Free Range on Food: Cooking without heat, non-kitchen tools, this week's recipes, low sugar desserts and more!

Aug 14, 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 picking up what we've been putting down, including:

For you PostPoints members, this is your last chat to earn points, because the program is ending.  Today's code is FR2734 . Remember, you'll record and enter it at the PostPoints site under Claim My Points to earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter the code by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday to get credit for participating.

We'll also have a giveaway book for our favorite chatter today. It will remain a mystery until the end of the chat!

Let's do this.

As you know, the PostPoints program is ending on August 16th, Friday. A few weeks ago, I suggested that the Post allow readers to donate their PostPoints to a central collection office or person. These points would then be converted into grocery gift cards that would be distributed to those in need. I have too few points accrued to qualify for any prize. My 2500 points could make a difference to somebody, though. I'm sure that there are other readers who feel the same. It seems a shame to waste them. Is this point donation program in the works, or is it impractical?

I assume the latter. If you'd like, though, feel free to email the program at

I am dying for a crunchy taco and DC doesn’t seem to have any unless I go to Northeast for Taco Bell. The two times I tried to make my own shells was a disaster. They puffed up too much or immediately became tough for some reason. Any tips for frying tortillas into taco shells?

My best luck with them has been baking. You can buy molds to sit them in for this, but you can also drape them over 2 bars of an oven rack, letting the ends hang down. Works well!

Where else would a recipe for gravy made with pork sausage specifically call for kosher salt?


The White Sangria with Peaches and Raspberries sounds delicious. Could you please give some examples of dry white wines that would work well?

Any white wine you like, so long as it's not too sweet or too oaky. I would steer clear of putting a prized bottle into sangria, but anything that's relatively tasty to drink on its own: sauvignon blanc, albarino, vinho verde, pinot grigio, and so on, would work well. Chardonnays might be too full in flavor and good ones are not inexpensive.

I have planted a wide variety of peppers. Jalapeño, Jalafuego, Havasu, Hot Rod Serrano, Flaming Flare Fresno, Carmen Italian sweet pepper, Shishito, Cajun Belle, Cowhorn, Serrano, Arapaho - moderately hot cayenne, and Anaheims and they are producing like crazy. I will pickle some, but I would like ideas for hot sauces that are either cooked or fermented.

A few ideas for you, starting with the easiest: Slash the peppers on the sides, stick them in bottles or jars, and cover with white vinegar. Will turn into vinegar pepper sauce perfect for dousing on, well, anything, but my favorite is collard greens.

Cathy Barrow wrote this primer on pickling peppers for us -- you could do this with any of those.

And then on her site, there's this hot sauce that uses the delightfully names facing-heaven peppers, but you could sub!

Hi. I get really tired of packing a lunch. I know people make freezer meals for dinner, but it seems those are entire meals that feed a family. Can you recommend things that I could make as a meal, but freeze in single portions for a lunch for me? What I have so far: enchiladas and soup. But I need more. Thanks!

I dashed to the dead-tree Food Section, thinking I must have missed this article, and I don't see it. Is there a slip-up or did I just look in the wrong place? (I'm the poster who's always asking you "why sugar" or "why so much sugar," obviously...)

Welcome to the wonderful world of digital media! It'll be in print next week, but pubbed online last week. Amazing, isn't it?

Here you go:

With less sugar, these cobblers, crisps and crumbles let their fruit flavors shine brighter


A friend went to Alaska years ago and brought back small jars of cloudberry jam as souvenirs. It was delightful.

We recently went to Liverpool, England and visited Maray  at the Albert Dock. We had an amazing roasted cauliflower covered in a yogurt sauce and harissa. I think I can figure out the recipe, or get close to it. I just don't know where I can get some harissa to experiment with. Do you have any good sources? Online, preferably since we don't live in the DMV area. Thanks!

There are a number of good brands you could get online - and harissa can be stored for a really long time. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry decent harissa, if either are near you. If not, Amazon carries both Mina and New York Shuk brands, both of which make excellent harissa paste.

I have a lot and will be redeeming most of them for grocery store gift cards myself. However, there is a reward available for less than 2500 points. Only one, but the "Washington Post Tote Bag" (code TWPTOTE) is 2400 points. I won't be able to use up all my points evenly, and I would love to be able to donate the 600 or so I will have left over.

I think Brad Leone has a recipe for fermented hot sauce that sounds tasty! 

What a coincidence: I spent time yesterday unsuccessfully searching on line for a biscuit making machine. Biscuit making machines were used for preparing beaten biscuits. There were loads of hits when the search term “beaten biscuit machine” was used, but that term ran afoul of a difference between Brit speak and American English: biscuit to Brits means what we call cookies. And all those hits were for those caulking gun-like gizmos used to make cookies. Does anyone know of a source for a machine for making beaten biscuits? They are mentioned in old books, so I know they existed.

I can vouch for Rick Bayless' recipe for habanero sauce, and I'd imagine it would work with other peppers. I've made it several times and family loves it. (Do shake before using, so that the "sediment" recombines with the liquids.)  Bears repeating: wear gloves, open the windows, and for the love, don't rub your eyes.

What an engagingly written feature- it made me want to jump on a plane to Milkweed Inn. In lieu of that, I just put the book on hold at the library. One of the best I've read in awhile, great job, Deborah Reid (& editors/etc)!

Thank you! I usually pay pretty close attention to the on-line edition but lately the A section has been too depressing to look at. I've been experimenting with cutting sugar in cobbler and it's been fascinating.

I've had great luck with Southern Living's "our best ever buttermilk biscuits" - there's even a tutorial on YouTube. I'm from north of the Mason-Dixon Line but my Tennessee-raised guy gives them his heartiest endorsement.

Go to an antique/junk store and look for an old washing mangle. I've seen illustrations in old cookbooks and the biscuit-beater seems to be exactly that kind of device. (Scrub well before using, obviously.)

Dave doesn't mention the corkscrew among his many wine openers. Is that one so verboten that even someone with a drawerful of openers doesn't have one corkscrew? I stopped using ours years ago, when it was pointed out how messy those devices are, mangling the foil, etc. But I still have one in our camper, and there's probably another out in the mud room. Also: What about the Rabbit? Same foil-mangling problems with that one, but it's such a pleasurable device to use. Screw goes in, Rabbit is leveraged, out comes the cork, which, once out of the bottle, can then be easily removed with an easy up-and-down motion. Would Dave frown upon me if he saw me use it? Would he be searching his subsequently poured glass of wine for, say, bits of cork, etc.? I can always resort to my waiter's corkscrew, with that blade that couldn't cut soft butter.

Dave says:

The openers I described are corkscrews -- there are three of them in the photo. And why on Earth would I frown upon you or anyone for using a Rabbit?

WINE: Bottles are only the start of a wine drinker’s collection. It’s the gadgets that pile up.

At least, that's what we call it in our house. Any good "quickle" recipes for using up the surplus of cucumbers this time of year? Asking in advance, and thank you!!

Our very own Becky Krystal did a post on this just a few months ago -- quick pickling is FUN! If you need a specific half sour pickle recipe (comes together in a few days), I very much enjoyed this BonApp video where they walk you through the process.

Bride-to-be requested a specific white choc raspberry cheesecake. II know, doesn't seem to fit with Mexican - kind of makes my stomach hurt thinking about it. Guessing some won't eat that - what do you think of a tres leches cake (forgive misspellings). Again, probably too rich, but we'll send leftovers home. Any other suggestions most welcome.

Well now I want cheesecake.  To be honest, you should check with the bride-to-be, see if she'd like two cakes. I mean...if I was getting married, I would.

Do what the bride wants, of course!

It's not cooking, sure, but my favorite thing about summer is an excuse to have a dinner of pate, crackers, cheese and pickles. Decadence without the need for a hot oven or stove!

Nothing better than a cheese plate for dinner! 

To make salsa, was peeling tomatoes ( dunk in boiling water, then ice water) for what seemed like hours. Took a break, house stunk, so heated up white vinegar to kill the smell. Left the pot of vinegar on the stove (heat off). Next morning resumed the tomato peeling marathon. Then realized, tomatoes boiling in vinegar, not water. We're talking a lot of good tomatoes for salsa. Be grateful I didn't have any of your cell phone numbers, but would love to hear what you might have done (besides not making such a mistake).

Too funny! Although, probably not that big a deal, right, cause a little vinegar in salsa would be welcome! (Imagine if you were peeling peaches for a dessert!) Also, how much of the vinegar is going to penetrate the tomato skin? What did they taste like?

Seriously. The article late last week about non-culinary tools to use in your kitchen was terrific, and gave me ideas that I hadn't considered. Thank you so much.!

And olives. Don't forget the olives.

I've been OD-ing on white peaches and nectarines from the farmer's market, and I find the peaches in particular need those few days in a paper bag with an apple to reach their peak. My question is, does the apple, well, "wear out" after a while? I've been using an Early Gold for the past month, and wonder whether I should swap it out for the Summer Rambo I got yesterday (today's farmer's market day so I'll be buying more fruit!).

I assume it's worn out when it's no longer fit to eat? You should probably eat the apple before that point and go ahead and swap it. 

We got two different kinds of champagne-cork grippers at Domaine Chandon some years ago; one is like a wide-mouth pair of pliers, and the other is like a start that you pinch around the cork. Some champagne corks can be very resistant and these tools really help.

Its official name is a "biscuits brake" if that helps you in your search.

Would a pasta roller work? They aren't very wide, but they would do the same thing as the rollers I saw on tv used by two elderly women to make them.

I'd love to make vegetarian beef- or chicken-like gravy using imitation beef or chicken powder, that I could serve over biscuits, bread or noodles. Gotta a recipe for me, please?

You need this stuff.

I've been making cobbler at least twice a week since sour cherries ripened in June, and last week something startling happened. I've been using the Joy of Cooking Fluffy Biscuit recipe for my topping (per JoC's usual "make this recipe which requires this other recipe"), and it calls for heating the fruit with sugar, then topping the pot or pan with the biscuit. Well, I had a big bowlful of white peaches in the fridge that I'd had to peel and slice ASAP, so I just put them in the casserole and plopped the biscuit on top and baked...and those biscuits rose at least twice as high as when I did the fruit-heating! They were feather-light, too. Is there some kind of hot/cold reaction here?

Yep, as Becky described in her biscuits deep dive, biscuits rise higher when the butter stays cold before the biscuits experience the hot blast of the oven. So the fact that the fruit was hot under the biscuits when you first put the biscuits on top before it went into the oven means that the butter started warming.

ARTICLE: How to make your best batch of biscuits

This hour goes by way too fast! Thank you for doing this.

It does, doesn't it? Thank you for joining us!

Friends always laugh when they see the propane torch and the vise-grips in our kitchen. Thanks for the support.

Maura Judkis - It's the height of Summer, so naturally both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are bringing their Pumpkin Spice items to the forefront. I see that Pumpkin Spice Spam will be available in September. Will you be brave enough to try it? Please share your experience with us! Aside from Pumpkin Spice gasoline, what other item do you anticipate being "Pumpkin Spiced" this year?

Oh yes, I was messaging my producers about Pumpkin Spice Nightmare Spam this morning and it is 100% on my list.


Pray for me. 

I already have "this stuff." What I need is a RECIPE for turning it into gravy.

So testy! That doesn't tend to get you very far around here, but here you go, just turn "this stuff" into no-chicken broth, then cook a roux on the stovetop with 2 tablespoons oil or vegan butter and 2 tablespoons flour, until it's light brown. Then whisk in 1 cup of your no-chicken broth, and simmer until it thickens. 

I used welding gloves as pot holders for a while, but they don't wash well.

i just wanted to let you know that i made the Dark & Stormy icebox cake and it was a crowd-pleaser, and super easy. The only error in the recipe had to do with how long it will keep in the fridge (one day). We finally finished it on its 3rd day and it was still amazing! Can't wait to make the others, and possibly develop my own.

So glad you loved the recipe -- we did too!!


Please update us when you make your own!!!

Earlier this summer, I was hiking in a local county park and noticed the wild raspberries were ripe. I ate a few handfuls and promised myself I'd come back with some plastic containers. I went back a week later, and all the berries were gone. Not a single berry on any bush. I guess the birds and/or deer had a feast.

Or children.

Clothespins instead of/in addition to chip clips. Especially helpful for people with hand arthritis or other hand flex limitations -- easier to manipulate than binder clips or even the press-zipper bags. Tape or use a removable adhesive to put a clothespin inside the cabinet -- easier to pin up recipes, etc. without leaving tape on the paper. Tweezers -- for removing pin bones from fish like trout, etc.

Nice collection. Thanks!

I've come into possession of some black lentils, black beans, and vaquero beans from Rancho Gordo. I am new to dried beans, and to the high-quality product that everyone says you get from RG. What are some recipes that would really make the beans shine? (Extra points if it can be a one-dish meal that I can bring to the office for lunch.) And I know you've answered this a million times before, but the best way of freezing beans is... with the cooking water after they're cooked? With the soaking water before they're cooked? Fear not, I plan to buy Joe's bean book, but I don't want to wait that long to start experimenting!

The best way to freeze beans is with the cooking water after they're cooked.

As for letting these shine, you don't have to do much! 

With the black lentils, check out this fun idea for turning them into "caviar" and serving on blini. So great!

For the black beans and the vaquero beans, I say just cook them (without soaking) under a couple inches of water, along with 1 tablespoon salt (YES), a strip of kombu (dried seaweed), a couple bay leaves, a halved onion, and a couple garlic cloves. You'll have the most gorgeous beans with the most delicious broth, ready to use in all SORTS of dishes.

Binder clips for closing bags and a rubber mallet from Home Depot for crushing things.

... you made me spray iced tea. Luckily the keyboard is safe!

Any word of explanation yet on why Lidia Bastianich's restaurant in Pittsburgh is closing? Everyone's being really tight-lipped about it up here in Da Burgh.

Funny you should mention this, because I was supposed to go to a rehearsal dinner there in a few weeks, and the bride and groom had to scramble to find a new place. Lidia Bastianich is problematic -- she has been slapped with many wage discrimination suits, including one that she "enslaved" an employee -- and she is a former business partner of Mario Batali, whose bad behavior we have covered in detail here at The Post. I don't have any inside scoop, unfortunately. 

I live to repurpose items, so what a fun article! My kitchen is full of non-culinary things like French clothespins as bag clips, and 3-ring binders to organize recipes plus a clipboard with a split keyring to hold an individual recipe at eye level (hangs from a cabinet pull next to the stove) so I can see it when I’m cooking. And, of course, a piece of a foam pool noodle to cushion the handle of my box grater. In a recent twist, I’m now using a culinary item in non-cooking ways: a steam table food pan makes a perfect replacement for all the cracked plastic dishpans and crumpled dollar-store aluminum pans cluttering up my home. In the kitchen it can go in the oven to sanitize food for my exotic pets and also works as a small dishpan. Its non-kitchen uses include being a footbath, holding wet washcloths after a sponge bath, and as a basin for anything wet or dirty. Made of stainless steel, it won’t mildew, absorb odors, and can be sanitized in the dishwasher. And its rim won’t crack into a splintery precipice of jagged edges like my last plastic dishpan.

on an ambitious shopping venture i bought two jars of lemon curd but now have no idea what to do with them. The obvious thought is lemon bars but all the recipes i've seen for lemon bars make the curd rather than use store bought. Can i just make a shortbread crust and bake it off and then pour the curd on top? do i need to bake the curd or is it good to go with just some powdered sugar? what are other uses for lemon curd? THANK YOU!

Go ahead and just swap out the lemon curd for the readymade. You might want to bake it just so that it firms up. You can pour lemon curd over pancakes, use it to make sandwich cookies using a simple shortbread cookie or macaron shells. 

Suggesting this Crumbly Lemon Creme Bars recipe because we LOVED it.

Loved the I Regan story - definitely going back to the UP. Old flame (AKA epic mistake) insisted on driving the entire way around Lake Michigan. In a convertible. Only thing that saved me from jumping out of the car was the UP. Tim's recipe for tomato panzanella sounded so good, ran to store for ingredients. Needed another suggestion for tomatoes. Thank you much for both

When I put in "southern style biscuit machineI' into google I got a recipe for using a bread machine. Not sure if that's a help

Do you have any thoughts why Lynne Rossetto Kasper's recipe specifically said not to use Roma tomatoes? It seems odd to single that out. I also like the options to finish it in a food mill, blender, or stick blender, depending on how chunky or clear you want it. It's nice to have those options depending on what recipe you are using the sauce in. For pasta, I like a chunky sauce, so I doubt I would do any processing of it.

It might have been a flavor thing, but if you get in-season Romas, they can't be beat for making sauce, IMHO. 

RECIPE: This fresh tomato sauce is rich, flavorful and yours in under an hour

I have all the ingredients at home except the bread. Could you replace the sourdough bread with baguette for similar results?

Of course you can! It will change the flavor of the salad somewhat. You'll be missing that little tang of sourdough that contrasts so well with the sweet summer tomatoes. 


You'll also have something of a hybrid salad: part Italian, part French, which will raise the hackles of someone of French or Italian extraction. But what's new, right? Those cultures love to argue about food.


RECIPE: Summer Tomato Panzanella

Julia Child was born 107 years ago tomorrow. Happy birthday to her! PBS stations still show her "French Chef" program from years ago. She could make complicated dishes that take up multiple pages in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and also make something simple like a hamburger with Jacques Pepin on another of her TV shows and have the same level of excitement for both. In an interview she described her approach as "If I can do it, you can do it, and here's how to do it." Was she influential in newspapers starting to publish separate Food sections and not just be part of a "woman's" page, like the Style section at The Post coming out of the old "For and About Women" pages?

Love Julia! At The Post, the debut of the Food section, in 1956, preceded Julia's fame -- in fact, in the mid-60s, we published her syndicated column, an offshoot of her PBS show!

The very commonly encountered wild raspberry here in the Potomac Valley is the introduced (read "invasive") wine berry, Rubus phoenicolasius. It can be found just about anywhere other plants will grow, from vacant lots in the city to seemingly untouched wilderness. It's edible, but the flavor is weak. The berries are very loosely attached, and when ripe go fast.

So it took awhile to figure out why the tomatoes tasted a little weird. Salsa recipe had other ingredients, and I added sugar (recipe called for a bit, I added more). Still has a nice kick. Tried to find recipe on your site - needed kind I could freeze.

You are SO correct this recipe is a keeper. I think I found that recipe on serious eats a few years ago. I’ve made it twice this summer and my family begs for it. I have a gluten free friend who makes the tomato part and eats it with black bean and quinoa chips.

So glad you like it! 


The trick, I've discovered, is not to soak the sourdough bread with the tomato-water vinaigrette. Use only as much as you need, so that the bread still has some tooth to it.


RECIPE: Summer Tomato Panzanella

Hi Free Rangers! I decided to try to grow basil, thyme, and rosemary on my deck. It has been much more successful than I thought. What is the best way to store the overabundance for future use? Can I put it in ziplocs in the freezer? Is there another recommended storage method? I have given lots away but still have much more than I can use as it keeps growing and growing. Thanks!

Becky wrote a whole guide on how to use and store fresh herbs! We've also got an article here on how to use up tender herbs--like basil--in huge amounts. And this list of recipes to use up all your dried herbs!

The Better Than Boullion mushroom flavor is like magic. I eat meat and even I like it better than most beef stock out there. It doesn't add the taste of meat, but it adds an intangible meat-like depth and earthiness that's just great in sauces and soups. When my homemade chicken or veggie stock isn't quite rich enough for a soup I'm making, I throw a little in and it makes a huge difference.

Have you any experience with CIA boot camps? I am looking at a bread boot camp in Sonoma or some of the hourly classes at Hyde Park. They are pricey. Are they well regarded? Thanks

We have no experience with them, but maybe a chatter has?

Sorry for the confusion about my earlier question, but the corkscrew I was thinking of is the one with those fly handles - take two hands usually to clamp the thing down. Everyone had one in the 1980s and 90s before, as far as I could tell, the waiters keys, etc., gained a foothold. Maybe my experience was too limited? Anyway, the Rabbit is a variation on that theme. It's kind of fun. Google it and let me know if I should never be seen using one.

I use a Rabbit -- embrace it!

Does anyone have any ideas that really, truly work? Looking for non-toxic. Dealing with an invasion

Yeah, I have much experience with this. I fill a squat glass or canning jar a couple inches full with apple cider vinegar, and then add a drop of dish soap. Cover the top with plastic wrap, and slash a hole in the top. The fruit flies fly in, attracted to the vinegar, and drown.

I keep a roll of painter's masking tape (and a Sharpie) in the kitchen for labeling containers of food to go in the freezer. Stays on in the freezer, peels off with no residue when the container needs washing.

The eponymous plant, a member of the genus Asclepias, is definitely toxic. A few green flower buds sprinkled on a salad might not kill you, but then again how many of us would know beforehand what our tolerance levels for cardiac glycosides might be? What’s next, a light sprinkling of chopped foxglove (digitalis) leaves on the salad? I’ll have the iceberg lettuce, please.

Free Rangers, you're my only hope! We're hosting a dinner party in a couple weeks and I'm at a loss for what to serve for a main dish. We have one vegetarian, one person allergic to poultry, and one who doesn't eat beef or pork. Any ideas you have are greatly, greatly appreciated!

How about a big gorgeous vegetable paella?

for any of the veggies out there, I've found it's a great sub for fish sauce! Dilute the base a little bit so it's not the straight paste but still a little thick!

Mexican wedding cookies, por supuesto (of course)! They're small, roundish things made with lots of nut flour and dusted with confectioners sugar and so very, very, sabrosos (delicious)! People will stuff their pockets with them or I would if you got me an invite.

I assume I can use whatever tomato I want for sauce but what makes San Marzano or plum tomatoes so perfect/special?

They're called paste tomatoes because they have a higher flesh-to-juice ratio, so they cook down into sauce really nicely without it being watery.

Thanks for the guidance, Joe! I think you forgot the link to the black lentil "caviar" though...

Typing too quickly! Here you go:

RECIPE: Black Lentil 'Caviar' With Potato Blini

Considering you're all excellent home cooks - where would you go and what would you order during this D.C. restaurant week? Except snails ...

If I'm ever trying out a restaurant during RW, I look for ones that have items from their regular menu on their RW menu.

Is it too late in the year to start an container herb garden?

Not at all. You've got a couple good months left.

Gardeners Supply Company has traps, and pretty soapstone containers to conceal them in. Yes, they get full or lose their efficacy eventually, but I just order more. It's worth it this time of year.

I'm pretty sure the "partridge berry" mentioned among the feral berries is not the plant many of us in this part of the country know as partridge berry. "Our" partridge berry, Mitchella repens, is a small woodland plant which produced bright red fruits which, although edible, are borne so sparsely that it would take hours to get enough to make the effort worthwhile. In other parts of the country, the name partridge berry is used for a blueberry relative - I'll bet that's what was meant in today's article.

If anyone judges us for using the Rabbit, let them think they are superior while they continue to struggle, get corks stuck, and break their corks with a corkscrew. I'll be over easily removing mine on the first try!

Hi, When I got married two years ago a friend gifted me with an Instant Pot (not on my registry) that she swore by. Fast forward two years (next Monday) and we now have a 13-month old, little sleep and less time to cook. I am thinking I should give the IP a try but have no clue what to do with it. I've scoured for recipes online and they just haven't sounded very exciting or they sound bland. Am I looking in the wrong place? Can you point me to some tasty (and easy) recipes for an Instant Pot? Any help would be great!

Sure. Check out Becky's guide to multicookers here, and then ideas for some great things to make in yours.

Thanks Becky for your article on not-kitchen, kitchen tools. I feel like a genius! Been hiding my "tools" from visitors. With WaPo's imprimatur, no longer.

Tolerate it, plant it. You'll be doing the Monarch butterflies a big favor. Just don't eat it!

We also had tomato gravy on our biscuits (which my brother adored, since he could then skip the ketchup on his eggs). Grandma ("Grandy") would sometimes give us biscuits crumbled in cold buttermilk (supposed to be cornbread). Loved the article. Thank you (a formerly poor southern girl).


Ohh Ohh lemon meringue pie!


Do tomatoes ripen faster if put in paper bag with apples? picked when showing signs of ripening so greedy critters don't get them

Yes, they do! 

Thanks for the link - I'm not vegetarian but like to know of stocks without garlic or soy. SIL and BIL are vegan, and I'd like to have this on hand for making dishes they could enjoy. Not being totally aware of the differences, would this be vegan, and if not, why? TIA

Yeah, it's vegan -- no animal products of any kind. Certified.

So I cooked the cauliflower in an instant pot. Easy. Transferred to dish and will add a cheese sauce, but the mash is kind of damp. My instinct is to let it sit in a 200 degree oven for a while. not sure how long. But is there a better way?

Damp, or wet? Is it weeping/separating water? If not, I wouldn't worry. You want it to be moist! You could also add cheese directly to the mash, to help bind, and breadcrumbs on top, instead of a cheese sauce.

I impulse bought a bag of rice flour, and now I don't know what to do with it. I'm open to any suggestions - even (gasp!) baking in the middle of August. Can I use it as an even substitute for all purpose flour, or is there something rice flour is especially useful for?

This article has some recipe inspo for different types of flours--rice flour recipes are at the bottom!

Two interesting things about Julia: she and the English food writer Elizabeth David were born a year apart. Yet how different their careers were! And when the personnel records of the old Office of Strategic Defense were put on line recently, we were able to confirm that an aunt worked in the same office with her back in the day.

Old-fashioned fly paper that hangs in twirls. I swear by it for getting rid of fruit flies. Just don't bump into it!

I agree that the recipe sounds delicious. I was wondering how the the choice of liquor --brandy vs peach liquor--affects the taste of the drink--if at all.

Peach liqueur would make it a smidge peachier, and a little sweeter, I'd think.

My internet is still working - did you just get sick of us?

Huh -- all looks fine to me? We're a few minutes away from ending, but anybody else having trouble?

I have now made Food52's version twice and it is incredible! The recipe adds fresh mozerella, so that it is a mash up of caprese and panzanella. so good! *chefs kiss*

That's what I call my hands.

Thanks for the recipe---that looks delightful. s o just skip the step of making the curd (the lemon, the evap milk etc) and swap in the ready made? woudl that be the equivalent of one jar or two do you think? you guys are the best!

Depends on how big your jars are ha! The recipe in question wants a 14 oz can of evaporated milk, so I'd say slightly more than that would do the trick. Of course, you can always adjust the amount to your tastes. Just make sure to watch it in the oven. The texture will be right when you believe it's right.

I recommend pleasing everyone with simple grilled tuna (costco has some beautiful tuna!), and pair it with panzanella salad!

Must be nice not to have arthritis.

That happens to me in Chrome sometimes. In those cases I shift to another browser and things seem to work ok.

Well, you've garnished us with fruit, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's today!

For our giveaway book, it will go to the chatter who wrote about having Iliana Regan's memoir on hold at the library. Let somebody else have it, because we'll send you a copy of "Burn the Place"! Send your mailing info to, 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.
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.
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