Free Range on Food: Cookbooks, corned short ribs and more

Mar 02, 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! We've got a full house of experts here today, including VIPs Russ Parsons (recently retired from a distinguished career at the LA Times, and author of this week's piece on culling his cookbook collection, Kwame Onwuachi (fresh off "Top Chef" and the subject of Tim Carman's profile); Cathy "Mrs. Wheel-" Barrow (author of this week's DIY-corned-beef piece); and us dedicated regulars.

What's on your mind? Wait, before you answer, here's this week's code for PostPoints users: FR6486 . 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.

We'll also have giveaway books for our favorite chatters today: "The Natural Cook" by Tom Hunt and "Cooking Light: Dinner ASAP."

Let's get going!

Of course onion rings are better than french fries! They have more flavor, and if the onion ring batter has a little cornmeal for crunch - perfection.

You're in the majority right now! Who knew? Not sure I saw that coming. Feel free to cast your vote in the first edition of Going Out Guide's Food Court.

ARTICLE: French fries and onion rings are American classics. But which one is better?

What other food rivalries would you like to see us try to settle?

A good onion ring is better than any French fry. But a bad onion ring is terrible.

I agree with Russ, and I've seen this thought making its way around -- when an onion ring is perfect, it's sublime. But that's so rare.

While I too use the Joy of Cooking as a basic bible, I've found so many keeper recipes from the "charity" small run cookbooks. I grab them wherever I go when I see them hiding in the corner of some shop. While you have to skip some of the "Campbell's soup plus" recipes, it's great home cooking, regional cooking and always has one or two combinations you'd never think of that are great. ( Plus sometimes some great humor - I have one that has a fish recipe that is stated to cost $45,000 to make because the first step in the instructions is to buy a boat :) ) Does anyone else, including Russ, share my enjoyment of the sometimes obscure jewels?

There's an Auburn cookbook that is very important to my husband's family (both my mother-in-law and her mom have copies), if for no other reasons than the two recipes that have become staples in our houses: The sweet rolls we make at Thanksgiving and the "Mexican" cornbread my husband likes to make.

Those Junior League cookbooks have a very devoted following. I know lots of collectors who keep only them. I've got a few -- mainly from Louisiana and from New Mexico.

Hello Kwame, Thank you for joining this chat today. I am greatly looking forward to the opening of your new restaurant, The Shaw Bijou. I was wondering if your appearance on the latest season of Top Chef influenced your approach to cooking and your menu plans for your new restaurant. If so, how did the appearance impact you, and what changes, if any, will you make as a result of it?

Hey there. Thank you for your question. I wouldn't say my Top Chef appearance influenced my approach to the restaurant. The restaurant concept, menu, and over all service flow was finalized even before top chef called.

Thank you, Cathy Barrow, for this recipe! I live by myself, so there is no way I want to cook a regular corned beef (or brisket) for this, but I love corned beef. I'm starting my shopping today!


RECIPE Corned Short Ribs

Thank you. Let us know how you like it!

I have a cup of nice IPA leftover from Baying Hound brewery. It has gone flat, but it is too good for me to throw away. How can I use it in the kitchen? As a marinade for slow cooked taco meat? Instead of mirin in fried rice? I know beer can be used in fondue, but I am kinda fondone since Valentines Day.

Since I've been most recently mesmerized by Becky Krystal's #TeamFries vs. #TeamRings post, I'd say: beer-battered onions! Marinade's also good, especially for a steak headed to the grill; I'd glug it into a pot of chili or pan of sauteing cabbage. Not sure I'd toss it into fried rice, though. How about cake?


RECIPE Honey Spice Beer Cake

I love pork braised in beer. Use it as you would wine, deglazing the pan you've browned the chops in. Finish the chops in the reduced liquid. Some caramelized nions would be good, too

I'm throwing a BBQ for about 20 people, some of which are vegetarian and/or gluten-free. What can I make that's a little more interesting than kabobs?

Whenever I think about cooking gluten-free, I go for cuisines that use a lot of rice or tortillas. The latter could lend itself well to a barbecue. Just include lots of vegetables in addition to your meats (which you should do anyway, of course! -- think grilled/smoked eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, winter squash, cauliflower), cook up some nice beans for a side dish (without pork, please), and serve with a bunch of warmed corn tortillas, along with salsas, avocado, sour cream, cheese, slaw, etc. Your guests can mix and match to suit their dietary preferences, without any fuss.

When I was 20 I joined the NYT book of the month club. My first book was James Beard American Cookery. It was my go to for many years. I still have it. One of my sons tore the cloth paper cover and it was repaired with duct tape. I rarely open it any more, no library would want it. Seems sacrilege to toss Mr Beard in the trash. Thanks for teaching me about food, and how to cook, James. RIP

I'm the same way. I think I have probably 4 copies of that 1943-1946 Joy of Cooking, in various states of overuse/disrepair. When you love a cookbook, it becomes kind of a Velveteen Rabbit thing.

Since it's really a method of preserving and cooking, you'd think so, but does it work with any other kind of meat or are the flavors just too linked?

Great question! Corning refers to the size of the salt, but the method is really more brining and pickling. Any meat will corn/pickle, but the cut needs to be sturdy with some fat and not too much marbling, with a strong fiber so it doesn't disintegrate in the salt and heat.

I have tried corning beef tongue, the deli staple, but also lamb, goat and duck tongue. They were all delicious. I haven't tried corning other meats, but I would try goat breast or boneless shanks, first, as the meat's structure is most like beef. 


There was a restaurant called TenPenh (sp?) that was pretty good that has since shuttered. They had this great fried spinach that I miss dearly. Any way you guys a) know the recipe or b) how to get it?

Hey, good new for you -- there are plans for Ten Penh to be revived this year in Tysons Corner. Though your dish may not be on the menu, of course. Send me an email in case we can track down the recipe.

Bonnie, what stores do you recommend I purchase filet red snapper fish?

Are you local? H Mart filleted the red snapper for me while I waited; I had to remove some pinbones when I got home but the fish was oh-so-fresh. (Think I'll add that to the recipe.) In general, find a good fishmonger close to where you live and make him or her your pal. It's always worth it. Ivy City Smokehouse is my new fave fish store. The prices and quality are hard to beat.


RECIPE Fish With Green Tahini

Last summer I pitted and froze two quarts of sour cherries. I plan to make a pie next week (for a Pi dinner). Some recipes say it is ok to use frozen cherries while others recommend defrosting and draining the juice before mixing the filling. Which do you recommend?

Either one will work and I usually make a pie with frozen fruit. If you opt to defrost the cherries, mix the cherry juice with the thickener, whether it's tapioca, cornstarch or ClearJel, then stir the cherries back in. There's flavor in the juice, don't throw it out. If you throw in a cup of dried cherries, the pie is less likely to be runny.

I have been a fan of the “live chats” for years now….Homefront, Free Range, and Ask Tom. And although I am an avid newspaper reader, the chats provide so much more information from unique places to shop for home décor or a special ingredient to that extra tip for cooking or baking. I never miss a week! I also wanted to reach out and say thank you… a few weeks ago someone submitted a question about Non-stick pans. I had recently replaced mine after many years of use. But someone had commented that Calphalon had a life time warranty. I had two Calphalon pans that I had used for years and did not know about the lifetime warranty. I was ready to trash the pans, but instead I shipped both pans to the company. They replaced one omelette pan and sent me a check for $220 for the pan that was no longer in production…wow! Customer service still exists. What a great community these chats have established. Thanks again!

Wow! Props for that service to Calphalon. Good to know.

Following up from last week, when someone asked about low-sodium alternatives to salt or to soy sauce; I mentioned Braggs liquid aminos but didn't offer its sodium content. Here's what I found on labels: Braggs, 1/2 teaspoon or 2.5 ml, 160mg of sodium or 6%. Iodized salt (regular table salt), 1/4 t or 1.5g, 590mg or 25%. Coarse Kosher salt, 1/4 t or 1.2g, 480mg or 20%. I'm out of sea salt and only have regular soy sauce in little packets that come with carry-out food and don't list sodium content. Anyway, hope this helps.

Thank you! I'm a Bragg's fan from way back, but I had let my supply lag and was forgetting about it for awhile there, until I saw those little spray bottles at Juice Joint in DC. I bought one from Mom's and now spray it on my lunch pretty much every day. Kinda goes with anything.

Hello Rangers, We refer to Parson's "French Fry" quite often and love it. When i read that he has some favorite books on New Mexico cuisine I'm hopeful that he will share a few of his keepers. Thanks.

Aren't you kind! My family has lived in NM from 1958 on. My favorites are the old one by Erna Ferguson and a couple of the New Mexico Magazine "best-of" books. Also, a little hard to find these days, but Huntly Dent's "Feast of Santa Fe" is the best regional cookbook on the area

My sisters and I still make recipes from the Kol Emeth cookbook (Palo Alto, CA) from about 1962. It's a bit of a time machine as even in CA there was no cilantro as yet. But there were some good cooks contributing stuff.

LOVE Sisterhood/synagogue cookbooks. So many kugels to try! 

There really is something special about those community cookbooks. And they are great slices of time. I've got a cookbook from a Los Angeles Times cooking contest from 1902. Fascinating to thumb through (though I've never been tempted to cook much from it).

In a failed attempt to ward off a cold, I bought a huge five pound bag of naval oranges forgetting apparently that I live alone. I'm left with over 10 of these fruits and at a loss for what to do with them. I don't care for OJ, I tried juicing one and mixing it with olive oil for a vinaigrette but was underwhelmed-any other ideas please? they are taking up a good portion of my fridge and I hate hate hate to waste. Thanks!

I've mentioned this dressing before, but I love it so here it is again -- Orange-Pumpkin Seed Dressing. 

Cabbage Slaw With Orange-Pumpkin Seed Dressing

RECIPE: Cabbage Slaw With Orange-Pumpkin Seed Dressing

I've had that problem when I had a very active Meyer lemon tree. Juice it into ice cube trays and freeze the juice. It also helps to add some zest. Or, you could just candy the peel when you're done. I love candied citrus peel.

I'm curious as the article said they were more user friendly for home cooking. I now one I got from my mother - The Spice Cookbook - but can you list any others?

I really love those cookbooks because they were written as an act of love rather than to fill a market niche. I'm particularly fond of the books by Helen Evans Brown (she wrote mainly for the West Coast), but also things like "Pot Shots from a Grosse Iles Kitchen".

Thanks for the great recipes - the black pepper tofu pot and sweet potato black bean chili have been hits recently. I'd like to make the lentil shepherd's pie and freeze it. Would I cook the lentils and potatoes separately, assemble the pie, and then freeze? Thaw before rehearing? Thanks!

Glad you've been liking these Weeknight Vegetarian recipes!

I haven't tried freezing the shepherd's pie, but I know people definitely freeze these in general, so give it a go. Yes, you'd follow all the instructions up until the baking, wrap it well (I'd do plastic wrap, and then heavy-duty foil), and freeze for up to, say, 3 months. (Don't forget to label it!) Then, yes, thaw it overnight in the fridge before baking it. And report back on the results, please?

RECIPE: Lentil Shepherd's Pie 

Thanks so much for the delicious Thai Curry Chicken & Vegetables recipe from a couple weeks ago. I keep a kosher home and my husband, who didn't grow up that way, really misses Thai food. I made it Sunday night, and he loved it so much that he now wants it in our regular dinner rotation. Could you please suggest some other kosher-friendly recipes with coconut milk so I could use up what's left over in the can the next time I make this recipe? Thank you so much!

That's  one of Ellie Krieger's healthful Nourish recipes, to boot. I liked that it didn't have too much sauce. For more things to do with coconut milk, meet me down below this photo! 

Kosher friendly with coconut milk:

Spicy Vegetarian Peanut Soup (use vegan sour cream)

Grilled Eggplant in Lemon Coconut Cream

Black Bean Tortas Withi Chipotle Mayo

Fish With Coconut Ginger Sauce

My tween is a chocoholic. Any higher protein breakfast ideas for her? She has multigrain waffles with dark chocolate chips on them now. Thank you!

How 'bout  16 grams' worth in this Dark Chocolate Granola With Plums?

I have a bunch of pecans left over from Mardi Gras- unopened bulk bags. I want to candy them and then use them in salads. Maybe give some away. Is it better to freeze, then candy, then use or can I prepare them all now while I have the time and then either freeze or keep airtight in the fridge? How long? Thanks! I love you guys.

It's better to freeze the pecans now and candy them when you want them. If candied and kept in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for a week or 10 days.

Look at this as an opportunity to compare different recipes?

What is a good side dish to make with a portable mushrooms? I want to pair it with cauliflower rice and roasted haricots vert.

I love a portable mushroom! Even better if it's portobello, cause it's big enough to easily carry. ;-)

So ... if I were making these three things, I'd want some kind of sauce to help pull them together. Maybe a chimichurri? That would be nice, I'd think.

I've been making your mom's cranberries since it was first published in the L.A. Times. They're an absolute must from Thanksgiving to New Years' for my family. My question: why did the instructions in the Times change? The original recipe results in whole berries submerged in a spiced syrup, while the later recipe gives you a whole cranberry sauce. While both are good and I sometimes do the sauce version, those whole, barely cooked berries are so, so addictive! Thanks!

Hmmm, isn't that interesting? To tell you the truth, I never noticed that. All of the recipes in the Times are tested in the kitchen (as they are in the Post), and the only thing I can assume is that one Test Kitchen Director preferred one version to the other.

Hi Kwame! I'm really excited to have you join the chat today. My husband and I were really bummed when you were eliminated from Top Chef--we were hoping you'd win the whole thing. We're clearly fans of both you and the show and wanted to know if you could tell us about anything crazy (or even just unexpected) happened behind the scenes.

Hey there! Thank you so much for the support. I think a crazy instance that happened was restaurant wars. we were all prepared to knock out one service just like everyother season and then Padma dropped the bomb that we would be doing two services. We were all so nervous and scared and we only had about 30 minutes to pick a concept, name, logo, and decor. It was probably the most intense day of my life outside of meeting Chrissy Tiegen !

((cue love-struck music here))

Yes or no? (Reasons why appreciated)

I'm a no on this one. Sous-vide inevitably changes the texture of the meat. That may be OK when you're doing something that benefits from long cooking, but a steak takes 10 minutes on the grill, so it hardly seems worth it.

I am serving dinner for nine people on Saturday night, and six of them are from France. I've never had a sit-down dinner for that many people. I'm going to make baked cod, but how much fish per person? Half a pound? And I am going to buy Maryland wines, not French wines - how many bottles for nine people? Now excuse me while I go clean my house from top to bottom.

I'd say for cod fillets, 6 ounces per person would be fine. (And I'd get at least 4 extra fillets, just in case people wanted seconds or a fillet decided to fall apart beyond recognition.) For 750-ml bottles, figure you're getting 4 or 5 good servings per, so after you clean your house, sit down and consider how heavy the drinkers are on your guest list. 

Found in the back of the cupboard four (!) glass jars of couscous, 3 Mason jars and one smaller one. No dates, so no idea if I bought a large amount one time and divided it into jars or if I kept buying more. Must be at least two years old, some might be much older. Smells and looks okay but obviously I don't cook it much so not really sure how it should look and smell. Online info tends towards "if it looks and smells okay, eat it and see how it tastes." Do you agree? I'm willing to toss or spread outside for the birds and squirrels but hate to discard it if it's good and don't want to poison birds or squirrels either. Similarly, several Mason jars plus several bags, opened and unopened, of various kinds and colors of lentils. At least one year old, some perhaps as much as three or four years. No wonder the cupboard was so full ...

Dried pasta and beans like the ones you describe aren't really much of a food safety risk, because bacteria don't thrive in such (dry) conditions. They're best stored in airtight containers. The beans might have lost some of their nutrition and maybe some of their flavor, particularly if they've been exposed to oxygen, but that's an optimal-quality issue, not a food-safety one. They also might take longer to cook -- and that could be the case with the couscous, too. I'd cook some up and see what you think.

Hi chatters. I have a bag of about 8 crabs that's been in the freezer for about a year and being one who hates to throw food out, I was wondering what could I do with them. I thought of making a stock out of them but I'm not certain if I should thaw and clean the innards first or just dump them in a pot with some veggies and let them simmer away (not worried about that possible freezer burn taste, I can always mask that.) Do you have any ideas?

Your timing's perfect. Defrost, clean 'em out, cut 'em in half and make Chef Kwame's Coconut Chili Crab Curry

In today’s Corned Short Ribs recipe, there is a discussion of the role of nitrites food. There is a paragraph which begins “Nitrites give bacon, corned beef, salami and many other cured meats their appealingly rosy color. If adding nitrites worries you, skip it. Modified celery juice powder works in the same way as Curing Salt #1 and may be substituted equally, gram for gram.” This jword order gave me the impression that celery juice powder might be nitrite free. But I vaguely remembered reading about the nitrate content of celery (the nitrate which is converted to nitrite in the manufacture of curing products), so I did some Googling. Because there are established requirements (both minimum and maximum) for the nitrite levels used to cure meat, celery juice powder used to cure meat must meet those requirements. In other words, it has to have as much nitrite as the traditional curing salts. So what, if anything, is the advantage of using celery juice powder in curing meat?

You are right, celery -- as well as many other vegetables -- are natural sources of nitrites.

It is only in the last two years or so that modified celery juice powder (MCJP) has been available to consumers, but it has been used for the commercially available "nitrite free" bacons and other cured meat products for years.

Some home meat preservers do not wish to use Pink Salt and have been turning to MCJP as an antioxidizing agent. MCJP cured meats retain the rosy color we associate with corned beef or salami. 

More of a comment than anything-I am constantly printing out recipes from online blogs and papers like the Post and trying them out-but there is nothing like flipping through a good cookbook with detailed instructions and photos. Same way I read my Post online but maintain a weekend subscription because nothing like sitting on a sunday with a cup of coffee and the paper. that's all


How do you corral the ones  you print out?

I liked the suggestion of using short ribs for a small way of making corned beef. But the note at the bottom about nitrates and celery seemed a little bit off. Celery powder is added to many organic or natural products that are prohibited from using the sodium nitrate. The reason is that celery powder is high in sodium nitrate. In this way they can add the sodium nitrate without having to use the words sodium nitrate. But using celery powder or other celery products is not a way for someone to avoid nitrates.

Nitrites provide an anti-oxidizing quality to cured meats, whether they are manufactured, as in the case of Pink Salt, or "natural" as with Modified Celery Juice Powder. It's not that the latter avoids nitrites, but only that it provides an option to the less natural option.

The WaPo has a recipe for honey orange sesame chicken thighs that my daughters love. I have doubled and tripled the orange juice and even added orange zest to make them more orangy.

I'm guessing you mean this one, Honey-Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs?


How do you clean blood off of a wooden cutting board without ruining the board? Also, any tips on stitching one's finger?

I can answer that! Several times! Lots of experience! I just wash it with hot water and then rub lemon on it (the board, not the finger). For the finger, I ordered a bunch of those finger band-aids -- they are like a rubber glove, but only for one finger (kind of like something else, but we'll let that go). Put a bandaid on the finger, then then rubber thingy and keep cooking (i once cut off the tip of my thumb while teaching a cooking class).

Hooboy, I've been there so many times, too. I agree that having those little finger condoms (I said it!) is a game-changer, if this happens to you very often. I, too, have cut myself when in front of a crowd, which is just the worst.

BTW, here's a piece I wrote a few years back on knife cuts in the kitchen.

I have some old community cookbooks from my wife's great grandparents. These come from rural areas in the early 20th century. Almost half of the meat recipes involve game of some kind. Hunting was a major source of nutrition at that point, so many community cookbooks would reflect that.

that's really cool. I also like the mix of ethnic groups you get. I've got a church cookbook from my dad's hometown in North Dakota and was puzzled by the lack of cardamom in the julekake. "they weren't Lutherans" was the explanation.


The Giant Artichoke in Castroville, California (where else?!?!) makes the best batter-fried artichoke hearts. When I'm there I always order a big basket of them! And I've had batter-fried thick tender asparagus spears in a few restaurants that were delightful, too.

Love that place! I'm one of the few people who have vacationed in Castroville. Funny thing is, with all the fresh artichokes around there, they use frozen.

Hi, Kwame. How was your overall experience on Top Chef? I thought you were very mature and professional on the show. Would you have any interest in competing on other food related shows in the future?

Hey there! I honestly couldn't have asked for a better experience on Top Chef. I met so many amazing chefs from across the country and I got to cook for some of the best chefs in the world. I think the thing that i took away from it the most was the feedback. Good or bad it made me a stronger cook, and a better chef. I think I'm done with cooking competitions for now, i really want to focus on making The Shaw Bijou the best that it can be.

I have recently rediscovered my love for egg salad now that I have thrown all my dietary restrictions out the window. I have fallen off the wagon and broken both an arm and a leg on the way down as the horses tromped all over me. Egg salad was nourishment non grata, and now that I've given up on trying to lose weight (because it's a worthless cause for me), all the good stuff is back in. I make a classic egg salad (eggs, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper). Any variants that I should try? Sandwich variants too? Would it be a bad idea to try a egg salad melt (with American cheese)?

I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to egg salad. But I do like finely chopped chives in it, and sometimes a pinch of garam masala or turmeric -- the latter makes it neon-pretty. A melt? Maybe not. But I could see creating a savory egg salad Napoleon using some layers of thin whole-grain toast, alfafa sprouts (old school!), avocado and maybe crispy fried onions.

Inspired by the smoked-egg-salad sandwich at Neopol Smokery in Union Market, one of my favorite sandwiches in DC, I recently sprinkled in some smoked paprika (pimenton, a spice I realize I'm in danger of overusing and overpromoting, but I can't help it), and loved it. 

Hello! What about the sweet pickle? Is it even egg salad without sweet pickle? 

Like Joe, I am obsessed with pimenton and, like him, add it to egg salad (and yogurt with fruit and, well, Joe pretty much covered the overuse thing). Another thing: there is this wonderful jalapeño spread at Eastern Market, I believe at Canales Delicatessen (the one on the south end), that adds a great zing to the egg salad (and, like pimenton, everything else). 

It's a lot harder to find fantastic onion rings than it is to find good fries. Though I love rings, I tend to assume that fries will be a safer choice.

My thoughts exactly. Even the most terrible fry is made better with ketchup. Soggy onions rings though? Bleh.

Where are the best onion rings in DC? I'm talking crunchy onion rings coated in bread crumbs, not the abhorrent beer battered variety.

hey, my dukes are up. Beer-batter's the way to roll. Bread crumbs = for the birds.

Corned (freah) ham is an Eastern NC delicacy. No seasonings other that the salt. Ends up as a sublime cross between roast pork and Smithfield ham. Search for Bill Smith's technique

If you have a lot of cookbooks, I highly recommend the eat your books site. Indexes cookbooks and makes it easy to find what you already have. Worth the relatively low fee.

I keep intending to do that. Maybe now that I have fewer to deal with ....

I'm a fan.

Bonnie-I have a very sophisticated system. I print out the recipe and make it once as instructed. If it's decent, then I fuss with the recipe based on what I liked and didn't like--if the second time turns out well, I jot down my notes (often on the original printed recipe) and it makes its way into a 3 ring binder I keep by the stove. Only the best recipes make it there. Oftentimes if I'm debating over a recipe, I'll make it for some friends and we decide if it's "binder worthy"

Got it. Impressed! 

If you'd just returned from 340 days in space aboard the International Space Station, what foods would you most want to eat that you'd missed while away?

My mom's apple cake, some good runny cheese, ice cream and a ton of Indian curries. To start.

hmmm. tough call. A dozen oysters? Dungeness crab? a perfect peach? something to remind me why it's so good to be on earth.

Something gravity-defying, like a raspberry souffle.

Since we have been talking about the following, I have been craving stellar onion rings and perfect French fries. So those would be up there. Can I have anything from anywhere? Maybe a pizza from Pepe's in New Haven. And I agree with Russ: something earth-bound and super-seasonal. Beautiful strawberries?

A non-powdered Negroni.

chinese take out, halal cart in nyc, and my mothers peel and eat shrimp

I think anything made over a smoky grill  or dunked into a deep fryer, since, I suspect, neither of those are available in space. I'd probably go straight to my favorite wood-fired pizzeria and stare at the oven for an hour, then order the entire menu.

My mom's chilaquiles, fresh vegetables, an apple in September and lots of cocktails. 

Fannie Farmer. My 11th-edition copy is in tatters, but I still use it. There've been several more editions since, which I'm sure are great, but I'll keep using this one. It was a wedding gift!

Fannie Farmers are fascinating to look at, too. They changed quite a bit through the different editions and you can see how American cooking changed over the years.

Please don't put out your old food for the birds. They have very specific diets and wont even see it as food. You know who will, rats and squirrels.

I follow this simple rule - x people = x bottles, so 9. It doesn't go bad.

Not everybody drinks, tho, right? 

I am relatively new to cooking and buying cookbooks and because this can take up a lot of space, sometimes I wonder if buying the kindle version of the book might be the best way to go for some cookbooks...At least if I need to cook somewhere else I do not have to travel with the books, I can access it at any time!

I'm new to the Kindle and love it for novels, but I'm not sure about cookbooks. I do think there's a lot of promise for the IPad, or Kindle Fire or other tablets. Next wave will be cook books written for them, rather than just uploaded onto them. That'll be a game changer.

Here in Pittsburgh, PA., it's batter-fried thin zucchini slices, all the way! Most places serve them with marinara sauce or a ranch-type dressing, but I always request a few fresh lemon wedges instead.

Oooh, those sound good!

I like to cook seasonally for my family but inevitably the cold months bring us a lot of soups and stews and chilis, given the lack of fresh anything. Any advice as to how to get out of the late winter food slump? Looking forward to spring veggies again. PS- Love the scrappy veg broth recipe...I make broth (which is better than store-bought) and compost afterwards. I get lots of use from the odds, ends and peels now.

I've been cooking a lot with whole grains. Yes, I know they're healthy, but they're really delicious, too. And surprisingly adaptable.

I'm a fan of the hearty winter grain salad. It seems to help bridge the seasons nicely. Did you see this one we published the other week, before my vacation? Check it out. And glad you like the Scrappy Vegetable Broth!

RECIPE: Apple, Fennel and Farro Salad

RECIPE: Scrappy Vegetable Broth

Not the original poster but I've been wondering the same thing. If you bake a pie with frozen cherries, how does that change the baking instructions - will it need more time? Lower baking temp to prevent over-browned crust? Thanks for the advice.

Start frozen fruit (and all fruit) pies hot, 425°, for the first 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and cook another 40 minutes or more until the filling is hot. Don't take the pie out of the oven until the filling is visibly bubbling beneath the crust. If the crust starts to get too dark, tent it loosely with foil. 

I lived in LA 20 years ago, and I faithfully turned to the Food Section every week for your food wisdom. I still refer to some of the (now yellowed) recipes I snipped from the pages of the paper. Enjoy your retirement!

Thank you! it's a semi-retirement. I have left the Times but will still be working, including doing a series of cookbook reviews for Saveur magazine starting this summer.

Hi Kwame! Congratulations on the very respectable showing on Top Chef. Did you stay in touch with any of the other chefs after the competition? It seemed like the interpersonal relationships among the chefs was pretty good this season compared to some other seasons.

Thank you so much! Yes i actually kept in touch with most. I was in Miami a couple days ago with Jeremy at the SoBe food and wine festival. I flew out to Spokane, Washington last month to do a pop up with Chad. Me and Karen are like two peas in a pod, I went to boston to do a dinner with her and carl. And then I hang out with Marjorie and Garret at least once a week!

I've been seeing a lot of recipes for roasted oranges in it as good as it seems to be?

roasted citrus is definitely a thing. Whether it's as good as it is trendy is another matter. It's one of those "a little goes a long way" things for me. Interesting how the flavor changes, but I'll stick with my blood orange/fennel/red onion unroasted thank you.

Loved the Velveteen Rabbit comment. I still use my Beard American Cookery, especially for roast turkey technique and stuffing (combined with Julia Child's timing table.) Also, Beard on Bread is eternally attractive to me. Now I must hang my head and admit that I don't really like Joy of Cooking for the actual recipes. They never seem to be as delicious as I hope to find them. I agree that for actual inspiration and planning and learning about cooking words on paper works better than online. I have a pile in a bookshelf: when the pile won't fit then I must triage.

the different Joys had different strengths. I like the old one, particularly for breakfast stuff -- waffles, pancakes, etc. The cornmeal pancakes are one of my staples.

One of my favorites for these situations is portabello mushrooms marinated for at least thirty minutes in lemon/lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, salt. So much juicier and more delicious than plain grilled ones. Depending on how adventurous your crowd is, I've also had good luck with a Vietnamese style marinade on tofu - think lemongrass, gluten-free soy sauce, sugar, etc.

Just a heads up that Costco has Kirkland Signature branded dried Montmorency cherries and California apricots right now that are exceptional. Also, for the person who asked where to buy za'atar, you can get a big bag of it for less than $5 at Harris Teeter. Also, Wal Mart sells good sized bags of Indian spices in the international isle for cheap. And now my secret is out.

I really love those Costco cherries. Good tip.

May I suggest using clear plastic sheet protectors, to prevent splatters from getting on the printed-out recipe?

You may.

Do you know where I can purchase fresh tortillas in DC? I used to get them at the very authentic Whole Foods, but their machine has been broken for months. Any other ideas? Alternatively, any good recipes (without a tortilla press)?

You can buy corn tortillas made with fresh masa at Moctec in Landover. They're unlike anything you'll find at Whole Foods. Here's the link.

Is organic honey the same as raw honey? What is that creamy looking honey? There is so much information out there that I dont know where to start! Thanks!!!

They're different but can be overlapping. Organic honey has to meet standards including getting nectar from organic crops. That's my understanding. Raw honey has not been heated or pasteurized.

Dear Cooking Colleague, Checking in quickly for your thoughts and any recommendations would be so appreciative. I am obessed with Japenese cooking and food products, it's a perfect match for my dietary needs. Would you have any knowledge of a well respected Japenese Cooking School either in the States or Japan? I'm at the crossroads where I want to learn ( hands on ) as much as possible. Thank you, Millette

Hello, cooking colleague! ;-)

I've heard good things about this Sushi Academy in California.

Goodwill used to have an annual book sale that, sadly, is no more. I went one year and found a treasure trove of cookbooks of all kinds, including one for making natural baby foods. My favorite, though, was one that was apparently a template for the cookbooks produced as fundraisers by churches and women’s groups. It was a hoot to read it – the recipes, the made-up names of the contributors, the silly illustrations. I eventually got rid of it, but the laughs were definitely worth the 50 cents or so that it set me back.

they are definitely timepieces. I've got one that's not quite a community cookbook, but a commune cookbook. This woman traveled to different communes in the '60s and wrote down what they were cooking, along with social notes on how they were organized, etc. pretty fascinating. probably not for the faint-hearted (either the recipes or the organization).

I'm having a hard time finding a place to buy a quality smoker. The ones Home Depot has are a bit cheap in quality. Are there any stores here that sell good ones? I don't want to spend more than $500.

      Fred's Music and BBQ in Shillington, PA, carries a good line of quality smokers, such as Traeger, Green Mountain, Big Green Egg, and Meadow Creek. They have lots of other bbq-related stuff - cookbooks, utensils, different woods, etc. You can visit Meadow Creek, one of the better smoker manufacturers, at their shop in Holland, PA.  I suggest it, because they are very friendly, make high-quality rigs (and a lot of different types) if for no other reason than to get a clear idea of what exactly you are looking for.

Despite my embrace of the Digital Age in these later years, I still often turn to a battered collection of local Junior League and similar community cookbooks gathered over the years. Haunting used bookshops and yard sales has yielded a treasure trove of finds that often contain recipes simply not available elsewhere. Many of them are from local churches or schools printed as fundraisers. (I even have one from the American Wives Club of Kabul, 1967.) Yes, there is the share of jello mold recipes, but there is gold in them there hills that you cannot pan for online. For example, I have a Baltimore cookbook that has a super recipe for crab cakes from Barbara Mikulski. So the paper cookbook still reigns in regional hearts!

That's cool! I've got a cookbook from my mom that was written in the early '50s for military wives stationed in Japan.

So in response to an intrepid chatter's recent request -- was it you? -- we'll soon be doing a round-up of candidate cocktails you can actually make. I had a lot of fun doing Trump's, and am expecting him to start calling me a Yuge Loser whenever it posts.

Hello Free Rangers- I am looking to purchase a whole cow (dressed and butchered) as a way to engage in a more environmentally friendly way of nose-to-tail eating. Quick searches turn up many options in the area but I was wondering if you (or any chatters) have had a positive experience with local farms and could point me in the right direction of a trusted source. Bonus points for humane treatment and organic farms. Thank you!!

Check out this piece Jane Black wrote on the subject several years ago. Some sources listed that might still be good.

I've enjoyed fried thin eggplant slices in restaurants, but wonder if for making them at home it's necessary to salt/drain/pat dry before flouring and batter-dipping?

I did a whole series of tests of this one summer. Salting and expressing the liquid is important when the eggplant is going to be fried. The texture is much better -- really tender and pillowy rather than tough and stringy. When it's going to be grilled, roasted or steamed, not. And it's important to let it stand salted for at least an hour.

I bought a block of extra firm tofu, pressed it to make it firmer, then cut it into "ribs". I think one cut horizontally across the block and then four or five vertical. Not skinny fingers -- you need some substance. Dry really well. Oil and rub your favorite BBQ rib all over, like you would for ribs. Grill BEFORE you sully the grate with animal products. Will it win any BBQ awards, no ... but it was a reasonable sub in the menu for my veg friends, and went well with the corn, meat-free baked beans, pasta salad, etc.


I'll promote the folks at Neopol Smokery again and say, an even better way to do this is to start with their smoked tofu! Or, if you aren't local, any smoked tofu you buy from the supermarket.

For this Southern girl, sweet pickle relish is a must.

Kwame, Do you expect to serve coffee at Shaw Bijou and how will you select a brand and origin? More generally, for products that you lack expertise in, do you learn the item and make a selection or will you rely on the opinion of a trusted adviser? Cheers, Anda

Hey Anda. Thank you for your question. Yes we will have a coffee program at the restaurant using African Coffees. They tend to be the most consistent year round due to the climate. We will also be using antique siphons to brew table side. As far as products that I lack expertise in, I believe that I have put the proper people in place that are stronger in certain areas that I am not. We also bring in a lot of purveyors, farmers, and craftsman in to do demos for the staff. Such as japanese knife sharpeners, whisky masters, specialized farmers and so on. Its all about continuing to learn the craft.

I often drizzle hot sauce over egg salad when I make a sandwich. I've also put a slice or two of pepper jack cheese on top, though I agree doing a melt probably wouldn't work. I suppose you could toast the bread with the cheese on it, then add the egg salad after.

Hi! I love your chats and read them religiously!! I am getting married in 6 weeks and my life is pretty stressful right now. I don't currently live with my fiancé during the week because my job is in Baltimore and his job is in Philadelphia. I live with my parents during the week which is great because my mom will cook for me, and before I started working in Baltimore, my fiancé would cook for me (I am a self proclaimed NON cooker but I am trying to be better). Right now though, I've had a super busy three months and my fiancé also is having super long hours at work, so on the weekends, I'd like to surprise him and actually cook something for him now that he's so busy. I'd also like it to be healthy since we both sit all day and are trying to start eating healthfully and working out for the wedding. Do you have any suggestions for easy, healthful meals?

I feel your stress and wedding pain! 

When I want something that tastes like a lot of effort was made but in reality was super easy to throw together, I go with roasted chicken. The Lemon- and Honey-Flavored Chicken is a good one. Actually, roasted anything is great -- big flavor with little work. Also check out our Nourish archives for more healthful options.

Oven-Roasted Hash

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Hash

Dorie Greenspan's Sheet Pan Chicken With Apples and Kale

RECIPE: Dorie Greenspan's Sheet Pan Chicken With Apples and Kale

Somehow I came upon a Chinese Housewives community cookbook in the 80's. They clearly dumbed down some of the recipes, but it's a treasure just the same.

they are! and it's interesting what was deemed available and what wasn't and how they adapted. interesting in a scholarly way, if not delicious.

I grew up in Alaska in the 1960s and my mom had several cookbooks of local Alaskan specialties. One recipe was for Jellied Moose Nose. That one has become a family joke. It still makes me laugh. I still have the recipe, if anybody wants it.

i'm sure that was, er, delicious. if you had a lot of moose and not much else. ETA (i guess there's no such thing as having a "little" moose). also, is jellied moose a moose mousse?

I'd like to buy some miso to keep around for making glazes and dips and adding that umami touch to soup, chili, etc. But I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed at H-Mart. Red? Yellow? White? How long does it keep? Brand? What size? I think I saw it in the refrigerator section -- how long does it keep once I get it home?

Miso keeps FOREVER. So don't worry about that. And here's a shortcut way to think about those colors: light to darker equals milder to stronger. So just pick one and see what you think. I'd say the yellow might be the most versatile, but it all really depends on your taste and what you think you'll use it most often for. Start there, buy a small container, use it and then expand!

My father literally escaped from Hungary (to Austria) in 1949 when he was 23. He hadn't really learned to cook, his mother was a great cook. He corresponded with his mother, who sent him recipes and technique advice. He kept the letters, falling apart and stained from use but didn't need them anymore. Needless to say, my father made many good meals and the letters as a poignant memory.

How amazing! I'd love to see those. I'm always a lot more interested in how moms cooked than in how chefs cooked (since in my experience most chefs end up wanting to cook like their mothers)

Hi Kwame - on the show, rivalries always seem to develop, like the friction between you and Phillip during restaurant wars. But you cooked with him out in L.A. just a few weeks ago. Are the parts we see edited for max drama, or are we seeing how the chefs truly feel about each other in the interviews, etc.?

I think editing helps in supporting a story, but what I always say is "you can't edit what is isn't there". so the drama is real, it is a high stress environment so its easy to get on each others nerves. I think the frustrations with phillip were real but at the end of the day we respect each other as chefs. they went through thousands of candidates to pick 17, so we have a general respect for each other as professionals, regardless if personalities clashed

Hi Kwame! Great job for your first time on Top Chef! In retrospect, and now having the advantage of hindsight, would you have done anything differently to help you prepare for competing on Top Chef?

thank you! i would have definitely went with my gut on pastry. I know a lot of techniques within the realm of making desserts and i love making them. I should have been more confident in  executing them. Other than that I wouldn't change anything.... oh wait, i would definitely not use frozen waffles lol

My brother told me he recently tried to make sloppy joes for his kids and it went straight from the stove to the trash. I told him how I do it. Cook the ground beef, drain it, cook the onions and peppers, combine all etc. He said, "I didn't do that. I threw all the ingredients in the pan and let'r rip." wow. Have any of you attempted a shortcut which turned into a disaster?

I'm the oddball here: When I cook, I like to take my time, enjoying the Zen-like process of chopping, slicing and sweating ingredients to release their flavor.


Or as one of my favorite musicians, Chris Whitley, once sang, "No sir, I can't seem to go no faster. I'll be taking the long way around."

I don't think you're the oddball in this crowd, Tim! I also try not to rush things unreasonably, and love taking the time when I have it. But sure, sometimes you think you can take a shortcut and it doesn't end up working out so well. Beans that you turn the heat up on end up breaking apart and getting mushy, the garlic and onion burn in a stir-fry because you didn't have all the ingredients prepped in advance, figuring you could do it as you go, etc...

yeah, that sounds like the process of someone who doesn't like to cook and just wants to get it over with.

     Even whenI'm not barbecuing, I like the zen of cooking slowly. That is, when I like the, what, anti-zen (?) of cooking fast, like searing a steak (but that's a different thing than a shortcut). Anyway, short cuts? Sure, I've taken 'em. They don't always turn into disasters, but I recently made some stuffed grape leaves (talk about time-consuming) and I tried to speed things up and seasoned them poorly. They were so bad I didn't end up serving them.

To quote another singer, "Regrets? I've had a few."

Oooooo, sliced/chopped green olives, chopped onions (preferably red), bacon (either crispy or chewy), a good salsa spread like mayo on toasted bread, chopped sundried tomatoes mixed in........I do love my egg salad sammiches!

Like Joe, I love Neopol Savory Smokery's smoked egg salad. It includes smoked jalapenos, turning a childhood favorite, as I wrote "into something woodsy, dark and deep."

That recipe looks great and I will try it, but I have a bone to pick with you about it (pun intended): you say to discard the bones! Why not throw them in a bad in the freezer for the next time you are making stock or bone broth, or to add into any soup/stew you are making for added flavor. To just discard them is a waste of a great thing.

I agree, never discard the bones. In fact, I recommend rubbing the bones with tomato paste, then roasting them for an hour at 425°. Add the bones, carrots, celery and onion to a pot and cover with water for delicious beef stock. 

if they were corned on the bones, that might make them tough to use for stock. but i never toss the bones either. one of my favorite dishes is deviled bones for lunch the day after prime rib -- roll the bones in dijon mustard, roll in bread crumbs, drizzle with butter and bake until brown (about an hour). one of the most intensely beefy things you'll ever taste.

That's what Lidia Bastianich seems to do on her cooking show. I especially enjoy when she has her mother on at the end, to sample a dish.

Lidia is a treasure and a chef who REALLY cooks like a mom.

Wait a minute, you could still be Top Chef, right? There's Last Chance Kitchen. Hmmm....I guess you can't provide any spoilers.

the world will never know......

Wait a minute! That Last-Chance Kitchen episode with Kwame has aired, you realize?

spoiler joe!!! haha

I googled it and apparently it's a thing among a certain set. They say to "save the nose!" More power to them.

I'd be tempted to try it (if I had a moose nose) if only so I could call it moose mousse.

I second the mention of eat your books - I do a lot of menu planning on my (public transit) commute home and having a way to tap into my cookbooks while I'm on the go makes me a lot more likely to use them instead of just relying on the 1000+ recipes I've got on my "Recipes to Try" pinterst board - including so many from WaPo! The other thing I've been trying is getting a cookbook out from the library and cooking a bunch of things from it before deciding whether to purchase it for myself. eBook loans are particularly awesome for that!

OK OK, I'll get them catalogued!

I use Eat Your Books, too. Cataloguing isn't difficult if you have a smart phone. Download a QR reader and just click away at the code on the back of most newer cookbooks. The older ones have to be entered by hand, but that reader made it a quick job for me. Or quicker.

I add a bit of olive oil to my egg salad, so I convince myself it is healthy. Tastes good too.

A touch of horseradish gives is nice bottom note zing.

Hi Kwame! I can't wait for the opening of The Shaw Bijou. I am sure that you are very excited to get started. I know that you will be focusing on The Shaw Bijou for the near future, but I was wondering if you had any plans to open other restaurants in the future. If so, where would you like to establish a new restaurant?

Hey There! thank you for your question. yes absolutely! i have a more casual restaurant that I will be opening in dc a couple years after The Shaw Bijou opens. You may see a pop up for this concept very soon.....

Might it be ... chicken and (full-sized, make-from-scratch) waffles, chef?

maybe... maybe....

Im just beginning to explore fermented drinks. I started with Jun Tea but not sure if there are other drinks that a novice should start with.

Booch, natch.


Why does vacpac beef sometimes taste like liver? If I'm going to pay the price for muscle, I don't want the taste of offal. Any hints on avoiding this? Will any particular preparation methods make the liver taste less ovbious?

are you putting fat in the bag with the meat, like butter or duck fat?

Try some toasted black sesame seeds! And remember, for those who can't take the hot peppers used to make pimenton, there is a smoked Spanish paprika out there with no heat.

Si! Pimenton dulce.

Can I just say I adore autocorrect, except when it happens to me ;-)

We've all been there! Until your keyboard knows your vocabulary, prosciutto becomes prostitute!

I want to make a traditional British Sunday supper to celebrate the ending of Downton Abbey this Sunday. Suggestions for a good menu and recipes? Thinking maybe a roast, veggies, etc...

Fun! I (Downton super-fan) actually wrote a story the other year about how food plays into the show.

ARTICLE: On ‘Downton Abbey,’ aspic matters

Here are some recipes we featured then:

Saute Chicken Lyonnaise

RECIPE: Saute Chicken Lyonnaise

Raspberry Meringue Pudding

RECIPE: Raspberry Meringue Pudding

Easy Apple Charlottes

RECIPE: Easy Apple Charlottes

Potato Puffs

RECIPE: Potato Puffs

In coordination with that piece, I actually did a blog post with suggestions for a Downton Abbey viewing party. Check it out!

ARTICLE: ‘Downton Abbey’: What to eat while you’re watching

Me? I'm thinking I might whip up some dessert, maybe a Victoria sponge cake.

As a very new bride I attempted to make Swiss steak. I'd probably used too much flour to dredge the beef, so the gravy wasn't brown. I knew that red and green make brown, so added some red and some green food coloring to the Swiss steak, which turned out looking like some kind of marbled Christmas dish (but a revolting-looking one). We went out to dinner! (BTW, I've since learned that to make gravy browner, use less flour, then add soy sauce).

LUCY! YOU'VE GOT SOME 'SPLAINING TO DO! sorry, couldn't resist.

Who thinks Russ should be with us EVERY WEEK? (Raises hand.)

Is Ancora ever going to reopen? Question submitted multiple times.

I finally reached Wil Pace, the VP of leasing for Akridge, who said Ancora will not be reopening. The real estate firm is negotiating with an "established local restaurateur" for the former Ancora space and may have some news soon on the subject. One thing for certain: Bob Kinkead will not be invovled. The Beard-winning chef has parted ways at both Ancora and Campono, the panini and pizzeria operation, which are both located in the Watergate complex.

So funny about the Calphalon comment! I have Pampered Chef pans with a lifetime warranty and my partner (very sweetly but somewhat misguidedly) tried to buy me Calphalon replacements. I returned them, sent an email to Pampered Chef, and now the new Pampered Chef pots should be arriving today! The customer service was excellent and it only cost me what it cost to ship them back. Glad there are several companies with excellent customer service! It clearly creates brand loyalty!


To the person who's trying to figure out what to do with the found couscous, do NOT put it out for the birds. It will expand in their little tummies, and bad things will happen. (I believe that's also the theory behind why rice is no longer thrown at weddings.)

I strongly believe that many, many beginning cooks are set up to fail by using recipes that have too many shortcuts. I know there is an imperative to publish recipes that are few ingredients and take a limited amount of time. But people have expectations based on what they see or hear about - and there's a limit to how much technique can be abandoned. Sometimes I "rehab" recipes for friends who are feeling like failures, when it's really not there fault. And, by the way, I do respect the Post and LA Times food sections both for doing a quality job and avoiding this trap.

I'm always wary of the phrase "almost as good as". I try to write recipes that are usable for everyone. Sometimes you just can't avoid adding that extra bit of technique, but there has to be a payoff. Too often, though, it's just pandering -- "they'll never be able to do it right, so"

Any recommendations on outdoor electric grills?

I think a part of me just died while contemplating this question.


Okay, seriously, is there a reason you want to bring electrical cooking to the outdoors, which is made for fire and smoke? Perhaps you live in a complex that frowns upon smoke?


As a dedicated backyard smoker, I don't have experience with these machines. But Meathead Goldwyn at Amazing Ribs, who takes a techie/egghead approach to discussing barbecue, has some good analysis on electric grills.

    I agree with Tim that I don't much cotton to electric grills. But  if, for whatever reason, you want to go that route, I visited the Weber factory awhile back and they make a Q 1400 and Q 2400 that are pretty good. I have a friend who uses the Char-Broil Patio Bistro and she loves it. 

One of my favorites that was let go. Wish I still had it. Japanese Country Cooking 1969 Rudzinski and Nelson. Homey one pot meals and pickled things.

mine is kitcho: the art of kaiseki

Popeyes if you can find good one for onion rings. A certain Q Food Truck from Nokesville and no you all cant have the name has great rings. I take 5 guys fries over any commercial onion ring out there. I like onion rings but 5 Guys fries rule.

I want to like Five Guys fries, because they're hand-cut. But they stuff them in the bottom of the bag, where they get all soggy and limp. I'll take double-cooked frites over Five Guys any day.

Speaking as a home cook who recently got his hands on a sous vide machine, I'll politely disagree with Russ. The method produces a uniformly cooked steak, and virtually eliminates the possibility of overcooking. A quick sear in a hot pan or on a hot grill is necessary, of course. It's certainly not a quick method, but it was time well spent for my $28 boneless ribeye.

I know. I have friends who swear by them. Just not for me. i find the texture is a little rubbery and i have no problems withh steak on the grill. but there's no disputing taste.

Are there any rules of thumb as to how much sugar or acid are needed in a dish one wants to preserve in a water bath process? I'd like to experiment with my own recipes but want to be sure the product is safe.

There are, but you have to take into consideration the amount of sugar and acidity in the fruit/vegetable being pickled/preserved. This is not for the amateur or "Kentucky windage." If you're not a VERY experienced canner, follow the recipe.

There are rules, sure, but there are other issues, too. Beyond the recipe are density of product, size of jar, and the required time to heat the product to the correct temperature to seal the jar. 

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a very good site, and my book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry offers a few recipes that can be used as guidelines for jams and for pickles. 

Good luck!

Well, you've checked our liquid level, adding more as needed so we remain submerged, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Russ, Kwame, Cathy, Jim and Carrie for helping with the a's!

Now for the giveaway books: The chatter who asked about trying to get through the late-winter blues will get "The Natural Cook" by Tom Hunt. The one who asked about shortcut disasters will get "Cooking Light: Dinner ASAP" (which hopefully will provide SMART fast solutions). Send your mailing info to, and she'll get you your books!

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
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.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Kwame Onwuachi
Kwame Onwuachi is the chef of the forthcoming restaurant, Shaw Bijou.
Russ Parsons
Russ Parsons is a longtime food journalist and author of “How to Read a French Fry” and “How to Pick a Peach.” He wrote this week's article on cookbooks.
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