, once it's been in the freezer for a while, the bits of strawberry always freeze solid, which makes it difficult (if not actually unpleasant) to eat. I cook the strawberries with sugar, and have even added vodka to the mix and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days before making the ice cream. This process worked well with cherries (the halved cherries were -much- larger than the strawberry pieces I end up with after the cooking process) but the strawberries still froze. How do the commercial brands keep their strawberry bits from freezing? Is it something I can do at home?

Thank you! Honestly I am a bit stumped as to your question, because it seems like you are doing all the right things in terms of keeping your strawberries from freezing solid. How much are you cooking the strawberries? I wonder if they just aren't being cooked enough to drive off more of the water.

Do me a favor. Save this question for next week, too, when I'm hoping we can have some ice cream experts in the house on the chat.

Apologies for the broadness of this question. I was recently diagnosed with a very serious disease and have been advised to follow a keto diet. Until now, I've been mostly vegetarian. I love grains and beans! I love fruit! Do you have any advice for transitioning to this very different way of eating?

I tried "ketotarian," veg keto, for a couple of weeks after I turned in my bean book, just to see what I thought. I found it really tough to get all the fat eaten, which is something I never thought I'd have difficulty with. So many avocados, so much coconut oil, so many eggs! Having said that, I did think the book "Ketotarian" by Will Cole was full of good information and recipes, so you might check it out. Chatters, any other thoughts?

Hello Food Friends, I am intrigued by the idea of marinating my protein (steak, tofu, chicken, etc.) for a few minutes AFTER cooking it. It makes sense conceptually to me because the protein can be too moist from the pre-cooking marinade to get a proper sear, and you end up steaming it instead. My main concern is that the marinade would cool the cooked protein off too much. Do you have any thoughts on this? Heat the marinade?

The only thing that came to me as I was reading it, is that you have to wait to carve the meat anyway (post cooking it), so the juices don't run. So why not do so with the marinade? Unless the marinade is cold, I don't think it'll do more to cool the meat than it being at room temp. Anyone else have thoughts about this?

I just read the heart warming article on Lazarus Lynch and wish him well as he appears to be extremely talented. Lazarus what is your oil of choice that you use for frying fish? Additionally why do you use Aunt Jemima self rising flour to batter the fish? I also enjoyed reading the article on Rose’ and would like suggestions on make ahead horsd’oeuvres to pair with Rose?

Thank you so much for this heartwarming message. For most frying (deep frying or shallow pan frying) I use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil. I wouldn't use an olive oil as it has a lower smoking point and won't crisp up your fried food as well. That's my opinion. 

 

I grew up with Aunt Jemima flour and it's the kind of flour my dad used at the restaurant. 

RECIPE: Fried Fish Sandwiches With Tartar Sauce

I'd like to make the vegan coconut ice cream recipe that was in the Post, but it calls for agave nectar. I typically don't buy an ingredient for one recipe. Can I sub regular sugar or honey -- or something else I might have on hand? Thanks!

I think honey would probably be fine.

Vegan Coconut Ice Cream Base

RECIPE: Vegan Coconut Ice Cream Base

BTW, honey would make it not vegan, but maybe for you that doesn't matter if you're asking about it anyway. I think having a liquid sugar is nice for texture purposes.

Hello! I am looking for any and all suggestions on things to do with zucchini. Until we grew our own, I was a big fan of zucchini boats and zucchini spiral pasta. But when you grow your own the zucchini doesn't like to cooperate with size and shape. I have trouble spiralizing our home-grown zucchini unless I remember to pick it before it gets too fat. And when it's too big it doesn't make for good zucchini boats. So please, do you have any other zucchini recipes to help us out? Also, we planted 3 stems of mint that my Mom gave us. Now, the mint is thriving and taking over the world. Other than mint water, any new ideas? In other words, we like to plant things but have no idea what to do with them. Basil and watermelon are up next. Eek!

You can:

Slice it into planks, marinate and grill. (#DinnerInMinutes!)

Or just grill and sauce it.

Sear it for tacos.

Make Slow-Cooker Ratatouille

 

Shred it for cake and fritters.

Grate it for casserole-y sides and frittatas.

Soup it up.

 

 

 

Mintwise:

Make a dip.

Pair it w lamb in a different way (#DinnerInMinutes!)

Infuse hors d'oeuvres tomatoes.

Make my favorite, non-dessert summer fruit salad.

And fill a vase with your fresh mint, to make your environs happy. 

In an over-enthusiastic purchase, I bought a kilo of frozen squid from the local fish lady at the farmer's market. Getting it home, I realized I have no idea really how to cook them. Bonus points for not having to have a grill.

First of all: YUM and congrats on scoring a whole kilo of squid! This recipe looks like a great way to use your squid bounty, no grill needed!

I am now cooking for one, when I used to cook for four. I like this recipe, but eating it 5 days running is boring. Is it possible to freeze the finished filling in separate dishes to cook later? My problem is with the cornbread topping, which has to be made immediately before baking or it doesn't rise.

Yep to the freezing the filling in portions, that is what I'd do. And you could vary the flavor of each of those portions by adding some poultry seasoning, or za'atar, or minced jalapeno, or some adobo from a can of chipotles. 

The recipe in question: Corn Bread-Topped Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler

 

You can totally make the filling separately and fill in quart or pint-sized containers and freeze until you're ready to use. You can either omit the cornbread topping altogether or make a small batch, eat what you want, wrap what you didn't eat, and freeze the rest. Just remember to use what you froze or transform the filling into a soup by adding more cooking liquid like stock. 

Hi Carrie, can you recommend a good collection of recipes for an experienced drink mixer who likes the burbon/tequila/rum end of the spectrum? Maybe something that mixes classics with some new ideas, and is fun to read? Thank you!!

Hmm, I'm trying to figure out what you mean by the end of the spectrum ... I'm guessing maybe you're talking spirits with more age on them, though not sure because tequila and rum both have some very light iterations? That said, Michael Dietsch's whiskey book has some great cocktails in it, "Cuban Cocktails" by Ravi Di Rossi for more on the rum side ... then there are some broader tomes -- Paul Clarke's "Cocktail Chronicles" has tons of good stuff and "The New Cocktail Hour" is one I've been liking lately.

For anyone who is questioning cream cheese instead of eggs in an ice cream base, I went to grad school in Columbus (where Jeni's started) and can attest to the awesomeness of Jeni's ice cream and that her cookbook creates great replications of her flavors. Just do it!

Yes and yes! I've eaten there a bunch and made recipes, too, and the flavor/texture is spot on. It's interesting, because she had to kind of backward engineer her recipes to work in a home kitchen. The process they use in the shops is different. I can't remember off the top of my head, but they don't use either the cream cheese or cornstarch in the stores (or both), but that was her way to replicate the texture using home ingredients and methods.

Hi, just wanted to note that the recipe you provided contained corn starch and cream cheese, both ingredients that might make this ice cream off limits for a lot of folks. Corn is a very common allergen, and most cream cheese contains non-vegetarian stabilizers. As ice cream does not normally contain those items, you should make your guests, or whomever you are feeding, aware that the ice cream is unusual in that way in the event there are dietary restrictions. Thanks.

Of course, it's always smart for people to share what's in their food or for people with allergies to ask before they  eat. That's just common sense and courtesy.

It's hard because there as soooo many different potential allergens out there and if we didn't publish foods with them or attached a ton of caveats to every recipe, we'd never publish anything -- or at least anything concise.

Also, can I add that corn allergies are very rare

I'm curious about your point on cream cheese: There's no animal rennet used in cream cheese, and the stabilizers are usually things like carrageenan, guar gum, carob bean gum, all vegan. What are the non-vegetarian stabilizers you are thinking of that I'm obviously not?  

I'm never sure how long to cook my corn for. I bring a pot of water to boil, toss in the corn, bring back to boil, then cover and turn off the heat. But how long should it sit in the water to be cooked? 3 mins? 5? 10? I'm cooking a lot of ears this weekend to make a fresh corn salad and don't want to screw it up. Help!

It can sit for 10 minutes in that hot water; if you need to hold it longer, you could reposition the cooked ears in a steamer basket set over/above a few inches of simmering water (covered). 

Would you ever put Pimms in a rose cocktail? I thought it might be interesting although not sure the flavor profiles would work together!

I would definitely give it a shot, especially since I think cucumber and many rosés are a great pairing. Seems worth noodling around with! What I like to do when experimenting is trying dollops of ingredients together in small portions so I don't end up sacrificing a whole bottle to something that ends up awful -- work small and then pour bigger as you get more confident that the proportions are working!

Seconding the rec for the Jeni's goat cheese ice cream recipe. It's so rich, and the texture is amazing -- kind of like partially frozen cheesecake. I always add a swirl of either roasted cherries or cognac figs to the batch (recipes for both are in Jeni's ice cream cookbook). Actually, I've never had a bad result with any of her recipes. I love that her ice creams don't use eggs, and that she uses the same base recipe and tweaks it in many interesting ways. (My second-favorite from her book: Chinese 5-spice ice cream ... add some toasted/salted pepitas for texture.)

That is a good way to describe it! She really knows her stuff, and you really can't go wrong with one of her recipes, or by using her recipes to branch out to your own flavors, as I found.

I was gifted some cucumbers that were on the vine too long and have ended up pretty bitter. Any suggestions for how not to waste them? am I limited to pickles?

Have you tried scraping out the seeds? They are often the source of bitterness. You can also try salting them and letting them sit for a half hour or so, then rinsing, the way people do with eggplant. Then make the spicy smashed cukes that Tanya Sichynsky wrote about in this installment of her Meal Plan of Action newsletter!

Hi Lazarus. Thanks for chatting with us today. Your cookbook is so artistic and colorful. How did you develop this unique sense of style and point of view? What were your inspirations?

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you love it. I am an artist by nature and have always been attracted to color and vibrancy. I am also a painter, designer, performer and have been trained in these areas from a young age. Overtime, my style has evolved. My friends and art enthusiast came together to support me in creating the book so it's really a combination of everyone's creativity. 

Life is my ultimate inspiration. 

Thanks for the herb rice pilaf recipe and the general admonition to use herbs in large quantity. Will do! I have in the passed dumped a heap of leftover herbs into what is otherwise a generic dish to good effect. I'll do so more often and get into the habit of buying fresh herbs more often and tossing them into something just to see what happens.

I loathe July and August with every fiber of my being, and I'm starting to feel that way about June and September, too. It's too hellish hot and humid to weed my garden and we're prisoners of the air conditioning. People who chirp about how beautiful it is out when the air is too soupy to breathe make it worse. Just...thank you.

You are welcome! Glad you're liking the series. Wishing you a very pleasant October. 

ARTICLE: Crab-picking is a treat, if you don’t mind slicing open your fingers while eviscerating a stinking carcass

What are your tips for throwing a fun (and low stress) dinner party?

Keep the guest list manageable or low. Cook items you're super familiar with. Consider folks' allergies and aversions BEFORE you shop, prep or cook. Go for desserts that can be made in advance to lighten the load. 

I loved Maura Judkis's article. Count me among those who do not see the attraction of picking crab meat from a giant pile of crabs. So much effort for so little gain! A couple of hours later and I just want a big cheeseburger.

Thank you! I personally am not a crab hater -- lots of family in Maryland, plus I love any opportunity to eat outside by the water -- but when we were asked to brainstorm ideas for popular summer traditions that are not all they're cracked up to be, I immediately thought of crabs. I completely empathize with people who find it tedious and disgusting. And I always cut myself, always get Old Bay in the wound, and always reek of crabstink for a full 24 hours after, no matter how well I wash it off. 

I bring my water to a boil, throw in the ears and set the timer for five minutes. I don't bother covering the pot and i pull out the ears immediately when the timer goes off. I'm afraid that if they sat for ten minutes they might not be as snappy. But, that's just me.

Everybody has their method! Me, I like to microwave them for a few minutes (the more ears, the more time) in the husk (after running water over them) -- they lightly steam and become very easy to husk, and most of the silks slip off easily, too.

The delightful Lazarus Lynch, the excellent rose article, the wine country's solar advances, and above all the herbs. I love big handfuls of fresh herbs, and I really loathe the trend of restaurants claiming their sauces are "pesto" when they're just cream sauces with a little basil in them. I have to stay home to eat pesto now. But thanks for the herb/nut combination recommendations.

So glad you're liking everything!

I'm getting to the point of being able to make biscuits in my sleep now, thanks to the farmer's market bounty of sour cherries, fresh blueberries, and even gooseberries! Do you have a recommended fruit-to-topping ratio? I'm still experimenting with how much of a dough recipe is optimal for topping for the right balance. (Also: I routinely cut way down on the recommended amount of sugar in the fruit.)

Biscuits In My Sleep....decent cookbook title :)

Filling to dough ratios are SUCH a personal thing, aren't they? For me, the more tart/acidic the fruit, the more pastry type topping. And then it depends on the thickness....cornbread toppings tend to skew a little sweeter with fruit beneath them no matter how little sugar's used. 

Are there general rules or suggestions as to when to use corn or flour tortillas? Or is it just a matter of individual taste? I vaguely recall hearing someone say that tacos should only be made with flour tortillas. I guess if you are going to make your own tortilla chips, you would use corn. How about other foods like enchiladas or quesadillas or other dishes?

Definitely take your taste into account. Generally I prefer corn for tacos and enchiladas. Quesadillas I go either way, but I tend to go for flour. Flour for burritos, too.

Lots of places have dark rye. What I can’t find locally is medium rye. Pillsbury sold it up to about 10 years ago but no more. If anyone has a local source for medium or light rye please tell me.

Great article (and picture even better). Was interested to learn that fried fish is a celebratory food in the black community - what's not to love? Curious, what other foods are considered celebratory?

Thanks so much. Fried fish, cobblers, tea cakes, red drinks, ribs, and pound cakes are totally celebratory. 

Hi Lazarus! With it being so hot outside, do you have any slow cooker friendly recipes?

Yes, I do. My Beer Braised Oxtails from my cookbook are fantastic. You can also make my Short Ribs in the slow cooker. For more recipes, check out my website.

 

I am trying to think of things I can make for dinner during these hot, humid summer nights. One person doesn't eat seafood (my salad topped by steamed shrimp was a bust), one can't eat steak due to dental problems. Is there anything easy to make, and not too heavy, other than a tossed salad? Thanks so much for any assistance.

May I suggest...gazpacho? Always appropriate for hot summer nights AND low-effort to boot. Jose Andres's Gazpacho is a pretty classic use of summer tomatoes, and if you're looking for a little more variety, check out this roundup on creative gazpachos

I thought that they were increasing because of overexposure, since HFCS is in so many foods now?

I'm doing a little Googling around and I'm not sure that's the case. Anyone else dug into this?

Yeah, I'm not sure about this, either. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that because the allergy is usually to corn protein and HFCS doesn't have the protein, people with corn allergy can often eat it without worry.

I have a Weber charcoal grill, and after reading you folks' recommendations, I finally bought a charcoal chimney (the Weber large size). It did heat up the charcoal to white-hot in about 20 minutes, without lighter fluid. But when I dumped the charcoal, it barely covered the grate. I had to add more charcoal and then wait for it to heat up. Has this been your experience?

Yes, I understand the issue. I've been there. I use a charcoal chimney to get coals ready for my offset smoker. My smoker box is probably smaller than your grill grate, but the issue is the same: the coals don't *look* like they're enough (even though I'm often adding chucks of apple and/or cherry wood on top of the hot coals to increase the heat and smoke content). 

 

That said, I wonder how hot your Weber got after you added the first chimney of coals? I find a chimney-full of charcoal can generate a lot of heat. Of course, I'm smoking at a lower temperature (225-275 degrees F). You may need a higher heat depending on your task. (Are you searing steaks, which demands a 500-degree fire?)

 

Then again, maybe you don't. You may already have enough heat to start cooking. You can always add more charcoal as needed. 

 

Or you can do what I did this weekend: Buy a second chimney. (It's about $16 or $17). I bought the additional one to cook down my chunks of wood, in order to lessen the  initial "dirty" smoke. This way, you could add two full chimneys of coal, which would give you a blast furnace in your Weber.

 

Just one tip: If you buy a second chimney, don't light them side by side. The heat they radiate will make the chimneys impossible to handle without gloves. 

Wash your hair. Shampoo is formulated to strip oils so it's much more effective than mere soap. And first dig your fingernails into a lemon (just dipping them in lemon juice won't work) to help lift that stink.

Haha umm I do wash my hair? I take a full shower. I don't know, maybe I just absorb smells really well? Same thing happens with campfires. lol oh god what is wrong with me

Just came across this as an egg replacement. What should I be aware of when using it in baking? When will it work and when should I stay away from it?

I am certainly not as experienced with the flax seed replacement in recipes that call for eggs, but in general, when baking, I would be very cautious to allow the mixture to cool completely beforehand. The flaxseeds replacement can affect the structure and texture of certain baked items like pies but may not work as well in butter based cake recipes like a butter cake or white cake. 

I was just daydreaming about making ice cream so your article was timely. I found a David Leiboviz recipe for salted butter caramel ice cream which looks good but his recipes are usually pretty rich for me. Could I cut the eggs from five to three? What would it do to the ice cream?

I would try cutting the egg yolks from 5 to 4 first to see what it does. Egg yolks do a double duty for ice cream: 1. they provide some richness to the base, and 2. they contain naturally-occurring lecithin, which is an emulsifier and brings the fat molecules and water molecules together (they like to hang out with their own kind, much like kids in high school). Decreasing the yolks by too much might give you icy ice cream.  But if it works well, you could try knocking another yolk down and seeing what happens. And if you want to go the eggless route entirely, I wonder if it's possible to use David's salted caramel component with Becky's ice cream base.

I'm a sucker for the frosting on store bought ice cream cakes. I love how it's substantial but not too sweet, a perfect contrast to the ice cream. When I search the interwebs for ice cream cake frostings, most seem to suggest some sort of whipped topping or sweetened stabilized whipped cream. While it was delicious, it isn't quite what I'm looking for. Do you have any idea what commercial ice cream cake frostings are made of? Or at least what style of frosting it is, so I can attempt to replicate at home? Carvel is my personal fave.

I think lightly sweetened whipped cream (use a carton of heavy cream labeled "stabilized") is a good way to go, or a meringue like the ones used for Baked Alaska?

Maura, thank you for scientifically* proving once and for all Halo Top is trash**. I say, if you are gonna have ice cream, go for the good stuff! I love these kinds of articles. *i know vaguely crowd-sourcing doesn't actually count... **please don't come for me, Halo Top enthusiasts

I honestly should have videotaped the reaction of our tasting panel when I brought out the Halo Top. They did not know any of the brands that would be included. Everyone was having a good time, eating ice cream during work hours, laughing and joking around -- and then the whole mood changed."Why are you torturing us, Maura?" "What did we do to deserve this?"

ARTICLE: Who makes the best cookies-and-cream ice cream in the U.S.? We scooped up 15 top brands to find out.

Just clicked over to Becky's article - WOW! The pics are amazing. I appreciate all of the guidance and know feel as if I can attempt a batch. Thank you!

They are! We literally spent about 9 or 10 hours in that photo shoot. An all-ice cream day, and a successful one thanks to the photos by Tom McCorkle, styling by Lisa Cherkasky and art direction by Lizzie Hart. Team work!

I wanted to thank you for this recipe. Oh my gosh, it's so good. I've made it at least twice a week since it came out, and it always disappears the day I make it. No questions, just a hearty round of appreciation for all that you do

Yass to that. Just made it at the beach last week. (Not sure this pix does it justice.)

It's summer - make a clafoutis! This Apricot and Raspberry one is a good recipe.

 

You can use any fruit, fresh or frozen. Cherries are classic. Blueberries are always popular.

Thanks, and extra points for suggesting one of our recipes!

Before I can try making ice cream, I have to make room in my standing freezer. Half a turkey is taking up valuable space. I don't have room in my fridge to thaw it. Should I put it in a plastic bag with some ice? Can I roast a frozen turkey half?

Yes, you can roast a frozen turkey! For defrosting, you need the constant, several days of refrigerator time/space -- you know, for food safety's sake.

Wondering how this poster cuts her strawberries. I find that either they don't freeze noticeably OR their frozen-ness isn't noticeable if I chop them incredibly thin (not mandoline but by hand, just thin). After that I treat similarly, letting sit for at least a day in sugar though I don't cook mine, as well as a splash of alcohol. Might be worth cutting differently if you aren't already doing them quite thin.

Good idea, thank you!

Ice Cream!

LOL. It sure felt that way when I was testing all those recipes. :)

That's because you don't get big enough crabs. The cost-benefit ratio improves greatly with extra larges and jumbos. Smalls and mediums are not worth it, I agree. Also, I wash off my steamed crabs before eating because I hate Old Bay. I just keep a bucket of water by my seat, or if at home run it under the hot tap, and I can actually taste those big sweet lumps of crab.

Oh yes, my Maryland-born family members always insist on the jumbos. You're so right that anything smaller than extra large is more picking than meat. The juice is not worth the squeeze. 

Make or buy your favorite angel food cake. Cut it up in chunky cubes. Layer it in a deep (preferably glass, trifle-type) dish with your favorite whipped topping, any and all types of berries. Cake, topping, berries till you run out of ingredients. Top with some coconut shavings (which you can add to the layers as you put this together, if you like), cover and chill till you're ready to serve. It's low calorie, pretty, summery and delish!

Sounds nice. Love a trifle.

I get the same feeling reading Lazarus's words that I did when reading "My Life In France." The world needs more such joyous people!

YES!!! And thanks for reading! 

Hi all (and especially Lazarus!), Can anyone tell me the difference between field peas, butter beans and lima beans? They look very similar to me, and I am inclined to cook them in the same way-- with bacon and a very long time until they are soft and creamy. Thanks!

Hello! Well, they are all legumes and need liquid to rehydrate them and cook them through. This article may be super helpful for you and cooking any bean or pea with bacon is a WIN!! 

http://thekitchenwithyou.com/difference-between-peas-and-beans/

FWIW, for the Fourth of July, I doubled the recipe and used a 9x13 pan. Worked great, and the whole thing was demolished.

Yay!

A dear friend who was born in 1947 was diagnosed with corn allergy at age 18 months, and has had it all the rest of her life. Just an anecdote, but I have the impression from her that it's not all that rare (although hers is extreme).

No disrespect to your friend, but I'm going by information provided by medical professionals who specialize in allergies.

I've never seen it - is it usually along with the other flours? Anyone remember the song: "There's only one thing worse in this universe and that's no Aunt Jemima's at all."

Hello. Any brand of unbleached self-rising flour will work here. I particularly favor Aunt Jemima for the nostalgia. If you can't find her in the stores, consider relocating (joke). 

Any changes in the recipe needed for cherries?

Just pitting, of course! I think it'd be delish. 

Root beer floats!

Just found a zucc that was hiding, and it's huge. Should I try to make something with it or compost it? I saw Bonnie's many recommendations - any best suited for this giant monster?

Use it. And start with dessert, of course -- that cake! Make two, and give one away.

I know this has been asked before -- but can't find an article! What are your favorite summery batch cocktails for a party?

Thank you! That's a point I hadn't thought of, that cornmeal is sweeter than wheat flour.

I always thought I hated gin, but turns out I just hate tonic! Can you recommend any simple cocktail recipes that include gin, but not tonic? What mixes well with it generally? (not a huge fan of super sweet drinks, so want to avoid sugary soda and mixing with straight fruit juice, though splashes are ok)

I, too, am not a fan of tonic. The simplest, easiest cocktail that comes to mind is Gin & It (a classic combo of gin + vermouth). Also, we just pubbed this incredible-sounding cocktail, and I plan to make it at home as soon as I get my hands on some Cocchi Rossa.

I love gin & tonics but I feel you! I think gin mixes well with fruit/herby things. If (like me) you like the taste of gin as is, you can just replace the tonic with soda water and squeeze a little lime in there. Maybe add a splash of ginger ale or beer. This Lemon Thyme Cello uses tequila, but I think it would be GREAT with gin. 

Isn't it inspirational for us locals that the first report of ice cream in the pre-independence USA is from Maryland?! It's in a letter written in 1744 by a Virginia guest of colonial Maryland Governor William Bladen. I learned of this in a "Flashbacks" comic in the Sunday Post some years back. It credited Bladen's wife. Just now, I found this reference, that reports it probably was strawberry ice-cream. That site also says that July 16 is National Ice Cream Day.

Batter-dipped fried zucchini planks are practically the official Pittsburgh dish, with the late lamented Tambellini's on 7th Street having been their mecca -- but practically all Italian-American restaurants in SW PA offer them on the menu. I like mine garnished with fresh lemon juice, although marinara sauce and ranch-style dressing are the most popular dips.

Hi! This is so true -- we're not Italian, but my mom would make a version of this when I was growing up! She would have to sprinkle tons of parmesan cheese on it to get me to eat it because I've never been a huge fan of zucchini. I don't know, it just doesn't do it for me! I will eat it, but I don't take any pleasure in it. I feel the same way about several other forms of squash. Now you know my shameful truth.

I loved the ice-cream article! I discovered a tip that others might find useful: I have made the ice cream base, then frozen it without churning it, then thawed and churned later. I’m not an expert, but I didn’t notice any difference in texture or quality. I do have one of the fancier compressor-style ice-cream makers, and I’m not sure if that would make a difference.

Interesting. Have not tried this, though I've definitely stored bases for several days in the fridge, no problem.

I can related to Zucchidding Me! We simply have more zucchini than we could ever eat and I'm already giving it away. Any tips for freezing it? I was thinking shredding before freezing for fritters later?

I like that shredding idea, but leech out some of the water in the shredded zucchini before you stick it in the freezer!

a friend gave me a HUGE bag, and i'm interested in fresher (non-casserole) recipes that would help me use it up. i have tons of oregano/thyme/basil in my garden as well! thank you for the great chats!!

Any of those zucchini recipes Bonnie mentioned would work fine with yellow squash, since they're so similar! As for herbs, check out one of these pieces for ideas:

How to push fresh herbs beyond the garnish: Use with abundance and abandon

How to make the most of your fresh herbs

I'd guess that you just have a more sensitive sense of smell. That is, we -all- reek of crab stink for 24 hours, even after washing our hair; it's just that you can smell it, and others can't. I had the same problem when I was younger; every time I chopped up an onion, my hands would smell like onion for at least 24 hours, even after repeated hand washing and showers and countless folk remedies. 25 years later, I just wash my hands and can't smell a thing.

Thank you! I can sleep easy now knowing that I am not stinky, I just have heightened senses, like a foxhound. 

Boodles - is it still around? A G&T is a true summertime drink.

Looks like it is! At least, Total Wine says that they carry it. 

Hi Team — thanks for all you do! I eat a lot of shrimp and always buy wild US, and devein the top alimentary bit. But many shrimp have an equally dark vein underneath. Should I be deveining this also?

This is optional. Many people leave it in and others take it out. In general, it's totally safe to eat. 

I love queso fresco and buy it frequently, but can't seem to understand how long it is good for. I understand as a fresh cheese it needs to be consumed quickly, but how quickly? Does it make a difference if it comes packaged vacuum sealed - does that last longer once opened?

I would say to try and consume within a one-week window. The cheese will be okay but the freshness and lightness will go after that time. Wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap and store in a cool part of your refrigerator. 

I've been going crazy over fresh lime gimlets. Your taste may vary but Iike one part fresh squeezed lime, one part simple syrup and two parts gin - lots of ice. It's absolutely refreshingly summery and scrummy.

YUM 

Nicole Hollander’s Sylvia cartoon knew just what to do with th stuff: mix it with yogurt and throw it out the window. I will never understand people who think it is food. It’s indigestible green styrofoam.

Lime cracker pie is very quick and surprisingly good .

Tell me about tea cakes! I take it they are not the British spiced bread rolls, but more of a quick bread?

Tea cakes are a light, Southern cookie that sort of crumbles and is traditionally served with tea in the afternoon or for a refreshment after dinner. 

Check out this article by my friend Jocelyn-Delk Adams.

 

I'm with Maura, but my MD relatives shame me. We Virginiana are just too lazy. A while back (maybe last year) saw an article about seasonal help on the Eastern Shore - workers from Mexico (?) who came to pick for the season, then returned home, but there was a problem with limited work visas. Does anyone know how that played out?

Crab picking is hard work, often done by immigrants. One thing I didn't have space to say in the story was how many of the people who liked the taste of crab but hated the work said they would never again complain about the price of a crabcake, knowing all the labor that went into picking the crab. Here's the latest I could find on the visa situation

I've been wondering about this for a while -- Why do recipes instruct us to throw out marinade and then often to use a fresh batch for cooking? It seems wasteful.

It's a safety issue. Meats can contaminate a marinade with bacteria. Some will suggest that you can boil down the marinade to get rid of the toxins, but others say that even boiling down the liquid won't kill everything.

 

So the safest thing? Throw it out.

I like to double up on marinade and split it in half. I marinate before cooking, then I use the rest to pour on top of the cooked item. I agree it is wasteful. I am also sometimes a fan of skipping marinating altogether and seasoning with dry seasonings (no liquid), and pouring over the marinade on top as soon as it is done cooking. 

Our family is firmly in the yes please camp! Even though kids are grown and out on their own we do a big all you can eat at the local dive every summer. The spouses have joined in and learned the routine. Last year I looked across the room and saw a family come in with an elderly lady using a walker. Right then and there I made my kids promise that in another decade they would spring me out of the retirement home and bring me for a crab feed at Mays.

Aw! I am sure that tradition is the absolute highlight of your kids' summer, and that they will want to keep it up forever. 

I usually make a pie for my blueberry-loving nephew. Dare I try the cake? Thoughts? He's not a picky eater, but also don't want to disappoint. Thanks

100% try the cake

My poor friend, who hurt you? I promise some cornmeal battered fried zuchs will change your mind!

Do you have a recipe for making green tea ice cream? It's my favorite. Instead of being sweet, it's sit-up-and-say-hello tangy. At least, that's true of my favorite brand, Maeda en. The mixtures like mango green tea, don't do it for me.

I don't have a recipe per se, but with my guide, I bet you can start experimenting! Off the top of my head, I'd say buy your favorite green tea, and steep it in the cooked milk mixture (no more than 15 minutes, or it will be too strong). I don't know if it's what you're after, but you could try matcha, too. Whisk it into the milk mixture just as it's starting to boil so that it dissolves.

I LOVE MATCHA ICE CREAM. Although let me say that you wouldn't want the dairy mixture to get close to boiling cause I think it makes the matcha bitter. When I make plain matcha at home, I follow the classic recipe to use 175-degree water, so do the same with your dairy mixture and you'll be good!

I'm making one from(if I remember correctly) 'Celebrations', a Julia Child/Jacques Papin collaboration. It's a large pancake with veggies in the batter. I serve it with yogurt mixed with chopped fresh mint

YUM!

What I don't understand is why people grow so many of the dratted things. If it's not ssafe to leave your car unlocked because some enthusiastic gardener has sneaked a bushel of zucchini into the back seat, shouldn't there be some kind of moratorium on growing it? Or limiting to one low-bearing vine per customer?

You know, you get wide-eyed as a gardener sometimes, but after the first year I grew zucchini and yellow squash, and went on vacation, and a friend who was tending to my garden when I was away called to tell me that it had climbed down the stairs from my front yard and had crossed the sidewalk and the "hell strip" and was heading into the street, I knew we had a problem. And that was just the vine! She wrapped it back up and around the beds a bunch of times -- and then the fruit started coming. That was the first and last time I grew it.

Well, sure, battering and frying anything will keep you from tasting it. My late father used to say that he liked eggplant parmesan because there was so much other stuff in there that you couldn't tell there was eggplant.

i had an amazing mimosa in denver, made w grapefruiit juice and champagne, with a gin floater - it was outstanding

I'm not a veggie lover, but I find zucchini is one of the easier ones to disguise in meals, particularly pureed soups or thick sauces. I made a chipotle tomato soup that I hid an entire extra large zucchini in. Works with curry soups too. (And yes, I tried to learn to like them in their regular form, but it just ain't happening. At least I'm still eating them!)

Field peas, as the term is usually used, are a form of black-eyed peas (botanically the same species, Vigna unguiculata, as asparagus bean believe it or not). Butter beans and lima beans are both forms of Phaseolus lunatus, generally just called Lima bean. Lima beans were named for Lima, Peru, but is anyone so smatry-pants captious to call them LEE-ma beans? Incidentally, the wild forms of limas can be toxic.

Thanks for informing me and providing the recipe - can't wait to try them. Sound delish!

I plan to make the Sweet Cream Ice Cream base and just add vanilla extract. Your article says up to a tablespoon of extracts. Would that be too much vanilla? Maybe 2 teaspoons?

I don't think so. I'm thinking it will behave roughly the same way as booze, and when I made the Kahlua ice cream with 2 tbsp of liqueur it was not too strong. So I think 1 tbsp of vanilla isn't too much. My favorite way to make vanilla ice cream is with a vanilla bean, though. Scrape the seeds out and let them chill in the mixture with the pod overnight. Amazing flavor. If not that, vanilla bean paste is another option -- you still get those nice flecks that you miss out on with just extract.

That being said, it's your ice cream, so use extract if you prefer and in the amount you prefer! That's the whole beauty of this. You can always add it to the chilled base, taste it and see if you think it needs more.

Do you guys have a recipe for zucchini boats? My husband loves those.

Can confirm that if you just grate the zuke and throw it in freezer bags, when you thaw it, the bag will be mostly full of water afterward. So I don't know how well those shreds would work for fritters -- I throw them into chili, spaghetti sauce, etc., to trick myself into eating it. Or zucchini bread! ("bread" -- actually it's cake.)

I'd like to try some Japanese bourbons or whiskies - any recommendations? Something that I can sip straight or over ice, won't be mixing it. Thanks!

NIKKA WHISKY!! MARS WHISKY!! KAIYO WHISKY! 

 

I am jealous reading about all this excess squash--between powdery mildew and other diseases, I never get anything approaching that!

Sorry to hear about your health issues. Evaluate them carefully, but I've found a lot of keto-friendly recipe resources on fitness-related Instagram accounts. Search for the hashtag keto and related. Off the top of my head, you could replace zoodles for regular pasta, make cream-based sauces, lean heavily on protein/keto-friendly veg combos.

AKA insanity. Planted 22 tomato plants . True and I live alone.

My grandma does this, but luckily this just means nobody in the family really buys tomatoes anymore :)

Kim O'Donnell's (Post alum!) recipe for fake crab cakes using zukes is a go-to recipe for us to use them up. Google around.

Found it, if anyone is interested!

Joe, I don't know how much gardening space you have but my dad put a piece of cattle panel in his garden in an arch shape. You could walk under it. He grew cucumbers up the arch and then walked underneath to pick the hanging veggies. You could probably do that with your wild zucchinis.

Love it! I'm not growing those zukes anymore! (But I am growing cucumbers, so...)

Tom Collins- a classic and for good reason

OP here. Another popular Pittsburgh use for zucchini is in Greek green beans, which besides the legumes and diced squash include onion, tomato, oregano and olive oil Maura, do you have a recipe you can link to?

Ok, so funny you'd mention this because it brings the chat full-circle: Jimmy's, the crab place in my article, is where my in-laws always go for crabs in Baltimore. It's owned by a Greek family, and they always order these exact green beans there! (Yes, with crabs. No, they're not Greek.) I looked through our archives, and this is a Sara Moulton riff on that recipe (but no zucchini, which is how I prefer it, but may not be what you're looking for). 

this is why working from home is great! but looking at my fridge, i do not have enough blueberries. but i do have some cherries a little past their prime, could i swap that out?

Absolutely!

The Ben and Jerry's ice cream looks great. But how do you get it into a bowl? Mine always goes straight from the carton to my mouth.

It will become somewhat waterlogged in the freezing process which might make a difference to the fritters. Can you make things like soup or stew to freeze where taking on water doesn't matter.

RECIPE:  Zucchini Soup With Parmesan and Basil

RECIPE: Stewy Zucchini, Peppers and Chickpeas

 

Yep, those are safer, but you're still watering down the taste of the zucchini, so they'll be even blander than usual! I like driving the water OUT.

...today's chat has made me feel less alone! Its' also been highly informative! Thanks for taking all the gin and whisky questions. I'm trying to think of something to ask about wine, but nothing's coming, alas.

Amen! I appreciate the release of hammering but agree it's not worth it. At The Dancing Crab, I always enjoyed the corn and the baked potato more than the crab. Plus -- Once I was visiting the Eastern Shore and happened upon a building where people sat at picnic tables getting the crab meat out of the crabs, for packaging and sale as lump or claw. It was upsetting to watch because some of the workers clearly were getting hand cramps and one had the shakes, tho maybe that was due to a condition. Anyway, it sure made me understand the price of crab meat.

I think (whether using matcha or green tea) I would prepare the base past any boiling required and do any tea additions or steeping after that, upon cooling rather than prior to boiling. I am not speaking from experience of having made it, but from general tea and ice cream making experiences.

You guys and your science. Going to get in the way of all sorts of righteous indignation made up on non-science sites on the interwebs….Love.

((smooch))

I love sitting outside, sweating my face off and drinking a Natty Boh, while up to my elbows in Old Bay and crab guts. Give me a side of some Eastern Shore corn and maybe some good sliced tomatoes, and I am in hog (crab?) heaven. It is an experience so specific to the region and the season, and you really can't find it anywhere but the mid-Atlantic.

Pick 'em small! They're also more tender and flavorful that way, too! And less seedy.

Do you have a recipe for making the waffle cones used in the photos?

Those were ones we bought from our friends at Ice Cream Jubilee!

Well, you've transferred us to a rack to drain, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and many thanks to Carrie and especially Lazarus for helping with the a's!

Now for the giveaway book: The chatter who asked Lazarus about tea cakes will get "Son of a Southern Chef," a SIGNED copy! Send your email to Kari.Sonde@washpost.com, and she'll get it to you.

Until next time, happy cooking, eating and reading!

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables," "Serve Yourself" and the upcoming "Cool Beans." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Lazarus Lynch
Lazarus is an African-American entrepreneur, author, musician, multimedia host, and the author of "Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul." He is a two-time Chopped champion and the host of Snapchat's first-ever cooking show, Chopped U, and the Food Network digital series Comfort Nation.
Maura Judkis
Maura is a staff food writer at The Post.
Becky Krystal
Becky is a staff food writer at The Post.
Tim Carman
Tim is a staff reporter for Food and writes a weekly column on casual dining for Weekend.
Olga Massov
Olga is a food editor at The Post.
Carrie Allan
Carrie is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Kari Sonde
Kari is the food editorial aide.
Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow is the author of "Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet and Savory Slab Pies" (Grand Central Life & Style, 2018).
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