Free Range on Food: Bone broth, summer cooking, our obsession with corn products and more.

Aug 23, 2017

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

Good afternoon, Free Rangers! 

I am especially happy to report that these fine folks are at your service today: Rebekah Denn, author of the bone broth story in Food this week; Kristen Hartke, author of the fun story about where to get your next "Bake-Off" fix; and Maura Judkis, who has cleared up a few things about corn holders and who reported on the gay couple/dessert incident at Prime Rib. Oh, and I'm going on vacation in 3 days. (Buried the lede there.)


So ask away -- end of summer cookouts and peak-season produce figure prominently in the q's  you have submitted early.  We promise to get to as many as we can in the hour.


Cookbooks to give away, so stay tuned for that, too. For you Post  Points members, Today's code is FR3274. You'll need to record and enter it at the Post Points site under Claim My Points to -- you guessed it! -- earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter it by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to get credit for participating.  

I picked up a pack of fresh figs at Costco this weekend. I made a yummy balsamic onion and fig pizza with half of them, but still have about 10 figs sitting in my fridge. Any ideas for recipes aside from the traditional fig newton/bar? Something healthy is preferable.

Look for my #DinnerInMinutes next week, which also features figs!

Would yellow squash work as well?

I say yes! They're pretty interchangeable. 

Zucchini and Lemon Pappardelle With Pine Nuts

RECIPE: Zucchini and Lemon Pappardelle With Pine Nuts

I tried this with a bunch of cherry tomatoes (yep, overplanted) and it was a complete failure. Any suggestions?

Can you describe what went wrong? That'll help diagnose.

I was a little slow to catch the whole grain train. Since switching to whole wheat (particularly bread), the more I read, I find marketing is the biggest challenge to choosing a low-carb whole wheat bread. I read that multi-grain doesn't mean as much as whole wheat, and some whole wheat breads aren't getting you the healthiest whole grain. Given my conundrum, I thought about baking whole wheat. I've read a number of chat posts about this topic. I'll do more research to try it, but when I looked for whole wheat flour, I got just as confused as when I looked for whole wheat bread. What should I look for in whole wheat flour (or brands) to get the benefits I'm looking for, without being tricked by marketing.

Labels can be confusing here, as with most products marketed as "healthful." I usually find the Whole Grains Council's materials are a useful reference -- its guide to labels is online here. For baking, it's usually safe to substitute about half of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour, but if you want to go 100% whole-wheat, King Arthur Flour has some good guidelines on that here (I love PJ Hamel's posts and always find her reliable). You might also like master baker Peter Reinhart's book on Whole Grain Baking

Hoping Mrs. Wheelbarrow is in the house this week. First, I put a teaspoon of citric acid into my whole canned tomatoes rather than the 1/2 teaspoon called for. Will this be a problem? Second, I've been having problems with siphoning of my quart jars (whole tomatoes and home-fermented sauerkraut). I'm thinking I'm not leaving them in the canner long enough after turning off the heat before removing - I've been doing 10 minutes. Should it be longer? Thanks!!

Cathy's out, but responded via email: 

Too much citric acid will not harm your canned tomatoes (too little might), so no worrying.


Siphoning is another thing altogether.  There are several causes, but most commonly air pockets are the culprit, bubbles in between the tomatoes, that burble up as the contents reach 220 degrees. The lid lifts and contents siphon. Use a chopstick or a flat plastic knife - metal might ding the glass jar - and stir and press down on the contents to reduce the possibility of siphoning. Do this while filling the jars, first when half full, then when all the way full.  Whole tomatoes are always prone to siphoning. Be sure to clean the rim of the jar before placing the lid, and let quart jars, particularly, cool in the canner for about 10 minutes or so.

My son is starting his senior year of high school and wants to pursue a career as a chef. He went to a technology high school last year for culinary arts, worked this summer in a country club kitchen, and will do an internship at the country club this upcoming school year along with finishing his required classes so he can graduate. My question - should he go to a culinary college or should he pursue his career by working his way up? We are in the DC area, which is rich with amazing chefs and restaurants. The advice he's received thus far reflects who he's talking to - the teacher who went to CIA said college is essential while the the chef he's working for (who didn't go to college) said it's not needed. So, given his experience thus far, if it was your child/niece/nephew/young adult friend, what would you advise? Many thanks.

This is a particularly thorny issue in the hospitality industry.


Without question, a degree from a school like the Culinary Institute of America will ground a student in the fundamentals to prepare her for a career in the kitchen (or the front of the house). But it will also, quite likely, burden the student with a large amount of debt. This debt could potentially keep a chef locked in, say, a corporate cooking job that she loathes, just to pay off the loans. Or, worse, the chef will earn mid-grade wages as a sous in some kitchen and devote too much of her paycheck to the student loan. Or, even worse yet, the chef may decide she hates the industry and wants to move into a different profession altogether. Those student loans still have to be paid.


If the child were mine? I'd recommend that the budding chef go to work in professional kitchens, lots of them, starting from the lowliest position and working her way up. Build knowledge and experience over a few years. THEN decide if you think the industry is for you. With a few years in the business, the budding chef will see the options more clearly: She will decide whether cooking school would hone and elevate her skills to the level she wants. Or she could decide to use her experience to work in better, more refined restaurants and accumulate knowledge that way.


Bottom line: Get that wannabe chef into more and more kitchens and start building experience.

Please post a few entrees that taste better after a night in the refrigerator or on the counter. I made some turkey chili for supper last week that was so bland, I thought I'd have to triple the chili, garlic, onion, cumin and s&p I'd already put in it, in order to perk it up. But the next day, when I tasted it to see what might help, it was bursting with flavor, even before reheating. I guess the onion, garlic, chilis and maybe even bottled spices needed the extra time to assert themselves. Which got me wondering if this is the case with lots of other dishes. Not the ones you have to stir for hours before they're ready, but ones you make in advance and then they improve with rest and age, just like all of us ;).

For me, lasagna is one of those dishes that tastes better the second day. Or third day.


A few years ago, the Food section tested (and tweaked) what was possibly the most popular recipe on the Internet: the World's Best Lasagna from  Give it a try and let it rest a day.


RECIPE: World's Best Lasagna (Tweaked)


Chatters, what are your favorite second-day recipes?

Loved, Loved, Loved your story about "Talk About Good!" I haven't had time to figure out how to buy a copy, but question for you. You quoted someone saying that Lafayette cooking differs from that of Baton Rouge - "Lafayette has the Acadian French influence." How does Lafayette cooking differ from that of Baton Rouge? Thought BR cooks were also very influenced by French ancestors.

Marie Elizabeth responds:


"So the big difference is just there's a higher saturation of Acadian people in Lafayette (Acadiana). Baton Rouge is located between Lafayette and New Orleans and is more metropolitan, being the capital city of Louisiana. While Cajun French cuisine is still very popular there, the origins of this cuisine is in Lafayette and the surrounding rural areas."

The story today says the early BBC episode of GBBO are available in the US, but I doubt that. I have been trying to find them for quite a while to no avail. Can you give us a link?

Hi -- I actually did manage to find the entire first season from GBBO, filmed in 2010, on YouTube, and was able to watch the whole thing — but don't see it now after a quick search through YouTube. The trick with YouTube is sometimes videos get taken down for copyright violations, so it can be a bit hit-or-miss. That being said, I've run across different episodes here and there, it just takes some hunting around. I did recently get totally caught up in watching a season of Great Australian Bake Off on YouTube and was crushed when I couldn't find the final episode anywhere! It's always a gamble.


ARTICLE How to keep getting your 'Great British Baking Show fix: Go global on YouTube

I wish I'd had a chance to get an in-person demo of cutting up a chicken, but your instructions (kudos to the illustrator!) will help. I may have missed it in the article, but any suggestions on best type of chicken to buy for this? I think the grocery stores have roasters and fryers - I've never understood the difference. Would love your help.

Thank you! Aaron Steckelberg did a terrific job and just you wait...he promises to gussy up that graphic into something multidimensional down the road. We hope it can remain an evergreen favorite.


Re the chickens to buy: I'd go with pastured and locally grown, although it may be tempting to pick up a whole bird that costs 99 cents per lb at Walmart, which is what I noticed recently. Thing is, the farmers' birds are raised on good feed and have less fat than mass-market poultry. Look for one that is 3 1/2 to 4 lbs. The "roasters," i think, are a bit older and tougher than "fryers" -- some of those designations are tied to weight/size. 


ARTICLE If you eat a lot of chicken, here's how to save a lot of $$

You sent me a copy of the Nice Cream cookbook (not really "cook" book I guess). It's amazing. The only work is prepping the bananas in advance. Once you do that, it takes about 5 minutes to make faux- ice cream that tastes delicious and is genuinely healthy. No dairy, no added sugar, and you can include any flavors you want.

Appreciate you checking in! #loveourchatters

Thank you for your story today about corn accessories. I myself don’t have any such things (okay, I do have a scraper for removing kernels, but I never use it, since a chef’s knife works much better). However, the story reminded me that when I was a little boy, my grandmother always stuck yellow corn-shaped holders into the cut ends of my corn cobs. I hadn’t thought about that in years! My grandmother grew several rows of sweet corn in her garden, so we always had fresh corn. I didn’t realize I had it so good. My grandmother taught me an important lesson about corn: if it’s really good, it doesn’t need butter or salt. To this day, I almost always eat it plain, and when I get it from my neighborhood farmers market, it’s incredibly good. My grandmother died almost 20 years ago, but fresh summer corn always reminds me of her.

I love that my story brought back a good memory for you! There's something about those corn-shaped holders that reminds so many people of their childhoods. My mother had several sets, too, and whenever she brought them out, it always signaled the true beginning of summer for me. 


ARTICLE Corn on the cob is simple food. Why do we need so many gadgets to help us eat it? 

This is also the best way for the budding chef to find out whether he wants to work in the field at all, enduring the grueling long hours of professional kitchen work, or whether he'd be satisfied cooking magnificent meals at home. Or becoming a personal chef.

Yep, I think I made the same observation.

Great article! Two questions: 1. What if I substitute duck wings for chicken wings? They are less fatty and considerably cheaper than chicken wings in my Asian store. 2. At the beginning of the article on page 1 there is a mention of vinegar, but it is omitted in the recipe on page 8. Is vinegar added when serving or while cooking? What kind? Details, please.

Thank you! Let's see: Marco Canora warns (or compliments?) in his Brodo book that duck broth has a slightly gamey flavor, but does say that it's rich and luscious. He gives an entirely separate recipe for it, using star anise and orange. I asked Gabriel Claycamp, the chef featured in the story, and he's a fan of using duck wings for broth -- he says to roast them first and to make sure to include the tips.  (2) Many bone broth advocates think it's important to add vinegar to the water before simmering your bones in order to help draw minerals out of the bones. The Weston A. Price Foundation recipe calls for two tablespoons of vinegar per four quarts of water. I see a lot of recipes calling for apple cider vinegar.

I just wanted to thank the chatter from several weeks ago who suggested making customized disks from a flexible cutting board to hold pickles under brine during fermentation. I've used this approach several times now with great success. It's the first approach that hasn't left me in tears, with a mushy, moldy mess in at least one jar. This chat is the best.

So great. Thanks for reporting back!

I made an adapted version of the rainbow chard quiche this weekend to rave reviews. (And yes I rated it on the website) Since I couldn't find rainbow chard I used regular swiss chard and I made it in a baking dish that was a bit larger than the pie pan called for. I added an extra egg and increased the other ingredients by eye and cobbled an extra section of piecrust on. Props to the author and the recipe finder for making it so easy!

The recipe was actually published in KidsPost last year to help the young ones eat more vegetables. (Because, you know, kids apparently need their veggies to look like candy before they'll dig in.)


RECIPE: Rainbow Chard Quiche

I'm in love with my pressure cooker dal recipe. It's lentils, onion, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and lovely spices. When I make it on the weekend, I have leftovers for breakfast all week. Other suggestions for things this delicious, healthy, and easy to make? Honestly, the most labor intensive part (after chopping the onion) is cleaning the pot.

I switched up my cherry tomato variety that I'm growing this year, and for the first time am getting a large crop. It's more than my family can use but not enough to where I can make sauce, diced tomatoes, etc. and can them before they go bad. I've been freezing the surplus with hopes of having enough to can sauce, etc. in fall. Will this actually work? Do you have any other ideas of how to store and use them in the future? Thanks.

If you've got a tray's worth, I'm a huge fan of oven-drying cherry tomatoes and then freezing them for later use. They taste even better that way, if that's even possible. I use Tara Austen Weaver's recipe

Speaking of storing for future recipes, I am a big fan of Mike Isabella's Olive-Oil-Poached Cherry Tomato Sauce

I have none of the corn products - well, actually, I have a corn brush, but it's not like the one in the article. They seem too specialized to take up space... but I sure would like a way to take the corn off the cob without either leaving parts of the kernels or getting cob bits. And I really wish that I could find a good way to get the silk off!

I had never used a brush before I worked on this story. Bonnie brought one into the food lab and it was ... mostly ineffective. I ended up brushing most of the silk, but then picking the rest out by hand. That's one of the funny things about corn and it's why we have so many gadgets for it -- many of them don't work very well! So inventors and companies see that, and they think, "Well, I can do it better," and that's how we ended up where we are today, with 688 results for the search term "corn cutter" on Amazon. 

First, sure it was my fault, but the pretty little tomatoes were burnt. Oh so burnt. Suggestions welcome - still got a ton of those grape and cherry tomatoes.


RECIPE 12-Hour Tomatoes

Aha! Cherry tomatoes. Right. You said that earlier. That's your problem -- the recipe is meant for large tomatoes (which would take much longer to condense and get chewy than teeny tiny tomatoes). You can do it with the little cherry and grape tomatoes, but you'd want to start checking them after 2 or 3 hours. 

That's it.

Thank you! Wishing you many more summers of perfectly  buttered, firmly gripped corn on the cob.

How do I unfreeze quiche? I have an all veggie quiche that we froze as leftovers and I'm not sure what the best method is to unfreeze it without the dreaded soggy bottom on the crust. Any suggestions?

If you have time, defrost in the fridge (not all wrapped up) and then reheat in a 300-degree oven until you can see that the crust has some crispness. 

I am a reasonably accomplished cook and I love to entertain. Over the years I have gotten a lot of inspiration from the America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook, and Ina Garten's Parties cookbooks. Can you recommend any other similar menu-type cookbooks, especially with recipes that feed a party of 8-12? It's time for some new inspiration!

I have several favorites, of course, but really love Edna Lewis's classic, The Taste of Country Cooking, which is organized with complete menus in mind. I also love Shakespeare's Kitchen, by Francine Segan, which, as an accomplished cook, you might really enjoy, as it provides contemporary updates to Renaissance recipes — it's a real conversation starter at the dinner table!

What is a "clean meat" enterprise?

Daniel Salatin joined us last week when we were first talking "clean meat," he means that Polyface Farms runs a sustainable enterprise folllowing these principles, and the animals are fed, cared for and slaughtered this way.

bone broth/fancy name for stock? Does it help leech something out of the bones? And do the bones need to be cracked so the water and vinegar has access to any marrow? And, I'm pretty sure you have answered this before, but I can't remember the answer, can you make broth with a mostly picked over supermarket rotisserie chicken carcass? Or several? There aren't any feet, but the back is definitely there and there are bits of meat that are too wedged into crevices to be very accessible.

You're correct, the vinegar is supposed to help leach minerals out of the bones. You don't have to crack them. And yes, plenty of recipes call for using picked-over carcasses. That's part of what made it an economical choice back in the day!

I just figured out that if I refrigerate the batter for muffins and cupcakes, it's much easier to get it into the liners, especially the mini-liners, in even quantities and without spilling batter between the cups. But of course this means I'll have to adjust baking time. Do you have any pointers for figuring out how much longer to bake cold batter? Or should I let the filled liners come to room temp before baking? Using pastry bags hasn't worked for me...

I do this too, sort of. (I fill with the batter and then refrigerate overnight, so I can just pop them in the oven when I wake up and have fresh muffins for breakfast!) Anyway -- bake them from cold and just tack on a few extra minutes. Or fill the muffins and let them sit at room temp while the oven preheats, then check them when the recipe indicates. 

Haven't been to a store lately, but Maura's article made me want to go buy a ton of corn and chow down. Looked in the paper and 4 for $10, that seems a little crazy.

Wow, that is some expensive corn! I bought some at the farmer's market the other week and I think I paid $2.50 for three ears, if I'm remembering correctly. Kara thinks she paid 50 cents an ear recently. Either way - it's still in season, so yes, go out and buy some! Maybe from somewhere less pricey. Your local farmers market should be able to help. 


It's not over here in the DC area, but acquisition is ramping up. Stands at the Takoma Park farmers market last weekend SOLD OUT of it. 

I use my silicone vegetable scrub-brush under running tap water. Works pretty well.

I think the one we now own in the Food Lab is silicone, too. But the bristles seemed too soft. 

The brush actually sold as a cornsilk brush that I've seen definitely has too-soft bristles (I occasionally use it on fresh mushrooms). My vegetable brush's bristles are much stiffer.

Hi! Hosting a cookout for a group of around 30-40 adults and kids. Any suggestions on a menu to feed a large crowd:) Would ideally like to get a lot done before everyone arrives so I can enjoy the day. Thank you! Justin

     Oh, wow! The answer depends on your smoking/grilling comfort level and experience. Ideally, you have a smoker and you'd smoke a beef brisket, three racks of ribs and some sausage. That's a classic Texas barbecue. It would take a bit of time (likely over 12 hours for the brisket), but could be cooked all at the same time - and you could finish it early in the day and rest the meats in aluminum foil, wrapped in a blanket and set into an empty cooler. 

        If that's a bit more ambitious than you had in mind, then smoke three pork butts. You don't need a smoker for that. A regular kettle grill will do just fine. Use indirect heat (fire on one side, no fire on the other - place the meat on the side without fire). Again, when finished, rest in foil. The meat will keep well for hours. When ready to serve, chop the meat and serve on hamburger buns. Add creamy coleslaw atop the meat for an eastern North Carolina sandwich. 

      Big meats, like brisket, pork butt and ribs, keep well for at least a couple of hours and even much more. You wouldn't have to, but you could start a fire shortly before you guests arrive and toss foods on to warm through and help with char or bark. But, again, you'd be fine if you didn't do that. 


RECIPES Johnson's Boucaniere Pork Butt, Ring of Smolder Beef Brisket, Cherry-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Am I the only person who has yet to receive the replacement food processor blade from Cuisinart? Should I just throw the whole thing out and buy another brand's food processor? Because I'm completely underwhelmed by Cuisinart's responsiveness and service. I have their email to me from 12/16/16 telling me that they were going to send me "a free replacement blade." Frustrated in Baltimore

In our unofficial job as host to all complaints re replacement blades over the past 7 months, i'd have to say yes, you are.


To my knowledge, that motor won't burn out -- so if  you want to make a statement and get it out of your house, at least Freecycle or post it on a come-and-get-it list. 

I got a sourdough starter gift, and want to care for it but don't have the schedule or time it requires. Can I put it in the fridge and pull it out when I need it?

Breadmaker, journalist and author Samuel Fromartz says you can keep it alive in the fridge with only minimal feeding. You should feed it at least once a week to keep the starter active. 


To feed it, he suggests taking a golf-ball-size amount of the starter and adding a quarter cup of flour and a half cup of water to it. Mix it and let the starter sit for 30 to 60 minutes on the counter before returning it to the fridge.


But here's the important part: If you want to bake with that starter, you need to refresh it. Which means this: You need to feed it as directed above, then let it sit on the counter for six to eight hours, then FEED IT AGAIN, and let it rest another six to eight hours. If you don't do this, the starter will be too weak to use.


Starters, Sam likes to say, are "microscopic livestock. . . If you don't feed them well, they're not going to be happy."


Any stew. Daube; coq au vin; Bolognese. If the recipe calls for it to sit on the stove for awhile, chances are it's because the flavors need time to meld, and it'll be better the next day.

This is true. One of my favorite winter dishes to make? Boeuf bourguignon. As good as it is right off the stove, it's MUCH better the second day.


RECIPE: Anthony Bourdain's Boeuf Bourguignon

Any oven-roasted/sauced brisket is better after a few days' refrigeration. Also, this Sicilian pasta and lentils recipe

There was plenty last week at the Columbia Heights farm market. One stand had it for 50 cents an ear, another for 75 cents an ear or 3 for 2 dollars.

I have nothing but time - it's a reward this weekend :) thanks Bonnie!

:) backatcha

I've also got a surplus of large tomatoes, but will try to turn the 12-hour tomatoes for the little ones into 2-3 hour tomatoes. Initially, an epic failure. Oh well. Thank you for your advice.

Thumbs up.

I got mine last month so hold on to hope!

I have regular chives and garlic chives...a lot growing in my herb garden. Some are blooming. Pretty. But what can I do with this large crop?

Yum, chives! I'd suggest harvesting as much as you can, chopping them finely, and either freezing them into cubes (just pack them into ice cube trays and cover with enough water to hold them together, then pop the frozen cubes into a freezer bag to store for winter soups and stews), or you can just freeze them without the water by packing them into the freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and they'll keep for several months. You can also make these delicious crackers, and they'll keep in the freezer for about a month, if they last long enough to get into the freezer! 


RECIPE Zippy Peppercorn-Chive Cheddar Wafers

I think I got two of them at a Tupperware party some 30 years ago. It's a little device that holds a chunk of a stick of butter, open at the bottom, which is curved so it fits over an ear of corn, and makes buttering a snap. It is topped by a small container with holes in it, for the salt-sprinkling.

That's great! I didn't see one that looks exactly like what you've described when I was reporting the story, but that would be really convenient, especially for kids. Glad to hear there are some corn devices that are loved and treasured, and not lost in the back of a drawer somewhere.

For years I've been regularly making stock from scratch at home. Never heard of adding vinegar. Will try with my next batch. Thank you so much for your response.

That's so nice to hear. Thank you!

Wash. Twist off stem. Bite. Repeat step 3 as necessary.


Also great sliced onto thick yogurt, drizzled with honey and lightly seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and a tiny pinch of flaky salt.

Can bone broth be made from any animal bones? Like lamb or, even duck? I ask, because I have uncooked lamb and duck in our freezer. Also wondering if freezing the meat prior to making bone broth affects the broth itself? Thanks.

Yes, you can use any animal bones, though the broth will have a different flavor for each one.  I see a lot of recipes that use lamb interchangeably with beef for bone broth. In Marco Canora's cookbook, he says it's ideal to include some knuckles when you're making lamb broth (he also seasons his with cumin seeds and coriander seeds.) For duck, as we said above, Gabriel Claycamp, the chef featured in our article, recommends roasting duck wings before using them, and says to make sure to include the tips. I don't think freezing beforehand makes any difference; plenty of people store up bones in the freezer until they have enough for a recipe. 

I'm making burgers tonight with ground turkey. Do you have any particular advice or recipes you like for this? I'm a little concerned they will be dry and bland. I was thinking of mixing in sautéed minced onion but not sure what else would make them delicious.

You're on the right track! Take a look at this recipe from Nourish columnist Ellie Krieger -- she stuffs the patties with roasted peppers, green olives, canned artichoke hearts and mozzarella. (You could use your sauteed onions in place of one of the mix-ins.)

Antipasto-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

RECIPE: Antipasto-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

I like this Asian Turkey Burger recipe for just that reason -- the meat stays moist. Its secret ingredient: applesauce. #oldschool

Just wondering what is the difference is in the food or recipes, and where to buy the cookbook. Thank you - love you guys.

Marie Elizabeth writes:

"So you can buy both the 'Talk About Good' and 'River Road' cookbooks directly from the Lafayette and Baton Rouge junior league websites or from Amazon.


"The recipes and cuisine are similar and there is a lot of overlap, meaning you will find a lot of the same recipes and ingredients. But I would say Cajun cooking and the Acadiana area in general is more country cooking, using game and seafood, stews and soups that feed more with less and stronger French than Spanish. Whereas Baton Rouge is more cosmopolitan (in Louisiana terms) and has more of a connection with New Orleans cuisine."

I would like to make peach jam, substituting a half cup of maple sugar for 1/2 cup of the sugar in the recipe. Would that be OK?

I love maple sugar! Generally, I've found that it's okay to just substitute it 1:1 in any recipe and it has such a great flavor. Here's a link to some more information about using it that you might find helpful.

This isn't exactly a cooking question, but hopefully will become one. I've noticed an explosion of mushrooms around our neighborhood (near the Alexandria/Arlington border). This leads me to think that this would be a good time to try hunting for shrooms. Any suggestions about resources for getting started?

Check out the Mycological Association of Washington, for starters. They have a handy list of resources (and a mushroom ID meeting on Sept. 5).

I'm intrigued by this recipe, despite thinking it looks sorta blah. Your description says it's "flavorful," and I can't explain my skepticism except that the photo is underwhelming. Is this a case where the result goes beyond than what the ingredient list would suggest? C'mon, free rangers, convince me to make this dish!


RECIPE Lemon-Tarragon Salmon and White Bean Skillet

If you want to eat healthfully and make something in #onepan and you like salmon, this is for you. Not the prettiest food to photograph, I'll grant you. But it tasted good -- and it's something a little different. (Note: I typically season Ellie's recipes with extra salt -- just my palate.) Try it and report back!

Mine took many many months to arrive.

I accidentally grabbed the baking powder instead of the baking soda while preparing a quick bread recipe, and sifted a teaspoon of it and a half-teaspoon of salt with one cup of all-purpose flour. That was half the amount of each of those things called for. I realized my mistake and started over, setting the flour-with-baking-powder aside (in a refrigerated container) for a future use. Now I have two questions for you -- What can I do with the mis-leavened flour, and what would have happened if I'd not noticed the mistake, or if I'd used half baking soda and half baking powder? It was banana bread, with the butter and sugar and bananas first mashed together in a separate bowl, if that makes a difference. Thanks

While most quick breads often only call for baking soda -- combined with some type of acidic liquid, like buttermilk -- it probably wouldn't have hurt your banana bread that much if you hadn't realized your mistake, since you had only used half the amount called for anyway. I often make quick breads with a combination of baking powder and soda, so, for instance, if a recipe calls for 1 tsp of soda, I might change it to 1/2 tsp of soda and 1/2 tsp of powder, which can help give the final product a little extra lift without that "soapy" flavor that can come if I'd added additional baking soda. 

As for what to do with that flour and baking powder mix -- I'd go ahead and just use it for another banana bread, or here are some other ideas:

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

RECIPE: Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

Summer Squash Fritters With Buttermilk Dressing

RECIPE: Summer Squash Fritters With Buttermilk Dressing

Gingery Pistachio Carrot Sheet Cake

RECIPE: Gingery Pistachio Carrot Sheet Cake

Dorie Greenspan's Cappuccino Madeleines

RECIPE: Dorie Greenspan's Cappuccino Madeleines

Because corn is irregularly shaped there won't be anything at the home level that removes the kernels without taking some of the cob. The round things will come close, but are necessarily imperfect. So just saw away with the knife and enjoy the time you've saved by not finding and washing and putting away the gadget.

Yes! I don't have any corn cutters or holders at home -- a knife and my hands do just fine. I can understand why people like them. But I also have a tiny apartment kitchen -- a gadget that can only be used for one thing has to be REALLY good if I am going to carve out precious cabinet/drawer space for it. 

is the same as the trouble with apple-corers: they are built on the assumption that the corn cob, or the apple, is of a uniform size and thickness, which is quite a laugh. but I suppose one reason for so many corn gadgets is that people just love gadgets, and they make good stocking stuffers at Christmas.

That is definitely a problem with the ones that look like this. The newer ones avoid that by working kind of like a razor, shaving off the rows of kernels (and some even collect them in a convenient little bubble). But they don't take all of the corn off at once, like the other kind does. There doesn't seem to be perfect corn gadget. But people will keep trying to create one. 

Make sides that can stand being at room temperature, green salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, cornbread, roasted vegetables. I've also served baked beans in a slower cooker that I've kept plugged in outside.

     And now for the sides. Grilled vegetables are great at room temp, too. And I always make room in my fridge for potato salad, cole slaw, and beans, all of which I make the day before. 

Any recommendations on how to make a flavorful veggie bone broth?

There's definitely ways to make a vegetable broth that's packed with extra nutrients, if that's what you're looking for — I often add seaweed to my broth, as seaweed has a lot of terrific vitamins and minerals, and I know that some people add coconut aminos, although I've never done that before myself. I typically add some apple cider vinegar, ginger, and turmeric to my veggie broths as well, which all have properties that can help promote wellness. Plus it just tastes great! Here's a great recipe to start with, then just add some of the ingredients I mentioned above. 

Scrappy Vegetable Broth

RECIPE: Scrappy Vegetable Broth

My local farmer-greengrocer says it's scarce and late due to too much rain.

Good to know!

is better the next day after the flavors can mix and permeate.

This is true.


For you with adventurous palates, you could test the theory with the Ethiopian dish below.

RECIPE: Awaze Tibs With Kik Alicha

Can you freeze cooked rice without the texture going wonky? My husband loves yellow rice, but even the small packets are too much for one. I hate throwing it away, can I freeze for future meals?

Yes! I freeze leftover rice all the time and it's honestly the best meal starter when you've had a long day. Make sure that the rice is completely cooled, then pack it into quart-sized freezer bags. It'll keep for at least three months in the freezer. The bags defrost pretty quickly once you take them out, but you can also just run them under some hot water before using.

You folks in DC are getting screwed. I got mine from a stand on RT 28 at Catlett 4 for a buck.

I'm no mathematician, but I believe that is 25 cents an ear!

We needed to use these -- the corn-shaped corn prongs -- because boiled corn stayed so hot for so long! Microwaved corn seems to cool off faster. Or maybe my fingers are less sensitive than when I was a child. Or maybe both those things?

Probably a combo of both! When we did a temperature test in the lab, the microwaved corn came out hotter than the boiled. When I was a kid, I remember thinking that corn could ONLY be eaten with handles. But the tricky thing about the handles is that if the corn is too hot to touch, there's a good chance it could burn your mouth, too.

Question I should have asked earlier in the chat:  When you guys eat corn, do you go across in rows, or around the diameter? I feel like people have strong opinions about this. 

I love Costco but they have a bone broth which is just awful. It's basically just salty water. Yuck.

I love Costco for almost everything (olive oil, canned tomatoes, lunchbox snacks, OMG my local one in Seattle even has good ahi poke), but I think it's difficult for anyone to do a good packaged bone broth. Melissa Abbott, the culinary trends researcher in our story, felt that once you get into shelf-stable boxed products for bone broth it's missing the point. (But that's still got to be better than the bone broth K-cups.)

Well, you've stripped us of silk and buttered us to a fare thee well, so you know what that means....we're done! Thanks to Rebekah, Kristen, Carrie and Jim for joining us today, and to you, dear readers, for making it such a lively hour. 


Cookbook winners: The chatter who asked about sourdough starter gets a copy of "Easy Soups Made From Scratch With Quick Breads to Match," by Ivy Manning; the chatter who asked whether bone broth could be made from any animal bones gets a copy of "Stock the Crock" by Phyllis Good. Send your mailing address info to and she'll get those books right out to you -- that's how efficient she is.


In the meantime, enjoy what's left of summer! Happy cooking and eating! 

In This Chat
Bonnie Benwick
Bonnie S. Benwick is Deputy Food Editor and recipe editor at The Post. Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes.
Carrie Allan
M. Carrie Allan is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Kristen Hartke
Kristen Hartke is a Washington-based food writer and editor.
Jim Shahin
Jim Shahin writes the monthly Smoke Signals column on barbecue.
Maura Judkis
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.
Rebekah Denn
Rebekah Denn is a freelance writer based in Seattle.
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