Free Range on Food: "Deep Run Roots," deer hunting and more.

Nov 09, 2016

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

Greetings, all, and welcome to today's chat. Talking about food and cooking MIGHT be the last thing on your mind, given the election (and a little speech by Hillary Clinton happening as I type), but we're hoping you want to put all that out of your heads for an hour: Consider it an extended moment of Zen.

We have some interesting things to chat about, including Tamar Haspel's piece about hunting deer for Thanksgiving; Jane Black's review of Vivian Howard's lovely new "Deep Run Roots" cookbook; Carrie Allan's look at some chemistry-geek cocktail making; and more.

Tamar and Carrie will join us today, and we'll have a Very Special Guest, too: Vivian Howard herself! She's simply a joy.

We also have put out our ever-helpful Thanksgiving Central page; this is where you can start all your T-Day menu planning. Our newest recipes are included in full, and we have links to lots more options, plus FAQs, other thematic menus; and videos, with more to be added over the next couple of weeks. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Remember that this is one of those great weeks when you can just keep on chatting. Dorie Greenspan will take the baton from us at 1, so you can send her baking and other cooking questions now, and then go join her live when we're done.

We'll also have giveaway books today: a SIGNED copy of Vivian's "Deep Run Roots" and a copy of Alton Brown's "EveryDayCook," source of this week's Weeknight Veg recipe.

Oh, and for you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR2162 . Remember, you'll record and enter it into 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.

Let's do this!

The election results have me in need of comfort food. What are some of your go-tos when your spirits need lifting?

Anything baked! But I think few things are more comforting than a warm chocolate chip cookie...

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

RECIPE: Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Long time reader submitting early - so I was browsing the Christmas cookie finder, so many fabulous options! But of course every single one wants them stored in an airtight container and I got to thinking. I've got the the old-standby coffee cans, some tins, some plasticware... results are usually mixed. What does everyone like that's big enough to hold a batch of cookies that's really truly airtight? And yes, I've tried plastic bags but getting all the air out often damages cookies so I don't love them.

Line your coffee cans and tins with plastic wrap, with a piece drawn tight over the opening before you put the lid on ... I can tell you that it works. (I like using wax paper the same way for cookies that need to stay crisp.) Chatters, what's your best practice here?

Thanks for your clear explanation of the issues. I think the saddest part of this story is that a lot of long-time friendships (or at least productive work relationships) seem to be going up in flames.

ARTICLE: Six take-aways from America's Test Kitchen's lawsuit against Christopher Kimball

Very true.

Any favorite vegetarian or vegan cookbooks you would recommend? Other than Joe's of course ;) I already own.

I've said it before, but I've cooked a lot out of "The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen. That in itself is an endorsement! It's quite a good collection, lots of new stuff.

I'll cast a vote for Deborah Madison, who has done a number of vegetarian cookbooks (her first, I think, was Greens, and the latest is Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone). That woman knows her way around a vegetable!

I second the Deborah Madison idea. (I love "Vegetable Literacy.") And of course, there are great books by Mollie Katzen, Isa Chandra Moscowitz (whose newest is "The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook," which I'll be writing about soon), Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence ("The Chubby Vegetarian"), Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby ("Vedge" and "V Street"), and so, so many more.

"Plenty" and "Plenty More" by Yotam Ottolenghi are modern classics. And I'm a huge fan of Amy Chaplin and her "At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen" and Anna Jones and her "A Modern Way to Cook" and "A Modern Way to Eat."

Enough choices?

How soon can I make them in advance? I've got Friendsgiving, and would like to make them a day ahead. It shouldn't be a problem?

First, I congratulate you on your interest in  THE BEST THANKSGIVING DESSERT  EVER. HANDS DOWN. IMHO. I make them every year. Good news: They freeze really well. Making them a day ahead and storing them in an airtight container at room temp should be fine. Any longer than that and I'd freeze them between layers of wax paper.

Do you have a favorite kale recipe?

I make this thing I call "Healthy Soup." It starts with a whole chicken that I boil with onions and garlic till it's falling apart. Then I add beans, tomatoes, and hard herbs like rosemary and thyme. I finish the soup with loads of greens..often Kale. 

Vivian, I can't wait to meet you and get my copy of Deep Run Roots at your book signing in Bethesda. You gave seasoning meats as takeaway "favors" to the publishing staff. Have you heard back from them on how or if they actually cooked up a mess of beans with the ham hock?

I haven't heard a thing...I'm guessing many of my gifts ended up in the garbage somewhere in Brooklyn.

No!

Could you please link to some yeast bread recipes that require lots of hard kneading? (I need it for emotional therapy).

Some ideas:

Chocolate Babka

RECIPE: Chocolate Babka

Pain au Lait

RECIPE: Pain au Lait

Grandma Webster's Dinner Rolls

RECIPE: Grandma Webster's Dinner Rolls

If you REALLY want a challenge, I haven't tried it, but some readers have reported back successfully making our bagels all by hand. Just be prepared for a major workout.

Best-of Bagels

RECIPE: Best-of Bagels

Its just my daughter and me for Thanksgiving dinner this year. We are looking for a high end restaurant and cost isn't really a factor. Any suggestions?

If it were me, I'd trust my Thanksgiving dinner with chefs and/or restaurants that have their own long tradition.

 

Chef Jeffrey Buben is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill, mixing Turkey Day favorites into the regular menu.

 

The late French chef Michel Richard celebrated American foods at every opportunity. What better way to honor his life -- and his affection for his adopted country -- than to eat Thanksgiving dinner at his last remaining restaurant? Central Michel Richard has a three-course prix-fixe menu with a mix of bistro classics and Thanksgiving fare.

 

OBITUARY: Michel Richard, innovative chef who made D.C. a capital of dining, dies at 68

 

Finally, chef Tom Power will be offering a $60 prix-fixe menu at Corduroy, mixing house favorites with traditional Thanksgiving fare.

 

I suspect you'll be in good hands at any of these three spots.

I'm really struggling with the results of the election. I'd like to hear what Tamar thinks a Trump presidency may do to food and water safety laws...and what we can do to fight it.

There's a lot of struggling going on, I think, and I sure wish I had a crystal ball to help with your question. Because, without one, I don't think I can begin to tackle it.  Our president-elect doesn't have a track record that could help us understand his leanings and priorities when it comes to policy, and the kind of question you're asking didn't come up much in the campaign.  That's the long-winded way of saying I don't have the foggiest idea. 'Hoping for the best' isn't much of a position, but it's the best I've got.

After the election last night, I'm due for a meal of crow. Any recipes ideas for curing loss of faith in humanity?

Ha. Just putting these out there: Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies.

My husband left a block of Jarlsberg out on the counter overnight--on a very warm night! There were moisture beads on the cheese in the morning that looked like maybe fat coming to the surface. I dried the cheese, wrapped in parchment and put back in the fridge, but now we're not sure if it's ok to eat. Any advice?

Jarlsberg is a semi-firm cheese, which can sit out longer on the counter than fresh cheeses. Did the cheese still have its rind on it? Did it smell off? If it smells off, I'd say toss it.

Its a lot more humane to harvest deer than to have them die horrible deaths from collisions with vehicles. 98% of the hunters out there hunt humanely and only take what they need. We are not deplorable red necks in camo drinking and shooting everything.

Well, at least we're not *all* deplorable rednecks! There's always a segment of the hunting population that does the kind of things that give hunting a bad name, but the hunters I know are as you describe.

ARTICLE: I shot a deer for Thanksgiving. Here's why.

No question. Just a comment. I think it's kind of charming that Joe talks to his food.

How else do you know if it's happy? ;-)

FACEBOOK LIVE: Dorie Greenspan on cookies and kindness

Seems like a not-unusual problem. Didn't Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner split acrimoniously over their food business, as well as the two Silver Palate cookbook partners?

Going into business with friends can be either really good or really bad.

I will be in Paris over the Christmas holiday. I am wondering if you could recommend a special place to eat that isn't over the top expensive. I would prefer good food to haute cuisine. Thanks

Lucky you, because part-time Paris resident Dorie Greenspan is chatting right after us at 1 p.m. I would submit this to her!

During a bout of ambitious baking, I ordered a point of Callebaut cocoa powder (22-24% fat content). Sadly, much of it has been in a sealed container in my pantry for more years than I can remember. I'm actually going to be doing some baking over the holidays, and I'm wondering if this is still usuable. It looks and smells fine, but normally something this old would be tossed into the compost bin. Thoughts?

If it wasn't exposed to extremes of heat or light, it ought to be okay -- although it will probably be less potent in your recipes so you might want to account for that.

 

And if you're the curious sort, you could run a small test by combining it with sugar and hot water in a saucepan -- making a kind of hot chocolate paste. If that tastes okay, let us know!

Traditionally, my husband and I make all the food for Thanksgiving but the meal is at my in-law's house a few miles away (don't ask). Most years this isn't a big deal, we prep all the food on Wednesday, drive it over there on Thursday. Over the summer we got a new smoker and it is too heavy to move it over there for the day, but we really want a smoked turkey on Thanksgiving. The plan is to smoke the turkey on Wednesday, then heat it up slowly at their house on Thursday. My thought was reheating it in a slow cooker with some stock set to low (I know this destroys a crispy skin but that's okay). Is this a good approach? If so, how long can it sit without drying out?

Jim Shahin will likely have better advice on this than I do. I've only smoked a turkey once. It didn't go so well. It is a difficult beast to cook in a smoker. It cooks very unevenly. It can also turn an unappetizing shade of gray/black, depending on your ability to control fire/smoke.

 

An important question: Do you have an offset smoker (which is what I used; it was difficult to create an even "oven" temperature) or do you have a Big Green Egg-type smoker (which will be far easier on you)?

 

If you have an offset smoker, I'd advise smoking it for a few hours, just to get a smoky flavor on the bird. Then you can finish it in the oven. Best of both worlds.

You've seen his Bourbon Brined Smoked Turkey recipe, right?

     Truthfully, I'm not sure how the reheating will work. I haven't done it. It might make the turkey a tad more dry, but it should be okay. 

       As for smoking, I've smoked on an offset and on a bullet smoker. Both ways came out great. I didn't have the discoloring problem that Tim mentioned. Maybe my heat was lower or my amount of wood was less. Dunno. 

        Last year, I grilled/smoked the turkey. I spatchcocked it (butterflied it), then cooked it as I would a big chicken. Grilled it skin-side down directly over the fire for about 10 or so minutes, flipped it over and grilled for another 10 or so minutes. I flipped back over (so the skin side was up) and moved it over to the indirect side and let it smoke. It took only about an hour or so and the flavor was amazing. You lose the gorgeous whole-turkey presentation, but the meat comes more evenly cooked, juicy, and flavorful. That's how I'm going to do it again this year.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that while I have invested in kitchen appliances, gadgets and cookware/bakeware, my cutlery game is severely lacking. I know this comes up often, but of the following brands which would you recommend (say first and second choice): Wusthof, Zwilling, Shun, Schmidt Brothers and Global. Since I’m getting a HUGE discount, price doesn’t have to be the deciding factor, though I don’t want to go crazy. I want to set a good foundation, probably starting with a 3-7 piece set then adding as necessary. I see most sets seem to include paring, utility and chef knives but what else would you look for? I’m planning to go into the store and handle each of the brands, but some advice on which may be best quality-wise would be a big help. Thanks!

Those are all reputable companies, so the key is really to handle, which I'm glad you're doing, because that will help you decide whether you like the feel of the knife as you use it (or pretend to use it -- unless the store where you're buying them has some carrots you can chop up). The Global knives, for instance, are much lighter, which can take some getting used to if you're used to heavy German knives, but they're very high quality, and you might find that you like the lightness. Or you might really appreciate something with a much heavier blade and handle. Pick up a chef's knife to gauge, because that's going to be the one you use the most, by far. And don't be afraid to mix brands -- you might like a Schmidt chef's knife and a Shun paring knife, for instance.

It might be obvious, but IMHO you should hold back before you buy a full set, even a 3-7-piece one. Your choice of specific knives depends on what you do most, but keep in mind that, yes, you can do 90% of the work, maybe more, with a chef's knife and a paring knife. You might want a few paring knives and an extra chef's knife or two if you often have helpers in the kitchen. A utility knife is indeed good for cutting soft things like tomatoes without damaging them, and depending on the size (of the knife and the bread) you can sometimes use it as a bread knife. If you eat a good amount of crusty bread, a true bread knife (longer, serrated) is good to get. And if you tend to fillet fish or want to pull out the bones of meat or poultry a lot, a boning knife might be worth getting. (For occasional work, you can usually manage with a paring knife.)

Aside from the way they feel in your hand, one of your other main criteria should be warranties. Are they guaranteed for life? If not, which have the longest/best warranties? That's important. 

Realized I haven't seen red pistachios in a long time. What happened? They were ubiquitous when I was a kid - I'd have red fingers for days after eating them. They also seemed to taste better than the rare undyed ones. Hoping the dye wasn't found to be unhealthy -?

This looks to be a fairly popular Internet query! The common answer indicates the dyeing was a bit of a cheat. It was used to hide imperfections in the naturally colored imported pistachios that didn't look so great.  Because we grow lots in America now -- with harvesting techniques that keep them looking nice -- the need to color them red has faded away.

I made the recipe the other day - stellar, and so quick to pop in the oven! I added a bit of rosemary and feta, which I think worked. Wanted to give it a five star rating, but couldn't get the blessed thing to work!

Thanks for the feedback, so glad you liked it. (And we'll let the tech folks know about the rating issue.)

Parmesan-Crusted Delicata Squash

RECIPE: Parmesan-Crusted Delicata Squash

Did the staff have too much election results? Not only is there no Discussion or Live Chat on the Front Page of the Online Post to click on--I searched the live chats another way, but Lifestyle is missing from the main header at the top. In addition there was no daily code on the front page. What's going on?

I'm not seeing either of those problems. Lifestyle is up at the top with the rest of the strip, and if you scroll down a bit and look to the right, you see Live Discussions, with Free Range right there at the top (and my photo, sadly).

Vivian, I recently discovered your show "A chef's life" and I am in love with the way you tells the story about food, agriculture, and the people who work in this field. I love how innovative you are in the way you look at seasonal ingredients and how you are not afraid to take risks to push the boundaries of what people will eat in your restaurant. Is there anything the people are still not open to eating in your restaurant? I look forward to learning more about your cooking style.

Really we're able to cook just about anything these days and have a certain segment of our diners order it. Although I did have some trouble recently inspiring interest in a catfish ceviche!

 

I want to make this Persian Sweet Potato Pie that you published recently. It calls for 1/4 to 1/2 tsp rosewater. I thought I saw it at the store a few months ago, but if I can't find rosewater at the store, can you suggest a substitute? Rum? Vanilla? Almond extract? or just leave it out. Thanks.

I think almond extract would be just perfect. Or orange-flower water, if that's any easier to find. Either would keep it in the Persian flavor range.

RECIPE: Persian-Spiced Sweet Potato Pie

Thank you for responding! I didn't realize that the recipe was from 2005 until I was trying to figure out if I had to do anything special to make them in advance. I've been making them for the past 5 years after seeing them in a food chat, but usually made and eaten on the day. If anyone out there hasn't tried it, then you must. I found out about them in a chat and now so have you!

Word. I wrested that recipe away from the Food editor I worked for in the '80s. She had shared it w/me but it took some convincing for her to go public with it. You're welcome! 

I've recently discovered the wonders of baking, but I'm still pretty green (and have a lot of misses interspersed with the hits). So far, I've mostly stuck to no-knead breads, but I'm looking to branch out a little and try new things. Any suggestions on bread/roll/bread-adjacent food recipes that wouldn't overwhelm me? I don't have a stand mixer, so everything would have to be done by hand.

What about cornbread? I love to make something we call hoe cakes- little cornmeal pancakes that get pan-fried in oil. They are incredibly simple and more versatile than biscuits or rolls. Sometimes I treat them like Naan or like the bookends to sandwiches. 

I lived in the South for a few years and loved the food. But the feel of raw okra really turns me off, so I never cook with it. Is there some way around this, besides wearing rubber gloves?

I don't know. Hire a sous chef?

I'm guessing you are turned off by the downy "fur" that lines okra's skin? If that's the case, seek out red burgundy okra. It has smooth glossy skin and no "fur."

After sitting through the coverage sober, I'm looking for virgin drinks for the next few months. Problem is that most of my preferred drinks do not lend themselves to virgin adaptations by omission. Margaritas become lime juice, Manhattans are not much more than the cherry. I'm not a huge fan of pina coladas or most daiquiris. Reccomendations?

Sure. I usually don't try to replicate existing cocktails without alcohol; the flavors of spirits are too hard to replicate, so you're usually best thinking of these drinks as something new. Apple cider based drinks are nice for this time of year, and can be made more sophisticated with bitters and herbs. I've become a real fan of a line of sodas called Dry, which are not too sweet and come in a range of good flavors, including a juniper which is reminiscent of gin. They work great as mixers with juices -- try the juniper one with cucumber, for example. If you're not a vinegar-phobe, shrubs can provide some really nice options, too. And here are a few more options -- I love Chinotto and it comes pretty close to some of the flavors you'll find in amari. 

People used to leave cheese at room temperature all the time. The fat separation might cause a slight deterioration in quality, but it shouldn't have anything wrong with it that would cause illness, as long as,, as advised, it doesn't smell off.

Moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria, of course. The smell test is usually my best method.

I've got about 3/4 of the tub left. Any interesting ideas?

The deer population in Howard County MD is totally overwhelming and I need some hunters to save my trees, shrubs, and bedding plants. They're even eating sharp-thorned holly now.

I'll be right over!

I handled last night's anxious energy by chopping 20+ lbs of apples and grinding it all into applesauce (by hand). At least I have something to show for my feelings (6 quarts of applesauce + more in the pot when I find more jars). Perhaps I should stockpile more food... As for best practices for cookies - Target and Dollar Tree (in my neighborhood) both sell cookie tins. I line with waxed paper and don't worry about getting tins back when I give them away...

More power to ya. 

Good tip on the cookie tins! I do love the festive look they lend.

I know you weren't there for the flood, but I have been so worried about your house, your children and your restaurant. Were they affected by the NC floods? 

Thanks very much for your concern. Our house, my family and our restaurants are fine. However much of the town and all of the region's agriculture was devastated. Please keep our part of the world in your thoughts. 

Can you freeze brie effectively? I saw a lovely recipe for a gift -- a small wheel of brie, a savory-sweet jam, all wrapped in a pastry to be baked. I am wondering if I could assemble it, freeze it, then give it as a gift to be baked. Also, wondering if that frozen package would make it through TSA (a question which might be out of scope for some food chats, but I have great faith in vast knowledge and authority of the Ranger team).

I can't speak to the TSA portion of your question. But I'd bake it, wrapped in pastry, and then freeze it. You avoid the whole droopy-defrosting pastry scenario, and also the specter of pathogens in freezing unpasteurized cheese (unless you know you have a brie that's been made with pasteurized milk). 

Generally, you'd have trouble getting through TSA security any cheese that's soft/spreadable, and would be required to check it. (And if it's frozen, maybe checking it wouldn't be too risky? Although success depends on how long the flight, what might happen when it thaws, how well you pack it, whether your bags get lost/delayed, etc...)

This entertaining story quoted a TSA official as saying, "If you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, then it is a liquid, gel or aerosol."

I love the Lentil Soup with Greens from the old Culinate website, which I believe was Deborah Madison's baby. Lentil Soup with Greens By Carrie Floyd, from the Culinate Kitchen collection Introduction

 

One of my all-time favorite soup recipes — Lentil-Spinach Soup — comes from The Greens Cookbook, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. Over the years I’ve fiddled with the recipe, adding and substituting ingredients to suit my fancy, and this is what has materialized.

 

I like to make a large quantity of this soup because it’s a good one to give away, and it freezes well, too.

 

INGREDIENTS

3 cups brown or green lentils, rinsed

1 bay leaf

10 cups water, plus the juice from the canned tomatoes (see below)

2 to 4 Tbsp. olive or canola oil

1 large red or yellow onion

2 celery stalks

2 bunches dark leafy greens (chard, spinach, and/or kale)

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Red-wine vinegar to taste

Optional garnishes: freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/or chopped Italian parsley

 

STEPS

1. Place the lentils, bay leaf, and water (with the liquid from the canned tomatoes) into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, skim off the surface foam and lower the heat to a simmer, keeping the pot partially covered.

 

2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Chop the onion and add it to a large sauté pan coated with just enough oil to cover the bottom, and cook over medium-low heat. While the onion is cooking, clean and chop the celery and peel and chop the carrots into a medium dice; add both to the pan with the onion. Stir vegetables and continue to cook, adding more oil to the pan if necessary to prevent them from sticking.

 

3. Prepare the greens by removing the leaves from the stems; finely chop the stems and add to the cooking vegetables. Chop the greens finely and set aside. Add the minced garlic to the sauté pan, give a stir, then add the chopped tomatoes.

 

4. Once the lentils are soft, remove the bay leaf and add the tomato-vegetable mixture to the soup pot; cook for another 20 to 30 minutes to bring all the flavors together. (If the soup seems too sludgy, add enough additional water to make it brothy and bring it back to a simmer.)

 

5. Add the chopped greens, stir, and cook until wilted. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little red-wine vinegar. Serve hot, with or without the optional garnishes.

Thanks!

Vivian do you have any signature cocktails included in your cookbook?

Yes- In the peach chapter I make a cocktail called "Ain't that a Peach." It's simple and relies on the syrup from canning peaches coupled with bourbon to make something that's memorable. I also make an "Apple Pie Moonshine Punch" in the apple chapter. It's really festive with warm spices like cinnamon and star anise and perfect for a holiday party.

 

have a special place on my shelf, since it was her BBC-TV show 35 or so years ago that got me into Indian cooking.

Of course! How could I forget? Love her and her work.

Hi everyone! My husband has a birthday coming up, and I need some help! I'm hoping to do a food/drink gift. We've done different things like "Rent Mother Nature" (so cool, by the way) in the past. He loves craft beer (especially IPAs), so I was thinking about maybe a beer of the month club? But which one? Or...we both love wine, so a dual-zone wine chest would be appreciated by us both, but I really don't want to add more stuff to my house. Help?

Wine classes for the two of you? An intro session with the DC Homebrewers Club? An evening foray with WaPo's Fritz Hahn?

Thanks for this. I'm afraid I'm one of those Americans for whom anything flavored with rose-water tastes like soap to me. Too floral.

It has to be used VERY judiciously.

Not the original chatter but its the slime I dislike, it gets on the knife like slug slime in between bare toes and will not wash off. Any hints for that? I've grown to like okra but hate the slime when fresh.

Don't cut it -- just roast or grill whole. A while back we had chef/cookbook author Cara Mangini on the chat, and she suggested this method for cooking okra (which I've since done twice on a cast-iron grill pan to most excellent results):

Buy okra in season (freshness is key) and choose a dry cooking method to control its slickness. I love to grill whole pods to give them a smoky, crisp texture. Marinate them in lime juice and zest, olive oil, smoked paprika, and crushed garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Throw them into a grill basket or skewer them. Grill until browned and lightly charred all over, 4 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. This way, okra turns into candy, truly.

I lived in Montana, and my first year there, my boss offered to split a deer with me. I lived alone, had never eaten venison before, but wanted to get in the MT spirit, so I agreed. Wow. I could never get used to the smell of it cooking, but I really tried, I really, really tried. If you have a recipe to share, please do. Always willing to try again. I think some neighbors made chili with it, which was ok. For the record, my 3 dogs ADORED venison. Happy, spoiled dogs, and each time my boss asked me, I'd truthfully answer, "It was a HUGE hit!"

You have some damn lucky dogs!  I think deer run the gamut, from the super gamey to the very mild.  But there are also some tricks to cooking it.  I have found that the fat does indeed have off, or weird, flavors.  I  made stock with a bunch of fatty scraps, and it had a rather off-putting ... um ... distinctiveness.  But the meat of the deer we shoot is just fine.  The flavor is mild, and the problem is the leanness of the meat.  You have to cook it either really quickly or really slowly.  If you're looking for guidance, get Hank Shaw's new book, Buck Buck Moose.  He's a very experienced wild food guy, and the book has some terrific (if sometimes persnickety) recipes. Good luck!

RECIPE: Kefta Kebabs

I have a boneless leg of goat that I am going to thaw and make for T-day. I am not sure if it should be slow and low or quick and rare. It's nicely tied and fatted already. Most of the recipes I find for goat are stews, I hate to waste such a beautiful roast by cutting it into cubes for stew. Hints?

Braised Goat

We have this nice Braised Goat recipe, but it's on the bone. Here's one that looks good from our pals Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's "Goat: Meat, Milk and Cheese" cookbook -- includes helpful directives about cooking goat, in general.

Vivian - Have seen some comparisons between the food policy movement driven largely by "foodie elites" and what we saw happen last night in the election. As someone who is very close to a rural community, what could those elites learn from your experience in how they talk to people about food and agriculture?

I see the biggest divide in our culture as the chasm between rural and urban. We saw that play out last night, and although I'm incredibly saddened by the results, I do think they raise to the forefront just how disgruntled and unheard the non-foodie elite voices are. 

Usually there is a little box halfway down on the right that lists today's discussions. Not there today in Chrome or IE on a PC.

Are you scrolling down far enough?

I too do not see 'live' on the front page when I scroll down or anywhere. I also have only *yesterday's* front page loading in Chrome, but today's in Firefox. Do you think this says something about those browser's political leanings?

Sounds like a cache issue in Chrome.

Thanks so much! He smoked a turkey last year, but at his parents house so we ate it after resting. At that time, he was using a Weber smoker which we transported to his parents house (we take Thanksgiving probably too seriously...). This year he got a kamado smoker and it's far too heavy to move. He's done numerous chickens and a turkey breast on the kamado and they all turned out fantastic, smoky and moist. I'm not really concerned with him successfully smoking the turkey for Thanksgiving, just the timing of it alll. I love the grill/smoker suggestion.

Your komodo smoker will make for a very even cook. They're much easier to regulate than an off-set smoker.

 

I'd still be tempted to partially cook the bird on the smoker, then transport and finish it in the oven at your destination. It would help prevent drying out the bird.

It ends up really mushy. Which doesn't keep me from eating it as it still tastes good, but the presentation factor just goes away. Sometimes I am doing this with previously steamed (lightly) broccoli? Is that the problem? Too low heat for too long? Any guesses?

Yes, there's no need to cook broccoli twice. So if you want to roast, don't steam first. 

My favorite way to roast broccoli (and most vegetables, frankly) is to use really high heat (450-500), put the baking sheet in the oven while it's heating, toss the broccoli with olive oil and salt in another bowl, and throw it onto the hot pan and return to the oven.

Make sure that you are using a big enough sheet (or two) to allow space between all the broccoli pieces. If they're touching or overlap, the edges won't get as crispy. And if they overlap, they'll basically steam.

I'd love the recipe from the Atlanta book signing. I can't find in the new book. It has a wonderful amount of coriander seeds

Which signing did you attend? Whole Foods or Acapella Books?

So we've got the time change, seasonal change, political change and maybe some of us are dealing with personal change. I've always found solace in cooking (and of course eating!) but maybe it's time for a bigger shift. I can't do what Joe did - move to New England and work on his sister's homestead, and I sure don't have an audience of eaters who would help me work through a Julia Child cookbook. Just wondering, how have all of you used cooking and eating to help during times of change?

I found great solace in cooking when I found myself suddenly single in the early 2000s. I'd come home from work and find comfort in the simple act of chopping vegetables and working through a recipe.

 

Stewing a pot of meat and vegetables is more rewarding than stewing mentally over things you can't change.

Can you do any volunteer cooking or food prep or serving anywhere? If you are in the DC area, some agencies that need such include DC Central Kitchen, Miriam's Kitchen, Food & Friends, and So Others Might Eat. That might help take your mind off things. Or volunteer at a garden, such as at the demonstration garden at Capital Area Food Bank, Common Good City Farm, DC Greens, or US Botanic Garden.

I'm using I/E and there is no link for the chat on the front page either. I had to go to the 'live chats' section to find yours.

You're here, and that's all that matters. As I've said before, it's best to just get in the habit of going to live.washingtonpost.com anyhow!

Chef Vivian, I'm so pleased you are participating in today's chat! I'm a devoted reader of the chats. I also am a devoted viewer of your show! I have a couple questions. One is about frozen foods. I know you are a big supporter of fresh food. The weather is getting colder so I've been seeing a lot of 'fresh' food from foreign countries because it's no longer in season here. I was wondering about frozen food. I saw the recipe had frozen blueberries. Has there been anything you have had to order frozen that you wanted to cook but wasn't in season? Or any frozen food you would not buy? Also, are you planning to film another season? I love your show so I hope you will continue to film it!

I think frozen foods are a great alternative to fresh this time of year. I personally freeze all sorts of produce during the summer and buy frozen fruit for my kids' smoothies all year long. At the restaurants we really focus on what's as a result of the season, so we don't cook with many frozen items there, but for the home cook I think it's a great way to use produce grown in the US all year. The only frozen things I would shy away from are frozen meals or fruit purees with added sugar. Buy the whole, unadulterated ingredient.

And yes- we are working on a 5th season.

I have a problem cooking beans in my pressure cooker. My standard procedure is to put the beans in water, bring to a boil, immediately remove from heat. Add 2-3 T baking soda (to reduce gas), stir, cover, and let soak overnight. Then drain and rinse the beans. Remove any skins that have floated free. Add fresh water to cover 1", and pressure cook for the stated time - 1-3-5 minutes or so depending on the variety of beans. What invariably happens is that as the pressure cooker comes up to pressure, steam erupts violently from the under the jiggle top, and from the top sealing ring. I never even get to setting the timer due to this mess erupting over my stove. I immediately remove from heat, and put under cold running water, but by the time I get the cooker opened the beans have pretty much exploded or turned to mush. This is a 6-qt stovetop Presto pressure cooker, with jiggle top. Barely 1 year old, and hardly used due to this problem. I have successfully made soups and stews, but would really like to know how to get beans to come out right. Thanks for any suggestions.

I've reached out to Jill Nussinow, who writes about pressure cooking and vegan cooking (and therefore, pressure cooks beans a lot) to get her take, but three things strike me:

1. It could be that baking soda, even though you rinse the beans. Try skipping that in the soaking (and adding, say, some kombu to the pot instead, for potential help with the digestibility).

2. Unless you really want a lot of the bean liquor (and I don't blame you if you do), the great thing about the pressure cooker and beans, as Jill points out in "Vegan Under Pressure," is that you don't have to use as much water, which in your case would surely help keep the foam from rising so high. She suggests that for each cup of dry beans you soak, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid. That's far less than covering by 1 inch.

3. You might want to look into a more modern-style pressure cooker that doesn't have the jiggle top. 

It looks complicated at first because lemons and oranges in soup? But I've read the recipe and bookmarked it and I'm going to make it! Now, what can you tell me about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey (whole bird mandatory) for one? I've been meaning to try it for years and I'm very leftover friendly. Already working on clearing out the fridge so I can defrost.

Jane Touzalin wrote about turkey for one in her Chat Leftover today.

ARTICLE: It's just me for the holiday. Where can I buy a tiny turkey?

Vivian, whenever you have the time (ha!)......have you considered doing cooking classes?

Ha is right!!! I'd like to think I teach people to cook on the show- not by following a recipe, but by thinking about how a dish and a bite comes together.

Two thumbs up! This was pure comfort food for me. Re split red lentils: I used little, red lentils but they didn't say they were split. I didn't even know it was a thing. It was wonderful anyway.

I love that recipe, too.

Curried Red Lentils With Coconut Milk

RECIPE: Curried Red Lentils With Coconut Milk

How are Ms Lily, Ms. Mary and Warren Brothers doing these days? I feel as though I almost know them, from your TV show!

They are well. Ms. Lillie came to one of the book signings and signed as many books as I did. As for Warren- he misses me I think.

end up like that? Are they just deep fried? Battered and deep fried? I know they are not just sautéed, but that is about all I can tell. And if there is a coating, it isn't like the one that you use to make onion rings.

Not battered, typically -- just fried. Think of it as the next step past caramelizing. I've done them in lots of oil; see this America's Test Kitchen recipe, which recommends microwaving them first to make sure they're thoroughly dry, and calls for less oil. 

Would a wild turkey cook more evenly? I've always wanted to try wild turkey (any idea where I can get one, since I don't hunt?).

From what little I know and have read, the meat of wild turkeys seems to be leaner, in general, for all the reasons you'd think. And that would make cooking it a bit more tricky. Our WaPoFood fresh turkey listings feature birds that are farm-raised, fyi.) But I see that you can order wild turkey (also farm-raised, so go figure) from the D'Artagnan website.

Whatever's hard about a farm-raised turkey is harder about a wild one. They're super lean -- squeaky lean -- and it's very hard to keep the breast moist.  That said, they're also very flavorful, and make great soups.  Any bird you buy with "wild" on the label is actually farmed, as it's illegal to sell animals that aren't slaughtered in USDA facilities.  But there are some heritage breeds that are fairly close to wild, but aren't quite so squeaky. We raised Standard Bronze turkeys, which I'm given to understand are the closest to wild of the domesticated birds, and they were terrific.

I too couldn't find the link to the live chats on the front page. I had to go looking to find a link to see what was happening today. Using Chrome...

We'll pass it along. But for future reference, bookmark live.washingtonpost.com.

This isn't so much a recipe as vague suggestions, but here goes: Season your venison steaks (I like garlic, onion, rosemary and black pepper) and brown them on both sides in a pan with a bit of oil. They're probably cooked at that point, since all the venison steaks I've cooked with have been very thin. Take the steaks out of the pan and put in about 1 T of butter per steak and essentially deglaze the pan with it. If you like, add more seasonings to the butter. Then, add about a glug (I really have no idea how much I use) of whiskey per steak. Stir it together, and then serve the steak with some of the whiskey butter sauce poured over it. It's fantastic. Also, I find rosemary plays really well with game in general, so I use it with a heavy hand for venison, grouse, pheasant, etc.

Excellent! I love a recipe that contains the word 'glug.' (And we also find rosemary and garlic to be excellent venison flavors.)

Your photos are frequently beautiful. The one of "Portuguese Kale Soup" MADE ME SO HUNGRY!!! And I was eating when I looked at it!

That's our goal.

My parsley went to seed and I now have these lovely seed heads. They smell divine, and got me wondering, is there anything that can be done with them? Thanks!

Absolutely- Toss the seeds into salads of any kind. As long as the shell is soft and green, they'll add a bright pop to anything parsley would typically improve. Also consider doing the same with green coriander seeds when your cilantro bolts.

I do most of the cooking in my family, much of it from scratch. I dislike using a chef's knife. I am much more comfortable using a boning knife and a steak knife for every day cooking prep. I did lots of butchery so a boning knife just feels natural in my hand. To the other chatter thinking about knives, do not force yourself to use a chef's knife if it does not feel right to you. I also prefer the steak knife to a paring knife because it tends to fit my larger hands better. But no matter which knife you use, keeping it sharp is by far the most important aspect.

I do think comfort is important when using a knife. Some knives just feel better in your hand than others.

 

With that said, there's a reason chef's knives were created. I was recently cooking for my mom in Kansas City. Her knife selection is limited. I couldn't find a chef's knife, so I chopped a lot of carrots with a steak knife. Let me tell you: The utensil was not meant for chopping root vegetables. I have a lovely callus from that afternoon.

Thanks for this. Also, there are MANY different sizes and styles of chef's knives. One size does not fit all. 

After baking I put on paper plates and in zip locks. If I am giving them away I will use a zip lock container from the grocery store that is reusable. Both of these items work really well.

The braised is just stew with bigger pieces but that seven hour goat looks perfect. Thanks!

It's good to make someone happy today.

Over bought for a reciped (lessons learned) now buthave a big chunk in my fridge. And recipe recommendations?

Either of these could work (scale down if you don't have enough pork). 

Beer-Braised Pork and Carrot Stew

RECIPE: Beer-Braised Pork and Carrot Stew

Rosemary Pork With White Beans

RECIPE: Rosemary Pork With White Beans


Bitters usually have alcohol in them. Which do you know are non-alcoholic?

Fair point. There are a few non-alcoholic or much lower alcohol bitters out there -- Stirrings makes one, and I believe some of the Fee Brothers line fall into the very low alcohol category because they use a different extraction process. Bitters are typically used in such tiny quantities, though, that unless you're making something like a Trinidad Sour, you're not really having an alcoholic beverage. 2 dashes of bitters in a drink -- you'd have to suck down a very large amount to get any sort of alcohol effect. That said, if you're that committed to a 100-percent booze-free drink, yes, you'd avoid most commercial bitters. Or you could always play around with making your own bitters -- the standard bittering herbs are easy to get these days.

Are your twins open to eating various types of foods that you make in your restaurant? Are their palates experienced with the flavors you experiment with?

I WISH!!! For so long I hung my hat on what great eaters my kids were, but more and more they snub anything other than "the usual." I'm hoping with constant exposure and maturity their eating narrative shifts.

I find it interesting that during the chat, the links to the embedded recipes open up new tabs on my browser (Chrome) -- which I like, so I can check out the recipes later. But in the regular articles, such as today's Chat Leftovers, the recipe links open in the same tab, forcing me to copy and paste or toggle to read the rest of the article and the recipe separately. Can you code the embedded article recipes the same way you do in the chat, so the reader doesn't get interrupted mid-article?

Thanks for this! I don't think we have that option when putting in links in articles, but I'll check. In the meantime, you should be able to find a shortcut in your browser that lets you choose to open any link in a new tab or window. (In Chrome, control-click on a Mac allows that.)

I recall that Julia Child was opposed to stuffing a turkey, and instead baked the dressing in a casserole. This is much easier!

Well, you've covered and refrigerated us until ready to assemble, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Carrie, Tamar, Jim and especially Vivian Howard for the great a's!

Now for the giveaway books: The chatter who asked Vivian about rural America will get a SIGNED copy of "Deep Run Roots." And the one who asked about crispy fried onions will get "EveryDayCook." Send your mailing info to Kara.Elder@washpost.com, and she'll get you your books.

Before I sign off, remember: You can continue all this food talk by going over to Dorie Greenspan's chat right now!

Until next time, happy cooking, eating and reading...

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
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.
Tamar Haspel
Tamar Haspel, who farms oysters on Cape Cod and writes about food and science, is author of the monthly Unearthed column, winner of a James Beard Award.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
Jim Shahin
Jim Shahin writes the monthly Smoke Signals column on barbecue.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Vivian Howard
Vivian Howard is the author of "Deep Run Roots." She owns two restaurants in Kinston, N.C., and stars in the PBS reality TV show, “A Chef’s Life.”
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