Free Range on Food: New recipes for Rosh Hashanah, a cake from Downton Abbey, phyllo fun, this week's recipes and more!

Sep 25, 2019

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

Happy Wednesday -- or, as we think of it around here, chat day!

Hope you're digging into everything we have been offering, including:

  • Olga's look at three new cookbooks from which she pulled together a great-looking Rosh Hashanah menu: wine-braised pot roast, a gorgeous fall grain salad, and a stunner of a dessert. We have ALL THREE cookbook authors joining us today -- Adeena Sussman ("Sababa"), Einat Admony ("Shuk") and Leah Koenig ("The Jewish Cookbook") -- so you have access to some fantastic tips and suggestions for your High Holidays meal, and so much more, really.
  • Maura's profile of David Chang, one of the defining chefs of the decade. He's the first in a series of influencers (and I mean that the old-fashioned way, not the IG way) across all aspects of culture. The others will appear in Style, but we of course claimed Chang for Food! Have you noticed all the ways in which he's made his mark on the food scene?
  • Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Our new team member Emily Heil -- welcome her! -- sure is, and she dove right in with a piece on how food plays a starring role in the show (and the new movie), with a recipe for a delightful Madeira Cake, too!
  • Emily has also jumped right into the fast-food wars, with a piece on the new KFC chicken/doughnut sandwich. Want one, or would you rather eat anything but?
  • Becky has been busy, too, showing you how to best use phyllo dough in your kitchen and whipping up a beautiful version of horchata!

We have plenty more, too -- lots of recipes, how-tos, trending pieces and and and more!

We will ALSO have giveaway books for our favorite chatters today -- so make your questions and comments good!

OK, let's get started.

In theory, so convenient and non-wasteful to have on hand for someone who lives alone. Great for incorporating into some recipes but not all. However, I've found it impossible to eat them as a quick, easy side, no matter how much salt, pepper, etc., I use to doctor them up. These tend to be mixes of various chopped vegetables that would seem to lend themselves to stir-fries, but they're way too mushy and tasteless. Is there any way of giving life to frozen vegetables other than overpowering them in a casserole?

You're in luck, we have a roundup right here of recipes to make the most of your frozen veggies! 

Frozen veggies bring flavor, color and convenience to these 7 recipes

I was making cookies the other day that included tahini. I had a brain freeze and couldn't figure out which measuring cup to use - for dry or liquid. I think I ended up using the liquid measuring cup but then wondered which to use for tahini and honey. Which is the correct measuring cup?

Ooh, this is a delightful little gray zone. Honestly I think it might depend on the tahini. I've bought some that are very thin and pourable. In that case, I'd go liquid. Some are thicker and scoopable. In that case, I'd go dry. Either way, a good trick is to lightly grease the cup with cooking oil spray to help with easy release.

measuring cups

ARTICLE: Yes, you really do need two types of measuring cups. Here’s why.

My husband and I recently taste-tested that plant-based burger and the original burger. It was difficult to tell them apart. What I did notice is that the original burger was softer and less flavorful than we remembered. I didn't get any of the "flame broiled" flavor. Is it possible that the chain changed the texture of the meat patty so that the plant based burger would seem similar and more acceptable? Maybe the brave Maura Judkis could investigate.

We are going to dive more into this soon, it's true! Look for a piece by Emily Heil, our new food reporter. (Maura, I'm afraid, is moving on to a job as a general assignment Style reporter!)

Bless you Emily, for trying out the new doughnut/chicken sandwich at KFC. My head, heart and stomach are sending my brain conflicting zaps. Love chicken. Love doughnuts. Why not? ;-)

Hi! Excited to be here for my inaugural chat. Yes, I feel you on the "conflicting zaps" -- I definitely experienced just that when I tried this daunting concoction. But sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants, right?   

Re the accusation that a French restaurant used Cheddar in a cheese soufflé -- assuming high-quality English Cheddar (bringing new meaning to Sacre Bleu, I suppose): I'd think a Cheddar soufflé would be pretty tasty, and wonder if you have a recipe for home use that you could link to. Merci!

We do indeed, from Martha Holmberg. 

Quite Cheesy Sharp Cheddar Soufflé

Hi Food geniuses! Last Friday I made a new cake recipe (David Lebovitz's Lemon-Almond Cake from his blog here: ) and instead of the alcohol I made a simple syrup with almond extract that he mentioned in the comments for someone. First time making simple syrup, and now I have about a half-cup in a glass jar in my fridge and no idea what to do with it. Of course, I can always make more cake :-) Can you please suggest some recipes that can use it? I don't drink cocktails or spirits so alcoholic recipes would be out. Thank you so much!

If you're looking for a non-recipe-requiring super-simple use, I keep a jar of simple syrup in my fridge to slightly sweeten my cold-brew coffee (also great for iced tea). 

Hi, This goes back to a recent question. I found pine nuts from Italy in the newish Giant grocery store. They were in the "ethnic" produce section, and were in both raw and toasted form, 3 ounce packages.

Great, thanks!

I signed up for the Voraciously newsletter, but am not getting it. On the website it says I am signed up. Yet, I do not get the newsletter. There is nothing in my spam filter. What is the link to the help desk to solve this dilemma? I get the online edition of the WaPo every day, but do not get any of the newsletters you offer, even though I did sign up for them.

Can you email us at Then we can forward this to the right folks.

Did you see this article from The Kitchn from a couple of weeks ago about hard cooking eggs? They tested seven different methods and found that the Food Lab method by Kenji Lopez-Alt combining boiling and simmering was the best. The steaming method advocated by America's Test Kitchen and a boiling method from Bon Appetit were just below Food Lab's. I think you also recommend steaming them. One fun thing about the article is that is shows pictures of the results of each method as well as a thorough description of each.  

I'm afraid Kenji has gone even further, with a piece for the NYT (where he has a new column gig) that reached the conclusion that steaming is actually the best! Hundreds and hundreds of eggs were used, so I trust this. (And I love steaming, personally.) #TEAMSTEAM

Thanks for these chats! Do y'all have any recommendations for good "greens and grains" cookbooks? I try to eat a lot of salads, warm salads, and whole grains but just throwing roasted veg atop plain brown rice, barley, etc. can get old, so I'm looking for easy sources to switch it up (prime example in the autumn farro salad!). Or, are there any cuisines or diets that would feature these ingredients prominently to look for cookbooks in? Maybe Mediterranean? Thanks!

You're in luck. My favorite cookbook in this genre is actually called "Mediterranean Grains and Greens," by the incredible Paula Wolfert. Check it out!

I recently bought a large sheet cake pan--the equivalent of two 9x13 pans--but I don't know what to bake in it! Any suggestions? Also, for most cake recipes that fit in a 9x13 pan, could I simply double the recipe to fit in this one big pan?

*whispers* make my mousse cake 

Chocolate Mousse Cake

I read an interview with Lesley Nicol (head cook Mrs. Patmore) in which she revealed that the same frozen fish was recycled for all kitchen scenes where she was preparing food, then would be returned to the freezer until need later. Apparently it got a tad fragrant as the episodes wore on.

Ewwww. Just another reason that Mrs. P looks so cross! When I interviewed Lisa Heathcote, the food stylist, she talked about how important it was to use real food instead of prop food to keep things realistic. I suppose this is the downside of that. But for the food that served upstairs or during mealtimes downstairs (ie, when the actors actually need to be able to eat during scenes), she said most of the food is actually edible. The beef dish served during the royal dinner in the movie was apparently a huge hit with the cast!  

ARTICLE: Food plays a starring role in the new 'Downton Abbey' movie

When I talked to Lisa for another story a few years ago, she did mention that she made something called "chicken fish" -- meant to look like fish but not actually be fish. Much less fragrant.

Is there a reason not to simply use rice flour instead of soaking and grinding the rice to a rice flour consistency?

I can try to ping Pati for her take, but soaking the rice in the milk also imparts flavor. Plus, I think you'll get better flavor in the end product by breaking down the rice yourself rather than relying on flour that's been hanging around.

Joy the Baker has indicated that it is better to weigh your ingredients instead of using a volume capacity, like cups or ounces. I got a kitchen scale and used it successfully in making the WaPo's Madeira Cake recipe. It turned out well. However, what should I do with most of my recipes which are measured by volume, not weight? How can do an accurate conversion - perhaps use 125 grams as equal to a cup of flour? If I want my baking to be precise, I need to be consistent.

You've touched upon something I sometimes (read: often) gripe about: baking recipes without gram measures. Some people use a scoop-and-sweep method and then their cp of flour is 140 grams (or more)... while the default in testing in many test kitchens (including King Arthur flour one) is 125 g = 1 cup all-purpose flour. FYI, another handy number to memorize is 1 cup sugar = 200 grams. 1 stick butter = 113 grams. Those are useful and helpful. Happy to help out with other gram measures as they are now tattooed into my brain! :)


I'm newly dating a chef and am terrified of cooking for him, as I'm competent but not remotely exceptional in the kitchen. Y'all are excellent cooks. How do the people in your lives handle cooking for you? Do they even bother?

Yes, and I appreciate it so much. My husband has known me for so long (long before I ever started cooking), so there's really no intimidation there. Ditto my mom, lol. Other folks sometimes express trepidation, but I do my best to tell them I'm just a home cook like them. (I am and self-taught.) Believe me, when you spend so much of your professional life in the kitchen, it is an absolute relief to have someone else cook for you. At least it is for me! Plus, I'm a parent of a young kid, and any time someone else does the cooking, I am eternally grateful. 

Honestly this is a really good way to figure out if the guy you're dating is like...a good person. If you cook for someone--ANYONE, chef or not, dating or not--and they are overly hypercritical to the point of making you feel bad, it's a good indicator that you might not want to stick around. But if they're excited to see your effort and care, then that's a good thing! And, if you ever accidentally cook something ABSOLUTELY AWFUL and you've got a partner who finds a way to make you feel good about it regardless of its inedibility, then that's a keeper. 

They usually don't cook for me but I force my guests to invite me to dinners as I love to be a guest as well.

Dont over think it,

just follow the recipes, SHUK would be a great book. Plenty of inspiration and restaurant worthy dishes that anyone can make! 

I've heard from some people that they don't want to cook for me, but I just assure them that I love simple food made with love, and they don't have to get fancy. That helps.

On the front page on-line Tuesday night, your piece on the KFC chicken-doughnut sandwich is listed as a "tech" article. As I imagined engineers, coders and webmasters trying to balance -- literally balance -- the component parts, I couldn't help but laugh, for which I send thanks to whoever chose that category. I'll send a screen grab to your general mailbox because I don't see a way to attach or insert it here.

I looked as soon as you sent this, but it was fixed by the time I saw! Now says "Voraciously," appropriately -- but a fun laugh indeed.

A friend of mine who moved out of town left me a bunch of squid-ink pasta. I can search recipes to get some ideas on what to make with it (though if you have any favorites, I'd love to hear them!). But I should probably know first... What does it taste like?? Is it fishy? Muddy?

"Briny" is probably the best way to describe it! I had it at a restaurant called Nicandra's in Brooklyn with 'nduja and shrimp--that was really tasty.

Why (except for Rosh Hashanah) do 95% of the recipes involve sugar? As in too sweet, no matter what kind of sugar - honey, stevia, maple syrup. I have left out the sugar in all salad dressings and the taste is brighter and healthier, according to many recent studies.

i like adding a touch of maple syrup to my salad dressing, depending on what i serve, of course, as a way to balance out the acid in my vinaigrette. I don't add much, but just enough to take the sharp edge off. Of course, some people love a seriously aggressive dressing, in which case, by all means, use what you love to eat.

I don’t have silan, an ingredient in this week’s recipe for Autumn Salad With Farro, Apple and Roasted Persimmon. I don’t have the time today to go out searching for it; could I substitute pomegranate molasses? I do have that.

I think subbing honey in the farro salad is ok. I've done it before and it's a decent stand-in. Adeena, Einat and Leah can chime in with their opinions :)

If you have pomegranate molasses on hand, I'd mix it together with a little honey and use that in place of silan. 

You can grind in a blender some 1 pack of soft dates, 2 cups of water (add slowly), then strain it through a cheese cloth. If this is too difficult you can just use honey!  

Honey and a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar also lends a nice twist and similar deep caramelly color

I was disappointed that it contained no Madeira but then someone pointed out that coffee cake contains no coffee...does this recipe freeze well?

I will leave the question about freezing for my colleagues, but your question made me think of the old SNL sketch, "Coffee Talk": "Dr. Pepper is neither a doctor nor a pepper -- discuss!" 

Yup, I think it would freeze just fine! As I explained, the name comes from the fact that you have it with Madeira, as, yes, with coffee cake. One commenter made the cake and said next time they might try poking some holes in the top and soaking the cake with the wine, which sounds pretty wicked.

RECIPE: Madeira Cake

I accidentally bought a box of unsweetened shredded wheat cereal. It's basically cardboard, but I'm loathe to throw it away, even though I probably should. And I will, unless you can give me any ideas to get creative with it?

Im sorry, i'm not familiar with this product nor do I use it

I went through a shredded wheat phase. I stirred it into Greek yogurt, and added a ton of berries and maple or honey.

Tea cakes don't contain tea, either.

Her articles and videos have been delightful, and they will be missed. Looking forward to more from Maura.

Thank you! This is not a goodbye -- Since my new gig is general assignment, I'm sure I'll write some food-oriented stories at some point for Style. I'll just be writing about a lot of other topics, too! I hope you all will follow me in my new role. 


Also, all of your messages in the chat last week about pumpkin spice plus some coaxing from Dave Jorgenson on our video team convinced me to do ONE LAST pumpkin spice taste test. (I'm like an aging mobster: "One last job. One final heist.")  It's going to be on the Washington Post TikTok, and we'll post it on Twitter, too (I'm @maurajudkis, if you want to follow). 


As for the video series: I'm going to go on a little video hiatus to focus on writing for a bit, and then our plan is to relaunch it in a way that also incorporates some of the new things I'll be covering. So please stay tuned, and thank you for your patience.


And thank you all for the love you've sent me via this chat over the years. It's enough to overwhelm A Lady and make her retreat to her fainting couch (which is where the Doritos are hidden).

Yes, I'd think a certain amount of fermentation would occur during that process, which would definitely add flavor.

I did hear from Pati, who agreed with what I said. Using rice flour would be "like making almond milk versus sort of mixing almond flour with water or milk."

Interesting comment about her advocating weight measurements for baking...because in my experience, the recipes on her website are by volume, not weight

Mine is jumping around when I use it. Sounds crazy, but it keeps happening. All pads on underside there. Using it for basic things. Ghost in the machine?

I had the very same poltergeist! It turned out the silver pin on the neck of the mixer was coming out. Many YouTube videos later, I was able to exorcise it. Maybe that's what's happening? 

It's 100% haunted, conduct a seance POST HASTE.

Sometimes, the lower-power mixers can struggle and jump a bit, especially with heavier/thicker batters or doughs.

I show affection through food - and my siblings and cousins typically get boxes of cookies/brownies or other treats during the semester. But now I have two athletes in the mix who don't eat those during the season. Any suggestions of things I could send that will not be unhealthy etc but still let me do the baking part? (as opposed to say having a box of apples delivered which I've considered)

Have you ever tried medjool dates? They're fudgy, rich, indulgent, and a real treat, You could pit, then stuff with almond butter, or simple freeze for a chewy candylike treat. You can also chop the dates and roll with coconut flakes and chopped nuts for an energy bar-like treat.

Did the actresses who played Mrs. Patmore and Daisy on "Downton Abbey" already know various cooking techniques -- whisking, kneading, knife-skills -- beforehand, or did they have to take classes to learn them? Or are their skills not up to the standards of a noble family's kitchen at the time?

From what I've read, both those actresses were actually not experienced cooks at all. So they were definitely learning from Lisa.

Who's going to be taking on the job of the "is it good to eat" videos?

I am so glad you all love these videos! I promise they will come back, better than ever! 

I'd been buying low-fat ice-cream bars called Skinny Cow Va-Va Vanilla, which I find quite tasty. You can see them here.  Click on "Nutritional Information" and you'll see the calories, fat content, etc. Recently my local store was out of those and, expecting the worst, I picked up a box of the regular ice cream bars I used to indulge in when I was in high-school, Good Humor Chocolate Eclair -- and to my great surprise, the nutrition panel seemed to show it had had fewer calories and less saturated fat than the low-fat ice cream. See for yourselves. The nutritional info label is here or, from the main page, click on "View product information." Granted, the Good Humor is a bit smaller than the Skinny Cow so the gram-for-gram comparison might show the distance between the two is less than it looks like on their "nutrition facts" panels, but it appears to me that the Good Humor is still the lighter of the two. Is there a lesson here?

Of course there is: Read labels!

Your phyllo dough article came just in time as I got a new pan with a removable bottom which I I thought could be use for baklava. I've been wanting to do a traditional baklava with that beautiful rose water scent. Can you guide me with a recipe?


ARTICLE: Take a more layered approach by adding phyllo dough to your kitchen staples

We don't have a "traditional" one, but maybe you'll like one of these.

Rosemary Dark Chocolate Baklava

RECIPE: Rosemary Dark Chocolate Baklava

RECIPE: Chocolate Baklava

A few weeks back, Joe named Amy Chaplin is a cookbook author he trusts. Made the Summer and Basil Pasta with Pine Nut Sauce - fabulous. Hoping he might share a few more names. Thank you

So glad you like that recipe from Amy. She's so great. There are many cookbook authors I trust, including all three who are with us today, of course! I'm reluctant to dive into more cause I know I'll miss some folks, but a few off the top of my head: Andrea Nguyen, Dorie Greenspan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Deborah Madison, Joan Nathan, Bryant Terry, Yotam Ottolenghi, Madhur Jaffrey, Meera Sodha, Nik Sharma, Ronni Lundy, Nathalie Dupree, Edna Lewis, Toni Tipton-Martin...

I watched a couple of the David Chang episodes of "Mind of a Chef" and found him to be a quite unpleasant person. Maybe I just caught the wrong episodes of it. I saw some of that in Maura Judkis's excellent profile of him, but not too much. Maybe he's mellowed out a bit. He seems like a complicated fellow. I will have to try one of his restaurants, though. Being a bit prickly doesn't mean you can't be a great chef.

He is indeed a very complicated person. And he fully admits to being unpleasant earlier in his career -- he was notorious for screaming at his staff. We couldn't fit this part of the conversation into the story, but it's something he's worked on over the years -- and as cliched as this sounds, people who know him say that fatherhood has mellowed him out a bit.  I spent several hours with him for that interview, and I was really struck by how outwardly his anxiety manifested itself in our conversation. Which, interestingly came up in my recent profile of Antoni Porowski from "Queer Eye," too. Though with Chang, it really veered into self-flagellation. 

ARTICLE: Ramen, noise and rebellion: David Chang's impact on the food world

Kari Sonde: YAAAAAASSS!!!

I have 6 at home. I have plans that will definitely use up 3. Any ideas for the rest?

We do! Check out this roundup of cauliflower recipes

And definitely roast one of them whole: 

Green Curry Cauliflower Roast

And also stick them under a broiler with halloumi and stuff into a pita. 

Charred Cauliflower and Halloumi Pitas With Harissa

Now I feel old

So do I. But believe it or not, the youths love our tiktoks, led by Dave! You can read more about it here

My husband requested that I make something sweet for his office today. They were having a breakfast thing. I made Vivian Howard's blueberry bread pudding. Results are in: they wolfed it down. I was hoping maybe I'd get to try a little bite but oh well. You guys are helping me maintain a pretty high reputation at my husband's office. Thanks!

Blueberry-Rosemary Breakfast Pudding


I briefly dated Emeril in the 80s between his wife no. 1 and no. 2 when I was in my 20s and still living at home. He picked me up for a date when my parents were eating dinner and my mother invited us to join them. I was horrified, he was thrilled.

make those athletes some parmesan crisps. Not really baking but they will love 'em.

Reminds me of the original The Odd Couple TV series, when Felix, the fussy one, wants to reconcile with his wife, who kicked him out for being so picky -- but the get-together goes awry when he returns the eggs she's made him to the pan, saying they need to cook just a little longer and then, "See? Tight as a drum!" while the estranged wife fumes. As you wrote, "If you cook for someone--ANYONE, chef or not, dating or not--and they are overly hypercritical to the point of making you feel bad, it's a good indicator that you might not want to stick around."

I don't know that show but I definitely want to watch that scene! 

Love "The Odd Couple"!

We need a fresh horseradish root (not the stuff in a jar). Need a 1 lb size. Any idea where to buy it?

I would try Whole Foods right around now... Or maybe try looking for a Jewish butcher/grocery - and ask them. Fresh horseradish root is something that's often served with gefilte fish around the High Holidays, so that's where I'd look first.

Jarred horseradish not good enough for my in-laws for Rosh Hashanah. But where can we buy horseradish root?

I think there was a similar question earlier on in the chat, but I would call a kosher butcher to find out. Often times they have horseradish root there -- that is where my MIL gets hers. I would also check in with Whole Foods, as sometimes they get the root around the Jewish holidays.

I read the on-line version of the Post and there is no link to the food section, only to Voraciously. Can this be changed? I never know what I've missed by not getting the paper edition until I see the links on this chat. For example, I knew nothing about the David Chang article until now. Thanks!

Not sure exactly where you're looking, but on the home page, there is a link to Food, and Voraciously is a subsection.

You can also always bookmark!

Lasagne for a crowd!

Will try this in original version but wondering how orange zest rather than lemon would work.

Would be great! Personally, I might lean toward that. The author said you could use orange or lime instead of the lemon.

I just bought some for the first time this week and was wondering if you use it exactly the same as the extract, or if you need to use more or less? Thanks!!

No need to change anything. Use the same amount!

THANKS for putting the dish size. It is so important - couldn't understand why my souffle was suddenly floppy until I figured out it was a Brit recipe. I then googled other Brit recipes and realized they tended to use a smaller souffle dish then American recipes.

I heard a report that black plastic food storage containers and utensils are made with plastic recycled from electronics. After this chat, I'm heading to the kitchen store to replace them.

Thank you Joe for the short list of cookbook authors you trust. Seriously, helpful - I've been disappointed by many.

My pleasure!

I went to a wonderful market for pomegranate molasses and found verjuice, which I vaguely remembered from the Post Food section some time ago, so I grabbed a bottle. What do I use it in, besides maybe cocktails?

Verjus (made from grape must) is fabulous in salad dressings, adding tartness and fruitiness. Also consider adding a splash to a heavy meat braise or stew to brighten it up.

Maybe sweet dishes were a rare treat way back when? I dislike that amount of sugar in most foods, too. I tone down sharp dressings with more oil or cream.

I used a recipe yesterday from the UK that called for both weight and volume (metric) for...water. Penciled a lot of notes on that piece of paper.

I make a lot of stir fries, and I often add frozen corn or peas. The peas get overcooked so quickly that I add them AFTER I turn off the burner. I'm not very imaginative with sauces, so I buy a lot of Wegman's stir fry sauces, they have a lot of different varieties to choose from.

Could it be used instead of (or as a partial replacement for) oatmeal in fruit crisp topping?

I could see some shreds being helpful here, sure!

Who will be able to comment on Pittsburgh food during these chats, after Maura moves on?

Haha, so even though I have a new job, I am not getting a new desk. I still sit next to Kari! Which is great!! (We share snacks! So many snacks.) So if you guys ever want me to pop into the chat for a special question, just ask, and if I'm not out on an assignment or otherwise occupied, she will prompt me to log in. 


(I was just in Pittsburgh this weekend and happened to find myself eating bratwurst at Max's Allegheny Tavern, in a full length satin gown, in between the ceremony and reception for my little sister's wedding. It was quite a sight.)

Anthony Bourdain talked about liking being a guest. While problematic in other areas, Mario Batali seemed to appreciate being a guest, as described in the opening of “Heat”. Go ahead and cook for them. Worst case you discover they are an ungrateful guest, which is important information.

You can order horseradish roots from seed catalogs, to plant (make sure you don't put them in the ground upside-down, however). One tip: horseradish comes back with a vengeance every year, so make sure it's in a location where you want it to continue growing.

Shredded Wheat Bread is delicious. A vintage recipe for Shredded Wheat Bread from What's Cooking in Massachusetts: Favorite Bay State Recipes uses crumbled cereal and molasses for a tender, sweet loaf that's perfect for toasting.  1/2 cup warm water 1 envelope active dry yeast 2 cups boiling water 2 large Shredded Wheat biscuits, crumbled 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup molasses 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1 teaspoon table salt 6-7 cups all-purpose flour Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and allow to proof for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the boiling water and crumbled Shredded Wheat biscuits, then add the sugar, molasses, melted butter, and salt. Add the proofed yeast and the flour, one cup at a time, until you have a cohesive and tacky (but not sticky) dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board or counter and knead until smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and flip to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, then gently knead a few more times before forming into 2 loaves. Place dough in greased loaf pans, then re-cover and allow to rise for an additional 60 to 90 minutes. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes or until crust is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and brush loaves with an additional tablespoon of melted butter if you like. 

Google cookie or muffin recipes. You use in place of some of the flour, like you would bran flakes. As it is inherently bland, be sure the recipe includes flavorful ingredients like raisins, cinnamon, etc.

Any recipe recommendations for a fabulous (but not overly difficult) chocolate peanut butter dessert that would impress? Needs to serve at least 12 people.

Try my tahini caramel tart from Sababa! It has a chocolate shortbread crust and a tahini caramel filling, It is featured in the WaPo Rosh Hashanah article. Tahini and peanbut butter are almost like flavor cousins!



This has nothing to do with jumping mixers. My husband found a video on changing the brushes for the motor. If you've had your mixer for a while, it might be a good idea. It's easy and inexpensive ($6-7)

A whole pound of horseradish root?? Are you cooking for an army?

With the return of Downton Abbey (and also GBBO), have any of you noticed an uptick in people wanting to make elaborate, multi-step "throwback" foods? Or is it still the era of the sheet pan and one-bowl meal?

Both, I think! A big baking project especially is something people love, but we all live in the modern, busy, real world, so one-pans, sheet pan suppers and Instant pot meals remain popular.

We've pan-fried Beyond Burger patties a few times for cheeseburgers and been very pleased with them. Of course, all the toppings covered the flavor of the burger pretty much. So, for a little variety, I decided to serve the patties fried plain, accompanied by boiled potatoes and steam asparagus, and to top all three foods with a homemade blender Béarnaise sauce. It seemed to us that the burger wasn't quite as beefy tasting as steak, although the sauce turned out deliciously (I sort of "split the difference" between two recipes I found online). I'm thinking of trying a similar approach for a faux beef Stroganoff served with noodles. Is there anything vegetarian I can do to amp up the beef taste of the patties? One catch: I loathe mushrooms. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

How about some soy sauce? It ha s avery mouthwatering savory umami like flavor in small amounts. Or maybe some nutritional yeast?

Hello -- please help! I love the Majestic and Moist New Year's Honey Cake from Epicurious. Unfortunately, it's often raw around the center ring when the rest of the cake is done. I'd like to convert it into muffins/cupcakes, which should address the uneven baking (and help with portion control). How should I adjust the temp and/or time? FYI, from the recipe: "For angel and tube cake pans, bake for 60 to 70 minutes; loaf cakes, 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40 to 45 minutes. This is a liquidy batter and, depending on your oven, it may need extra time."

I would consider adding a touch of flour to the recipe or reducing liquid, Cakes that are raw in the center or buckl often can't "dry out" properly. Agreed that honey cake is tricky as it tends to be dry so you may need to play around with it a bit!

I finally bought some saffron, and am looking for the best things to use it in. I have every other spice and herb under the sun, but, I guess it never came up in any recipes I was trying before.

I could write odes to saffron and its incredible, intoxicating fragrance! If you decide that you feel the same, I suggest checking out a few Persian cookbooks - because, magic! For the immediate gratification, I love this Jeweled Rice recipe, which, while a bit fussy, is one of the tastiest things to come out of my kitchen. 

If you're making golden almond milk with turmeric, you can infuse the water with saffron for an evocative flavor and color. Always great to throw a few strands in any rice or grain while cooking!

Or what term did you use to search on YouTube?

Here's a good one that shows the location and method for fixing it. Good luck! 

Hi Free Rangers and readers! I'm taking a much-needed dive into remodeling my kitchen, and thought this may be a good place to crowd-source some ideas. What features do you have in your kitchens that facilitate the dance that is cooking and make you say "I LOVE THIS"? I'm thinking special cabinet functions, where you have things positioned, etc. Pretty much the only thing I've decided is I'm getting an induction stove (thanks to encouragement from this chat, SO PSYCHED!); everything else is pretty much up for consideration. I have a townhouse, but a pretty sizable kitchen, and I'm willing to splurge on a thing or two because, you know, it's my favorite room in the house :) Thanks to all in advance!

Two things I suggest:

1. Get countertops that can handle hot pans being put on them. GAME CHANGER.

2. Consider putting your most-used pots/pans/equipment where it's easily accessible. In the Food Lab here, we have lots of pans hanging from the wall, a la Julia Child, and I love that and want to do it at home.

I second both things Joe said, and say a few others. I recommend going for a stainless steel, rectangular, restaurant-style large sink that is deep and will be able to fit a few large pans without being inundated. I also think having a stainless steel rod where you can hang most used kitchen utensils is helpful. And a magnetic knife rack helps to open up counter space and reduce clutter. It's also more hygienic.

Def agree on the sink and knife strip, too! 

I've worked with divided sinks and with one large sink, and absolutely love the latter.

Hey! I also suggest making sure that you have the countertops built or installed to match your posture and height. As a tall woman, I have counters three inches taller than the norm and it has CHANGED MY LIFE! Also, think about your usual cooking rhythms and fit the layout of the kitchen appliances and work spaces to your specific needs. 

Double oven! Love having two.

Also, I just got a new fridge that actually has made me dance. It is a no-frills LG -- no water dispenser, no wifi, etc. But it is spacious and that is all I want in a fridge. Love it.

When we moved into our new home in Hyattsville, one thing I fell in love with was the sheet-pan storage cabinet. It's a vertical cabinet, with two slots designed specifically for baking sheets, cookie sheets, cutting boards, pizza stones, etc. It's SOOOO convenient to pull those items from the vertical cabinet rather than fishing them out of the bottom of a regular cabinet crowded with pots and pans.

Here's the way to think about frozen veggies: they take on water in the process, so avoid veg and recipes where texture counts. This is why your stir fry isn't pleasing. Think things like: peas, spinach, corn where texture doesn't have to stay crisp. I often whip together frozen spinach and ricotta for example. Or use a recipe where the texture doesn't rely on being crisp - I make soup from frozen broccoli.

Is it okay to not rinse the rice before making this? I always wonder what I am rinsing off...

I did not rinse. I guess there's an argument to be made for getting rid of debris, but the rinsing is more important if you're actually cooking rice and want to get rid of the surface starches that can cause the grains to stick together. Not something you have to worry about with horchata. And you do end up straining at the end anyway, if there is anything to remove.

I have made this cauliflower soup many times. It is the BEST. This is from Cooks Illustrated.

This is why we keep an old dinette table in our kitchen; it's my work surface. My one-foot-taller husband is happy with the counter height; I"m not.

A faucet over the stove! No more filling up pasta/lobster/soup making pots and lugging them over! It's so delightful


I make my own sugar-free BBQ sauce and ketchup but don't know how long they will keep in the fridge. Store-bought BBQ/ketchup last a long time (months?), and I made mine versions out of store-bought ingredients but I assume that does not necessarily translate to the long refrigerated shelf life of the store brand varieties. I don't want to make small amounts every time I need it, but is that what I'm up against?

With homemade condiments, keep them refrigerated in airtight containers and check them every day or two for mold or discoloration. If yours is made mostly of store bought items chances are they contain preservatives and will last a while.

Trying to convert volume recipes to weight in grams is an exercise in frustration, in my opinion, at least with US centric recipes. One ends up with very weird amounts, such as 113 grams for a stick of butter, or 450 grams for a pound of flour. In my opinion one is better off using recipes that were conceived in metric measures. Trust me, I have been there. I grew up cooking by weight, and still cook that way. Matilde

I have done this with success, especially for recipes I make over and over again. I measure out the volume the recipe says and then annotate with weights. Makes measuring so much faster, and this way I'm using my own tested weights. I believe weight for butter can be especially helpful for our overseas readers, if sticks of butter are not the same where they live.

I have a recipe from the Canadian Maritimes that calls for a lot of tea in a cake/quick-bread that's very ...well, gingerbreadlike? Raisins, molasses, spices, and black tea. I love it but the leavening (lots of baking soda) gives it a metallic taste that I'd like to neutralize. Any ideas?

I would add more vanilla - its round flavor should help.

Even a little bit of buttermilk could also neutralize the flavor (plus oomph up the rise a bit).

I saw fresh horseradish at the Columbia Heights Giant this weekend.

I've been on an kick where I order fabulous lesser-known citrus from California. I am pretty set on the yuzu plans (make ponzu, mix it in miso, ferment the peel with Napa cabbage--which is awesome), but I also have calamondins coming (just a pound). I love marmalade but am especially interested in using these fruits in savory Asian applications. Any more ideas?

Since calamondins/calamansi are native to the Philippines, your best bet might be looking for their use in Filipino cuisine. This article from the LA Times  says they're used for "sauces, candies, marinades and drinks" and "squeezed fresh over fish or rice noodles." 

I really don't get the appeal. You still have to lug the full pot to a sink to dump it afterward!

Have your trash and recycle "cans" built into a pull out cabinet. It hides them and makes is super easy to just wipe crumbs/scraps/whatever into the trash!

On their Web site, King Arthur has a pretty exhaustive list of ingredients with their volume and weight equivalents. I printed it and taped it to the inside of one of my cabinets.

Shalom Kosher Market on Arcola Ave., Silver Spring

Everyone took cooking in my Jr. High School. Everyone. In my class we had the girls group, the boys group and the short group. I was in the short group with two boys. We were all 12. Some of the boys hadn't hit a growth spurt yet. I never had one at all. We did most of our prep on the table, not the counters.

Lots, lots and lots of electric outlets above counter level. Matilde

How far is your kitchen sink from the water heater? Our kitchen tap took 40 seconds for the water to get hot, which was a terrible waste, so we got a recirculation pump under the kitchen sink, with remotes in the bathrooms. We still wait 40 seconds but we don't waste gallons of water.

Adeena Sussman, Einat Admony, and Leah Koenig -- I'm always wowed by the way specific cuisines vary so much depending on the part of the world where they're prepared, or where the cook is from, or even the age of the cook when "authenticity" is wanted (an older cook won't have grown up with immersion blenders, which might give a smoother consistency than hand-blending, for instance). So I'm curious if you had different ideas about what should be included in today's Rosh Hashanah menu or how any dish should be prepared? Wishing you blessed holidays!

I think mixing and matching from assorted cultures is great! I do think that if you have a traditional family recipe for a holiday, this is the time to use it. You can feel free to tweak it and move it forward a bit, adding a twist for the next generation. I also love the idea of making dishes that reflect your guests' different heritages and backgrounds, for a real global table.

A couple nights ago I tried a sandwich just because the flavor combination seemed so unusual, and I was curious. Maybe I'm the only one who didn't realize these flavors went together, but, it was nut-free basil pesto (so more basil-y), arugula, tomatoes, and chunky blueberry jam on sourdough bread. I would have thought the pesto and jam would clash, but, it was wonderful. What are some other strange but wonderful flavor combinations I'm missing?!

Blue cheese and chocolate! We have a (savory) recipe coming up soon that uses them both!

resident Mom's evangelist here. I've periodically seen horseradish root at Mom's Organic Market - I suggest calling them if you are in the DMV

I didn't know anyone was more of a Mom's evangelist than I! Let's spread the Mom's gospel together. 

I don't know that it's Asian, but friends who grow yuzu gave us a bottle of heavenly yuzu-infused St. George gin.

There is the arsenic etc question with rice imported from counties that have looser pollution standards than the US

Well, you've reduced us by one-third, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks much to Adeena, Leah and Einat for help with the a's!

Now for the giveaway books: The chatter who asked about a substitute for silan will get Einat's book, "Shuk." The one who asked about a source for a 1-pound horseradish root will get Leah's "The Jewish Cookbook." And the one who just asked about how to approach the holiday table will get Adeena's "Sababa." Send your mailing info to, and she'll get you your book!

Until next time, happy cooking, eating and reading! And Happy New Year!

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.
Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow is the author of "Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet and Savory Slab Pies" (Grand Central Life & Style, 2018).
Adeena Sussman
Adeena is the author of "Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen," released 9/3 by Avery/Penguin, and the co author of Chrissy Teigen's "Cravings" and "Cravings: Hungry for More." Sababa has been named a best Fall 2019 cookbook by the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Eater, and Epicurious.
Leah Koenig
Leah Koenig is a food writer and author of 6 cookbooks including The Jewish Cookbook - a 400+ treasure trove of global Jewish recipes published by Phaidon Press this September. In addition to writing, she leads cooking demonstrations and classes around the globe.
Einat Admony
Einat Admony is the chef/owner of New York City’s popular Balaboosta, Kish-Kash and Taim restaurants, and the author of two cookbooks, “Balaboosta” and the newly published “Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking”.
Emily Heil
Emily 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.
Tamar Haspel
Tamar Haspel, a freelance writer based in Cape Cod, writes The Post's Unearthed column. She's the author of four books, including Dreaded Broccoli (Scribner, 1999), and writes about harvesting food first-hand at
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