Free Range on Food: About food writer Anna del Conte, a lemony bundt cake, this week's recipes and more.

Feb 21, 2018

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

Greetings, and welcome to today's chat! No time for a warmup today -- we're just going to go right to it. PostPoints code will be provided in a few!

I looked at the recipe to make 8 (rather 16) servings of the orange-flavored olive oil cake. 16 servings call for 3 large eggs. 8 servings calls for one and a half large eggs. How do I translate this? One large egg? Two medium eggs? Do I just try to separate one egg into halves? Am I just easily confused?

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

RECIPE: Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

Fair question! I wouldn't sweat this too much if you're set on making just one cake instead of two (although it's really yummy and freezes well!). Me, I would just eyeball it, because a little more or less egg isn't going to make or break things. Add your first egg to the mixing bowl. Then break the second into a separate little bowl or liquid measuring cup, give it a bit of a whisk to incorporate the white and yolk and pour half into the mixing bowl. Voila. Also, frankly, if you don't feel like the fuss, I really don't think rounding up to 2 whole eggs will do much harm. It may not make much of a difference at all. Perhaps it will be slightly airier, but I doubt you'd be able to tell.

I was unable to find your most recent survey of cooking classes in the area. With the death of L'Academie de Cuisine, I'm casting about for others. Any chance you could point me in the right direction?

We're not doing the list anymore, but CulinAerie is my go-to. I've also had good experiences with classes at Sur La Table. Anything specific you were looking for?

The recipe calls for 3-1/4 cups of flour. Should the flour be sifted before measuring? Or NOT sifted at all?

I did not sift the flour, but I did whisk in the other dry ingredients. (I prefer to use weight when portioning flour. precision, in this case 390 grams.)

RECIPE: Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

OK, and now for a more formal greeting! Hello, everyone! We have special guests today: Charlotte Druckman, who wrote about the wonderful Anna Del Conte; and Cathy Barrow, who designed a fabulous lemon Bundt cake -- and helps us get it out of the pan! We also had a great profile of Daisuke Nakazawa, who's opening a sushi restaurant in the Trump Hotel.

Even MORE importantly, today we launched our new destination in WaPoFood: VORACIOUSLY! It features a revamped Dinner in Minutes (using only ingredients you have because you've stocked up on Bonnie's new pantry), a new newsletter from Jennifer Farley that'll take you from zero to dinner party in 12 weeks, wonderful how-to pieces and basic recipes from Becky Krystal, Food Hacks videos from Mary Beth Albright, DinMin videos from Jayne Orenstein, trend pieces from Maura Judkis, and more! We'll unveil it in print next week, but today's our big digital-launch day!

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR1435 . Remember, you'll record and enter it at the PostPoints site under Claim My Points to earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter the code by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday to get credit for participating.

We'll also have a giveaway book for our favorite chatter today. 

Let's do this!

I have an induction range - and I've been assuming I don't need a double boiler because I have a huge number of fine temp controls on the range. Am I correct or mistaken here?

I think you might be mistaken. Double boilers are great when you want to gently heat something that you don't want to put directly over the burner for fear of scorching it -- so, melting chocolate, making pastry cream, doing a Hollandaise sauce, etc. I think that holds true regardless of what type of range you have. I never felt the need to buy one, however. I just rig my own with a bowl set over one of my regular saucepans.

I’m so excited to see the lemon Bundt cake recipe in this issue. I was just in the store yesterday and saw Meyer lemons and was wondering what I could bake with them. Any other recipes where they really shine? Also, a technical question: Is it possible to use a paste with butter instead of shortening? Given how many solutions were tried, I’m guessing no, but I wanted to ask because I rarely keep shortening in the house.

I tried butter and flour and it did not work well. Also, it was just beastly to clean. Spectrum is an organic shortening, shelf stable, that is useful if baking a dairy-free pie crust, for instance. Try it, you might like it.

I'd love to sign up, but my WaPo subscription is a company account & I'm not sure everyone else on my team is interested! ;-)

Clearly you need to fix that subscription! Good journalism is worth paying for, now more than ever!

Hi, I want to roast some butternut squash cubes in a very simple way (olive oil, salt, pepper, sage) but I am worried about how the sage will behave in the oven. Will it just crisp up completely and blacken? Should I cook the sage in a pan separately and then combine it with the squash at the end? What is the best way to get the flavor into the squash? Thanks!

I think the sage will turn black and burn, so consider infusing the oil with the sage (warm for 10 to 15 minutes over very low heat, never boiling), then using that to toss with the squash. If you want to garnish the dish, fried sage leaves are both beautiful and delicious.

The recipe sounds simple and delicious. Have you made the cake without the lemon curd filling?

Good question! Yes, I have and it was terrific. It will not completely fill a 10 cup pan, but it bakes in the same amount of time.

I have at least a pint of leftover brown rice. What can I do with it to use it up? (I know rice is cheap but I don't want to be wasteful.)

You can make fritters with it--either deep-fry them (bind the leftover rice with some egg and cheese and fresh herbs, then stuff a small cube of cheese in the center; coat them in breadcrumbs and go for it) or, which is easier, treat them more like crab cakes or zucchini cakes--form them into patties (you can use some egg and cheese as above) and shallow fry them in some olive oil. Other ideas: turn it into FRIED RICE! (This one is the easiest and my favorite, I think) or RICE PUDDING (okay this is my real favorite). You can cook the rice in a combination of cream and milk, until it thickens up, then, lower the heat and add some sugar and stir it in, to combine and dissolve. Stir in a bit more cream in the last few minutes. Then take it off the heat and add any aromatics you like and a pinch of salt. 

Kara put together this wonderful collection of our recipes that use leftover rice -- check it out!

I've made these twice and both times when they come out of the oven they deflate a bit (expected) and then shrivel up. The first time I attributed it to using a larger size of paper liner, but I'm not sure why it happened the second time. They were still tasty, just not very attractive. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Hi! Coincidentally, for this week's story about the Italian cookbook writer Anna Del Conte, I made one of her frittatas, a painfully simple (and deeply flavorful) sage frittata. Yes, the herb, sage! It was the major flavor agent, along with parmesan cheese and some garlic. What made the frittata a real surprise, for me, was to see that she'd added 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of milk to her frittata batter (of 6 eggs). I wondered about the flour. I think it accounts for more browning, but it also gives the frittata just a little more structure and I think it prevents some shriveling.

ARTICLE: Why Americans should get to know Britain’s favorite Italian cooking authority

Kristen Hartke did that lovely mini frittata recipe for us, and she says this:

The frittatas definitely do deflate, I feel you! Now that I’ve been making them for a while, I think they are best when baked in silicone muffin cups, because they seem to hold the shape better and don’t get quite so wrinkly after they cool off. 

My baking sheets look like they are a hundred years old when really I've only used them lightly. Can you recommend one that actually comes clean after use? I also need this suggestion for muffin tins. I am embarrassed to admit the only ones I have are from the dollar store and as you might suspect, they are terrible. I know I just bought the wrong ones, but I don't want to make the same mistake again. Thanks!

You can't get much better than these Nordicware baking sheets. As to muffin tins, take a look at Fat Daddio's. I have a ton of their cake pans, and they perform and clean beautifully.

I cannot find Meyer lemons. Do you know where I can get hen now in NoVa? or can I use regular lemons for this recipe?

The recipe works perfectly well with regular (Eureka) lemons. I have seen Meyers in Safeway, Giant and Trader Joes, so check around. They are often sold in net bags of 5, coincidentally the number needed for the two recipes, curd and cake.

So what do you do when a recipe calls for say, 3 extra large eggs and you only have large? Or medium? I wound up using 4 medium and don't think it affected the final bake (Ina Garten's German Chocolate Cupcakes) but it's a relatively dense cake.

Go ahead and use the large! Up to a certain extent, sizes are interchangeable. Take a look at this chart.

I've never had this problem. Then again, I butter the heck out of my non-stick Bundt pan, and tend to make Pound Cakes (also very buttery). Or am I just incredibly lucky?

Since the article published online, I've been hearing from quite a few readers. The comments are evenly divided between "What problem?" and "Thank goodness! I had given up on Bundts." 

What does light corn syrup contribute to a chocolate glaze? Does it prevent the glaze from hardening? I am thinking of an egg shaped cake for Easter, covered with an almost crackling chocolate glaze.

Yes, it will keep it smooth and shiny. By crackling, you mean you want the opposite of that?

I make a mean vegetarian chili... ingredients include black beans, onion, bell pepper, and butternut squash. I am starting to experiment with the instant pot, and am wondering if instead of cooking just the beans in the instant pot, I could prepare the whole dish in the instant pot? Perhaps the only change would be to use canned versus dried beans... thanks for any advice or insight!

Pressure cookers (like the IP) are great for dried beans! I'd say definitely experiment with throwing everything in there!

So, good news is we're under contract on a house. Bad news is we have to pack. We're (hopefully) moving in April, so I feel pretty good about being able to cook from the pantry and freezer to reduce the amount of food we have to pack up. But what's your preferred way to pack everything else? Last time, I ended up using (clean!) socks and pillowcases, blankets, etc. to protect glasses, plates, bowls, and anything else that's fragile. But is there a better way? And---do you wash everything when you unpack it? I never thought to, because it was clean when I packed it. But Mom mentioned it to me, and Mom's usually right, so...should I?

Plan to pack small boxes, not too heavy, and use whatever you have to keep the fragile items cushioned. Professional packers use enormous quantities of paper for a reason. When we moved, I used large plastic bins for pantry items and spices (and so many other things.)

I've seen recipes that tell you to pound chicken breasts until they 1/2" thick. I understand the need for a uniform thickness so they cook more evenly. But when I make breaded chicken cutlets, I just slice them thin. Is there a reason to pound them thin, rather than slice them to a more uniform thickness?

Nope, if that works for you, go for it. Same idea. Of course, slicing them thin gives you more pieces than pounding one larger piece, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Just depends what you need for the recipe.

I made the Thai-flavored "one-pot caramelized fish" last week based on the suggestion in the chat and it was so delicious!! Next time I might reduce the sugar a bit but I *loved* how well all the flavors melded together and also how easy it was. (And yes, I rated it 5 stars!) My question is what to do with the additional material (basically just fat) from the can of coconut milk that I used, since I only used about 1/2 cup liquid from the bottom. I was thinking of trying to do an imitation sticky rice, like basically microwaving some partially cooked rice with the coconut fat and sugar and a bit of salt, but I was wondering if you had any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!

You can use that thicker layer of the coconut milk (coconut cream is how I like to think of it) to make a version of whipped cream or whipped topping--you can apply the same technique you would to heavy cream. 

I am giving a small presentation at my office on March 14th. One of my co-workers pointed out that it is Pi Day, so I am planning to bring a pie to share. What could I make a day or two before and bring with me to work? Vegetarian recipes only, please (dessert preferred).

So many possibilities!

I'm gonna toot my own horn here and suggest this fun, retro, really easy, guaranteed-to-make-you-smile dessert from my childhood.

That Cream Cheese Cool Whip Pie

RECIPE: That Cream Cheese Cool Whip Pie

Also, this is one of my favorites.

Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie

RECIPE: Cranberry Apple Lattice Pie

Don't forget this savory option (substitute any vegetarian chili!) 

RECIPE: Tex Mex Frito Slab Pie

I deeply identify with Anna Del Conte's observation, quoted in the article, about being "a hybrid, fitting properly neither here nor there, ...always missing something when I am here or something else when I am there.” My parents are from two different continents, cultures, languages and cuisines, and I grew up alternating between the two. But when it comes to spending hours over the stove, if it's me doing the cooking, I am with the shortcut crowd. So I'd like your opinions of pressure cooker risotto. Is it an acceptable alternative to the traditional cooking method?

Hi! One thing I know Anna would not approve of is making risotto in a pressure cooker. You'd be better off trying the easy Rice with Butter and Cheese recipe, where you can stick it in the oven and skip all of the fretting and stirring. 

Rangers, I love the green beans you can get in Chinese restaurants - a bit spicy, a bit blistered, a bit saucy, and completely delicious! I'd like to attempt to make them at home and make them a bit healthier, if possible. Any suggestions please? Thanks!

Oh my gosh I love them too. Pim Techamuanvivit, the woman behind the early (and great) food blog Chez Pim and, more recently, the Michelin-starred Kin Khao restaurant in San Francisco is one of the people I trust on recipes, without fail or worry. She has this one, which I'd flagged. I haven't tested it, so I can't promise it's perfect. I can only tell you I have complete faith in Pim. 

What can I serve as a sauce for squid ink linguini other than a white wine sauce? I am a not particularly talented cook so basic is better - and I prefer seafood to meat if that impacts suggestions. (Even better than basic is buy this item from this person at the dupont farmers market but I'll take what I can get)

You can use tomato sauce on squid ink linguini and then toss some shrimp and/or calamari, scallion, sauteed slivers of garlic and a couple of chili peppers in there. Even dress the pasta with some olive oil into which you've sauteed a bunch of slivers of garlic and some chili flakes. 

They're also tasty in lemon cake-pie (the recipe where the batter separates into lemon pudding and cake layers while baking), and good old-fashioned lemon squares.

I love that recipe! A classic from the Chesapeake

Hi, I know someone else submitted a question about this a couple of weeks ago, but it's still happening. When I click on Recipe Finder to look at the most recent recipes, all I get is a page that says: 502 Bad Gateway I'm using chrome. Can you please have your tech people look at it? Thanks

This one? Working for me in Chrome. Have you tried clearing your cache?

Costco usually has them.

Make lemon bars! They do really nicely with meyer lemons instead of regular ones. Plus you get a nice burst of summer flavor to tide you over

Lemon bars were the first recipe I ever made on my own, so they hold a special place in my heart. Ina's are the greatest.

Where are you all finding Meyer lemons in DC?

Look carefully around the lemons at Safeway, Giant, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. The Meyer lemons are in net bags, usually holding five medium lemons. Or if you are lemon crazy, you order them from a tiny organic lemon orchard in California. The Lemon Ladies.

Does no one make homemade soup any more?

I do! It was also the second item on that list I linked to!

Daisuke Nakazawa, with his "love it or leave it!"-type statement about his restaurant and the Trump hotel and the whole the United States, at first reminded me of the 1960's when some people insisted other people should leave the country rather than dissent or protest. But then I focused on something else Nakazawa also says that I hadn't heard or thought about before -- “I’m sorry I don’t work in an Obama hotel.” What a brilliant idea! An Obama hotel! With restaurants! In DC! I'm thinking it would have the best salad bar any of us has ever seen anywhere! (Instead of pick out your own lobster, maybe you could go pick your own lettuce from the garden.) Plus there'd be great burgers (maybe a 5 Guys franchise?) and I'm guessing a Jose Andres restaurant with fabulous Mexican and Spanish food, and ... whatever other foods the Obamas like or would like to offer. Can we get this Obama hotel idea going?

I love the eyes of the dog watching her, just waiting for her to drop something.

THIS. If I don't keep up my individual subscription (print and digital), soon there won't be anything to subscribe to.

Thank you!

I have one of them and cakes do come out easier than metal, BUT the cake around the spindle wasn't done when the rest of the cake was. I assume that's because the pan doesn't heat up like a metal pan. I wouldn't recommend this type of pan.

I've heard this before. I think that the beauty of the Bundt cake is the way the spindle in the center promotes  heating the cake from within. Otherwise, cakes would dry out on the outside edge before being cooked in the center. Use that nice silicone mold to make a float for your punch bowl

It'll thicken vegetable soup, or any soup, really, and add body.

Your West African soup recipe looks marvelous, but I prefer mustard greens to most other such greens (I'm practically addicted to mustard greens). Would it alter the flavor of the soup much?

It would alter it in only the best ways -- love the punch of mustard greens!

RECIPE: West African Peanut Stew With Chicken

A recipe for Korean radish salad, mu saingchai, calls for "1 or 2 crisp cooking apples." Any guesses what I should buy? They don't get cooked. They get peeled and cut into matchsticks. My guess is tart apples like Granny Smiths.

Pink Lady apples are also really nice for this. They hold their shape and you get the added aesthetic payoff--they're so pretty. 

Not sure where the OP is located, but for my last move, I rented plastic storage containers (they deliver to your house, pick up at the new location, you can rent for a designated amount of weeks), and one of the options was containers with dish or glass inserts for your kitchen items. They kept things separate and eliminated the need for newspaper or bubble wrap. Plus unpacking was soooo much easier. I used Lend-a-Box in DC, but there are similar companies, including U-Haul that provide a similar service.

I bought a two-pack of whole grain loaves at Costco, pre-sliced. I took one loaf and divided it into freezer bags, two slices each, and froze it. It works well going straight from the freezer into my toaster oven, but if I want to use it to make a sandwich for work, can I thaw it? in the plastic bag? Or is this just something better left for freezer to toaster oven use? Thank you!

You can thaw it. Sometimes bread is softer when thawed, though, so you might want to just briefly toast after thawing. But try it and see what you think. Oh, and thaw outside the bag, to prevent sogginess.

My mother has used Miracle Whip in her macaroni salad for the 53 years I have been on this earth. She has always received rave reviews. So there.

I have a green cabbage and a little can of mild diced green chilies - worth it to try the roasted cabbage recipe with substitutions (I also don’t have any cheese in the house right now), or should I wait on that and stick to my plan of marinating the cabbage for 10 min in a lot of ginger/miso/1 garlic clove/oil/quarter tsp red pepper flakes/dash rice wine vinegar and then roasting in oven? I have done this with red cabbage very happily but not green. And a major thank you for that gorgeous spread of extra recipes 2 weeks back. I have only recently started playing with mustard greens, so it was neat to see three ways to cook them. Already tried the mustard greens with mustard seeds and recently bought a big jar of miso paste (so I can keep making the above marinade!), so the turnip recipe with miso butter was great timing. - a very content vegetarian

Try it -- why not?

And glad you enjoyed our spread of winter recipes from Julia Tushen!

Out west, where I grew up, it was Best Foods (even had the same jingle in the commercial, with just the name replaced). Ditto with the jingle for Schilling spices (McCormick back east).

Yes, I mentioned that West Coast phenom in the piece. Hard for me to imagine "Bring out the Best Foods and bring out the best!" Just doesn't work, I'm afraid, as a jingle -- too redundant!

I recently moved. I packed all of my breakables, not just plates and glasses but pie plates, etc in boxes with my sheets and towels. It was a two fer. I also used my plastic storage containers for certain things. My coffee maker pot fit perfectly in the frog-eye salad container.

I was fortunate enough to purchase some powdered harissa at a spice stall in Marrakech a few months ago, along with a couple other things. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas/recipes for its use? Thanks.

One of the things I love about getting a flavoring agent we usually think of in sauce form, in its powdered form is that you can BAKE with it, by adding a bit to a dough or batter (corn bread, say, if you need inspiration). 

I'm making one later this week. I'm going to cobble together a few recipes. I'm going to make a lime curd, but I'm also intrigued by the layer of sour cream in this recipe: https://www.thatskinnychickcanbake.com/margarita-cheesecake-progressiveeats/ Do you have any thoughts on whether I can do both a curd and this sour cream layer? I've made a key lime cheesecake before and just put the curd on top of the cheesecake after it cooled. Thank you!

I think you can do both, yes. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things my mom made was a lemon chiffon pie--it had a layer of raspberry jam under its crown of whipped cream. I would apply the curd first and let the cheesecake chill then do the sour cream layer so you prevent their mixing. 

I have a great recipe for shrimp etouffee that I picked up in New Orleans and have served successfully to guests for several years. Now some friends who are hosting a potluck party to watch the upcoming Academy Awards TV show have asked me to bring that (serving 8) as my contribution. But...I've only ever made it to serve immediately, and for this party the dish will have to be reheated at least an hour after I prepare it. Knowing how easy it is to overcook shrimp, what do you recommend I do: partially undercook the etouffee, hoping to guess exactly right on the reheating? Cook shrimp and sauce separately, try to reheat separately and then combine? Or...what?

I think you should set yourself up for success (and less stress) by picking a dish that doesn't rely on that kind of a la minute cooking. If you have your heart set on the etouffe, then I'd cook the shrimp separately right before serving the dish, and do the sauce in advance (you can reheat it). 

Or cook everything but the shrimp, and then reheat the sauce and finish the shrimp in the sauce before serving... The shrimp will cook quickly!

Thank you for addressing the bane of my baking. Some Bundt pans are more forgivable than others depending on the intricacy of the design. Crumbs get stuck in crevices and promote future sticking. The Bavarian style pictured is very forgiving as it is relatively easy to clean. Another issue is the weight of the batter. I've been instructed to use a straight tube pan for more dense pound cakes. Lighter cakes release easier from the same pans to which the latter adhere. Have you had the same experience?

Crumbs! So annoying! I used a soft bristle scrub brush to clean the pan after a little soaking. Never pick at those crumbs with a metal tool as it will scratch the surface and foil the effort to remove the cake easily. 

I use a tube pan for angel food cake and for sour cream coffee cake, two utterly different batters. 

OP from last week: I tried subbing three tablespoons of lemon zest for the orange zest in the Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake. I liked it, but would either increase the zest by another tablespoon or maybe a teaspoon of high-quality lemon extract. I also might use half olive and half canola oil, as you referenced last week - the olive flavor was stronger in this version than in the orange. But even as it was, it was delicious. BTW, an egg and a half equals 3 ounces. (I learned that when I halved this recipe). Handy to know if you have a kitchen scale.

Thanks for the report! 

It works well for roasted veg - sprinkle onto the olive oil and stir in. You don't don't need much - it's quite potent.

Two things my father hated were lemon pie and meatloaf. Guess what mom cooked whenever he went out of town? Yep. Good times.

don't forget you can freeze it in a ziploc bag and have it ready for the next time you need it!

Thank you for answering my question! The pickle is that the sour cream layer is supposed to be baked for a few minutes at the end of the cheesecake bake, so I don't think I can do curd first and sour cream second. For threadweaving purposes, I'm going to use the meyer lemon curd recipe but use limes instead. Thanks!

After 2 years of waiting, I had sublime pleasure of dining at Vedge this past weekend in Philly; my husband saw how enthralled I was and promptly bought me the cookbook. and then I got even more excited when I saw the forward from Joe! Joe, please tell me you have some insider information about the Fancy Radish opening? Also, do you have a favorite (or 5) from the Vedge cookbook?

I'm a Vedge lover, it's true, so ecstatic about the Fancy Radish opening. I'm not sure about an exact date, but I just texted the Vedge folks to see if they have an update -- I think it should be soon! As for recipes, we featured several in this piece I wrote a few years back. All great -- but I love the roasted carrot dish most. Stunning.

Roasted Carrots With Black Lentils and Green Harissa

This just in: Kate Jacoby reports that construction at Fancy Radish is finishing up this week, then inspections, and they're still hiring front-of-the-house staff (spread the word!), so hoping for early March -- which is really soon!

I don't have a Bundt pan but would like to make today's recipe, which looks mouth-wateringly wonderful. Can I use a loaf pan or cupcake pans instead? (Why is Bundt pan capitalized? It appears some do and some don't do this.)

I did not try this in any other pan, so I can't speak to whether it will bake up in the same way in another pan. If you try it (and I would think loaf pan rather than cupcakes), please let us know. 

The AP Style guide says "If you're baking with a Bundt pan, capitalize the b, it's a trademarked term for a tube pan."

I make a simple fresh mango hot sauce that I'd like to can, but I don't know how much acidity is needed. I generally use two large mango, which yields about 3 cups puree, juice from a couple of limes, 2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, a small chunk of ginger, and about a half cup of cider vinegar, whizzed together in the blender. I'd like to water bath can, but pressure canning is an option if needed. Also, a little more vinegar would be OK if needed, although the sweet/tart/hot balance is good as it is. Thanks for your advice!

I can't say for sure whether this sauce is acidic enough to be safely processed in a waterbath, but you might look over the recipes at the National Center for Home Food Preservation to see if the ratios you describe are consistent with one of their approved recipes. I would hesitate to pressure can this sauce as the high temperatures and long cooking time would destroy what I expect is a bright, fresh flavor.

The peanut soup looks really good, but I am not a fan of cooked peppers. Will the soup suffer badly if I leave them out? Is there a decent substitute? Should I just suck it up and try with the peppers?

If you don't like them, leave them out. Maybe just double up on the sweet potato?

Has anyone ever tried USA pans? They are metal but have a silicone coating I have their muffin and loaf pans and think they are fantastic. I'm tempted to buy their Bundt pan and give it a shot.

I haven't tried them, but the fact that they are metal would be an improvement over the issues the OP mentioned about all silicone pans.

So there is an advantage to being a science nerd! Boxes that petri plates come in have ready made dividers perfect for glasses and mugs. At least, that's what I used when I moved.

Never grease 'em. Use a different pan if it's for something that needs greasing.

So true! Thank you for putting this out there. Angel food cakes need no preparation and woe! if you do.

By crackling I mean hard, the way bombons are hard. You can put your finger on the cooled glaze and not leave a mark.

Gotcha. Then you probably want some kind of hard-setting chocolate glaze. Not sure we have something exactly like that in our database, so take a look online. Some might still call for a little corn syrup to keep things pourable/smooth but won't be be enough to keep it from setting, I'm guessing.

The other night I was making enchiladas and opened a can of enchilada sauce. It wasn't swollen but as soon as the opener punctured it, the contents exploded all over me, the cabinets, the floor, my rolled enchiladas, etc. I was trying to clean up the mess and then the dog started licking sauce off the floor. Nightmare. Nobody got sick or died so that's good.

I feel your pain, person who is moving. Packing up a kitchen SUCKS. It just does. I separated my plates with disposable foam plates. They provide great cushion. Not the most eco-friendly option, I admit, but maybe there's a use for them later? Kids' crafts or something? I did wash my dishes when I unpacked them on the assumption that the boxes might have been dusty. I just ran them in a light dishwasher cycle. Good luck!

I was recently gifted a fresh black truffle and am so excited but also terrified on how to use it! I was thinking of storing half of it in the freezer (I read you could do that to keep it longer) and using the other half soon before it dries out. So my questions are: how to store in the fridge and freezer, how to use it from the freezer and most importantly... what do I do with this blessed item? I know I can shave it over pasta but I wanted to see if there was a way to really highlight the ingredient and see if the hype is really worth it (I've rarely actually eaten one).

A friend gave me one last year and I put it on  just about everything. I used a microplane to shave it over popcorn. I shaved slim ribbons with a vegetable peeler and draped them over soft scrambled eggs. I used a razor blade to slice firm coins and stuffed them under the skin of a roasting chicken with a pat of butter. I'm impressed you think you won't use it all. Mine was gone in no time.

Use this creole seasoning mix - and recipe, it is da bomb. But use one third of the salt in the spice mix - it is way, way too salty. It is my go to and party piece and easy to make - just make it with andouille and maybe chicken as shrimp is temperamental. Keep it on the lowest heat and with slightly more liquid than you like. You could even reheat. Étouffée was made for slowly simmering. It'll be great. http://www.nolacuisine.com/2006/12/28/shrimp-etouffee-recipe/

Come on, even Mark Bittman likes it. I'm a convert to instant pot risotto.

The rest of the world uses day/month/year. So July 22 (22/7) would be more appropriate.

For the poster asking about cod, I made the Halibut with Miso Broth recipe from last month using cod and it was fabulous.

Last week a chatter asked what to do with the brine from a jar of olives. I clipped a lot of "low-cal" recipes in the '80s, many of which called for olive or pickle brine for flavoring, marinating or using in salad dressing. But my usual use is to toss it into the pot when I make pasta instead of adding salt. Sometimes the brine from black olives tints the pasta a bit, but it doesn't matter if you're using whole grain.

Well, you've inverted us over a cooling rack and tapped on us to (hopefully!) release, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Cathy and Charlotte for helping with the a's. Now for the giveaway book: The chatter who asked about pressure-cooking risotto will get "Classic Food of Northern Italy" by Anna Del Conte. Send your mailing info to Kara.Elder@washpost.com, and she'll get you your book.

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.
Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow's first cookbook is "Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving" (W.W. Norton). She blogs at cathybarrow.com.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
Jim Shahin
Jim Shahin writes the monthly Smoke Signals column on barbecue.
Charlotte Druckman
Charlotte Druckman is the author of “Stir Sizzle Bake: Recipes for Your Cast-Iron Skillet," (Clarkson Potter, 2016).
Recent Chats
  • Next: