Free Range on Food: Cooking for Nowruz, mourning closed restaurants, this week's recipes and more.

Mar 14, 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!

Hope you're enjoying what we've been cooking up, including Tim's piece on how the loss of a restaurant can prompt grief (and petitions and plane rides); Yeganeh Rezaian's lovely ode to Nowruz, Persian new year (with gorgeous recipes); Carrie Allan's deep dive into Irish whiskey (with recommendations); and from Voraciously, our new destination, Luke Pyenson's take on an easy Irish brown bread (well, easy now that he figured it out!); another great Dinner in Minutes take from Bonnie (chicken and veg parcels -- to cut down on cleanup!); Becky's peach melba bars; and more.

We've got Yegi in the room today to help with Nowruz (and any other Persian cooking) questions, and I'm sure Carrie will stop by to handle boozy issues. 

We'll have a giveaway book for our favorite chatter today: Clare Connery's "In An Irish Country Kitchen."

And for you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR4635 . 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.

Let's do this!


I'm not Irish but do love a good soda bread. Looking for a foolproof recipe for soda bread - with caraway and/or raisins- not traditional I know, but what I remember having as a kid!

Well,  I'm thinking that this Dark Irish Soda Bread is for you! Easy to make, has the caraway. I also love Lisa Yockelson's Whole-Wheat Soda Bread, which has wheat bran. 

I had to stop reading these recipes because my mouth was watering so much! It was also interesting to see traditions similar to Jewish ones such as deep cleaning the house (before Passover) and throwing crumbs into the water (Rosh Hashanah). Thanks for a fascinating read and some new recipes I can't wait to try!

I'm glad you enjoyed. I have to say as you pointed out lots of ancient Persian traditions are very similar to Jewish ones, and I'm proud to say we have a big community of Jewish people in Iran for many many years. So at some point through the centuries we exchanged traditions. 


ARTICLE: I'll miss the bonfire, but my Nowruz will taste like home

Not a question, but a thank you! I’ve prepared the best roast chicken ever using the high temp (450) short time (30minutes with the heat on, 30 minutes resting in the turned off oven) sheet pan method the post recently offered. My only change was to spatchcock the chicken. The result was a perfectly done chicken — well done dark meat, moist white meat with no trace of pink. The roasted carrots and parsnips I surrounded the bird with were delicious too!

One-Pan Roast Chicken and Potatoes

ARTICLE: Roasting a chicken is as easy as putting a baking sheet in the oven

Glad to here it worked for your spatchcocked bird! Cool to hear how people are already tweaking and advancing the recipe.

Can we use red cabbage? I happen to have half a head leftover from a chemistry experiment.

I'll let Joe address the use of red cabbage, but I'm curious ... what was the chemistry experiment?

Of course -- red would be fine! Bonus: purple soup.

RECIPE: Caramelized Cabbage Soup

I'm interested in trying the polenta recipe. Can I use the cornmeal that I use for corn muffins, or do I have to buy the more coarsely ground stuff?

Hope you try it!


Q's for you: What's the texture of the cornmeal you use for muffins, and does it have flour or other additives? If the answers are "finely ground" and "yes," then save it for the muffins. Polenta made with cornmeal needs a coarse grind (some packages say "stone-ground"), so it can absorb the liquids in the pot.  (And FYI, the corn used to make grits is different from the corn used to make the kind of cornmeal needed for this polenta.)

I'm not experienced with yeast breads. I've tried the no-knead loaf three or four times over the last few years and it was .. edible, but not delicious. (I can't get the right consistency). I really want a winning bread recipe. What is a good bread to attempt - pita? ciabatta? bread rolls? I don't have a stand mixer or a bread machine. Thanks!

Here's a good one -- No-Knead Focaccia.

No-Knead Focaccia

Or another to try (it's another no-knead, but we're confident you'll get the consistency right with this one!): Slow-Rise, No-Knead Light Wheat (or White) Bread.

Slow-Rise, No-Knead Light Wheat (or White) Bread

Any ideas for using up some of the (quarts!) of pumpkin puree I still have in my freezer from fall pumpkins? We can only eat so much pumpkin bread/muffins, so savory uses would be most appreciated, or anything outside of breads/pies. Thanks!

This is one of my favorite old recipes.

Pasta With Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

RECIPE: Pasta With Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

A few other possibilities:

Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

RECIPE: Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

Pumpkin Chicken Chili

RECIPE: Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Any recommendations for quick (and/or make-ahead) potluck recipes that can be held for a while, ideally in a slow cooker? I have a couple of events coming up and am looking for some crowd pleasures!

As a new immigrant to the US, I found out Chili is a great crowd pleaser. Easy to make especially if you have good beef or pork stock and easy to serve. It is the best to make in a slow cooker as well. 

I love that wooden cutting board you recommended and am putting it on my "wish list." In the meantime, I would love some tips on removing odors from wooden cutting boards. Even if I scrub them immediately, they seem to retain flavors and odors from strong foods, like onions and garlic.

ARTICLE: Why you should think big when you buy a cutting board

Lemon juice or a paste of water and baking soda are common remedies. Cook's Illustrated suggests something I'll have to try: shredded apples or potatoes! 

Last week you had a lot of queries about buttermilk.After watching a Jacques Pepin segment where he made butter in a food processor I decided next time I need buttermilk I will buy a pint of heavy whipping cream and process it until I get butter and the by product will be buttermilk. A twofer and kinda fun.

Kinda fun -- and kinda delicious!

Now that I only get the online paper, I have more difficulty finding vegan recipes in the Wednesday food section. I think it is because I could quickly scan the recipes in the hard copy but that is not so easy to do online. As a result, I have obtained fewer vegan recipes from the Washington Post Wednesday online food edition than I had before. Any recommendations? Perhaps you could put a diet symbol next to the recipe name as they do on restaurant menus.

You should be able to scan everything that's showing up at! Also, of course, you should follow my Weeknight Vegetarian adventures -- most of my recipes are actually vegan! (On my author page, you can subscribe to an RSS feed if you'd rather not be trying to keep up otherwise!)

Like, any plans to do, like, you know, an issue on marijuana recipes? No doubt many of DC's top chefs partake in the bud and their ideas would be totally toked. I've asked you guyz before and y'all always say no. But I gotta try.

I admire your perseverance. 

Your braised chicken with tomatillos has been a huge hit in my family. Normally I serve it with plain brown rice, but tonight I'm making it for a friend's birthday celebration and would like to "gussy up" the rice a bit. I have basmati, brown and white rice on hand. Any suggestions on which one to use and how to make it a little fancy while ensuring it still will taste good with the chicken? Thank you!

I really like it too -- make it once a month or so.  How bout a baked rice with melty Jack cheese and jalapeno? The recipe comes from the mom of an old pal o' mine. It's a bit rich but def steps up the accompaniment factor.

RECIPE Arroz Veracruzano


Another way to go would be this corn torte from Pati Jinich, which is just terrific.


I found the article on containers very helpful. Now that you're handling the basics through your new site, any chance you'll do a primer on freezing? My questions would include the really, really basic things like do you cook that lasagna first and then freeze it, or do you assemble all of it and freeze before cooking? What does "freezes well" really mean? Freezing seems so simple as to be dummy-proof, yet I'm often underwhelmed when I cook/heat up things I've frozen vs making and eating right away (and, to be frank, I've felt let down by warmed up stuff from other people's freezers, too).

Yes, we are talking about some freezer possibilities! To me, freezing well probably covers a couple of different things. Does the dish maintain its texture when it's thawed/reheated? Is it easy to reheat? Will it not taste freezer-burned? Does it not take tons of additional steps to freeze? Can it go straight into the oven? Does it taste as good or almost as good as fresh?

What would be different, besides the color, if soup made with red cabbage instead of green?

I don't think there would be much different!

I guess lots of people will be contributing restaurant stories today. We had a restaurant which served burgers with peanut butter on them (Guber Burgers!). The place had a big round counter and was actually called The Wagon Wheel. They were on a corner intersection which got busier and busier over the years. Eventually the DoT decided to widen the intersection to accommodate all the 18-wheelers which supposedly couldn't make the turn. The restaurant said they had to close so there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Of course, we went and did the obligatory hours wait for our last ever Guber Burger. They closed, the building was torn down and then a new business opened on the same spot and the Guber Burger reopened in a new location down the street! We felt so had. I loved those burgers but never ate at the new place. They finally went out of business officially.

Hamburgers with peanut butter! I haven't heard of  that regional variation. I had to do a Google search. 


Could the place you're talking about be the Wheel Inn, located in Sedalia, Mo.? It seems to fit your description. According to this story, "Health reasons were cited as the reason  for closing the doors."


Whatever the reason, I salute the Guber Burger and its years of service!

ARTICLE: When your favorite neighborhood restaurant closes, the grief is real

How long will they last in my fridge? Tx, love you peeps. I am in Berkeley (CA), but subscribe to the WP solely for the Food Section.

Do you mean an opened jar?  About 6 months, as long as they are submerged/covered.

You buy a bunch of rabe and half of it is leaves. I've tried making something edible out of them and have failed in all attempts. Is this just the way it is?

So do I understand you right, that you pick off JUST the stems that have little florets on them, and don't use the leaves? Sad! Broccoli rabe is really the whole bunch, and you cook it all together, leaves, shoots, stems and florets. (You trim off the woodiest part of the stems, if it's there.) 

I'm assuming by not edible you mean the leaves taste bitter? That's the deal with broccoli rabe -- and why so many of us love it -- but if you want to cut down on that quality, you can blanch it in salted boiling water for a minute or two, until the stems are crisp-tender, then shock it in ice water, before proceeding to quickly saute it with lots of garlic. (Or putting it on pizza, or blending it into a pesto, etc.)

RECIPE: Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

I am thinking of making a "butternut shepherd's pie" from the recipe in "The Healing Slow Cooker". The topping calls for; canned butternut squash, heavy cream or coconut milk, ginger and baking soda. My question is what is the purpose of the baking soda?

I'm scratching my head about this one. I'd usually think it was about getting some lift in that topping, but baking soda requires an acidic ingredient, so I'm not sure how that's going to work here (and not sure it would happen all that much in the confines of a slow cooker anyhow!). The biggest other non-baking use I've seen for baking soda lately is for cooking beans, to get the skins to loosen, such as for making super-smooth hummus.

But it's worth making this and reporting back!

I hear you - you want to glance at the new food section. Have a gander at the Facsimile copy of the print paper - you can click on it from the home page. It works pretty well, though it's a bit clumsy actually to read!

Wonderful in Borscht, as it doesn't weaken the soup coloring the way that green cabbage does!

I have dutifully saved a bag full of parmesan rinds in the freezer. Now, asparagus seasons is approaching, and while I haven't seen any spears poking up through the ground in my asparagus patch quite yet, when I do I'd like to make an asparagus risotto. Do I just simmer the rinds for an hour or so to make a parmesan stock? What's the best method for making a stock with the rinds?

That's what I do with the rinds! I usually just use one or two per batch of broth, so you might want to start there and then add more the next time around if you'd like. We happen to have a vegetable broth that's perfect for risotto, too; it's very appropriately named Risotto Vegetable Broth (pictured below). You could also borrow the technique from our Butternut Squash and Sage Oven Risotto recipe -- it has you add a pecorino rind to the dish as it cooks, which infuses more flavor into the whole thing.

Risotto Vegetable Broth

Do you have an asparagus risotto recipe already? Because we've got a few of those, too. 

Charred Asparagus Risotto

RECIPE: Charred Asparagus Risotto

Brown Butter Asparagus Risotto

RECIPE: Brown Butter Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

RECIPE: Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

A neighbor gifted me a bunch of potatoes, and I'm stumped on how to use them all up before they start sprouting. I have several grocery bags full, mostly of russet but some red potatoes as well. I can only mash and bake so many before I'm going to get bored! Any suggestions for casseroles/soups/etc. that call for a lot of potatoes? Bonus points for anything you think could be frozen and reheated later. I know potatoes aren't the greatest after being frozen, but I'm expecting a baby in a few weeks and am stocking my freezer in anticipation of hectic evenings with a fussy newborn.

Mazel tov to you! They would freeze just fine this way -- Simplest and perhaps most useful thing to do would be to boil or roast them, let them dry, then grate them (large-holed sides of a box grater) or rice them (using a potato ricer). Portion in cups, into freezer zip-top bags. Then, you can use them to thicken soups, to make "instant" mashed potatoes, to build a topping for shepherd's pie, to have on hand for potato cakes. Or you could just dice the cooked ones and freeze for hash/fillings. 


P.S. Sometimes those newborns can surprise you (as in, not so fussy). 

A great way to use them after you boil and grate them is to add them to your omelet, which will mostly look like a quiche. Thicker than a normal omelet. 

I'm not sure what the chatter's objection to kneading yeast bread dough is, since a person doesn't have to be an expert to achieve a reasonable approximation of kneading, in order to develop the gluten. However, in my case the increasing physical ravages of old age have considerably reduced the amount of kneading I can perform any longer, so I get around the problem by letting my food-processor do most of the work. In the alternative, a powerful electric mixer could accomplish the job.

The OP said they're not very experienced with yeast breads, so I think no-knead is sometimes a less intimidating way in to bread. But, yes, equipment can help, although this particular person doesn't have a stand mixer.

Would the lemon juice/baking soda thing work on a plastic cutting board? Mine really smells of garlic.

Baking soda ought to do the trick. Either soak it in a baking soda/water solution or just scrub it well with a paste made of baking soda and just a little water. Let the paste sit on there for 5 minutes or so.

Double the pumpkin in the Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce recipe. Uses more pumpkin, tastes even better.

I feel like I've increased the amount of pumpkin, too. Does give the sauce a bit more heft.

I was away at college when my parents told me Totino's in NE Minneapolis was closing because a developer bought their building (they relocated to a suburb and was unable to retain their cult following). The owners Jim and Rose Totino were fixtures in the community. Rose came up with a recipe for frozen pizza dough that wasn't the cardboard-like mess that was available at the time. Pillsbury bought the recipe and the name to create (you guessed it) Totino's pizza and pizza rolls. They opened Totino's the restaurant where they served the most wonderful cheese ravioli and pizza. In the 1980s, a Grace High School was going to have to close, so the Totino family offered that if the school could fundraise one million dollars, they would match it. The school was able to reach the goal and became Totino-Grace High School (yes I'm an alum). Nick name of the school because pizza roll high. Anywho, I wish they were still around since every holiday growing up was spent eating fresh bread and mounds of pasta.

OMG! I spend much of my junior high years wolfing down Totino's frozen pizza. Thank you for the amazing backstory.

This might be more of a travel question, but, I'm planning a trip to Ireland for April and wondering whether you had any suggestions for cooking classes either in Dublin for a day, or elsewhere for several days.

Do you have time to get to to the other side of Ireland, and to take classes at Ballymaloe? Famous for a good reason. Darina Allen is a national treasure.

I am a long time reader and subscriber. I seem to recall a great Food section on freezing in the not-too-distant past sometime. This looks to be it.

GRAPHIC: The Big Chill

Yup, thanks for re-upping that link. I could see us potentially turning that into something a bit more user-friendly, but also providing additional content and tips.

Forgive the GBBO reference. ;) I've been experimenting with a no-knead pizza dough recipe, and it tastes great and does exactly what I think it's supposed to, except when I bake it on my (fully pre-heated and cornmealed) pizza stone, the underneath is still lax and tastes somewhat raw. It's stretched thin to the point of breaking on the bottom, and I'm leaving it under the broiler, six inches-ish down, for around 6 minutes or so, until the crust is seconds away from black burnt on the edges. Toppings are just light pizza sauce and mozzarella and basil. Any tips or tricks for getting the crust firmer on the bottom? Thank you in advance!

Sounds to me like your crust is stretched too thin! Try letting it be a little thicker on the bottom, and see how that goes. The other thing you can do is give it a head start -- broil it for a minute or two before adding the toppings, then continue. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!

Could you use some in homemade ravioli or tortellini filling? (If homemade pasta is too daunting, substitute wonton wrappers).


I don't see a problem here. Everything could smell of garlic and i wouldn't mind. HOWEVER, you can just get two cutting boards, one for garlic-friendly applications and one for other stuff. That's what I do, and have done for decades.

I think generally it's good to have several different cutting boards for various ingredients such as one for raw chicken or fish and a separate one for vegetables. And also smelly ingredients like garlic. 

I've scoured the corners of the internet and ended up more confused than when I started. If I want to sub white whole wheat (King Arthur) or whole wheat flour for AP flour in a sourdough recipe, what do I need to change? Less flour and/or more water? I'm trying to avoid a brick. I'm measuring by weight btw...

Here's a guide to baking with white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour, as well as a super-thorough blog post from them too. Their advice comes down to adding extra liquid (2 teaspoons) per cup of whole wheat flour and letting the dough rest for 20-30 minutes before kneading.

The article is referencing the second location, the one we never went to. The original location was a really cool, 60-yr old drive-in.

Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification. 

You can also feed it to your dog. That's what I do with the 1/3 can that always seems to be left over, mixed with his dry food. I wouldn't give him more than that at one time, though.

It's really good for their stomachs, too! 

However, two tips: 1) With the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans, make it meatless, just to be on the safe side. 2) Don't make it too spicy, because a lot of us aren't born fire-breathers. In the alternative, make a mild meatless chili, then provide a bowl of braised meat chunks and something that diners who so desire can stir into their serving if they want it spicier.

This is why Cathy Barrow's Everybody's Chili Verde is awesome. Adjust spice to your taste. The chilie is vegan and gluten-free, but you can have meatballs on hand for the carnivores.

Everybody’s Chili Verde

ARTICLE: Here’s a pot-luck dish that appeals to everyone, vegan and omnivore alike

Pumpkin soup! I haven't tried this with pumpkin, but perhaps if you use the tasty base for the Post's Watercress Soup recipe, then instead of the cress stir in some of the pumpkin purée instead, and season with S&P to taste? 

Interesting thought! That soup's base uses potato and carrots, and so I'd be tempted to sub in, maybe, 1/2 to 1 cup pureed pumpkin for both of those, and STILL add the watercress!

I don't think I mourn too many restaurants because food memories are a tricky thing. That said, I do miss one place: The Sea Cave in Arlington, TX. It was at the Seven Seas Marine Park. Occasionally my dad would take us there. It was in a faux sea cave with dripping water and my drink would always come with a little, plastic mermaid perched on the side of the glass. I do miss that place and the oyster stew that I always, always ordered. It would come in a pewter bowl that was blazing hot. It was an adventure just trying not to get burned on it. Good times.

Those sound like formative food memories, that kind that can return the instant you see a plastic mermaid hanging from the lip of a cup. 


Beloved childhood restaurants are the hardest ones to lose, I'd guess. 


I asked about making this with mustard greens, and finally got around to it last night. It was terrific! I think next time I might double the spices, but that might just be because my nose got used to the intensity as I was frying them and they didn't seem that noticeable in the final product. If I wanted to make this vegetarian, would you recommend tempeh, as having a meatier texture and a stronger flavor than tofu?

Yes, I think tempeh could work nicely in this. So could chickpeas!

I confess I was disappointed by most of the Voraciously pie recipes for Pi Day (today). There are some "real" pies that aren't difficult to make, e.g., Pecan pie, fruit pies (using canned fillings brightened with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice). Even making chocolate pudding to pour into a pie shell, refrigerate, then top with freshly-whipped sweetened heavy cream. But please, NO non--dairy whipped toppings (unless you're vegan).

Yeah, apparently quite a few people were, um, saddened by the lack of "real" pies. ;-)

Part of the goal with these recipe roundups is to highlight the slightly more beginner-level and accessible recipes in our archives, so I went with pies that are, hopefully, less intimidating to the non-experienced pie makers out there. (And don't knock That Cream Cheese Cool Whip Pie -- or really, any of these pies! -- until you try it, please.)

Also: Did you notice the part where I included a recipe for an all-butter pie crust, and linked to three "real" pies to make with the crust? Just in case you missed that, here are those pies:

Vintage Rhubarb Pie

RECIPE: Vintage Rhubarb Pie

Shaker Lemon Pie

RECIPE: Shaker Lemon Pie

Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie

RECIPE: Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie

I wrote in a few weeks back about finding a good recipe for cod. You guys suggested on that was DELICIOUS!! Now I'm looking for other fish that work well with simple "sauteing and a sauce" type of thing. I'm not a fan of tilapia and don't need salmon recipes, but what else would work? Red Snapper? All suggestions welcome. I'm really trying to up my fish intake weekly! Thanks :)

I honestly think no-knead bread is not a beginner recipe. You need to know what the dough should feel like when it's ready (as well as how it feels along the way). "No-knead" is a bad term, because you're doing a lot of work to get it mixed. Learning to do it in a food processor might give you better results, if you're not up for kneading it by hand.

Appreciate your thoughts, but I will say that the first breads I made were of the "no-knead" variety.

My experience with red cabbage is that you have to avoid cooking it in water, because it turns a hideous blue/purple color. The way around that is to braise slowly with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to create steam. Perhaps you could try cooking the cabbage that way, adding broth at the end. The vinegar acts like a mordant and fixes the color. I start caramelizing onions, add a sliced apple or pear, then add chopped or sliced cabbage, salt and pepper to taste, stir and cook a few minutes, add maybe a quarter cup or less of vinegar, any kind, cover and cook slowly stirring from time to time, maybe 20 minutes or so.

Baking soda is sometimes added to help with browning.


D'oh! Chickpeas -- my favorite legume! Why didn't I think of that?


the original OP freaked me out a little cause I could've written the question verbatim... so, thanks Joe for the suggestions! I have an additional question, though: should I also be pre-cooking high-moisture toppings like mushrooms?

Yes, you should! Anything that needs cooking on a pizza, cook it first!

I found that the fresh mozzarella was the culprit on my soggy-bottomed pizza. I switched to low-moisture (but not low-fat) mozzarella and the crust came out much crisper. Found the cheese at Trader Joe's, btw.

Oh, yes, fresh mozz indeed seeps out a lot of liquid. I agree, it's not the best, especially for thin-crust pizza.


Thanks for the recommendation on the chickpea tikka masala last night for my visiting friend. Did a test run last night and loved it, even subbing less luxurious almond milk with coconut flavoring for the coconut milk. This is on the menu for the visit and will definitely become a regular at our house. Ditto for me on the wonderful risotto made with steel cut oats. Wasn't a hit with my husband vs. arborio, but I could eat it every day. Ditched the gruyere for nutritional yeast and a little truffle oil to make it vegan. Would love more ways to use healthy whole oats instead of refined grains.



Glad to hear it on both of these! As for other things you can make with oats, did you see this Irish brown bread recipe? Just great.

I use a Chinese beef recipe that starts with sprinkling the meat pieces with a little baking soda. Didn't know why before. Thanks.

I love your new guide Voraciously and all the classic dishes you've been featuring (and teaching me about). From mac and cheese in every way possible to polenta with a guide for what to do with leftovers, it takes the science side I love of Serious Eats and combines it with an at-home style that is very much unique to you guys! You've done polenta, pasta, sheet pans, soups... any updates to the classic casserole? I grew up on tuna a la king (I still can't eat canned mushroom soup after that) and as I've gotten comfortable in the kitchen I still find myself avoiding my casserole dish. Any thoughts on how to make me fall in love with it again besides using it for fruit crisps?

Food for thought! Maybe there's a recipe roundup in there somewhere.

Lots of tasty casseroles in our Recipe Finder. A few to ponder:

Chicken Pot Tot Hotdish

RECIPE: Chicken Pot Tot Hotdish

Chicken and Tortilla Aztec Casserole (Cazuela Azteca)

RECIPE: Chicken and Tortilla Aztec Casserole (Cazuela Azteca)

Butternut Squash, Kale and Shiitake Casserole

RECIPE: Butternut Squash, Kale and Shiitake Casserole

Botanically, everyday broccoli and broccoli rabe are not variations of something called broccoli: they are different species! Everyday broccoli is Brassica oleracea, the species from which cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, cauliflower and lots of other edible green were derived. Broccoli rabe is Brassica napus. a species which includes turnips, bok choy, tatsoi, napa and again lots of other edible greens. Treat broccoli rabe like regular broccoli and you're likely to be disappointed. Treat it like turnip greens, and you'll discover why so many of us love it. Take Joe's advice on this one.

For the chatter looking for rice ideas, I’ll suggest arroz verde, which is my go-to side for chicken thighs poached in tomatillo salsa (easiest chicken ever!). These dishes complement each other wonderfully. Here’s the recipe I use for arroz verde.

Agreed. I'm a great kneader NOW, but it took a long time to get the technique down and to get the feel of how much or little flour to add to get the right texture (since it depends on the weather, too).

Thanks. I think it's just a confidence thing, too. Like, nail no-knead and then move on to full-on kneading.

I cook my beans in a crockpot, but, have an awful time getting the crockpot clean afterwards. Are there any tricks you can impart or do I just have to live with bean residue in my stoneware pot after cooking beans?

Check this out. Baking soda, again!

Why? Learned this in Modernist Cuisine: Baking soda ups the alkalinity (ph) amping up the Maillard Reaction (browning).

Yes, you weren't first to your buzzer, but your explanation is deeper! That makes sense, especially in a closed/moist environment like the slow cooker!

I still miss Avignon Freres in Adams Morgan.


I made this last week and it was a winner. I think my garam masala was a little old (it tasted a little flat) so I immediately threw it all away and bought new in anticipation of making this again. It's going into rotation.


I'm so glad someone mentioned reuse of parmesan rinds 'cause I wanted to ask: any chance this can apply to other cheeses with rinds? Specifically, I just saved the rinds from a piece of jarlsberg... As for pumpkin puree, I make the same pumpkin-banana bread almost every single weekend. I don't know what happened to me last Saturday, but I forgot both baking powder and baking soda, leaving me with something that would be great for masonry work. I hate to waste/throw away foods and was hoping I could choke it down but... nope.

:( I'd have crumbled it up and toasted it -- use it as a topping for streuselly pies and on top of baked fruit.

Tip Top Hungarian restaurant in NYC. My father was Hungarian and apparently we stopped for lunch there the day I came home from the hospital after being born. Hazy memory of that - but it was a staple of my 1970s/80 childhood when we went into the City from Stony Brook, Long Island. We would potter into shops in the Hungarian section and my father would speak in Hungarian to the assistants and buy sausages and paprika and Bryndza for Korozott / Liptauer that he would make another day. Then we would end up for dinner at Tip Top. I would have porkolt and nokedli. How NYC has changed!

Lovely memories. Thanks for sharing them. 

Avoca Cafe-there is one in Dublin and more around the Isle and the home/mother ship Avoca Village is in Co. Wicklow which is not far outside Dublin at all where there is a mill, shop, cafe and visitors center. Just google Avoca cafe and that should get you to the website. and if you can score a class at Ballymaloe, it's worth the travel to Cork!

What's the recipe that you make every week? I'm always looking for something with pumpkin and banana!

This might be the "cabbage experiment" the chatter had in mind: often mentioned in early twentieth century cookbooks was the explanation of what happens to red cabbage when baking soda was added to the cabbage water: the cabbage turns a revolting blue. When vinegar is added to the water, the cabbage remains red. The addition of baking soda to the water in which vegetables were to be cooked was a common recommendation back then.

Do you have any suggestions for combining Irish and Jewish traditional foods? My daughter and her boyfriend represent both heritages and I'd like to make some blended dish or dinner when they come over.

Hmm....what about a proper Irish Stew with Sara Moulton's matzoh-ball disks instead of or in addition to potatoes? Check out this I-J menu from Jamie Geller.

The chatter from Berkeley might recall Larry Blake's on Telegraph Avenue, just south of the Cal campus, famous for decades for its house salad (sort of a Caesar, made with romaine lettuce), as well as its Rathskeller downstairs. Also Pizza Haven (down an alley off Bancroft Way, across from the Student Union), where I had my first-ever pizza in the early 1960s, when they were still a novelty in California.

My childhood pizza haunt, fortunately, remains alive and well. It's Big Fred's in Omaha. Outsiders never understand it. But locals adore it!

I 100% endorse the vinegar+baking soda+hot water option. Not only is it fun to watch an elementary school science experiment in your sink, but the reaction does a great job removing stains and dislodging stuck-on crud with little/no scrubbing. Just let that sucker soak for a bit then rinse and wipe down with dish soap if necessary.

Yeganeh, We met Jason in Tehran when we were there in 2014, thanks to his mother Mary. We are so delighted that you two are back. What delicious food we ate in Iran and I am so glad to have your many recipes to try in my kitchen. Welcome to our land. Karen

Oh great! Nice to virtually meet you. More than happy to create some of those delicious food for you anytime. 

Ballymaloe is near Cork - so south/southwest of Dublin. Just a wonderful place and their family home is one of our favorite places to stay.

Why not use a nylon cutting board for stinky stuff? It can go in the dishwasher. Save the wood cutting boards for non-stinky stuff like breads, squash, etc.

It's a thought, though, yes, you need to put non-wood boards in the dishwasher to properly sanitize. Frankly most of the time, I don't care if my boards smell a little bit (it dissipates eventually), although we have a separate wood board we use for fruit so it doesn't pick up any off flavors from veggies. I much prefer the feel of chopping on wood rather than plastic.

and Roy's Place Too in Columbia. We still have one of their booklet menus with the 250 sandwiches listed.

Roy's Place! I went there a couple of times. It was amazing. Just amazing. The owners had, like, a gazillion sandwiches on the menu, all variations on about eight ingredients. They had funny names, and the vibe was so relaxed. 

For the chatter looking for a "non-traditional" loaf with raisins and/or caraway - it's not from WaPo, but I've made this one for years. Definitely more on the sweet/cakey side of the spectrum, and makes a huge loaf. I bake it in a deep cast iron skillet. 

Joe, Do you toss the liquid that tofu comes in, or use it to drink or cook? Assuming it has nutrients but maybe it doesn't?

I've always tossed!

OK, Carrie, I've tried to get into Irish Whiskey the past couple of years, and by "getting into" it, I mean that I've tried three, yes three!, different types of Irish whiskey: Jameson, Bushmills and, and, well, Paddy. Have you heard of Paddy? I buy it because it's $1 or $2 cheaper than Bushmills, which is itself a dollar or two cheaper than Jameson. Now, if pressed, I'd say Jameson tastes better than Bushmills, but I'm not sure. And I don't think Bushmills tastes better than Paddy! So does this mean I simply have unrefined tastes? I've tried a couple different labels of Bushmills and Jameson, but I honestly can't remember if the higher-priced versions were any better than the basic versions. My question: Why am I more concerned about a dollar or two than I am in the finer-quality Irish whiskeys? Is it all just a sham? Or, more likely, am I a Neanderthal?

Ha! Far be it from me to make accusations of Neaderthalism; frankly, the subject of cost assessment in spirits (or any consumable, really!) is so subjective and personal. But if you felt a little spendy at some point, I think upgrading to the Redbreast 12 would be a good direction. Oh -- and I haven't tried Paddy, but now I'll be on the lookout. You're the second person to suggest it to me in the past couple of weeks.

ARTICLE: Irish whiskey was once on the verge of collapse. Now, it’s booming.

"Rex, eat the salad!"


Sounds beautiful, not revolting. ANd politically timely.

Lemon Cake Pie, where the easy-to-mix filling separates into pudding and cake layers while baking. Just sift a little powdered sugar on top before serving.

I'm making my pie for pi day and need help asap! The recipe calls for crushed cardamom pods. Does that mean just the pods, or just the seeds, or both? I've never used the pods before so I'm at a loss. Thanks so much!

Crush the pods, seeds and all! (The recipe calls for straining that milk mixture, so you'll end up straining out the pods.)

You can do it!

Well, you've garnished us with dried rose petals, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Yegi and Carrie for helping with the a's.

Now for the giveaway book: The chatter who asked about soda bread will get "In An Irish Country Kitchen." Send your mailing info to, and she'll get you your book!

Until next time, happy cooking, eating and reading!

Thank you for having me on today. It was a real pleasure. I hope my recipes are easy to make and looking forward to hearing feedback. 

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Bonnie Benwick
Bonnie S. Benwick is Deputy Food Editor and recipe editor at The Post. Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes.
Carrie Allan
M. Carrie Allan is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
Yeganeh Rezaian
Yeganeh Rezaian is an Iranian-born freelance journalist who discovered a passion for cooking her native cuisine after she came to the United States in 2016. She is married to Washington Post staff writer Jason Rezaian.
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