The Washington Post

Free Range on Food: Deciphering the state of your produce, gazpacho's elegant cousin, this week's recipes and more!

Jul 31, 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!

Hope you're enjoying what we've been offering lately, including:

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR2795 . 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.

For our giveaway book today, we'll have a copy of "The Washington Post Cookbook"! So make your questions/comments good!

OK, let's do this.

My husband bought me one of those kitchenaid ice cream maker attachments. It's nice if I want to just make a small amount or if I'm doing add-ins. But, the paddle attachment is awful. It pops off before the ice cream is done and then we have to reattach it as the ice cream is getting hard. When my husband helps me, the f-bombs are flying. Can you all recommend some other kind of ice cream maker that is better designed? Ice cream should be more fun than this.

Yes! At least one commenter questioned why in my ice cream story I said that America's Test Kitchen did not recommend the KitchenAid attachment, but this is exactly why. My pick (as well as ATK's and Jeni Britton Bauer's) is the Cuisinart ICE-21. It's about $40, easy to use, assemble and clean. Plus, it makes ice cream with superb texture. Endorse.

S'Mores Ice Cream

ARTICLE: How to create the ice cream of your dreams

That's the machine I own, too -- so, double-endorse!

Help! I just picked 17 cucumbers on top of the 20 I picked a few days ago. Can you please provide a fool proof pickle recipe? Or anything else to do with them? Thank you -my co workers will only take so many...

I just did a roundup not too long ago with ways to use up all those cukes! Link here. I've included pickle methods at the bottom of that article, and if you're looking to use up pickles in a hurry, Becky wrote a quick pickling guide. 


You don't need a lot of time to make -- and then eat -- great pickles.

Hi, I recently sprang for a jar of real maraschino cherries from Italy. Given how pricey they are, I want to savor the cherries and the juice. Any suggestions for cocktails that would show off the juice (as well as the cherries)? Thank you!

Oh yes, don’t waste that syrup! I like to use it to enhance Manhattans, as a syrup substitute in Old Fashioneds, and it’s great mixed into G & Ts. I would maybe try it out in a martini riff, too — try a couple ounces of gin or vodka, an ounce of dry (or blanc) vermouth, a dash of orange bitters and a spoonful of that cherry syrup and see where it needs tweaking. Honestly that stuff is so tasty it’s hard to think of drinks it wouldn’t enhance.



P.S.: Why are we yelling? ;-)

I made this, but thought it was a little bland. Any ideas on how to rev it up a bit? I tried sherry peppers, chopped red onion, and even hot red pepper flakes but none of these were the right flavor.

It's definitely a subtle flavor, with the pops from the garnish. I think with something like this, it's especially important to take seriously the instructions about adding more lemon juice and salt to taste. Did you try adding more of each -- more and more and more until you liked it? Other than that, certainly more jalapeno wouldn't hurt. Could blend up some in the soup in addition to the garnish on top.

RECIPE: Avocado, Cucumber and Fennel Soup

Submitting early because I usually can't make the live chat. Last week, I bought some premium gelato from Whole Foods (I'm in NorCal) in a milk chocolate flavor. The problem - it is grainy. It doesn't taste freezer burned, but the texture is definitely not fitting for a premium (and expensive!) gelato. So, any suggestions on what I can do with this gelato to make it more palatable? I'd hate to throw it out, but it's just not worth the calories to eat it as is. TIA!

I have not tried this, but both Rose Levy Beranbaum and David Lebovitz have said you can rechurn melted ice cream. Do you have a machine to do that?

Or, let it melt and then use it as a kind of sauce/creme anglaise on fruit, pound cake, a crumble, cobbler, etc.

I love having raw garlic in dressings like ranch, but I often don't need to use all the dressing at once. I'd like to save it, but I've always heard you shouldn't touch raw garlic after a day unless it's been in oil. Do other fats like buttermilk also preserve it for longer? Or should I still toss it and not try to save it for later use?

I've never had trouble with adding raw garlic to dressings and keeping it for a few days. Maybe my tastebuds aren't as sensitive. But another way of approaching it is to make garlic confit, which is to slowly cook garlic cloves in a vat of olive oil (which you can reuse) until they're soft (takes about 30 mins) - and then add to dressings and such. It takes the sharp bite out of garlic but preserves the flavor.

We finally succumbed to Instant Pot mania, and now have no idea what to make. What are a couple of good starter recipes (no chicken)? And any good cookbooks you'd recommend?

Beans! Love cooking batches of beans as well as steel cut oats in my Instant Pot. Those are both great things to experiment with and get to know your machine.

Personally, I have had good luck with recipes from "Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker," America's Test Kitchen's "Multicooker Perfection" and Melissa Clark's books.

Here's a story Bonnie did.

instant pot

ARTICLE: As the Instant Pot goes mainstream, a crush of cookbooks follows — and hits every niche

So, we have a produce drawer filled with asparagus and are getting ready to leave town for a week. We'd love to make something with it and freeze the results but aren't sure what direction to take. What about asparagus soup -- will it freeze? Or any other ideas?

How about this delicious-sounding asparagus leek soup -- by all looks of it, should freeze beautifully. This simple asparagus soup also looks lovely.

Thank you for the article on cutting fruit. It was a much needed reminder that preparing even simple foods is an act of love to others and to myself and not a chore. I've been slicing nectarines with a different attitude since then. And thanks for referring to "equators" and "latitude" on round fruits. I thought I was the only one.

Several years ago our family went to Mexico for a wedding. We rented one of those resort places for everybody. They provided a large bowl of tropical fruit so one day I stood in the kitchen and cut up all the fruit. It was relaxing for me. My sister in law stood there silently watching me. I don't think she normally has access to that kind of fruit and wouldn't have taken the initiative to cut it herself. She was so patient. When I was done she practically pounced on the bowl. It made me happy.

I've been woefully behind on my free range chatting (having a tiny human in your life seems to do that), but just did some catching up on past chats. So sad to see Bonnie depart from these pages, but what a pleasant surprise to see Olga pop up in the free range gang! I've been a fan since way back in the sassy radish days - your roasted tomato salsa and the hearts and minds chocolate cake are still in our regular rotation three states and many years later - can't wait to see more here!

Hi there! We all miss Bonnie and there are big shoes to fill! Thanks so much for your kind words -- it means so much! And we are all glad to have you as a reader here! That winning hearts and minds cake came from Molly (of Orangette fame) and it's also on our regular rotation - really never fails to win hearts, minds, and stomachs!

Help! What to do with an overgrowth of rosemary? I'm not a huge meat/steak person, so a bit stuck on how to best use it...

Do you like cauliflower? If you're willing to turn your oven on in the summer, I love this Cauliflower Pasta Gratin recipe. The recipe calls for just one sprig, but I loooove rosemary and usually use way more.  You could also steep the rosemary in lemonade. I've never made them myself, but I bet rosemary shortbread cookies would be amazing. 

Adding it to a drink is a great idea -- we've got a Rosemary Lemonade right here.  You can make a simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar) and then drop some rosemary in there to let it infuse. I think adding it to a gin, vodka or white tequila cocktail would be delicious. We have this Lemon Thyme Cello that is delicious and you can sub the thyme for rosemary--or add both! 

As for desserts, you could add it as a flavor in ice cream (see Becky's ice cream guide) with fruit like raspberries or peaches, or a cake. We also have Orange Peel and Rosemary Scented Butter Cookies, Salty Honey Bars where you can replace thyme for rosemary, and a Blueberry-Rosemary Bread Pudding.


I have a pretty strong hatred of soy sauce. I'm fine with it if it's just a few dashes in a soup or much larger sauce where it's just providing some umami and I can't actually pick the flavor out. But once it's concentrated enough for me to taste it, no thank you. This means pretty wide swaths of whole cuisines that seem to use it in most of their dishes are lost to me. I really would like to explore some of these cuisines, but when soy sauce makes up a large portion of a dish or sauce, I'm at a loss as to what to do. Is there some substitute I could use? Even just maybe broth? I cut it out when I can, but so often it seems to make up a significant part of the recipe (like the miso dressing in the list published recently).

How about liquid aminos or coconut aminos? Have you tried them? If not, it's worth a taste to see if you like. Another thought is Chinese black vinegar. I've used that in the past to cut some of the sodium from soy-sauce-heavy dishes, and it's super tasty, IMHO.

Thank you for the article on storing your summer produce - such a great guide! I'm wondering how you all wash your produce? Do you just rinse it under water? Use vinegar and water and let it sit for a little bit? I've seen people use dish soap to wash apples and things with a tougher skin, which always seems a little strange to me. Thanks for any help!

Glad you liked the piece. Yes, I pretty much stick to water. Studies (I link to some in the other piece below) have shown that water and then drying is very effective at removing pathogens from produce. Definitely do not use soap. That's not recommended, because soap is not approved for eating! Stick with water, a brush if need be and a clean towel. I have also used a 3 to 1 vinegar to water solution sometimes to wash things with exteriors I plan to eat, but don't bother with that anymore.


ARTICLE: How to store peaches, corn and melons and stop wasting summer’s best produce

washing produce

ARTICLE: Yes, you need to wash your produce. Here’s how.

Chocolate milk shakes?

That could work! To avoid diluting, could freeze some milk or cream in ice cube trays to blend up with it... 

Can you suggest some healthy baking recipes (e.g., muffins, quick breads) that use almond and/or coconut flours. I inherited two bags from a departing neighbor and have no experience baking with either ingredient. I'm not restricted to gluten free baking and eating so if mixing them in with regular flour is an option, that would be fine for me.

What about Almond Financiers? They'll be cute and fancy! And a Holiday Almond Cake. Recently had an almond cake with apple butter at a restaurant and it was delicious. Could also serve with peaches. 

Still waiting for that beautiful bean book ... :)

Wow, thanks! Yeah, it takes a long time to publish a book! It's available now for pre-order, but not on sale until Feb. 4, 2020. Be patient!

I probably go through a 5 lb bag of AP flour in a 6 month period. I typically keep it in an air tight glass container. Is it truly optimal for me to store it in the fridge or freezer? or is the pantry ok?

I think either fridge or freezer works - depends on where you have more room!

I made the summer fruit crisp for a dinner party last weekend and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it and there was not a drop left, which defeated my sincere hope for leftovers. Thanks for the recipe!

Awesome, thanks! That Maida Heatter, she knew how to put together a good recipe. We loved it, too, and so have readers based on feedback! A couple of folks have posted photos of their crumbles on Instagram and it makes my heart swell. :)

Summer Fruit Crumble

RECIPE: The best summer fruit belongs in this crispy, buttery crumble

Thanks for the fruit crumble recipe. Is the extra step of toasting nuts worth the extra time-and-skillet-to-wash on a busy day, given that the nuts will be baked in the topping for 25-30 minutes?

I would, yes. You could also do it in the oven on a baking sheet while it's preheating. The thing is, the nuts are sandwiched in between the filling and the crumble topping, so they're not getting the direct exposure to heat that will bring out that toasted nutty goodness.

I like to use fresh ginger when I'm cooking, but I always feels like I can't use all of it before it starts to soften and shrivel. Rachael, are there any cool ways to use it as the ginger is about to go bad?

Yes! I love blending it with pineapple (fresh or canned). If your recipe also called for cilantro or another fresh herb, toss those in too (stems included!). Have it with yogurt for breakfast, or mix it with juice/seltzer/rum to chill out in the evening.

If you have a grill, throw the most woody sprigs of rosemary on the grill with some vegetables. The rosemary "smoke" is lovely.


I'm really looking forward to making your mushroom Wellington this week! What would you suggest I use if I can't find chestnuts? I couldn't find them at my local (crappy) supermarket, and I don't have time to do anything but one trip to Whole Foods. If they don't have it, is there a replacement? Thanks!

Sure! If you can't find, I'd just sub in more pecans! Hope you love it!

RECIPE: Roasted Portobello, Pecan and Chestnut Wellington

Use branches of rosemary as bbq skewers!


I have a big load of basil in jars on the counter waiting for me to get home from work. Pine nuts are soooo expensive—I've subbed walnuts and sunflower seeds in pesto before, but are there any other good nuts/seeds for basil pesto?

I almost always make mine with pecans now. Big bag from Costco to the rescue.

Go to this site, which has more accurate cooking times than the Instant Pot manual has:


Nuts don't release that much stuff when toasted, so I usually just wipe out the killet afterward. Easy peasy. No need for a full-on deep clean. And oh my yes, holy cow the toasting makes a difference!

Can you dry or freeze it? It's also lovely on top of homemade Focaccia (or you could even adorn plain store-bought Ciabatta bread with rosemary to simulate Focaccia).

If you're omnivores, maybe prepare and freeze Chicken Divan using asparagus instead of broccoli.

How about Rosemary Orange Shortbread Cookies? They're amazing.

Thanks for the reminder! Great idea.

RECIPE: Rosemary-Orange Shortbread Cookies

for the bean cookbook, check out Crescent Dragonwagon's wonderful "Bean by Bean" cookbook, although I don't think it calls for pressure cooking, but you could adjust.

Yes, it's a good one! Love her.

Freeze it. Nothing simpler than to pull it out, grate what you need, and put it back.

A past guest, Angela Davis endorses this! Said it "grates like snow" when frozen beforehand.

Thanks for the piece. I am making some ratatouille right this minute in order to use up those eggplants, onions, and peppers that are a bit past prime. I'm a long time friend to bruised and damaged produce but regular reminders are a good thing for all of us.

So glad you enjoyed it! Your ratatouille sounds amazing. What a wonderful way to help that imperfect/older produce shine!

Put rosemary leaves into EVOO, or a neutral oil if you don't want the strong EVOO taste. Drizzle over grilled dishes, pizza, use in salad dressing.

Today's Post includes a great-looking recipe for Summer Fruit Crumble but my husband is lactose-intolerant and cannot eat butter. Is there a substitute?

I think it would work great with coconut oil (cooled/solid).

I'd like to use chopped almonds or hazelnuts in place of the oatmeal in the fruit crumble. Any idea of how fine to chop the nuts and what amount to use?

Well, the recipe already calls for nuts. You could leave out the oats if you want and it would be fine. Sliced almonds, though, would be a nice swap for the oats. Probably use about the same amount. This recipe definitely has plenty of flexibility to experiment with changes like that.

I heartily endorse the Dad's Microwave Bread and Butter pickles. I've been making them for years, at least until I had to stop growing cukes because the cuke beetles kept killing the plants. But even now I buy some just to make those pickles. You can use less sugar if you prefer them less sweet (I do) and you can also add a fresh or dried hot pepper to spice them up.

Although we go through flour faster than the chatter does, we store ours in the fridge. To prevent leaking onto other items, we place the bag of flour inside two plastic grocery sacks.

Thanks to Dave McIntyre for the article explaining chardonnay. I stopped drinking it years ago because I do not like that bitter "oaky" taste. Admittedly the stuff I was drinking then was on the low end of the price scale (often from a box!) or the "house white wine" at a chain restaurant. Next time I am ot at a nice place, I'll give the chardonnay a try.

Hooray! Also, feel free to ask the sommelier about how the wine is made/aged -- whether it has a lot of oak or not. A restaurant with a solid wine program will be able to answer such questions.

I have an employee potluck on Sunday. We have pescatarians, cheatin' vegans, gluten-frees, and allergies to chocolate. Suggestions? I'm not opposed to making/adapting a second dish for the gluten intolerant. Apps, mains, dessert, I'm up for whatever.

How bout this salad? Vegan and g/f! Gorgeous, summery, and holds well.

Corn, Radish, Tomato and Tortilla Chip Salad


Rangers, I made homemade salad dressing for the first time last night - olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, fresh basil. However, the dressing is a bit too tart for my taste. Any suggestions please on a way to rescue it that doesn't involve sugar or gluten? (I'm avoiding both right now for health reasons.) Thanks for any advice!

Well, the easiest way to correct over-tartness in a dressing is to add a little honey, but sounds like you don't want to go there. So another thought would be to just dilute it -- add a little water and/or olive oil, and re-season with salt to make sure it tastes good. Basically, you want to up the proportions of everything that's not tart, which in this case would be the lemon juice and, to a lesser extent, the mustard.

While preparing peaches for the summer fruit crumble recipe, I scalded my peaches for ease of peeling. I noticed that every peach was bubbling air out of the stem hole while in the water. When I peeled them and cut them open, every seed had split. I know that this does not affect the quality of the peach itself, but what does it say about the age or storage conditions of the fruit?

Here's an explanation:

Pit split and pit shattering are two stone fruit growing problems caused by environmental conditions, or by steps taken by growers to produce larger fruit. Anything that causes the fruit to grow larger increases the chance of pit splitting of stone fruits. This includes excessive thinning as well as increased watering and fertilizing close to harvest time. A late frost that causes a partial crop loss and heavy rains during the critical growth period also cause pit splitting and shattering.

More details here.

And thanks for making the crumble! Hope you liked it.

ON a whim, I bought a small basket of tomatillos at the farmer's market last Sunday, then I looked for recipes for something besides salsa verde. I found these instructions for cooking them in a cast iron pan on the stove (didn't want to use my oven), and they came out REALLY tasty. I put them in a skillet dinner with onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and a can of black beans, seasoned with chili powder and cumin. It was delicious. I will buy them again.


Zucchini, butternut squash and the like seem to leave a film on everything the cut sides touch. Do you know of any solutions on how to clean knives, cutting boards and my hands? There seems to be a lot of inquiries and complaints about it online but nobody has a solution. Running the plastic cutting board through the dishwasher doesn't even work! Scrubbing the knife under hot soapy water for five minutes seems to remove some of the "stain" but that's using a lot of water.

Have you tried a citrus-based cleaner such as Citra Solv?

Legumes! Lentil or chick-pea salad, curried lentils or chick-peas, etc.

I would never argue with that.

Several weeks ago somebody asked how her mother got frozen peaches to stay all bright and not get browned. I think the answer is Fruit Fresh. My mom used to sprinkle it on sliced peaches before freezing and it worked pretty well.


When I was a child, we had a pick your own farm for the Southern vegetables that were not available in the stores (and still aren't). It meant we got the passed over misshapen tomatoes, funny cucumbers, under/oversized squash, partly filled bean and pea pods, curly okra. When we go to the farm stand now, I can choose the flavor filled items and I don't overlook the scarred ones. I miss fuzzy zucchini (which means it's fresh--California stores have this). I miss the Ventura farmer's market.

What a great experience to have growing up! And an ideal way to learn that "perfect-looking" produce isn't always the best produce.  If you're looking for more on-the-farm experiences, I'm wondering if you've ever gone gleaning? Volunteers go out to farms to harvest what was left behind and donate it to nonprofits helping those in need. Here are some DC-area groups that organize gleaning outings

I followed Joe's advice to toast it in a hot cast-iron pan, and while it took a while for all the liquid to cook away so that it would brown, it was worth it. I put some in a salad and some in a leftover pork chop & apple sauce and both were grerat.

So glad to hear it! Boy, charring really is magic.

Return it.

Sietsema mentioned this ingredient in a recent review and now I really want to make some. Have any of the rangers done this?

This looks like a promising strategy. I could also see doing this a la vanilla sugar, letting salt hang out with some crushed tamarind pods until it's become infused.

Loved your description of the constraints of your co-workers. My favorite true story was about an employee who, while eating a huge, regular brownie complained that the company provided pasta and pizza and she's gluten intolerant and there was nothing she could eat Make something you love that you kow other people will love and joy of pot luck is that there's always more than enough and not everyone needs to eat everything


I have a delicious granola recipe (3 cups oats, 2 cups mixed nuts, 1/4 oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup, some vanilla and cinnamon) that I would like to use to make granola bars. I've seen suggestions for adding nut butter to make it all stick together but will that really turn it into a bar? I'd love to have your guidance on how to turn granola into bars (that don't immediately fall to pieces).

You need something sticky, and to pack the granola ingredients thicker (in a smaller pan) than you usually would. I'd try subbing in honey for the maple syrup -- it gets stickier -- and see how that goes.

I don't eat mango, but my daughter loves it, so I recently went to cut one up for the first time. Didn't even know there was a pit in the middle, so it was quite a shock when I hit it and had to figure out what to do. Luckily the little one waited patiently, and she gobbled it all up once I was finished!

I find this interesting because I've never had that problem, and I wonder whether it's the tap water in the homes of those who do have it? I've found tremendous differences in cleaning ability in different places. Over-softened water is particularly bad for deep cleaning.

We bought a can of Israeli tehina recently to use in a hummus recipe. The hummus turned out especially well, light and creamy. I was putting the empty can in the recycling when the ingredient list caught my eye, and it turned out that the tehina was essentially hummus. So the secret to good homemade hummus is...the addition of store-bought hummus. And the moral of the story is to read the ingredients, even if you think you know what you're buying! :)

What you want is French chardonnay. I too am tired of California's overload of oak & butter both in chard and sauv blanc so I stick to European whites.

I finally used my bamboo steamer and then realized I don't know how to clean it and may have used it wrong. Use - I cooked broccoli directly on the slats because that seemed like the way steam would get through but now the slats have a greenish tinge. Some internet sites say to use parchment paper or a plate inside the steamer. Should I? For cleaning, now that it's sat on the stove, used, for a few days, should I clean it with some big deal antibacterial like Formula 409 or would that leave a residue that would contaminate the next thing cooked in it? It doesn't look like it's meant for the dishwasher but really I don't know. Thanks for clarifying.

Hmm, I've never done this, but here's a primer that might help.

Nicaraguans sometimes put fresh rosemary in bath water, a Nicaraguan once told me. I don't recall if it's for the scent or something medicinal or soothing but someone reading this may know.

Deconstructed bath bomb!

It's refreshing and stimulating. Alternative therapies use it to, say, counter jet lag.

I put a thin sheen of mineral oil on my bamboo steamer every once in a while. It keeps things from sticking pretty well. I put parchment for pot stickers, because they STICK

Trying to use only garden grown veggies: peppers (sweet and mild chilies), spinach, broccolini, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, shallots, leeks, coming soon squash and sweet corn. I swear I have tried every combination I can think of. Every meal is like Chopped for foragers. I need some outside ideas. Help?

Curious what you've tried so far? That's an inspiring list! Have you ever made upma? It's an Indian grain-based dish that I usually load with all the vegetables I have on hand. You might use this recipe as a baseline, but adjust liberally based on what you're working with. Amazing with an egg on top! 

Any suggestions for food to give a vegetarian friend in the early stages of chemotherapy treatment? She's very slender to start with but I don't know if she wants calorie-rich food and anything with refined sugar or white flour would be outside her eating norms. I guess whatever won't seem nauseating is a good start. All I can think of is applesauce.

This is such a personal question, and probably different people have different needs/desires when undergoing chemo. I really think the best way to know what to give your friend is to ask her, or at least a friend or family member helping with her care so you get it exactly right.

While looking through a stack of my older cookbooks, I realized there were reasons why I bought them and good memories of special stuff I made from them. One little jewel was Ainsley Harriot's "Meals in Minutes". While not a vegetarian cookbook, it has a recipe for what he calls a "beanburgher" I made it for a vegetarian cousin who's a very fussy eater, and she ate it! Make new friends, but keep the old...

Sounds great -- what's in that recipe?

I really loathe sweet pickles and the cucumbers I'm growing (West India Burr Gherkins) have a delicate taste that I think sugar would spoil. Do you have something that has an acidic tang but is still fresh tasting in mind?

What about applying the curry-spiced brine from these green beans?

Every home gardener eats their own home-grown imperfect as well as perfect produce. As long as the stuff hasn't actually gone "bad"... We also can our peach "seconds," trimming away bad spots. Ditto with apples for homemade applesauce.

I find myself with an excess of peach syrup (bottled - a gift) and have no idea what to do with it. I love baking, and was thinking maybe a crumble or something with nuts or bourbon, but don't know how it's liquid form will work. Baked goods? Cocktails? Dressing? All suggestions welcome.

I'll leave liquid refreshment to Carrie, but as far as baking, it would be a really cool thing to let soak into a pound cake, a la the British lemon drizzle cake. Lots of skewer holes and brush/soak. You could probably also use a bit to flavor whipped cream. I bet it would also be nice on top of yogurt.

For cocktails, a bellini comes to mind! Sparkling wine, peach syrup and maybe St-Germain?

I've been perfecting my biscuit game with all the soft fruits out there, making cobbler topping, and I'd like to try a batter-type cobbler topping like I grew up with. Do you have a recipe that isn't too sweet & cake-y? I like to let the fruit flavor dominate.

Not sure what your threshold is, but here's our very popular cobbler recipe.

any-fruit cobbler

RECIPE: This cozy cobbler can be made to suit almost any fruit — or mood

The French embassy served a very, very nice white burgundy during the enviro film festival the year before last. It was a little overchilled at the start (which surprised the heck out of me), but was perfect about 5 minutes later.

I make this WaPo soup, subbing spinach for watercress, then add a bit of pepper to compensate. Try leek instead of onions.

Thanks, everyone!

When I was a slip of a boy, we lived up the road from a pick-your-own farm. Whenever there was a thunderstorm in the fall months, Mom would bundle us into the car after it was over and rush us down to the farm to gather dropped apples that the storm had brought down. Drops cost less than picking from the tree, and they were always delicious because you knew they were ripe. Sigh... I wish there were more pick-your-own places around here.

I'm allergic and am starting to wheeze just from reading this chat! The orange shortbread cookies look great, though. Would a different herb work, and if so, which? Thanks!

Lavender, perhaps?

What about sage?

Thanks...but equal amounts flour and sugar? Way too sweet for me. But I will try it with a half cup of sugar and report back.

I mean, you haven't tried it yet, but OK! Keep in mind that cutting back sugar dramatically can also affect texture, color, etc.

We do have some low-sugar fruit desserts coming up soon on Voraciously, so stay tuned.

Thanks for the recommendation. Are we all welcome to crash there?

There's a process to get in -- see this video for a fun explanation from Mary Beth Albright.

. . . also serves amazing cheese and bread!

What are your thoughts on air fryers?? Worth it?

My super biased opinion is no, but I also have not tried it :) I have so many contraptions and appliances at home that I don't think it's the one for me. Anyone else on the team?

Haven't really used it much. I know others sing the praises, but I suppose it depends on that age-old calculation of frequency of use/storage space!

Well, you've watched us carefully to avoid burning, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and many thanks to Rachael and Carrie for helping with the a's.

Now for the giveaway book: The chatter who asked about "Chopped" approaches at home will get "The Washington Post Cookbook." Send your mailing info to, and she'll get you your book. 

Until next week, 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.
Maura Judkis
Maura is a staff food writer at The Post.
Becky Krystal
Becky is the lead writer for Voraciously.
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.
Rachael Jackson
Rachael Jackson writes about confusing food situations at
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